NFL Week 13 Prime Time Top Picks: No Burrow, Low Expectations

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Top NFL Pick: Bengals-Jaguars Under 39 (-110) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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The NFL’s Week 13 schedule returns to its normal island game lineup with the Cowboys and Seahawks kicking things off on Thursday Night Football after both played on Thanksgiving. Sunday Night Football suddenly looks more interesting with Jordan Love taking on the Chiefs, the team he made his first NFL start against in 2021. The Monday night game is the Bengals taking on the Jaguars in a game that will be missing Joe Burrow’s presence to say the least.

We have our top NFL picks for each night of prime-time games in Week 13, which you can always find at the best offshore sportsbooks.

Jaguars to Swarm Jake Browning?

In what should have been one of the year’s best Monday night games, we have a low-expectations battle between the Jaguars (8-3) and Bengals (5-6) with no Joe Burrow (wrist) in sight. The Jaguars won a big game against Houston last week, while the Bengals lost 16-10 to the Steelers with Jake Browning making his first NFL start in place of Burrow.

The Jaguars are an 8.5-point home favorite with a total of 39 points. Do we dare line up another Monday night under?

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Monday, December 04, 2023 – 08:15 PM ET at EverBank Stadium

Will Jacksonville Score a Bunch?

The Jaguars have only played one prime-time game this year and it was a rare high-scoring game with a 31-24 win in New Orleans on a Thursday night in Week 7.

But Jacksonville’s scoring this season has been all over the map as one of the highest variance teams in the league:

  • Jacksonville has scored as few as 3 points (49ers) and as many as 37 points (Colts) this year.
  • Jacksonville has allowed as few as 7 points (Falcons) and as many as 37 points (Texans) this year.

You never quite know what you are going to get from this offense. The opponent has definitely played a factor as we saw the Jaguars held at home to 3 and 9 points to the 49ers and Chiefs, 2 elite defenses this year. The Jaguars scored with ease on the Colts, one of the bottom-ranked scoring defenses.

Monday Night Quirks

The Bengals have allowed 4 of their last 5 opponents to reach 400 yards of offense, including the Steelers for the first time since 2020. The Bengals have been allowing big plays, and we saw Trevor Lawrence complete 4 passes of more than 40 yards in Houston last week.

But Monday night has been a great equalizer for offense this year as most teams have played poorly. Even the Chiefs-Eagles game saw neither Patrick Mahomes nor Jalen Hurts pass for 180 yards. Don’t even get us started on what Justin Fields and Joshua Dobbs were doing this past Monday night.

The Jaguars are only 22nd on 3rd down and 24th in the red zone, so this team has not been elite at situational football. The Bengals have at least been good in the red zone, ranked No. 9 at allowing touchdowns.

The Jaguars will move the ball in this matchup, but the situational play may lead to more field goal attempts than touchdown scores.

Is Jake Browning Any Good?

Jake Browning is not a rookie as he is 27 and has been around the league for a few years now. But last Sunday was his first NFL start and it did not change the viewpoint that Cincinnati’s season is over without Burrow as far as the playoffs go.

Browning was not awful, but he had a few deflected passes that still turned into completions to Ja’Marr Chase for big gains that he will unlikely repeat. In fact, the Jaguars are one of the best defenses at getting turnovers this year, so that could be bad if Browning is inaccurate.

You also see typical indecisiveness from an inexperienced quarterback, so Josh Allen and the pass rush could eat in this matchup. The Bengals may be getting Tee Higgins back at wide receiver to give Browning another weapon, but he is not in a good position to lead this team to more than 17 points on the road in a tough environment.

The Pick

Would anyone be surprised if this game ended 24-14? That’s almost what the spread and total are suggesting. That could even be generous with the way we see teams play on Monday nights this year.

Remember, the under is now 13-1 on Monday night this year. It has been the best bet in the NFL this season and without Burrow in this matchup, we see no reason to bet against it this week.

NFL Pick: Under 39 (-110) at Bovada

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Cowboys Eye Another Blowout Win

The Dallas Cowboys (8-3) are trending to becoming one of the most dominant teams in the Super Bowl era, and they may only end up a wild card depending on what the Eagles do. Dallas blew out Washington 45-10 last week, giving them 7 wins by at least 20 points this year.

The Seahawks (6-5) began November with a 37-3 blowout loss in Baltimore, and they were thoroughly outplayed in a 31-13 loss to the 49ers last week on Thanksgiving night.

The Cowboys are a 9-point home favorite with a total of 46 points. We are looking at the spread and chances for another Dallas rout.

Seattle Seahawks vs. Dallas Cowboys

Thursday, November 30, 2023 – 08:15 PM ET at AT&T Stadium

How Great Is Dallas?

The 2023 Cowboys are in rare company. The composition of this team’s 8-3 record is remarkable when you break it down like this:

  • Seven wins by 20-plus points (tied for 2nd most in NFL history through a team’s first 11 games –only the 2007 Patriots had more with 8).
  • A 42-10 blowout in San Francisco, the team the Cowboys have been eliminated by in the playoffs the last two years.
  • A 28-23 close loss in Philadelphia, the 10-1 team the Cowboys are looking up to in the NFC East with a rematch to come.
  • A 20-17 road win against the Chargers (of course).
  • A 28-16 loss in Arizona, the only time a double-digit favorite lost in the 2023 season.

Despite a 42-10 loss to the 49ers, the Cowboys still lead all teams in scoring differential this year with plus-162 points. That’s where all those 20-point blowouts come in handy.

But there is no real respect for this Dallas team because of who the wins and losses have come against. We knew the 49ers and Eagles were the teams to beat in the NFC, and so far, Dallas was 0-2 against them. The Arizona loss was the upset of the year so far too, which doesn’t help.

Then there are the 7 blowout wins against the Commanders, Giants (twice), Jets (without Aaron Rodgers), the worst Patriots team in decades, and the 1-win Panthers who just fired head coach Frank Reich. The best blowout win for Dallas is probably against a mediocre Rams team in a game where Matthew Stafford was injured.

Throw in the fact that Dallas has not been to the NFC Championship Game since the 1995 season, and you can see why the Cowboys are not getting a whole lot of credit for this start.

Roughing up, the Seahawks is probably not going to change many minds either, because Geno Smith already looked injured and roughed up against the 49ers in a blowout last week. With the way Geno tries to fit some tight throws in there, Dallas corner Daron Bland might be eyeing a 6th interception for a touchdown after breaking the record with a 5th last week.

But the Cowboys are rolling on offense behind Dak Prescott, and the defense has yet to allow more than 20 points at home this year. Good luck to the Seahawks here.

How Much Trouble Is Seattle in?

Sportsbooks see the NFC West race as essentially over with the 49ers at -3000 odds at Bovada to win the division again. But the Seahawks are also in danger of slipping out of the playoff race at 6-5. They are currently the No. 6 seed, but teams like the Vikings (6-6), Packers (5-6), Rams (5-6), and Saints (5-6) are right on their heels.

The Seahawks have only improved marginally on defense while the offense has taken a bigger step back from 2022 when Geno led them to the playoffs albeit with a 9-8 record.

Seattle is 6-0 when scoring 20 points this season and 0-5 when scoring under 17 points. That’s pretty cut and dry where last year the Seahawks lost some shootouts and were less likely to be held under 17 points in games.

This just looks like a bad matchup at a bad time for the Seahawks, who don’t have a quarterback at full health, a reliable running game, or a line that will likely hold up against the Dallas pass rush.

The Pick

Not only should the Cowboys tee off on Geno, but Prescott should shred this secondary that has already allowed several 300-yard passers this year, including the likes of Andy Dalton (Panthers) and Sam Howell (Commanders).

It may not be a 20-point blowout again as Pete Carroll rarely loses that big with Seattle. But after already seeing this team lose by 34 in Baltimore and by 18 against the 49ers in Seattle last week, the Cowboys absolutely should win this one by double digits.

And most fans will still not be impressed because it’s not the Eagles or 49ers and it’s not the postseason yet.

NFL Pick: Cowboys -9 (-110) at Bovada

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How Much Has Jordan Love Grown?

Jordan Love’s play over the last month has given some life to the Packers, who are 5-6 and hoping to get back to .500 with what would be their biggest win yet by knocking off the Chiefs in prime time. Patrick Mahomes rallied his team back from an early 14-0 deficit in Vegas last week, and the Chiefs finally scored a bunch of points after halftime following a 3-game drought. The Chiefs are 8-3 and still in the hunt for the top seed, but this game looks a lot harder than it did a month ago.

The Chiefs are still a 6.5-point road favorite with a total of 42 points. We are looking at that spread.

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Green Bay Packers

Sunday, December 03, 2023 – 08:20 PM ET at Lambeau Field

Jordan Love’s Path to This Game

When these teams last met in 2021, Jordan Love had to start for Aaron Rodgers, who tested positive for COVID. It was a tough situation in Arrowhead for a 2nd-year player making his first NFL start. Love was only 19-of-34 for 190 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, and the Chiefs won 13-7.

But you could say the Packers did Love a few favors that day. Mason Crosby missed a 40-yard field goal and had a 37-yard kick blocked, so it could have been more points scored than the one touchdown. Even after that touchdown, Love needed his defense to get the ball back so he could win the game, but they were not able to do that.

Flash forward to this year, and Love struggled in his early weeks of taking over the starting job from Rodgers. But in the last month, Love has better stats than Mahomes:

  • Love: 1,107 yards, 8 TD, 2 INT, 8.02 YPA, 103.1 passer rating
  • Mahomes: 900 yards, 6 TD, 3 INT, 6.21 YPA, 87.7 passer rating

If you put those names and stat lines up and told people to match them, not many would have got it right. While the Chiefs have wide receiver issues this year, the Packers are working in a ton of young wide receivers and tight ends around Love. Their growth is showing up as Romeo Doubs continues to be a solid weapon in the red zone, and Jayden Reed, a 2nd-round rookie, has come around lately. Even Christian Watson has finally caught a touchdown in back-to-back games from Love.

Love’s Progress and Defensive Dependency

Love’s only interceptions in the last month were in desperate situations in Pittsburgh, including a tipped ball in the end zone that went to a defender.

The Packers can win with this version of Love, and he looked really good against the Chargers and Lions too. If Vegas rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell can light up the Chiefs’ great defense for a few drives, then Love should be able to have some success here too.

But in this matchup, he’ll need his defense to be strong.

Kansas City’s Shaky Play

The Chiefs went from trailing by 14 points to winning by 14 points in Vegas, which sounds like a very Kansas City thing to do. But the Chiefs are still finding their way this year on offense with the wide receiver situation. They did a better job in Week 12 in getting the ball to their best options: Travis Kelce, Rashee Rice, and Isiah Pacheco.

It may have helped that Jerick McKinnon and Kadarius Toney were out with injuries. It made the Chiefs focus their touches on their best weapons, instead of making sure everyone got involved. Justin Watson went from 11 targets against the Eagles to 3 targets and a touchdown in this game. Marquez Valdes-Scantling dropped that huge touchdown against the Eagles and only received 1 target against the Raiders. That’s good for Kansas City if we’re just being honest.

But if we go back to Kansas City in 2021 against Green Bay, that was not your typical Mahomes game either. In fact, his 166 passing yards in that game is his lowest total in his career in any game he finished. His 4.49 yards per attempt was also the worst game of his career until 2 weeks ago against Philadelphia when he was at 4.12. But the dropped passes did that to him in that game. The Packers just defended him better during his 2021 slump.

But the Chiefs have had some slumps on offense this year too. Green Bay’s defense is not great by any means, but it has held every team except for Detroit to 25 points or fewer this year.

With the way the Chiefs drop passes and turn the ball over, it is hard to trust them to win a game comfortably on the road. Since 2020, the Chiefs are only 13-16 ATS as a road favorite.

The Pick

The Packers are 0-4 when allowing more than 22 points this season. The Chiefs can get 23 points in this game, but they may not get much more than that. It also feels like this version of Love could put up at least 17 on this defense, so our expectations are for another tight, 1-score game that the Chiefs will have to close in the 4th quarter.

The Chiefs should win, but there is enough doubt here to trust the Packers to cover the spread.

NFL Pick: Packers +6.5 (-110) at Bovada

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