Week 13 NFL Picks

The zombie Eagles go for win 11, the Steelers should consider a fun trade, and who survives the NFC South? (No one.)

Last Week:  10 – 5 – 1
Season:       88 – 83 – 9

Thursday (8:20PM ET)

Seahawks 35 at Cowboys 41
Dak Prescott is the NFL MVP frontrunner at this point. I don’t think he should actually win it until he beats some good teams, but no one has played at such a high level as consistently as Prescott this year. The Cowboys can barely run the ball and the offense hasn’t missed a beat. Dallas will have plenty of chances over the next month to prove they are worthy of being title contenders. I doubt they’ll get too much credit for a good win after Thursday night even though Prescott and the offense looked unstoppable.

Early Games (1:00PM ET)

Colts at Titans
The Colts are fine. Will Levis is taking some lumps right now. Not sure the Jonathan Taylor injury is that big of a deal for Indianapolis considering how good Zack Moss has been this season. Can Shane Steichen come back and consult for the Eagles if the Colts don’t make the playoffs? Asking for a friend. COLTS -1

Chargers at Patriots
Year four without Tom Brady and the Bill Belichick Patriots are a complete disaster. Winning six Super Bowls buys you a lot of grace, as it should. However, no other coach is still on the sidelines after what the Patriots have put on the field over the last two seasons. Bad free agent signings, whiffed on a first round quarterback, mind-numbing stupidity on the field, and very little player improvement. It’s time. Also, I think the same could be said about the Chargers side of things with the exception of whiffing on a first round quarterback. PATRIOTS +5.5

Lions at Saints
I was on to Detroit’s stench weeks ago, but it was still sad to see a national audience come to grips with the fact that the lovable Lions are frauds. If the Vikings can figure out their quarterback situation, it wouldn’t shock me if the Lions missed the playoffs altogether. Is it likely, no, but it wouldn’t shock me. That’s how bad their defense is, and when you add in the offenses turnovers and questionable coaching at times, the recipe is almost complete for a meltdown. The only missing ingredient is schedule difficulty. It’s not a cupcake but the Vikings are bipolar and you never know what you’re getting from the Bears and Saints. If the Broncos game were in Denver I’d like the chances of a Lions loss a lot more. SAINTS +4.5

Falcons at Jets
A great tidbit from my brother… he asked if all four NFC South coaches could be fired at the end of the season, if not sooner. The answer is yes. Obviously, the NFC South gets an automatic playoff bid, but even that won’t save Todd Bowles, Arthur Smith or Dennis Allen. I think a playoff victory would be required for job preservation in all three cases. What a disastrous division. JETS +2.5

Cardinals at Steelers
It was nice to see the Pittsburgh offense actually move the football last week. Still not sure Kenny Pickett can throw the ball down the field but it was pretty clear Pat Freiermuth can run it down the field. Here’s a fun idea. Let’s say at the end of this season Pittsburgh determines Pickett isn’t their quarterback of the next 5-7 years. Why not help Arizona and yourself by offering a 2nd or 3rd rounder and some sweeteners for Kyler Murray? Murray’s contract is a disaster, so there’s no way anyone is offering a first for that albatross. No, Murray isn’t a top ten QB but he can play like one from time to time and he can elude pressure and get the ball downfield in a hurry. What better way to add some offensive excitement than add an electric player like Murray? Who knows, in that environment under Mike Tomlin Murray may even reach his full potential. Giving six for the Steelers is like 17 for normal teams. This is terrifying. STEELERS -6

Dolphins at Commanders
If I told you Sam Howell would lead the NFL in passing but Terry McLaurin would be trending toward 200 less receiving yards you would assume Scary Terry got injured, right? I don’t get why Washington has struggled to get McLaurin down the field so much this season but his yards per reception is way, way down. Last year he averaged 15.5. His lowest prior to 2023 was 12.9 four years ago. I’m not comparing McLaurin to Tyreek Hill, but I thought Eric Bieniemy would use McLaurin in that role of stretching the field and challenging the defense deep. If you think that’s crazy, look at Hill’s average yard perception over the last four seasons (first three with the Chiefs, last with Miami); 14.8, 14.7, 11.2, 14.4. Now look at McLaurin’s over that period and consider he’s played with ELEVEN different quarterbacks; 15.8, 12.9, 13.7, 15.5. COMMANDERS +9

Broncos at Texans
A massive game for playoff lives between two teams many expected to be basement dwellers. Neither team’s remaining schedule is all that difficult. Denver gets the Chargers twice, the Patriots and travels to Las Vegas and New England. Houston gets the miserable Titans twice, hosts the crippled Browns and visits the Jets and Colts. I think the loser here gets bounced from real contention for the AFC’s final playoff berth. I know, I know it’s stupid to say now, but Buffalo is getting in. They’re too good. That leaves one spot for Cleveland, Indy, and these two. BRONCOS +3

Afternoon Games (4:05PM ET)

Panthers at Buccaneers
There are only 32 NFL head coaching jobs, so undoubtedly someone will jump at the opportunity to take the top spot in Carolina. The real question is, if someone could take any of the 31 other jobs before Carolina, who would actually pick Carolina? The answer is no one. The Panthers surrender a top 3 pick this year (possibly even the top pick). The roster is starved for talent, especially on the offensive side. Their 2023 top pick is trending toward regret and the owner is aggressively going after Dan Snyder’s vacated throne of worst person in football. In fact, he may have already taken up residence. The only way this turns around fast if it the Panthers miraculously nail the coaching hire (doubtful as their last two were major flops) AND Bryce Young flips the script and proves he was worthy of the 1st overall pick. PANTHERS +5

Browns at Rams
The Wheels are getting real wobbly in Cleveland. The Browns are down to quarterback number four, the defensive injuries are mounting and the NFL’s defensive MVP is trending toward missing some time. This is great news for Indy, Houston, Denver and especially Buffalo. Sorry, Cleveland. I was rooting for you. You hung in there valiantly for as long as you could. Injuries always win in the NFL. RAMS -3.5

49ers at Eagles
The Eagles stand alone atop the NFL at 10-1. Every other team in the league has at least three losses. Prior to Thursday night action, the Eagles own the league’s 7th best point differential. Philadelphia is 98 points behind Dallas, 76 behind San Francisco and 73 behind Baltimore. I don’t think this actually means anything, but it does help explain why almost all the metrics don’t think highly of the Eagles. As for this monster matchup… the Eagles are in a tough spot. The Niners are coming off of a ten-day break and the Eagles have Dallas next week after they enjoy a ten-day break. I don’t really like the Eagles here, but two things keep me from taking San Francisco. 1. The Eagles just find ways to win despite everything crumbling around them. 2. The Niners haven’t stopped yapping for the last ten months. The Eagles say they’re not paying attention to that but they 100% are, and you know Nick Sirianni will remind them of all the hate. EAGLES +3

Sunday Night (8:20PM ET)

Chiefs at Packers
Not sure why it took Green Bay over two months to find their Week 1 mojo again, but this team is a lot of fun when they are aggressive and airing the ball out. I gave up on Jordan Love, so hat tip to those who still believed. With that said, pulling an upset on a national stage produces irrational hype. The Lions defense is really bad and the Kansas City defense is not. The Chiefs are still the hardest team to beat in the AFC and I don’t see much of reason for them not to roll through the Packers. CHIEFS -6

Monday Night (8:15PM ET)

Bengals at Jaguars
I love Doug Pederson and I like what the Jaguars are becoming. However, I don’t want Jacksonville anywhere near the AFC’s top seed. In both baseball and football, I root for the best home field environment when it comes to the postseason (unless my teams are involved, obviously). Florida is not playoff football. That stadium had tarps around the upper bowl until about a year ago. No thank you. Give me Baltimore or Kansas City but please don’t let the AFC Championship be decided on a 60 degree day in late January. I feel bad for the Bengals but this is what happens when you take the month of September off. They did it last year and got away with it. Not this year. And stop with the Joe Burrow injury excuse. This team never found itself and was going to be struggling for a playoff spot even with Burrow. JAGUARS -9

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