I’m not sure how much wine I drank over Thanksgiving weekend, but apparently I drank enough to start hallucinating because that’s the only way to explain the NFL headlines I’ve been reading on the internet over the past few days.
I mean, I’m 99% sure I read a headline that said the Ravens-Steelers game still hasn’t been played yet? Is that real? And the 49ers are moving to Arizona? And the Broncos had to play a game with ZERO quarterbacks on their roster? HOW IS ANY OF THIS POSSIBLE?
Everything I just listed sounds like something I would make up in a drunken game of NFL-themed Mad Libs. Also, I’m cutting down on the wine for Thanksgiving next year. At the rate we’re going, the Ravens and Steelers aren’t going to play until March, the 49ers are going to have to move to Las Vegas with the Raiders, and the Broncos, well, let me just say, I’ve never been more entertained by a game that ended with a 34-3 final score. God Bless the Broncos.
Speaking of 34-3, that’s not a score I’m predicting this week, but I am predicting plenty of other scores, so let’s get to the picks and find out what they are. By the way, these are my Week 13 picks, which shouldn’t be confused with my Week 12 picks and I’m only mentioning my Week 12 picks because Week 12 technically isn’t over yet since the Ravens and Steelers are scheduled to play Wednesday. Basically, if you’re looking for a Ravens-Steelers pick, you’ll have to check out last week’s article, which you can do by clicking here. Although maybe you shouldn’t read that since I’m thinking about changing my pick now that half the Ravens’ roster is out with COVID.
Before we get to the Week 13 picks, here’s a quick reminder that you can check out the weekly picks from every CBSSports.com NFL expert by clicking here. If you don’t click over, I won’t be offended. However, I will be offended if you don’t sign up for CBSSports.com’s NFL newsletter, which my bosses have put me in charge of for some reason.
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Also, I would like you guys to know that I recorded a podcast on Monday night with Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson and we spent 45 highly entertaining minutes debating whether the Eagles should blow things up and start over after their loss to the Seahawks. If you want to listen, and you definitely should, you can do that below.
Alright, let’s get to these picks because if we don’t do it now, the NFL is going to reschedule the Ravens-Steelers game again and I’ll have to rewrite this entire thing, and trust me, no one wants that.
NFL Week 13 PicksCleveland (8-3) at Tennessee (8-3)
1 p.m. ET (CBS)
On the list I’ve made of all the crazy things that have happened in 2020, let me just say that the CLEVELAND BROWNS being in contention for a playoff spot this late in the season is definitely at the top. It’s four spots ahead of the pandemic, seven spots ahead of the murder hornets, nine spots ahead of the locusts and two spots ahead of the squirrel who somehow got bubonic plague. I mean, I can’t remember the last time the Browns played in a somewhat important game this late in the season, but here we are. That being said, we probably should have all seen this coming, because the Browns getting to the Super Bowl in the one season where fans won’t really be allowed to attend the Super Bowl would definitely be the most Browns thing ever.
As for this game, if you love forward passes, then you’re probably not going to want to watch, because we might not see a single one one between these two teams on Sunday. This game is giving us the NFL’s No. 1 rushing attack (Cleveland) against the league’s No. 3 rushing attack and I’m fully expecting every running back on both teams to put up huge numbers. I won’t be surprised if Derrick Henry, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt all top 100 yards.
For me, the big difference in this game is at quarterback. With the Titans, I feel like Ryan Tannehill is a perfect complement to Henry, but in Cleveland, I feel like Baker Mayfield kind of holds the offense back. As a matter of fact, if the Browns got rid of Mayfield and just snapped the ball directly to Chubb, I think that would arguably make them a better team.
The Browns are good this year and they should make the playoffs, but this week they’re running into a team that has the better running back, the better quarterback and really, the better everything. Well, the Browns do have Myles Garrett and he’s a much better pass-rusher than anything Tennessee has, but the Titans are better at everything else and what I’m trying to say here is that I’m taking Tennessee in a blowout.
The pick: Titans 34-20 over Browns
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L.A. Rams (7-4) at Arizona (6-5)
4:05 p.m. ET (Fox)
We’re 13 weeks into the season and I have to admit, I still have no idea what to make of the Cardinals. Just when I was starting to think they might actually be good, they come out of their Week 8 bye and fall flat on their face. In the four weeks since their bye, they’ve gone 1-3 and the only reason they didn’t go 0-4 is because Kyler Murray threw a miraculous game-winning Hail Mary against the Bills in Week 10. If that Hail Mary didn’t happen, the Cardinals would have had the same November record as the Jets (0-4) and as I think I say nearly every week, if I mention you in the same sentence as the Jets, there’s roughly a 99.9% chance that I’m going to pick you to lose your game that week. You never want to be mentioned in the same sentence as the Jets under any circumstance. Last week, I mentioned Matt Patricia in the same sentence as the Jets and look what happened to him.
I’m not sure why the Cardinals have fallen apart, but I think one of their issues is that Kyler Murray’s shoulder still seems to be bothering him. He injured it in Week 11 against the Seahawks and ever since then, he seems hesitant to run. For most teams, it’s not usually a big deal when your quarterback isn’t running the ball, but it’s an issue for the Cardinals because Murray running the ball is like 90% of their offense. It’s not just his running that opens up their offense, but the threat of him running. During Arizona’s upset loss to New England on Sunday, Murray was hesitant to run and he looked like he was a little worried at the thought of taking big hits.
The problem for Murray this week is that no one supplies bigger hits than Aaron Donald. I think the Rams are going to stick Jalen Ramsey on DeAndre Hopkins and dare Murray to throw somewhere else. I also think that this is the worst possible matchup that the Cardinals could have gotten this week and that’s because Arizona has never beaten Sean McVay. Since McVay was hired in 2017, he’s gone 6-0 against Arizona and the Rams have scored at least 31 points in every single one of those games. I see that streak continuing on Sunday .
The pick: Rams 31-24 over Cardinals
New England (5-6) at L.A. Chargers (3-8)
4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)
Over the past few years, the Chargers have made some pretty embarrassing decisions — you know, like when they left San Diego — but nothing was worse than every decision they made during the fourth quarter against the Bills on Sunday. Every time the Chargers made a decision in the quarter, it became clear pretty quickly that they would have been better off doing the opposite. I’m not going to cover everything they did wrong, because we’d be here for three hours, but here’s a look at what they did wrong in just the final minute.
I mean, watch those final 10 seconds: The Chargers can’t even run a QB sneak correctly. Am I bitter because I picked the Chargers to cover the spread, which would have happened if they had scored there? Obviously. The Chargers have no idea what they’re doing and I’m fully convinced that if their coaching staff did the opposite of everything they thought they should do, this team would be 11-0 right now. Instead, they’re 3-8.
This week, we have possibly the worst-coached team in football playing against the best-coached team in football and when that happens, I never pick the worst-coached team. Earlier this season, the Chargers actually looked good, but Justin Herbert has slowly been regressing over the past few weeks and if you’re a rookie quarterback who’s regressing, the last coach you want to be going up against is Bill Belichick. The Patriots coach is 20-6 all time against rookie quarterbacks, which means I definitely can’t pick the team with the rookie quarterback.
The pick: Patriots 23-20 over Chargers
Buffalo (8-3) vs. San Francisco (5-6) in Arizona
Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET (ESPN)
If you’ve ever been kicked out of your house around the holidays, then you know exactly how the 49ers feel right now after being kicked out of Levi’s Stadium for the next three weeks. Normally, I’d say that being kicked out is a bad thing, but I’m starting to think that there’s no one happier about the 49ers being forced to move than the 49ers. I mean, just think about it: For one, they don’t have to play at Levi’s Stadium this week, which is a good thing, because they’re 1-4 at Levi’s Stadium this year. The 49ers are probably hoping that the entire stadium burns down while they’re gone.
The other reason the 49ers are probably a fan of moving to Arizona for this week’s game is because there’s a 99% chance the Bills are going to suffer from PTSD as soon as they walk in the stadium on Monday and that’s because the last time they played at University of Phoenix Stadium, this happened:
Although the Bills have since rebounded from that loss, they still apparently have no idea how to guard a Hail Mary because the Chargers also completed one during Buffalo’s win over Los Angeles on Sunday. That being said, as long as this game doesn’t come down to a Hail Mary, I like the Bills.
My biggest problem with the 49ers is that they’ve struggled with extremely mobile quarterbacks. They couldn’t beat Russell Wilson, they couldn’t beat Kyler Murray and I think they’re going to have some serious issues trying to slow down Josh Allen.
The pick: Bills 30-27 over 49ers
Lock of the WeekN.Y. Giants (4-7) at Seattle (8-3)
4:05 p.m. ET (Fox)
I know what you guys are thinking and yes, I agree: The “Lock of the Week” should probably start coming with some sort of warning. I’m not sure what that warning should be, but I’m thinking something along the lines of “Although the actual pick itself is almost always right, you should pick the opposite team that Breech picks against the spread.”
Remember when I missed every Thursday game for the first two months of the season, well, that’s what the “Lock of the Week” has turned into. Although I’m 5-1 straight-up over the past six weeks, I’m 0-6 against the spread. It’s so bad it’s almost good.
That winless streak would have ended last week if Giants coach Joe Judge, who purportedly is a special teams expert, ACTUALLY KNEW ANYTHING ABOUT SPECIAL TEAMS. I picked the Giants to cover as a 5.5-point favorite in Cincinnati and the only reason the Giants didn’t cover against the Bengals is because they gave up a 103-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
I’m so upset with the Giants that I’m making them a “Lock of the Week” for the second straight week, except this time, I’m picking them to lose. Look, I’ll be honest, this game has disaster written all over it for the Giants. First of all, they might not have Daniel Jones, who’s battling a hamstring injury. Basically the Giants have two options at quarterback — a hobbled Jones or Colt McCoy — and if those are your only two options you might as well have zero options.
Also, the Giants have scored the third-fewest points in the NFL this year and now, they’re going to have to face the league’s third-highest scoring team, and call me crazy, but I don’t think their quarterback situation is going to help things here. Basically, the Giants are going to a gun fight and all they have in their pocket is the thimble piece from Monopoly. Sure, the thimble is nice, because whoever has it always wins in Monopoly, but it’s not going to help you in a gun fight. Oh, did I mention that the Seahawks are the only team in the NFC that’s still undefeated at home this year? Because the Seahawks are the only team in the NFC that’s still undefeated at home this year.
The pick: Seahawks 34-17 over GiantsLock of the week record: 12-2 straight up, 6-8 against the spread
NFL Week 13 picks: All the rest
Saints 23-16 over FalconsLions 20-16 over BearsDolphins 27-13 over BengalsVikings 30-20 over JaguarsRaiders 24-17 over JetsColts 27-20 over TexansPackers 37-27 over EaglesSteelers 31-17 over WashingtonChiefs 34-20 over BroncosRavens 27-17 over Cowboys
BYES: Buccaneers, Panthers
Best pick: Last week, I predicted that the underdog Patriots would beat the Cardinals by three points and GUESS WHAT HAPPENED? The underdog Patriots beat the Cardinals by three points. Now, did I know that Bill Belichick was going to come up with a game-plan that would almost completely shut down Arizona’s offense? Of course I did. Going into Sunday’s game, Belichick was 37-2 at home against first- or second-year quarterbacks and as you probably know, Kyler Murray is a first- or second-year quarterback. This game was over before it started.
Worst pick: There is no team I’ve been worse at picking this year than the Atlanta Falcons, which means I should’ve known last week that I was supposed to do the opposite of my first instinct, which was to pick them to lose. The Falcons have been in my head all season: When I zig, they zag. When I zag, they make pizza. When I invite them over for dinner, they cancel and go to Arby’s and then flaunt the fact that they canceled on me by sharing pictures on Instagram with the Arby’s cashier. It’s out of hand. I’m so over the Falcons. I’m so over Arby’s. I’m so over everything.
Finally, if you’re still reading, you might be wondering which teams I’ve done well picking this year and here’s the answer:
Teams I’m 10-1 picking this year (Straight up): Chiefs, Jets, Steelers (9-1)Teams I’m 9-2 picking this year: Jaguars, Chargers, Packers, Giants, Ravens (8-2)
Longest winning streak: Jaguars (Eight straight games correct)Longest losing streak: Falcons (Four straight games incorrect).
Also, there is no team I’ve been worse at picking than the Falcons (3-8). I’m guessing this is karma’s way of telling me that I shouldn’t have said all those bad things about Atlanta when i lived there for three years.
Straight up in Week 12: 11-4SU overall: 111-63-1
Against the spread in Week 12: 5-9-1ATS overall: 79-92-2
You can find John Breech on Facebook or Twitter and if he’s not doing one of those things, he’s probably at the doctor trying to figure out if these wine hallucinations are real or not.