Week 13 NFL panel picks: Can Patriots top Bills as road underdogs?

Sam Acho joins Sportsnet Central to discuss who is the best team in the AFC and much more news around the NFL.

Throughout the 2021 season, a panel of Sportsnet’s NFL contributors will preview each week’s slate of games from a gambling perspective. Staff writer/host Donnovan Bennett, staff writers Emily Sadler and Mike Johnston, plus fantasy writers Andy McNamara and Matt Marchese will pick one FAVOURITE, one UNDERDOG, one OVER, one UNDER, including their personal LOCK, as they attempt to beat the odds

The NFL playoff races are tightening and Week 12 losses didn’t do the Cowboys, Rams, Chargers, Browns, Steelers, Vikings or Eagles any favours. More importantly, for bettors at least, none of those teams covered the spread!

Week 13 begins Thursday with Dallas visiting a banged-up New Orleans team and concludes with a massive AFC East showdown between the Patriots and Bills. Sunday’s best matchups also feature all-AFC showdowns like Ravens-Steelers, Chargers-Bengals and Broncos-Chiefs.

Below are the Week 13 picks.

Donnovan Bennett, staff writer/host
2021 record: 28-20-0
Last week: 3-1-0
Locks: 7-5-0

🏈 Colts at Texans OVER 45.5
🏈 Ravens at Steelers UNDER 44
🏈 Patriots (+3) at Bills
🔒 49ers (-3.5) at Seahawks

Ben Roethlisberger has been sacked 24 times this season, ninth most in the NFL. That’s more times than he was sacked in the entire 2018 season. Baltimore’s defence has created the seventh highest pressure rate at 32 per cent and allowed the fifth-lowest QBR at 46. Pittsburgh is 29th in pass block win rate. This game will be low scoring because I don’t know how the Steelers are going to score.

Emily Sadler, staff writer
2021 record: 25-22-1
Last week: 1-3-0
Locks: 5-7-0

🏈 Chargers at Bengals OVER 50.5
🏈 Ravens at Steelers UNDER 44
🏈 49ers (-3.5) at Seahawks
🔒 Lions (+7) vs. Vikings

To be clear: I’m not being so bold as to predict the Lions’ very first victory here. But considering the Vikings’ stressful season – they’ve recorded just one victory by a margin of more than a single score – and taking into the account the events of the last time these two NFC North clubs met up, history tells me to make this bet. And to expect field goals, late.

Mike Johnston, staff writer
2021 record: 23-25-0
Last week: 2-2-0
Locks: 5-7-0

🏈 Washington at Raiders OVER 49.5
🏈 Eagles at Jets UNDER 45
🏈 Broncos (+10) at Chiefs
🔒 Colts (-9) at Texans

While the Broncos should keep it within double-digits against the Chiefs in a divisional matchup with playoff implications, I'm expecting the Colts to bounce-back from their loss to Tampa and stomp all over Houston. This is also a spite bet against the Texans for not covering against the Jets last week.

Andy McNamara, analyst/fantasy sports writer
2021 record: 28-20-0
Last week: 3-1-0
Locks: 4-8-0

🏈 Chargers at Bengals OVER 50.5
🏈 Jaguars at Rams UNDER 48
🏈 Cowboys (-4.5) at Saints
🔒 Patriots (+3) at Bills

Are we really going to doubt a Bill Belichick-led team on a six-game winning streak? The Patriots snuck up on the Bills to set up a battle at the top of the AFC East on Monday Night Football. Belichick is using the formula from the early Tom Brady years – strong running game, safe high percentage throws from a young QB, and an attacking defence. Buffalo has alternated wins and losses since Week 6 and hasn't beaten a formidable opponent since the Chiefs on Oct. 10. My LOCK is a Pats victory on the road.

Matt Marchese, radio host/producer/fantasy football writer
2021 record: 20-28-0
Last week: 3-1-0
Locks: 5-7-0

🏈 Ravens at Steelers OVER 44
🏈 Jaguars at Rams UNDER 48
🏈 Saints (+4.5) vs. Cowboys
🔒 Bengals (-3) vs. Chargers

The Bengals looked great against their division rival Steelers coming off the bye week and Joe Mixon has been on fire this season. We all know about the struggles for west coast teams coming east historically, but Cincinnati has been great against the spread versus the Chargers, going 6-1-1 in their last eight meetings.

BONUS STAT: The Cowboys have struggled mightily in The Big Easy going 1-8 in their last nine games in New Orleans and you would have to think that if Taysom Hill starts for the Saints that he can’t be any worse than Trevor Siemian.

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