NFL Week 13 Preview: Eagles, Vikings to Solidify NFC Dominance6 min read
After handling business as expected last week, the NFC’s top teams face road trips against potential playoff candidates to highlight an action-packed week 13. Can the Vikings slow down the surging Falcons? Can the Eagles keep Russell Wilson under wraps?
As always, we’ve broken down the week’s best action and provide tips for every televised game as the playoffs draw ever closer.
Minnesota Vikings @ Atlanta Falcons
Sun 3rd Dec: 6pm Sky Sports Action
A team on a seven-game win streak get a +3 handicap? This is the most surprising line for me this week, however it certainly is the biggest test the Vikings have faced since the start of October.
Atlanta looked down and out just a month ago, though appear to have returned to their 2016 form and Julio Jones looked unstoppable last week. Home field advantage tips the balance in their favour this time around; though – at risk of underestimating them once again – I expect the Falcons to lose on Sunday.
Atlanta’s glittering new stadium has hardly been a fortress this year, and for all the star power of their offense, the Vikings lead them in most statistical categories. Minnesota’s defence will shine once again, but Case Keenum will win it for them in a high scorer.
Minnesota Vikings +3 handicap
Minnesota Vikings total points over 22
Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints
Sun 3rd Dec: 9.25pm Sky Sports Action
This may be the toughest game to call of the week. If the injury bug hadn’t hit the Saints I would no doubt expect them to handle business at home. Unfortunately for them though it has, and many key starters may miss more time this weekend.
On the other side you have the Panthers who seem to find a new way to win every week. Luke Kuechly is playing better than ever, and Christian McCaffrey seems to be figuring out his role in the offense. But even so, they got run over by New Orleans early in the season, and it’s hard to see them stopping them this time around.
My guess is that the Saints bounce back from last week’s loss and put on a show. The Panthers struggle to play from behind and I think this one could get away from them.
New Orleans Saints total points over 26
New Orleans Saints winning margin 13-18
Philadelphia Eagles @ Seattle Seahawks
Mon 4th Dec: 1.30am Sky Sports Action
For the first time in the Russell Wilson era the Seahawks are underdogs at home, but the line doesn’t lie on this one and I do expect the Eagles to once again take care of business.
Seattle’s secondary is too banged up to cope with Philadelphia’s number one ranked offense. Wilson will still be able to put points on the board, though is likely to be playing catch up for most of the game. I expect this to be a high scorer, but it would take a true MVP performance by Wilson to win it.
The Eagles are 9-2 against the spread this season, and should be able to keep rolling on Sunday Night Football.
Philadelphia Eagles total points over 26.5
Philadelphia Eagles -5.5 point handicap
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals
Tue 5th Dec: 1.30am Sky Sports Action
The 9-2 Steelers travel to Cincinnati to take on their division rivals, and unsurprisingly open as 4.5-point favourites. They are on a six-game win streak and have looked the part of the AFC’s best chance to dethrone the Patriots.
However, what intrigues me here is their home/road splits. The Steelers regularly top at least 25 points at home, but when travelling struggle to push past 20. It shouldn’t hold them back too much as their defence should be enough to keep the Bengals mostly under wraps – but look out for a surprisingly low scoring game.
Both teams are 6-5 against the spread this season, though I would stay away from the handicap in this one. Pittsburgh should win their tenth straight prime time game in a defensive battle.
Total points under 43.5
Pittsburgh Steelers winning margin 1-6 points
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