Bleacher Report's Expert Week 13 NFL Picks

NFL StaffContributor IDecember 2, 2021

Bleacher Report's Expert Week 13 NFL Picks

0 of 14

    Stew Milne/Associated Press

    December football is here, baby! Every NFL game matters just a little bit more now, either because of potential playoff positioning or the draft order. And as a result, more eyeballs are on the action. And more eyeballs usually means more bets.

    Bleacher Report national NFL writers Gary DavenportBrad Gagnon and Brent Sobleski, B/R Gridiron editors Ian Kenyon and Wes O'Donnell, and B/R Betting host Connor Rogers are here to guide you through the action with a focus on each point spread.

    Here are their picks against the spread for every game on the slate. 


    Lines are from DraftKings as of Wednesday, Dec. 1, at 5 p.m. ET. Check DraftKings for the latest odds info. Information on public betting trends courtesy of the Action Network.

Dallas Cowboys (7-4) at New Orleans Saints (5-6)

1 of 14

    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    DraftKings Line: Dallas -5

    After promising starts, both the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints are limping. The two NFC playoff contenders have lost a combined seven of their last eight games, and now Dallas is laying a handful of points in the Bayou Thursday night. 

    It's a tricky number for a tricky game and a deadlock among the panel. 

    Davenport on New Orleans: "I don't think the Saints have a great chance of winning this game outright. But I do think that if New Orleans goes to a run-heavy game plan with Taysom Hill under center and Alvin Kamara back that they can keep things close, especially with the Cowboys dealing with some injuries on offense. Add in a home team getting more than a field goal, and the Saints are (begrudgingly) the pick."

    Sobleski on the Cowboys: "Dallas' offense should just be too much for New Orleans to handle. Dak Prescott and Co. have scored 30 or more points in two of the last three games, whereas the Saints haven't managed that many points since Trevor Siemian became the starting quarterback. On top of offensive limitations, New Orleans is banged up in the trenches with both offensive tackles and two of their top defensive linemen not practicing, as of Tuesday."

    Yes, Kamara looks set to return for New Orleans, but Dallas also looks as though it'll get both Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb back in the lineup. This one is tough to get a bead on, especially with wild-card Taysom Hill quarterbacking the Saints, but it should be quite entertaining. Consider keeping your cash on hand for Sunday.



    Davenport: New Orleans
    Gagnon: New Orleans
    Kenyon: New Orleans
    O'Donnell: Dallas
    Rogers: Dallas
    Sobleski: Dallas


    Score Prediction: Cowboys 26, Saints 21

New York Giants (4-7) at Miami Dolphins (5-7)

2 of 14

    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    DraftKings Line: Miami -4.5

    How many points is New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones worth? That really depends on the day with the inconsistent Jones, but our panel did appear to sway further away from the Giants ATS when oddsmakers only moved the line for Sunday's matchup with the Miami Dolphins from Miami -3 to Miami -4.5 in light of news that Jones is unlikely to play in Week 13. 

    "The Dolphins are rolling right now," Gagnon said. "I was on them when they were laying just three points before it was revealed Jones was likely out, and there's no way I'm changing my mind based on an additional 1.5 points. That shouldn't be viewed much differently than a hook. Yes, we're no longer protected by a push against a field-goal margin, but the Dolphins aren't getting enough respect.

    "This Miami team is fired up and well-coached. They've surrendered 17 or fewer points in four consecutive wins, and now they get a Giants team that is unlikely to pull off a second consecutive upset, especially if they're without Jones, Sterling Shepard (quad), Kadarius Toney (quad) and Kyle Rudolph (ankle)."

    Meanwhile, it's possible Miami will get receiver DeVante Parker (hamstring) back in the lineup. 

    Lay the points.



    Davenport: Miami
    Gagnon: Miami
    Kenyon: Miami
    O'Donnell: New York
    Rogers: Miami
    Sobleski: Miami


    Score Prediction: Dolphins 27, Giants 16

Indianapolis Colts (6-6) at Houston Texans (2-9)

3 of 14

    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    DraftKings Line: Indianapolis -8.5

    Just two weeks ago, the Houston Texans beat the AFC South-leading Tennessee Titans on the road. If they can do that, they can certainly hang with the second-place Indianapolis Colts at home. That said, you can't fault folks for shying away from backing a Houston team that has already suffered six double-digit-point losses (including one to Indianapolis) with just 8.5 points in their back pocket. 

    Fittingly, we have another split panel. 

    Kenyon on Houston: "The Texans aren't winning many games, but they have proven to be scrappy coming off a three-game stretch in which they beat the Titans on the road and had two one-score losses to the Dolphins and New York Jets. The Colts could be overlooking the Texans a bit as they come off a two-week stretch in which they played the Bills and Buccaneers. The Texans won't win this game, but it should be another one-score loss for Houston."

    O'Donnell on Indy: "The Texans lost to the Jets last week...the Jets. And the Colts squandered a huge opportunity to knock off the reigning champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, being outscored 24-7 in the second half. Indianapolis should be a whirling dervish of anger as they fight for their playoff lives every week the rest of the way. Knocking off the bottom-of-the-barrel Texans by multiple scores shouldn't be an issue. It really shouldn't."

    But will it?



    Davenport: Indianapolis
    Gagnon: Houston
    Kenyon: Houston
    O'Donnell: Indianapolis
    Rogers: Indianapolis
    Sobleski: Houston


    Score Prediction: Colts 28, Texans 20

Minnesota Vikings (5-6) at Detroit Lions (0-10-1)

4 of 14

    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    DraftKings Line: Minnesota -7

    It won't be all deadlocks this week, but another one comes in a tough-to-read divisional matchup between the frustrated Minnesota Vikings and the feisty and well-rested Detroit Lions. The latter is getting a full touchdown at home despite having three extra days to prepare for a familiar and shorthanded foe.

    Davenport on Detroit: "The confidence level that any rational human being should have in the winless Lions is approximately negative—give me a break. But Detroit's last two losses have come by a combined five points, and the Vikings have played in all of two games this year decided by more points than this spread. When these teams met in Week 5, the Vikings eked out a two-point win, and that was in Minnesota. Take the Lions and the points."

    Rogers on Minnesota: "No Dalvin Cook, no problem for the Vikings this week. Alexander Mattison will have a huge day against the Lions defense. D'Andre Swift will most likely miss this one, and I'm not convinced Detroit can do much on offense without him. Minnesota has played in a ton of close games this year. Otherwise, this line would be much, much larger."

    It's possible the Vikings are due for a no-doubter win, and Swift's shoulder injury arguably merits as much consideration of Cook's, but it's also tough to back Minnesota by a large margin at this point.



    Davenport: Detroit
    Gagnon: Detroit
    Kenyon: Minnesota
    O'Donnell: Minnesota
    Rogers: Minnesota
    Sobleski: Detroit


    Score Prediction: Vikings 27, Lions 20

Philadelphia Eagles (5-7) at New York Jets (3-8)

5 of 14

    Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

    DraftKings LinePhiladelphia -6.5

    The Philadelphia Eagles suffered an upset at the hands of one New York team last week. This time, a slim majority of our pickers feel they can bounce back in a critical road matchup with New York's other team, the Jets. 

    "This number is a bit daunting," Gagnon admitted. "But I'm all about patterns. New York is a bad team that is unlikely to play well back-to-back weeks after beating the Texans Sunday, while the Eagles have proven to be quite resilient this year and are coming off a tough showing against the Giants.

    "The backdoor cover is worth considering in terms of how much you put down on this one, but I'll still take Philly with less than a touchdown on the line in a crucial game."

    The Jets are a league-worst 3-8 against the spread this season, and five of their eight losses have come by 15 points or more. Meanwhile, each of Philly's last three wins have come by double-digit margins. So while our crew is far from unanimous here, the Eagles feel like the safer bet. 



    Davenport: Philadelphia
    Gagnon: Philadelphia
    Kenyon: Philadelphia
    O'Donnell: Philadelphia
    Rogers: New York
    Sobleski: New York

    Score Prediction: Eagles 27, Jets 17

Arizona Cardinals (9-2) at Chicago Bears (4-7)

6 of 14

    Steph Chambers/Getty Images

    DraftKings Line: Arizona -7.5

    Not only are the Arizona Cardinals a league-best 9-2 this season, but they've covered the spread in eight of their 11 games despite a slew of injuries to key players of late. Coming off their bye, the oddsmakers feel strongly enough about them on the road against the struggling Chicago Bears to install them as a favorite by more than a touchdown Sunday. 

    And the majority of our gang is joining about three-quarters of public bettors on the Cards. 

    "The Cardinals potentially hold two different advantages when they face the Bears," Sobleski said. "First, Kliff Kingsbury's squad is coming off its bye week with extra time to get healthy and prepare for this particular contest. Second, quarterback Kyler Murray is hinting at the possibility of playing this weekend after missing the last three games with an ankle injury."

    It appears both Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins have strong chances of returning after missing several games with an injury. So it's hard to get behind a Bears team that was lucky to beat the winless Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving. Still, you might want to consider buying back half a point to -7 if the value is there.



    Davenport: Chicago
    Gagnon: Chicago
    Kenyon: Arizona
    O'Donnell: Arizona
    Rogers: Arizona
    Sobleski: Arizona


    Score Prediction: Cardinals 27, Bears 17

Los Angeles Chargers (6-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (7-4)

7 of 14

    Dylan Buell/Getty Images

    DraftKings Line: Cincinnati -3

    It always feels like a bit of a cop-out when two teams of relatively similar caliber meet and the home squad is favored by exactly a field goal. This is why it's fitting we have another hung jury with the Cincinnati Bengals giving a field goal to the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday in Ohio. 

    O'Donnell on the Chargers: "This is pretty simple as I still don't trust the Bengals. Every time they've strung together two straight wins, they've lost the next game. Both Cincy and the Chargers are in the thick of things in a tight AFC playoff race (both division and wild card), so let's consider this a playoff game. While L.A. continues to leave so much to be desired, they've risen to the occasion almost every week against good teams (the Ravens game was not good), but I'll take the points here in what should be a battle to the wire and possibly then some."

    Kenyon on Bengals: "The Chargers travel three time zones to play the Bengals in Sunday's early slate of action. Cincinnati is one game out of the top seed in the AFC and has three losses this year by a field goal or less. This is one of the more underrated teams in the NFL right now, and they face a Chargers team that appears to be one of the NFL's more overrated teams after enduring a 2-4 stretch over their last six games and come off a 15-point loss to the Broncos. Take the Bengals."

    You're looking at a slightly lower-risk bet with this line because there's a higher likelihood of a push than with any other line. Still, this feels like a toss-up. 



    Davenport: Cincinnati
    Gagnon: Los Angeles
    Kenyon: Cincinnati
    O'Donnell: Los Angeles
    Rogers: Cincinnati
    Sobleski: Los Angeles

    Score Prediction: Bengals 27, Chargers 24

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-3) at Atlanta Falcons (5-6)

8 of 14

    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    DraftKings LineTampa Bay -11

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers might not be rolling on all cylinders just yet, but they've 68 points in back-to-back wins and now they take on an Atlanta Falcons team that they've outscored by 40 points in their last two meetings. 

    Double-digit spreads in favor of road teams in divisional matchups can be sketchy, and the Falcons have mastered the art of inflicting pain on bettors, but nearly our entire gang is willing to lay 11 with the Bucs in this spot. 

    "Cordarrelle Patterson has been the biggest surprise storyline of the fantasy football season," Rogers said, "but not much else is working for Atlanta. It becomes even more concerning that Kyle Pitts has been erased in recent weeks. The Bucs offense is terrifying with Rob Gronkowski back on the field and they love to run up the points."

    Still, while the Bucs were famously awesome on the road down the stretch last year, they've yet to win a road game by more than seven points this season. Bettor beware. 



    Davenport: Tampa Bay
    Gagnon: Tampa Bay
    Kenyon: Tampa Bay
    O'Donnell: Tampa Bay
    Rogers: Tampa Bay
    Sobleski: Atlanta

    Score Prediction: Buccaneers 34, Falcons 17

Washington Football Team (5-6) at Las Vegas Raiders (6-5)

9 of 14

    Todd Olszewski/Getty Images

    DraftKings Line: Las Vegas -2.5

    Both the Washington Football Team and the Las Vegas Raiders have experienced roller-coaster 2021 campaigns, and the two rank 21st and 20th, respectively, in terms of DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) at Football Outsiders. It's therefore appropriate that the oddsmakers see their Week 13 matchup as essentially a neutral-site pick 'em. 

    And that our panelists are divided down the middle, with Las Vegas laying 2.5 points at home.

    Davenport on Washington: "Both of the teams in this game are coming off massive wins that boosted their lagging postseason fortunes. But where the Raiders' win in Dallas was the team's first in a month, Washington's victory over Seattle was their third straight. The Raiders have also had a maddening tendency to lay an egg this season, right when confidence in the team starts to grow. Washington rolls into Sin City and steals a close one to keep the pressure on their rivals in Dallas."

    Kenyon: "Consider me a non-believer in the Washington Football Team, who are riding a three-game winning streak into Las Vegas. Washington is 2-3 on the road this year, with its only two wins being against Carolina and Atlanta. This is a much tougher matchup against a Raiders team that is still in the playoff hunt. Derek Carr should be able to carve up a Washington defense that is 31st in opposing passer rating (106.4) and has surrendered a league-worst 26 passing touchdowns."

    If you're on Washington, you may want to buy up to +3 or see if Darren Waller's status does that for you in the days to come. 



    Davenport: Washington
    Gagnon: Las Vegas
    Kenyon: Las Vegas
    O'Donnell: Las Vegas
    Rogers: Washington
    Sobleski: Washington

    Score Prediction: Raiders 26, Washington 23

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9) at Los Angeles Rams (7-4)

10 of 14

    Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    DraftKings Line: Los Angeles -12.5

    The Jacksonville Jaguars showed some life midway through their season but have now gone 0-2 straight-up and against the spread the last two weeks. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Rams are mired in a three-game losing streak. But those losses all came against competitive teams, and most of the gang believes they'll put it together with a blowout home victory over the Jags. 

    Five of the six panelists are laying 12.5 with Sean McVay's squad.

    "In matchups this season with teams that are currently below .500, the Rams are 5-0 with an average margin of victory of 16.2 points," Gagnon said. "And this is a Jags team that has lost six games by double-digit margins this season. Los Angeles has the talent and experience to rebound here, and I'm expecting a statement in front of a home crowd."

    The Jaguars have lost 13 consecutive road games dating back almost two years. That doesn't mean they can't cover this spread, but the superior Rams are unlikely to overlook them under these circumstances. 



    Davenport: Los Angeles
    Gagnon: Los Angeles
    Kenyon: Los Angeles
    O'Donnell: Los Angeles
    Rogers: Los Angeles
    Sobleski: Jacksonville

    Score Prediction: Rams 31, Jaguars 14

Baltimore Ravens (8-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5-1)

11 of 14

    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    DraftKings Line: Baltimore -4.5

    The Pittsburgh Steelers arguably haven't won in impressive fashion since beating the Buffalo Bills in Week 1, and they've covered just four spreads all year. But they've never finished below .500 in the Ben Roethlisberger era, and their season might essentially be on the line with 4.5 points in their back pocket Sunday against a familiar foe that hasn't exactly been blowing opponents out. 

    Nearly the entire crew is taking those points and betting against the AFC North-leading Baltimore Ravens.

    "Last week, I took the Steelers straight-up because there was no way they were going to be swept by the Bengals for the first time since '09, right?" O'Donnell said. "This once-proud organization that had not lost to Cincy in three straight games (stretching back to last season) wouldn't see 30 years of history dissolve, right?

    "Well, it happened. The Steelers were shellacked by Cincy in what looked like an era-defining loss. Now they return home to face an even more bitter rival in the Ravens. Pittsburgh is not a playoff team. They simply have too many holes, but they're going to play this game like it's their Super Bowl. Give me these points, and don't be surprised to see an outright Pittsburgh win, either."

    Baltimore is just 5-6 against the spread this season, and they've outscored their opponents by an average of just 2.1 points per game. This feels like a lot of points on the road.



    Davenport: Pittsburgh
    Gagnon: Pittsburgh
    Kenyon: Pittsburgh
    O'Donnell: Pittsburgh
    Rogers: Pittsburgh
    Sobleski: Baltimore

    Score Prediction: Ravens 23, Steelers 21

San Francisco 49ers (6-5) at Seattle Seahawks (3-8)

12 of 14

    Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

    DraftKings Line: San Francisco -3.5

    The San Francisco 49ers have shown a lot of fight following a poor start, while the Seattle Seahawks look as though they have nothing left in them. Seattle has gone 0-3 straight-up and against the spread since getting quarterback Russell Wilson back from a finger injury, with the seven-time Pro Bowler posting a 73.2 passer rating in those three outings. 

    Will they be desperate here? Or are they resigned? The majority of the panel is leaning toward the latter, with San Francisco laying a field goal plus a hook on the road. 

    "Kyle Shanahan has gone back to basics, which allowed the 49ers to win their last three contests," Sobleski said. "San Francisco's offense operates through its running game. So, it's not a coincidence the team is currently in the midst of a three-game winning streak while averaging 41.7 carries per contest.

    "The Seahawks, meanwhile, rank among the league's bottom 10 in run defense. It's not a good matchup for Seattle, especially with Wilson playing so poorly as of late."

    Still, the 49ers have been hit hard by the injury bug, and you never know when Wilson might explode. With that hook in play, tread carefully. 



    Davenport: Seattle
    Gagnon: Seattle
    Kenyon: San Francisco
    O'Donnell: San Francisco
    Rogers: San Francisco
    Sobleski: San Francisco

    Score Prediction: 49ers 26, Seahawks 21

Denver Broncos (6-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)

13 of 14

    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    DraftKings LineKansas City -10

    The Kansas City Chiefs appear to be back on track, but the majority of the gang isn't willing to lay 10 points with Kansas City hosting the unpredictable Denver Broncos in a divisional matchup Sunday night. 

    "I know the Broncos aren't a perfect team," Rogers said, "but this is a borderline disrespectful line. Denver has beaten the Cowboys and Chargers by double-digit points in two of their last three games. They'll be able to do enough on the ground to keep this interesting against Kansas City."

    The Chiefs have still been held to 20 or fewer points in four of their last five games, while the Broncos haven't lost by more than eight points on the road this season and will likely get star left tackle Garett Bolles back from the reserve/COVID-19 list here.

    Still, Gagnon and Kenyon are laying the points with a team that has historically crushed it in prime time and has averaged 38.3 points per game in its last three post-bye contests. 



    Davenport: Denver
    Gagnon: Kansas City
    Kenyon: Kansas City
    O'Donnell: Denver
    Rogers: Denver
    Sobleski: Denver

    Score Prediction: Chiefs 30, Broncos 24

New England Patriots (8-4) at Buffalo Bills (7-4)

14 of 14

    Rich Barnes/Associated Press

    DraftKings Line: Buffalo -3

    We conclude the week with another generic three-point line in favor of the home team in one of the most highly anticipated matchups of the season to date, as the Buffalo Bills give a field goal to the New England Patriots Monday night in Western New York. 

    The Pats are on fire, but a slim majority of the crew is laying the points with a Buffalo team that has been less consistent but is right there with New England in terms of point differential and DVOA. 

    "Honestly, this is a toss-up," Gagnon said. "The Bills have slipped up twice in the last four weeks and are 0-3 in one-score games this season, but New England is due for a slip-up of its own. Tre'Davious White's injury and the Bill Belichick factor give me enough caution to avoid dropping big bucks here, but my gut tells me Buffalo prevails in a massive home game. The Bills are still the better team with the better quarterback."

    Regardless, this one should be a show.



    Davenport: Buffalo
    Gagnon: Buffalo
    Kenyon: Buffalo
    O'Donnell: New England
    Rogers: Buffalo
    Sobleski: New England

    Score Prediction: Bills 23, Patriots 17


    If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL).

    Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA/MI), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (CO), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), or TN REDLINE: 800-889-9789 (TN).

    21+. NJ/PA/WV/IN/IA/CO/IL/TN/MI only. Odds and lines subject to change. Eligibility restrictions apply. See for full terms and conditions.