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Week 13 NFL game picks: Bengals earn third straight win over Chiefs; 49ers edge out Dolphins

Gregg Rosenthal went 10-6 straight up on his Week 12 picks, bringing his season total to 109-70-1. How will he fare in Week 13? His picks are below.

The lines provided by Caesars Sportsbook are current as of 1 p.m. ET on Thursday, Dec. 1 unless otherwise noted below.


  • WHERE: Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Steelers: -115 | Falcons: -105
  • SPREAD: Steelers -1 | O/U: 42

The Steelers are 2-1 since their bye with the NFL's No. 9 offense in that span, according to Football Outsiders. The defense has stabilized. The Falcons are as consistent as any team in football: able to run against virtually anyone and unable to get consistent stops on defense. Both teams play games that go down to the final possession, but Pittsburgh's quarterback and defense are more trustworthy here. 

  • WHERE: M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Broncos: +310 | Ravens: -400
  • SPREAD: Ravens -8.5 | O/U: 39.5

Finally, a team Baltimore can't blow a lead against. Denver's defense has quietly turned average over the last month, worn down by injuries, the Bradley Chubb trade and trying to hold up a pathetic offense. The Broncos are averaging fewer points per game than any team since the 2000 Browns and there's little reason to think they'll improve against a talented, ornery Ravens group. 

  • WHERE: Soldier Field (Chicago)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: Packers: -170 | Bears: +143
  • SPREAD: Packers -3 | O/U: 44.5

The Packers' offense has quietly solved a lot of their issues over the last month, just in time for the defense to go from bad to worse. Christian Watson has given the team an explosive element and the offensive line has stabilized. That's great news against a defense that's dead last in EPA since trading Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn, per PFF. I'm taking Green Bay pretty comfortably in this one, even if Justin Fields starts.

UPDATE: Justin Fields did not appear on Chicago's injury report on Friday, essentially clearing the way for his return to action Sunday vs. Green Bay. Consequently, I have changed my score prediction from Packers 27, Bears 17 to Packers 27, Bears 21. The Caesars Sportsbook odds were also updated at 3:30 p.m. ET on Friday.

  • WHERE: Ford Field (Detroit)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: Jaguars: -115 | Lions: -105
  • SPREAD: Lions +1 | O/U: 51.5

These 4-7 teams deserve better than their records and having to face each other when peaking. Early-season weaknesses have turned to strengths, with Trevor Lawrence throwing uber-accurate passes, while the Lions' defense competes every week. Both teams have improved to average, and Detroit's rebuild is a bit further along than Jacksonville's. It's a toss-up, but the Lions being a home underdog is disrespectful enough for me to push back. 

  • WHERE: NRG Stadium (Houston)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Browns: -335 | Texans: +260
  • SPREAD: Texans +7 | O/U: 47

Deshaun Watson has been an incredible disappointment not only because of his off-field conduct, which cost him nearly two seasons of his career, but because of the lack of public contrition he has shown since receiving his 11-game suspension. Unless that changes, my favorite team is whoever's playing the Browns. How Watson negotiates his new polarizing status and media scrutiny will inform how his season goes. On the field on Sunday, Watson mostly just needs to hand off to Nick Chubb against a poor Texans run defense. Just don’t be shocked if it’s close because Watson figures to show rust like he did in a brief, woeful preseason appearance.

  • WHERE: U.S. Bank Stadium (Minneapolis)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Jets: +135 | Vikings: -160
  • SPREAD: Jets +3 | O/U: 44.5

It's frustrating to watch how soft the Vikings play defensively in an attempt to prevent big plays, even though they don't prevent big plays. As Jets coach Robert Saleh said about Mike White, the quarterback can make the easy throws look easy. There are a lot of easy throws against this Minnesota defense, and I don't expect the Vikes' offensive line to hold up against this Jets pass rush, especially if Christian Darrisaw is out

  • WHERE: MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: Commanders: -135 | Giants: +115
  • SPREAD: Giants +2.5 | O/U: 40.5

This pick has haunted me all week. The Commanders' defense is the best unit in this game and well-equipped to continue Saquon Barkley's cold streak. The Giants' defense is quietly the weakest side, yet the group should be healthier here and its all-out style will create chances. Taylor Heinicke has been getting luckier by the week, but he still ranks dead last among quarterbacks (min. 100 pass attempts) in PFF's turnover-worthy-play percentage (ahead of Zach Wilson). It feels like that luck is overdue to run out.

  • WHERE: Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: Titans: +180 | Eagles: -220
  • SPREAD: Titans +4.5 | O/U: 44.5

I love this game. There may not be two tougher fronts than Tennessee's defensive line and Philadelphia's offensive line, which square off in this bout. The Eagles' boffo running attack also faces its biggest test -- and the same is true for their leaky run defense. I'm fascinated to see how the Titans try to game plan for Jalen Hurts, while Ryan Tannehill can move the ball on this Philly defense. With the way both teams are playing right now, it looks like a toss-up. Take the home team. 

  • WHERE: SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, Calif.)
  • WHEN: 4:05 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: Seahawks: -350 | Rams: +275
  • SPREAD: Seahawks -7 | O/U: 41

Geno Smith and the Seattle passing attack are a constant good. When the Seahawks score, it tends to happen fast with big plays. Unfortunately, their boom-or-bust running game has gone bust in three of the last four games, and the lack of pass-rush pressure on defense is a big concern. The Rams' defense figures to decline without Aaron Donald, but Bryce Perkins showed some attributes to build off in Kansas City. The Rams can make this competitive.

EDITOR'S UPDATE: Rams coach Sean McVay announced on Friday that John Wolford will get the start at quarterback.

  • WHERE: Levi's Stadium (Santa Clara, Calif.)
  • WHEN: 4:05 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: Dolphins: +170 | 49ers: -205
  • SPREAD: 49ers -4 | O/U: 46.0

Availability matters. The Dolphins' offensive line has collapsed this season when left tackle Terron Armstead's been out, and he's questionable for Sunday. Right tackle Austin Jackson is expected to miss the game, and the compounding issue of both bookends being absent would be enough to flip my pick here. Otherwise, the Dolphins' offense is more trustworthy: Mike McDaniel has the better quarterback, better players and looks like the coach Kyle Shanahan couldn’t live without. Even if Armstead doesn't end up playing, I like Miami to keep it close.

UPDATE: With Terron Armstead being listed as doubtful on Friday's injury report, I'm following through on what I wrote above and flipping this pick, especially with 49ers pass rusher Arik Armstead returning. I still like the Dolphins to make it close, though. My original pick was Dolphins 26, 49ers 25, but has been changed to the score above. The Caesars Sportsbook odds for this game were updated at 6 p.m. ET on Friday.

  • WHERE: Paycor Stadium (Cincinnati)
  • WHEN: 4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Chiefs: -135 | Bengals: +115
  • SPREAD: Bengals +2 | O/U: 53

Can the Bengals beat the Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs three times in a row? If last week's performance by both Bengals lines was an indication, the answer is yes. Cincy's secondary is a huge concern, and this is likely to be a shootout. But with Ja'Marr Chase and Joe Mixon expected to return, and improved pass protection for Joe Burrow, the difference at quarterback here isn't that great. Look for Kansas City to finish 14-3, with this being its last loss before earning the No. 1 seed.

  • WHERE: Allegiant Stadium (Las Vegas)
  • WHEN: 4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Chargers: -110 | Raiders: -110
  • SPREAD: PICK | O/U: 50.5

The toughest game to pick of the week. The Chargers sell out to stop the pass, which is scary heading into a game against the league's leading rusher, Josh Jacobs, assuming he plays through a nagging calf ailment. Los Angeles' offensive line has cratered when it's been without center Corey Linsley, who is currently in the concussion protocol. The Bolts are asking Justin Herbert to handle a level of responsibility more typical of a prime Tom Brady or Drew Brees. The 24-year-old can still make it work, but in a matchup where both defenses are struggling, Las Vegas' offense is the most consistent group here.

  • WHERE: AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Texas)
  • WHEN: 8:20 p.m. ET | NBC, Universo
  • MONEYLINE: Colts: +430 | Cowboys: -600
  • SPREAD: Cowboys -10.5 | O/U: 44.5

The second leg of a four-game stretch for Indianapolis in which the Colts have three prime-time affairs, with the presence of the Cowboys unfortunately preventing this one from being flexed out of Sunday night. At least we can watch the new Dak, same as the old (2019) Dak. This time, though, Prescott is supported by a cohesive ground game and pass rush that should help Dallas end this contest early.


A matchup of two of the most overrated teams by point spread all season. They also both aren't having much fun. If the Saints continue their regular-season excellence against Tom Brady, the NFC South will officially be a four-team race. As much as I'd enjoy that chaos, these Saints are worth fading nearly every week. They haven't put together a complete game since before Halloween and make too many mental errors. When they solve one problem, another pops up.


This New England team is confusing. The Patriots started the year running like crazy and are one of the worst running teams in the NFL since Week 6. Their defensive numbers are sky high, but that's because they dominate lesser quarterbacks. Against good quarterbacks, they give up big plays. Against Josh Allen last time out, they couldn't force a punt. No Von Miller should help Mac Jones feel more comfortable, but the Bills have more answers on both sides. 

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