Week 12 NFL Picks: Can the Patriots Stay Undefeated?
Thanksgiving was both fun an nauseating. The Cowboys got completely crushed at home, the Eagles got crushed even worse and the Packers couldn’t beat the Bears on Brett Favre night.
It was even worse, as Tony Romo was once again lost for the season – taking the Cowboys’ faint playoff hopes with them. It’s a good thing we left those three nasty games out of our week 12 NFL picks (it’s the holiday!), because we may have gone 0-3.
Heading into Sunday there are still plenty of games to consider betting on, with the Patriots and their undefeated run possibly taking the cake. Carolina trampled Dallas to stay perfect at 11-0, but can Tom Brady and co. do the same to the Broncos? Let’s break down that game and all of the others in our week 12 NFL picks:
Saints @ Texans (-3)
It seemed just a couple of weeks ago the Saints were fully back when Drew Brees dropped seven touchdowns on the Giants. New Orleans has only regressed since then, losing two straight and likely falling out of playoff contention at 4-6. The Texans, meanwhile play host and are riding a hot three-game winning streak, one fueled by a suddenly elite defense. Brian Hoyer is back to man the Houston offense and with how bad the Saints defense is, it’s hard not to like the Texans in every facet of the game. I’ll take Houston straight up, but I think it’s going to be a push.
Pick: Texans 30, Saints 27
Rams @ Bengals (-8.5)
The Rams have Todd Gurley and a strong defense, but they sure don’t have a quarterback right now. Winning on the road as a one-dimensional offense is never easy, but it’s especially difficult against a very good Bengals team. Cincy will be looking at this matchup as a rebound game, as they’ve dropped two in a row.
Pick: Bengals 27, Rams 17
Vikings @ Falcons (-1.5)
This is basically a toss-up, as the Vikings are not necessarily at their best on the road (3-2) this year and suffered a major letdown last week in a home loss to the Packers. Atlanta probably isn’t the better team, but their three-game losing streak has to end eventually. At home in a huge game with playoff implications sounds about right.
Pick: Falcons 27, Vikings 24
Giants @ Redskins (-3)
This game is basically deciding the NFC East for the short-term, but it really seems like the Giants have been the class of this division. Washington hosts and when Kirk Cousins and co. are on, they can compete at a pretty high level. That being said, the Giants had no trouble with the ‘Skins last time and should get the win this week.
Pick: Giants 20, Redskins 17
Buccaneers @ Colts (-3)
The Colts are at home and somehow are undefeated (3-0) when Matt Hasselbeck starts at quarterback. A big reason why is Hasselbeck doesn’t take too many chances or force the issue, while Indy as a whole is a more ball control and conservative offense due to his limitations. That’s kept the Colts in games and also helped their defense stay fresh. On the road, that might be bad news for Jameis Winston and the Bucs.
Pick: Colts 24, Buccaneers 16
Bills @ Chiefs (-6.5)
It’s hard to pick against a Bills team that has looked pretty good and even almost took down the Patriots last week. But they’re playing at Kansas City, which would be a tough environment to go get a win even if the Chiefs hadn’t quickly turned into one of the nastiest defenses in the league. Buffalo has serious playoff hopes, but so do the Chiefs after winning four in a row. Make it five as KC gets one step closer to the top of the AFC West.
Pick: Chiefs 23, Bills 20
(-2) Raiders @ Titans
The Titans seemed reborn for a moment when they claimed an overtime thriller over the Saints a few weeks ago, but now they’re back to being awful after a two-game slide. A home date with the Raiders gives them a shot at a win, but it’s much the same for Oakland. The Raiders are better than they’ve shown lately and it’s high time they ended their three-game skid.
Pick: Raiders 27, Titans 17
Chargers @ Jaguars (-4)
San Diego has been swallowed up by injuries, poor defense and the inability to close games. Last week it was all too much and they could only produce three points in a crushing blowout loss to the Chiefs. With Jacksonville oddly the favorite, look for Philip Rivers to play for pride and put an end to their ugly six-game losing streak.
Pick: Chargers 22, Jaguars 19
Dolphins @ Jets (-4)
This is Miami’s last shot at a wild card playoff spot, as the AFC East is New England’s and the Bills and Jets both are ahead of the Dolphins in the standings. A win this week would keep them alive, but it’s on the road against a pretty balanced Jets squad. Chris Ivory thrives on his home field and specifically beat up the Dolphins earlier this year in Miami. I bet he does it again at home, where he tends to play his best ball.
Pick: Jets 26, Dolphins 20
(-10.5) Cardinals @ 49ers
Arizona has had some mild slip ups in 2015, but for the most part they’ve truly looked the part of a Super Bowl contender. The Niners, meanwhile, are still shoving Blaine Gabbert out at quarterback. Gabbert has actually looked OK, but he’s no match for Carson Palme and the Cardinals – even at home.
Pick: Cardinals 33, 49ers 16
Steelers @ Seahawks (-3.5)
This is a very interesting game, as the 5-5 Seahawks can ill afford to lose, while the 6-4 Steelers need to keep winning to have any shot of taking the AFC North. Seattle is not the same team they’ve been the past few years, but they’re still at home and have to be in desperation mode. That has to be bad news for the Steelers, who are just average (2-2) on the road this year.
Pick: Seahawks 24, Steelers 20
(-3) Patriots @ Broncos
We all wanted Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning but we won’t get it this week, as Brock Osweiler instead makes his second straight start for the Broncos. Denver has regressed in recent weeks but their defense returned to form last week and Osweiler showed enough in a big road win to think the Pats might actually have a fight on their hands. A fight, maybe, but not an upset.
Pick: Patriots 27, Broncos 23
Ravens @ Browns (-3)
This game would have been much more interesting if Joe Flacco and Justin Forsett hadn’t suffered season-ending injuries or Johnny Manziel hadn’t been benched. But all of those things did happen and suddenly NFL fans get to enjoy a game with Matt Schaub and Josh McCown as the main quarterbacks. McCown gives the Browns their best chance at winning no matter what, but anyone facing a regressed Schaub gets the edge in my mind. The Browns can only play for pride, but they’re at home and somehow have more talent than the Ravens at the moment.
Pick: Browns 23, Ravens 20
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