Everybody loves an underdog that pulls off the upset—especially those who put down a nice chunk of change betting on those teams to win. The NFL's Week 12 schedule features a few such underdogs who will beat the odds and earn big wins heading into the final weeks of the season.
Underdogs win every week in the NFL, and often those victories come when nobody expects it to happen. However, there are some instances in which the odds seem out of touch with reality, and in those cases, it's not surprising at all when the underdog wins.
Here's a quick glance at every game on the schedule in Week 12, along with predictions against the spread for each one. Afterward, follow along for a closer look at a few teams that will prove oddsmakers wrong.
|NFL Week 12 Picks Against the Spread|
|New Orleans Saints||Atlanta Falcons||ATL (+9.5)||NO|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Detroit Lions||DET (-9)||DET|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||Houston Texans||HOU (-10)||JAC|
|Minnesota Vikings||Green Bay Packers||GB (-4.5)||MIN|
|San Diego Chargers||Kansas City Chiefs||KC (-4.5)||KC|
|Carolina Panthers||Miami Dolphins||MIA (+4.5)||CAR|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||Cleveland Browns||CLE (-1)||PIT|
|Chicago Bears||St. Louis Rams||STL (-1)||CHI|
|New York Jets||Baltimore Ravens||BAL (-4)||BAL|
|Tennessee Titans||Oakland Raiders||OAK (-1)||OAK|
|Indianapolis Colts||Arizona Cardinals||ARI (-2.5)||IND|
|Dallas Cowboys||New York Giants||NYG (-2.5)||DAL|
|Denver Broncos||New England Patriots||NE (+2.5)||DEN|
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit Lions (-9)
Don't look now, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are showing signs of life—nay, signs of becoming a darn good team.
The Bucs appeared destined for a top-two pick in the 2014 NFL draft after opening the season with eight straight losses. However, even during that dark time, Tampa Bay showed exceptional spunk, losing four of those games by three points or less.
Heck, the Buccaneers nearly beat the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle before finally winning their first game the next week against the Miami Dolphins.
Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon has emerged as an excellent trigger man, throwing 11 touchdowns and just four interceptions since taking over for Josh Freeman early in the season. He's gotten Vincent Jackson heavily involved in the offense, and the Lions don't have an answer for the big receiver this Sunday.
Detroit, at 6-4, hasn't put together a really solid game since Week 6 against Cleveland. Since that time, the Lions have lost two games and barely won the other two by a combined three points.
Tampa Bay is going to shock the Lions in Detroit this Sunday.
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (-4.5)
Minnesota has only won two games this year, but the Green Bay Packers are ripe for a fourth straight loss this weekend.
Since losing Aaron Rodgers to a short-term clavicle fracture against Chicago three weeks ago, Green Bay's once high-powered offense has sputtered and fizzled into a mediocre unit.
Seneca Wallace and Scott Tolzien have struggled as Rodgers' replacements. Tolzien threw three interceptions against New York last weekend, and the Packers have averaged just 15.33 points per game during this stretch.
Minnesota did a nice job putting up points against the Packers a few weeks ago, scoring 31 in a losing cause. The Vikings still have plenty of issues on both sides of the ball, but this team is in better shape than the Pack heading into Week 12.
Chicago Bears at St. Louis Rams (-1)
Since eking out a tight win against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1, it's been either feast or famine for the St. Louis Rams.
In the team's three other victories, St. Louis has outscored its opponent by a combined score of 110-41. On the other side of the spectrum, the Rams have lost their six games by a combined score of 169-87.
Likely, St. Louis is being favored to win based solely on the team's recent 38-8 drubbing of the Indianapolis Colts—a weary team that has lost some key playmakers on both sides of the ball.
Chicago won't be pushed around this weekend, though.
The Bears will start Josh McCown behind center while Jay Cutler continues to rehab his ankle, as noted by Michael C. Wright of ESPN.com. He's been phenomenal in Cutler's stead this year, throwing five touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Chicago has won two of its last three games, and it easily could have won all three if not for a brilliant late-game scoring drive by Matthew Stafford in Week 10. The Bears are tied with Detroit atop the NFC North, and this team will continue to find a way to win this weekend.
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