For a brief second, I didn't think I was going to be able to do any picks this week and that's mostly because my fingers are too bloated to type. I guess that's what happens when you eat turkey for every meal for five straight days.
I am now having nightmares about turkey, and you know what, I'm officially done with turkey, kind of like the Panthers are officially done with Frank Reich.
I can't say for sure when David Tepper decided that he was going to fire Reich, but I'm guessing it came a three seconds after Reich called a wide receiver screen on a fourth down with the game on the line against the Titans on Sunday.
That kind of call will definitely get you fired.
I'll be honest, I'm going to be sad to see Reich go and that's mostly because the Panthers were the most predictable team in football. With Reich on the job, I went 10-1 with my Panthers' picks, which was tied for my best record picking any team.
With Reich, picking Panthers' games used to be easy, all you had to do was pick them to lose, but now, it might not be so easy, because some teams seem to play better after firing their coach.
So am I actually going to pick the Panthers to win in their first game without Reich? Let's get to the Week 13 picks and find out.
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Alright, let's get to the picks.
NFL Week 13 picks
Seattle (6-5) at Dallas (8-3)
Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET (Amazon Prime)
We are 13 weeks into the NFL season and I'm still not quite sure how good the Cowboys are. I know they're good, but I don't know how good. On one hand, they've been unbeatable at home this year. Not only are they undefeated at home, but they've won all five games by at least 20 points making them the ONLY team in NFL history to win their first five homes games of the season by 20 points or more
The problem with that stat, though, is that the Cowboys have beaten five teams that have a combined record of 19-38. The other problem with the Cowboys is that they still haven't beaten a team this season that has a winning record. Every time the Cowboys face a good team, they do what they've done for almost all of the past 28 years: They completely melt down and find a way to lose the game.
There are only five teams in the NFL this year that have yet to beat a team with a winning record: The Bears, Titans, Giants, Patriots and COWBOYS. And let's be honest, if you're mentioned in the same conversation as the Bears, Titans, Giants and Patriots, that's definitely not a good thing.
The Cowboys better figure out what it takes to beat a good team and they better figure it out soon, because starting his week with the Seahawks, Dallas' schedule goes like this: Seattle, Philadelphia, at Buffalo, at Miami, Detroit.
The upside for the Cowboys this week is that they're getting Seattle at the right time. The Seahawks offense has totally fallen apart since the start of November. Over the past four weeks, the Seahawks are averaging just 15.25 points per game, which makes this week's game a nightmare matchup for them. The Seahawks' struggling offense will be facing a Cowboys team that has given up the second-fewest points in the NFL and if that's not bad enough, the Seahawks will have to figure out a way to keep up with a Dallas offense that has scored more points per game (31.6) than any other team this season.
The pick: Cowboys 24-17 over Seahawks
If you want a more analytical approach to your NFL picks, then I highly suggest that you check out the SportsLine Projection Model, which has been on fire this year. Check it out if you want to know which side to bet.
Denver (6-5) at Houston (6-5)
1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Houston, we have a problem, and the problem is that I seem to have no clue what I'm doing when it comes to picking Texans' games this year. They've played 11 games this season, and so far, and I'm 2-9 picking those games, which is by far the worst record I have picking any team in the NFL.
And yes, I'm only pointing out my record as a way to shame myself, because at this point, I think that's the only way out of this rut. If I miss every Texans' pick for the rest of the season, I might just have to do a walk of shame through the city of Houston.
No one wants to seem me do that, so let's hope I get start getting my Texans' picks right.
The Broncos currently have the longest winning streak in the NFL and a big reason for that is because their defense is forcing turnovers at a rate that doesn't even seem possible. Over the past five weeks, the Broncos have forced 16 turnovers, which is crazy, when you consider that there are 18 teams that haven't even forced 16 turnovers for the ENTIRE SEASON. And now, the Broncos will get to face a quarterback in C.J. Stroud, who has turned the ball over six times over the past three weeks (four interceptions and two lost fumbles).
Although Stroud has been making some mistakes, you know who hasn't? Russell F'ing Wilson. Heading into the 2023 season, it was looking like the Broncos had made the worst trade in the history of football by acquiring Wilson, but suddenly, they're not the laughing stock of the league anymore. Not only is Wilson playing much better this season, but he's been nearly unstoppable in the red zone AND on both third and fourth down.
Russell Wilson 🤔🤔— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) November 27, 2023
Red Zone - 17 TDs, 0 INT.
116.7 QB Rating (2nd)
3rd/4th Down - 68.8% Completions (3rd)
112.6 QB Rating (3rd)
I guess what I'm trying to say here is that Stroud is going to turn the ball over multiple times, Wilson is going to throw multiple touchdown passes in the red zone and the Broncos are going to sneak out of Houston with a win.
The pick: Broncos 23-20 over Texans
San Francisco (8-3) at Philadelphia (10-1)
4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)
If I've learned one thing this year, it's that there's no fan base that loves throwing my picks back in my face more than Eagles fans. Every time I pick against the Eagles, they instantly let me know on Twitter that my pick is dumb and since the Eagles almost never lose, they always get the last laugh.
To be fair to me, I did pick them to beat the Chiefs in Week 11, but I have also picked them to lose five times this year.
The thing about the Eagles is that every time I watch them play, they seem like a house of cards that's just waiting to come crashing down, so I pick against them, only to find out that the cards are actually made of steel and that that house is never going to fall down AKA the Eagles are never going to lose.
In two of their past three games, I've picked against the Eagles, but I regret nothing. In Week 9, I picked Philly to lose to the Cowboys and after watching that game, I still have no idea how the Eagles won. In Week 12, I picked the Eagles to lose to the Bills, and after watching that game, I still have no idea how the Eagles won.
The Eagles are like "Love Actually," I have no idea why I like that movie, but I do, just like I have no idea how the Eagles keep winning games, but they do. That being said, I think I'm now starting to catch on to why they're winning all these close games and it's because Jalen Hurts is unstoppable when he's playing from behind in the second half.
Heading into Week 13, Hurts has the best passer rating in the NFL in games where his team is tied or trailing in the second half/overtime. When the Eagles are trailing, Hurts turns into Superman: He has 10 touchdown passes and zero interceptions and his QB rating is 136.6. It's almost like the Eagles LET the other team get a second half lead because they know it will activate Super Hurts.
On the flip side, the one quarterback you don't want on your team if you find yourself trailing in the second half is Brock Purdy. The 49ers QB has the lowest QB rating in the NFL this year when his team is tied or trailing in the second half. Basically, if this is a tight game in the second half, you feel a lot better about having Hurts over Purdy.
The good news for the 49ers is that I don't think Purdy will be playing from behind in the second half.
This truly feels like a coin flip game and I'm rolling with the 49ers for two reasons: First, they're going to be desperate. If they want to have any shot at the No. 1 overall seed, they have to win this game. Second, the 49ers will be coming into this game on 10 days of rest, which I think is a huge advantage in a game like this.
The 49ers are 5-0 in their past five games where they've had at least nine days of rest and they've won those five games by an average of 17.8 points per game. Also, I'm taking the Niners, because at this point, I think Eagles fans actually like it more when I pick against their team.
I have a reputation to keep.
The pick: 49ers 30-23 over Eagles
Kansas City (8-3) at Green Bay (5-6)
8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)
For the first two months of the season, the Jordan Love experiment looked like a total failure that was going to end with everyone in Green Bay getting fired. Fortunately, it now seems like everyone is going to get to keep their job thanks to the fact that Love is suddenly playing like one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.
I'm not sure what happened, but my working theory is that Love made a birthday wish to become one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. I've seen enough Hallmark movies about both birthdays and wishes to know that this is a completely plausible theory, and before you try to shoot down my theory, just consider that all of his improvement has happened since his 25th birthday, which was on Nov. 2.
During the first two months of the season, the Packers went 2-5 and a big reason was because Love struggled: He competed just 58% of his passes while throwing 11 touchdowns compared to eight interceptions. He was also averaging just 6.4 yards per attempt, which ranked in the bottom half of the NFL.
Since his birthday, the Packers are 3-1 and Love's numbers have improved dramatically: His completion percentage is up to 65%, he's thrown eight touchdowns compared to just two interceptions and he's averaging 8.0 yards per attempt, which means he's almost getting the Packers a first down every time he throws the ball.
Love looks like a new quarterback. Of course, the problem with birthday wishes is that I think they're only good during the month of your birthday and this game is being played in December.
Love will be facing the best defense he's seen all season in the Chiefs and although I won't be surprised if he puts up decent numbers, I don't think he'll quite be able to out-duel Patrick Mahomes.
The pick: Chiefs 26-23 over Packers
Cincinnati (5-6) at Jacksonville (8-3)
Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET (ESPN/ABC)
For the first time in 12 years, the Jaguars will be hosting a Monday night game, and to celebrate, I've decided to grace the people of Jacksonville with my presence by attending this game. Visiting Jacksonville has always been on my bucket list (I have a weird bucket list), so I'll finally be able to cross that one off. Actually, we all know that last part isn't true, no one has "visiting Jacksonville" on their bucket list, but I will be at the game due to the fact that it's my brother's 40th birthday.
He's a huge Bengals fan and when he saw that the Bengals were going to be playing on a Monday night in Jacksonville for his birthday, he quickly snatched up a bunch of tickets. I told him to rent the Jaguars' pool for the game, but apparently, that was out of the budget.
The Jacksonville Jaguars' stadium has two pools in the north end zone, complete with cabanas, scantily clad servers and a two-level pool deck to hang out on for $12,500 or $250 per ticket for 50 people. #NFL #SNF > https://t.co/gToOux1Vgz pic.twitter.com/84H1yPlQTW— VIP*GNT (@TheVIPgypsy) September 18, 2023
I don't know what his budget was for the game, but $12,500 for a pool with scantily-cladded servers seems like a steal. If you are reading this and you rented the pool for the game this week, let me just say that I will not say no to an invite.
Anyway, let's get to the actual game. This game lost a lot of luster after the Bengals lost Joe Burrow for the season, but here's the crazy thing: Jake Browning wasn't that bad against the Steelers. I was expecting Tim Boyle-level football, but Browning actually played reasonably well.
Does that mean he'll be able to dice up the Jaguars' secondary? When it comes to the Jaguars' defense, it's almost impossible to run on them, but that won't really matter to the Bengals, because they can't run the ball (They rank dead last in the NFL with 75.8 rushing yards per game). On the other hand, the Jags' have struggled to stop the pass, which could open the door for Browning to have a surprisingly good night.
I feel like this game is going to be a lot closer than most people think.
My brother's birthday wish is for the Bengals to win, so I should pick them to win, but unlike Jordan Love, he hasn't had a birthday wish come true since at least 2003, so I'm going to have to ride that streak here. My family will likely disown me for picking against the Bengals this week, so I better enjoy hanging out with them in Jacksonville, since this will likely be the last time we ever see each other.
The pick: Jaguars 20-16 over Bengals
And just for fun, here's my brother kicking a barefoot field goal from 30 yards out in his work clothes.
If any NFL team would like to give him a tryout, just let me know.
NFL Week 13 picks: All the rest
Colts 24-16 over Titans
Chargers 24-13 over Patriots
Lions 27-20 over Saints
Falcons 20-13 over Jets
Dolphins 30-20 over Commanders
Steelers 20-17 over Cardinals
Buccaneers 19-13 over Panthers
Rams 23-16 over Browns
Best pick: Last week, I Tim Boyle was going to throw possibly the worst pick-six in the history of football? I'm not going to say yes, but this is Tim Boyle we're talking about, so I was definitely expecting something crazy to happen that wouldn't help the Jets at all and I think a 99-yard pick-six definitely qualifies.the Jets by double-digits and guess what happened? The Dolphins beat the Jets by double-digits. Now, did I know that
The only upside to that throw for Boyle is that a bunch of people are going to remember him fondly forever because he won them a 98-inch television from TCL.
Jevon Holland got folks $1 million in free TVs 😮— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) November 25, 2023
I'm not sure how many televisions they gave away, but I feel like every fan who has sat through more than one game of watching the Jets play this season deserves to get one.
Worst pick: There is no team I've been worse at picking this year than the Texans, 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 beat Jaguars. The Texans have been in my head all season: When I zig, they zag. When I zag, they eat taquitos. When I invite them over for taquitos, they claim they don't like taquitos and go to Taco Bell instead. And then when they get to Taco Bell, they eat taquitos anyway and then they flaunt that fact by sharing videos on TikTok with their server, who's also eating taquitos. It's out of hand. I'm so over the Texans. I'm so over Taco Bell I'm so over taquitos. I'm so over turkey. 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): Panthers, Jets
Longest winning streak: Jets and Raiders (Five straight wins)
Team I'm 2-9 picking this year (Straight up): Texans
Longest losing streak: Falcons (Five straight losses)
Every other team is somewhere in the middle.
Straight up in Week 12: 8-8
SU overall: 109-71 (5-17 picking the Titans and Texans, 104-54 picking everyone else)
Against the spread in Week 12: 8-8
ATS overall: 86-88-6