Week 12 was quite kind to those who trust my predictions. We went 5-0 on my top five picks and I plan on buying a motorcycle with my winnings and naming it after Lamar Jackson. His five-touchdown performance against the Rams on Monday night moved him to the front of the pack in the , and everyone is claiming that the Ravens are now the favorite to hoist the Lombardi trophy in February. We get a potential Super Bowl preview this week, as the 49ers‘ formidable defensive front travels to Baltimore to try their hand at stopping Jackson.
The playoff picture in the NFC is pretty much set, but the same cannot be said for the AFC. I believe two teams from the AFC South are going to earn a playoff bid, but those two teams are yet to be determined. The Colts and Titans are both sitting at 6-5, and the winner of their matchup on Sunday will move to second place in the division and one game closer to securing a postseason bid.
We also have a couple of interesting Thanksgiving matchups as well, and I believe a few teams are underrated and will prove themselves on a national stage. Let’s jump in to my picks.
Thursday, 4:30 p.m. ET (CBS)
Point spread: Cowboys -6.5
The Cowboys and head coach Jason Garrett are feeling the pressure after their embarrassing 13-9 loss to the Patriots last week. Dallas is a great team on paper, but the Cowboys have still yet to beat a team with a winning record. With an offense that includes Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Amari Cooper, how do you fail to score a single touchdown in a game? They get a beatable Bills team this week, and many think Dallas will rebound with a big win at home on Thanksgiving. People seem to be forgetting that the Bills are 8-3, and have been playing some pretty good ball as of late. The have won their past two games by a combined 34 points, and the defense has clamped down since giving up 31 points to the Eagles at the end of October. Still, it’s hard to beat the Cowboys at home on Thanksgiving. I’m not confident in picking a winner in this matchup, but I am confident when it comes to picking a winner with the spread. Having the Cowboys beat the Bills by a touchdown is asking a lot, and I feel very comfortable taking the Bills to cover and possibly even win. Josh Allen is effective, Frank Gore keeps on churning and Cole Beasley wants to have a big performance in his revenge game. The Bills aren’t going to blow anyone away, but they are good when it comes to moving the chains, establishing tempo and shutting down playmakers. Bills cover on Thanksgiving.
The pick: Cowboys 24-21 over Bills
Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)
Point spread: Saints -6.5
The Ravens and 49ers are now considered the two best teams in the NFL, but people are forgetting about the 9-2 Saints! Yes, they suffered an inexplicable 26-9 loss to a 1-7 Falcons team three weeks ago and barely scraped by the ailing Panthers in New Orleans last Sunday, but the Saints are still up there when it comes to the . Drew Brees passed for 311 yards, three touchdowns and an interception in the 34-31 win over the Panthers last week. He has thrown six touchdowns in the past two games, and is looking for revenge after being held without a score against the Falcons in Week 10. When he faced Atlanta on Thanksgiving last year, he threw for 396 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-17 victory. Last time the Saints traveled to Atlanta, running back Alvin Kamara also had a career-high 15 receptions and a career-high 190 yards from scrimmage. The Saints beat the Falcons 43-37 in overtime, as Drew Brees and Co. put up 534 yards of total offense. Kamara figures to play a big role this Thursday, as Atlanta has allowed an average of 109.9 rushing yards per game. The Saints know that they are hosting the 49ers next week, and they want to build some momentum before that big matchup. New Orleans serves up some revenge to the Falcons this holiday.
The pick: Saints 34-20 over Falcons
Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Point spread: Colts -2.5
If you by chance missed the Titans’ huge 42-20 win over the Jaguars on Sunday, let me bring you up to speed. Ryan Tannehill accounted for four total touchdowns, Derrick Henry rushed for 159 yards and two touchdowns and rookie wideout A.J. Brown went off for 135 yards and a score. The Titans really looked like the best team in the AFC South, and while you may think that blowing out the Jaguars isn’t a big accomplishment, this wave of momentum Tennessee has been riding just continues to increase in size. They beat Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in an emotional win in Week 10, had a bye in Week 11 and then dominated the Jaguars — who actually beat the Titans earlier this season. The Titans understand that they control their own destiny, and they get another chance to take down a divisional opponent this Sunday. The Colts’ Week 2 19-17 win over the Titans was an absolute slugfest. Jacoby Brissett and Marcus Mariota both failed to throw for 200 yards and neither could get anything going on offense. Brissett looked rough against the Texans last week as well, and passed for just 129 yards in the 20-17 loss. The Colts had a chance to remain atop the division with a win last week, but the offense fell flat. Will they rebound against the Titans or continue to fall down the standings? The Titans are trending up while the Colts are trending down. I’ll ride with Tannehill this Sunday, as he’s completely turned this season around for the Titans.
The pick: Titans 28-27 over Colts
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (FOX)
Point spread: Packers -6.5
I’m not sure if you have noticed, but the Giants are really bad. They haven’t registered a win since September, Daniel Jones leads the NFL in fumbles and Saquon Barkley hasn’t found the end zone in over a month. I get that the Packers are coming off of an embarrassing blowout loss to the 49ers, but come on, surely they can beat the Giants by a touchdown. The Packers are a very good team, and still atop the very competitive NFC North. Aaron Rodgers has thrown for 1,251 yards, 11 touchdowns and four interceptions for a 98.2 passer rating in his four games against the Giants. We know that he’s elite and on the other side of the ball, Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith continue to do their thing. They have combined for 20.5 sacks so far, and are the only pair of teammates with double digit sacks this season. Pat Shurmur needs to communicate to Jones that he cannot afford to hold the ball too long this week, and try to get it into the hands of his playmakers as quickly as possible. The Packers are motivated to avenge their ugly loss last week. They cover on Sunday.
The pick: Packers 27-17 over Giants
Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals
Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET (FOX)
Point spread: Rams -3
While this week was all about the rise of the Ravens, there was also considerable attention given to the Rams. They are the dynasty that never happened. A prospective offensive genius who was undercut by inconsistent quarterback play and a star running back with arthritis in his knee. The one-year wonder: Sean McVay. What if the Rams come out and just dominate the Cardinals? What if Jared Goff has his best performance of the season? What if they completely dominate Kyler Murray and the Cardinals? There will be plenty of analysts who will want to take the Cardinals straight up. I think that’s a sucker’s bet. Goff had two touchdowns in his last game against Arizona and is looking for his third game in a row against the Cardinals where he records a passer rating of over 100. Todd Gurley had three rushing touchdowns the last time he faced off against the Cardinals and Aaron Donald had three sacks in their last meeting. The Rams have won the past four games against the Cardinals, and I say they rebound big on Sunday.
The pick: Rams 38-21 over Cardinals
Other Week 13 picks
Panthers 27-20 over Redskins
Ravens 35-28 over 49ers
Eagles 24-13 over Dolphins
Buccaneers 28-21 over Jaguars
Chiefs 35-27 over Raiders
Texans 21-20 over Patriots