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NFL Week 13 Picks: Where an Obvious Super Bowl Favorite is Nowhere to be Found

December is here and winter is coming (as are the cold football games and playoff chases). But still, there’s no obvious Super Bowl favorite in plain sight. That’s the fun part. As for picking these damn games, well, it’s treacherous. Mike Hallihan and Andy Jardine push forward with their Week 13 picks.



Photo by Kareem Elgazzar (The Enquirer)

And just like that, we’re into December football and Week 13, where the weather is cooling down and becoming a factor in some cities. Playoff positioning grows more critical each week. I love the intensity. I’d also love to get 11 games correct like last week. So much easier said than done, with this crazy league.

What’s particular interesting going into this week, is that a clear Super Bowl favorite is absent. Several teams have looked the part, some even have had dominant stretches, but all have questions. The Packers look great, but have injuries. The Cardinals have the best record, but Kyler Murray hasn’t played in a month. The Cowboys are good, but a little too hit or miss. The Bucs don’t look quite right. The Rams (and Stafford) don’t either. The Bills and Patriots are about to beat each other up and aren’t running away just yet. The Chiefs are rolling, but let’s see some more. The Ravens? Who knows. The Titans? Banged up on offense. It’s a crapshoot. But it’s more fun this way, right? Right.

Here are Week 13 picks for myself and Andy, with my own quick rationale spelled out below.

* Home team listed in CAPS.

  • BEARS +7.5 over Cardinals: This game already feels weird. The Cardinals are saying that Kyler Murray will play, but still haven’t revealed DeAndre Hopkins’ status. Frustrating for fantasy purposes. Justin Fields won’t be playing, but Andy Dalton is capable enough to have the Bears hang around in chilly Chicago.
  • JETS +7 over Eagles: The Jets are mostly useless, but I think they’ll do enough in this game to keep within 7 points, while the Eagles are the definition of Jekyll & Hyde, with what seems like a different team showing up each week. And now, Jalen Hurts has just been ruled out. I’ll begrudgingly take the Jets and points here.
  • Colts -10 over TEXANS: After blowing that game to the Bucs last week, the Colts could use a statement game here to validate that they’re still a playoff threat. Jonathan Taylor should boost his MVP credentials with a solid game against a terrible Texans D. I hate double digits on the road, but I can’t bring myself to take Houston to stay close.
  • BENGALS -3 over Chargers: This is a great game. Two teams that desperately need a win to improve their playoff hopes, and also two fun teams to watch. The Bengals have been rolling, while the Chargers… have not. They’ve been inconsistent. I think the team of Burrow & Mixon outgain and outscore Herbert and Ekeler. Could see this game coming down to who has the ball last.
  • FALCONS + 10.5 over Buccaneers: I have almost no reason to take the Falcons here, but the Bucs haven’t looked great and seem banged up. They’re also without Antonio Brown, who just got suspended for three games for his vaccine incident. I think the Bucs win the game, but the Falcons inexplicably keep it closer than it should be.
  • DOLPHINS -6.5 over Giants: Quick, who has the second longest current win streak in the league? That’d be the Dolphins, who’ve now propped themselves up to 5-7 after starting 1-7. They’ve been hella solid on both side of the ball. They’ll be hosting Mike Glennon instead of Daniel Jones, who’s been ruled out. That might be enough for Miami to win by a touchdown.
  • Vikings -7.5 over LIONS: Again, hate the larger road spreads, but the Lions are without their main weapon in D’Andre Swift, who makes a big different. The Vikings on the other hand have plenty of weapons through the air at Kirk Cousins’ disposal (even without Dalvin Cook). Gimme a big Adam Thielen game here.
  • Jaguars +13 over RAMS: Stafford looks beat up. Odell is beat up. The Rams win, but the Jags put a little pressure on them at home and they have to grind out a tougher win than expected.
  • RAIDERS -1 over Washington: This game has some real intrigue, with both teams are still alive in the playoff race. The Raiders will be without Darren Waller, but have played over their heads all season long, especially given the Gruden and Ruggs distractions. Washington has won three straight and look to be getting better each week. I’ll take the Raiders at home in what’s basically a pick’ em.
  • STEELERS +4.5 over Ravens: When Steelers and Ravens collide, it’s almost guaranteed to be a one-score game, and often within 3 points. I expect no different here, even with Big Ben looking terrible lately and likely on his way out of Pittsburgh (and possibly off into the sunset). We have a physical grind on our hands here.
  • SEAHAWKS +3.5 over 49ers: The Seahawks are the single most confusing team in the entire league this season. It’s not even close. Even with Russell Wilson under center. They’re dead last in my NFL PACE Rankings as well (to be published soon). The Niners are playing well, but I expect them to try to get the ball to D.K. Metcalf more in this game. And well, Adrian Peterson is BACK (*laughs uncontrollably*). Still taking the Seahawks to cover this spread at home.
  • CHIEFS -9.5 over Broncos: The Chiefs, winners of four straight, and looking like a brand new team (especially on defense), should make another statement here on Sunday night and bury the Broncos and kill their playoff hopes a little further.
  • BILLS -3 over Patriots: It’s fun when the Monday-nighter is the GAME OF THE WEEK. Here we are. This game is to take over control of the AFC East with the Pats currently leading the Bills by only half a game. So much at stake. And apparently there’s snow coming! Wee haw. I’m taking the Bills to protect their turf and end New England’s six-game win streak. Plus, it’ll be fun to watch/listen to Bill Simmons eat crow when he’s being this cocky about his Pats being the best team in the league. C’mon Football Gods, please deliver this to us.

Previous Picks:
Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5
Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10
Week 11 | Week 12

Picks for Week 13

Spreads were pulled from TheScore on Saturday, December 4, 2021.

Game / Point SpreadMikeAndy
Cowboys (-4.5) @ SaintsDALNO
Cardinals (-7.5) @ BearsCHIARZ
Eagles (-7) @ JetsNYJNYJ
Colts (-10) @ TexansINDHOU
Chargers @ Bengals (-3)CINLAC
Buccaneers (-10.5) @ FalconsATLTB
Giants @ Dolphins (-6.5)MIAMIA
Vikings (-7.5) @ LionsMINDET
Jaguars @ Rams (-13)JAXLAR
Washington @ Raiders (-1)LVLV
Ravens (-4.5) @ SteelersPITBAL
49ers (-3.5) @ SeahawksSEASF
Broncos @ Chiefs (-9.5)KCKC
Patriots @ Bills (-3)BUFNE
Week 136-77-6
Overall Season Record103-89-193-99-1
Byes: Browns, Packers, Panthers, Titans

Overall Standings

NFL WeekMikeAndy
Week 1211-48-7
Week 119-67-8
Week 107-77-7
Week 95-94-10
Week 83-11-14-10-1
Week 711-28-5
Week 68-68-6
Week 510-69-7
Week 48-85-11
Week 39-78-8
Week 210-69-7
Week 16-109-7

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