NFL Week 13 Picks: Time For Real Super Bowl Contenders To Emerge?

The playoff push is on

by and

December 1, 2022

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and the stretch run in the NFL is here with the arrival of Week 13.

NESN.com’s Mike Cole and Ricky Doyle are more than ready for this week’s slate of games, a schedule that features some highly intriguing matchups across the league. In addition to their weekly against-the-spread picks for each and every game, Mike and Ricky highlighted some of their favorite bets on the Week 13 episode of “The Spread,” NESN’s football picks podcast, which you can hear below.

Before getting into their full rundown of Week 13 ATS picks, here’s how they fared last week.

Now, here are their Week 13 ATS picks based on consensus betting lines from the NESNBets live odds page.

THURSDAY, DEC. 1

(-3.5) Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots, 8:15 p.m.
Mike: Bills. Maybe the Patriots are better suited to stop Buffalo this time around. It’s also the epitome of a revenge game. Yet, I haven’t seen the Patriots put the clamps down on anything resembling a “good” offense, and this Josh Allen-led unit is probably the best they’ve seen.
Ricky: Bills. Sure, the Patriots hung tough with the Vikings on Thanksgiving. But the seven-point loss also served as a reminder of how thin New England’s margin for error is against superior opponents, a category Buffalo clearly falls under given the overall talent discrepancy between these teams.

SUNDAY, DEC. 4

Pittsburgh Steelers at (-1) Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m.
Mike: Steelers. The Steelers’ defense in Weeks 2 through 9 without T.J. Watt ranked 31st in EPA allowed per play. In the three weeks since he’s returned, they’re No. 8. They’ve been especially stout against the run, which will continue here, taking away Atlanta’s top threat.
Ricky: Falcons. I honestly have no clue what to make of Kenny Pickett — or the 2022 quarterback class in general. Which just feels like something I need to get off my chest as the Falcons have their own rookie QB, Desmond Ridder, still awaiting his opportunity.

Denver Broncos at (-8) Baltimore Ravens, 1 p.m.
Mike: Ravens. One of these weeks, I’ll be right about the Ravens. Maybe it’s this week against a Broncos team that can’t score against anyone in one of the bigger coaching mismatches of the week. Baltimore’s defense has been sneaky good, and the Ravens’ rushing attack should be able to expose Denver’s only defensive weakness in a rout.
Ricky: Broncos. It has felt all season like Baltimore is on the precipice of jumping into the next tier of legitimate Super Bowl contenders. Football Outsiders even has the Ravens at No. 2 in total DVOA (No. 5 offensively and No. 9 defensively), trailing only the Bills. But opponents have had success blitzing Lamar Jackson — he’s 28th in QBR when facing extra rushers since Week 3, per ESPN — and Denver blitzes at the third-highest rate in the NFL.

(-3.5) Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears, 1 p.m.
Mike: Packers. This is under the assumption Justin Fields doesn’t play. The Bears also are down Darnell Mooney, so even Joe Barry’s Packers defense should be able to limit Chicago’s offense. On the other side of things, the Bears’ run defense is brutal, and that’s where Green Bay should be able to dominate.
Ricky: Packers. Even if Fields plays, which looked increasingly likely with him a full participant at Thursday’s practice, there’s a chance he’s somewhat compromised. Meanwhile, there’s enough to not like about Chicago’s defense to roll with Green Bay on the road.

(-1) Jacksonville Jaguars at Detroit Lions, 1 p.m.
Mike: Lions. The Jaguars are the AFC’s version of the Lions, or vice versa. Both teams have OK offenses with pretty bad defenses. It’s even enough for me to just grab the point at home.
Ricky: Lions. All seven of Detroit’s losses have come against teams with winning records and in the playoff conversation. That includes a three-point loss to the 10-1 Eagles, a four-point loss to the 9-2 Vikings, a four-point loss to the 8-3 Dolphins and a three-point loss to the 8-3 Bills. Simply put, the Lions play everyone tough. The Jaguars’ résumé simply doesn’t compare despite some striking statistical similarities between the teams.

(-7) Cleveland Browns at Houston Texans, 1 p.m.
Mike: Texans. It’s certainly possible it takes some time for Deshaun Watson to get back up to speed after an 11-week suspension. And on the other side, Houston has nothing to play for the rest of the way, so why not make this its Super Bowl and try to ruin its ex-leader’s debut with his new team?
Ricky: Browns. Cleveland should roll. And it has nothing to do with Watson, but rather Nick Chubb feasting on a putrid run defense while Houston’s offense struggles to find any consistency whatsoever.

New York Jets at (-3) Minnesota Vikings, 1 p.m.
Mike: Jets. Are the Vikings going to return a kick for a touchdown and get every call to go their way again this week? The way their season has gone, it’s certainly possible, but I actually think the Jets are very live here. This is an elite defense that can pressure Kirk Cousins with a secondary that could slow the Vikings receivers. Not to mention, New York looked far more competent with Mike White at quarterback.
Ricky: Jets. New York’s defense is capable of doing what Dallas’ did to Minnesota two weeks ago and what New England’s theoretically should have been able to accomplish on Turkey Day. White’s insertion at QB also raises the Jets’ offensive floor, to the point where an outright road upset is very much in play when factoring in the letdown potential surrounding the Vikings after their hard-fought win over the Patriots.

(-2.5) Washington Commanders at New York Giants, 1 p.m.
Mike: Commanders. The Giants performed admirably in Brian Daboll’s first season, but it might be time for some negative regression. Washington has the advantage up front on both sides of the ball, which feels like it will be the difference in this, their first of two meetings over the next three weeks.
Ricky: Giants. Washington keeps finding a way to win with Taylor Heinicke. But as PFF notes, the Commanders QB has the highest turnover-worthy play percentage among current NFL starters, which doesn’t bode well for a road divisional matchup.

Tennessee Titans at (-5) Philadelphia Eagles, 1 p.m.
Mike: Titans. The Packers were 7-point underdogs in Philly last week and came close to covering. The Titans, who beat the Packers in Green Bay, should be shorter than 5.5-point dogs, right? The Eagles somehow let Green Bay hang around last week despite rushing for 360 yards. Tennessee’s defense won’t allow the same luxury, and Mike Vrabel gets another underdog cover.
Ricky: Titans. The Eagles go from dominating a Packers defense that’s dead-last in rush DVOA to facing a Titans defense that’s tops in rush DVOA. That, coupled with Derrick Henry wearing down a suspect Philadelphia run defense in early-down situations, will be enough to turn this game into a grind, not dissimilar to two weeks ago when the Eagles had to scratch and claw for a one-point, come-from-behind win over the Colts.

(-7) Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05 p.m.
Mike: Seahawks. Laying more than a touchdown on the road in the division with Geno Smith might feel like a no-no, but this will basically be a Seattle home game. The Rams literally are down their three best players and simply don’t have the depth.
Ricky: Seahawks. You know things are bad when even Aaron Donald is missing games.

Miami Dolphins at (-4) San Francisco 49ers, 4:05 p.m.
Mike: 49ers. The Miami offense has feasted on bad defenses. It’s no surprise they struggled against teams like New England, Buffalo and Pittsburgh (not to mention the games Tua Tagovailoa didn’t play). San Francisco might have the NFL’s best defense, and the Dolphins are likely without left tackle Terron Armstead here.
Ricky: 49ers. To Mike’s point, Miami has beaten Pittsburgh, Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland and Houston during its five-game winning streak. The Bears, Browns and Lions have the NFL’s three worst defenses in terms of EPA per play. The Steelers rank 22nd and the Texans rank 23rd. This is a huge jump in competition, with San Francisco’s defense ranking fourth, and the 49ers’ offense boasts playmakers, as well.

(-2) Kansas City Chiefs at Cincinnati Bengals, 4:25 p.m.
Mike: Chiefs. Much will be made of KC losing twice to the Bengals last season. In Week 17 last year, it took two Chiefs penalties at the goal line to help Cincy win, and then Kansas City led 21-3 in the AFC Championship Game before an epic (and perhaps once-in-a-lifetime) choke. The Chiefs have been coasting for a while now, but they’ll remind the league just how good they are here … as short favorites, no less.
Ricky: Chiefs. Look, the Bengals might be a legitimate threat in the AFC. They’re well-rounded with high-end talent, including an elite quarterback. But it’s just too enticing to back the Chiefs at such a short number, even on the road. Maybe Cincinnati’s real ascension begins next week, although it’ll be tested down the stretch with matchups against Cleveland, Tampa Bay, New England, Buffalo and Baltimore still on the schedule.

(-1.5) Los Angeles Chargers at Las Vegas Raiders, 4:25 p.m.
Mike: Chargers. The advanced stats paint a picture of two very evenly matched teams. However, the Raiders’ Josh Jacobs’ injury looms large, and there’s just more reason to believe that Justin Herbert will have more success carving up the Vegas defense than vice versa with Derek Carr.
Ricky: Raiders. Herbert is better than Carr, no doubt. But Vegas’ offense actually has performed better than Los Angeles’ this season, with the Raiders even ranking seventh in the NFL in yards per drive and eighth in points per drive. Take the points at home for a divisional matchup with shootout potential.

Indianapolis Colts at (-11) Dallas Cowboys, 8:20 p.m.
Mike: Colts. The Cowboys are rolling, have the rest advantage and Indy is coming off an embarrassing primetime loss. Let’s fade all those narratives and put stock in Indy keeping it relatively close with a solid rushing attack and a good defense that specializes against the run with an opponent that still depends on the ground game.
Ricky: Colts. Still not over the Giants sneaking in the backdoor against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. Really ruined what was an otherwise delightful post-meal apple pie. Colts benefit from a takeaway or two and slip within the number.

MONDAY, DEC. 5

New Orleans Saints at (-3.5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 8:15 p.m.
Mike: Saints. The Bucs seem to just play rock fights with everyone. The Saints seem more than capable of doing that.
Ricky: Saints. New Orleans (finally) is getting healthier on the defensive side, while losing right tackle Tristan Wirfs could be the death knell for a Tampa Bay offensive line that’s been underwhelming all season. Prefer the under (40.5) for this game but will grab the points as part of this exercise.

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Thumbnail photo via Katie Stratman/USA TODAY Sports Images

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