Full NFL picks against the spread for each game on the Week 12 schedule following the trio of Thanksgiving Day games.
There aren’t many traditions in sports quite like the NFL’s Thanksgiving Day slate of games. Whether it’s the two games that used to occupy the space or the current three, it’s always fun. Of course, it’s always a bit more fun whenever the games that are being featured are quality ones. At least early on Thursday, that was the case.
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Fans were first treated to a grind-it-out divisional matchup with the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings. The highest entertainment, of course, came at the end as Sam Bradford imploded and allowed the Lions to pick him off and complete a wild comeback. Next up was then the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins going to war in their rivalry. Offense poured over the fans in the second half, but it was Dallas winning their 10th-straight that stole the show.
They can’t all be winners, though. And the nightcap certainly qualifies in that regard. The Indianapolis Colts were without Andrew Luck and, well, it showed. Scott Tolzien was fine, but he couldn’t keep up with Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and the Pittsburgh Steelers. If you took a turkey nap during this one, no one can blame you.
After the three games on Thanksgiving, that’s three picks already in the books as opposed to just the one usual one. Lucky for me, I had a solid start on Thursday and can hopefully build on some of that mojo.
My #NFL Picks against the spread for the Thanksgiving games. DET -2, DAL -5.5, PIT -8. Good day for favorites. Picks for SUN/MON tomorrow
Going 2-1 on holiday games and just missing a win by a point in the one loss is something I’ll take every time. Last week was a big one as I got hot in the late afternoon in primetime games. I’ve continued to inch closer to .500, going 22-18-1 against the spread over the last three weeks of NFL picks.
Let’s try to keep that and a solid start going with my NFL picks against the spread for Week 12.
Nov 10, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Cleveland Browns tight end Seth DeValve (87) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown during the second quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
New York Giants (-7) at Cleveland Browns
There’s a part of me that very badly wants to pick the Browns in this game. Cleveland has been competitive so many times this season and fallen short. What’s more, this looks like an unmistakable trap-game for the Giants. But as the Browns currently sit at a winless 0-11 and at only 2-9 against the spread this season, it just doesn’t seem like it’s in the cards. Subsequently, I’m going with New York on the road. If I’m wrong, good for Cleveland at pulling off the upset.
I’d be lying completely if I said I didn’t have reservations about picking this one. For one, Atlanta’s offense was stifled before they went into their bye last week. As their greatest strength with Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, that’s concerning even against a good defense. Moreover, we’ve seen the Falcons’ late-season collapses recently. On top of all of this, though, it’s hard not to feel as if preseason perceptions are still clouding my judgment regarding the Cardinals—especially with how bad their offensive line and Carson Palmer have been. That’s probably the case, but that doesn’t change the fact that I think David Johnson can still gash the Falcons and the Arizona defense can cause Atlanta issues. Give me the road underdog against my better judgment; I’m taking the Cards.
Pick: Cardinals +4.5
San Diego Chargers (-1.5) at Houston Texans
Prior to looking at the lines, I couldn’t wait to take an underdog Chargers team on the road against fraudulent Houston. Come to find out, San Diego is the favorite on the road in this matchup, meaning the oddsmakers feel about the Texans the way that I do. Though records may indicate otherwise, I think the Chargers are the better overall team here. Houston’s defense can still make noise, but Philip Rivers has kept San Diego’s offense humming all season with the help of Melvin Gordon. More importantly, Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, and the Chargers defense have a high ceiling that they show sometimes, which could be against a banged up Texans line. I’m going with San Diego relatively easily.
Pick: Chargers -1.5
San Francisco 49ers at Miami Dolphins (-7.5)
If you’re riding a nine-game losing streak and coming off a beatdown at the hands of the New England Patriots, you know what you probably don’t want to do? My guess is that travel to the East Coast to play a red-hot Dolphins team is near the top of the list. Yet, that’s the hand that the 49ers have been dealt—along with Chip Kelly’s proverbial two-seven off-suited that he’s constantly bluffing with in the NFL. Frankly, this could be a blowout, even off of Miami’s lackluster win last week. The Dolphins should run away here.
Nov 20, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton looks to throw against the Buffalo Bills during the second half at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bills won 16-12. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens (-3.5)
Poor Andy Dalton. Not only has the Bengals quarterback regressed quite a bit from last season, but he’s also now going forward without both A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard. Bless him. While I still don’t think the Ravens are 100 percent legitimate—even after playing Dallas relatively closely—they are decidedly the better team against the injured Bengals. Based on their defense alone, I don’t see any way they allow this deplete offense to burn them, which makes the home Ravens the easy pick.
Pick: Ravens -3.5
Jacksonville Jaguars at Buffalo Bills (-7.5)
Before we go any further, I need to be sure to clear one thing up. The Buffalo Bills are 100 percent the better team in this matchup. Blake Bortles and the Jaguars are an absolute disaster and disappointment. How Gus Bradley hasn’t lost his job yet is beyond me. That said, the Jaguars are also garbage-time royalty and the kings of the backdoor cover. That’s why they’re 2-8 overall, but 5-5 against the spread this season. And with the Bills possibly being without the heart of their offense (or a limited version at least), LeSean McCoy, the backdoor cover here seems inevitable. Buffalo wins without it ever really being in doubt, but Jacksonville scores late to make it only a six- or seven-point loss.
Pick: Jaguars +7.5
Tennessee Titans (-4.5) at Chicago Bears
I have nothing elegant to say about this game. The Titans are inconsistent with a high ceiling when at their best. Chicago is starting Matt Barkley at quarterback while their best offensive (Alshon Jeffery) and defensive (Jerrell Freeman) weapons are both suspended. If Tennessee didn’t pour it on in this one even thicker than they did the Packers, that would be the most shocking event of the week’s action.
Pick: Titans -4.5
Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints (-7)
After he debuted on the one rainy day per year in Los Angeles (estimated), we’ll now see a bit more of what Jared Goff is all about. Of course, it’d also help a great deal if Jeff Fisher wasn’t asking him to throw the ball five yards on every pass. The Rams need to let the rookie try and cook, especially in the dome and against this Saints defense—which has admittedly improved. As good as the Rams defense is, though, I don’t think they have an answer for Drew Brees at home. They aren’t a talented enough team throughout to keep up and this one should wind up being one-sided in favor of the home team, no matter how well Goff plays.
Nov 6, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) dances on the field before the start of the game against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Seattle Seahawks (-6) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
As I’ve said before, the West Coast team traveling across the country doesn’t always bother me and that’s especially the case when that team is the Seahawks and they still get a late-afternoon kickoff. It’s worth noting that the Buccaneers have been playing some of their best football as of late. However, they haven’t been playing on the level of Seattle. Russell Wilson and company are hitting their late-season stride, right on cue. Therefore, it’s be foolish to not side with the Seahawks.
Pick: Seahawks -6
Carolina Panthers at Oakland Raiders (-3)
If we’re being completely honest, I have no idea why the Raiders are only favored by three points here. Even if you think that the Panthers have turned a corner (I do not), Oakland is still 8-2 on the season and has just been one of the most dangerous teams in football. Considering that the Panthers secondary is still an issue and how the Raiders offensive line can negate the Carolina pass-rush, Derek Carr should have a big day and win this rather convincingly—definitely by well over three points.
Pick: Raiders -3
New England Patriots (-7.5) at New York Jets
No one is looking at this game and making the mistake that the Jets are the better team. However, anyone who’s been watching the NFL for at least a few years knows about this heated AFC East rivalry. And anything can happen in a rivalry game. Now, I don’t think the Jets have the ability to win, but they could give the Pats a scare on Sunday. Having said all that, Ryan Fitzpatrick is their quarterback again, so any rivalry magic is negated. It’s New England, hands down.
Pick: Patriots -7.5
Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos (-3.5)
The Over/Under for the Sunday Night Football game is currently se at 39.5. Frankly, even that low total seems like it’s too high for these two teams. If this one gets out of the teens, I’d truly be a little surprised. What’s more, this is also a difficult line just because these two teams feel like clones of one another. These are two impressive defenses with two mediocre-or-worse offenses and a quarterback who isn’t going to beat their opponent. However, the Chiefs feel like the play. I think this game is decided by a field goal either way, which gives KC the cover.
Carson Wentz has started to look much more like a rookie as of late for his Eagles. Moreover, the Eagles could be without both Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles on Sunday. And you know what? The Packers have been uninspiring enough that it still won’t matter. Philly’s pass rush is strong enough to get pressure on and bring down Aaron Rodgers. Meanwhile, Wentz is still quality and should be able to burn Green Bay’s secondary. It may not be as dominant as it could’ve been, but Philly wins in primetime.