I hope everyone had a... tolerable Thanksgiving given that the Detroit Lions didn’t do anything to help the festive season. We’re a couple days removed from the loss, so it’s time to move on to the rest of what Week 12 has to offer.
This week’s slate of NFL games has a few really intriguing matchups and a lot of potential blowouts. That means there are going to be some wacky, unpredictable lines and everyone is doomed. Don’t bet on football, y’all, even if you’re as good of a picker as me:
Four weeks in a row, I’ve finished with a winning record, which, for many people would be an inspiration to start actually gambling. I know the other shoe is going to drop at some point, and I have a sneaking suspicion it may be this week, even if I’m already 2-1.
Anyways, here are this week’s picks:
Buccaneers +10.5 over FALCONS
The Bucs are without Jameis Winston again, the Falcons are without Devonta Freeman. T’is the season for Fitzmagic. Ryan Fitzpatrick has the Bucs on a two-game winning streak. And even if it was against the lowly AFC Jets and Dolphin, he’s managed to keep Tampa in the wild card race.
The Falcons, too, are on a winning streak and appear to finally be hitting their stride. Still, divisional games are tight and both teams are still competing for the playoffs. Give me the Falcons overall, but in a one-score game.
Browns +9.5 over BENGALS
Honestly, this could be the one. This could be the week the 2008 Detroit Lions pop their bottle of Zima. Josh Gordon is back. Corey Coleman is back. And the Bengals are bad. I won’t be as bold to predict a Browns win, but they’ll keep it close.
COLTS +3 over Titans
Jacoby Brissett has been low-key decent in replacement duty for general Andrew Luck who is still MIA. In the past three games, he’s thrown six touchdowns to just two interceptions and is averaging a 101.7 passer rating. He’s cleared from his concussion, so he should play this week.
The Colts were handled by the Titans earlier in the season, but they’ve played better recently, so they could pull this one off.
Bills +11.5 over CHIEFS
Kansas City just lost to the Giants. How could I possibly pick them as 11.5-point favorites? I don’t care how much of a freefall the Bills are in right now. At least they wised up and put Tyrod Taylor back in the lineup.
PATRIOTS -17.5 over Dolphins
This is kind of like when you’re taking a multiple choice test and you’ve picked “C” three times in a row. There’s no way the next question could be C again. I’ve picked four underdogs in a row, it can’t be a fifth.
When a line is this big, you may as well flip a coin anyways. The Dolphins will be starting perennial backup Matt Moore. The Patriots have Gronk back. So there’s reason to believe this could be a three-possession slaughter, but no one should bet on this game. Ever.
Panthers -4.5 over JETS
The Jets are one of the most confusing teams this year. They’re a mere 4-6 right now, but they came dangerously close to beating the Patriots and Falcons earlier in the season. They also beat the Jaguars and were slaughtered by the Raiders.
But the Panthers seem like a pretty good team and the NFC is clearly better than the AFC. So I expect a comfortable win for Cam Newton and Company, much to the dismay of Lions fans.
EAGLES -14.5 over Bears
It feels like last week’s loss to the Lions is the giving up point for Chicago. Considering they also lost their best pass rusher, Leonard Floyd, for the rest of the year, I think the Bears are in for a freefall... well, a bigger freefall.
Seahawks -7.5 over 49ERS
With their defense decimated by injuries and their running game stuck in neutral, it’s up to Russell Wilson to save the Seahawks’ season. He’s been relied upon more so than ever in his career, and he’s actually responded quite well.
San Francisco may have kept the first matchup close in Seattle (12-9), but they’re a bad team with nothing to play for. This is a must-win game for Seattle, and they’ll make sure there’s no question about the outcome.
Broncos +5 over RAIDERS
For the first time this season, the Broncos are (finally) starting Paxton Lynch at quarterback. I don’t think he’s going to immediately pull Denver out of their current six-game losing streak, but the Raiders are not who we thought they were. They’ve been blown out by the Patriots and Bills in two of their past three games.
Saints +2.5 over RAMS
This is the game of the week in the NFL, and one that has interesting implications for the Lions right now. Both teams are division leaders, so Detroit may not be in direct competition with them for the wild card, but if either team goes on a losing streak, they could be.
Both of these teams were surprises this year, but give me the seasoned quarterback over the newbie.
CARDINALS +5 over Jaguars
The NFC is clearly better than the AFC, and I think this game will further reinforce that narrative. The Jaguars are clearly headed in the right direction, but I don’t think they’re there yet.
STEELERS -15 over Packers
The Packers were shut out for the first time since 2006 and it cost one bar owner a ton of money. Apparently, a bar ran a promotion that they would give free beer until the Packers scored.
I hope they learned their lesson, because it could happen again against one of the best defenses in the league.
RAVENS -8 over Texans
Houston on primetime is bound to be a disaster. For the hundredth time this season, I’ve had to google who the quarterback for the Texans is right now. Aptly, it’s a guy named Savage.
I don’t think the Ravens are a very good team, and they certainly don’t have a good offense, but their defense will make... I want to say Ben (?) Savage look like Fred Savage.