(30-27-3 against the spread this season)
By Danny Picard
BOSTON — I went 2-2-1 in Week 12. I’m hovering around that .500 mark, and so, the pressure is on to keep this a profitable season.
Six teams have a bye this week. Next week is the final week of the bye schedule, in case you’re wondering. But let’s make the most of the games we have now.
Here are my picks for Week 13:
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (+5.5) over Los Angeles Chargers
-Let’s get nuts. Bailey Zappe is making the start for the 2-9 Patriots, who’ve lost four straight. If you’ve been paying attention, you know how I feel about this move. I think Mac Jones is soft. That’s his problem, and he should’ve been benched a long time ago. I haven’t been one of these ass-kissing media members who’ve made excuses for Mac every step of the way. I’ve been telling you for two years that he’s too soft to be a Bill Belichick guy, and the Patriots should’ve never even drafted him. Long-term, I don’t think Zappe is the answer to the Patriots’ problems, but for Sunday at Gillette Stadium against a 4-7 Chargers team that’s lost three straight and has the worst pass defense in the NFL? Zappe will be put in position to at least keep this close. Also, Justin Herbert is 0-2 in his career against New England, with two touchdowns and four interceptions in those two games. Win or lose, the Pats cover at home as the team rallies around their new quarterback.
DETROIT LIONS (-4.5) over New Orleans Saints
-This should be a bounce-back win for the 8-3 Lions, who had a somewhat embarrassing performance in a home loss to the Packers on Thanksgiving. Detroit has proven to be one of the NFL’s best teams this season. If the playoff began today, the Lions would be the No. 3 seed in the NFC and would be hosting a first-round playoff game. On the other end, the 5-6 Saints have lost two straight and are on the outside looking in at the NFC playoff picture. The bottom line here is this: Derek Carr is a stiff. The guy just isn’t very good. But he’s got a big arm, and he’ll have a big game every once in a while, keeping him in highlight reels and maintaining respect from the media. Well, he’s got no respect from me. I’ll bet against him here all day. Give me Jared Goff and a pissed off Lions team to roll in New Orleans and get back on track. Detroit wins by at least 10.
MIAMI DOLPHINS (-9.5) over Washington Commanders
-With the highest over-under of the week at 49.5, I don’t know how you can’t take the 8-3 Dolphins to win and cover against the 4-8 Commanders. Sure, Miami is on the road, but they stay on the East Coast, and they’re the second-best offense in the league, scoring 31 points per game, only behind the Dallas Cowboys who score 32 points per game. Washington has the worst defense in the NFL, allowing a 29 points per game. So, the fact that this spread isn’t even in the double digits is a no-brainer for me. Tua Tagovailoa and Sam Howell are probably going to combine for 100 pass attempts, but expect Howell to be the one throwing picks and getting sacked. I’m taking Miami to win big on the road.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (-3) over Philadelphia Eagles
-What a stretch for the 10-1 Eagles. Their last three games were against the Cowboys, Chiefs, and Bills. Now, they have the 49ers and then the Cowboys again. Philadelphia has won five straight, and yet, they’re an underdog at home against the 8-3 49ers. Some might be asking, “How can the Eagles be an underdog at home right now?” Well, that’s because the 49ers get to the quarterback and are built like an All-Star team. I’ve loved watching the 49ers’ pass rush since the addition of Chase Young. Him and Nick Bosa are a force to be reckoned with, and as long as those two guys stay healthy, these 49ers are going to be the toughest team in the NFL to beat, in my opinion. So, I’m taking San Fran to go into Philly and win by a touchdown.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (-6) over Green Bay Packers
-As long as Patrick Mahomes is the Chiefs’ quarterback, he’ll always be the top story coming out of Kansas City. But this season, if you’re overlooking what the Chiefs’ defense has been doing, then you should go dig up the stats. Kansas City’s defense is third in the NFL allowing just 16 points per game. And they have the third-best pass defense in the league, allowing just 176 pass yards per game. The Chiefs haven’t won two straight since the end of October, but that’s because of a shaky offense at times. They’ll have a chance to win two straight this week, as they travel to Green Bay to take on a 5-6 Packers team that’s looked good as of late. Jordan Love has seven touchdowns and two interceptions in his last three games, and so he’s playing with a lot of confidence right now. But a top-three defense can quickly take that confidence away. I expect Kansas City’s defense to do that on Sunday night, while Mahomes shines in the national TV spotlight. Give me the Chiefs to win and cover at Lambeau.
Follow Danny on instagram @DannyPicard.