Week 13 in the NFL opens with three games on Thanksgiving, starting not long after noon ET. Although Thanksgiving matchups tend to lean toward home teams, two of the three road teams are favored in 2019.
With Detroit’s Ford Field and Dallas’ AT&T Stadium in the traditional mix, there will be no November weather issues per usual in the first two contests. This year, the same goes for the night cap, with Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium doing the hosting.
Favorites usually fare well straight up and against the spread on Thanksgiving. Do we see the trend continue for Bears vs. Lions, Bills vs. Cowboys and Saints vs. Falcons on Thursday?
Here are our latest NFL picks and predictions, a Thanksgiving special edition.
FULL WEEK 13 NFL PICKS:
Against the spread | Straight-up predictions
NFL Thanksgiving picks, predictions against spread
- Chicago Bears (-5.5) at Detroit Lions
12:30 p.m. ET, Fox
The Bears are somehow 5-6 despite inconsistent and often mistake-plagued play from Mitchell Trubisky, but in better matchups, he tends to deliver timely big plays. Just three weeks ago, he rallied Chicago past Detroit at home and now gets a second shot at this reeling defense. Look for Trubisky to start faster in the rematch by spreading the ball around, namely to Allen Robinson downfield and Tarik Cohen on checkdowns. Given the renewed strength of Chicago’s defense, he doesn’t need to do too much to out-duel another backup QB again, this time David Blough
Bears coach Matt Nagy needs to have his team continue to beat teams it should beat in order to finish a disappointing season strong. Lions coach Matt Patricia should be off the hot seat given the rash of key injuries his team has suffered, namely to Matthew Stafford. Even with their chances of an NFC North repeat faded, the Bears will be better at playing for pride than the Lions given their significant defensive advantage.
Pick: Bears win 24-17 and cover the spread.
- Buffalo Bills at Dallas Cowboys (-6.5)
4:30 p.m. ET, CBS
The Cowboys need this game at home to prove they can beat teams with winning records, as Jerry Jones now has a more watchful eye on Jason Garrett. The Bills have a brutal four-game stretch ahead that could derail a 8-3 season from AFC wild-card contention. Desperation will kick in for Dallas, which will be able to run better with Ezekiel Elliott and get it downfield better with Dak Prescott than Buffalo will do with Devin Singletary and Josh Allen. This game will be a grind on both sides as big plays are contained and good red zone defense leads to more field goals than TDs.
The Bills have yet to face an offense at the level of the Cowboys, and they have had issues stopping the run. That’s bad news for Buffalo against Elliott, who can also set up Prescott for favorable play-action passing opportunities. Allen will do his best to keep his team in the game both passing and running with former Cowboys wide receiver Cole Beasley helping him in a “revenge game,” but Prescott has more firepower around him. Look for the Cowboys to come through big-time for Garrett on both sides of the ball.
Pick: Cowboys 26, Bills 16
- New Orleans Saints (-6.5) at Atlanta Falcons
8:20 p.m. ET, NBC
The Saints had a narrow escape against the Panthers at home on the heels of being routed by the Falcons at home and rolling past the Bucs on the road. The Falcons went from suddenly whipping the Saints and Panthers on the road to falling hard to the Buccaneers at home. That makes this yet another hard-to-predict NFC South matchup. We’ll see about the injuries to Julio Jones and Marshon Lalttimore in what could be a marquee wide receiver-cornerback matchup, but the biggest issue here will be the Saints having a strong running game vs. the Falcons not having much of one, even with Devonta Freeman. Drew Brees will feel much less pressure than Matt Ryan will in the rematch with plenty of help from Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray.
The Falcons that beat the Saints 26-9 fielded an overachieving and inspired defense after their bye. The Buccaneers did a good job to adjust and find the big plays downfield and also run effectively to take pressure of Jameis Winston. The Falcons used to have a real home-field advantage, but that has been absent this season against better teams. The Saints will spoil the holiday night for their division rivals and clinch another NFC South title in style.
Pick: Saints win 27-20 and cover the spread.