I plan on hammering out these Week 13 picks pretty quickly (you know how the holiday season is … it always leaves you feeling like you just ran a marathon), but first…
Welcome to December football, everybody. It’s time for some cold weather, and maybe even some snow at Gillette Stadium. The tradition of New England football is at its absolute peak at this time of year.
And now, as the Patriots push toward the playoffs, I plan on pushing through the holidays while watching as much sports as possible. That’s why the winter months are so fun; NFL playoffs are just around the corner, and the NBA and NHL are in full swing. There is pretty much something interesting to watch every single night, and there is plenty of great football on the weekends.
I greatly enjoy the holiday season in general. The overabundance of winter sports just makes it that much better.
(PS: I’ve yet to miss a Celtics game this season, and I’m doing my best to keep the streak going through the New Year.)
And now, let’s breeze through these Week 13 picks. I’ll have them done before you can pour yourself a cup of coffee…
(Home teams in caps, and lines courtesy of OddsShark.com)
PACKERS (-14) over Cardinals
This is one of the worst Packers teams we’ve seen in a long time. Are they really worthy of being 14-point favorites?
Actually, yes they are. The 2-9 Cardinals are a joke, their rookie quarterback would probably be better off in the CFL right now, and they are an indoor team from a warm weather city that just happens to be playing in the NFL’s coldest town in December.
One thing you must never, ever do: bet on rookie Josh Rosen against Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau Field in December, no matter how dreadful the Packers are.
Ravens (+1.5) over FALCONS
I don’t know how long Lamar Jackson’s run will last, but right now I’m just looking at the numbers: 2-0 as a starter in the NFL.
Bills (+3.5) over DOLPHINS
Josh Allen isn’t a superstar yet, but the Bills are a much safer bet when he starts. Crazy, right?
Panthers (-3) over BUCCANEERS
Riding a three-game losing streak, the Panthers have to win before their season slips away entirely. Tampa Bay is a good team to bounce back against.
Bears (-3.5) over GIANTS
The Bears deserve more than 3.5 points in this game. You know how Khalil Mack likes to eat quarterbacks for breakfast? A long afternoon is ahead for Eli Manning.
TEXANS (-5.5) over Browns
Cleveland tried to suck me in with that 35-20 walloping of Hue Jackson’s new team, the Cincinnati Bengals. But it’s not going to work. I’m sticking with the Texans once again, who have won eight straight.
Broncos (-5) over BENGALS
With Andy Dalton out, Jeff Driskel is starting at quarterback for the Bengals. The appropriate response is: Jeff who?
Colts (-4) over JAGUARS
Jacksonville finally did what they should’ve done years ago and benched Blake Bortles. The only problem is that his replacement, Cody Kessler, isn’t really much of an improvement.
The Jags came so close to the Super Bowl with Bortles last year during his lone “not completely awful” season. He has run his course.
LIONS (+10) over Rams
It might be a crazy pick, but this is a lot of points and the Lions are at home. You only live once, baby.
RAIDERS (+14) over Chiefs
Kareem Hunt is done, and my mind is blown. I have no idea what will happen to the Chiefs in the aftermath of this mess, but it’s hard to get behind them as two-touchdown favorites just two days after it all went down with Hunt and they wisely dumped him. Even if their quarterback is Patrick Mahomes, and even if it is against the Jon Gruden Raiders, I feel like the Chiefs will have to be a little shaken on Sunday.
Jets (+8) over TITANS
I’m forgetting about what the Titans did to the Pats a few weeks ago and accepting the fact that they aren’t a very good team, AND they are playing on short rest this week. Eight points is too much for them, even at home against yet another crummy Jets team.
PATRIOTS (-5) over Vikings
Minnesota might’ve looked good against the lousy Packers inside their cozy U.S. Bank Stadium last week, but now they are heading to the chilly and possibly rainy Boston area this week to play the rejuvenated Patriots. I’m feeling really good about this game.
Side note: I also felt really, really good about the Tennessee game three weeks ago, and we all saw how that turned out. Nonetheless, New England is 5-0 at home this season, so there’s that.
49ers (+10) over SEAHAWKS
I’m betting on the Richard Sherman factor in this game. He’s likely to spend the rest of his life pissed off at the Seahawks for cutting him, and he’s going to be fired up on Sunday — his first game back in Seattle as a member of the hated rival Niners. As a 10-point underdog, he might cause a little bit of trouble for Russell Wilson.
STEELERS (-3.5) over Chargers
A sensational matchup for Sunday Night Football. This game should have a big impact on the AFC playoff picture. I’m rolling with the Steelers as they’ve been averaging over 35 points per game at Heinz Field this season, while the Chargers will be without Melvin Gordon.
EAGLES (-6.5) over Redskins
Sorry, I can’t bet on Colt McCoy as a 6.5-point underdog on the road in primetime. I just can’t do it. And you shouldn’t do it either. You have been warned.
Last week: 8-7
This week: 0-1