NFL Week 12 Picks
After a season where I won the Gridiron Experts Staff Pick ‘Em contest, I’ll be providing my picks every week for you, our readers. Last year, I went 64.5% straight up, and 55.4% against the spread… so I’m hoping to replicate that success this year. Each week, I’ll give you my picks for the game, and a short write-up centered around the key reason why I’m making the pick that I am. From there you can research the best free bet offers without fail and have fun on Sunday with all the NFL Action. Last week, I had a pretty solid week. I went 11-3 straight up and 7-7 against the spread. Additionally, my lock of the week came through (9-2 for the season). We hope to replicate that same success this week!
You can also click over to see all our Free NFL picks for the week with the staff.
Indianapolis @ Houston (-3.5)
I believe this game will be a close one. Jacoby Brissett will keep it close as he attempts to exploit the vulnerable Houston secondary, but I think Deshaun Watson is due for a bounceback performance at home. Watson has been one of the game’s best players all year, and I think that his consistent excellence overshadows the poor performance from last week. The Colts will also be without their best skill player in this contest, as RB Marlon Mack fractured his hand last week and will miss some time. Being that the run game is a crucial piece of Indy’s arsenal, I think that gives Houston a bit of an advantage. On Thursday night in a short week, I believe the home team has the edge. Look for DeAndre Hopkins to make some clutch grabs and for the Texans to win by a field goal at home. Texans 26-23
Tampa Bay @ Atlanta (-3.5)
Atlanta has experienced a renaissance since their bye week, knocking off divisional foes New Orleans and Carolina consecutively. Both wins came in a very convincing manner as well. Tampa Bay, on the other hand, has been sputtering as of late, dropping 5 of their last 6. To make things worse, Jameis Winston is an absolute turnover machine. With the Falcons’ defense turning the corner and playing some amazing football the last two weeks, I just don’t see Winston performing to a level where the Bucs could pull this one out. I do see the Falcons creating a few turnovers and controlling the clock late in this contest. Watch for the Matt Ryan/Julio Jones combo to torch the Tampa Bay secondary all afternoon (provided Jones is healthy) and for the Falcons to win their third straight and cover at home. Falcons 33-28.
Denver @ Buffalo (-3.5)
Josh Allen was simply electric last week and had his best game as a professional. Allen threw 3 TDs and ran in another while compiling over 300 yards in total offense. On the other side of the ball, Denver will rely on Brandon Allen to lead the Broncos’ offensive attack. Last Week, Brandon threw for 240 yards and only 1 TD to 1 INT. Needless to say, he’ll need to do more to provide spark this offense. Denver has a talented duo in the backfield between Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay, but neither has done enough to break out and truly take the reins of this rushing attack. Courtland Sutton, on the other hand, has truly broken out this year and asserted himself as a bonafide WR1. Sutton has reeled in 49 balls for 805 yards and 4 TD– and his QBs have been Joe Flacco and Brandon Allen. It would be amazing to see what Sutton could do with a competent QB. Buffalo’s John Brown has also had his best season as a pro, logging 56 catches for 817 yards and 4 TD himself. The Allen-Brown connection is growing stronger by the day. Look for them to hook up early and often in this contest, and for Buffalo to outscore the Broncos at home and cover the spread in the process. Bills 27-21.
NY Giants @ Chicago (-5.5)
The Giants have lost 6 straight and are in an absolute tailspin. The Bears aren’t faring much better, as the media has been all over HC Matt Nagy, and the team has dropped 5 of 6. Mitchell Trubisky was pulled late in the Bears’ Week 11 game with an apparent hip injury, but practiced in full on Thursday and is trending towards playing on Sunday. To me, this game comes down to the defenses. Despite their recent slide, the Chicago defense is still quite stout and I think they’ll give Giants Rookie QB Daniel Jones fits on Sunday. While I have little confidence in either team at this juncture, one has to win. I’ll give the edge to the Bears at home in this one, and think they’ll cover at home. Bears 24-16.
Pittsburgh (-6.5) @ Cincinnati
Rookie QB Ryan Finley will have to deal with TJ Watt and this potent Steelers defense. Not exactly ideal. The Bengals have been awful so far this year, and have given me no reason to believe they’ll compete with any NFL team this season. Until they prove otherwise, I’ll be taking the other team in every game they play. Steelers 28-20.
Miami @ Cleveland (-10.5)
After a horrid start to the season, the Dolphins have turned a corner. They’ve won 2 of their last 3 games, and have hung tough with some quality teams even in their losses. Cleveland has also turned a corner, winning their last two games against quality opponents. The Browns will be without their star DE Myles Garrett for the rest of the season, but will still have the advantage on both sides of the ball in this game. This could very well be the game that Odell Beckham Jr. finally breaks out. John Brown absolutely torched this secondary last weekend, and you can bet that Freddie Kitchens will want to give his superstar WR a confidence boost as the Browns enter the home stretch. Look for Cleveland to give him opportunities early and often in this contest. I think we’ll see explosive games out of RB Nick Chubb, QB Baker Mayfield, and the aforementioned Beckham. Ryan Fitzpatrick will have to throw often in this game, and the odds are he’ll make a few mistakes along the way. I like Cleveland to win & cover at home. Browns 33-18. (LOCK OF THE WEEK)
Carolina @ New Orleans (-9.5)
The Panthers got absolutely steamrolled by the Falcons last week, as their offense never found a rhythm. Atlanta held Carolina to only 3 points and absolutely controlled the game from start to finish. QB Kyle Allen had his worst game as a pro as he threw 4 interceptions and was sacked 5 times. New Orleans bounced back with a win over Tampa Bay where WR Michael Thomas and RB Alvin Kamara picked apart the Buccaneers’ defense. With Drew Brees back at the helm, the Saints have nowhere to go but up at this point. Across the line of scrimmage, he’ll need to deal with All-Pro LB Luke Kuechly, who is the heart and soul of the Panthers defense. This game is an absolute must-win for the Panthers if they want to make a run at a Wild Card spot, so I suspect they’ll come out with a little extra intensity. However, I don’t feel that they have enough defensive weapons outside of Kuechly and Eric Reid to slow down New Orleans. I think the Saints will outscore the Panthers in the Superdome and win this game by a touchdown. Give me Carolina with the points, but the Saints to win straight up. Saints 28-20.
Oakland (-2.5) @ NY Jets
Oakland has been playing some solid football and finds itself right in the thick of the AFC playoff picture. Having won their last 3 games, Jon Gruden’s mojo is making some major waves in the Bay Area. The Jets have also won their last 2 games, albeit against the lowly Giants and Redskins. QB Sam Darnold is finding his groove again, as he threw 4 TDs in last week’s victory. Darnold has keyed in on TE Ryan Griffin and WR Jamison Crowder as of late, and the Jets’ offense has thrived as a result, scoring 68 points over the last two weeks. The Raiders’ weakness in recent years has been their defense… however, as of late, they’ve been quite stingy. Over the course of their three-game win streak, they’ve allowed less than 20 points per game and rookie DE Maxx Crosby has been a bright spot for the squad. In the end, I think that the Raiders are well equipped to shut down Darnold and should take this game on the road. I like them to win and cover the spread in East Rutherford. Raiders 28-24.
Detroit (-3.5) @ Washington
We’ve got an epic QB battle on our hands as it’ll likely be Jeff Driskel and Dwayne Haskins under center for these two squads on Sunday. Detroit has dropped their last 3 games, while the Redskins have lost their last 4. The Lions have at least been competitive in their losses, though. All 3 losses have been by a margin of 8 points or less. On the other hand, the Redskins have lost their last 4 games by multiple scores. I haven’t seen anything to lead me to believe that Washington can score enough points to be competitive these days. During their 4-game losing streak, they’ve averaged less than 9 points per game. That won’t cut it in the NFL unless your defense is transcendent… which Washington’s certainly is not. Lions 27-21.
Jacksonville @ Tennessee (-2.5)
With Ryan Tannehill as the starting QB, the Titans are 3-1. Before the Bye, they knocked off the Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes in one of the year’s largest upsets. The Jaguars have a new QB as well, as Nick Foles returned from IR last week. Foles’ return was bumpy, as the offense only scored 13 points in their loss to the Colts. The Jaguars sit at 4-6, but have only beaten the Bengals and Jets since Week 4. Not exactly the most sparkling resume. With that said, Jacksonville did win the first meeting between these two teams when they squared off in Week 3. However, a lot has changed in Tennessee since then. With Tannehill at the helm, Tennessee has averaged 26 points per game and finds itself back in the playoff race. Derrick Henry has flourished with Tannehill in the lineup, and is up to 999 yards of total offense for the season, adding 10 touchdowns. Henry absolutely demolished the Jaguars last year and I think he’ll continue to produce this week. With Tannehill making enough throws to prevent the Jaguars from stacking the box, I think Henry will run wild on Jacksonville and the Titans will win convincingly at home. Titans 34-22.
Seattle @ Philadelphia (-1.5)
Fresh off a bye week, Seattle will be recharged for this trip to Philly. Russell Wilson is firmly in the MVP discussion and has the Seahawks playing some awesome football as of late. In Week 10, Seattle handed the 49ers their first loss of the season, and they’ve won 6 of their last 7 overall. Philly, on the other hand, is 2-3 in their last 5 games and lost to New England last weekend. While it was a valiant effort, the Eagles only scored 10 points and struggled to find their flow against a stingy Patriots’ defense. While they should have more success against Seattle, Carson Wentz might be without two of his best skill players as Alshon Jeffery and Jordan Howard are both Questionable for this contest. While both were practicing as of Thursday, they should be considered 50/50 for this game. This game comes down to the defenses for me, and I think that Philly is going to struggle as they attempt to slow down Wilson. Their secondary has struggled this season, and I think the Seahawks will exploit that weakness repeatedly on Sunday. Look for Wilson to connect early and often with Tyler Lockett (if healthy) and fo Seattle to grind out an upset win in Philly. Seahawks 28-27.
Dallas @ New England (-6.5)
This battle between two division leaders should be a fun one to watch. Dak Prescott is playing some phenomenal football, as he’s thrown for 3,221 yards and 21 TD so far this season. The Cowboys also have one of the game’s best RBs in Ezekiel Elliott. On the other sideline, New England’s defense has been the star of the show this year, as they’ve held every opponent to 14 points or less besides Baltimore this year– pretty unbelievable. They’ll have their work cut out for them, as the Dallas trio of Prescott, Elliott and WR Amari Cooper are a ton to handle. The Patriots are also a bit banged up in their WR corps, with Phillip Dorsett and Mohamed Sanu listed as Questionable for this contest. Until they return, WRs Jakobi Meyers and N’Keal Harry will need to step up and provide a spark for their legendary QB Tom Brady. Julian Edelman is undoubtedly the team’s top option and will continue to be. Dallas’ secondary will need to focus on shutting Edelman down to mitigate the damage this air attack can do. I think this will be a very close contest. However, it’s November… it’s getting chilly in the Northeast and I know better than to bet against Brady & Bill in Foxborough. Patriots 30-26.
Green Bay @ San Francisco (-2.5)
We’re in for quite the treat on Sunday Night, as these teams have a combined record of 17-3. While San Francisco has only fallen once this year, the Packers have won 6 of their last 7 and have beat some solid teams in the process. Aaron Rodgers continues to shine and is taking care of the ball quite well (only 2 INT this season.) This will be the Packers’ biggest test so far, as the 49ers defense is certainly one of the league’s best. San Fran ranks 2nd in points against, 1st in Sacks, and 4th in Interceptions… not bad if you ask me. With CB Richard Sherman playing at an elite level and DE Nick Bosa making a name for himself, Rodgers will need to watch his back as he drops back on Sunday night. The 49ers are really excelling offensively too, scoring just under 30 points per game and averaging just a hair shy of 400 yards per game. While both defenses are quality, I think we might get a shootout on Sunday night. In the end, I think this game will come down to one possession late in the game, and I trust Rodgers to get the job done in that scenario. This one really could go either way… but I’m feeling dangerous. Give me Green Bay in an upset. Packers 30-29.
Baltimore (-2.5) @ LA Rams
Lamar Jackson is an absolutely transcendent talent. Jackson has asserted himself as the frontrunner for MVP, and is pacing an incredibly dangerous Baltimore offense that is averaging more than 34 points per game. A true dual-threat, Jackson has thrown for 2,258 yards and 19 TD so far this season. But his rushing stats are even more impressive– he’s taken 116 carries for 781 yards and 6 TD. We haven’t seen a player like Lamar since Michael Vick, and he’s sure to give Sean McVay’s defense fits on Monday Night. On the other side, the Rams offense has been far from electric since their Bye week. In their last two games, they’ve averaged 14.5 points. That simply won’t get the job done against a juggernaut offense like Baltimore’s. QB Jared Goff hasn’t been elite this season, as he’s thrown 11 TD to 10 INT. RB Todd Gurley hasn’t quite been himself either but has provided a spark as of late. Although WR Robert Woods’ status is still up in the air, the Rams should get back WR Brandin Cooks who missed the last few games with a concussion. Ultimately, I don’t think the Rams have the offensive firepower to keep up in this contest. Plus, Jackson is way too hot right now… I can’t pick against him. Ravens 29-24.
Enjoy the games! Until next week…