B/R Expert Consensus NFL Picks for Week 13

NFL StaffContributor INovember 27, 2019

B/R Expert Consensus NFL Picks for Week 13

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    Patrick Smith/Getty Images

    Thanksgiving is here, and so is the NFL home stretch. There are no more bye weeks. Eighty games remain, which comes out to exactly five per team. Some are looking to lock up playoff spots, some are tanking and others are merely seeking redemption. 

    Bleacher Report NFL analysts Gary Davenport, Brad Gagnon and Brent Sobleski can relate to that final group when it comes to picking games against the spread. 

    Here's the damage with the regular season 69 percent complete (last week's records in parentheses):

    1. Brad Gagnon: 88-87-1 (7-7) 

    2. Brent Sobleski: 83-92-1 (7-7)

    3. Gary Davenport: 79-96-1 (8-6)

    Consensus picks: 79-96-1 (6-8)

    Moneyline consensus: 114-60-2 (9-4-1)

    And here are 16 fresh, super-early predictions as the home stretch gets underway. 

                 

    Lines from Caesars as of 10 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Nov. 26.

Chicago Bears (5-6) at Detroit Lions (3-7-1)

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    It's always a little scary to pick against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving. It's a special game for the Lions, and the road team is always traveling on the shortest week of the NFL season. But Detroit has lost and failed to cover in back-to-back Thanksgiving games, and it is just 1-5 straight-up and 0-6 against the spread dating back to Week 6. 

    The depleted Lions look like they're toast, while the Chicago Bears are at least somewhat alive following a 2-1 stretch. And although Chicago quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has struggled in his third season, he's managed to move the ball in those two recent victories. Meanwhile, with starter Matthew Stafford hampered by a back problem and backup Jeff Driskel dealing with a hamstring injury, the Lions' quarterback situation is a mess. 

    It's enough for all three of our analysts to lay three points with the Bears at Ford Field, where they won 23-16 last year on Turkey Day. 

    "Don't get me wrong," Davenport said. "I have about as much confidence in the Chicago offense as I have desire to eat Aunt Gladys' oyster stuffing on Thanksgiving. But the Lions came crashing back to earth offensively in Washington last week, and the Detroit D has been hot garbage most of the year. At least the Bears can play defense."

         

    Predictions
    Davenport: Chicago (-3)
    Gagnon: Chicago (-3)
    Sobleski: Chicago (-3)
    Consensus: Chicago (-3)

    Score Prediction: Bears 20, Lions 14

Buffalo Bills (8-3) at Dallas Cowboys (6-5)

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    Ron Schwane/Associated Press

    The Buffalo Bills have played one of the softest schedules in the NFL, but they're 2-0 ATS this season against teams with winning records. If they can beat the Tennessee Titans on the road and hang with the New England Patriots, the majority of our panelists figure they can get within six points of a Dallas Cowboys squad that has lost all four of its games against winning teams. 

    "So much attention has been placed on the Patriots and 49ers defenses that most probably don't realize the Bills own the NFL's third-ranked unit," Sobleski said. "This is significant because the Cowboys have struggled to put together complete offensive efforts, especially when they face disciplined and talented units. As long as the Bills can keep Amari Cooper or Ezekiel Elliott in check, which they absolutely can, Josh Allen and Co. can keep this contest close or come out with an outright win."

    The Cowboys haven't looked crisp since they pulled away from the weak New York Giants in the second half of a Week 9 Monday-nighter. Injuries have factored in, and Elliott hasn't been himself.

    Buffalo is a lot healthier, and the Bills, who are 4-1 on the road this season, should benefit from the fact the Cowboys are coming off a grueling experience in Foxborough. Plus, the Cowboys have failed to cover the spread in seven of their last 10 Thanksgiving home games, so they're far from infallible in this spot. 

    Still, we don't have a unanimous consensus after Davenport flipped when the line dropped below a touchdown, which is fair considering how badly the Cowboys need this game. Elliott could be due for a bounce-back against a run defense that ranks 26th in the league in DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) at Football Outsiders

         

    Predictions
    Davenport: Dallas (-6.5)
    Gagnon: Buffalo (+6.5)
    Sobleski: Buffalo (+6.5)
    Consensus: Buffalo (+6.5)

    Score Prediction: Cowboys 24, Bills 21

New Orleans Saints (9-2) at Atlanta Falcons (3-8)

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    Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

    Three weeks ago, the New Orleans Saints lost by 17 points to the Atlanta Falcons at home. So why should anyone expect New Orleans to beat Atlanta by at least a touchdown on the road this week? 

    All three of our analysts are boldly predicting just that, mainly because that Week 10 result looks like an anomaly. 

    "I'll confess to having some reservations about laying this many points on the Saints on the road against a Falcons team that thumped them in the Superdome just a couple of weeks ago," Davenport said. "But I picked the Falcons last week and paid the price paid by all foolish souls who trust Atlanta. I don't need to add to it. Atlanta's two-game winning streak was a mirage. It is not a good football team. Throw in the payback factor and this could be a blowout."

    The payback factor is huge for a Saints team that has the experience to learn from mistakes in season.

    The Falcons have lost four consecutive home games, with three of those losses coming by at least 13 points. The offense is extremely banged up, and top receiver Julio Jones might have to fight through a shoulder injury on short rest. The pass rush has been nonexistent much more often than it has been effective, and you can bet New Orleans head coach Sean Payton has made significant adjustments after they struggled in pass protection during the last meeting. 

    Even without left tackle Terron Armstead, who's out with an ankle sprain, the Saints are the safer pick with a one-score spread.

         

    Predictions
    Davenport: New Orleans (-7)
    Gagnon: New Orleans (-7)
    Sobleski: New Orleans (-7)
    Consensus: New Orleans (-7)

    Score Prediction: Saints 31, Falcons 17

Cleveland Browns (5-6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5)

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    Michael Hickey/Getty Images

    "The Cleveland Browns are a better team than the Pittsburgh Steelers," Gagnon admitted in his assessment of Sunday's matchup between the two. "But I still don't trust them, and I'm not putting too much stock into home wins over Buffalo, Pittsburgh and the horrible Miami Dolphins. They remain undisciplined and inconsistent, and they've lost three straight road games.

    "Pittsburgh is at home this time and will have made adjustments for a revenge opportunity against a Browns team missing top defensive player Myles Garrett for obvious reasons.

    "That should make it harder for Cleveland to exploit Pittsburgh's weak offense, which has been much more efficient anyway with Devlin Hodges at quarterback in place of Mason Rudolph. I can't believe the Steelers are actually getting points under those circumstances."

    Nor can Davenport, which makes Pittsburgh his pick. 

    The Steelers also got a boost last week from the play of rookie running back Benny Snell Jr., who broke out with 98 yards on 21 carries in a victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. And while the Cleveland offense is more talented than Pittsburgh's, you could certainly make an argument that the Steelers defense is the best unit in this matchup. 

    But the facts remain: The Browns are hot, and the Steelers likely have a lower ceiling. So while the Browns might not be trustworthy and are likely to face an especially hostile atmosphere at Heinz Field, it's not hard to imagine them winning by a field goal. 

    Sobleski can see it, which is why there's no unanimous consensus here. And it's worth noting that those picking against the majority as lone wolves are 57-43-1 this season.

         

    Predictions
    Davenport: Pittsburgh (+2)
    Gagnon: Pittsburgh (+2)
    Sobleski: Cleveland (-2)
    Consensus: Pittsburgh (+2)

    Score Prediction: Steelers 21, Browns 17

Green Bay Packers (8-3) at New York Giants (2-9)

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Sometimes, K-I-S-S is the best approach—keep it simple, stupid. And that's the theme Sobleski utilized in defending the gang's decision to unanimously lay 6.5 points with the Green Bay Packers visiting the New York Giants on Sunday. 

    "The Giants aren't any good," Sobleski said. "New York is on a seven-game losing streak, and head coach Pat Shurmur looks like he won't have a job in the near future. The Packers, meanwhile, should rebound after being thumped by the San Francisco 49ers. It really is that simple."

    Last week's loss to the 49ers was Green Bay's third of the season. After the first two, the Packers bounced back strong with relatively easy victories over the Cowboys and Carolina Panthers. Aaron Rodgers has won and covered in each of his last four games coming off 14-plus-point losses, with an average margin of victory of 15.8 in those affairs.

    "The Giants might have kept it close in Chicago last week," Gagnon said, "but this team couldn't hang around at all against the Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots, or even the Bills and Cowboys. A banged-up Saquon Barkley doesn't look ready to take advantage of a good matchup, and Daniel Jones is likely to struggle against a strong pass rush. This should be a blowout."

         

    Predictions
    Davenport: Green Bay (-6.5)
    Gagnon: Green Bay (-6.5)
    Sobleski: Green Bay (-6.5)
    Consensus: Green Bay (-6.5)

    Score Prediction: Packers 28, Giants 17

New York Jets (4-7) at Cincinnati Bengals (0-11)

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    Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    The New York Jets have covered the spread in three consecutive impressive victories, which is why it was somewhat surprising when they opened as a mere four-point favorite for their Week 13 matchup with the winless Cincinnati Bengals. 

    The Bengals have since gone back to veteran Andy Dalton at quarterback, but the line has barely moved.

    "Obviously the move back to Dalton gives me pause," Gagnon admitted. "But he still has nobody to throw to except Tyler Boyd, and his offensive line is still a catastrophe. I just wish the spread moved more when he was reinstalled as the starter. That hook scares me, but I'm still not getting behind a Bengals team that was lucky to earn even three covers in eight Dalton starts earlier this year.

    "Besides, the Jets are a semi-talented team that is finally living up to preseason expectations. They've scored exactly 34 points in three consecutive games. And yeah, that was against weak competition, but the Bengals are the weakest of the weak! You might want to predict some regression to the mean for the Jets, but Cincinnati's 32nd-ranked defense is even more likely to regress after allowing only 33 total points against the Steelers and Oakland Raiders."

    That unit is likely to have its hands full against Jets quarterback Sam Darnold, who has thrown seven touchdowns to one interception for a 117.2 passer rating during New York's three-game winning streak. 

    Buy back half a point as insurance if you can, but Gang Green is the pick here. 

         

    Predictions
    Davenport: New York (-3.5)
    Gagnon: New York (-3.5)
    Sobleski: New York (-3.5)
    Consensus: New York (-3.5)

    Score Prediction: Jets 26, Bengals 17

Philadelphia Eagles (5-6) at Miami Dolphins (2-9)

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    Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

    The Philadelphia Eagles are now officially trying to save their season. And while Philly hasn't been right for much of the year, we all know how well-coached, experienced teams react when their backs are against the wall. 

    While there are some reasons to be concerned about the state of Philadelphia's offense, the defense has surrendered just 15.3 points per game since Week 8, and the Miami Dolphins' atrocious D could be just what the doctor ordered for Carson Wentz and Co. 

    Considering that Philly has already won by seven-plus points in Green Bay and Buffalo, all of our experts are willing to lay nine points with the Eagles in Miami. 

    "At this point, it's fair to question whether Wentz's struggles are being caused by all Philly's injuries at receiver or are just being exacerbated by them," Davenport said. "His turnover-filled clunker against the Seattle Seahawks was a big fat yam of a game (yams are gross…come at me, bro). But the Dolphins can't run the ball a lick, and the defense is awful. Never mind that Miami is back to losing by sizable margins again after showing some fight for a month or so."

    Yeah, the Dolphins covered in five consecutive weeks after a historically bad start, but their completely gutted roster has caught up with them again. They enter this game coming off back-to-back three-score losses in which they surrendered a combined 78 points to the Bills and Browns—neither of whom are offensive juggernauts.

    Look for Wentz to benefit from the fact that his supporting cast is slowly getting healthier versus a bad team.

         

    Predictions
    Davenport: Philadelphia (-9)
    Gagnon: Philadelphia (-9)
    Sobleski: Philadelphia (-9)
    Consensus: Philadelphia (-9)

    Score Prediction: Eagles 30, Dolphins 17

San Francisco 49ers (10-1) at Baltimore Ravens (9-2)

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    Bryan Woolston/Getty Images

    Sometimes a team has so much going for it that you can't pick against the club, no matter the spread or level of competition. That might at least partly explain why the majority of our analysts are predicting the Baltimore Ravens will cover a sixth consecutive spread Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. 

    "Hoo boy, this is going to be fun," Sobleski said. "The matchup fits the old cliche: the unstoppable force meets the immovable object. Lamar Jackson is the deciding factor in the Ravens' favor, because the 49ers' dominant defensive front won't be able to pin its ears back like it normally does. Instead, the uber-talented group must play disciplined assignment football. Whereas, the Ravens can take advantage of San Francisco's aggressiveness with the game's best designed ground game."

    The 49ers offense is at its best when it can focus on the ground game against soft run defenses, but Baltimore has the league's third-ranked run D. That could give an opportunistic defense a number of chances to exploit Jimmy Garoppolo, who hasn't been immune to turnovers. On defense, San Francisco has struggled a bit against mobile quarterbacks—namely Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray. 

    This will be a whole other challenge. 

    While Baltimore is just the fifth team this century to win five consecutive games by 14 or more points, San Francisco played three close games before crushing the Packers in Week 12. Now the 49ers are traveling to Baltimore, where Jackson is 8-1 in his career as a starter. 

         

    Predictions
    Davenport: Baltimore (-6)
    Gagnon: San Francisco (+6)
    Sobleski: Baltimore (-6)
    Consensus: Baltimore (-6)

    Score Prediction: Ravens 28, 49ers 20

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7) at Jacksonville Jaguars (4-7)

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Betting on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is never easy with Jameis Winston at quarterback. But Winston has supplemented a lot of his gaffes of late with splash plays, and he's benefited from a surging running game featuring Ronald Jones II and Peyton Barber. 

    That has our gang backing Tampa Bay as a small road underdog against the free-falling Jacksonville Jaguars. 

    "I really want to fade the public and predict a bounce-back game for the Jaguars," Gagnon said, "but the Jags look like they have nothing left this season. They've been crushed in three consecutive games, the defense can't tackle, and this is a terrible matchup for them. Their short-handed secondary will have trouble keeping up with Tampa's talented receiving corps, while an offense that runs through Leonard Fournette is going up against the league's No. 2-ranked run defense.

    "Tampa Bay's running game has also improved, and Jacksonville has the worst DVOA in the NFL when defending the run. This is a nightmare scenario for a team that probably just realized its season is essentially over anyway."

    The Bucs, though, don't appear to be quitting. Winston is playing for his job, and it's notable that his team has performed well on the road. The Bucks are 3-3 away from home, with an overtime loss in Seattle and a four-point defeat (that probably should have been a win) in Tennessee. 

    Still, Davenport has a warning for anyone considering spending money on this one. 

    "Ooh…this game should be fun," he said, tongue firmly in cheek. "Nothing says high-quality entertainment like two mediocre quarterbacks battling to see who can throw the most back-breaking interception. The reality is that I have no feel whatsoever for this game. It's the mystery casserole of this Thanksgiving buffet of football goodness. If you go anywhere near it, you'll probably spend most of the day on the toilet. Winston throws a late score here that half-suckers the Buccaneers into re-signing him."

         

    Predictions
    Davenport: Tampa Bay (+1)
    Gagnon: Tampa Bay (+1)
    Sobleski: Tampa Bay (+1)
    Consensus: Tampa Bay (+1)

    Score Prediction: Buccaneers 26, Jaguars 21

Tennessee Titans (6-5) at Indianapolis Colts (6-5)

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    AJ Mast/Associated Press

    Two of our three analysts want to know who believes the Tennessee Titans are better than the Indianapolis Colts. That doesn't make sense to Gagnon, but this line and public betting indicate the Titans are considered to be at least on Indy's level. 

    "That's ridiculous," Gagnon said. "The Colts are at home on extra rest against a team they've dominated of late, and they're laying less than a field goal? This line is a significant overreaction to Indy's recent stumbles and Tennessee's last two victories, and I'm expecting a huge correction here. The Colts have one of the best coaches in the game in Frank Reich, and he's had a few bonus days to prep for an unreliable opponent. 

    "Excluding that aberrational 2017 season when they tanked without Andrew Luck, the Colts have won 14 consecutive games against Tennessee, with the Titans covering only once in that eight-year stretch. That includes an Indy victory over the Titans on the road in September, so there's little reason to expect Tennessee to win this one. With only 2.5 points to lay, this is a no-brainer."

    Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill is playing surprisingly well, and running back Derrick Henry is coming off a huge performance against Jacksonville. But the inconsistent Henry always dominates the Jags, while Tannehill has feasted on some of the league's worst defenses. The Colts have a top-12 pass defense in terms of DVOA, and the run D has surrendered the league's third-lowest yards-per-attempt average since Week 9. 

    Still, we lack a unanimous consensus, and Sobleski is allowed to be worried about a Colts team that lost at home to the bloody Dolphins a few weeks ago. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett doesn't make splash plays with his arm, while the resurgent Tannehill leads the NFL in yards per pass attempt

    It's possible these teams are simply headed in opposite directions, so be careful with this one. 

         

    Predictions
    Davenport: Indianapolis (-2.5)
    Gagnon: Indianapolis (-2.5)
    Sobleski: Tennessee (+2.5)
    Consensus: Indianapolis (-2.5)

    Score Prediction: Colts 23, Titans 17

Washington Redskins (2-9) at Carolina Panthers (5-6)

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    Mark Brown/Getty Images

    The Carolina Panthers are double-digit favorites Sunday despite losing four of five games to essentially fall out of playoff contention. And while nobody wants to put their hard-earned dollars on the Washington Redskins, a 10-point spread is too much for the majority of our experts.

    "This could easily be a blowout because the Redskins remain horrible, but I don't trust that Carolina has the firepower to cover a 10-point spread right now," Gagnon said. "The Panthers might feel defeated following a draining loss to the New Orleans Saints. They've won just once since Week 7, and they have just one victory by more than 11 points this year."

    Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen is coming off a strong game against New Orleans, but that could work against him here because he's been extremely inconsistent this year. Allen's only other two triple-digit-rated performances this season were followed by games in which the Panthers scored 16 or fewer points, with Allen throwing zero touchdown passes in those affairs.

    The Redskins, who quietly have six takeaways the past two weeks, could be ready to pounce. And while star Carolina back Christian McCaffrey could break this thing open, he's hit a bit of a wall, with his production dipping in three consecutive outings.

    So if Carolina doesn't gain a significant early lead, it could be hard to pull away by exploiting Redskins rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins' weaknesses. A close game early could enable Washington to get Adrian Peterson and/or Derrius Guice going against a run D that ranks 31st in DVOA.

    Still, it's probably for the best that Davenport has robbed our gang of a unanimous consensus. This is one to avoid.

       

    Predictions
    Davenport: Carolina (-10)
    Gagnon: Washington (+10)
    Sobleski: Washington (+10)
    Consensus: Washington (+10)

    Score Prediction: Panthers 24, Redskins 17

Los Angeles Rams (6-5) at Arizona Cardinals (3-7-1)

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    John Hefti/Associated Press

    The Los Angeles Rams' playoff hopes are now hanging by a thread after an embarrassing home loss to the Ravens on Monday night. They sure looked crushed in that spot, and that has the majority of our experts taking points with the rested Arizona Cardinals on Sunday in Glendale.

    "Sean McVay's coaching staff just spent a week trying to figure out Lamar Jackson," Gagnon said. "They failed, and now they've had less time to prepare for Kyler Murray. Murray is no Jackson (yet), but the two share a lot of traits. And while McVay's team is rushing to put together a strategy in this spot, Kliff Kingsbury has had two weeks to prepare for an opponent that has looked defeated in back-to-back poor prime-time showings."

    Before that bye week, Arizona covered or pushed in three consecutive promising performances against San Francisco (twice) and Tampa Bay (on the road). You get the feeling the Cardinals are on the verge of a breakthrough win.

    The Cardinals remain vulnerable on defense, but can the Rams take advantage? They've struggled to protect quarterback Jared Goff, who had zero touchdowns, five interceptions and a 58.9 passer rating in November. Meanwhile, running back Todd Gurley has yet to put together a 100-yard game on the ground, and the Arizona run defense has surrendered an NFC-low 3.3 yards per carry since Week 9.

    Davenport isn't convinced, however, that the Cards can hang with a desperate team that was in the Super Bowl only 10 months ago.

         

    Predictions
    Davenport: Los Angeles (-3)
    Gagnon: Arizona (+3)
    Sobleski: Arizona (+3)
    Consensus: Arizona (+3)

    Score Prediction: Cardinals 24, Rams 23

Los Angeles Chargers (4-7) at Denver Broncos (3-8)

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    Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

    The Denver Broncos have lost by more than two points at home just once this season, and that was against a Chiefs team that is a hell of a lot better than the Bolts. The Broncos beat the Chargers on the road in October, and the ship has only sunk deeper since then.

    But none of our three analysts can bring themselves to pick Denver on Sunday against a Chargers team coming off its bye, mainly because the Broncos have hit a wall with current starting quarterback Brandon Allen. Since halftime of their Week 11 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, they've been outscored 47-6, and Allen has completed a silly 42.2 percent of his passes for a 50.4 passer rating the last two weeks. 

    Eventually, rookie Drew Lock might save the day. But Lock remains on injured reserve with a thumb injury. And while the Chargers haven't been themselves all year, they still have a top-12 scoring defense. A matchup with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram III could be a nightmare for Allen and his short-handed supporting cast, especially if superstar safety Derwin James is able to make his season debut for L.A. 

    "This game should be viewed as a toss-up since neither team is playing particularly well," Sobleski said. "But the Chargers had an extra week to prepare for this contest, which should allow Philip Rivers to reset after his disastrous four-interception performance against the Chiefs. The Broncos, on the other hand, have lost four of their last five games and could be ready for another organizational reset."

         

    Predictions
    Davenport: Los Angeles (-2.5)
    Gagnon: Los Angeles (-2.5)
    Sobleski: Los Angeles (-2.5)
    Consensus: Los Angeles (-2.5)

    Score Prediction: Chargers 24, Broncos 16

Oakland Raiders (6-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)

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    Colin E. Braley/Associated Press

    In three games against the Oakland Raiders with Patrick Mahomes at quarterback, the Chiefs have scored 103 points. Kansas City has Oakland's number, and now Andy Reid has had two weeks to prepare for a bad road team that was just completely humiliated by the Jets. 

    Our experts don't think the Chiefs will leave the Raiders many openings. 

    "This game was a lot more intriguing before the Raiders choked in spectacular fashion against the Jets last week," Davenport said. "Now it's a chance for a rested Chiefs team to put some distance between itself and Oakland. The last time these teams met, Mahomes threw for 278 yards and four touchdowns—in the second quarter."

    Reid, you may have heard once or twice, is 17-3 in his career coming out of the bye week. And while a double-digit spread might scare off those who'll quickly note that the Raiders possess a winning record, the reality is Oakland has the league's seventh-lowest scoring margin, and it has already suffered three 18-plus-point road losses this season. 

    The backdoor is always something to consider in a divisional game like this, especially with the Raiders desperate to send a message. But Tyreek Hill might be OK, and the Chiefs are due for an explosive victory over a deeply flawed team. 

         

    Predictions
    Davenport: Kansas City (-10)
    Gagnon: Kansas City (-10)
    Sobleski: Kansas City (-10)
    Consensus: Kansas City (-10)

    Score Prediction: Chiefs 34, Raiders 17

New England Patriots (10-1) at Houston Texans (7-4)

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    The New England Patriots are unlikely to blow out the Houston Texans on Sunday night. On the road this season against teams that currently have more than four wins, the Patriots have been outscored 57-53. Houston has seven wins, and in his three-year career, Deshaun Watson has never lost a home start by more than a single score. 

    But after opening as a four-point favorite, New England is now laying just a field goal here. You'd essentially have to believe the Texans can win this game outright to pick them with only three points in your back pocket, and the majority of our experts don't trust Houston enough to go that far. 

    "Watson dazzled the crowd and onlookers with 301 passing yards, 41 rushing yards and two touchdowns the first time he faced the Patriots," Sobleski said. "Don't expect that to happen again. Instead, look to last year's season opener when Watson struggled against the Patriots D—a Patriots defense that is now the league's best and rarely makes mental mistakes."

    And while the Houston defense fared well against the ultraconservative, short-handed Colts offense in Week 12, as well as the hurting Jaguars a few weeks earlier, that unit has generally struggled since the start of October. The Texans miss J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney, and now Tom Brady and Co. will likely be determined to make a statement against them with the weather no longer a factor inside NRG Stadium. 

    That's enough to lay a field goal, although Gagnon isn't on board because he thinks the better-rested home team could pull off the upset in this spot. 

         

    Predictions
    Davenport: New England (-3)
    Gagnon: Houston (+3)
    Sobleski: New England (-3)
    Consensus: New England (-3)

    Score Prediction: Patriots 26, Texans 20

Minnesota Vikings (8-3) at Seattle Seahawks (9-2)

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    Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

    After two so-so performances in victories over San Francisco and Philadelphia, Russell Wilson is no longer the front-runner in the MVP race. But the Seattle Seahawks quarterback rarely stays down for long, and our panelists agree he'll likely bounce back at home against a vulnerable Minnesota Vikings secondary Monday night. 

    "This is a correction game," Gagnon said. "The Vikings beat the Cowboys in prime time on the road, and it looked like they were finally over their allergy to big road games in the spotlight. But that doesn't mean they're going to go into a place like Seattle and beat MVP candidate Russell Wilson in prime time, and you'd have to believe they'll do that in order to pick them plus-three points Monday night. 

    "Meanwhile, the Seahawks have yet to win a home game in regulation by more than a single point this season. That's extremely uncharacteristic for a team that has won an NFC-high 27 home games by 10-plus points in the Wilson era. They're bound to get back on track. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw the Vikings team that lost by 14 in Seattle on a Monday night last year or the one that laid an egg in Chicago earlier this season. And as well as Kirk Cousins has played, I'm not betting against Wilson at home in this quarterback battle."

    The Seahawks are 15-2 straight-up and 12-4-1 against the spread in prime-time home games with Wilson under center, and Cousins' struggles in big spots have been well-documented. Even with Minnesota coming off the bye, don't overthink this one. 

         

    Predictions
    Davenport: Seattle (-3)
    Gagnon: Seattle (-3)
    Sobleski: Seattle (-3)
    Consensus: Seattle (-3)

    Score Prediction: Seahawks 28, Vikings 21