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NFL

Week 13 NFL Picks Against The Spread

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Week 13 Picks Against Spread

NFL
Isaiah Downing-USA TODAY Sports

It is finally Thanksgiving Week. This is the week that starts the holiday season. It also means we have three Thursday games to watch with all of our families.

At this point of the season we know which teams are good and which teams just aren't. The Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons were supposed to be good, but it just didn't work out that way. The Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers weren't supposed to contend, but they very much are. That is what makes the NFL fun -- the unpredictability of it all.

This week of games is as good as you could ask for. The two best records in the AFC are squaring off in a matchup that will most likely decide the AFC West and possibly the No. 1 seed in the conference. The same thing is happening on Monday night, only this time for the NFC. When the conferences best records go head to head on the same week, and when it comes one week after possibly the best Peyton Manning-Tom Brady matchup yet, the NFL schedule makers are doing something right. 13 of this week's 16 games have serious playoff implications behind them.

The playoff picture is murkier than ever. There is currently a six team tie for the final spot in the AFC. Two teams fight for the last NFC playoff spot while two more teams are a game behind. That doesn't include the crazy division races where four divisions have a one game or less difference between the top two spots. The stretch run is going to be fun.

I tell you one thing I am thankful for this Thanksgiving. I am thankful that I found a way to come back from 0-6 on the week to get to .500. Hopefully this week goes more smoothly from the get go.

Last Week: 7-7

Season: 90-83-2

Nick Villano is the New Jersey Devils writer for Rant Sports. He also adds to their NFL and MLB content every week. Follow him on Twitter for all updates.

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Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions (-5.5)

Lions
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

That's a lot of points to give an inconsistent Detroit Lions team. However, it is Matt Flynn on a short week with a new team. This is a hard game to pick, especially with my history on Thursday. Nothing to do but try to make an informed decision. That Green Bay Packers' defense sure looks bad now that Aaron Rodgers isn't distracting us. Start all your Lions on your fantasy teams. Green Bay 31 Detroit 45

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Oakland Raiders at Dallas Cowboys (-9.5)

Boys
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

That is so many points to give a Tony Romo team. I know the Oakland Raiders are bad, but this is ridiculous. The Dallas Cowboys have had bad luck with the AFC West so far this season, going 0-3 against them. I predict the upset of the day here. Oakland 23 Dallas 20

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Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens (-3.5)

Ravens
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

This game was the biggest rivalry in football two years ago. With both teams relegated to only alright status this season it just doesn't have that same sizzle. Luckily, this game still means an immense amount. Both of these teams have the potential to steal that last playoff spot in the AFC. The home-field advantage means something, but the fact that nearly every meeting is won or lost by three points means you can't play the points. Pittsburgh 20 Baltimore 23

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Miami Dolphins at New York Jets (-1.5)

Jets
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

This is such a bad-good matchup. It is a divisional game that will project one of these teams deeper into the playoff race and could have the losing team watching the other one's dust. The New York Jets have looked terrible the past few weeks. The Miami Dolphins can't figure out who they are. Just go with the Jets to finally break out of their slump in their more than confusing season. Miami 16 New York 23

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Jacksonville Jaguars at Cleveland Browns (-7.5)

Browns
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

This is not one of the good matchups from the set of Week 13 games. In fact, this could be the worst. I have a rule not to take the Jacksonville Jaguars, but there is no way I am giving Brandon Weeden more than a touchdown against anyone. Take the points, all of them. Jacksonville 13 Cleveland 20

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Chicago Bears (-2.5) at Minnesota Vikings

Kings
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The realization that a tie may cost the Minnesota Vikings the first overall pick really hurts. They won't make the same mistake. The Chicago Bears are trying to ride Josh McCown's career resurgence until Jay Cutler returns. The fact that they could take a division lead with this win is both pathetic and funny. Chicago 31 Minnesota 16

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New England Patriots (-7.5) at Houston Texans

Pats
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Is Tom Brady back to being his old self? The rivalry he has with Peyton sure helped things along. The Texans are in no position to play this New England Patriots team while it is rolling. This game looked like one of the best of the year prior to the season, but now it looks like a blowout. New England 40 Houston 20

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Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts (-4.5)

Colts
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Will the real Indianapolis Colts please stand up? My goodness, what a wild ride it has been. Just three weeks ago this team was a Super Bowl contender. Now they are getting blown out by the NFC West and not the good teams in that division. Still, they are much better than the Ryan Fitzpatrick led Tennessee Titans. Expect Indy to win considerably. Tennessee 14 Indianapolis 27

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers (-8.5)

Panthers
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been playing much better as of late. The Panthers have just been good as they have been all season. The Bucs are fighting for something -- not really sure what that is though. The Panthers will win, but not by more than a touchdown. Tampa Bay 24 Carolina 31

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Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5)

Cards
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The battle of the birds could quietly turn into one of the best battles of the weekend. These two teams are fighting for playoff contention in the NFC and a loss to either could severely hurt their chances (the Arizona Cardinals would hurt worse than the Philadelphia Eagles). Arizona 31 Philadelphia 24

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Atlanta Falcons at Buffalo Bills (-3.5)

Bills
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

This game is in Toronto, so I don't know why the Buffalo Bills are getting a line as if this is a home game. They had a big win last week, but they don't seem to be very good beyond that. I still don't trust EJ Manuel, although he seems more trustworthy than Geno Smith at this point. Atlanta 20 Buffalo 23

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St Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers (-7.5)

49ers
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

These are two teams that I just can't put my finger on. The St Louis Rams stay exciting with two blowout wins against possible playoff teams in the Colts and the Bears. The 49ers go back and forth between relevant powerhouse to overrated team that can't get out of its own way. I am going with the points on a game that seems too confusing to predict. St Louis 24 San Francisco 27

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Denver Broncos (-3.5) at Kansas City Chiefs

Chiefs
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

If you asked me who was winning this game before last week and I was picking the Kansas City Chiefs. I thought these two teams were going to split these two games. Then the Brady-Manning game happened. It is going to be 46 degrees on Sunday in Kansas City, so it will be plenty warm for Peyton. He is out to replace the memory of a blown 24 point halftime lead with a big division win. Denver 35 Kansas City 24

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Cincinnati Bengals at San Diego Chargers (-1.5)

Gals
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Which defense will be able to hold the opposing offense? This is going to be a high scoring game with a lot of points. In the end, the Bengals defense will be able to provide one big turnover to steal a win from the jaws of defeat. Cincinnati 24 San Diego 21

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New York Giants at Washington Redskins (-2.5)

Skins
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY

Why did this game not get flexed out of its position? It seems like there are so many better options in this week's slate of games. Anyway, to the game. The New York Giants lost a big game last week to the Cowboys to end their four game winning streak. The Washington Redskins are just plain bad. Take the Giants because their train wreck is less trainwrecky. (I know that I made that word up.) New York 23 Washington 16

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New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks (-6.5)

Saints
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Monday Night Football finally lucked out with a great matchup. This may be the game of the year when it is all said and done. The fact that even with the 12th man the Saints are getting 6.5 points is kind of preposterous. I cannot give Drew Brees that kind of cushion. This game will decide home field advantage throughout the NFC. I am leaning towards the Saints. New Orleans 31 Seattle 17