Here are my Week 13 picks with confidence level selections. The picks with a confidence level of 1-5 will be available for all NFL Pickwatch readers.
The picks with a 6+ confidence level, a group of selections that have netted a 125-48-1 record over the past two seasons (including a 42-20-1 mark this year), will be available exclusively to Pickwatch Pro subscribers.
Pickwatch Pro is a great service that allows subscribers to download the best expert data in the industry, see team-by-team winners for every expert, and provides access to Upset Watch, which has been the ultimate cheatcode to beat the sportsbooks over the last five years. Combine those elements with the top level of my weekly picks and it makes for a must-subscribe service for anyone serious about betting.
Arizona Cardinals at Chicago Bears
KC’s pick: Arizona | Confidence level: 5
The Cardinals have been able to rack up wins without Kyler Murray, but that won’t be necessary this week, as Murray is slated to be back in the starting lineup after missing three games with an ankle injury. Arizona may get a double personnel upgrade if DeAndre Hopkins is able to return as expected. Chicago’s offense has playing at a much higher level of late, racking up five straight games with 300+ offensive yards, yet they have scored only 30 points over the past two games and may be piloted by a banged-up Justin Fields in this matchup, as will try to play through multiple broken ribs. The quarterback disparity is enough to give this Arizona by a solid margin.
Los Angeles Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals
KC’s pick: Cincinnati | Confidence level: 4
The bye week came at a perfect time for the Bengals, as over the past two games they have beaten the Raiders and Steelers by a combined 73-23 score. Cincinnati did this with the combination of a powerhouse ground game that racked up 357 yards in those contests and a stingy defense that allowed only 29 first downs and 123 rushing yards in those matchups while also generating five takeaways. The Chargers aim to operate a bend but don’t break defense but allowing 27+ points in six of the past seven games and 147+ rushing yards on seven occasions this year shows that mindset just isn’t working quite like Brandon Staley was hoping it would. The confluence of those trends makes the Bengals the percentage play in this contest.
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions
KC’s pick: Minnesota | Confidence level: 5
A few weeks ago, Mike Zimmer seemed to have figured out the defensive issues that plagued his team in 2020. That isn’t the case anymore, as the Vikings have allowed 31+ points in three of the past four games and 400+ offensive yards in four of the past five contests. That has led to a penchant for getting into shootout games (contests where both teams score 24+ points) this year, which is a problem since Minnesota is 2-4 in shootouts in 2021. That problem might be too much to overcome against certain foes but shouldn’t be an issue against a Lions club that hasn’t score 20 points in a game since Week 1. Detroit’s rush defense is also a major impediment for the Silver and Blue, as the Lions have allowed 145+ rushing yards in three of their last four games. Zimmer’s defense should be able to hold the fort down well enough in this one to prevent a shootout and that ought to lead to a Vikings victory.
New York Giants at Miami Dolphins
KC’s pick: Miami | Confidence level: 4
The Giants are coming off a big divisional win, but the reality is that these teams are trending in opposite directions. New York will almost certainly be without Daniel Jones in this one and is dealing with injuries to their top three wide receivers. These personnel woes are a major factor in the Giants having scored only 23 points over the past two weeks combined. The Dolphins defense has been playing light out of late, as Miami has allowed only 46 points over the past four weeks and 10 or fewer points in three of the past four games. Ballhawking and opportunistic defense has been the key, as the Dolphins have generated 10 takeaways in the past four games. These have been key in helping Miami score 22+ points in three straight contests should provide enough impetus for the Dolphins to run their win streak to five.
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Jets
KC’s pick: Philadelphia | Confidence level: 5
The Eagles have the makings of the best ground game in the NFL, as they are only the third team since 2000 to rush for 175+ yards in five straight games. That streak could have been in jeopardy due to Jalen Hurts ankle injury, but the Jets have allowed 139+ rushing yards in three of the past six games and don’t have the look of a defense that can shut down an opponent’s ground attack. Robert Saleh deserves credit for finding ways to manufacture wins with a talent challenged team, but a mistake prone quarterback and a shaky secondary will be too much to generate a victory in this one for the Jets, so take Philadelphia in this matchup.
Washington Football Team at Las Vegas Raiders
KC’s pick: Washington | Confidence level: 2
The Week 9 bye was a well-timed game off for Antonio Gibson, as it allowed his shin injury to heal up and has led to Washington posting 436 yards in their current three-game win streak. The Football Team has also shored up their defense, as they went from allowing 300+ offensive yards in seven straight games to start the year to now allowing fewer than 300 offensive yards in four consecutive contests. The Raiders are the ultimate Jekyll and Hyde team this year, as they bounce back and forth between weak showings like losing to Kansas City and Cincinnati by a combined 73-27 score and then turning around and beating Dallas in a short week road game on Thanksgiving Day. The biggest problem for Las Vegas is this is a perfect trap game, as it sandwiches an easy to overlook foe between contests against the Cowboys and Chiefs. The projection here is that Washington will play closer to form than the Silver and Black and that will lead to an upset win for the Football Team.
Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs
KC’s pick: Kansas City | Confidence level: 3
This game may have been a potential shootout had it been played earlier this year when both of these clubs were moving the ball well on offense and giving up lots of big plays on defense. That isn’t the case now, as Kansas City has scored 20 or fewer points in four of the past five games while giving up 17 or fewer in four straight. Denver is in a similar situation on defense, having allowed 17 points or less in four of the past five. The Broncos have been more productive on their end of the scoreboard, having posted 30 points at Dallas and 28 points versus the Chargers last week, but the reality is the Denver offense goes as their defense goes. The tiebreaking element here is that the Broncos simply don’t have any effective offensive counter if Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and/or Travis Kelce has a big game, so the Chiefs rate this one.
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills
KC’s pick: New England | Confidence level: 4
Buffalo had a very convincing argument for being the best team in the league in Week 5 after they beat Kansas City 38-20 to win their fourth straight game, but they have since went south with alternating losses and wins over the past six contests. The Patriots are now the team with the strongest case as the top club in the NFL, as they have won six straight via multiple strengths, including 24+ points scored in all those games, 13 or fewer points allowed in five of those contests, 130+ rushing yards in all but one of those wins, and a 17-4 margin in takeaways versus giveaways. Buffalo has more than a few viable paths to a win, but they have been terribly inconsistent and just lost arguably their best defensive player (Tre’Davious White) to a season ending ACL tear. It’s more than enough to consider the Patriots the percentage option in this matchup.
KC’s 6+ confidence level picks, a group of selections that have gone 125-48-1 over the past two seasons (including a 42-20-1 mark this year), are available exclusively to Pickwatch Pro subscribers.