Typically, there is usually so much on the line for teams once we get to the second half of the season, with the final five weeks particularly going a long way in determining teams that will win various divisional titles, those that will make the playoffs and the underperformers that will earn top draft positions in the following season. With that, and taking note of the offseason changes that have been made across the league ahead of the training camps, here are some select NFL Week 13 free picks you can bank on right now.
Here’s a Closer Look At The 2016 NFL Week 13 Free Picks
Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings (-4.5)
NFL Week 13 Free Pick: Minnesota (-4.5)
The Dallas Cowboys, who have been an elite team for the past decade or so, seemingly have a weakness in the name of Minnesota. As soon as they set foot in Minneapolis, they are reduced to nothingness—a fact that is affirmed with their 15-year winless stretch in Minneapolis. And with the Vikings playing their best football of late, it doesn’t look like the Cowboys will be getting any break in this Week 13 fixture. Tony Romo is back healthy with a loaded group of weapons in his offense and an above-average defense to take care of things at the other end of the field. Unfortunately for them, the Vikings are just as loaded. The stingy Minnesota D has been consistently trending upwards under Head Coach Mike Zimmer, going from #11-ranked in 2014 to #5 in 2015, meaning this defense could be better in 2016 if this trend holds true. Meanwhile Adrian Peterson, Teddy Bridgewater and Stefon Diggs will be getting additional help from the drafting of the big and physical rookie WR Laquon Treadwell, an immediate-impact player that could easily use his speed and strength to become Minnesota’s No. 1 receiver. So, even with Dallas’ bad history in Minneapolis aside, I expect the Vikings to use their stellar talent and get the crucial win in this pivotal Week 13 fixture.
Kansas City Chiefs at Atlanta Falcons (PK)
NFL Week 13 Free Pick: Kansas City (PK)
Despite the fact that the Falcons have been the dominant team in this series over the past one and a half decades, it’s hard to pick against the Chiefs when we are all aware of how the 11-5 Kansas City team was a solid unit in 2015. I mean, KC finished the regular season on a 10-game winning streak, including a flawless 4-0 SU and ATS mark in its last four road games of the season. Handling the road pressure in Atlanta should therefore not be a big deal for Alex Smith and Co., who will be facing a Falcons squad that memorably cooled down its tempo down the stretch of the season after a hot start—winning its first five straight games of the season before going 3-8 in the remaining 11 games (including a 6-game losing streak between Week 8 and Week 13).
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Diego Chargers (-2)
NFL Week 13 Free Pick: Tampa Bay (+2)
With 8 wins in their last 10 overall meetings against Tampa Bay, it is a no-brainer why the Chargers are favored to win this game. Matter of fact, veteran signal-caller Philip Rivers is more experienced than sophomore Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston, which should come in handy in this crunch time fixture. That said, Winston proved that he could hang with veteran QBs last season by taking care of future Hall-of-Famer Drew Brees and the Saints (on the road), beating pocket-passing specialist Matt Ryan and the Falcons (twice), and tying up a rookie record with five touchdowns passes in a 45-17 destruction of Mark Sanchez and the Eagles. Achieving the same feat over Rivers and the Chargers won’t be easy, but with some much-needed additions from the offseason, an upset could easily be in the offing for the youngest Heisman winner and his up-surging Tampa Bay team.
Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks (-3)
Week 13 NFL ATS Pick: Carolina (+3)
Reigning NFL MVP and sometimes kids entertainment dancer Cam Newton swept Russell Wilson and the Seahawks in their two meetings last season (once in the regular season at Seattle and once in the playoffs at Carolina), and none of those victories were flukes. In both games, he balanced his game with timely passing and running of the ball, switching between the two techniques seamlessly and keeping the Hawks off balanced whenever he had the ball. Should that Newton show up again this season, as we highly expect him to do, then we should be in for another win for the Panther in this game. Don’t get me wrong, Wilson is a helluva quarterback, and a respected dual threat signal caller at that, while his Legion of Boom defense has established itself as a top-notch unit. It’s just that when you are facing a confident and intelligent footballer like Newton, along with Carolina’s equally solid defense, there’s just so much you can do to stop them. Plus, with Marshawn Lynch retired, the pass-blocking, stellar offensive running game and fear-factor that came with facing Seattle is bound to reduce, hence making the Seahawks more beatable than ever before.