The Seer of Sayers notched NFL Week 12 into the win column and is moving full speed ahead into NFL Week 13.
This Sunday and Monday we should see the postseason picture begin to come into focus. The pretenders are going to start getting pushed off the island.
Nostrathomas NFL Week 13 Picks
In Week 12 Nostrathomas went 2-1 in his top picks and 7-4 against the spread and straight up. That puts the Seer of Sayers at 16-20-2 for his top picks, 71-76-2 against the spread and 93-45-1 straight up this season.
All point spreads taken on Saturday morning from Vegasinsider.com.
NFL Week 13 Games of the Week
Minnesota Vikings vs New England Patriots -5 (4:25 PM ET; Gillette Stadium, Foxborough MA)
For the Minnesota Vikings, they’re currently sitting in the first NFC Wild Card spot but only a half-game ahead of three teams bunched behind them with 6-5 records.
The Vikings defense is sixth in net passing yards per attempt allowed, third in the NFL in rushing yards per attempt allowed, second in generating negative pass plays (sacks and interceptions) and first in third-down conversions allowed. Minnesota has the ability to keep plenty of pressure coming Tom Brady’s way for all four quarters.
To New England’s advantage, Bill Belichick considers December his month. During his reign, the Patriots are 64-13 in the final full month of the regular season.
The Patriots are one of the best teams in the league at turning their yards of offense into points. They are just as good on defense in preventing opponents from turning field position into meaningful scores.
New England also holds a key edge heading into this game. They are 4-0 this season against teams that are currently over .500 and are 5-0 at home. The Vikings are 0-3 against teams with winning records.
This game is at Gillette Stadium and the point spread is currently under a touchdown. Take New England to win and cover.
New England Patriots 30, Minnesota Vikings 22
Los Angeles Chargers +3 vs Pittsburgh Steelers (Sunday Night Football, Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA)
In Week 12, the Los Angeles Chargers feasted on the Arizona Cardinals like they were Thanksgiving turkeys. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Steelers would be in a stronger postseason position if Ben Roethlisberger hadn’t thrown the game away last week in Denver.
This game was worth it for NBC to flex to Sunday night. The Chargers are third and Pittsburgh is fifth in Nostrathomas’ statistical power rankings. Los Angeles will severely miss running back Melvin Gordon, who is sidelined with a grade 2 MCL sprain in his right knee. The positive for the Chargers is Philip Rivers is putting together the best passer rating of his career this season.
The key for the Steelers is how much pressure they can bring against Rivers with their defensive front. They also need Roethlisberger to take better care of the football. Big Ben has been picked off 12 times this season, tied for second in the NFL.
The Chargers are 4-1 in away games this year and Pittsburgh is 3-2 at home. Nostrathomas doesn’t believe this game is settled by more than three points either way. The key is that Los Angeles does a better job taking care of the ball than the Steelers. In a game between two evenly matched opponents, that means a lot.
Los Angeles Chargers 33, Pittsburgh Steelers 30
NFL Week 13 Best Bets
Indianapolis Colts -4 vs Jacksonville Jaguars (1 PM ET; TIAA Bank Stadium, Jacksonville, FL)
The Jacksonville Jaguars have benched starter Blake Bortles for Cody Kessler, will be breaking in a new offensive coordinator, and have three starting offensive lineman down due to injuries. All that and the Indianapolis Colts are only favored by four points.
Andrew Luck’s string of throwing at least three touchdown passes is at eight straight games. Comeback player of the year should definitely be his at this rate.
Indianapolis is fighting tooth and nail with the Ravens for the final AFC Wild Card slot while attempting to keep the Houston Texans within reach. The Colts are on a five-game win streak and are 3-1-1 against the spread over that stretch. Jacksonville has failed to cover in their last seven games.
Indianapolis Colts 29, Jacksonville Jaguars 16
Chicago Bears -3.5 vs New York Giants (1 PM ET; MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ)
Last week, the New York Giants rode their elite rookie running back Saquon Barkley to a 19-3 lead in Philadelphia. In the first half, Barkley rushed nine times for 97 yards and one touchdown. He also caught six of his seven targets in the passing game for 47 yards and a touchdown. In the second half, Barkley only touched the ball five times. That’s how you get from a near road upset of the defending World Champions to limping home after tripping over another speed bump in your season.
Can Barkley carry New York’s offense again this weekend against the Chicago Bears? He’ll get his yards, given that no one can shut an elite back down all day, but the Bears are first in the NFL on defense against the run. Chicago is tough up front with Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman. Get past the line and Barkley will have to contend with inside linebackers Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith. Both are strong, fast and playing at an elite level as the Bears head into the stretch run.
Eli Manning can also expect a troubling afternoon. He’s in the top half of the NFL in passer rating but Chicago is first in the NFL on defense in defensive passer rating. That defense also tops the league in creating negative pass plays. 11.9 percent of dropbacks against the Bears defense end in either a sack or an interception.
The only reason this point spread has stayed this low is because Bears backup quarterback Chase Daniel will be starting his second straight game while Mitchell Trubisky recovers from a shoulder injury. That’s not a disaster for Chicago though. Daniel is an expert on Matt Nagy‘s offense. He showed that by passing for 230 yards, two touchdowns and a 106.8 passer rating last week on Thanksgiving Day against the Detroit Lions.
The Bears are 8-3 against the spread in 2018 and have covered in their last five games. Make it six this week.
Chicago Bears 27, New York Giants 21
Denver Broncos -5 vs Cincinnati Bengals (1 PM ET; Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH)
The Cincinnati Bengals are getting wide receiver A.C. Green back from an injured toe this week but have lost starting quarterback Andy Dalton for the season. Rookie quarterback Jeff Driskel will be piloting the Bengals through their final five games of the season.
That’s not a position a team wants to be in with the Denver Broncos coming to town. Their defense is going to give Driskel Sunday afternoon nightmares. For Denver, quarterback Case Keenum should carve up the weaker by the week Bengals defense.
Denver Broncos 31, Cincinnati Bengals 17
San Francisco 49ers vs Seattle Seahawks -10 (4:25 PM ET; CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA)
The Seattle Seahawks put themselves in prime position for an NFC Wild Card slot with their comeback victory over the Carolina Panthers last week. Seattle is also on an eight-game win streak against the San Francisco 49ers.
It’s possible that Seattle looks ahead to their Week 14, Monday night battle against the Vikings but it’s unlikely considering they hold their playoff fate in their own hands at this point.
Normally Nostrathomas would balk at the Seahawks laying 10 points but they’re at home and San Francisco is 0-6 on the road this season. Kyle Shanahan has worked wonders to get any kind of production out of the 49ers offense but Seattle’s defense is dangerous.
Nick Mullens against that defense and the “12th Man” in Seattle will keep the Seahawks playoff prospects on the rise.
Seattle Seahawks 25, San Francisco 49ers 13
NFL Week 13 Best of the Rest
Baltimore Ravens +1.5 vs Atlanta Falcons (1 PM ET; Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA)
The spread for this game took a huge bounce this week. The betting opened with the Ravens -3 before swinging over to the Atlanta Falcons as favorite.
In 2018, Atlanta has averaged over 400 yards of offense this season but their failure to convert those yards into points is their weakness. That’s why they’ve lost three straight games and made themselves irrelevant in the NFC postseason standings.
The Falcons average 15.7 yards per point on offense. That multiplies out to 110 yards of offense to put seven points on the board. The Ravens defense has forced opponents to gain an average of 16.4 yards to score one point. That multiplies to 115 yards allowed to surrender seven points, which is tenth-best in the league.
Baltimore’s defense is also first in the league in net passing yards per attempt allowed and second in defensive passer rating. Their job gets easier when you notice that Matt Ryan seems to have eyes mostly for Julio Jones on offense. His inability to spread targets has been one of the downfalls of Atlanta’s offense.
Joe Flacco will likely sit for the third straight game but Lamar Jackson should be more than capable of putting up points against one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Underdog Baltimore wins this game outright.
Baltimore Ravens 25, Atlanta Falcons 20
Cleveland Browns vs Houston Texans -5.5 (1 PM ET; NRG Stadium, Houston, TX)
Houston has risen from an 0-3 start to putting a sleeper hold on the AFC South and pressuring New England for a first-round bye in the postseason. They won’t be looking past the Cleveland Browns to their showdown against the Colts in Week 14. If they do then they don’t have the stomach for playoff football.
The Browns are on a two-game win streak and played with a lot of emotion last week in Cincinnati but Houston owns all the statistical keys to this game.
Houston Texans 25, Cleveland Browns 17
New York Jets vs Tennessee Titans -8 (4:05 PM ET; Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN)
If Nostrathomas’ hair and long, flowing beard weren’t already gray before the season began, trying to get a handle on the 2018 Tennessee Titans would have taken care of the job.
Tennessee took two straight knockout blows to their division title hopes with losses the past two weeks to the Colts and Texans. They are now one knockdown away from seeing their playoff possibilities take a 10 count.
The New York Jets have quarterbacks Sam Darnold listed as doubtful with a foot injury and Josh McCown questionable because of his thumb. That would mean Davis Webb could find himself playing quarterback for New York.
Nostrathomas is taking the Titans to win and cover, no matter who the Jets put under center. If Tennessee fails this week then Nostrathomas is disowning them.
Tennessee Titans 22, New York Jets 6
Buffalo Bills +3.5 vs Miami Dolphins (1 PM ET; Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL)
The Buffalo Bills totaled eight touchdowns in their first nine games of the season. They’ve now dented the goal line eight times in the past two weeks.
That has to be preying on the mind of Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase. The other thing that should have him unable to sleep Saturday night is that Buffalo is tough on defense.
Buffalo is second in the league in net passing yards per attempt allowed and fourth in defensive passer rating. They can also bring solid pressure with their defensive front.
One thing to also keep in mind is that the Bills swept Miami in two December games last season. Even in their two wins over their last eight games, the Dolphins have failed to put anyone away. They also allowed Indianapolis to steal one from them last week.
Miami can beat the Bills at home but Nostrathomas doubts that it’ll be by more than three if they do. He’s going to take Buffalo to wreck what’s left of the Dolphins season with an outright win.
Buffalo Bills 23, Miami Dolphins 20
Arizona Cardinals vs Green Bay Packers -14 (1 PM ET; Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI)
The Green Bay Packers are coming off of two straight road losses that have put their postseason hopes nearly out of reach. Arizona jumped out to a 10-0 lead last week against the Chargers before being thoroughly outclassed and embarrassed 45-10.
Arizona’s defense allowed Philip Rivers to complete 25 straight passes in that game and this week they get Aaron Rodgers staring them down.
Green Bay will be dialing up a wintry snow and rain mix to welcome their warm-weather foes to town. That and their offense should be enough to assure a win and the two touchdown cover.
Green Bay Packers 26, Arizona Cardinals 7
Carolina Panthers -3.5 vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1 PM ET; Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL)
The Carolina Panthers have gone from having a lock on one of the NFC Wild Card slots to being on the outside of the postseason looking in. They haven’t won a game since they beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Week Nine at home, 42-28.
Cam Newton’s squad is 5-2 against the spread in the past seven games in this series. Carolina will join the Titans as being disowned if they fail to win this week.
Carolina Panthers 29, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24
Los Angeles Rams -10 vs Detroit Lions (1 PM ET; Ford Field, Detroit, MI)
This is the first time this season that the Los Angeles Rams have played in an early Sunday game. They’re 4-1 the past two seasons in those games. They also need a win to take advantage of the loss by the New Orleans Saints to the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday Night Football.
The Detroit Lions have lost four of their last five games, although they were all games against playoff contending teams. Now they get to host the team with the best record to this point of the season in the NFL.
The Rams are 8-2-1 against the spread in their last 11 following a bye week. The Lions are 4-11 against the spread in their last 15 against teams with a winning record.
Los Angeles Rams 35, Detroit Lions 24
Washington Redskins +6.5 vs Philadelphia Eagles (Monday Night Football, Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA)
Nostrathomas is going to need to see the Eagles win a second game in a row before he believes they’re positioning for a playoff run.
Washington Redskins 24, Philadelphia Eagles 23
Kansas City Chiefs -15 vs Oakland Raiders (4:05 PM ET; Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, CA)
Andy Reid‘s teams tend to explode out of the bye week, which they will be doing against Gruden the Elder. There is nothing within the statistical analysis to suggest that the Raiders can keep this close.
Kansas City Chiefs 38, Oakland Raiders 17