It’s Thanksgiving Week. That means the NFL showcases 6 teams in 3 games on Thursday, Nov. 23. The rest of NFL Week 12 games take place this Sunday Nov. 26. Monday night’s game has the Baltimore Ravens hosting the Houston Texans. NFL Week 12’s most important game? The 8 and 2 New Orleans Saints head to La-La Land to battle the 7 and 3 L.A. Rams.
In August, did anyone really think we’d call Saints at Rams one of the most important games of the NFL Season? Keep reading for a preview of everything in 2017 NFL Week 12!
2017 NFL Week 12 Preview
Thursday, Nov. 23
Minnesota Vikings -3 at Detroit Lions +3
The line started out as a pick. Then, every NFL handicapper got so excited about how the Vikings’ defense stopped the Rams offense in Week 11 that they decided to bet the Lions up to 3-point home dogs.
The trends say that Detroit covers the spread, though. The Lions are 9-1-1 against the spread in their last 11 games in November. Detroit is also 5 and 1 ATS in their last 6 games on Thursday. The Vikings are 2 and 6 ATS in their last 8 games versus an NFC North opponent.
I’m with Detroit. To me, it’s a best pick.
Best Pick: Lions +3
L.A. Chargers pk at Dallas Cowboys pk
Dallas gets back offensive lineman Tyron Smith. They won’t get back LB Sean Lee. That’s the problem the Boys have in this game versus the L.A. Chargers on Thanksgiving Day. Lee is the reason Dallas can stop opposing teams from rushing all over them.
The Bolts have 2 excellent running backs in RB1 Melvin Gordon and RB2 Austin Ekeler. Ekeler could have the bigger game of the 2 because the Boys must stop Gordon while they fall back into nickel packages when Ekeler’s in the game.
I think L.A. beats the Cowboys rather easily on Nov. 23.
Best Pick: Chargers pk
New York Giants +7.5 at Washington Redskins -7.5
How bad are the New York Giants? The G-Men managed to upset Kansas City 12 to 9 in overtime in NFL Week 11 even though the Giants allowed KC to rush for over 130 yards. How did they do it? Heart. Yep, I just wrote that.
The Giants played with heart. See what happens when you put forth an effort? Washington had New Orleans on the ropes before blowing it 31 to 34 in overtime. By ropes, I mean that the Saints were one punch away from being knocked through the ropes.
Although the Giants have a long way to go to be as good as Washington, the team that plays in D.C. should find it hard to get past this last loss. I think the Giants do just enough to keep it close.
Pick: Giants +7.5
Sunday, Nov. 26
Tennessee Titans -3.5 at Indianapolis Colts +3.5
The Tennessee Titans aren’t that good of a football team. However, they should bounce back brilliantly versus the Indianapolis Colts after their horrible 17 to 40 loss to Pittsburgh in Week 11.
But, the trends are all over the Colts in this matchup. Indianapolis is 4 and 1 against the spread in their last 5 home games. The Colts are 8 and 2 ATS in their last 10 after a bye. The Titans are 2 and 10 against the spread in the last 12 meetings.
Scary, but I’m still going with the Titans. I can’t believe Tennessee is as bad as they looked versus the Steelers.
Pick: Titans -3.5
Carolina Panthers -4.5 at New York Jets +4.5
So far, 74% of NFL handicappers are siding with the Carolina Panthers at -4.5 over the New York Jets. That’s a huge percentage. Carolina certainly looks tough. But, the Jets are 6 and 0 against the spread in their last 6 home games. The Jets are also 4-0-1 against the spread versus a team with a winning record.
I think Carolina has some issues versus the Jets’ pass defense. NYJ’s 2 safeties, Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye, are fantastic. I’m taking the points.
Pick: Jets +4.5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +8.5 at Atlanta Falcons -8.5
Tampa Bay heads to Atlanta after dominating the Miami Dolphins 30 to 20 on the road. Atlanta feels good about themselves after having beaten Seattle 34 to 31 on the road. Although Atlanta is the better team, it’s going to be difficult for the Falcons to cover this spread.
First, Atlanta might bounce off the big win against the Seahawks. Second, the head-to-head trends favor the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay is 12 and 5 ATS in the last 17 meetings in Atlanta. The road team is 5 and 1 against the spread in the last 6 meetings overall.
Pick: Buccaneers +8.5
Chicago Bears +13.5 at Philadelphia Eagles -13.5
Philadelphia continues to reap the rewards of an easy NFL schedule. Even their 37 to 9 road win over the Cowboys last Sunday was against a team with a ton of issues on defense and without arguably it’s best offensive lineman.
Chicago’s defense forces you to beat them with the pass. The Bears should have much better luck holding down the Eagles’ rushing attack than the Cowboys did. Chicago’s offense should have some luck getting its rushing attack going versus Philadelphia’s defense.
I like the Bears at +13.5. I’ve been waiting for Philly to have a tough game. Maybe, this is it.
Pick: Bears +13.5
Buffalo Bills +10 at Kansas City Chiefs -10
As bad as Kansas City’s offense looked in the 9 to 12 loss to the New York Giants, Buffalo’s defense looked worse when yielding 40 points to the L.A. Chargers. The Bolts’ defense ran back 2 interceptions for 14 points.
That means, the Chargers’ offense accounted for 40 points in Buffalo’s 24 to 54 loss to the Chargers. That’s a lot of points to give up to the L.A. Chargers. KC should have no trouble dominating, I mean dominating, Buffalo’s defense.
Best Pick: Chiefs -10
Miami Dolphins +16.5 at New England Patriots -16.5
Man, the New England Patriots are huge favorites over the Miami Dolphins. A -16.5 betting line is nothing to take lightly. It means that the Fins have no shot of keeping it close. Do the trends back-up that assertion?
They do. The home team, New England on Sunday, is 9 and 1 against the spread in the last 10 meetings. More importantly, the Dolphins are 0 and 5 ATS in the last 5 meetings on the road. Miami is also 2 and 10 against the spread in the last 5 meetings on field turf.
It’s a crazy spread. I think New England covers.
Pick: Patriots -16.5
Cleveland Browns +8 at Cincinnati Bengals -8
The Cincinnati Bengals played a marvelous game to beat the Denver Broncos in Denver this past Sunday. A deep dive into the stats reveal that Cincinnati go outplayed on offense in both the rush and the pass. How did the Bengals win? Luck. Also, Denver’s one of the worst teams in the NFL.
Does it mean anything when Cleveland battles Cincinnati on Sunday? I think it does. Cleveland WR Corey Coleman had a decent game versus a tough secondary in Week 11. Coleman should find a way to beat Cincinnati’s secondary.
I think the Browns might actually beat the Bengals straight up. Taking the points for sure.
Pick: Browns +8
Seattle Seahawks -7 at San Francisco 49’ers -7
This should be a much tougher game than it looks like on paper. Although the trends favor the Seattle Seahawks, there are a couple of trends that could lead to a 49’ers cover. Seattle is 1-4-1 against the spread in their last 6 versus an NFC West opponent. Seattle is also 1-5-1 against the spread in their last 7 games on grass.
The 49’ers host Seattle after their bye. San Francisco could end up making this a close game.
Pick: 49’ers -7
Denver Broncos +5 at Oakland Raiders -5
Neither one of these teams has done much in the past month. Oakland looked terrible in their 8 to 33 loss to the New England Patriots in Week 11. The Broncos lost to Cincinnati because they simply didn’t believe they could win.
This is a rivalry game. When it comes to rivalry games, trends usually mean more. The Broncos are a fantastic 9-2-1 against the spread in the last 12 meetings between these 2. Denver is also 5 and 1 against the spread in the last 6 meetings in Oakland.
The Raiders are a team with high hopes that’s collapsing. I’ll take the points on the Broncos to continue that collapse.
Pick: Broncos +5
Jacksonville Jaguars -4.5 at Arizona Cardinals +4.5
Forget trends. Based on yards allowed, Jacksonville has the best defense in the NFL. The Jaguars only allow 275.6 yards per game. Opponents rush for 113.6 yards versus the Jags. Opponents pass for 162 yards per game versus Jacksonville.
Arizona must start either Blaine Gabbert or Drew Stanton. It should get ugly in the desert for the home team Cardinals on Nov. 26.
Best Pick: Jaguars -4.5
New Orleans Saints +2.5 at L.A. Rams -2.5
The L.A. Rams have one of the best offenses in the NFL. The Saints had 3 starters missing on their defense in their 34 to 31 win over Washington. Those 3 starters are listed as questionable versus the Rams on Sunday.
I don’t think it matters. The L.A. Rams gave up 171 total rushing yards to the Minnesota Vikings in their 7 to 24 loss to the Vikings in Week 11. New Orleans averages 144 rushing yards per game. The Saints should have no trouble running all over the Rams’ defense.
Best Pick: Saints +2.5
Green Bay Packers +14 at Pittsburgh Steelers -14
Pittsburgh’s defense is one of the best in the NFL. The Steelers allow 287.6 total yards. If Pitt battled Green Bay with QB Aaron Rodgers, it might be a different story. They don’t. The Steelers should have no trouble dominating Green Bay in Week 12. This might be over before halftime.
Pick: Steelers -14
Monday, Nov. 27
Houston Texans +7 at Baltimore Ravens -7
At first glance, Texans versus Ravens appears to lack drama. But, there is drama in this game. Baltimore is at 5 and 5. Houston is at 4 and 6. The AFC is so bad this season that someone could grab a wildcard with an 8 and 8 record.
This is a must win game for both teams. There is no way on any Earth where Baltimore should be favored by 7 points over Houston. The Ravens sport one of the worst offenses in the NFL. Houston’s offense isn’t that bad.
I’m taking the points because I believe Houston is good enough to beat Baltimore straight up.
Best Pick: Texans +7