If you were traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday, I hope you made it back in one piece and if you were flying, I hope you weren’t on Odell Beckham’s plane because, man, that seems like it was a lot of drama.
After being kicked off his flight, Odell had to do a walk of shame through the airport, which I won’t judge him for because who hasn’t done a walk of shame.
Beckham was trying to fly from Florida to California, which is the exact flight the Miami Dolphins will be making this week, so maybe he should just fly with them. I’m not sure why I’m talking about Odell right now. I’m supposed to be making picks, so let’s get to those before I get sidetracked again.
Actually, before we get to the picks, here’s a quick reminder that you can check out the weekly picks from every CBSSports.com NFL expert by clicking here. If you don’t click over, I won’t be offended. However, I will be offended if you don’t sign up for CBSSports.com’s NFL newsletter, which I’m in charge of.
If you do sign up, it’s like an early Christmas present for both of us: I get more sign-ups and you get an email from me five days per week, which means signing up is really like five presents in one. If you want to subscribe, all you have to do is click here and enter your email address. I promise not to spam you and I promise not to send you pictures of horses or puppies, unless you enjoy that sort of thing, and if that’s the case, then maybe we can work something out.
Alright, let’s get to the picks.
NFL Week 13 Picks
N.Y. Jets (7-4) at Minnesota (9-2)
1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Featured Game | Minnesota Vikings vs. New York Jets
I’m not sure what the plot of the next Star Wars movie is going to be, but I won’t be surprised if Zach Wilson somehow factors into it, because based on his body language from Sunday, it’s only a matter of time before he turns to the dark side.
Of course, I would also probably be making that same face if I had just gotten benched and then had to sit in the rain for three straight hours while watching the guy I got benched for (Mike White) play so well that he’s definitely stealing my job for good.
With White running the show, the Jets look like a completely different team. I realize he was only playing the Bears, so I shouldn’t get too excited, but this isn’t the first time he’s put up huge numbers (He threw for 315 yards and three touchdowns against Chicago).
With Wilson running the show, the Jets’ offense felt like a turtle stuck on its back, but with White under center, it’s like someone flipped the turtle over, put it on a skateboard and then attached rockets to the skateboard.
If White plays well this week, the Jets will have a real chance to beat Minnesota. However, even if he goes off, the Jets defense is still going to have to figure out how to stop Justin Jefferson if New York is going to win. The good news for the Jets is that they have the perfect guy to do that: Sauce Gardner.
Not only has the rookie been one of the best corners in the NFL this year, but he’s already been tested by some of the league’s top receivers. Gardner has already seen Stefon Diggs, Tyreek Hill and Ja’Marr Chase in 2022 and those three guys had an average of just 56.3 receiving yards per game against him. If Gardner holds Jefferson anywhere near that number, the Jets will definitely be thrilled.
So who am I picking here?
Normally, when I pick Jets games, I just to defer to the all-knowing coin, but the coin actually missed a pick this week, so I’m not sure I can trust it this week.
You know what, it’s the coin’s fault it missed the game. The coin had no idea the Jets were going to bench their starting QB going into Week 12. I’m cutting the coin some slack and we’re both taking the Jets in the upset this week.
The pick: Jets 26-23 over Vikings
Tennessee (7-4) at Philadelphia (10-1)
1 p.m. ET (Fox)
Featured Game | Philadelphia Eagles vs. Tennessee Titans
We’re 12 weeks into the season and I have to admit, I still have no idea what to make of the Titans. I think they’re a good team, but every time they play a good team, they end up losing. The Titans have played five teams this season that currently have a winning record and they’ve gone 1-4 in those games. Of course, the flip side of that is that they could very easily have gone 4-1.
- They lost to the Giants in Week 1 because their kicker missed a 47-yard field goal on the final play.
- They went to overtime with the Chiefs in Week 9 even though they were forced to play a rookie QB who was making just his second career start.
- They lost to the Bengals on Sunday in a game that was tied in the fourth quarter.
If the Titans are going to prove that they’re a legitimate Super Bowl contender, they need to beat a team that’s actually good and this is the week to do it.
Tennessee’s biggest advantage in this game is that if you could design a team to beat the Eagles, it would literally be the Titans. The Eagles can run all over you, but that won’t bother the Titans because their biggest strength on defense is stopping the run. The Eagles average 162.5 yards per game on the ground, which is the third-best number in the NFL, but it’s going to be tough hitting that number against a Titans team that is only surrendering 84.5 rushing yards per game this year. Since Week 2, the Titans have actually been the best team in the NFL against the run, giving up just 69.2 yards per game.
The Eagles rushed for more yardage in Week 12 (363) than the Titans have given up in their past FIVE games combined (349). I have no idea why I’m telling you that, but if you have loved ones, you might want to say goodbye to them before this game kicks off because the universe might explode when these two start going at it.
The other reason this is a good matchup for the Titans is because the Eagles’ one defensive weakness is stopping the run and that’s not exactly a weakness you want to have when you’re about to face Derrick Henry.
The Titans are a decided underdog here and let me just say that there is no better coach in NFL history at winning as a decided underdog than Mike Vrabel. Since he took the Titans coaching job in 2018, Tennessee has been an underdog of three points or more a total of 28 times and Vrabel has gone 19-9 in those games. Under Vrabel, the Titans have mastered the art of winning games they’re not supposed to win and I think they’re going to do it again on Sunday.
The pick: Titans 23-20 over Eagles
Cleveland (4-7) at Houston (1-9-1)
1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Featured Game | Houston Texans vs. Cleveland Browns
When a 4-7 team is playing a one-win team in early December, that’s usually a game that no one really pays attention to, but that won’t be the case with Browns-Texans on Sunday and that’s because Deshaun Watson will be returning to the field.
After being suspended for the first 11 games of the season, Watson will be making his 2022 debut, and in a twist, it will be coming against his old team. I can’t imagine he’s going to get a warm welcome while playing in a city where dozens of women have accused him of sexual misconduct.
Watson’s relationship with the Texans actually fell apart before the sexual misconduct lawsuits came out. Back in January 2021, Watsonfrom Houston because he didn’t like where the organization was headed. However, a trade never happened because six weeks after he made that demand, the first lawsuit came out, which essentially made him untradeable.
With the lawsuits hanging over his head and Watson stuck playing for a team he didn’t want to play for, both sides thought it would be best if Watson just sat out the entire 2021 season. What this means is that by the time this Sunday rolls around, it will have been 700 DAYS since the last time Watson played in a regular season game. I don’t know how hard it is to shake off 700 days of rust, but it can’t be easy.
Watson’s last start came on January 3, 2021, and his last win came more than two years ago (Nov. 26, 2020). I have no idea what Watson is going to look like, but if I took 700 days off from something, I’m pretty confident that I would fall flat on my face when I returned. I’m not saying Watson is going to do that, but I do expect him to struggle, and also, I feel like the Texans would really love to beat him here. I think this game is going to be a lot closer than people think, but the Texans are so bad that I can’t pick them to win.
The pick: Browns 21-17 over Texans
Miami (8-3) at San Francisco (7-4)
4:05 p.m ET (Fox)
Featured Game | San Francisco 49ers vs. Miami Dolphins
I have to say, whoever is in charge of flexing Sunday night games this year fell asleep at the wheel this week because there are about eight better games than the one we’re getting, which is Colts at Cowboys. If it had been up to me, this game would have been my first choice, but I would have also been fine with Titans-Eagles, Jets-Vikings or even Commanders-Giants. I mean, they could have moved the Panthers to Sunday night and I would’ve been happy and the Panthers are on a bye. I would have also been fine with a Hallmark Christmas movie being flexed in over Colts-Cowboys, but that also didn’t happen, so I guess I’ll be watching “Three Wise Men and a Baby” at its normal time this weekend. (By the way, I didn’t list Chiefs-Bengals as a possible flex game because there’s no way CBS was going to give that up).
This game is fascinating on multiple levels and one reason for that is because the Dolphins are coached by Mike McDaniel, who spent five seasons with the 49ers (2017-21) before being hired by Miami in January. Since being hired, McDaniel has basically done everything in his power to turn the Dolphins into the AFC version of the 49ers.
- Get a QB who gets no respect even though all they do is win? Check.
- Get a dynamic receiver who can also run the ball? Check.
- Get a running back or two who can line up anywhere? Check.
The best part about that last thing is that McDaniel literally stole his running backs from the 49ers. Raheem Mostert spent five seasons in San Francisco before signing with the Dolphins prior to the 2022 season. Miami also acquired Jeff Wilson from the 49ers just.
These two teams are so alike that we should probably just go ahead and stop using the Spiderman meme because it will never apply to anything more than it does to this game.
I bet Mike McDaniel and Kyle Shanahan are under those masks.
If there’s one advantage the 49ers have in this game, it’s that they have one of the best defenses in the NFL. However, I’m not fully sure what to make of that, because one reason their defensive numbers are so good is because they’ve played some of the worst teams in the NFL. Yes, you have to play who’s on your schedule, but beating up on bad teams doesn’t tell me anything about you.
Through 12 weeks, the 49ers have had the easiest strength of schedule in the NFL. Their opponents have a combined winning percentage of just .397, which is crazy when you consider that no other NFL team is even at .420 (The Dolphins’ strength of schedule through 12 weeks has been .496).
The 49ers have played four teams this year that currently have five wins or more and they’re 2-2 in those games. I think what I’m trying to say here is that I’m going to need proof that the 49ers can beat good teams before I start picking them to beat good teams.
The pick: Dolphins 27-24 over 49ers.
Kansas City (9-2) at Cincinnati (7-4)
4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)
Featured Game | Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs
For the third time in 11 months, the Bengals are facing the Chiefs and for the third time in 11 months, the Chiefs are favored to win. If this game goes anything like the first two meetings, then we already know how it’s going to play out: The Chiefs will jump out to a huge lead and then the Bengals will somehow come back in the second half to win the game in the most dramatic way possible.
The Bengals did that in the AFC Championship (they trailed by 18 points in that game) and they did it in a Week 17 win over the Chiefs last season (They trailed by 14 in that game).
One reason the Bengals have been so good against the Chiefs is because playing against Patrick Mahomes seems to bring out the best in Joe Burrow. In their two games against each other, Burrow has averaged 348 passing yards per game with a 6-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. On the other hand, Mahomes is averaging just 267 yards per game with a 5-to-2 TD-to-INT ratio.
The Chiefs have struggled to stop the pass this year, which is why Burrow could be in for a big day. The Chiefs are one of 12 teams that have surrendered more than 230 yards per game through the air this year and of those 12 teams, Burrow has faced five of them. In those games, Burrow has averaged 324.7 yards and 2.2 touchdown passes per game. Basically, if your defense struggles to stop the pass, Burrow will find a way to exploit it.
On the other hand, the Bengals have been Mahomes’ personal Kryptonite. Since the start of the 2019 season, Mahomes has a record of 33-3 in the months of November, December and January: He’s 0-2 against the Bengals and 33-1 against everyone else.
Also, Mahomes has a career record of 44-4 in any game where the Chiefs have a 14-point lead: He’s 0-2 against the Bengals and 44-2 against everyone else. Some things in life just aren’t meant to be: I can’t eat pizza with my right hand, Derek Zoolander can’t turn left and Patrick Mahomes can’t beat the Bengals.
if the Chiefs do win, I’m giving all the credit to Mahomes’ new baby.
Win or lose on Sunday, at least the Chiefs know that they’re now set at quarterback for the next four decades.
The pick: Bengals 30-27 over Chiefs
NFL Week 13 picks: All the rest
Bills 24-17 over Patriots
Steelers 20-17 over Falcons
Packers 19-16 over Bears
Lions 27-24 over Jaguars
Commanders 22-19 over Giants
Ravens 20-13 over Broncos
Seahawks 23-16 over Rams
Raiders 34-31 over Chargers
Cowboys 27-20 over Colts
Buccaneers 20-16 over Saints
Best pick: Last week, Iwould go into Nashville and beat the Titans, and guess what happened? The Bengals went into Nashville and beat the Titans. Now, did I know that the Bengals were going to absolutely shut down Derrick Henry? Of course I did. As someone who’s from Cincinnati, but lives in Nashville, these are actually the only two NFL teams I know anything about, so when they play each other, it’s the only pick I’m ever guaranteed to get right.
Worst pick: There is no team I’ve been worse at picking this year than the Las Vegas Raiders, which means I should’ve known last week that I was supposed to do the opposite of what my gut was telling me to do and my gut told me to pick them to lose to the Seahawks. The Raiders have been in my head all season: When I zig, they zag. When I zag, they eat nachos. When I invite them over for nachos, they claim they don’t like nachos and go to Applebee’s instead, where they eat nachos anyway and then flaunt that fact by sharing pictures on Instagram with their server, who’s also eating nachos. It’s out of hand. I’m so over the Raiders. I’m so over Applebee’s. I’m so over nachos. I’m so over everything.
Finally, if you guys have ever wondered which teams I’m actually good at picking, here’s a quick look at my best and worst teams when it comes to picks this year.
Teams I’m 10-1 picking this year (Straight up): Chiefs.
Longest winning streak: Chiefs (Eight straight games picked correctly)
Team I’ve been the worst at picking this year (Straight up): Raiders (3-8).
Longest losing streak: Raiders (Five straight games picked incorrectly)
Every other team is somewhere in the middle.
Straight up in Week 12: 9-7
SU overall: 106-73-1
Against the spread in Week 12: 7-9
ATS overall: 83-89-8