NFL Week 12 Picks Against the Spread for Every Game
I went 5-7-2 last week, which leaves me at 77-76-9 on the season and barely on the happy side of .500, but still well below profitability.
I’ve said before that the point of these picks isn’t to serve as your backup 401(k), but as notes to get you, dear reader, thinking about the games. Hopefully, to that end, I have succeeded.
The bye weeks are over, so everyone plays this weekend. In addition to having three Thanksgiving Day games (all of which look good), exactly half of the league’s 16 games feature spreads of a touchdown or more. Let’s take a look at our cornucopia of sports spreads and give thanks.
Green Bay -6 over DETROIT
Aaron Rodgers will get his first crack at Detroit (they’ll play again on New Year’s Day), and I expect his team, which has played on Turkey Day in three of the last five years, to take care of business.
Miami +7 over DALLAS
You might want to sit down...because Miami has won three straight games. Matt Moore has thrown six touchdown passes against one pick in those games, and they’ll face a Dallas team that has managed to quit shooting themselves in the foot of late.
I’m taking the points here. This might be the best game to DVR while you carve the turkey.
San Francisco +3 over BALTIMORE
The Niners are still undefeated against the spread on the season, but that’s only because the idiots in Vegas keep giving them points. How does this keep happening?
San Francisco is good now, you guys. They’re young and they play in a horrible division, so we might have to get used to this happening for a while.
Oh, and this game is Brother vs. Brother, sure to be the greatest sibling rivalry since Buster and Gob Bluth.
ST. LOUIS -3 over Arizona
Do the Cardinals have a bullpen of quarterbacks?
Richard Bartel got significant playing time after John Skelton was yanked in last week’s loss against the Niners. Kevin Kolb might play Sunday, and one figures that even if he’s still suffering from that injured foot that Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt could just put him on a pitch count.
Buffalo +8 over NEW YORK JETS
Are the Bills what we thought they were?
Well, they were 5-2 and pacing the AFC East before losing to the Jets and getting blown out at Dallas and at Miami. In those two games, that Bills offense that we all fell in love with in September scored 15 points. Total.
If the Bills can’t come through here, after being spotted more than a touchdown, that would be awful. Their resurgence was one of my favorite stories of the year.
CINCINNATI -7 over Cleveland
Andy Dalton led all passers last week with 373 yards and Pantone Orange 021 hair. Cleveland is the only blight on the AFC North right now, which is odd because I usually think of Cleveland as a very prosperous place.
That was sarcasm.
Houston -3 over JACKSONVILLE
Jacksonville hasn’t played very well this year, but that’s about what you’d expect from a franchise that stole its mascot from a Paula Abdul video.
Carolina -3.5 over INDIANAPOLIS
Cam Newton endured his third multi-interception game last week against at Detroit. In both previous instances, he responded the following week with turnover-free efforts, and he should do the same here against an abysmal Colts team among the NFL’s worst in turnover margin.
Tampa Bay +3 over TENNESSEE
The Titans will either be trotting out an injured Matt Hasselbeck or an inexperienced Jake Locker at home. The Bucs haven’t won in a month but managed to hang with the Packers for three-and-a-half quarters last week. In games that I expect to be close, I like to take whatever points I can get, and I’ll do that here.
ATLANTA -8 over Minnesota
Only twice has Atlanta won by more than eight points, and those came in games against Carolina and at Indianapolis. Minnesota has only one win in their last five games, and now the Vikings may have lost Adrian Peterson for the weekend due to ligament damage in his ankle.
Leslie Frazier says that his prized running back may be ready to play. This is exactly why Leslie Frazier should not be a head coach.
OAKLAND -5.5 over Chicago
Jay Cutler might be done for the year after breaking the thumb on his throwing hand last weekend. And you thought your Thanksgiving was going to be painful.
The Bears reportedly are considering picking up Kyle Orton, who was waived on Tuesday by Denver. You’ll remember that Orton and Cutler were traded for each other in 2009, each along with a package of draft picks.
Having both of them on the same team two years later would be delightfully odd.
SEATTLE -4 over Washington
I hate both of these teams. This game should be blacked out everywhere except Guantanamo Bay. I realize that’s not very analytical but neither is starting Rex Grossman or Tarvaris Jackson. And then benching them. And then starting them again.
New England over PHILADELPHIA
I looked everywhere for a line on this game and found nothing, not even one of those tacky -105 lines which drive me crazy.
I’m trying to trade Tom Brady in my fantasy keeper league since my team is almost in the toilet and I’ll have to spend too much to keep him for 2012. I’m pointing this out for no other reason than to illustrate that not everyone wants Tom Brady.
Andy Reid says Michael Vick will start if he’s healthy, which to me sounds like saying that a boat with no holes in its hull won’t sink, but if it does have holes in it, it will.
He’s a true wordsmith, that Andy Reid.
Denver +6.5 over SAN DIEGO
Philip Rivers is the other quarterback that cleared the 3,000-yard passing mark by Week 11, but he has caught heat for poor performances in big games this season. And as his Chargers wallow in a five-game losing streak, his 17 interceptions lead the league.
Comparing Rivers to Tim Tebow is rightfully ridiculous. There is no comparison; Rivers is regarded as an upper-echelon NFL quarterback while Tebow remains a well-publicized afterthought whose team happens to be playing well despite him. But since Tebow became the Broncos starter in Week 5, he has only turned the ball over twice. That’s solid for any QB over a span of six games. Any guess on how many turnovers Rivers has in that same span of time?
Pittsburgh -9.5 over KANSAS CITY
I almost feel bad for Chiefs fans. Their team got two games on Monday Night Football this season, only to see nearly every notable skill player on that team injured. That’s almost like walking in on your grandma in the shower. Maybe worse than that.
The Steelers have played like a shark tied to an elephant’s back, eating and trampling nearly everything in their way. They’ve won five of their last six, and they’re coming off a ridiculously timed bye.
No other team has a better table set for a playoff run than Pittsburgh, whose last five opponents include St. Louis and Cleveland twice. That’s so unfair to the rest of the league.
NEW ORLEANS -7 over New York Giants
If you happened to catch Eli Manning’s fumble at the end of the Sunday night game, were you surprised? Eli could have driven his team to the end zone or thrown a pick-six, and neither of those outcomes would have surprised me. And I still think I would take him over Philip Rivers.
But I would not take Eli over Drew Brees. The idea of beating Brees in the Superdome aligns with that of beating Godzilla in Tokyo. It ain’t happenin’. The Giants play the pass well enough to beat the spread here, but I like New Orleans running away with this at home.