KC Joyner's Week 13 NFL pick'em selections

KC Joyner, one of the most accurate pick'em experts in the business over the past six years, details his winners for all of the Week 13 matchups.

KC Joyner

2 Dec, 2020

My Week 12 picks went 11-5, bringing my 2020 season mark to 119-57, or a 67.6 percent win rate that is tied for ninth highest among the more than 100 analysts tracked by Pickwatch.com.

 

Here are my Week 13 picks. Each section details which team is predicted to win and provides a quick summary of why that selection was made. The picks also contain a confidence value for each selection, based on a 1-10 scale with “10” being the most confident and “1” being the least confident.

 

Now on to the picks!

 

Sunday, December 6

 

Cleveland at Tennessee

 

KC’s pick: Tennessee

 

Confidence level: 3

 

Cleveland’s early season four-game win streak was built on scoring 32+ points in each of those victories, but their current slate of three consecutive wins was due largely to allowing an average of 16.3 points in those matchups. The Browns rush game is also back to its elite September form, as Cleveland racked up 575 yards on the ground in that three-game span. Rush success is par for the course for the Titans, as Tennessee has generated 150+ rushing yards in five of its last seven games. That last factor may not bode well for a Browns defense that has allowed 100+ rushing yards in four of its last six contests. Combine that with the Titans having home field and Tennessee gets this one by a small margin.

 

Las Vegas at New York Jets

 

KC’s pick: Las Vegas

 

Confidence level: 6

 

The Raiders defensive collapse last week should frankly come as no surprise, as Las Vegas has allowed 30+ points on seven occasions this season. What was a shock was the five giveaways committed by the Raiders offense, as the Silver and Black had only tallied four giveaways in the previous six games combined. The Jets had been playing a lot better of late headed into their matchup against Miami, but they still have a boom or bust offense that has scored 28+ points in two of the past three games yet has also scored 10 or fewer points in five of the past seven. The percentages say the Raiders are much more likely to get back to their low turnover/high scoring ways than the Jets are to hit the 28+ point total, so Las Vegas is the pick here.

 

Jacksonville at Minnesota

 

KC’s pick: Minnesota

 

Confidence level: 3

 

The Jaguars are currently on a 10-game losing streak, yet the reality is they really haven’t been that far from notching their second win of the year. Take out the Steelers game in Week 11 and the Jaguars last three losses have been by a total of eight points. A major element in Jacksonville staying competitive in most of their losses all year is turnover differential, as the Jaguars have lost that statistical battle by more than one only once since Week 3. That provides the Jaguars with a path to victory against a Minnesota offense that has committed 2+ giveaways in seven of the past ten games. This element will keep the game a lot closer than is generally thought, but home field and the Vikings edge in offensive talent still keeps this contest in their column.

 

Cincinnati at Miami

 

KC’s pick: Miami

 

Confidence level: 7

 

Miami’s offense did seem to take a step back after rookie Tua Tagovailoa took over as the starter in Week 8, yet let’s not forget that the Dolphins did score 28+ points in three straight games after Tua became the starter. Miami’s rush game has struggled of late due in part to injuries, but the Dolphins have posted 100+ ground yards in two of the past three games and face a Bengals defense that has allowed 140+ rushing yards in three of the past four contests. Cincinnati’s offense has no such upside path, as the Bengals have scored only 26 points in the past two weeks and set season lows in pass yards, rush yards, and overall yards against the Giants last week. Add these factors to Miami being at home and the Dolphins are the easy selection in this one.

 

Indianapolis at Houston

 

KC’s pick: Indianapolis

 

Confidence level: 5

 

Houston started off 1-6 but they have been on a tear since their Week 8 bye. The Texans have won three of their last four since that off week by racking up 370+ offensive yards and 27+ points in each of those victories. Houston’s defense also ended a two-game takeaway drought against the Lions by posting a season high three takeaways in that Thanksgiving Day win. The problem for the Texans is they just lost impact wide receiver Will Fuller to a six-game suspension and thus could see a significant drop-off in their aerial attack. That is a subpar trend headed into a matchup against a Colts squad that has scored 26+ points in five of the past six games and 31+ points in four of those contests. With the shootout paths to victory largely pointing in the Colts direction, they end up as the pick here.

 

Detroit at Chicago

 

KC’s pick: Detroit

 

Confidence level: 2

 

It’s easy to see why the Lions elevated offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell to interim head coach status after Matt Patricia was fired, as Detroit has tallied 370+ offensive yards in five of the past seven games despite dealing with many injuries in that platoon. The Bears offense has been nowhere near as fortunate, as Chicago has scored 17 or fewer points in three of the past five games. The Bears rushing attack has been non-existent, as they have posted fewer than 70 rushing yards in six of the last eight contests. The Bears vaunted defense has also taken a backwards step by allowing 370+ offensive yards in four of the past five games. The Lions could also benefit from the boost many teams get when an in-season head coaching change is made, so Detroit is the selection in this one.

 

New Orleans at Atlanta

 

KC’s pick: New Orleans

 

Confidence level: 3


No team in the NFL gets more production out of every facet of its roster than the Saints. This explains why even though New Orleans has had to deal with injuries to Drew Brees and Michael Thomas and has seen Alvin Kamara’s production fall off of late, the Saints have won eight straight games and have scored 24+ points in every game this season. New Orleans can also boast of a defense that is incredibly stingy against the run and has racked up 12 takeaways in the past four contests. Atlanta’s players are showing that they want Raheem Morris to stay as head coach, as the Falcons have won four of their past six and scored 25+ points in each of those wins. These trends lean toward this game turning into a toss-up shootout, with the Saints getting the edge due to that aforementioned ability to get across the roster production and thus land this pick.

 

New York Giants at Seattle

 

KC’s pick: Seattle

 

Confidence level: 7

 

The Seahawks let Russell Wilson cook early and often in the first five weeks of the season, but once that approach led to 3+ turnovers and losses in three contests, Pete Carroll decided to go back to the tried-and-true combination of power football and the counterpunch vertical passing game. That approach helped Seattle to a two-game win streak but more importantly it also allowed the Seahawks defense to post consecutive season lows in pass yards and total yards allowed. The Giants are now tied for first in the abysmal NFC East and have won three straight games on the strength of a rushing attack that has gained 130+ yards in five of the past six contests. That platoon will be tested by a Seahawks rush defense that has given up 70 or fewer ground yards in four of its last five matchups. Throw all of these factors in with this being a cross country trip for the Giants and Seattle is the choice here by a very strong margin.

 

Los Angeles Rams at Arizona

 

KC’s pick: Los Angeles

 

Confidence level: 3

 

The Rams might be the most frustrating team in the league right now. They have lost two games this year to the injury-wracked 49ers, were defeated by a Miami team piloted by a rookie quarterback who led the Dolphins to only 145 total offensive yards, and have a 3-4 mark this year if their four early season wins against the atrocious NFC East are taken out of the win-loss equation. Arizona is in a similar boat, as three of the Cardinals six victories occurred against the Jets, Cowboys, and Washington Football Team. What is even more concerning for Arizona is Bill Belichick may have just given everyone the blueprint for stopping Kyler Murray with a blitz-heavy scheme that held the Cardinals to under 20 points for the first time this year. The Rams elite defense could already hold its own before that playcalling edge, but add that factor in and Los Angeles is the selection here.

 

New England at Los Angeles Chargers

 

KC’s pick: New England

 

Confidence level: 5

 

Bill Belichick showcased his playcalling genius once again last week. The Patriots offense had only 69 net passing yards, 179 total offensive yards, notched two giveaways and had the ball for just under 26 minutes of the game and yet New England beat Arizona by holding the Cardinals to a season low 17 points and only 160 net passing yards with a blitz-heavy scheme that frustrated MVP candidate Kyler Murray. The Chargers defense has no such advantage, as the Bolts have allowed 27+ points in eight straight games. What is most amazing about that streak is that the Chargers gave up fewer than 200 net passing yards in five of those games. That sounds like a perfect match for the run-centric Patriots, so New England is the choice here.

 

Philadelphia at Green Bay

 

KC’s pick: Green Bay

 

Confidence level: 8

 

The Packers offense is on an absolute roll right now, as Green Bay has tallied 31+ points in four of the past six games and has posted 360+ net offensive yards in all but one contest this season. The Packers defense is also showcasing its takeaway ability, as Green Bay has notched eight takeaways in the last four games. Carson Wentz is rightfully taking a lot of grief for the Eagles offensive struggles, yet a lot of the blame should go an injury-wracked offensive line that’s had 10 different starting lineup combinations this season. Philadelphia’s rush defense has also fallen well short of expectations, as the Eagles have allowed 130+ rushing yards in six of the past seven games. Throw in this matchup being at Lambeau Field and it results in this being one of the most confident picks of Week 13.

 

Denver at Kansas City

 

KC’s pick: Kansas City

 

Confidence level: 10

 

It’s actually to Denver’s credit that they didn’t get shut out last week while playing a practice squad wide receiver at quarterback, yet it shouldn’t be overlooked in the two games prior to that contest the Broncos scored only 32 points while giving the ball away on seven occasions. The Chiefs have gone with a more pass-heavy approach of late in part due to their matchups, but Andy Reid should be able to go with any type of gameplan he wants to since Denver has allowed 200+ rushing yards in three of the past five games. Kansas City has won ten straight matchups in this series and it’s very difficult to see a path where that streak ends, so the Chiefs earn a rare “10” confidence level in this one.

 

Monday, December 7

 

Washington at Pittsburgh

 

KC’s pick: Pittsburgh

 

Confidence level: 6

 

Washington is far from a dominant team, but they are coming off of their most dominant win of the 2020 season and have won three of their last five. Central credit for this upswing has to go to a defense that has held five of its last six opponents to 202 or fewer net passing yards and gave up 70 or fewer rushing yards to its last two foes. The Steelers are the only undefeated team in the league, yet they have their share of issues, including gaining fewer than 70 rushing yards in four of the past five games. The key factor here should be turnovers, as the Steelers have racked up 14 takeaways in the past five games while the Football Team has tallied only 13 takeaways all season. Pittsburgh’s penchant for having dud games against subpar foes may keep this contest closer than it should be, but the Steelers still get this pick by a more than solid margin.

 

Buffalo at San Francisco

 

KC’s pick: Buffalo

 

Confidence level: 4

 

Even though the Bills have won eight out of 11 games this year, they still have gone through something of an identity crisis. Head coach Sean McDermott has used a smashmouth approach in the past, but this year Buffalo’s reliance on Josh Allen’s passing has led to the Bills allowing 400+ offensive yards in five games this season. Buffalo has also been turnover prone of late, as the Bills have tallied five giveaways over the past two weeks. The good news for Buffalo is that turnover trend is an anomaly since they had posted one or fewer turnovers in four straight games prior to that. Getting back to safety first will be key for the Bills, as San Francisco has posted 2+ giveaways in seven of the past eight games. Combine that with the huge quarterback advantage Buffalo would have if the game turns into a shootout and the Bills are the selection here.

 

Tuesday, December 8

 

Dallas at Baltimore

 

KC’s pick: Baltimore

 

Confidence level: 3

 

The Cowboys offense looked like it was back up to speed after Andy Dalton’s return against Minnesota in Week 11, but things fell back to earth against Washington on Thanksgiving Day. Take out that Vikings matchup and Dallas has scored 57 points in the past five games. The Cowboys defense hasn’t fared much better, as Dallas has allowed 69 points, 307 rushing yards, and 768 total offensive yards over the past two games. Baltimore has lost four out of its past five games, but they have gone toe-to-toe with some of the league’s best teams in that span and have a very good chance to get Lamar Jackson back under center for this matchup, so the Ravens earn the selection in this matchup.