There seems to be a number of potential locks in Week 13.
Steelers over a Washington team that only beats Dallas, Philly and Cincinnati. Packers over another team currently lacking a competent quarterback. Russell Wilson over Colt McCoy. Vikings over Jaguars at U.S. Bank Stadium in the Super Bowl LII Matchup That Could Have Been.
But let’s go with Patrick Mahomes over whatever the COVID-19 demons permit the Broncos to do at quarterback. The last time these two teams met, Denver actually had a quarterback active for the game. He threw passes and everything. And K.C. still won 43-16 on the road.
There are two upsets on tap for this week. (And please ignore last week’s moment of temporary insanity that predicted Aaron Rodgers to lose to Mitchell Trubisky).
The first upset guess is Detroit handing Mitchell’s Bears their sixth straight loss. So, congratulations, Matt Patricia. All it took to start changing that Motor City culture was you getting fired after going 13-29-1.
Meanwhile, the Upset Special is the Bills losing to the best 5-6 team in football.
Last week’s picks: 12-4; vs. the spread: 7-9.
Year to date: 114-62-1; 88-88-1
Vikings games: 6-5
Here are this week’s picks:
Jaguars (+9½) at Vikings: Vikings by 7
This one seems so easy. Too easy. Way too easy, like that Bills game in 2018. You know, the one where the Vikings lost as a 17-point favorite. The Vikings won’t lose, but let’s assume they’ll struggle more than they should, give up a late fourth-down conversion or two and survive a one-score game. Score: Vikings 34, Jaguars 27
Lions (+3) at Bears: Lions by 3
A Lions locker room that’s giddy over the news of Patricia’s firing gets a lightweight bout with Trubisky. Add it up and hand Darrell Bevell his first win as Detroit’s man in charge.
Bengals (+11½) at Dolphins: Dolphins by 14
The Bengals will be spent after putting up an admirable fight against the Giants last week. The Dolphins will snuff them out early.
Colts (-3) at Texans: Texans by 3
The Colts should just run through the Texans. But it’s never that easy for Indy. Romeo Crennel raises his record to 4-1 in the past five games.
Raiders (-8) at Jets: Raiders by 10
It’s December and the last breath of life appears to have left the 2020 Jets. The Raiders should be OK as long as Derek Carr doesn’t perform a turnover resurrection.
Saints (-3) at Falcons: Saints by 4
The Saints are due to lose. The Falcons just topped 40 points. But the New Orleans defense won’t let this upset happen.
Browns (+5½) at Titans: Titans by 3
This ode to 1970s football features two teams averaging a combined 320 yards rushing per game. Tennessee grinds out a close win with — who else? — Derrick Henry.
Giants (+10) at Seahawks: Seahawks by 7
Colt McCoy hasn’t won a start since 2014. And he’s facing Russell Wilson. Seahawks win, but beware of the double-digit spread.
Rams (-3) at Cardinals: Rams by 6
The Rams are rolling defensively, and the Cardinals are sputtering offensively. The trend continues for another week.
Eagles (+9½) at Packers: Packers by 7
Green Bay will play down to the competition, but there’s no way Rodgers isn’t winning consecutive games against Trubisky and Carson Wentz.
Patriots (pick) at Chargers: Patriots by 3
Ignoring pleas with myself to stop picking the Patriots certainly worked last week against Arizona.
Broncos (+14) at Chiefs: Chiefs by 20
The last time they met, Denver actually had a quarterback active. And the Chiefs still won by 27.
Washington (+9½) at Steelers: Steelers by 7
Against teams that now have a winning record, Washington is 0-4 and has been outscored by a combined 63 points.
Cowboys (+7) at Ravens: Ravens by 3
If you thought that previous stat was amazing, here’s a better one: When playing Washington, Dallas is 0-2 and has been outscored by 48 points.
Bills (-3) vs. 49ers at Arizona: 49ers 28, Bills 25
The 49ers are coming off a sweep of the Rams. They’re getting healthier. And having to move the game to Arizona won’t matter.
Last week’s upset special: Bears (+7½) 21, Packers 17. Result: Packers 41, Bears 25.
Upset special record: 5-7.