Scully's Week 13 NFL Picks: Ravens set to dominate in AFC North clash
A pair of divisional leaders lost last week, and it promises to be a wild playoff race over the final six weeks of the NFL regular season.
Atlanta is in the heat of the playoff chase, at 5-6, the same record as Washington, which would be the seventh and final NFC playoff team, due to the tiebreaker.
In the AFC, 5-7 Miami sits 13th in the standings, but the Dolphins are only one win behind the Los Angeles Chargers in seventh.
Our Week 13 picks focus upon three divisional matchups.
Vikings vs. Lions
Sun, December 5 2021, 6:00 PM
Detroit took Minnesota to the wire in Week 5, losing by a last-second field goal, and the Vikings play to the level of their competition – Minnesota’s last eight games have been decided by one score.
The Lions enter their home rematch in good defensive form, holding the last three opponents to 16 points or less, and Jared Goff completed 21 of 25 passes when returning from a one-game absence last week.
Minnesota exits a physical setback to San Francisco, losing Dalvin Cook for at least a couple of games.
The Vikings have surrendered nearly 900 total yards the last two weeks. After losing thrice in a difficult five-game stretch against five playoff hopefuls, it’s difficult to envision the Vikings being fired up for Detroit.
The Vikings failed to cover a 10-point spread against their divisional rival earlier this season and have posted a 0-2 mark against the spread (ATS) when favored by four or more points this season.
Detroit enters on a 3-0 ATS run.
We’ll grab the points in a projected low-scoring game.
Ravens vs. Steelers
Sun, December 5 2021, 9:25 PM
Baltimore’s offensive woes have been on display the last three weeks, but the Ravens have managed to win twice, despite failing to score more than 16 points in the three straight.
The Ravens will get back on track against their most hated rival, which will further Pittsburgh’s descent.
Defense carried Pittsburgh most of this season, but it’s giving way. After surrendering 41 points in a loss to the Chargers, the Steelers allowed 165 rushing yards to Joe Mixon in a 41-10 setback to Cincinnati last week.
The Steelers haven’t been tackling well, and T.J. Watt may be out due to COVID-19.
Ben Roethlisberger, who wore down badly late last year, is showing the same signs of decline. Poor offensive line play has limited the Steelers' ground game, and Baltimore brings the AFC’s top-ranked run defense to this matchup.
Lamar Jackson always brings it against Pittsburgh. And after battling illness in his last couple of outings, and delivering uneven performances, he’s set to rebound with a strong showing.
Baltimore, which is 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven games at Pittsburgh, will add another cover on Sunday.
49ers vs. Seahawks
Sun, December 5 2021, 9:25 PM
Seattle isn’t making the playoffs, but the Seahawks have the opportunity to play spoiler down the stretch. They play San Francisco tough at home — 7-2-1 ATS in the last 10 meetings — and the Niners have been vulnerable as a favorite, at 4-10 ATS in the last 14 games.
More importantly than the negative trends, San Francisco will be without Deebo Samuel, who has emerged as one of the league’s most dynamic playmakers, leading the Niners to three consecutive wins.
The Niners will miss their top rusher and receiver. Prior to being injured against Minnesota last week, Samuel became the first San Francisco receiver to surpass 1,000 receiving yards since 2014, and the third-year playmaker added a pair of rushing touchdowns, establishing a new touchdown rushing record for a receiver.
San Francisco will struggle to replace Samuel’s offensive production, and Seattle is better than it has shown in recent weeks. We’ll go with the home underdog.