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NFL Week 13 winners and losers, plus picks for huge Patriots-Bills ‘MNF’ game and grades for every Sunday game

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Welcome to the Monday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!

I’d like to start things off here by giving a shout out to Lions fans everywhere. You guys sat through 12 weeks of torture before finally being able to watch your team pull off a win. I’m not saying the city of Detroit should hold a parade for the Lions today, but I’m not not saying that. 

We’ll have more on the Lions’ win in today’s newsletter, plus we’ll be grading every game from Sunday and making some Patriots-Bills picks, so let’s get to the rundown. 

As always, here’s your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the Pick Six newsletter. To get your friends to sign up, all you have to do is click here and then share this link with them.

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1. Today’s show: Week 13 winners and losers, plus full recap

It’s Monday, which can only mean one thing: I stayed up until 3 a.m. last night recording a podcast with Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson that touched on everything you need to know about Week 13, and let me just say, it’s probably for the best that you listen. We covered all 12 games from Sunday and those games including some insane finishes. Not only did the Lions win a stunner, but the Ravens lost after going for two, the 49ers lost after being stopped four times inside the 10-yard line in the final minute and the Raiders lost because a rookie kicker beat them with a last second field goal. 

One thing we do every week is hand out our weekly winners and losers from Sunday’s action. For this week’s losers, Wilson and Brinson both went with a team in the AFC North while I went out west to find my team. 

Ryan Wilson

  • Winner: Steelers. With their season on the line, the Steelers shocked the Ravens in one of the most dramatic games of the day. Sure, there’s a 100% chance that Big Ben leaked the news of his possible retirement in hopes of inspiring his team, but who cares because the plan worked and now the Steelers are back in the AFC playoff race. 
  • Loser: Bengals. Every month, the Bengals suck us in and make us think they’re going to be a serious playoff contender and every month, they get blown out and make us regret taking them seriously. Last month, it was a 41-16 loss to the Browns. This month, it was a 41-22 loss to the Chargers that might have been the most painful loss of the season for Cincinnati and that’s because Joe Burrow came out of the game with an injured pinky. 

Will Brinson

  • Winner: Dan Campbell. When an NFL team goes winless through the first 12 weeks of the season, you usually see the players give up on the coach, but that didn’t happen in Detroit. Despite an 0-10-1 start, Campbell was able to inspire his guys week after week and it paid off with a wild 29-27 win against the Vikings. Instead of celebrating after the game, Campbell dedicated the win to the students who lost their lives at Oxford High School in Michigan. What’s not to like about this guy?
  • Loser: Ravens. Their offense has completely fallen apart over the past month and they seem to be losing their grasp on the AFC North after their wild loss to the Steelers. Since Week 10, the Ravens haven’t hit the 20-point mark in a single game.  

John Breech

  • Winner: Gardner Minshew. In reality, the winner is every football fan alive and that’s because “Minshew Mania” is once again sweeping the nation. With Jalen Hurts out due to an injury, all Minshew did was throw for 242 yards and two touchdowns in a dominating win over the Jets. I’m not saying there should be a QB controversy in Philadelphia, but I’m not not saying that. 
  • Loser: 49ers. The 49ers are the Bengals of the NFC. Just like the Bengals, they suck you in and make you think they’re a serious playoff contender, then they go out and fall flat on their face in an ugly loss.   

Not only did we list our winners and losers, but we also recapped every game from Sunday. To listen to today’s episode — and to subscribe to the best daily NFL podcast out there — be sure to click here. You can also WATCH today’s episode on YouTube by clicking here

2. Week 13 grades: Lions get an ‘A’ for winning their first game of the season

Every week I team up with six of my colleagues here at CBSSports.com to hand out grades, and this week, the Lions got an ‘A’ for upsetting the Vikings. 

Here’s a look at the grades from two notable games that were played Sunday:

Detroit 29-27 over Minnesota (Click here for full recap)

  • Lions takeaway: The Lions might not technically deserve an “A” for the way they played in this game, but we’re giving them one anyway for picking up their first win of the season. After a Vikings TD with just 1:50 left to play, it looked like the Lions were going to lose another game due to a blown lead, but then the impossible happened: Jared Goff led a game-winning drive. Over the final 110 seconds of the game, Goff threw for 80 yards, including an 11-yard scoring pass to Amon-Ra St. Brown on the final play of the game to give Detroit the win. The Lions won despite turning the ball over twice and that’s mainly because their defense came up with big plays when Detroit needed them the most. Grade: A
  • Vikings takeaway: In one of the most embarrassing losses by any NFL team this year, the Vikings imploded in the first half, then fought back to take the lead late in the fourth quarter before letting the Lions drive straight down the field to score a game-winning touchdown with no time left. The Vikings continue to be one of the most baffling teams in the NFL. One week, they’ll beat the Packers and then in another week, they’ll lose to the Lions. The loss overshadowed a huge game from Justin Jefferson, who caught 11 passes for 182 yards and a TD. Grade: C

Seattle 30-23 over San Francisco (Click here for full game stats)

  • Seahawks takeaway: With their season on the line, the Seahawks came through with arguably their most well-rounded performance of the season. The offense, defense and special teams all came up with huge plays in the upset win. The big plays started early when Travis Homer ran 73 yards for a TD on a fake punt that capped the Seahawks’ opening possession. Defensively, not only did the Seahawks force three turnovers — with two interceptions and a fumble recovery — but they also recorded a safety in the third quarter that tied the game up at 23. Not to mention, they came up with a goal line stand at the end that won game for the Seahawks. As for Seattle’s offense, it wasn’t perfect, but it came up with big plays when it had to and none was bigger than Russell Wilson’s 12-yard TD pass to Tyler Lockett on a third-down play in the third quarter. That TD ended up being the game-winning score. The Seahawks might not be back in the playoff race, but with teams like the Bears, Texans and Lions still on their schedule, they have an outside chance to get there. Grade: A-
  • 49ers takeaway: With the 49ers running the ball so well over the past few weeks, there hasn’t really been a lot of pressure on Jimmy Garoppolo, but that pressure was finally there on Sunday and he wilted. Garoppolo had two ugly interceptions, including one that came in the third quarter, which led to the game-winning TD by Seattle. The 49ers lost this game because they made too many huge mistakes. Besides Garoppolo’s interceptions, Travis Benjamin also lost a fumble on the opening kickoff of the second half. The 49ers also handed the Seahawks two points in the third quarter when Garoppolo got sacked for a safety. George Kittle came up big for the 49ers (nine catches for 181 yards and two touchdowns) but he was about the only player powering the 49ers’ offense in this game. The loss on Sunday marks San Francisco’s fourth straight loss to Seattle. The Seahawks just seem to be the one team the 49ers can’t beat. Grade: C

As for the other 20 grades we handed out on Sunday, you can check those out by clicking here

3. NFL playoff picture heading into Monday night

With only five weeks left in the regular season, now seems like a good time to take an extensive look at the playoff picture heading into Monday’s game between the Bills and Patriots

Here’s a look at the top seven teams from each conference:

AFC
1. Patriots (8-4)
2. Titans (8-4)
3. Ravens (8-4)
4. Chiefs (7-4)
5. Bills (7-3)
6. Chargers (7-5)
7. Bengals (7-5) 

The game between the Patriots and Bills will have a monstrous impact on the playoff race and that’s because seeds will be changing all over the place depending on who wins the game. If the Patriots win, the shuffle will come at the bottom. The top four will remain the same, but the Bills will drop back to seventh with the Chargers and Bengals each moving up a spot. On the other hand, if the Bills win, the new seedings would look like this: 1. Titans 2. Bills 3. Ravens 4. Chiefs 5. Patriots 6. Chargers 7. Bengals. 

NFC 
1. Cardinals (10-2)
2. Packers (9-3)
3. Buccaneers (9-3)
4. Cowboys (8-4) 
5. Rams (8-4)
6. Washington (6-6) 
7. 49ers (6-6)

The most notable thing here is probably the fact that Washington has stormed its way into the playoff race. Four weeks ago, the Football Team looked to be left for dead at 2-6, but after four straight wins, they now own the sixth seed in the NFC. The battle for the top spot in the NFC is also getting interesting. Although the Packers currently have the two seed, don’t be surprised if they end up in the top spot and that’s because they have the easiest remaining schedule of any team in the NFC. Green Bay’s remaining opponents have a .408 winning percentage compared to .424 for Tampa Bay and .467 for the Cardinals. 

4. 10 crazy facts from Week 13

Every Sunday night, I get an email from our research department here at CBS Sports, and every Sunday, that email always includes some amazingly wild facts about the games that were just played. 

With that in mind, here are 10 crazy facts about Week 13: 

  • The Falcons can’t beat Tom Brady. Tampa Bay’s win over the Falcons means that Brady is now a perfect 10-0 against Atlanta in his career. That’s the third best record a QB has against any team in NFL history, trailing only John Elway (11-0 against the Patriots) and Andrew Luck (11-0 against the Titans). 
  • No one can stop Brady to Gronk. The pair connected on two touchdowns against the Falcons, which officially makes them the second most prolific TD duo in NFL history. The two touchdowns means that Brady has now thrown 90 regular-season scoring passes to Gronk, which moves them past Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates for the second-most in NFL history. The only duo that combined for more touchdowns was Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison, who finished with 112. 
  • The Jets can’t beat the Eagles. The Jets have been playing the Eagles since 1973 and over that span, they haven’t beaten Philadelphia a SINGLE TIME. The Eagles are 12-0 against the Jets, which ties the NFL record for most wins over an opponent to start a series in NFL history (The Browns started 12-0 against the Cardinals from 1950 to 1955).
  • Colts get rare road shutout. The Colts’ 31-0 win over the Texans marked the first time in nearly 30 years that they held a team scoreless on the road. The last time it happened came back in 1992 when they beat the Patriots 6-0. The 31-point win makes it their third-largest road shutout win in franchise history. 
  • Jonathan Taylor keeps scoring. The Colts running back scored two touchdowns against the Texans, which means he now has at least one TD in 10 straight games. That’s the fifth-longest streak in NFL history, trailing only Pro Football Hall of Famers John Riggins (12 consecutive games in 1983), LaDainian Tomlinson (12 consecutive games in 2004) and Emmitt Smith (11 consecutive games in 1995), along with non-Hall of Famer Priest Holmes (11 consecutive games in 2002).
  • Cardinals unbeatable on the road. Arizona’s 33-22 win over the Bears moved the Cardinals to 7-0 on the road this season and more impressively, they’ve won all seven of those games by double digits. Only two other teams in NFL history (1984 49ers and 1968 Cowboys) have ever won seven straight road games by double digits. The 1984 49ers went on to the win the Super Bowl while the 1968 Cowboys lost in the divisional round of the playoffs. 
  • Patrick Mahomes in a TD drought. The Chiefs QB didn’t throw a single TD against the Broncos, which means he has now gone consecutive games without throwing a touchdown pass for the first time in his career. Mahomes hasn’t thrown a TD since throwing five against the Raiders on Nov. 14. 
  • Kupp, Kupp and away. With eight catches against the Jaguars, Cooper Kupp now has 100 for the season, which is notable, because it makes him just the fourth player in NFL history to tally 100 receptions in his team’s first 12 games. The only other players to accomplish that feat are: Michael Thomas (2019), Julio Jones (2015) and Marvin Harrison (2002). 
  • Adrian Peterson keeps scoring touchdowns. In his first game with the Seahawks, Peterson scored a TD, which means he now has 126 in his career. That number ties him with Jim Brown for the fifth-most in NFL history. Only Emmitt Smith, Ladainian Tomlinson, Marcus Allen and Marshall Faulk have more.     
  • T.J. Watt joins rare company. The Steelers pass-rusher recorded 3.5 sacks against the Ravens, which means he now has 16 for the season. This marks the fourth straight year that Watt has tallied at least 13 sacks, making him just the second player in NFL history to accomplish that feat. The only other player was the reverend himself, Reggie White, who actually did it twice (1985-88 and 1990-93). 

5. Monday preview: Prepping you for Patriots at Bills


Getty Images

For the first time in NFL history, the Bills are hosting a Monday night game in December and it’s a huge one as first place in the AFC East will be on the line against the Patriots. Not only will the winner take over first place in the division, but they’ll also put themselves in the driver’s seat for earning the top overall playoff seed in the AFC.   

My good buddy Jared Dubin wrote our deep-dive preview for this game here at CBSSports.com, and here’s how he sees the game playing out:

  • Why the Patriots can win: Not many teams have been able to run on the Bills, but the ones that can run have been able to beat Buffalo. In the Bills’ four losses, they’ve surrendered an average of 141 yards per game, which is WAY above their season average of surrendering just 96.6 yards per game. Basically, if the Patriots can get their run game going, that will give them a good chance of pulling off the upset. 
  • Why Bills can win: The Bills have had arguably the best defense in the NFL this year. Not only have they given up the fewest yards, but they’ve also given up the second-fewest points per game. In this game, all they have to do is slow down a Patriots offense that’s averaging 35.2 points over its past six games. If the Bills can stop the run and put the game on Mac Jones’s shoulders, they should be able to force the rookie into making some mistakes. One thing to watch with Buffalo’s defense is that it will be playing its first game without Tre’Davious White, who has been lost for the season with an injury. 

You can get a full preview of the game from Dubin by clicking here. The Bills are currently favored by three points and as you can see below, Dubin and I do not agree on who’s going to win the game. 

Dubin’s pick: Bills 24-20 over Patriots.
My pick: Patriots 23-20 over Bills.

If you’re thinking about betting on the game, Tyler Sullivan put together a full gambling preview. 

  • ONE PROP TYLER LIKES: Josh Allen OVER 34.5 rushing yards (-120): “The Patriots haven’t been great against the run this season and Allen is Buffalo’s best runner. He’s also gone over this prop in seven of his 11 games played heading into Week 13.”
  • ONE PROP I LIKE: First scoring play will be a BILLS field goal (+300): This feels like a game that’s going to be a defensive struggle, so I think we’re going to see a lot of field goals. However, there are no kicker props available right now, so I’m going with a field goal prop. I think the Bills will be fired up going into the game, which will lead to them scoring the first points. However, the Patriots have a good defense, so I think they’ll keep Buffalo out of the end zone on that first scoring drive.   

You can check out Sullivan’s full gambling preview by clicking here.

6. Rapid-fire roundup

It was a busy weekend in the NFL and since it’s nearly impossible to keep track of everything that happened, I went ahead and put together a roundup for you: 

  • Big Ben mum about retirement rumors. After a report broke over the weekend suggesting that this will be Roethlisberger’s final season with the Steelers, he didn’t exactly deny it after Pittsburgh’s win over the Ravens. “I’ll address any of that stuff after the season. I’ve always been a one-game-at-a-time, one-season-at-a-time person,” Roethlisberger said. “I’m going to stay that way.” It has felt all along like this was going to be his final season in Pittsburgh and the latest reports just confirm that. 
  • Marlon Humphrey likely out for season. The Ravens have had to deal with some big injuries this year and now you can add another one to the list. Humphrey, the team’s best corner, is likely out for the season after suffering a shoulder injury against the Steelers. 
  • Salary cap expected to reach $208 million in 2022. NFL players got some good news over the weekend and that’s the fact that the salary cap is expected to skyrocket in 2022. The cap, which is at $182.5 million in 2021, is expected to jump all the way up to $208.2 million in 2022. 
  • Patriots classic red throwbacks will soon be making a return after 10-year hiatus. With the NFL allowing teams to wear an alternate helmet next season, one team that will definitely be taking advantage of that is the Patriots. New England is expected to bring back its red throwbacks and we’ll likely see them wear those with their white helmet that features a Pat Patriots logo on it.   
  • Pro Football Hall of Famer Claude Humphrey passes away at 77. Humphrey spent 14 years in the NFL after being selected by the Falcons with the third overall pick in the 1968 NFL Draft. During his first season, he was named the NFL’s defensive rookie of the year. He was also named a first-team All-Pro a total of two times while playing in six Pro Bowls. Humphrey was credited with 130 sacks in his career, which is the 24th most in NFL history. 


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