Week 13 in the NFL is full of home favorites, but choose wisely – not all of them are good bets to cover the spread.
I’m back. After taking a week off from game picks, I have returned to guide you to another winning week. I hope you enjoyed the turkey and bought the half point in the Lions vs. Vikings game on Thanksgiving.
After a 10-2-1 record in Week 11, I am now above .500 in game picks this season. I’m riding a heater, so come get it while it’s hot.
BYE Weeks: Cleveland & Tennessee
Kansas City Chiefs (8-3) at Atlanta Falcons (7-4)
Taylor Gabriel has been absolutely on fire, as I mentioned in my fantasy football waiver wire column this week. Tevin Coleman returned to the field with a TD last Sunday, making the Atlanta backfield very dangerous again. Even though Matt Ryan has cooled off lately, he is still having one of his best years as a pro. I just listed three reasons why the Falcons will win; playing in the Georgia Dome against a suspect Chiefs secondary are reasons enough for me to think they cover.
Pick: Falcons -4.5
Detroit Lions (7-4) at New Orleans Saints (5-6)
The Lions are coming off a pivotal home win against the Minnesota Vikings that vaulted them to the top of the NFC North. The Saints are also coming off a win of the blowout variety against the Rams last week. This game has all the makings of a shootout with the over/under set at 53.5 points (the highest of the week). Despite great offensive numbers at home, the Saints are just 3-3 when playing in New Orleans this season. I think the Lions are a better team than Vegas is giving them credit for and have a real shot at winning this game outright.
Pick: Lions +6
Los Angeles Rams (4-7) at New England Patriots (9-2)
It’s a good thing Jared Goff got a start under his belt last week at home against the Dolphins. Unfortunately, he was not able to lead his team to victory against the red-hot Miami team. Not that anybody was expecting the Rams to win this game, even with Rob Gronkowski missing this game due to back surgery. The question becomes, do you think they can keep the game within two touchdowns? Jeff Fisher thinking that Danny Woodhead is a major part of New England’s offense doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. Woodhead last played for the Patriots in 2012. Take the Pats.
Pick: Patriots -13
Denver Broncos (7-4) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9)
Although it seems unlikely, Trevor Siemian may not suit up for Sunday’s contest in Jacksonville. Even if that’s the case, Paxton Lynch has proven capable of running the offense. All you really need to know is that this game pits an AFC Super Bowl Contender against a perennial cellar dweller.
Pick: Broncos -3.5
Houston Texans (6-5) at Green Bay Packers (5-6)
The temperature may be cooling down, but the Packers offense has been scorching hot over the last couple of games. Aaron Rodgers’ hamstring injury could affect his mobility that he uses so well to make big plays for Green Bay’s offense. He has been the Packers leading rusher already a couple of times this season which is a vital piece to their offense. The Texans defense has been solid all year long without stud J.J. Watt. However, Brock Osweiler has looked even worse on the road than he has at home (if that’s even possible), which has led to the Texans 1-4 away record. I don’t love the Cheese Heads here, but I just really don’t like the Texans.
Pick: Packers -6.5
Philadelphia Eagles (5-6) at Cincinnati Bengals (3-5-1)
The Bengals have had a myriad of injuries to top players on offense which has contributed to their slide in recent weeks. Giovanni Bernard and A.J. Green will be out for this game which will certainly limit their offensive firepower against a tough Eagles defense. The Eagles may have looked putrid on the road so far in 2016 with their 1-5 record, but I think the Bengals have quit on the season making this an easy one for me and the Eagles
Pick: Eagles +1.5
Miami Dolphins (7-4) at Baltimore Ravens (6-5)
The Dolphins have been on fire lately, winning six straight after a 1-4 start. The Ravens have pulled it together after losing four straight in the middle of their season. Unfortunately for the Dolphins, Baltimore is great at stopping the run – the strength of the Miami offense. The Ravens have the best run defense in the league, allowing fewer than 75 yards per game. Additionally, they have allowed a team to run for over 100 yards just three times all season. Baltimore has been in every game this season so I don’t see a blowout either way. I’ll take the home team to stop the Dolphins winning streak at six.
Pick: Ravens -3.5
San Francisco 49ers (1-10) at Chicago Bears (2-9)
We can safely assume that this will be the least-watched game all day on Sunday. The talent on both teams is lacking which has led to their miserable records. The Bears have just been hit with injury after injury on both sides of the football. The 49ers were just devoid of talent before the season started. At the very least, the loser will put themselves in a better position for rights to the first overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Buffalo Bills (6-5) at Oakland Raiders (9-2)
Although they are riding a small winning streak, the Bills last two wins have come against teams that have combined for five wins this season. The Bills lack of balance on offense will come back to hurt them at one point or another; Buffalo currently ranks first in rushing offense but dead last in passing offense. Do you know where the Raiders defense ranks in both of those categories? 26th. Even with a limited Sammy Watkins, LeSean McCoy could have a huge day running wild out West in Oakland.
Pick: Bills +3
New York Giants (8-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5)
This may be the game of the week. We have two of the top wide receivers in the NFL in Odell Beckham Jr. and Antonio Brown and two quarterbacks whose legacies will always be intertwined as members of the 2004 draft class. The Giants have looked great over the last two weeks amidst their current six-game winning streak. The offense is finally clicking and big names on defense are playing out of their minds. They’re going to need to bring all that and more against a Steelers team that will be well-rested after a 10-day layoff from Thanksgiving night. If the Giants have a lead in the fourth, they are going to need to run out the clock like Dallas did in Pittsburgh a few weeks ago. I just don’t have a great feeling about this one.
Pick: Steelers -6.5
Washington Redskins (6-4-1) at Arizona Cardinals (4-6-1)
The Cardinals have got to be one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL in 2016. They were a team with so much promise heading into this season backed by tremendous defensive players and an all-world talent at running back in David Johnson. The Redskins have been lighting up defenses all season long thanks in large part to Kirk Cousins. It will be tough sledding for the Washington passing attack against the second-ranked Cardinals defense. Arizona has struggled at times this year so picking them to win is always a risk, but this is more of a gut call than anything else.
Pick: Cardinals -2
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5) at San Diego Chargers (5-6)
Maybe the pleasant surprises of the year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are just one game out of first in the NFC South. What’s even more surprising is their 4-1 record on the road, where they just so happen to be playing this week. The Chargers have been better in recent weeks after not being able to close out games in September. Mike Evans has been on a rampage this year and I could envision that happening on Sunday against a vulnerable San Diego secondary.
Pick: Buccaneers +4
Carolina Panthers (4-7) at Seattle Seahawks (7-3-1)
Is it just me or do the Seahawks play in prime-time every week? This is shaping up to be a great rivalry between two teams that play a similar style. They both have quarterbacks who can make plays with their feet as well as their legs and both teams have great defenses. Well, that was until this year before Carolina ran into troubles in the secondary. With a loss in this game, the Panthers can kiss the playoffs goodbye, which I think they will have to do after Sunday night. I do not pick against the Seahawks in prime-time games anymore.
Pick: Seahawks -7
Indianapolis Colts (5-6) at New York Jets (3-8)
Being a New York Jets fan is rarely fun for long, as this season has reminded all of us who follow Gang Green. Just for comparison to the rest of the league, the Jets are the only home team that is an underdog this week. Veterans like Sheldon Richardson, Muhammad Wilkerson, and Darrelle Revis look like they have given up on this season. Revis has his ring and his money so he has nothing to play for on a sub .500 team. If I were Todd Bowles, I would sit him for the rest of the season because he wouldn’t be playing for me in 2017 anyway. The Colts defense has been suspect all year but so has the Jets secondary so I could see a shootout developing. If I thought the Jets could muster enough points to keep pace with Andrew Luck and Co. I would definitely take the over. Still, if you’re looking for an over/under, I think this is the over to bet. It’s currently at 48.5.