So now that you’ve fully digested the Thanksgiving meal and another week of football, we are on to some big weeks post-holiday. The playoff picture is starting to solidify, we have crucial matchups taking place and one singular goal. MAKE SOME MONEY! So who are we riding with and who are we shying away from? Three favorites and two underdogs on tap for this week. One thing is for certain, this is a big week for the NFL, highlighted by our favorite five games!
Steakspeare’s Spreads Week 13
Minnesota Vikings -3 vs New York Jets
We start with one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, 1 pm Kirk Cousins vs Mike White, the latest in the long list of New York Jets starting quarterbacks. It’s a little surprising that the Minnesota Vikings are only a three-point favorite at home here when the Jets are in the midst of some uncertainty for the first time this season. Take that and add a great performance from the Vikings this past Thursday night, and three points feel like robbery.
The Jets defense and specifically the secondary is nothing to scoff at. Led by former Bearcat and first-round pick Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, the Jets currently rank fourth in the NFL in points allowed and fifth in passing yards allowed. The firepower of Minnesota will be too much though, with Justin Jefferson and newly added tight end T.J. Hockenson. It may be a nail-biter, but the Vikings should cover three and then some.
Jacksonville Jaguars +1 @ Detroit Lions
Anytime there is a one or fewer-point spread, it is essentially a “Who wins the game?” question. So let’s look at these teams. The Hard Knocks stars of the preseason led by emotional head coach Dan Campbell won three straight games and only lost to Buffalo on Thanksgiving due to a field goal at the end of regulation. The Detriot Lions are a team that no one wants any part of currently.
The same can be said though about the Jacksonville Jaguars. When it comes to tightly contested games like this, we need to look at the quarterbacks involved and Trevor Lawrence is the play here. The Lions are currently the 32nd-ranked defense and Lawrence is on a tear lately, finishing as a top 8 quarterback statistically through the last 7 weeks. He now gets a game in a dome against an inferior team. Jags win this game and cover.
Cleveland Browns -7 @ Houston Texans
Beyond all the crazy headlines and controversy surrounding the signal caller for the Cleveland Browns, let’s also not forget that prior to his scandal, Deshaun Watson was an absolute stud at quarterback. He now gets a “revenge” game against his former team whom he had contractual issues with prior to his unpopular trade. There will be rust here, he hasn’t taken an NFL snap in 23 straight regular season games on top of the immense pressure that this debut will bring.
I still believe that Cleveland is just a better team with a significant advantage at quarterback. This has all the makings of a potential blowout in favor of the Browns and that is the side to bet on this week. Morals be damned, he’s playing and that is notable.
Los Angeles Chargers +1 @ Las Vegas Raiders
In another pick ‘em game we have this week, we get a divisional matchup between the Las Vegas Raiders and the Los Angeles Chargers. One point means pick who wins, and the Chargers, even with their misgivings, have the better team and quarterback. Justin Herbert the “social media quarterback” per the description of Fox analyst Emmanuel Acho, is playing for the first time in what feels like years with his full arsenal of playmakers seeing as star receiver Mike Williams is set to return and Keenan Allen has overcome his injury.
The Raiders are coming off an overtime win that showed us Josh Jacobs still has what it takes to be considered one of the NFL’s best backs, so while the game will be close, the high-powered offense of the Chargers should finish strong. The Raiders aren’t as bad as their record shows us, but the Chargers are the better team overall.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers -3.5 vs New Orleans Saints
The Monday Night game this week features a division rivalry that has proven to give Tom Brady some fits over the course of his short Tampa Bay career. Since joining Tampa, Brady is 1-4, but his most recent game against them was the lone victory. The New Orleans Saints are in the post-Brees and Payton era and are leaning on Andy Dalton, who is notorious for his primetime game woes.
Meanwhile, Brady is seemingly the most equipped to handle these moments of anyone that’s ever played the game. Now, we all know there is more to the game than quarterbacks and time of day, but one thing is for certain, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the better weapons here both offensively and defensively. This one was close, but I expect this to be a game decided early that ends in a Tampa Bay win by over a touchdown. Sorry Saints fans, the Bucs are dat!
Let’s make a little money, shall we? The games are good but the wins are even better! Whether you’re a casual bettor or the degenerate who watches the lines throughout the week, we have just the stuff for you! Follow me on Twitter @Steakspeare and follow @LWOSports for all your favorite sports debates!