Welcome to my Week 12 NFL Predictions against the Spread series. So far, I’m 11-4 in my Week 11 picks entering the Monday Night game featuring the Chargers and Broncos. In the AC NFL Pick’ Em competition, I’m still tied for second with three other contestants. As we enter the last third of the NFL season, the good teams are beginning to separate themselves from the bad. Week 12 features games that have some critical playoff implications in both conferences. There are other do-or-die games in this week that teams must win.
All stats are from NFL.com. All lines are from Cooper’s picks. You can also find my Week 12 predictions for Thanksgiving Day games HERE. I’ve updated everything with all my final picks, so good luck to everyone and Happy Thanksgiving!
Week 12 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Giants (-7)
The New York Giants have a history of imploding during the second half of the season, and that appears to be the case now. The Jaguars are barely finding ways to win games. Against NFC East opponents, the Jaguars were blown out by the Eagles and blew out the Cowboys. Against AFC South opponents, the Giants were blown out by the Colts, handled by the Titans, and dominated the Texans.
Both teams combine for a turnover ratio of -19. If the Jaguars continue to turn it over,they won’t beat the Giants just based on talent alone. The Giants passing defense should smother the Jaguars as the Giants cannot afford to lose this game.
Straight & Against the Spread: – New York Giants (-8)
Week 12 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Carolina Panthers at Cleveland Browns (-10)
The Browns have had some hard luck defeats this season, but you’d have to be psychotic to predict that the Panthers were going to win a road game against anybody right now.
Against the Spread: – Carolina Panthers (+10)
Straight: – Cleveland Browns
Week 12 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Baltimore Ravens (-7.5)
The Buccaneers have made the most out of their easy schedule. Now, they’ll need to win some difficult games if they’re going to make a playoff run. These games include the Falcons, at New Orleans, at Washington, and this week’s game, the Ravens.
With home games against the Seahawks and Lions, winning one of those four games should assure them of a 10-win season. However, the Ravens are one of the NFL’s most balanced teams and the least likely candidate for the Buccaneers to pull off a victory.
Against the Spread: – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+7.5)
Straight: – Baltimore Ravens
Week 12 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Pittsburgh Steelers (-6) at Buffalo Bills
The Bills have won two consecutive games, but they don’t have the talent in the trenches to present a problem for the Steelers. The Steelers are depleted in the offensive and defensive line, but they should handle Buffalo’s on the lines.
Straight & Against the Spread: – Pittsburgh Steelers (-6)
Week 12 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5) at Chicago Bears
One of the games of the week, the Eagles and Bears are seven-win teams who are trying to separate themselves from the rest of the NFC and take a huge step toward the playoffs.
This match-up presents the #2 offense (Eagles) vs. the #3 defense (Bears). The Bears cover-2 defense has the speed to contain Vick better than most teams. The Eagles turnover ratio (+15) is the NFL’s best by five takeaways, and that could present problems for Jay Cutler, an interception prone QB. The Eagles offense has big-play potential, and the Bears defense is one of the best at preventing big plays. Both teams have tremendous return specialists.
Overall, I believe the Eagles are better, but the Bears have home field advantage. Since I don’t think Chicago is that much of a home field advantage in comparison to not having to play at Philadelphia, I’m going with the team that I’d perceive as better. Keep in mind that the Bears have had three more days to prepare for this game.
Against the Spread: – Chicago Bears (+3.5)
Straight: – Philadelphia Eagles
Week 12 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans (-6.5)
Two AFC South teams in disarray. The Texans defense is atrocious and Vince Young can’t get along with Jeff Fisher. Since they still play each other twice, wins are in store for these struggling franchises.
The Texans have surrendered 24 points or more in every game this season. They are also 4-12 all-time against the Titans. Still, I can’t believe the Titans are handing the starting job over to Rusty Smith. Maybe he’ll improve with an entire week of practice, but he was terribly inaccurate on simple out routes against the Redskins (think, Brady Quinn inaccurate). Definitely a project QB who isn’t ready to play.
The Texans really should win this match-up unless Vince Young is reinstated as a starter. Right now, I’m going with the perception that Smith is starting. No way I’d put money on him after the Redskins game.
Against the Spread: – Tennessee Titans (+6.5)
Straight: – Houston Texans
Week 12 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons (-2)
The NFC’s lone eight-win team and the NFL’s hottest team collide for a game of the year caliber match-up in Atlanta. Both teams are coming off impressive road victories and are on a four-game winning streak.
The Falcons are 18-1 when Matt Ryan is the starting quarterback in home games. Atlanta and New England are the NFL’s biggest home field advantages. However, the Packers present an interesting challenge for the Falcons. The Packers are built for dome play, and their passing offense could present problems for the Falcons 24th ranked passing defense. The Packers also have a stable of cornerbacks who could slow down Roddy White. Tony Gonzalez will likely be a headache for the Packers defense all day.
The Falcons one loss was a 26-23 defeat to the Saints last year, a similar team who relied on a passing heavy offense and defense that created turnovers. Young quarterbacks also have some tendency to struggle against the Packers 3-4. Therefore, I’m going to be a bit of a homer here and pick the Packers.
One more thing: look out for Dimitri Nance. He was a practice squad pickup from the Falcons after Ryan Grant got injured and it looks like the Packers are confident enough to play him now. He’ll be amp’ed up to see his former team, and he already looks like he’s better than Brandon Jackson.
Straight & Against the Spread: – Green Bay Packers (+2)
Week 12 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Minnesota Vikings at Washington Redskins (-1)
The Vikings are 0-5 on the road. The Redskins play in close games, and if there is any QB I don’t want in a close game this season, its Brett Favre. This pick could be updated based on the Leslie Frazier and Brett Favre scenarios.
Straight & Against the Spread: – Washington Redskins (-1)
Week 12 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Kansas City Chiefs (-1.5) at Seattle Seahawks
The Chiefs have struggled on the west coast this season, and the Seahawks are normally good at home. Don’t think the Chiefs offense has the firepower to take advantage of the Seahawks poor defense. Regardless, I rarely pick against the ‘Hawks in False Start City.
Straight & Against the Spread: – Seattle Seahawks (+1.5)
Week 12 NFL Predictions against the Spread: Miami Dolphins at Oakland Raiders (N/A)
A west coast trip for the Dolphins isn’t appealing when you’re anticipating that Tyler Thigpen is going to play. Even if Chad Henne does play, he’s going to be limited from his leg injury. Don’t assume that the Dolphins can run over the Raiders defense, either: the Dolphins rushing attack is only 21st in the NFL. Instead, look for the Raiders #2 rushing offense to have success against the Dolphins #20 rushing defense.
One note you may want to consider: Dolphins have had three more days to prepare for this game.
Straight & Against the Spread: – Oakland Raiders (N/A, but I’ll take points regardless)
Week 12 NFL Predictions against the Spread: St. Louis Rams () at Denver Broncos (-4)
The Rams are winless on the road, and the Broncos could present some problems with their passing game. Don’t like Bradford in a shootout type game, and the Rams might be affected a tad by not playing in domed conditions.
Straight & Against the Spread: Denver Broncos (-4)
Week 12 NFL Predictions against the Spread: San Diego Chargers () at Indianapolis Colts (-3)
The Chargers have looked dominant at home this season, but this will be a road game against Peyton Manning. The Chargers and Phillip Rivers have Manning’s #, but I can’t see Manning losing two consecutive games. I’m putting my # on Manning.
Straight & Against the Spread: – Indianapolis Colts (-3)
Week 12 NFL Predictions against the Spread: San Francisco 49ers (-1) at Arizona Cardinals
Whoever plays the “least worst?” With all the great Week 13 games, can’t we flex this out with, say, Green Bay and Atlanta, perhaps?
Flip a coin here. 49ers are probably a little better, but the Cardinals are at home. 49ers hold the all-time series lead and won the last match-up when the Cardinals were actually good, so I’ll take the 49ers.
Straight & Against the Spread: – San Francisco 49ers (-1)
Cooper’s Picks. November 24, 2010.
NFL Stats, November 24, 2010.