The week after Thanksgiving is always my favorite week of the year because it means I survived Black Friday.
I generally try to avoid everything that has to do with Black Friday, but this year, I had to venture out to pick something up and let's just say it turned out to be a worse decision than the Bills starting Nathan Peterman in Week 11. I went to three places and there were 5,000 people at each place and with that kind of crowd, the only way you're going to get the best deals is if you're willing to channel your inner Aqib Talib.
I mean, watching Talib go up against Michael Crabtree on Sunday was like watching Black Friday come to life. Crabtree had a product that Talib wanted (a chain), so Talib did what any Black Friday shopper would do and ripped it away from him.
Michael Crabtree really had his chain snatched again.... pic.twitter.com/rUigxEB6qo— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) November 26, 2017
I'm still not sure why Talib got suspended for two games because he was just doing what every other American did over the weekend. I mean, who didn't yank a gold chain away from someone. Half the spirit of the holiday season is picking a fight with someone around Black Friday and no one knows that better than the people of Alabama.
JUST IN: @HooverPD say they responded to several reports of fights at the Galleria Thursday night. Here's video of one incident outside the Buckle store. More on @WBRCnews this morning. pic.twitter.com/UZEZQGykGE— Clare Huddleston (@Fox6Clare) November 24, 2017
Kudos to you, Alabama.
By the way, the twist in the Talib-Crabtree story is that Sunday's incident was actually the second time that Talib has stolen a chain from Crabtree.
the 30 for 30 on this crabtree and talib rivaly gonna be great tho.— Tony X. (@soIoucity) November 26, 2017
"What if i told you his grandma gave him that chain" pic.twitter.com/XKbbqmiL6I
At this point, my only theory is that Talib is holding an annual garage sale where he sells everything he has taken from Crabtree over the past year. If he's smart, he'll hold the garage sale this weekend since he has some extra free time now that he's suspended for two games.
Anyway, let's get to something that might actually be crazier than Black Friday: My Week 13 picks.
Actually, before we get to the picks, here's your weekly reminder that you can check out the picks from every CBSSports.com NFL Expert by clicking here.
The reason you should click over and check out the other experts this week is because my CBSSports.com colleague Ryan Wilson went 14-2 with his picks. Although I can't say for sure, I think his strategy each week is to read my picks and then do the opposite of whatever I do.
Let's find out what he's going to do the opposite of this week.
NFL Week 13 Picks
Minnesota (9-2) at Atlanta (7-4)
1 p.m. ET (Fox)
"Always have a plan B" and "Don't commit to anyone for more than a week" isn't just college dating advice anymore. it's also how Mike Zimmer is handling his quarterback situation. I haven no idea why, but somehow it's working. The Vikings are on a seven-game winning streak and no matter how many times Case Keenum leads them to a victory, Zimmer refuses to commit to him for the season.
If I've learned one thing from watching the past six seasons of "The Bachelor," it's that people hate when you don't commit to them. Although Keenum is not looking over his shoulder now, it's easy to envision a scenario where he plays one or two bad games and everyone in Minnesota starts calling for his head. I mean, just look at what's happening to Alex Smith in Kansas City. If it were up to Chiefs fans, Andy Reid would be fired, Smith would be benched and Patrick Mahomes would take both of their jobs.
I think the point I'm trying to make here is that a letdown game is coming for Keenum and I wouldn't be surprised if it happens here. I've picked against the Vikings for two straight weeks, so why don't we just make it three in a row. Also, there's just no way I'm going to pick against Uncle Rico in this game.
Matt Ryan or Uncle Rico? pic.twitter.com/km9zBchZqJ— Neeta Sreekanth (@NeetaSreekanth) November 26, 2017
Even the Vikings seem slightly intimidated by Uncle Rico's offense.
Facing the Falcons offense on the road could be the #Vikings biggest test so far.— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) November 28, 2017
📰: https://t.co/fMHO3jflxq pic.twitter.com/AKpeeMd2RF
Uncle Rico can throw the ball over a mountain, so I'd say the Vikings are rightfully worried here.
The pick: Falcons 34-27 over Vikings
Carolina (8-3) at New Orleans (8-3)
4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)
Don't be surprised if Sean Payton gives the Fox guys a hug this week when they show up to televise this game and that's mainly because the Saints are undefeated in Fox-broadcast games this season. I'm not sure if Rupert Murdoch is behind this, but the Saints are 8-0 this season on Fox and 0-3 elsewhere. There hasn't been a run like this on Fox since the original "24" aired (2001-10).
For the Panthers, it doesn't seem to matter what network they are on when they play the Saints because the same thing always seems to happen: They get steamrolled by the Saints offense. Although the Panthers regularly have one of the best defenses in the NFL, they can never seem to slow down New Orleans. In the past four meetings, the Saints have averaged 33.3 points, which means I should probably go ahead and assume they're going to go score at least that many points this time around. As a matter of fact, Alvin Kamara might score 33.3 points on his own.
Fox might actually want to rate this game TV-MA -- based on what I've seen from Kamara, that's the kind of talent that should be limited to mature audiences only.
The sad thing about this game being played is that it means one of these teams has to lose. The NFC South just seems like a better place when the Falcons are in third behind two teams that are 8-3.
The panthers are 8-3.— Jase [mmmmmmm pie] (@JaseIntheHole) November 27, 2017
The saints are 8-3.
That’s 2 8-3 teams above Atlanta in the standings.
The falcons blew a 28-3 lead in the super bowl.
I like that tweet so much that I'm going to go with 33-28 as the final score for this game because I want as many 28s and threes in there as possible.
The pick: Saints 33-28 over Panthers
Philadelphia at Seattle
8:30 p.m. ET (NBC)
If the Eagles lose this week, fans in Philadelphia should blame it on LeBron James because I think he has gone and completely jinxed the team. James is a longtime fan of both the Cowboys and the Browns and as I'm sure you've noticed, both of those teams have been struggling this season. Since James doesn't cheer for losers, he has decided to jump on the Wentzwagon. Someone in Philly should tell him that the Wentzwagon is full.
LeBron James: "I've got three guys that I love watching play: Tom Brady, Antonio Brown mixed with Le'Veon Bell -- they're on the same team so I get an opportunity to watch the same guys at the same time -- and my favorite player right now is Carson Wentz." #Eagles— Jessica Camerato (@JCameratoNBCS) November 27, 2017
You hear that Carson? You're LeBron's favorite player.
It seems that King James approves of you, but I'm guessing it's only because he thinks you're Prince Harry.
Has anyone ever seen Prince Harry and Carson Wentz in the same room? pic.twitter.com/KxcRd5sR3q— History of Sports (@BeforeFamePics) November 27, 2017
The one thing that scares me about the Eagles is that I have no idea how good they are. Yes, they're definitely good, but considering the fact that they've only played two teams that currently have a winning record, it's hard to gauge how good. In those two games, the Eagles went 1-1 with a win over the Panthers and a loss to the Chiefs.
On the other hand, the Seahawks haven't been much better. Actually, they've been worse: Seattle has played three teams that currently have a winning record and they've gone 1-2. So this is a game between two teams who are good, but I'm not sure how good.
My first rule of making picks used to be "Never pick against the Seahawks at home in a prime-time game," but now I think I'm going to replace that with "Never pick against the royal family." There's just no way Carson Wentz/Prince Harry is going to lose in his first game after getting engaged.
If you watch this game, keep in mind that it is a prime-time game in Seattle, so there's a 90 percent chance that it turns into an officiating circus and we see at least one penalty called due to the fact that someone broke a rule that we didn't even know existed.
The pick: Eagles 27-24 over Seahawks
Pittsburgh (9-2) at Cincinnati (5-6)
8:30 p.m. ET, Monday (ESPN)
My entire family lives in Cincinnati, which I'm only telling you because I'll be visiting them this week. Also, I'll be at this game Monday night, mainly because I've always wanted to witness an Andy Dalton prime-time meltdown in person.
Actually, the real reason I'm attending this game is because my dad is one of several former Bengals players being honored at halftime and I would be the worst son ever if I didn't go.
Number 5 in the #Bengals First 50: Jim Breech— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) July 20, 2017
Leading scorer in franchise history, 9-9 in OT FGs.
📰: https://t.co/MbUIWrIqkM#Bengals50 pic.twitter.com/ZmhhgPCwBr
During the offseason, he was voted the fifth-best Bengals player of all-time, which is a victory for kickers everywhere because kickers never get voted into the top five of anything. I could probably write an entire book about his NFL career, but since I don't have that kind of space here, I'll just briefly mention Super Bowl XXIII.
Al Michaels just talking Super Bowl XXIII with @CollinsworthPFF. Here's sad Jim Breech and sad Collinsworth in the final minute. #OAKvsMIA pic.twitter.com/SyMQRu45LB— John Breech (@johnbreech) November 6, 2017
If you've ever seen any highlights from Super Bowl XXIII, one of those highlights was probably Joe Montana throwing the winning touchdown to John Taylor with 34 seconds left to play that put the 49ers on top 20-16. What most people don't know is that if Montana had failed on that drive, my dad likely would've been voted Super Bowl MVP and I likely would've turned out more insufferable than I already am. He scored 10 of the Bengals' 16 points in the game and the only points he didn't score came on a kickoff return for a touchdown. The Bengals' offense sputtered and the defense surrendered more than 400 yards.
Basically, the stars perfectly aligned for a kicker to possibly win the MVP. Just ask Boomer Esiason. The 1988 NFL MVP, who was the Bengals' quarterback in the game, says it was pretty clear who would've won the MVP if the Bengals had won.
Solid episode of Inside the NFL ths week and I'm not just saying that because Boomer gave a shout out to my dad. pic.twitter.com/23n03XIWQd— John Breech (@johnbreech) December 11, 2015
The Bengals didn't win, though.
Although he has been retired since 1992, my dad does still hold one NFL record: Most overtime field goals without a miss.
By the way, if you want to know how long it has been since the Bengals won a playoff game, my dad was the last Bengals player to score a point in a Bengals playoff victory. Again, he hasn't played since 1992.
As for that Dalton prime-time meltdown, I actually don't think it's going to happen. Believe it or not, Dalton is actually the only starting quarterback who hasn't thrown an interception since Week 8. In that span, he has thrown for nine touchdowns and zero interceptions, which are numbers I didn't believe until I looked them up, and even after looking them up, I still didn't believe them.
Since I don't want my family to disown me and I want to make it out of Cincinnati alive, I'm taking the Bengals, and because I just spent 150 words writing about a kicker, I'm going to say they win by a field goal.
The pick: Bengals 23-20 over Steelers
NFL Week 13 picks: All the rest
- Cowboys 33-30 over Redskins
- Patriots 30-17 over Bills
- Bears 16-13 over 49ers
- Packers 23-16 over Buccaneers
- Titans 26-23 over Texans
- Broncos 20-17 over Dolphins
- Jets 22-19 over Chiefs
- Jaguars 20-13 over Colts
- Chargers 27-17 over Browns
- Lions 24-20 over Ravens
- Raiders 27-20 over Giants
- Rams 34-24 over Cardinals
Best pick: In my Week 12 picks, I said the Patriots would beat the Dolphins 34-17 and clearly, I know Bill Belichick better than Bill Belichick knows Bill Belichick, because that's almost exactly what happened. The actual final score of the game was 35-17. The one thing I didn't predict was that Rob Gronkowski would take Brandin Cooks on a free piggyback tour of Gillette Stadium.
#Patriots bouta ride Cooks and Gronk all the way to the Super Bowl 🐎 pic.twitter.com/JxdXEaG9Xu— Casey Baker (@CaseyBake16) November 26, 2017
For some reason, I feel like Gronk has probably pulled off that move before, except at the club and not with a teammate.
Worst pick: I made some horrible predictions last week, but none of them were as bad as the one Jarvis Landry made during the offseason. In April, Landry predicted that the Dolphins would sweep the Patriots in 2017.
Jarvis Landry says Dolphins will sweep Patriots in 2017: 'They're not our big brother anymore' https://t.co/kfKq2pilAF pic.twitter.com/7NmTmyROy5— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) April 12, 2017
As far as bad NFL predictions go, picking the Browns to win the Super Bowl this year is probably the only way you could've done worse than Landry's prediction. For the record, I did not pick the Browns to win the Super Bowl this year, I picked the Patriots, because, like I said, I know Belichick better than Belichick knows Belichick and we both know they're going to win the Super Bowl.
As for my worst prediction of Week 12, that honor definitely goes to the Titans-Colts game. Last week, I spent about four paragraphs babbling about how the Colts seem to blow a fourth-quarter lead every week and then I picked them anyway, and I think we all know what happened: The Colts blew a fourth-quarter lead.
It's pretty clear that all the blown leads have finally started to take their toll on Chuck Pagano. He's basically at the point where he would rather talk about ANYTHING other than football during his press conferences.
You want to talk football? GO TO A BELICHICK PRESS CONFERENCE.
You want a detailed plot breakdown of the movie "Groundhog Day?" CHUCK PAGANO IS YOUR MAN.
I'm not sure how to describe today's presser by #Colts Chuck Pagano....Watch for yourself. pic.twitter.com/SVIfxqB5Hx— Clark Wade (@ClarkWade34) November 27, 2017
I haven't seen anyone ramble like that since Kanye showed up at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards.
Now, I'm not saying Pagano is going to get fired at the end of the season, but it's definitely not a good sign for your football team when your coach knows more about the plot to "Groundhog Day" than he does about your offensive playbook.
There's a 100 percent chance that I'll be mailing Pagano a VHS copy of "Groundhog Day" for Christmas.
Finally, if you guys have ever wondered which teams I'm actually good (or bad) at picking, here's a quick look.
Teams I'm 10-1 picking this year: Eagles, Browns
Teams I'm 3-8 picking this year: Jaguars
Every other team is somewhere in the middle.
Note: Fortunately for all of us, I'm not 0-11, 1-10 or 2-9 picking any team this year
Straight up in Week 12: 11-5
SU overall: 109-67
Against the spread in Week 12: 5-10-1
ATS overall: 84-85-7
You can find John Breech on Facebook or Twitter and if he's not doing one of those things, he's probably watching Super Bowl XXIII highlights.