We had a losing week overall ATS, but went 3-2 on our top five picks of Week 12. It felt good to nail "Sunday Night Football" and "Monday Night Football," but I do feel silly for trying to buy into the supposed hype Cam Newton brought to Carolina. The Panthers are bad, and I doubt they will be a best bet again in this column this year.
The Week 13 slate doesn't look as enticing as Week 12 did, but there are plenty of matchups that will affect playoff positioning and then of course the Monday night showdown between the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills. I have a best bet on that game this week.
Credit to the CBS Sports Research Team for providing the information found in this column. Let's jump into the picks. Peep the season stats below.
Top five picks record: 33-27
Overall ATS record: 81-98-1
Straight up record: 108-71-1
2020 ATS record: 125-120-9 (2 official picks missed due to COVID rescheduling)
All NFL odds are via Caesars Sportsbook
New York Giants at Miami Dolphins
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox)
Daniel Jones has a neck strain that he's dealing with, and while he hasn't been ruled out just yet, there's a chance he will not play. The Giants have also lost three straight road games, which is tied for the second-longest active streak in the NFL. As for the Dolphins, they are riding a four-game win streak and gaining confidence. That goes for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa as well. Last week, he became the fourth player since 1950 to record an 80 percent completion rate in consecutive games (on at least 30 attempts in each game). Jaylen Waddle has been a big help as well.
The former Alabama star had nine receptions for a career-high 137 yards and a touchdown against the Panthers last week. His 77 receptions this season are the second-most by a player in his first 12 career games in NFL history. Only Odell Beckham Jr. (91) had more. Waddle is on pace for 109 receptions this season, which would be an NFL rookie record. Miami's defense is playing well and with Mike Glennon potentially starting, I'll put money on the Dolphins to cover.
The pick: Dolphins -4
Projected score: Dolphins 24-17
Arizona Cardinals at Chicago Bears
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox)
It appears the Cardinals will return both Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins to the starting lineup this week. Additionally, Arizona is 6-0 on the road this season and have won each road game by double digits. The Cardinals are averaging 32.8 points per game on the road, have a +101 point differential and a +13 turnover differential when playing away from Arizona.
I have zero worries about Murray's health, but I do worry when it comes to Justin Fields' health. He missed Thanksgiving Day with a ribs issue and his offensive line hasn't been able to keep him upright much this season. Chicago's defense keeps the Bears in games. That's going to be hard to do against one of the most versatile offenses in the NFL.
The pick: Cardinals -8
Projected score: Cardinals 31-16
Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
This is a big number, but the Texans' loss to the New York Jets last week was pretty eye-opening. New York didn't play good ball at all last Sunday, but you know how the Jets won that game? They took the ball out of Zach Wilson's hands, and gave it to their running backs. Wilson recorded his lowest passing yards total with 145 (besides when he exited early vs. the Patriots in Week 7 due to injury), and also had a career-low passing attempts (24). The 157 rushing yards really allowed New York to move the ball, and gut out what was a surprising win.
Interestingly enough, the Colts are similar. Jonathan Taylor is the engine that makes this offense go, not Carson Wentz. When he attempts 35 or more passes in games this season, Indy is 0-5. When he attempts fewer than 35 passes, the Colts are 6-1. The Colts are coming off of a disappointing loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but this is an opportunity to get back to basics. Where Wentz isn't throwing the ball 44 times and Taylor is rushing more than 16 times. That's when the Colts are their best.
The pick: Colts -9
Projected score: Colts 28-17
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)
How about the 49ers? Kyle Shanahan's squad is on a three-game win streak, and they have won four out of the last five. In those four wins, the 49ers scored at least 30 points. They are pounding the rock on the ground, and Elijah Mitchell has been fantastic. He has rushed for 693 yards this season, which makes him the sixth different 49ers running back to rush for 500-plus yards in a season since 2017! Deebo Samuel has been a great running back over the past couple weeks as well, but he's reportedly going to miss one to two weeks with a strained groin. I admit, I am worried about that, but this pick is more about fading the Seahawks.
I made fading the Seahawks a best bet last week and it worked out. Anyone who has watched Russell Wilson over the past few games knows something is wrong -- whether that be his finger or something mental. The Seahawks' season is virtually over, and they are just two losses away from their first 10-loss season since 2009 when Jim Mora was head coach. Seattle's offense has scored just 28 points over the past three games. You know how many points San Francisco has scored in that span? 95.
The talk this whole week has been about if Wilson will be playing for a new team in 2022. The off-field noise coupled with the lack of on-field success is a bad combination.
The pick: 49ers -3.5
Projected score: 49ers 28-24
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills
Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET (ESPN)
The game of the week! This matchup is so intriguing for multiple reasons. There's the AFC East race, the AFC race at large and this game will be a good measuring-stick matchup for rookie quarterback Mac Jones. The former Alabama signal-caller is gaining confidence every week, and is clearly getting better as well. Still, he has had the backing of a great defense and a great rushing attack. What happens when he has to shoulder the load in the passing game against one of the best defenses in the NFL?
Buffalo's defense is tied for second in the NFL with 25 takeaways, 16 of those are interceptions, and the Bills are +9 in turnover margin this season. Even without Tre'Davious white, this is a voracious group that is going to gain energy from their home crowd. To me, this seems like a let-down spot for the Patriots after six straight wins -- and Vegas appears to agree. I didn't like the line at Bills -3, but I will take Bills -2.5. Buffalo hasn't been consistent this season, but Josh Allen and the defense will get up for this big matchup.
The pick: Bills -2.5
Projected score: Bills 28-23
Other Week 13 picks
Cowboys (-4.5) 27-20 over Saints
Eagles (-6.5) 24-16 over Jets
Vikings 23-20 over Lions (+7)
Buccaneers (-11) 33-21 over Falcons
Chargers (+3) 30-28 over Bengals
Raiders (-2.5) 27-23 over Washington
Rams 30-20 over Jaguars (+13)
Ravens 23-21 over Steelers (+4.5)
Chiefs 30-23 over Broncos (+10)