Week 12 NFL Picks: Predicting Winners for Closest Spreads of the Week

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistNovember 23, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 18: Benjamin Watson #82 of the Cleveland Browns tires to avoid the tackle of Morris Claiborne #24 of the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on November 18, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. The Cowboys defeated the Browns 23-20. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Week 12's NFL action is marked by plenty of close matchups.

Between heavily populated injury reports, the wear and tear of the season and the general tendency toward parity in the league right now, it's difficult to give any one team too much of an advantage over the other.

While some teams are getting plenty of respect, there are five games that currently have a line of one-point or less.

Here's a look at three of those games and who has the edge in each. All lines via Covers.com.


Cleveland Browns (+1) over Pittsburgh Steelers 

The Cleveland Browns are a lowly 2-8 on the season, but that doesn't mean the Steelers can take the week off.

The Browns are coming off of a week in which they went down to Dallas and gave the Cowboys all they could handle before losing in overtime. Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson look better and better every week and shouldn't be underestimated.

According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer, the Steelers are likely to start Charlie Batch against the Browns on Sunday with injuries to Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich.

Cleveland Browns' banged-up secondary likely to face third-string Steelers QB Charlie Batch dlvr.it/2W3Tk1

— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) November 20, 2012

Given the Browns' ability to put pressure on Tony Romo, the Browns should have a good chance to pull off the mini-upset against Pittsburgh.


Baltimore Ravens (+1) over San Diego Chargers

The Ravens come in as one-point underdogs to the San Diego Chargers, but they should be getting more respect than that.

Baltimore has proven its resiliency this season. After losing Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb for the season, the Ravens have still managed to be one of the best teams in the AFC.

Bettors may be a little scared off that the Ravens didn't look impressive against a Byron Leftwich-led Steelers team but the truth is that the Ravens-Steelers game is always a physical defensive battle.

With a matchup against the average Chargers defense, the Ravens should be back to scoring a lot of points in a big win.


San Francisco 49ers (-1) over New Orleans Saints

This game could be interesting.

On one hand, you have the red-hot Saints. Drew Brees has taken the Saints from a rough 1-4 start that had many writing off the team to an even 5-5 through ten games with a massive home test against the Niners.

San Francisco is coming off a huge whipping of the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football, 32-7. Colin Kaepernick looked the part of a star in that game and is expected to get the start against the Saints this week.

The fact that the 49ers have to travel to New Orleans on a short week with an inexperienced quarterback factors into the line here, but San Francisco is extremely tough and appears to be playing better than anyone else in the league.

Expect the San Francisco defense to do enough to get the win in the Super Dome.