Here is an early look at the week 13 slate of NFL games and the five games that really stand out as games to watch. This late in the season the playoff races will dominate the particular interest level of games, but quality of opponents and rivalry will also factor into these picks. Of course looking at the sports betting odds for NFL games is a great way to find the must watch games of the week.
-This week’s Thursday night game kicks off the week with not only a major rivalry, but one that has some playoff implications. While the Eagles have all but locked up the division (only the Cowboys can catch them and they would need to win out and the Eagles to lose out), both of these teams are still in the mix for a Wild Card spot. The NFC race is going to be pretty tight so, you will likely need a 10-6 record or 9-7 to make it in, which means that a loss here will be a body blow to either team. The Cowboys have been struggling of late, and will try to not lose their 4th straight game. The Redskins got a win on Thanksgiving, but it wasn’t pretty and they are dealing with a host of injuries. While going into Dallas will be tough, the Redskins look like the more complete team right now (even with the injuries) and should come away with a win.
-These are two of the hottest teams in the league right now and both look to be likely playoff teams at this point. The Vikings lead their division, but they still have the Lions behind them so they can’t afford to drop any games and let Detroit potentially catch-up. The Falcons are in 3rd in the NFC South, but they play the Saints twice and the Panthers once over these 5 weeks, so they still have a lot of control over their division. So neither team can take this game for granted as they make their playoff runs. Though the Falcons are at home and favored, the Vikings would be my pick to win it here. They are the better all-around football team and are 4-1 on the road, including two tough wins over the Redskins and Lions.
-This game doesn’t have the biggest playoff implications, but they are there for both clubs on some level. The Jets still have a shot in the AFC, where the Wild Card race is not nearly as competitive and could even see an 8-8 team make the playoffs. They have their work cut out for them as they sit at 4-7, but they have been competitive most games this year. The Chiefs still currently lead the AFC West, but they have been struggling the last few weeks and now just hold a 1 game lead in the division. Kansas was arguably the most dominant team in the AFC the first 2 months of the season, but they have come crashing down to earth of late. If they can’t right the ship soon either the Chargers or Raiders will pass them up for the division. To make matters worse both the Chargers and Raiders have easier match-ups this week, so this is a big game for Kansas City. Though the Chiefs have been exposed some of late, I still think they are the better team in this match-up. I see Kansas City winning, but I think the Jets are the better play with the spread.
-This is a big team for these two NFC South rivals as they both sit a 8-3 in the division and they still have to worry about the Falcons right behind them. The Saints have the current tie-breaker on the Panthers, winning their week 3 match-up, so if they can win this game they will have a commanding lead over Carolina. On the flip side if Carolina wins this game they will take the lead over the Saints, and New Orleans will need to hope the other tie-breakers can go their way if they both finish with the same record. Both teams have been playing extremely well, but injury concerns are a factor for the Saints. If New Orleans is a little healthier for this game I like them to win and take control of this division.
-As mentioned earlier the Eagles have all but locked up their division, but they can’t let their foot up if they want to secure a bye and home field advantage. They head out to Seattle to face a depleted defense, but still one of the most dangerous offenses in the league led by Russell Wilson. Currently the Seahawks are on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs, but they have the same current record as the projected 6th seed, just behind in the tie breaker. Seattle also is just one game back in their division (and already have one win over the Rams), so this game is big if they hope to overtake L.A. While it’s tough to pick against the Eagles right now, Seattle is at home with more to play for, which makes me think they can pull off the upset here.