Thanksgiving’s games were closer than expected, and so the point differential was key – that meant my 1-2 record during the turkey eating was due to missing the margin by a total of just 2.5 points. Let’s turn things around in lucky number week 13, and improve on the overall record of 25-30-5.
Kansas City Chiefs +5.5 over Atlanta Falcons (1pmET): The Chiefs won an incredible game Sunday night over the Denver Broncos, and now face a tough match-up against an excellent offensive force in the Falcons. But the 5.5 points gives them enough leeway that they can keep it close, behind the steady QB play of Alex Smith and surprisingly steady coaching of Andy Reid, and still, potentially, lose and cover. The Falcons may win, but only by 1-3 points.
Green Bay Packers -6.5 over Houston Texans (1pmET): The Packers need a win badly, and the Texans are fading fast as they struggle to hold onto the division lead. Aaron Rodgers returns to Lambeau after a week where it appeared he got the offense back on track, and the defense looked better last week than it had previously. The Texans’ Brock Osweiler has been embarrassingly bad in recent weeks, and the oft-injured Lamar Miller can’t carry the load. Look for the Packers to win big.
San Francisco 49ers PK over Chicago Bears (1pmET): In a battle of two bottom tier teams, take the team that has at least looked decent on offense. Colin Kaepernick has performed well since taking over the starting job, although he hasn’t been able to put together a winning effort yet. The Bears though, now QB’ed by their 3rd stringer Matt Barkley, are hurting and their defense is extremely vulnerable. An ugly 16-13-type game is headed our way, but expect the 49ers to prevail.
New York Giants +6 over Pittsburgh Steelers (4pmET): The Giants may lose to the Steelers, who are fighting for their playoff life, but their offense has been firing on all cylinders and they should at least keep it close. It will be a battle of arguably the two most exciting wide receivers in the NFL when Odell Beckham Jr. faces off with Antonio Brown, and it will ultimately come down to which defense can withstand the passing assault. The Giants have proven to be the slightly better side and should keep it close enough for the cover.
Carolina Panthers +7 over Seattle Seahawks (8:30pmET): Cam Newton has struggled, and somehow the Panthers seem poised to miss the playoffs. But the Seahawks offensive line is a nightmare, their running game is a mess and Russell Wilson has been more inconsistent than any other year he’s been in the NFL. This is a juicy recipe for a Panthers defense that has played much better of late. Again with other games this week, the Seahawks may ultimately get the win, but the Panthers will be in it until the end.