The playoffs are on each team’s mind as the NFL enters the final third of the season. With several teams jockeying for postseason positioning and others staring down the barrel of elimination, the Week 13 slate is full of exciting matchups pitting several would-be playoff teams.
In our NFL Week 13 betting picks and predictions, see which teams are primed to improve their playoff chances this week — and which teams will end the regular season on their couch.
Kansas City Chiefs (-2) at Cincinnati Bengals
This rematch of last season’s AFC Championship Game has been circled since the summer as one of the most-anticipated matchups of the year. Whereas some of last season’s playoff teams have disappointed — we’re looking at you, Los Angeles and Tampa Bay — the Chiefs and Bengals remain in the thick of the Super Bowl race.
Through two-thirds of the season, the 9-2 Chiefs hold a comfortable lead in the AFC West, and the Bengals are tied with Baltimore atop the AFC North. Oddsmakers expect the Chiefs to win with Mahomes and company as a slim favorite on the road.
Fortunately for the Bengals, they’re expected to see some key players back in the lineup this week. All signs point for wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase and running back Joe Mixon to return although it remains to be seen if they’ll be at 100%.
The Bengals have won four of their last five after starting the season with two losses. However, the defending AFC champions have hardly been world-beaters in this recent stretch. They eked out a hard-fought 20-16 win over Tennessee last week but their previous wins have come against the NFL’s bottom tier including Pittsburgh, Carolina, Atlanta, and New Orleans.
The Chiefs are riding a five-game win streak with a win over the Rams Sunday and the Chargers, Jaguars, Titans, and 49ers the weeks prior. Mahomes, one of the MVP frontrunners, leads the league in both passing yards and touchdown passes.
Kansas City has been the better team throughout this season and even with the Bengals getting some key pieces back, the edge lies with the red-hot Chiefs. Although this game doesn’t hold as much weight as last year’s championship game, Mahomes and the Chiefs get a little bit of revenge here.
One of our best bets for NFL Week 13, take Mahomes and the Chiefs laying less than a field goal.
Tennessee Titans (+5.5) at Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia started the season as one of the hottest teams of the year and aside from one hiccup — a Week 10 loss to divisional rival Washington — they have been a popular pick to be playing in February. They’ll get one of their biggest tests of the year with the Tennesee Titans in town.
NFL · Sun (12/4) @ 1:02pm ET
|Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
The Titans never seem to go away. One of the NFL’s most unrelenting teams, their wins are rarely pretty yet they always force themself into the playoff conversation — and it’s easy to forget they were last year’s AFC No. 1 seed. Despite their 20-16 loss to the Bengals last week, they hold a three-game lead in the floundering AFC South.
Tennessee ranks first in rushing DVOA on defense according to Football Outsiders and will need to limit an Eagles’ ground game that ran for 363 yards last week against Green Bay. The Titans are allowing just 3.9 yards per carry, good for second-best in the league.
On offense, the Titans will lean on All-Pro running back Derrick Henry who logged 117 yards from scrimmage in last week’s loss. Facing a Philly defense that ranks 26th in rushing DVOA, Henry and the Titans can keep the ball out of Ryan Tannehill’s hands and control the clock through the ground game.
The Titans will follow the same game plan that the Commanders employed to deliver the Eagles their first loss a few weeks ago: tough running and controlling the time of possession. Tennessee is 4-1 against the spread as an underdog this season and 5-1 on the road, whereas the Eagles covered the spread by the hook last week — their first cover since October.
Behind a strong ground game, the Titans should keep things close in Philadelphia down the stretch and be in a position to upset the high-flying Eagles. One of our best bets for NFL Week 13, take Tennessee and the points.
Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens (Under 38.5)
Before the season started, there was considerably more hype surrounding this AFC duel with potential playoff implications. The 7-4 Ravens held up their end of the bargain and are tied with Cincinnati atop the AFC North. The Broncos, however, have suffered mightily behind new signal caller Russell Wilson and their 3-8 record has them closer to the No. 1 pick than to a playoff berth.
NFL · Sun (12/4) @ 1:02pm ET
|M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland|
Unsurprisingly, oddsmakers have Baltimore as more than a touchdown favorite at home in M&T Bank Stadium. In our Week 13 predictions, we look instead at the total in the upper 30s ahead of this cross-country matchup.
A four-game winning streak by the Ravens was snapped last week by the Jaguars, losing 28-27 on a two-point conversion in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter. They have hardly been an offensive juggernaut, failing to score more than 27 points since Week 3 in New England.
It’s difficult to pinpoint what exactly has gone wrong in Denver, but the Mile High offense has sputtered throughout the season. Their 14.3-points per game average is the worst mark in the NFL and more than a point lower than second-worst Indianapolis. Their defense has been the team’s lone bright spot, limiting opponents to just 17.6 points per game, the third-best mark in the league.
Both teams have been cashing under bets at an impressive clip this year. The Broncos have been an under machine on their own this season, with the total going under in all but one of their eleven games. As for the Ravens, the under has gone 4-1 when playing at home.
Neither of these teams has been lighting up the scoreboard this season and this total is set too high. Our NFL predictions have the Ravens winning 20-13, making the under one of our best NFL Week 13 picks.