NFL Week 13 Picks: Vikes topple Cowboys, Steelers blast Giants by double digits

It was a decent bounce-back week last week, with my best bets going 3-2 and overall ending up 9-6-1. I should've gone 4-1 with the best bets, but the Lions just want to win every single close game and dagger the point spread. That's twice they've burned me when I've been on Minnesota's side.

But that isn't gonna stop me from dipping back in the Vikings well. They're underdogs at home on a fully rested week with a very desperate team that needs a win in a big spot. The Mike Zimmer eye surgery news isn't making me feel better about this pick, per se, but we're going with it anyway.

My man Dave Richard went a scorching 14-1-1 on the entire board last week, putting me in need of a huge week to catch him as we head down the home stretch for the CBS Sports picks. This is where we get warm.

Vikings +3.5 vs. Cowboys: Starting things off with a bang, because the Vikings have a legitimate shot at an upset here. Zimmer's absence is extremely concerning, but there are multiple former head coaches (Pat Shurmer, Tony Sparano) on the staff to ease the transition. Minnesota's defense can bottle up the Cowboys run game and put the onus to win on Dak Prescott. The Vikings offense isn't good, but Minnesota can protect Bradford against Dallas' defense. I think the desperate Vikings steal this game Thursday night.

Texans +6.5 at Packers: This is a line heavily influenced by the outcome of last week's games. The Packers looked really good against the Eagles, playing well and winning for the first time in a month. Aaron Rodgers is BACK or something (he maybe never left). The Texans fumbled their way through a loss against the Chargers, unable to do anything on offense because of Brock Osweiler. But the Packers defense isn't great and Lamar Miller/DeAndre Hopkins should ultimately have a field day. The Texans will keep things close.

Steelers -6 vs. Giants: Weird line here for a team that's 8-3 to be underdogs by nearly a touchdown. The Steelers are good, and the current favorites in the AFC North, but they're not even leading the division. On the other hand, it's entirely possible that Ben Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown come out and catch fire again like they did on Thanksgiving. The Giants are a much better defense than the Colts, but this offense is rounding into shape and it gets rolling here.

Panthers +7 at Seahawks: Weird for Seattle to be favored by more points than it scored last week. The Panthers have gagged away two games against the AFC West they should have won and are a better team than 4-7. But Bill Parcells has a saying and there's nothing Carolina can do it about, except go out and try to steal a few games. Seattle's offensive line is a mess and Luke Kuechly could be back -- I expect the Panthers to limit Russell Wilson's production. If Earl Thomas is out or limited, Cam Newton will put up numbers.

Jets +2 vs. Colts: Surprising to see a team like the Colts favored on the road. They're desperate, sure, and should get Andrew Luck back. But they're not a good football team. And the Jets are a bad matchup for Indy, with a strong defensive line and decent run game. They'll put pressure on Luck and get some shots down the field from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Brandon Marshall as the Jets win this one and bury the Colts' season.

Last Week Best Bets: 3-2

Last Week Overall: 9-6-1

Best Bets Season: 28-26

Season Overall: 86-82-9

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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