NFL week 13 Tips: Teams battle for playoffs amid key injuries
Simon Sinclair | 4 December 2016
NFL week 13 tips
NFL teams are beginning to feel the effects of the season as we enter week 13, none more so than in the AFC Conference where several of the top sides have taken big losses.
New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is likely out for the rest of the season, while Oakland Raiders cornerback DJ Hayden has also been sidelined for the rest of term. Meanwhile, Denver Broncos will be without the services of their quarterback Trevor Siemian for their clash this week.
In the NFC, Dallas Cowboys took a major stride towards securing the number one seed for the playoffs by defeating Minnesota Vikings, leaving the rest of the Conference facing the prospect of travelling to AT and T Stadium to secure a place in the Super Bowl.
The trend of events has set up some enticing matches this week. Here are Coral’s five top tips for week 13 of the NFL season.
Detroit Lions @ New Orleans Saints
The Lions can take a huge step towards locking down the NFC North with a victory over Sean Payton’s men. Their Thanksgiving Day win over the Minnesota Vikings has put them in first place with a 7-4 record and adding the scalp of the Saints would put them within touching distance of the playoffs.
Detroit have won their last three matches on the spin, but their contests have always been close, being decided by seven points or fewer. Quarterback Matt Stafford has been clutch for the team this term, performing well in the fourth quarter while their defense has been solid enough.
New Orleans have playoff ambitions of their own, currently sitting at 5-6 in the NFC South. Drew Brees has been outstanding and in a better side would surely come into contention to be named MVP. However, due to his side’s struggles elsewhere they’re still in a battle to reach the post-season.
Brees has been at the peak of his powers, but if the Lions can stifle his offense just a little there will be a chance to win the match. As a result, backing Jim Caldwell’s men at 9/4 on the money line would be a worthy punt.
Denver Broncos @ Jacksonville Jaguars
The Broncos will be without Siemian for the clash due to a foot injury, leaving rookie Paxton Lynch in line for his second start of the season. The 22-year-old struggled in his first start against Atlanta Falcons and will not have a strong running game to lean on to ease the pressure.
Denver still have a potent defense, but even they were powerless to stop Kansas City Chiefs winning a vital AFC West encounter last week. As a result, Gary Kubiak’s men are in a vulnerable position in the playoff picture, currently sitting outside of the post-season places.
Fortunately for the Broncos they’re facing a side going through the motions in the form of Jaguars, who have lost six-straight matches with a 2-9 record with Gus Bradley staring down the barrel because of another underwhelming campaign.
Therefore backing the visitors for a 7-12 point win at 15/4 would make sense, which would help get their playoff push back on track in Jacksonville.
Miami Dolphins @ Baltimore Ravens
This contest could well make-or-break the playoff hopes of both sides, with the Dolphins currently riding a hot streak of six-straight wins. Baltimore currently top the AFC North, but need to keep winning to keep the Pittsburgh Steelers at bay, as it is probable that only one team will need to emerge from the division.
Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill has become a standout player over the past month, producing important performances in the club’s run of victories. Should he remain on form it could be enough to drive Miami to their first appearance in the post-season since the 2008 campaign, although they will have to do it as the wildcard as they are unlikely to overhaul the Patriots in the AFC East.
Baltimore’s defense has been crucial in keeping them in the hunt, but they will need more from their offense to get over the line. Joe Flacco has been in underwhelming form throwing just 10 touchdowns this season, while the running game has not been effective. The Dolphins are a decent bet to make it seven on the bounce on the money line at 8/5.
New York Giants @ Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers will be aiming to keep the pressure on the Ravens at the top of the AFC North, but have a huge challenge on their hands against the 8-3 Giants. Mike Tomlin’s men eased past the underpowered Indianapolis Colts in their last outing to draw level with their rivals, leaving the race evenly poised heading into the final weeks of the campaign.
New York have gone about their business quietly this term, but still boast the second best record in the NFC, which currently will only be good enough for the fifth seed due to Dallas Cowboys’ displays. Ben McAdoo’s men have played fairly well against inferior opponents, but will have to take their game to the next level to beat the Steelers.
Pittsburgh need to win to keep their playoff hopes alive, and their offense has talent to expose the Giants defense to claim a narrow 1-6 point victory at 27/10 at Heinz Field.
Indianapolis Colts @ New York Jets
The Colts were dealt a blow when Andrew Luck was ruled out of their match against the Steelers, leaving Scott Tolzien to lead their offense. It resulted in a heavy defeat, but their playoff hopes were not dented as Houston Texans lost to San Diego Chargers, keeping them just one game back in the AFC South.
New York made one last stand against the Patriots last week, but were undone by Tom Brady. Worryingly for Todd Bowles’ men the effort of star cornerback Darrelle Revis has been brought under the spotlight, which may rub off on the rest of his team-mates as their season peters out.
Should Luck return for his contest – as expected as he practised this week- he should thrive on the Jets’ struggles in their secondary with primary weapon TY Hilton. Bowles’ side are among one of the worst in the NFL at defending the pass, which is why backing the Colts for a 13-18 point win on the road at 7/1 could be a smart option.
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