NFL 2020 Week 13 Preview and Bettor’s Guide
LOS ANGELES, December 2, 2020 — The Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens played another AFC North slugfest. The Steelers won the fistfight 19-14, but the bigger win belonged to the fans. The game was played on Wednesday. For the first time in years, Americans got to enjoy Wednesday football. Thank COVID for the Wednesday pigskin brawl.
COVID has wreaked havoc on human lives all across the globe. Trying to find a silver lining amidst the painful black clouds has often proved illusory. Thankfully, the 2020 NFL season has survived through nearly three-quarters of the regular season. A few games have been rescheduled. Several players have missed games. The Denver Broncos played a game last week without a quarterback. Yet the league has for now survived. It seems that every day is a potential football day.
Football used to only be on Sundays.
Then in 1970 Roone Arledge came up with Monday Night Football. Thursday football used to only be on Thanksgiving. Now there is a game almost every Thursday. This past Thursday was an exception. That game was rescheduled until Tuesday because of…you guessed it…COVID. Enjoy the silver lining. Leatherheads get a Tuesday night game. Three straight days of football when it is not even Thanksgiving weekend anymore is something to definitely be thankful for.
With that, here is the NFL 2020 Week 13 Preview and Bettor’s Guide, with point spreads provided by DraftKings and all times Eastern.
Sunday, December 6, 2020, 1:00 p.m.
Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears (-5) —
The Lions fired Coach Matt Patricia and the Bears have lost 5 straight. Given how bad both of these teams have been playing, it is tough to justify the high spread. Bears win but fail to cover.
Cincinnati Bengals at Miami Dolphins (-11) —
The Bengals were a bad team even with Joe Burrow, but are dreadful without him. Ryan Fitzpatrick and his magic beard should be able to move the ball at will. Combine that with a good Dolphins defense and you have a blowout in the making. Dolphins cover.
Indianapolis Colts (-2.5) at Houston Texans —
Philip Rivers and Deshaun Watson can both sling the ball, but the Colts have the better defense. The Colts are in a good position to make the playoffs, so look for them to get it done. Colts cover.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Minnesota Vikings (-9.5) —
The Jaguars have lost ten straight and general manager Dave Caldwell was just fired. The Vikings began 1-5 but have won four of five since. Dalvin Cook should be able to run wild. The spread is high, but the Jaguars are a mess. Vikings cover.
Las Vegas Raiders (-7.5) at New York Jets —
The Jets are 0-11 with the potential to go 0-16. They are bad at virtually everything but Sam Darnold can play. The Raiders started 6-3 but have lost two straight including a 43-6 beating at Atlanta last week. Last year the Raiders started 6-4, went to play a bad Jets team, and got throttled 34-3. This game will see if Jon Gruden finally has a team with heart. Without Josh Jacobs and Jonathan Abram, the spread is too high. If Derek Carr rebounds, the Raiders have the talent. Raiders win but fail to cover.
New Orleans Saints (-3.5) at Atlanta Falcons —
The Falcons throttled the Raiders 43-6 last week. They started 0-4 but are 4-2 under interim coach Raheem Morris. The Saints have won both games with Taysom Hill, but even at 9-2 they are not the same team without Drew Brees. This is not the same Falcons team as earlier this year, and these teams often play competitive games where home field does not matter. Upset special, Falcons win outright.
Cleveland Browns at Tennessee Titans (-4) —
Both teams are 8-3. The Browns have beaten bad teams, but this is a far sterner test. Derrick Henry and Nick Chubb are both beats on the ground. Whoever runs the ball wins. This is the type of game that can make anyone doubting the Browns finally be quiet. They lose those types of games. The Titans went into Indianapolis and thrashed them in a revenge game. Titans cover.
Sunday, December 6, 2020, 4:00 p.m.
New York Giants at Seattle Seahawks (-9.5) —
As bad as the Giants are, they have very quietly won three straight games against other bad teams after a 1-7 start. Nevertheless, the Seahawks are a far superior team. Russell Wilson should be able to move the ball at will. Seahawks cover.
Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals (-1.5) —
These teams are both in contention with Seattle for the NFC West crown. Jared Goff and Kyler Murray have both been playing well. The Rams have the better defense led by Aaron Donald. This could come down to the last play. The Rams have the experience. Upset special, Rams win outright.
Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers (-9) —
Aaron Rodgers has his offense clicking on all cylinders. Carson Wentz and his offense has been totally out of sync. This is a mismatch, and it could be over by halftime. Packers cover.
New England Patriots at Los Angeles Chargers (-1) —
The Patriots have won three of their last four in ugly fashion while the Chargers lose close games at an alarming rate. Justin Herbert is playing far better than Cam Newton, but Bill Belichick can out-strategize Anthony Lynn every day and twice on Sunday. This game is on Sunday. Upset special, Patriots win outright.
Sunday, December 6, 2020, 8:00 p.m.
Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs (-13.5) —
The Broncos had to play an NFL game last week without a quarterback. This week they get Drew Lock back, but the Chiefs are an offensive juggernaut. The spread is high, but defenses cannot stop Patrick Mahomes or Tyreek Hill. The Broncos are built on defense and the only way to beat the Chiefs is in a shootout. The spread is high but the Broncos lack the offensive firepower to keep up. Chiefs cover.
Monday, December 7, 2020, 5:00 p.m.
Washington Gridlock at Pittsburgh Steelers (-8) —
The Steelers are 11-0 and coming off an emotional win over rival Baltimore. Washington lacks the talent and heart to slow them down much less stop them. Ron Rivera will turn Washington around, but not this year and certainly not this game. The Steelers will not have a letdown. This Mike Tomlin team is different. Steelers cover.
Monday, December 7, 2020, 8:20 p.m.
Buffalo Bills (-3) at San Francisco 49ers —
Josh Allen is playing well. The Bills have a very realistic chance at their first AFC East crown in 25 years. They are disciplined and focused. The 49ers are battered with injuries. Bills cover.
Tuesday, December 8, 2020, 8:00 p.m.
Dallas Cowboys at Baltimore Ravens (-7.5) —
Baltimore lost a heart-breaker against unbeaten Pittsburgh. The Ravens have lost three straight after a 6-2 start. The Cowboys are the worst team in the worst division yet can still win the NFC Least. The Ravens are fighting for their playoff lives. Lamar Jackson is still out with COVID. Backup Robert Griffin III could have run all over the porous Dallas defense, but that was several years ago. RGIII will need to keep handing the ball off. Trust John Harbaugh to come up with a game plan that minimizes the chance for mistakes. Ravens win but fail to cover.