BETONLINE PRO PICKS BY BARRY WILNER: NFL WEEK 13
That’s what I’m talking about!
How about a week punctuated with games between winning teams, games with postseason implications as we reach December?
It began with Buffalo’s visit to New England in the AFC East, and continues with that division’s leader, Miami, at San Francisco in the best matchup of Week 13. The other AFC East team, the Jets, take their 7-4 record to 9-2 Minnesota, the NFC North pacesetter.
Other juicy matchups have Kansas City, tops in the AFC West, traveling to Cincinnati, which is tied with Baltimore for the AFC North lead; the AFC South’s top club, the Titans, at NFC East and overall best record owner Philadelphia; and a key NFC East rivalry game with the Commanders at the Giants.
Hopefully, the spice that those contests can provide will overshadow and draw attention away from Deshaun Watson’s return to Houston with the Browns, and some potential mismatches in Dallas, Baltimore and Los Angeles. The Rams (3-8) appear destined to challenge the worst record by a defending Super Bowl champion in NFL history. That “distinction” is held by Denver, which went 6-10 in 1999, the year after John Elway retired. The Rams host the Seahawks, one of the surprise squads in a positive manner this season.
There are even some playoff-clinching scenarios this week. The Vikings take their division with a victory and a Detroit loss against Jacksonville, or by tying the Jets and a Detroit loss.
Philadelphia (10-1) gets at least a wild-card slot if it beats Tennessee and the Commanders, 49ers and Seahawks lose. Ties come into that equation, too, but that gives us a headache.
As have some of our picks.
Colts at Cowboys (-11)
Our string of picking against the Texans in this spot was profitable, but we head to North Texas for this choice.
BEST BET: COWBOYS, 33-13
Jaguars at Lions (pick-em)
Loved what we saw from Trevor Lawrence against Baltimore and that could be the Jags of the future. Not the present.
UPSET SPECIAL: LIONS, 28-27
Commanders at Giants (+3)
We were hoping New York would be favored so this could be our Upset Special.
Chiefs at Bengals (+1 1/2)
Rematch of the AFC title game in January in which Cincinnati prevailed. Not this time.
Jets at Vikings (-3)
Not quite on the Mike White bandwagon; we know there isn’t any Zach Wilson bandwagon.
Titans at Eagles (-5)
A chance for A.J. Brown to remind Tennessee what it is missing.
Dolphins at 49ers (-4)
A convincing win here for Miami would stamp it as a true Super Bowl contender. The San Francisco defense is rugged and can change games. Should be fun.
Saints at Buccaneers (-4)
Do our eyes deceive us or could New Orleans really be in the division mix with a win? Doesn’t matter …
Steelers at Falcons (+1)
Atlanta will stay in the NFC Sloth, uh, South race.
Packers at Bears (+4 1/2)
We’ll hedge here bigtime with both starting quarterbacks possibly sidelined.
PACKERS, 27-20 (if Aaron Rodgers and Justin Fields play)
PACKERS, 27-10 (if Rodgers plays and Fields sits)
PACKERS, 16-13 (if Rodgers and Fields both sit)
BEARS, 20-15 (if Fields plays and Rodgers sits)
Seahawks at Rams (+7 1/2)
We doubt anyone is feeling sorry for the defending champs. Seattle won’t.
Broncos at Ravens (-8)
This should be a rout, but the Ravens don’t do those, not even to dysfunctional Denver.
Chargers at Raiders (+1)
Two teams coming off late stirring victories but otherwise have not been trustworthy.
Browns at Texans (+7)
This is going to be a circus. How rusty will Watson be? This might have been the Best Bet with Jacoby Brissett behind center. Houston is that awful.
Wilner’s 2022 RECORD
Last Week – Straight up: 10-6. Against the spread: 7-9.
Season – Straight up: 106-62-1. Against the spread: 88-75-6.
Best Bet – Straight up: 8-4. Against the spread: 5-7.
Upset Special – Straight up: 4-8. Against the spread: 5-7.