Week 13 of the National Football League season has come and gone and it was a Jekyll and Hyde kind of week.
I went 10-5 straight up in my weekly picks last week, but could only manage five wins against the spread — thanks to a few surprising upsets like Washington handing Pittsburgh its first loss of the season and the New York Giants shocking the Seahawks in Seattle.
Regardless of the up and down, we trudge on to Week 14, where I offer one reason why each team will win or lose.
New England Patriots at Los Angeles Rams (-6) The Patriots blasted the Chargers 45-0 at SoFi Stadium last week, but they won’t make it back-to-back wins at the league’s newest venue. The 8-4 Rams’ defence will present a whole lot of trouble for New England’s Cam Newton. L.A. Rams 27-24
Kansas City Chiefs at Miami Dolphins (+7) The 8-4 Dolphins are one of the pleasant surprises in 2020. There’s no surprise as to how lethal the defending champion Chiefs are — and they’re too much even for Miami’s D. Kansas City 30-21
Houston Texans at Chicago Bears (+2) QB DeShaun Watson and the 4-8 Texans have played much better over the last month and have more than enough talent to dispatch the 5-7 Bears, who are in a free-fall after losing six straight games. Houston 30-24
Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars (+7.5) Jacksonville may have lost their last 11 games but they have kept the last few games close. The Jags, however, are hosting a ticked off Titans team that is seeking redemption after a bad outing last week. Tennessee 28-24
Denver Broncos at Carolina Panthers (OFF) Carolina may be coming off a bye week but they have become the latest club to be hit by COVID-19. The Broncos played the Chiefs tough last week and are the better of these two 4-8 squads. Denver 23-21
Dallas Cowboys at Cincinnati Bengals (+3.5) This battle of sub-.500 teams led by backup quarterbacks is a virtual coin toss. So, I literally tossed a coin. Dallas 23-17
Arizona Cardinals at New York Giants (OFF) The 5-7 Giants, winners of their last four games, are red hot. The 6-6 Cardinals are not, having lost their last three. N.Y. Giants 19-17
Minnesota Vikings at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-6.5) These two teams hold down the last two playoff spots in the NFC. Tom Brady and the Bucs are coming off the bye and their fresh legs prove to be the difference. Tampa Bay 33-23
Indianapolis Colts at Las Vegas Raiders (+3) The 8-4 Colts have been one of the most consistent teams in the NFL in 2020, while the 7-5 Raiders have yo-yoed (is that a word?) all year long. Indianapolis 28-27
New York Jets at Seattle Seahawks (-13) You’ve gotta feel for the winless Jets in this one. Not only is 0-12 New York coming off a last-second loss on Sunday, but they are also in Seattle, where the 8-4 Seahawks lost for the first time, in like, forever last week. Seattle 41-13
Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions (+8) MVP candidate Aaron Rodgers has thrown at least two touchdowns in every game, except for one, this season. That gulp you just heard came from Detroit’s defenders. Green Bay 34-24
Atlanta Falcons at Los Angles Chargers (+2.5) L.A.’s three wins have come against some of the worst teams in the league (Cincinnati, N.Y. Jets, Jacksonville) and even though Atlanta is 4-8, I don’t trust a team that is coming off a 45-0 loss. Atlanta 28-24
New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles (+7) Jalen Hurts will make his first professional start in place of the ineffective Carson Wentz. But the former Oklahoma star QB is facing the No. 1 defence in the league. Good luck. New Orleans 23-17
Washington Football Team at San Francisco 49ers (-3.5) Washington is due for a big letdown after handing the Steelers their first loss of the season, but they will keep it close against the 49ers, who are once again forced to play a ‘home’ game in Arizona due to COVID-19 restrictions in California. San Francisco 27-24
Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills (-2) Pittsburgh is steaming mad after suffering their first loss of the season, but I have a feeling the 9-3 Bills are going to show up again and eke out a big prime-time victory on Sunday Night Football. Buffalo 31-30
Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns (pick) This is a virtual must-win for the 7-5 Ravens, who just stopped a three-game losing streak on Tuesday night against Dallas. The 9-3 Browns have won four straight and were impressive in Tennessee on Sunday. I’ll take the more desperate team here. Baltimore 23-21
Overall straight up 125-69-1
Overall against the spread 75-114-3
Rick Zamperin is the assistant program, news and senior sports director at Global News Radio 900 CHML.