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NFL picks, predictions for Week 13: Ravens wreck Steelers; Bengals outduel Chargers; Lions upset Vikings


The AFC playoff race is again the focus in a Week 13 which features four pivotal games between contending teams. 

The Chargers (6-5) make the trip from the West Coast to play the Bengals (7-4) in a 1 p.m. game on Sunday. The Ravens (8-3) and Steelers (5-5-1) resume their rivalry in a big spot for Pittsburgh at 4:25 p.m. 

The prime-time games are even better. The Broncos (6-5) visit the Chiefs (7-4) on Sunday Night Football, and the Patriots (8-4) visit the Bills (7-4) on Monday Night Football. 

Each week, Sporting News picks the NFL games straight up. A look at our track record so far: 

  • Week 12: 7-7
  • Total: 109-69-1

POWER RANKINGS:
Patriots, 49ers, Buccaneers surge as Rams, Steelers tumble into Week 13

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NFL picks, predictions for Week 13

  • Dallas Cowboys (-5.5) at New Orleans Saints 

Thursday, 12:30 p.m., FOX 

Both teams are coming off Thanksgiving losses, and Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy (COVID-19) will not be on the sideline. Saints quarterback Trevor Seimian has struggled the last two weeks. New Orleans will be in desperation mode, but the Cowboys are the better team. They should get Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb back, too.  

Pick: Cowboys 28, Saints 21 

Result: Cowboys 27, Saints 17

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-10.5) at Atlanta Falcons 

Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX 

Tampa Bay is 5-6 ATS as a favorite this season, but they are surprisingly 4-1 ATS when the line is double digits. The Falcons rank 31st in the league in pass defense. Tom Brady will exploit that for the second time this season, but it’s a little closer on the road. 

Pick: Buccaneers 35, Falcons 20 

  • Arizona Cardinals (-7.5) at Chicago Bears 

Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX 

The Cardinals are coming off a bye week and hoping to get Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins back from injuries. Justin Fields still is dealing with injuries to his ribs, so Andy Dalton could get the start again. The Cardinals win on the road, but it’s tougher than it looks. 

Pick: Cardinals 26, Bears 19 

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  • Los Angeles Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals (-3)

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

The Bengals are coming off a statement game against the Steelers, and now the Chargers will make the cross-country flight for an early kickoff. Los Angeles beat Cincinnati 16-13 in Week 1 last season. The Bengals are 3-2 S/U at home this year, but Joe Burrow outduels Justin Herbert in a game with AFC Wild Card feelings. 

Pick: Bengals 27, Chargers 24 

  • Minnesota Vikings (-4.5) at Detroit Lions 

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

It’s a matchup of two of the league’s worst run defenses, but Detroit’s DeAndre Swift and Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook could both miss because of injuries. The Lions lost a 19-17 heart-breaker in the first meeting. Could this be the time to get that first victory? Flip the score this time. 

Pick: Lions 19, Vikings 17 

  • New York Giants at Miami Dolphins (-6.5) 

Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX 

It’s a battle of former Bill Belichick assistants with Joe Judge and Brian Flores. Both offenses average less than 20 points per game. The Giants need to get Saquon Barkley on track against a Miami run defense that allows 104.9 rushing yards per game. 

Pick: Dolphins 23, Giants 17 

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  • Philadelphia Eagles (-7) at New York Jets  

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS 

The Eagles were a dud in Week 12 against the Giants, but Jalen Hurts should be able to bounce back against a Jets’ defense that has allowed 266.2 yards per game. Zach Wilson is in his second start since returning from a knee injury, but the Eagles will come up with the key turnover in crunch time. 

Pick: Eagles 26, Jets 20 

  • Indianapolis Colts (-10) at Houston Texans 

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS 

The Colts got away from the running game early in the loss to the Buccaneers, but Jonathan Taylor should get a full workload against a Texans’ defense that allows 135.6 yards per game. Carson Wentz adds a pair of passing TDs, too. 

Pick: Colts 31, Texans 22 

  • Washington Football Team at Las Vegas Raiders (-1.5)

Sunday, 4:05 p.m., CBS 

The Raiders had extra time after a crucial Thanksgiving victory against the Cowboys, and tight end Darren Waller avoided a major injury. Washington will be working on a short week, and the team is 2-3 S/U on the road. Las Vegas keeps its AFC playoff push alive with a home victory. 

Pick: Raiders 29, Washington 23



  • Jacksonville Jaguars at Los Angeles Rams (-13) 

Sunday, 4:05 p.m., FOX

This is the biggest line of the week, but be careful. The Rams have lost three games and have failed to cover each of the last five weeks. Jacksonville is 2-0 ATS as a double-digit underdog, too. Matthew Stafford will get back on track at home, but the Jaguars will show some fight in the second half. 

Pick: Rams 30, Jaguars 20 

  • Baltimore Ravens (-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers  

Sunday, 4:25 p.m., CBS 

The Steelers are suddenly in desperation mode against the Ravens, who can take command of the AFC North with a convincing road victory. Baltimore can rely on the running game against a shaky Pittsburgh run defense, but the Ravens must protect the football better. Pittsburgh could steal an upset here, but we like Lamar Jackson to shake off the turnovers in a close one. 

Pick: Ravens 27, Steelers 26

  • San Francisco 49ers (-3.5) at Seattle Seahawks  

Sunday, 4:25 p.m., CBS 

The Seahawks have the worst pass defense in the league at 279.6 yards per game. San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo can work with that, but a playmaker at receiver will need to step up if Deebo Samuel (groin) misses time. Seattle won the first meeting 28-21, but the 49ers get payback and cover for the fifth time in six games. 

Pick: 49ers 28, Seahawks 21 

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  • Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs (-9.5) 

Sunday, 8:20 p.m., NBC 

The Chiefs had a bye week, and the Broncos had an impressive victory against the Chargers. That sets up what should be a fun matchup between the AFC West rivals. Kansas City is 4-7 ATS this season and has played three straight defensive struggles at home. This one will have more points. 

Pick: Chiefs 28, Broncos 20 

  • New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills (-2.5)

Monday, 8:15 p.m., ESPN 

The Bills are 5-5 ATS as a favorite, and they are matched up against the hottest team in the league in what should be a live atmosphere. These are the two best scoring defenses in the league, so it’s going to be tight. Will the Patriots run their win streak to seven games? We think they will. 

Pick: Patriots 23, Bills 20 




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