Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears: 2022 Week 13 NFL Pick

Green Bay Packers (4-8) at Chicago Bears (3-9)

The Packers are 4-8, a year after going 13-4, but their drop off isn’t all that surprising. Despite their record last season, the Packers finished just 10th in point differential and 11th in overall efficiency, even with an MVP season from Aaron Rodgers who, as good as he is, was no guarantee to play at quite the same level in 2022, now in his age 39 season. Add in the loss of by far their top wide receiver Davante Adams this off-season and some regression was to be expected from them, especially on offense.

In many ways, things have gone how you might expect, given the circumstances. The Packers’ defense has remained middling, ranking 17th in defensive efficiency in 2021 and 20th in 2022, but their offense has fallen off significantly, falling from 4th in offensive efficiency a year ago to 15th this season, while their horrendous special teams that ranked dead last in efficiency a year ago has only been slightly better this year, ranking 30th. All in all, the Packers rank just 23rd in the NFL in overall efficiency when adjusted for schedule, about two points below average.

The Packers have also been especially bad on the road this year, going 1-6 with a -44 point differential away from Lambeau, as opposed to 3-2 with a -4 point differential at home, which is nothing new for them, as they have consistently underperformed on the road with Aaron Rodgers, whose QB rating drops 10 points on the road, far above the league average. Given that, I am tempted to go against them on the road this week in Chicago as 3.5-point favorites, a bigger number than you might realize, with 1 in 4 games being decided by a field goal or less, including 1 in 6 by exactly a field goal.

However, the Bears are just too banged up to take this week unless we were getting a bigger number. They’ll get Justin Fields back from a one-game absence this week and he elevates their offense significantly, but he’ll be missing his top wide receiver Darnell Mooney for the first time this season, while their defense, which has been horrendous since trading away Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith, will be without their two starting safeties Jaquan Brisker and Eddie Jackson due to injury, a big absence as they were two of their better players that side of the ball. I can’t take the Packers with any confidence, but they still seem like the better side for pick ‘em purposes against a skeleton crew Bears team.

Green Bay Packers 31 Chicago Bears 27

Pick against the spread: Green Bay -3.5

Confidence: None

Los Angeles Chargers at Las Vegas Raiders: 2022 Week 13 NFL Pick

Los Angeles Chargers (6-5) at Las Vegas Raiders (4-7)

The Chargers are 6-5, but their six wins have come by a combined 24 points, while their five losses have come by a combined 54 points, giving them a point differential of -30. They’re even worse in terms of schedule adjusted efficiency, ranking 27th in the NFL, about four points below average, which is more predictive than point differential. They got talented wide receiver Keenan Allen back from injury a couple weeks ago, but they still remain without their other talented wide receiver Mike Williams, stud left tackle Rashawn Slater, talented starting center Corey Linsley, expected top cornerback JC Jackson, and stud edge defender Joey Bosa, who would be among their best and most important players if healthy.

The Raiders are missing a pair of key offensive playmakers, tight end Darren Waller and slot receiver Hunter Renfroe, but their defense gets back their top cornerback Nate Hobbs from a 6-game absence this week, a big boost for a unit that got a big boost a few weeks ago when top linebacker Denzel Perryman returned after missing 3 games. They also have a better point differential (-11) than the Chargers, despite being a couple games behind them in the standings. In terms of schedule adjusted efficiency, the Raiders rank 20th, 2.5 points above the Chargers, and they have a 5-point edge over the Chargers in my roster rankings as well.

Despite that, the Raiders are only 1-point favorites at home. My calculated line suggests they should be favored by 4, so we’re getting great line value with them at -1. The only reason this isn’t a bigger play is because the Raiders are coming off of back-to-back overtime games, a spot in which teams cover at just a 40.6% rate all-time, but that’s over a sample size of just 33 games, so it’s not enough to convince me not to bet on the Raiders at least somewhat. This isn’t a big play, but the Raiders are still worth a bet.

Las Vegas Raiders 24 Los Angeles Chargers 20

Pick against the spread: Las Vegas -1

Confidence: Medium

Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens: 2022 Week 13 NFL Pick

Denver Broncos (3-8) at Baltimore Ravens (7-4)

This line is pretty high at Baltimore -9.5, but this is a matchup between one of the best and one of the worst teams in the league and the better team, the Baltimore Ravens, is at home, so this line isn’t nearly high enough in my opinion. The Ravens have four losses, but in all four losses they have blown two-score leads and they lead the NFL in time spent leading. In terms of point differential, the Ravens rank 7th at +48 and in schedule adjusted efficiency they rank 3rd, about 7.5 points above average. They’ve also won by double digits in four of their seven wins, relevant considering this line is 9.5.

The Broncos, meanwhile, rank dead last in schedule adjusted efficiency, 7 points below average and aren’t much better in my roster rankings, where they rank 16 points behind the Ravens. Their defense has been the strength of this team, with an offense and special teams that both rank dead last in schedule adjusted efficiency, but their defense isn’t quite as good now as it was earlier in the season, before losing Randy Gregory to injury and trading Bradley Chubb to the Dolphins. I don’t expect this game to be close at all, with my calculated line at Baltimore -17.5, so I have no problem laying the 9.5 points. In fact, this is my Pick of the Week this week.

Baltimore Ravens 27 Denver Broncos 10

Pick against the spread: Baltimore -9.5

Confidence: Pick of the Week

Tennessee Titans at Philadelphia Eagles: 2022 Week 13 NFL Pick

Tennessee Titans (7-4) at Philadelphia Eagles (10-1)

The Titans are 7-4, but their wins haven’t been that impressive. Their only win against a team that is .500 or better right now came against the Commanders, who are 7-5 now, but were just 1-4 when they were starting Carson Wentz against the Titans, and all of their wins have been close, with several that could have gone either way. Only two of their wins have come by more than a touchdown and neither win was as impressive as that suggests, as they needed a defensive touchdown to push the margin to 9 against the Colts, while their 10-point win over the Packers came against a team in a terrible spot, playing on a short week after an overtime game, a spot in which teams are just 2-22 ATS all-time. 

The Eagles are an obvious step up in competition and have much more in common with the four teams that have beaten them than the seven teams they have beaten. The Eagles aren’t as good as their 10-1 record, as they’ve benefitted from a league best +13 turnover margin, which is not predictive week-to-week, but they also rank 5th in schedule adjusted efficiency, which is predictive week-to-week, so, even if they’ve benefitted from turnovers, it’s hard to argue they’re not at least one of the top few teams in the league. The Titans, meanwhile, rank 28th in schedule adjusted efficiency and, even if they’re not as bad as that suggests, the Eagles should be favored by more than 4.5 points at home against them. My calculated line is Philadelphia -9.5, so we’re getting good line value with the Eagles, enough for a big bet.

Philadelphia Eagles 27 Tennessee Titans 17

Pick against the spread: Philadelphia -4.5

Confidence: High

Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams: 2022 Week 13 NFL Pick

Seattle Seahawks (6-5) at Los Angeles Rams (3-8)

It’s hard to remember a team declining as much the year after winning the Super Bowl as the now 3-8 Rams, but it’s also hard to remember a team losing as many key players to injury as the Rams have this year. Already without a pair of starting offensive linemen from last year’s team after off-season departures, the Rams have since lost the other three due to injury, as well as their starting quarterback Matt Stafford and his two best wide receivers, most notably Cooper Kupp, who was arguably the best receiver in the league a year ago. 

Their injury issues aren’t slowing down either, as they have now spread to the defensive side of the ball, which was previously mostly intact and playing at an above average level, having lost Von Miller in free agency, but having added Bobby Wagner to compensate. Most notably the Rams will be without Aaron Donald for the first time this season this week, which is a huge deal, as he’s still arguably the most valuable defensive player in the league, and they could also be without talented starting linebacker Ernest Jones and starting cornerback Troy Hill as well, who are both legitimately questionable and could be held out on a Rams team going nowhere.

The Seahawks are giving a lot of points here on the road as 7-point favorites, but the Rams are in such bad shape that this line isn’t high enough, with the Seahawks at least being somewhat above average as a team. The Rams also don’t have much homefield advantage in Los Angeles and are likely to be playing in front of a crowd that mostly favors the Seahawks in this game, especially with the Rams effectively out of it at this point in the season. The Seahawks should win this game with ease, so even at -7 they’re worth a bet.

Seattle Seahawks 24 Los Angeles Rams 13

Pick against the spread: Seattle -7

Confidence: Medium

Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots: 2022 Week 13 NFL Pick

Buffalo Bills (8-3) at New England Patriots (6-5)

Throughout the 2021 season and through the first two games of this season, when the Bills won, they always won big, winning 14 straight games by 12 points or more, with an average margin of victory of 23.4 points per game, while 6 of their 7 losses over that time frame came by 7 points or fewer. However, since week 3, the Bills have played much closer games, with five of six wins coming by 10 points or fewer. They’ve also lost three games over that time frame, though all three came by three points or fewer and could have easily gone the other way.

The biggest reason why the Bills haven’t been blowing opponents as much lately is because they haven’t been at full strength. This week, they’ll have to play without top edge defender Von Miller for the first time this season, which a huge loss and an absence that is drawing a lot of attention in this game, but, other than that, the Bills are actually going to be a lot healthier this week than they’ve been in recent weeks, which should offset Miller’s absence. 

On defense, their other talented edge defender Greg Rousseau is set to return from a 3-game absence and stud linebacker Tremaine Edmunds will return from a 2-game absence, while their offense will welcome back center Mitch Morse from a 1-game absence. The Bills also got top cornerback Tre’Davious White back for the first time all season last week and should get much more of a contribution from him in his second game back this week and they will still have talented safety Jordan Poyer healthy, after he missed four games earlier this season. 

The Bills aren’t at full strength, missing Miller and continuing to be without their other talented safety Jordan Poyer and their talented starting left tackle Dion Dawkins, but, even with all of their injuries thus far this season, the Bills still rank first in the league in schedule adjusted efficiency, about 9.5 points above average and, in their current state, my roster rankings have the Bills about 9.5 points above average as well. 

The Patriots, meanwhile, are much more of a middling team, playing at a high level on defense, but struggling on offense, which is the more predictive side of the ball, and, because of that, we’re getting a little bit of line value with the Bills, even as favorites of more than a field goal on the road in New England. I would need this line to drop all the way down to a field goal for the Bills to be worth betting, as 1 in 6 games are decided by exactly a field goal and a Buffalo win by exactly a field goal is a strong possibility, but my calculated line is Buffalo -6, so they’re still the right side for pick ‘em purposes at -3.5.

Buffalo Bills 26 New England Patriots 20

Pick against the spread: Buffalo -3.5

Confidence: Low

2022 Week 12 NFL Picks

Pick of the Week

PHI -6.5 vs. GB

High Confidence Picks

CLE +3.5 vs. TB

BAL -3 @ JAX

Medium Confidence Picks

CIN -2.5 @ TEN

HOU +14 @ MIA

Low Confidence Picks

SEA -3.5 vs. LV

PIT +2.5 @ IND

ATL +4 @ WAS

NYJ -5.5 vs. CHI

MIN -2.5 vs. NE

CAR +1.5 vs. DEN

KC -15.5 vs. LAR

DAL -10 vs. NYG

BUF -9.5 @ DET

No Confidence Picks

SF -9.5 vs. NO

LAC -2.5 @ ARZ

Upset Picks

CLE +150 vs. TB

PIT +120 @ IND

CAR +105 vs. DEN

Pittsburgh Steelers at Indianapolis Colts: 2022 Week 12 NFL Pick

Pittsburgh Steelers (3-7) at Indianapolis Colts (4-6-1)

A week ago on the early line, the Steelers were 3-point underdogs, but this line has since shifted to 2.5, a pretty significant shift, given that about 1 in 6 games are decided by exactly a field goal. Normally I like to go against significant week-to-week line movements like that because they tend to be an overreaction to a single week of play, but, in this case, I’m disappointed that we’ve lost line value with the Steelers, who would have been a good bet at +3.

The Steelers are just 3-7, but they’ve arguably faced the toughest schedule in the league, with eight of their ten games being against teams that are currently .500 or better, with the exceptions being the Browns and Saints, who are both better than their records would indicate. The Steelers’ -74 point differential is worst in the league and even worse than their record would suggest, but in terms of schedule adjusted efficiency, which takes into account their level of competition, the Steelers rank 18th, despite the fact that for most of the season they have been without their top defensive player TJ Watt, who has since returned.

It’s very possible that this matchup in Indianapolis against the Colts will be the Steelers’ easiest game of the season thus far. The Colts rank 24th and three points below average in terms of schedule adjusted efficiency (significantly worse than both the Browns and the Saints) and they are unlikely to be any better than that going forward, missing a pair of key defenders, Kwity Pawe and Shaq Leonard, for an indefinite period of time. 

Despite that, this line suggests these two teams are about even, so we’re getting good line value with the Steelers, who I have calculated as 1-point favorites. I think I would need this line to go back up to three for the Steelers to be worth betting against the spread, but I might change my mind on that, the money line is a good value at +120 because the Steelers should be considered no worse than 50/50 to win this game, and the Steelers should be the right side for pick ‘em purposes either way.

Pittsburgh Steelers 19 Indianapolis Colts 17 Upset Pick +120

Pick against the spread: Pittsburgh +2.5

Confidence: Low

Las Vegas Raiders at Seattle Seahawks: 2022 Week 12 NFL Pick

Las Vegas Raiders (3-7) at Seattle Seahawks (6-4)

This game is tough to predict without knowing the status of a pair of key players on the Raiders who seem like legitimate gametime decisions, feature back Josh Jacobs and top cornerback Nate Hobbs. If both players are out, the Seahawks shouldn’t have too much trouble covering this 3.5-point spread. A spread of 3.5 is higher than you might think because about 1 in 4 games are decided by three points or fewer and, largely as a result, 3.5-point underdogs cover more often than underdogs of any other number, covering the spread at a 52.9% rate, which is actually profitable. However, if Hobbs and Jacobs are out, my calculated line would be 8, so I wouldn’t be too concerned about this line being at 3.5. 

Overall, the Seahawks are about 3.5 points above average in terms of schedule adjusted efficiency and about 2.5 points above average in my roster rankings. The Raiders, meanwhile, are 2 points below average in terms of schedule adjusted efficiency and, while they would be significantly better than that if Nate Hobbs returned this week from his 5-game absence, if Hobbs doesn’t play and Josh Jacobs misses his first game of the season, the Raiders would be even worse than 2 points below average. I’m leaving this as a low confidence pick on the Seahawks for now, but I might end up updating this pick depending on who is active for the Raiders and where this line ultimately ends up.

Seattle Seahawks 26 Las Vegas Raiders 20

Pick against the spread: Seattle -3.5

Confidence: Low

New Orleans Saints at San Francisco 49ers: 2022 Week 12 NFL Pick

New Orleans Saints (4-7) at San Francisco 49ers (6-4)

The 49ers are just 6-4, but there’s an argument to be made that they’re the best team in the NFC and they look like one of the top few Super Bowl contenders overall. They rank 5th in both point differential (+63) and schedule adjusted efficiency (about five points above average) and are arguably even better than that, as they are healthier and more talented than they were earlier in the season. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel, tight end George Kittle, and left tackle Trent Williams are all among their best offensive players and all missed time earlier this season, but all three have returned, a huge boost for an offense that also got a big boost from adding Christian McCaffrey in a trade a few weeks ago. The 49ers’ defense is also healthier now than a few weeks ago, with linebackers Dre Greenlaw and Azeez Al-Shaair and safety Jimmie Ward returning to action recently.

The 49ers showed this on Monday Night Football last week, demolishing the Cardinals by a final score of 38-10 in one of the most lopsided games of the season (+9.82% first down rate, +2.37 yards per play), and that tends to carry over into the next week, with teams covering the spread at a 60.0% rate the week after winning by 21 points or more on Monday Night Football. However, we’re not really getting line value with the 49ers as 9.5-point home favorites over the Saints, as the public and the oddsmakers seem to understand that the 49ers are significantly better than their record.

If anything, the Saints are the team that is being a little underrated here, as they are healthier than they’ve been in recent weeks, with key players like Cameron Jordan, Marcus Davenport, and Marshon Lattimore seeming likely to return on defense, and, even with all of their injuries, they have played better than their record, ranking 16th in schedule adjusted efficiency, with their biggest problem being their league worst -12 turnover margin, which is not predictive week-to-week. My calculated line actually gives us a little line value with the visitor, with the 49ers favored by 7.5 points. That’s not nearly enough line value to take the Saints with any confidence though and, with the 49ers being in a significantly better spot, I would still take them for pick ‘em purposes, albeit for one of my lowest confidence picks of the week.

San Francisco 49ers 27 New Orleans Saints 17

Pick against the spread: San Francisco -9.5

Confidence: None