Fearless Rick's NFL Football Picks - Week 13 early games

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WEEK 13 NFL Picks

All times Eastern

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Byes: Cleveland, Tennessee

Week 12 Results: Coin: 9-6-1; Rick: 11-4-1
Cumulative: Coin: 69-88-6; Rick: 80-77-6

Thursday, December 1

Dallas (-3, 44) at Minnesota, 8:25 pm (NBC-NFLN-Twitter) - Well, if the Cowboys can't beat the Vikings solidly, then they're just not as good as their NFL-best 10-1 record would indicate. It's probable that rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott are as good as they've been because the stats don't lie and the offensive line of the Cowboys is the best the league's seen in some years.

Minnesota has been on life support since the opening of the regular season, when Sam Bradshaw took over for injured QB Teddy Bridgewater, but their record since a 5-0 start has been an ugly 1-5. Their stay on the NFL playoff radar may be over with the conclusion of this game.

Coin Flip: Minnesota

Rick's Pick: Cowboys 24 Vikings 17

Sunday, December 4

Kansas City at Atlanta (-3 1/2, 49), 1:00 pm (CBS) - NFC South division leader hosting the AFC West contender Chiefs is a contest worth watching as both teams are driving toward the post-season. The 7-4 Falcons are holding onto a one-game lead over the surprising 6-5 Buccaneers with whom they've already split their season series. Considering the game at hand, the Chiefs have had trouble moving the ball consistently on offense, while the Falcons have no such issues, leading the league in scoring at a robust 32.5 points per game. Unless KC can come up big on defense and force turnovers, this one appears to be one for the home team.

Coin Flip: Kansas City

Rick's Pick: Falcons 34 Chiefs 20

Miami at Baltimore (-3 1/2, 41 1/2), 1:00 pm (CBS) - Break up the Dolphins? Winners of six straight, Miami is currently running a six-game winning streak, tied with the Giants as the current second-longest (Dallas has run off 10 straight). Baltimore slipped past the Bengals last week, 19-14, in an effort that displayed the weakness that is the AFC North. The Ravens are tied with the Steelers at 6-5 atop the division, and those two will likely settle that bracket.

In terms of importance, both teams are hungry for the win, but the Dolphins may feel a need to keep on winning at all costs since their only hope for the playoffs is via the wild card. Miami's playing the hot hand. Stick with the fish.

Coin Flip: Miami

Rick's Pick: Dolphins 22 Ravens 13

San Francisco at Chicago (-2 1/2, 43), 1:00 pm (FOX) - Losers of 10 straight, the 49ers may have stumbled upon a spot for a win. For all his antics and off-field controversy, SF QB Colin Kaepernick has had some very good games, but the 49er defense has allowed opponents too many points. San Francisco's 344 points allowed this season is second only to Cleveland's 352, but the 0-12 Browns have played one more game than the 1-10 49ers, so San Fran's defense is likely worse.

The Bears have a fair defensive unit, but their scoring potential is on the league's low side. In fact, Chicago's 178 points is better than only one team, the scoring-challenged Rams (170).

Coin Flip: Chicago

Rick's Pick: 49ers 31 Bears 14

Philadelphia (-2, 43) at Cincinnati, 1:00 pm (FOX) - OK, which of these squads was supposed to be good this season? The answer is likely to be the Bengals, but it's the Eagles which has a marginally better record at this juncture. After losing to Green Bay Monday night, Philly is 5-6, while the Bengals are bumming out everybody in southern Ohio with a record of 3-7-1.

Having lost a host of close games to decent teams, it is a little surprising to see the Bengals underdogs at home, reason enough to take a flyer on their chances here.

Coin Flip: Philadelphia

Rick's Pick: Bengals 20 Eagles 16

Houston at Green Bay (-4 1/2, 45 1/2), 1:00 pm (CBS) - Are the Packers back in the hunt following their Monday night win over the Eagles? Probably, though they have work to do. At 5-6, they trail the 7-4 Lions by two games, with 6-5 Minnesota sandwiched in between. With a healthy Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay is probably a better team than the Vikings, and maybe equal to the Lions, but they're playing an AFC South Houston team that is coming off their first home loss, to San Diego.

Houston is just 1-4 on the road, and it might be a bit chilly and windy in Green Bay this weekend, making the Packers a solid pick against a fading Texans team.

Coin Flip: Houston

Rick's Pick: Packers 35 Texans 20

Denver (-4 1/2, 42) at Jacksonville, 1:00 pm (CBS) - On the face of it, this should be a no-brainer for the Broncos, but, at 2-9, Jacksonville has nothing to lose and much to prove to its long-suffering fan base. Denver's defense has proven to be fallible this season, as opposed to last, and the Jags possess some considerable firepower as evidenced in their loss last week at Buffalo.

If the Jaguars can keep the turnovers to a minimum and maybe force one or two of their own, they have the opportunity to upend the Broncos.

Coin Flip: Broncos

Rick's Pick: Jaguars 27 Broncos 24

Los Angeles at New England (-13 1/2, 45), 1:00 pm (FOX) - The Patriots will struggle against the Rams' defense, rated 12th in scoring (tied with Buffalo and Houston), but the Rams have virtually no offensive punch, having scored 170 points through 11 games, a league low. Somehow, though, the Rams have managed to find four wins, and while this one may not result in another notch in the W column, their heady defense should be equal to the task of keeping Tom Brady and his offense to a minimum of scoring.

Coin Flip: New England

Rick's Pick: Patriots 23 Rams 16

Detroit at New Orleans (-4 1/2, 53 1/2), 1:00 pm (FOX) - With two of the best quarterbacks in the league (Drew Brees and Matthew Stafford) both the Lions and Saints figure to light up the scoreboard with alarming frequency, making this the most probable "over" game of the week, despite the high O/U line. As for giving the Lions 4 1/2 points anywhere at any venue, that's probably not a wise idea, especially since they are the current leaders of the NFC North division.

Coin Flip: Lions

Rick's Pick: Lions 38 Saints 35

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