The NFL’s Week 13 schedule has 3 prime-time games, and the best one should be Sunday night at historic Lambeau Field:
- On Sunday night, the Kansas City Chiefs get another look at Green Bay’s Jordan Love after he made his first NFL start against them in a 13-7 loss in 2021.
- On Monday night, the Jaguars can get to 9-3 with a home win against the fading Cincinnati Bengals.
- On Thursday night, the Dallas Cowboys will attempt to win a 4th-straight game by 20 points against Seattle.
We made our top pick for each prime-time game in Week 13, and you can find the best odds at top sportsbooks using OddsTrader.
- 1st Half ML and Total – Jaguars and Under 20.5 (+210) at Bet365
- Seahawks Under 16.5 Points (+115) at Bet365
- Chiefs-Packers Under 42 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook
Jaguars to Make Short Work of Bengals?
Finally, Monday night had a solid game lined up with Bengals-Jaguars, but the Joe Burrow wrist injury changed the landscape of the AFC. The Bengals probably would have finished behind Jacksonville in the conference anyway as Burrow had a slow start to the year with his calf, but the Jaguars are definitely the better team now as they get prepared to host Jake Browning in his 2nd career start.
The Jaguars are an 8.5-point home favorite with a total of 39 points. We are looking at a game prop for the 1st half moneyline and total (over/under 20.5 points).
Monday, December 04, 2023 – 08:15 PM ET at EverBank Stadium
First Half Moneyline
The Jaguars have been very unpredictable on the scoreboard this year:
- They ended the Saints’ 13-game streak of unders hitting when they won 31-24 in New Orleans in Week 7.
- They were blown out at home twice: 34-3 by the 49ers and 37-20 to the Texans.
- They beat Buffalo as an underdog, 25-20, in London.
- They lost 17-9 at home to the Chiefs, the 2nd-lowest scoring game of Patrick Mahomes’ career.
Last week’s 24-21 win in Houston was one of the few close games the Jaguars have played this year. But a general trend you will find in Jacksonville games is that you can get a great sense by halftime if they will win or lose.
- In Jacksonville’s 3 losses this year, they trailed at halftime (twice by double digits).
- In Jacksonville’s 8 wins this year, they always led by at least 4 points at halftime.
As an 8.5-point home favorite against a team that’s been allowing big pass plays and is starting a backup quarterback, you have to figure this is a game the Jaguars are going to win. Therefore, they should be leading at halftime again.
First Half Under 20.5
We have 3 main reasons why we like the under 20.5 to hit at halftime:
- Jake Browning’s inexperience will be exposed by a talented defense that creates turnovers and gets sacks, which will greatly limit Cincinnati’s scoring total.
- Jacksonville may be 8-3, but this team’s situational offense is weak (22nd on 3rd down, 24th in the red zone), Trevor Lawrence’s accuracy can be erratic, and never count out the Bengals getting key turnovers in big games to keep it close.
- Monday night scoring has been awful all season as no team has scored 27 points, the under is 13-1, and offenses seemingly forget how to function on Monday nights in 2023.
The Bengals actually led Pittsburgh 7-3 at halftime on Sunday, but that’s a Pittsburgh problem. The Jaguars are a better team and should lead for most of the game, but they are not great enough to where we should worry about too many points to cause the overs to hit in this game.
Put the picks together and that’s how we end up with the Jaguars winning the 1st half and the under 20.5 hitting in another rough Monday night watch. Injuries stink, but hopefully we’ll see more Lawrence vs. Burrow matchups down the road in the AFC.
NFL Pick: 1st Half ML and Total – Jaguars and Under 20.5 (+210) at Bet365
Seattle’s Troubling Pattern This Year
After a 5-2 start, the Seahawks are on a 1-3 run and could see their season slipping away with games against the Cowboys, 49ers, and Eagles up next. Seattle games have been fairly cut and dry this year: 6-0 when scoring 20 points and 0-5 when held under 20 points.
The Cowboys are scoring as much as anyone these days, so it will be imperative for Seattle to keep up. But the Cowboys also have an elite defense, and Geno Smith did not look good at all last week against the 49ers just days after a biceps injury.
We are looking at a game prop for the Seahawks to be held under 16.5 points in this one as the Cowboys are a 9-point home favorite.
Thursday, November 30, 2023 – 08:15 PM ET at AT&T Stadium
The Seahawks had a fun offense in 2022 with Geno Smith enjoying a breakout year and rookie Kenneth Walker sparking the running game. But in 2023, things have not gone as smoothly. D.K. Metcalf isn’t scoring as often with big plays, Walker has been injured and not as dominant on the ground, and Geno’s accuracy and overall play has not been as good as it was in 2022. In fact, Geno’s touchdown pass rate is his lowest since his 2013 rookie season with the Jets.
The Seahawks have already been held under 16.5 points in 5 games this year, and that is all of their losses. In 2022, Seattle was held under 16.5 points in only 4-of-18 games, but it has already happened in 5-of-11 games this year.
The situational play from Seattle’s offense was poor last year too, but they overcame it with more explosive plays and a league that had worse defensive performance than we see in 2023. But this year, the Seahawks have slipped to No. 29 on 3rd down and No. 25 in the red zone at scoring touchdowns.
This offense is simply too hard to trust to score many points on the road against an elite defense like Dallas.
Cowboys Have a Big Edge on Defense
Dallas has already held 5 opponents to 10 points or less this year. But those were some of the worst offenses in the league (Jets, Giants, Patriots, Panthers). But the Cowboys did hold the Commanders to 10 points on Thanksgiving despite Sam Howell looking solid at times for Washington.
But Dallas is a bad matchup for the Seahawks. If you look at the 3 teams that beat Dallas this year (Arizona, San Francisco, Philadelphia), they all scored more than 20 points. They all had a strong run component to their offense, sometimes including the quarterback running with the ball, to help get to that high point total.
The Seahawks are below average in running and they have been held under 90 rushing yards in 4-of-5 road games this year. They only found success against the lowly Giants.
The Cowboys have a great pass rush led by Micah Parsons, and corner DaRon Bland has great coverage stats to go along with his record 5 interceptions returned for touchdowns this season. With the way Smith likes to sling the ball to tight windows, do not be surprised if Bland adds to his impressive stats as he builds his own Defensive Player of the Year case.
We’ve already seen the Seahawks fail to score 17 points in almost half their games this year. Throw in a road environment in Dallas with Smith not at full health, and it could be another ugly game for this team that is in serious trouble with the rest of the schedule.
Patrick Mahomes vs. Jordan Love: The Sequel
Jordan Love can say his first NFL start came against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in 2021, and he’ll be able to say his first Sunday Night Football start was also against Mahomes’ Chiefs. The Chiefs won that game 13-7, the lowest-scoring game of Mahomes’ career with a total of just 20 points.
The Chiefs are a 6.5-point favorite with a total of 42 points this week. But we are feeling that under again.
Sunday, December 03, 2023 – 08:20 PM ET at Lambeau Field
2021 Recap: Chiefs 13, Packers 7
It was Love’s first start 2 years ago when Aaron Rodgers tested positive for COVID. It was a hard matchup since the game was in Arrowhead, Love had no real experience, and the Chiefs were starting to play very good defense.
But Love actually had 24 more passing yards on 3 fewer attempts than Mahomes had in that game as neither quarterback passed for 200 yards. Mahomes’ 166 passing yards in that game against Joe Barry’s defense is the lowest total in any game in his career that he started and finished.
The Packers did not score until late in the 4th quarter when Love threw a touchdown pass, but the Chiefs ran out the clock and he never got the ball back to drive for the winning touchdown.
There are plenty of new faces on both teams since 2021, but both head coaches and defensive coordinators remain intact. It wouldn’t be a shock if this game was oddly low-scoring too, especially with the way the island games have gone for the Chiefs and the rest of the NFL this year. We’ve already seen the Chiefs win 19-8 against Denver, 23-20 against the Jets, 21-14 against Miami, and lose 21-17 to the Eagles.
Why These Teams May Not Score Much More This Time Too
The Chiefs still lead the NFL in drops and their obligatory fumble doesn’t help their scoring either. However, last week in Vegas was the first time all season the Chiefs played a game where neither team had a turnover. The last time they did that was also against Vegas last year, so that may just be a divisional matchup thing.
But the Packers looked awesome in swarming Jared Goff last week in Detroit and forcing him to lose 3 fumbles. They’ll need a big effort to get pressure on Mahomes, but again, Kansas City’s failings this season are largely ball security (drops and fumbles).
The Packers have not turned it over in the last 2 games, the best stretch by far of Love’s 2023 season. He is playing well, but he also got to play the Chargers’ bottom-ranked pass defense in a game where Joey Bosa left injured, and he played a Detroit defense that has been slipping big time ever since the blowout loss to Baltimore.
The Chiefs have played great defense all year, but they looked horrible out of the gate against Aidan O’Connell and the Raiders last week, allowing 221 yards of offense on the first 3 drives as they fell behind 14-0. However, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo makes some of the best adjustments, and the Chiefs only allowed a field goal the rest of the way.
Throughout this year, we have seen Green Bay really struggle to score in first halves and Kansas City to score in second halves. Both teams reverted those trends in Week 12 in a big way, but those are what the season-long trends have been. Generally, you should trust the season-long trend more than the last game’s outcome.
If the Chiefs play well early and the Packers mount a comeback late, then that would make for a good game to watch that is close. But it also would favor the under as you can see the Chiefs nursing a 24-17 lead late in the game before seeing if Love can deliver a game-tying drive.
But again, the scoring has been so bad in prime time this year that it almost feels on purpose at this point. Between Kansas City’s strong defense and the questionable offense, we’ll take the under.
At least the game shouldn’t end 13-7 this time.
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