NFL Picks: Pivotal Week 13 Games Will Have Playoff Impact
by Rick Bouch Scores & Statson
When Week 13 in the NFL’s 2019 season finally clears on Monday night, the playoff picture will begin to clear for some teams. For others, the picture will disappear.
Most NFL previews and predictions probably didn’t see Week 13’s San Francisco-Baltimore clash as being a Super Bowl preview. Make no mistake; it very well could be. The Cowboys, despite a loss to New England last week, are still clinging to the NFC East lead at 6-5. A loss to the Bills on Thanksgiving Day could put a real damper on the Cowboys postseason hopes.
The Titans, Colts, and even the Raiders are still holding onto the hope of a playoff berth and all three need a victory in Week 13 to keep the dream alive. Coach Rick needs to keep the dream alive too. After a rough (3-6) Week 12, here’s how we see Week 13.
Bears vs. Lions (CHI -3, O/U: 38) Best Line: Intertops
The Lions were once 2-0-1. Now, they are 3-7-1 and have won just once in their last eight games. The Bears season hasn’t gone nearly as planned, but Chicago has won two of its last three games. The Bears beat the Lions last Thanksgiving Day. Neither team is a solid spread pick. The Lions are 4-7 ATS and the Bears are 3-8 ATS. What both teams do have though are horrible offenses. UNDER 38
Bills vs. Cowboys (DAL -7, O/U: 46) Best Line: America’s Bookie
Dallas (6-5) plays much better at home than on the road. That advantage may help them against one of the best defenses in the NFL. The Bills allow just 15.7 points per game and after the Cowboys performance last week, it doesn’t look good. Dallas was 2-for-13 on third down and 0-for-2 in the red zone. Somehow, the Cowboys are home favorite. In their last four games as a home favorite of 7 or 7.5, Dallas is 3-0-1 ATS. Dallas 17, Buffalo 14
Saints vs. Falcons (NO -7, O/U: 48.5) Best Line: BetAnySports
The Falcons upset New Orleans in Week 10. The Saints committed 12 penalties and six of them produced first downs. Four of the penalties came on third or fourth down. Don’t expect that to happen again. Despite the injuries to their offensive line, New Orleans is simply better. Are they 7 points better? Maybe, but Drew Brees and Matt Ryan are going to put points. OVER 48.5
Browns vs. Steelers (CLE -2, O/U: 40) Best Line: MyBookie
It’s the rematch NFL fans have been waiting for. Last time the Browns and Steelers played now-suspended DE Myles Garrett swung a helmet at Steelers QB Mason Rudolph. Rudolph will not start after being benched last week. Duck Hodges will start in his place. In his only other start this season, Hodges was a winner. Pittsburgh will be missing RB James Conner, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, and C Maurkice Pouncey. The Browns are 0-10 SU against the Steelers in their last 10 at Pittsburgh, but 4-1 ATS in their last five. Cleveland 28, Pittsburgh 17
Titans vs. Colts (IND -2.5, O/U: 43.5) Best Line: MyBookie
Tennessee is 4-1 in their last five games. They are also 4-1 ATS in those games. Ryan Tannehill has taken over at quarterback and RB Derrick Henry is a beast. Indianapolis beat the Titans 19-17 back in Week 2. The Colts will be missing RB Marlon Mack, but they did get WR T.Y. Hilton back last week. In four of the last six games in this series, the total has gone Under. UNDER 43.5
49ers vs. Ravens (SF +4.5, O/U: 46) Best Line: BetAnySports
Most online sportsbook reviews probably didn’t peg this game like a Super Bowl LIV preview? The Ravens have the most dynamic player in the league in QB Lamar Jackson. The Niners have a defense that can shut down just about anyone. This is the surprise of the week. Baltimore 30, San Francisco 27
Raiders vs. Chiefs (KC -9.5, O/U: 51.5) Best Line: MyBookie
The Raiders had a shot at the postseason and then got shellacked by the Jets. This week, rival Kansas City drives a nail into the coffin. Kansas City 38, Oakland 24
They are the best defense in the NFL. Houston has been consistently inconsistent. Which Texans team shows up? The Patriots have given up more than 14 points just once all season. Don’t expect a lot of points. UNDER 44.5
Vikings vs. Seahawks (SEA -3, O/U: 49) Best Line: MyBookie
Both the Vikings and Seahawks are fighting to win a division title. Both will still make the postseason, but would rather enjoy the perks of a division winner. The Vikings are just 3-3 on the road and Seattle is a tough place to play. Seattle 24, Minnesota 20
A native of Western Pennsylvania, Rick, a Generation X-er, who now lives just north of the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan. A former high school, college, and professional football player, Rick now spends his time as a high school coach and as a personal quarterback trainer. An all-state high school quarterback, he went on to become an Academic All-American at Division II Indiana University of PA. He later coached at his alma mater helping lead the program to the 1990 NCAA Division II national championship game. Rick has also served as a high school head coach and as an assistant in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan.
His passion for sports writing started when he was the sports editor for his high school newspaper and continued when he worked as a sportswriter for the Jamestown (New York) Post-Journal in the early 1990s. A true sports fanatic, Rick enjoys all things Pittsburgh: Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. The Immaculate Reception, the 1979 We Are Family Pirates, and the ’91-’92 Penguins are among his favorites. After working as an educator and athletic director for several years, he again took up sports writing and has contributed to several websites and publications, including Coach & Player magazine, X & O Labs, American Football Monthly, and many others.
When not consumed with coaching, watching, thinking about, or writing about football and other seasonal sports, he finds himself working out like he was still in college and reading everything from military history to Brad Thor novels. Rick has also been chasing rock god stardom as a drummer who has played with bands that have opened for the likes of Fuel, Days of the New, and Alien Ant Farm. He continues to play with his church worship group. Most importantly, Rick is married to the love of his life, Lisa, and has two beautiful daughters.