NFL Week 12 contains a three-game Thanksgiving feast as the annual tradition provides us with some enticing matchups for a full Thursday of football fun. As if that wasn’t enough of a treat, we have a full slate of weekend action, with no teams on a bye and plenty of intriguing storylines to follow. Will the Pittsburgh Steelers be thankful for their 11th win of the season? Can the Washington Football Team seize control of the NFC East? Are the New Orleans Saints the team to beat even with Taysom Hill? Find out the answers to these questions and more with our NFL picks and predictions against the spread for Week 12.
NFL Picks, Predictions Against the Spread for Week 12
All spread lines are provided by DraftKings and were correct at the time of writing. They are, of course, subject to change the closer we get to kickoff.
Thursday, November 26th, 12:30 pm ET
Houston Texans (-2.5) @ Detroit Lions (+2.5)
With two teams that have been abysmal in stopping the run so far in this 2020 NFL season, the outcome of this game may be decided on the availability of Detroit Lions running back D’Andre Swift. The Lions couldn’t get anything going on offense without the rookie in their shutout loss against the Carolina Panthers. If either Swift or Kenny Golladay remains unavailable, it’s difficult to see where the points will come from.
This Thanksgiving Thursday, the Houston Texans should be thankful for Deshaun Watson, who was solely responsible for guiding the Texans past the New England Patriots’ last time out. Watson’s rushing ability should be particularly important for their chance of victory over the Lions.
NFL Week 12 predictions against the spread for the first Thanksgiving Thursday game: The Texans come out of Detroit with a win, covering the points spread easily.
Final score prediction: Houston Texans 24 Detroit Lions 17
Thursday, November 26th, 4:30 pm ET
Washington Football Team (+2.5) @ Dallas Cowboys (-2.5)
The Alex Smith comeback story added another incredible chapter with the game against the Cincinnati Bengals providing the first win of his return to the field. Although Smith only threw for 166 yards on Sunday, there is no doubting his impact on the Washington Football Team offense and especially wide receiver Terry McLaurin.
I expect Smith and McLaurin to exploit the Dallas Cowboys often on Thursday afternoon with a healthy dose of Antonio Gibson mixed in for good measure. The Cowboys had allowed 21 passing touchdowns prior to Week 11 and are also struggling to stop anything on the ground, allowing 157 rushing yards per game.
NFL Week 12 predictions against the spread for this NFC East rivalry game: The Cowboys may be a favorite after their Week 11 win, but I think Washington gets the win, covering the spread with ease.
Final score prediction: Washington Football Team 27 Dallas Cowboys 21
Thursday, November 26th, 8:20 pm ET
Baltimore Ravens (+3.0) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.0)
The Baltimore Ravens come into the game on the back of two defeats, whereas the Pittsburgh Steelers continued their unbeaten run with an easy win over the Jacksonville Jaguars last week. When these two bitter AFC North rivals collided earlier on this month, the Ravens gashed the usually solid Steelers rush defense, dominated the time of possession, and produced twice as much yardage, but turnovers proved costly in a 28-24 defeat.
It is a must-win game for the Ravens, but it’s difficult to see anything other than a Steelers victory as they continue their march towards the Super Bowl. They are clicking on offense with multiple receiving options for Ben Roethlisberger, and the defense continues to be one of the most frightening units in this 2020 NFL season.
NFL Week 12 predictions against the spread for this AFC North Thanksgiving showdown: The Steelers remain undefeated but fail to cover the spread.
Final score prediction: Baltimore Ravens 23 Pittsburgh Steelers 24
Sunday, November 29th, 1:00 pm ET
Arizona Cardinals (-2.5) @ New England Patriots (+2.5)
The New England Patriots abandoned the ground game against the Houston Texans, allowing Cam Newton to air it out to the tune of 365 yards. They may want to revisit the run game against an Arizona Cardinals unit that gave up 165 yards at 5.6 yards per play in defeat to the Seattle Seahawks in last week’s Thursday Night Football game.
Kyler Murray had a quiet game against the Seahawks by his 2020 NFL season standards, but he should be able to utilize his abilities as a mobile quarterback against a Patriots defense that has allowed the ninth-most rushing yards in the NFL. I would expect to see bounce-back games for both Murray and running back Kenyan Drake.
NFL Week 12 predictions against the spread: The Cardinals win and cover the spread.
Final score prediction: Arizona Cardinals 27 New England Patriots 23
Las Vegas Raiders @ Atlanta Falcons
The Las Vegas Raiders have one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL with Josh Jacobs, but this game will be an opportunity for the receiving options to shine against an Atlanta Falcons defense that has been awful this season.
The Falcons have been particularly poor against the tight end position, allowing the second-most receiving yards and most touchdowns to tight ends this year. Watch out for Darren Waller, who should continue to build his resume as one of the best pass-catching tight ends in the whole of the NFL.
Although the Raiders have given up an average of 246.9 passing yards per game, they have been relatively successful in limiting passing touchdowns, and that could be a difference-maker on Sunday.
NFL Week 12 predictions against the spread: No spread available at the time of writing.
Final score prediction: Las Vegas Raiders 31 Atlanta Falcons 27
Los Angeles Chargers (+5.5) @ Buffalo Bills (-5.5)
After being played closer than expected by the New York Jets, the Los Angeles Chargers travel to Orchard Park for a clash with a Buffalo Bills team that comes off a bye and fired up by their defeat to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 10.
Although rookie quarterback Justin Herbert has been impressive so far this season, and his connection with Keenan Allen should give them a good chance to put up points once again, they lack the explosive rushing offense that has exposed the Bills defense in their three defeats this season. The Tennessee Titans had 139 rushing yards, the Kansas City Chiefs racked up 245 rushing yards, and the Cardinals rushed for 217 yards when beating the Bills.
Stefon Diggs should feature prominently against a team that had allowed 18 passing touchdowns prior to NFL Week 11 and is my fantasy football WR1 for Week 12.
NFL Week 12 predictions against the spread: The Bills get back to winning ways but fail to cover the spread.
Final score prediction: Los Angeles Chargers 26 Buffalo Bills 28
New York Giants (-5.0) @ Cincinnati Bengals (+5.0)
The New York Giants come off a bye week to face a Cincinnati Bengals that were rocked by the season-ending knee injury suffered by rookie quarterback sensation Joe Burrow. With Ryan Finley set to start for the Bengals, this Week 12 clash takes on a very different complexion. The Giants have been relatively effective against the run this year, so leaning on Gio Bernard won’t be very effective either.
The Giants have a good shot at victory if Daniel Jones can take care of the ball, and they utilize his ability on the ground to take advantage of the Bengals’ deficiencies in the ground game.
NFL Week 12 predictions against the spread: The Giants win with a push on the spread.
Final score prediction: New York Giants 23 Cincinnati Bengals 18
Tennessee Titans (+3.5) @ Indianapolis Colts (-3.5)
Just two weeks after the first clash between these two AFC South divisional rivals, we have the second edition with the Tennessee Titans looking to avenge their 34-17 Thursday Night Football home defeat.
Both teams are coming off big wins in NFL Week 11 with the Titans taking care of Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens and the Indianapolis Colts emerging victorious from an overtime thriller against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
The same keys to the game remain. The Colts have the defense to limit Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill. Can the Titans defense step up and shut down the Phillip Rivers led Colts offense this time around? If it does come down to a close battle, which kicker can you trust the most between Stephen Gostkowski and Rodrigo Blankenship?
NFL Week 12 predictions against the spread for this AFC South rivalry game: The Colts win by a field goal but narrowly fail to cover the spread.
Final score prediction: Tennessee Titans 23 Indianapolis Colts 26
Carolina Panthers (+4.0) @ Minnesota Vikings (-4.0)
An under-strength Carolina Panthers shutout the Detroit Lions behind former XFL quarterback PJ Walker and in Week 12 of the NFL season face a Minnesota Vikings team that allowed 31 points to an Andy Dalton led Dallas Cowboys side.
Panthers WR D.J. Moore had over 100 yards against the Lions, and the Vikings’ porous pass defense should allow both him and Robby Anderson to have success regardless of whether Teddy Bridgewater returns or Walker gets his second start. The Cowboys found success on the ground against the Vikings, and a Dalvin Cook versus Christian McCaffrey contest would be highly entertaining if the Panthers running back returns to action in Week 12.
NFL Week 12 predictions against the spread: The Vikings win but fail to cover the spread.
Final score prediction: Carolina Panthers 24 Minnesota Vikings 26
Miami Dolphins (-6.5) @ New York Jets (+6.5)
Despite a surprise defeat to the Denver Broncos, the Miami Dolphins will go into this AFC East rivalry game as the favorite. The New York Jets played the Los Angeles Chargers closer than expected in Week 11 but still head into this Week 12 matchup without registering a victory in the 2020 NFL season.
The Dolphins’ defense has been the key to their success in a five-game winning streak prior to the Denver defeat. They are holding teams to an average of 20 points per game and now face a Jets team averaging just 13.4 points and less than 300 yards of offense per game.
The first fixture between the two this season finished 24-0 to the Dolphins, and although I expect the score to be closer this time around, the result should remain the same.
NFL Week 12 predictions against the spread for this battle in the AFC East: The Dolphins cover the spread easily in a walkover win.
Final score prediction: Miami Dolphins 28 New York Jets 14
Cleveland Browns (6.5) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (+6.5)
The Cleveland Browns have emerged as the main challenger to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ dominance of the AFC North after Week 11 and face off against a Jacksonville Jaguars team that is in free fall.
Although Baker Mayfield has been far from impressive in this 2020 NFL season, the Browns can lean on running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt against a Jaguars defense that has allowed 12 rushing touchdowns and 131.7 rushing yards per game. Chubb ran for 114 yards in the win over the Philadelphia Eagles and is averaging 6.1 yards per carry.
NFL Week 12 predictions against the spread: The Browns win, covering the spread by half a point.
Final score prediction: Cleveland Browns 28 Jacksonville Jaguars 21
Sunday, November 29th, 4:05 pm ET
New Orleans Saints (-6.0) @ Denver Broncos (+6.0)
The New Orleans Saints surprised everyone by starting Taysom Hill in relief of Drew Brees against the Atlanta Falcons. The gamble paid off against a weak Atlanta defense, but can Hill be as instrumental against the Denver Broncos?
There’s no denying that the Denver defense poses a more significant challenge, allowing just 231.2 passing yards per game compared to the Falcons allowing 310.3 passing yards. The Falcons allowed the Saints backfield to combine for 168 yards, whereas the Broncos limited the Miami Dolphins to just over 50 total rushing yards in their 20-13 win.
Although the Broncos should pose a more difficult challenge, the Saints will have enough on offense combined with their top 10 defense in the NFL to get the win and solidify their claim to the number one seed in the NFC.
NFL Week 12 predictions against the spread: The Saints win with a push on the spread.
Final score prediction: New Orleans Saints 29 Denver Broncos 23
San Francisco 49ers @ Los Angeles Rams
By the time this game kicks off, it will be almost six weeks since the San Francisco 49ers beat the Los Angeles Rams 24-16 to inflict just the second defeat of the season on their NFC West rivals. It will feel like a lifetime ago to a 49ers team that has been riddled with injuries to key players and has won just one game since.
With so many players still missing, including quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, it’s difficult to see a way that the 49ers will win this game. The Rams have arguably the best defense in the NFL and a top-10 offense in terms of rushing yards per game (134.2) and average yards per play (5.8).
NFL Week 12 predictions against the spread for this NFC West rivalry: No spread available at the time of writing.
Final score prediction: San Francisco 49ers 17 Los Angeles Rams 24
Sunday, November 29th, 4:25 pm ET
Kansas City Chiefs @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Could this late afternoon game be a preview of the Super Bowl matchup? The Kansas City Chiefs are one of the front runners in the AFC, and the combination of Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense has the Bucs in a strong position to challenge for the NFC Championship.
The Kansas City offense has the ability to adapt to attack the main weakness of the opposition, and with the strength of the Tampa Bay defense being in the run game, you can expect to see plenty of Patrick Mahomes. The best chance of a victory for the Buccaneers would be to dominate the time of possession and attack the Chiefs defense on the ground. If they can get Ronald Jones or Leonard Fournette going, there could be an upset.
NFL Week 12 predictions against the spread: No spread available at the time of writing.
Final score prediction: Kansas City Chiefs 28 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24
Sunday, November 29th, 8:20 pm ET
Chicago Bears (+8.0) @ Green Bay Packers (-8.0)
After winning five of their first six games, the Chicago Bears have lost four on the bounce ahead of the first clash with their division rival Green Bay Packers. Although the Bears had the benefit of a bye week to relax and watch the Packers go to overtime in their loss to the Indianapolis Colts, there stands to be just one winner of this bitter NFC North rivalry.
Aaron Rodgers has all his offensive weapons available, and although the Bears’ defense has been ferocious during this 2020 NFL season, they will struggle to limit the Packers’ offense. The Chicago offense has been stagnant regardless of whether it is Mitch Trubisky or Nick Foles under center. The best chance of offensive success for the Bears would be on the ground, with the Packers allowing 4.6 yards per carry on the ground.
NFL Week 12 predictions against the spread for Sunday Night Football: the Packers win this NFC North rivalry game, covering the spread in the process.
Final score prediction: Chicago Bears 18 Green Bay Packers 27
Monday, November 30th, 8:15 pm ET
Seattle Seahawks (-5.5) @ Philadelphia Eagles (+5.5)
The pressure is on for Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles after defeat in the pouring Cleveland rain left them with a 3-6-1 record. Wentz threw two interceptions in the loss, and it feels like his relationship with the City of Brotherly Love is on extremely shaky ground.
The Seattle Seahawks secondary should offer Wentz the opportunity to put up an impressive performance – the Seahawks have allowed the most passing yards per game by a considerable margin – but personally, I don’t have the confidence that the Eagles can take advantage of that opportunity.
The Seahawks expect to return running back Chris Carson to add another dimension to the Russell Wilson-led offense. The combination of Carson and Carlos Hyde will be critical against an Eagles offense allowing the seventh-most rushing yards in the 2020 NFL season.
NFL Week 12 predictions against the spread for Monday Night Football: The Seahawks emerge victorious and cover the spread.
Final score prediction: Seattle Seahawks 31 Philadelphia Eagles 24
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Oliver Hodgkinson is an NFL Draft and NFL analytics contributor for the Pro Football Network. You can follow him on Twitter at @ojhodgkinson.