If I learned one thing over the weekend it's that going out on Black Friday is a horrible idea. I'm pretty sure my life flashed before my eyes at least three times, and that was just in the checkout line at Target.
Although I didn't see any shoppers fighting this year, I did notice that the Jaguars and Bills paid homage to the great tradition of Black Friday fights with a fight of their own over the weekend. Good for them.
The only downside to that fight is that Leonard Fournette got suspended, which makes me think the NFL doesn't even care about my fantasy team. I mean, how am I supposed to beat Pete Prisco in the fantasy playoffs this week without Fournette? PLEASE EXPLAIN THAT ONE NFL.
By the way, if I beat Prisco in the playoffs this week, I'm dedicating the win to all of you guys. On the other hand, I know zero percent of you care about my fantasy team, so let's get to the picks.
Actually, before we get to the fun stuff, here's your weekly reminder to check out the picks from all our other CBS Sports NFL writers, which you can do by clicking here. In Week 12, Ryan Wilson somehow managed to go 14-1 with his picks, and if you want to know which game he missed, you're going to have to click here, because I'm not going to tell you.
Alright, I think I've delayed long enough, so let's get to these picks.
NFL Week 13 Picks
Baltimore (6-5) at Atlanta (4-7)
This is one of my favorite games of the week and not just because it's on CBS or because of my recent interest in ornithology, but because I feel like it could be one of the most entertaining games during the early portion of the NFL schedule on Sunday.
On one hand, we have John Harbaugh, who has turned his quarterback situation into a giant game of Clue, and I love mysteries, so this is perfect. The Ravens coach has decided who his starting quarterback is going to be this week, so we have to solve the mystery on our own. Now, I'll be honest, Harbaugh strikes me as a guy who likes to win games and that's exactly what Lamar Jackson has been doing over the past two weeks, so I'm going to go ahead and assume that Jackson is playing. See, I told you I'm good at solving mysteries. If your options at quarterback are either a guy who's 2-0 in his career or a 33-year-old with an injured hip who hasn't played football in a month, then you don't actually have any options and you should really be going with choice one.
Either way, I'm glad this game is being played in Atlanta, because there's a 50 percent chance the city of Baltimore is going to be burnt to the ground before the end of the week and that's because I'm pretty sure it's going to be collateral damage in the inevitable Lamar vs. Flacco fan civil war that's going to break out.
Here’s the massive question of the week (that could have long-lasting effects beyond this week): If both quarterbacks are healthy, who are you starting next week on the road vs. Falcons?— Sarah Ellison (@sgellison) November 25, 2018
Sixty-two percent of fans want Jackson, which I think means only 38 percent of Baltimore is going to burn. I'm not sure how this works.
The thing about Jackson is that I'm still not sure how good he is. In this first two games, he got to go up against the NFL's worst rushing defense (Raiders) and second-worst rushing defense (Bengals), and now he's going to face a Falcons defense that isn't that great, but it's probably going to look like the 1985 Bears compared to those other two teams. Starting your career with Cincinnati and Oakland followed by a somewhat functional football team is like putting your kid on training wheels for two weeks and then asking him to jump over the grand canyon on a unicycle.
The one odd thing about this game is that neither team has won a game this season against its opposite conference. The Ravens haven't beaten an NFC South team this year (0-2) and the Falcons haven't beaten and AFC North team (0-3), so if I take that into account, I think that means I should probably pick a tie. However, I hate picking ties, so I'm going to take the Falcons.
The pick: Falcons 24-22 over Ravens
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Minnesota (6-4-1) at New England (8-3)
4:25 p.m. ET, Fox, (stream on fuboTV, try it for free)
Let me just start off here by saying that I hope everyone on the Vikings roster will be wearing a cup this week, because if you don't, there's a 40 percent chance Cordarrelle Patterson will try to castrate you during the middle of the game with his bare hands.
Although this should have been flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct based on principle alone, I went through the NFL rulebook over the weekend and apparently there's nothing in there that says you can't grab someone by the unmentionables. That being said, if Tom Brady got a four-game suspension for deflating balls, then this is arguably worth a suspension of at least 11 years.
OK, now that I got that off my chest, I think I can start talking about this game. If I've noticed one thing about the Patriots over the past 15 years, it's that they never lose at home late in the season. As a matter of fact, I'm somewhat convinced that Bill Belichick doesn't even care if they lose in September or October -- because he can use that as a motivational tactic -- but once the calendar hits December, he DOES NOT tolerate losses at Gillette Stadium. Just to make sure I wasn't making this all up in my head, I went back and looked up the Patriots record in December home games over the past 15 years and they're 29-3. Also, one of those losses came when the Patriots were resting their starters so that doesn't even technically count in my book.
Of course, if any team can slow down the Patriots, it's the Vikings and their defense, which has given up the third-fewest yards in the NFL this year. Minnesota has been so physical that I"m somewhat convinced their defense is made up of actual Vikings. After watching them play for 12 weeks, I'm not even sure what the Vikings' weakness is on defense. That being said, whatever it is, Bill Belichick has already found it and you can bet he'll be exploiting it for four-straight quarters on Sunday. Even a Vikings defensive player is expecting that to happen, which means it's going to happen.
#Vikings DT Sheldon Richardson on facing New England. He used to play the Patriots twice a year with the Jets: “They always got a loophole in the rule book or something or a different scheme that you’ve never seen before. … They find ways to put points on the board.’’— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) November 26, 2018
The pick: Patriots 23-20 over Vikings
L.A. Chargers (8-3) at Pittsburgh (7-3-1)
8:20 p.m. ET, NBC, (stream on fuboTV, try it for free)
Over the past few years, the Chargers have made some horrible decisions -- you know, like when they left San Diego -- but nothing was worse than what they did with Melvin Gordon on Sunday. Gordon was a game-time decision against the Cardinals, and let me just say that if my star running back is a game-time decision against a 2-9 team, I'm probably going to sit him just to make sure he's healthy enough to play in my next game, which is against a much better team. However, that's not what the Chargers did. They decided to let Gordon play and then things went downhill quickly from there.
OK this Melvin Gordon thing is borderline negligent by Chargers.— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) November 26, 2018
1) Gordon battling multiple injuries (including knee) is active (fine, whatever)
2) Gordon on the field in a 28-10 3rd Q blowout
3) Chargers line Gordon up at WR, run reverse when his knee gets blasted
Let me just say that I have no idea why he was on the field against Arizona. If the Chargers know anything about being the Chargers, then they should know that at least one player seems to suffer a serious injury for them every week. They've already lost two key defensive players this month (defensive tackle Corey Liuget and linebacker Denzel Perryman), they lost cornerback Jason Verrett for the year before the season even started. Tight end Hunter Henry tore his ACL in May, and I think what I'm trying to say here is that they should have kept Gordon at least 500 yards away from the field at all times on Sunday.
If Philip Rivers completes 25 straight passes again this week, then I think we can safely assume the Chargers are going to win. However, there's about a zero-percent chance of that happening, so I'm going to take the Steelers. If Gordon somehow miraculously plays, I'm still taking the Steelers, but I'll be sad about it.
The pick: Steelers 34-31 over Chargers
Seahawks special -- San Francisco (2-9) at Seattle (6-5)
4:25 p.m. ET, Fox (stream on fuboTV, try it for free)
The fact that this section is back for another week can only mean one thing: My record picking Seahawks games this year is still perfect. I picked Seattle to beat Carolina by three and then they went out and beat Carolina by three.
Now, I have no idea how the streak stayed alive in Week 12 -- I mean, Christian McCaffrey torched the Seahawks for roughly 700 yards of offense by himself -- but that doesn't matter because the streak is still alive and I'm now 11-0 on the season picking Seahawks games. I don't want to jinx anything, but if this streak makes it all the way through the season to 16-0, I feel like I should get a key to the city, or a key to the Space Needle or I'd even take a free copy of 10 Things I Hate About You since it was filmed there.
As for this week's game, it's been a rough week for the 49ers and I'm not sure a trip to Seattle is going to fix things. For one, they lost two defensive starters over the weekend in Reuben Foster (cut from the team) and safety Jimmie Ward (broke his forearm). They also have an offense that was only able to score nine points on a Buccaneers defense that was giving up 32.9 points per game going into Week 12. That's definitely a red flag.
Also, the 49ers have never beaten Russell Wilson in Seattle (0-6) and they've lost eight straight regular-season games to the Seahawks dating back to 2013. As a matter of fact, it's been so long since the 49ers' last win that they only have one player left from the last team that beat Seattle.
Of course, the silver lining here for the 49ers is that a loss here would actually be good for them because they're currently in line to get the first-overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
The pick: Seahawks 30-13 over 49ers
NFL Week 13 picks: All the rest
Result: Cowboys 13, Saints 10
Broncos 24-17 over Bengals
Packers 27-17 over Cardinals
Bills 19-16 over Dolphins
Bears 24-20 over Giants
Panthers 22-19 over Buccaneers
Colts 24-16 over Jaguars
Chiefs 37-24 over Raiders
Best pick: Last week, Ithe Jaguars by three and then the Bills went out and beat the Jaguars by three. Now, did I know that this loss was going to lead to a total meltdown in Jacksonville? Of course I did.
If I know one thing about Blake Bortles, it's that there's no one better than him at getting an offensive coordinator fired halfway through the season. The on Monday marked the THIRD TIME the Jags have fired an offensive coordinator since drafting Bortles in 2014 (Jedd Fisch was fired during in 2014 while Greg Olson was fired in 2015). If you're scoring at home, that's three coordinators who have been fired in four-and-a-half seasons. If Bortles was just half as good at football as he clearly is at getting his coordinators fired, he'd have at least three MVP trophies by now and the Jags would have won the past four Super Bowls. Look, I don't want to point any fingers here, but maybe, JUST MAYBE, the coordinators aren't the problem. On the other hand, if the Jags are just looking to hire an offensive coordinator who they can just fire in a year, I know someone they might want to talk to and his name rhymes with Cue Wackson, which takes us to my worst pick of Week 12.
Worst pick: As everyone knows, the first rule of making NFL picks is "always pick against Hue Jackson's team," and for some reason, I broke that rule last week. I actually did a lot of things last week that I'm not proud of -- I ate an entire pumpkin pie, I watched every Air Bud movie and I told my nephew that Rudolph has some sort of reindeer illness -- but the thing I'm least proud of is the fact that I picked the Bengals to beat the Browns.
When I was making my picks last week, I think my thought was that there was no way Jackson could torpedo the Bengals in just two weeks with the team, but somehow, he's managed to do that. I have no idea what his responsibilities are in Cincinnati, but I do know that he's been with the Bengals for two games and they're 0-2 in those games and I think we can call agree that's not a coincidence. The thing about Jackson is that the Browns are paying him $4.75 million NOT to coach their team this year, which probably should have been my first hint that he has no idea what he's doing on a football field. The thing is, winning football games isn't that hard, and I know that because the team in Air Bud won a bunch of games and they had a dog on their team.
Finally, if you guys have ever wondered which teams I'm actually good at picking, this is the part where I tell you, but you already know since I never stop talking about it. Through 12 weeks, I only have a perfect record picking one team: The Seahawks (11-0). Also, I'm 10-1 picking the Rams.
Teams I'm 9-2 picking: 49ers, Bears, Chargers, Bills
On the opposite end of the spectrum, my worst team is the Eagles. I'm just 4-7 picking them, which I feel is more their fault than mine. I mean, I actually thought they were going to be good this year.
Straight up in Week 12: 12-3
SU overall: 114-60-2
Against the spread in Week 12: 7-8
ATS overall: 82-89-5
Exact score predictions: 2