NFC South Week 13 predictions: Falcons extend division lead over Saints


The Falcons put distance between themselves and the Saints while Panthers fans inch closer to petitioning owner David Tepper to sell the team.

These are our predictions for Week 13 in the NFC South.

Detroit Lions (8-3) at New Orleans Saints (5-6) | 1 p.m. ET

Running backs David Montgomery and rookie Jahmyr Gibbs should have big games against an increasingly porous Saints rush defense. Last week, New Orleans allowed 228 rushing yards to Atlanta while Montgomery and Gibbs have combined for 1,214 rushing yards this season. The Saints have an opportunistic defense that ranks second in interceptions (14), which should make Detroit lean on the run even more.

Something must give when the New Orleans offense reaches the red zone. The Saints have one of the league’s worst touchdown rates inside the 20, ranking 29th (42.5 percent) while the Lions are 30th in red-zone defense (68.6 percent). Both teams have struggled in that area, but there’s a reason why Detroit is on its way to the postseason and New Orleans is fading from contention. This feels like a get-right game for the NFC North leaders.

PREDICTION: Lions, 34-16

Atlanta Falcons (5-6) at New York Jets (4-7) | 1 p.m. ET

Falcons fans tired of quarterback Desmond Ridder might discover an appreciation for him after watching Jets quarterback Tim Boyle on the other side. Atlanta’s offense matches up well against New York’s defense. The talented Falcons rush offense should be able to run over a Jets defense that’s allowed the second-most rushing yards this season (140.3 yards per game). Atlanta’s defense, led by outstanding 2023 free-agent addition Jessie Bates III, will make the big plays late to put the game out of reach.

PREDICTION: Falcons, 23-13

Carolina Panthers (1-10) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7) | 4:05 p.m. ET

At this rate, Panthers owner David Tepper might be coaching the team by Week 18. The season from hell will get hotter after the team’s 11th loss. Carolina’s depleted secondary is vulnerable against Tampa wideouts Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, and the offensive line is likely to get outworked by Vita Vea and rookies Calijah Kancey and YaYa Diaby. This is also a Baker Mayfield revenge game after he was cut by the Panthers last season following six starts.

PREDICTION: Buccaneers, 24-10

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