Happy Thanksgiving, fellow gamblers. Here are our NFL Week 12 picks and predictions.
Let’s stuff your pockets with profits, starting with our Lock and Upset of the Week. As a friendly reminder: If you’re not tailing Dallas Robinson, you’re missing out. He went an almost-impossible 13-1 straight up last week.
All lines are as of Tuesday and courtesy of Caesars.
NFL Week 12 Picks and Predictions: Lock of the Week
Seahawks -3.5; Seahawks -195, Raiders +162; O/U 47.5
The Seahawks remain among the NFL’s most undervalued teams. Even after the Seahawks’ Week 10 loss to the Buccaneers, their cover margin per game (+4.8) trails only the Cowboys and Jets.
They’ve had two weeks of rest since returning from Munich, and we expect that time off to have served them well. The Seahawks are 5-2 against teams .500 or under this year, their last bad loss was to the Saints on Oct. 9, and they’ve lit up bad defenses in 2022, averaging 36 points against teams in the bottom seven in EPA per play.
The Raiders are one of those bad defenses, ranking 29th in EPA per play (.09). And they very well could have lost their fourth straight game last week, needing a late rally for a 22-16 overtime win over the dreadful Broncos.
Don’t let that result fool you, however. Las Vegas has scored just 62 points in the last four weeks. They’ll need a far better effort to keep up with a Seahawks club that’s fifth in points (25.7) and fourth in yards per play (6.0).
Beasley: Seahawks 30, Raiders 17
Miller: Seahawks 33, Raiders 20
Robinson: Seahawks 27, Raiders 21
NFL Week 12 Picks and Predictions: Upset of the Week
Vikings -2.5; Vikings -145, Patriots +122; O/U 42
The late, great Dennis Green needs revision. The Vikings are who we thought they were — but the Cowboys most certainly did not let them off the hook — quite the contrary. The Cowboys drilled the Vikings 40-3 in Week 11, giving Minnesota a negative point differential on the season — which is almost impossible for an 8-2 team.
The Vikings are a lock to make the playoffs. They lead the NFC North by four games with seven to play. But will they do anything with that ticket to the postseason? If so, they’ll need to play better than they have against the best teams. In games against clubs currently with winning records, the Vikings have been outscored by 30 points.
Plus, Thursday will present the stiffest challenge yet for Kirk Cousins and the offense.
The Patriots just limited the Jets to two second-half yards in a 10-3 win. The Patriots are basically lapping the field in defensive EPA per play (-.14). The margin between the Patriots (first) and the Broncos (second) is roughly the same as the gap between the Broncos and the Commanders (seventh).
Another advantage for the Patriots: The short week. New England is 13-1-1 in games with fewer than six days rest since 2016.
Beasley: Patriots 22, Vikings 20
Miller: Patriots 23, Vikings 20
Robinson: Patriots 23, Vikings 17
More NFL Week 12 Picks and Predictions
Buffalo Bills vs. Detroit Lions
Bills -3; Bills -420, Lions +320; O/U 54
The Bills looked like one of the best teams in the last decade at the season’s start, but a few recent hiccups make their game against the Lions a single-digit line.
Detroit is undefeated so far in November, beating the Packers, Bears, and Giants along the way, which is probably another reason why this game doesn’t have a larger line.
Buffalo is the superior team, and if the offense plays the way they did in the second half against Cleveland, the Lions game will be a blowout. Josh Allen’s still dealing with an elbow injury, but aside from some head-scratching red-zone turnovers, he looks OK.
Meanwhile, Detroit has looked much more like a mid-tier team than a basement-dweller over the past month. A team that has battled through losses over the past year and a half has started learning to win.
But if they do that too much in the last month and a half of the season, they could play their way out of franchise QB territory in the upcoming NFL draft.
— Dalton Miller
Beasley: Bills 30, Lions 24
Miller: Bills 30, Lions 24
Robinson: Bills 33, Lions 20
New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys
Cowboys -9; Cowboys -430, Giants +328; O/U 44.5
It’s not often we see two 7-3 teams playing a 9-point spread, but that’s probably a good number for Las Vegas, given the circumstances. Dallas is in better form, and New York is playing on a short week on the road with some key injuries.
Dallas just stomped the life out of Minnesota on the road and looks poised to make a run for the top seed in the NFC after Philadelphia’s flaws have been exposed over the past two weeks. They rank first in Football Outsiders‘ weighted DVOA.
New York, on the other hand, is fraudulent, according to the website. The Giants rank 21st in DVOA, and things won’t get any easier without Azeez Ojulari and Wan’Dale Robinson against Dallas.
— Dalton Miller
Beasley: Cowboys 29, Giants 16
Miller: Cowboys 30, Giants 20
Robinson: Cowboys 28, Giants 17
Atlanta Falcons vs. Washington Commanders
Commanders -4; Commanders -210, Falcons +175; O/U 42.5
The Falcons-Commanders game is a tale of two halves. Atlanta started the season hot and are showing their true colors as we go, and the Commanders have turned things around since going to Taylor Heinicke as their starter. It began out of injury necessity, but he’s earned the starting role.
The Commanders’ defense has also turned things around, both from last season and the beginning of 2022. Their defensive interior is outstanding, and they’re getting Chase Young back for the first time since tearing his ACL last season.
Atlanta’s defense was always going to be problematic, and that has been evident over the past few weeks as Marcus Mariota hasn’t played as well as he was early in the season.
The Falcons’ offense is still moving the ball and scoring points, but they need to play nearly perfectly to keep up with the points their defense allows.
— Dalton Miller
Beasley: Commanders 25, Falcons 18
Miller: Commanders 20, Falcons 17
Robinson: Falcons 25, Commanders 23
Baltimore Ravens vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Ravens -4; Ravens -210, Jaguars +175; O/U 43.5
The Ravens struggled offensively against the Carolina Panthers, and it will be interesting to see if other teams defend Baltimore similarly. The Ravens want to run the ball early and often, especially as their receiving corps looks putrid without Rashod Bateman.
Carolina bottled up the run game, and Baltimore simply didn’t have the juice in the passing game to continuously move the ball.
Jacksonville is coming off its bye week, which it desperately needed. The Jaguars haven’t been as bad as their record would suggest, but eventually, the unfortunate mistakes in the red zone are impossible to ignore, no matter how well they move the ball between the 20s.
But it’s been the defense that has let them down most this season, even after adding pieces everywhere in the offseason.
— Dalton Miller
Beasley: Ravens 22, Jaguars 21
Miller: Ravens 27, Jaguars 22
Robinson: Ravens 24, Jaguars 19
Houston Texans vs. Miami Dolphins
Dolphins -12; Dolphins -650, Texans +460; O/U 45.5
This game could get really out of hand. The Dolphins can score at will. The Texans can’t score at all.
Houston’s offense hit rock bottom in Week 11. The Texans (1-8-1) managed just five first-half yards in a 23-10 loss to the Commanders. No surprise, then, that the Texans are reportedly expected to bench Davis Mills and start Kyle Allen Sunday.
As their win-loss record suggests, the Texans’ statistical rankings stink across the board. They’re last in yard differential, DVOA, and ELO. They are also 31st in point differential, offensive EPA per play, and net points per drive.
Their opponent this week, the Dolphins, has flaws of their own. It won’t matter this week, however.
The Dolphins and Tua Tagovailoa have arguably the league’s best offense, scoring 105 points in their last three games before the bye. Don’t expect much rust from the time off. The Dolphins are 5-1 against the spread following the bye since 2015.
— Adam H. Beasley
Beasley: Dolphins 30, Texans 15
Miller: Dolphins 33, Texans 17
Robinson: Dolphins 34, Texans 13
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Cleveland Browns
Buccaneers -3; Buccaneers -160, Browns +135; O/U 42.5
The Buccaneers are on top of the NFC South and a near lock for the playoffs after winning back-to-back games. Tom Brady shouldn’t have any trouble attacking the Browns’ secondary, and it’s also worth watching how Tampa Bay divvies up running back touches against the NFL’s worst rushing defense.
Rookie Rachaad White has been gaining on veteran Leonard Fournette, and the pecking order could fully flip on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Browns have lost two consecutive games to virtually eliminate themselves from the postseason conversation. With all the focus on Deshaun Watson’s impending Week 13 return, it’s easy to see how Cleveland might lose focus for this game.
But Jacoby Brissett shouldn’t face that problem in what will be his final start of the year, barring an injury to Watson.
— Dallas Robinson
Beasley: Buccaneers 23, Browns 19
Miller: Buccaneers 24, Browns 22
Robinson: Buccaneers 25, Browns 15
Chicago Bears vs. New York Jets
Jets -4.5; Jets -220, Bears +180; O/U 41
Although the Bears are 3-8 and the Jets are 6-4, Chicago is the team that’s apparently found its franchise quarterback. After failing to utilize Justin Fields’ rushing ability over the first half of the season, the Bears might now be running him too much, as evidenced by a shoulder injury that has him day-to-day.
New York will offer a much stiffer defensive test than the Dolphins, Lions, or Falcons, Chicago’s last three opponents. That Gang Green defense should propel the Jets once again, but the offense should get some sort of a lift after a much-needed quarterback change.
Head coach Robert Saleh is going with Mike White Sunday, benching Zach Wilson for Week 12 after his abysmal showing — and subsequent lack of accountability — against the Patriots.
At this point, White or Joe Flacco probably gives the Jets a better chance at a win, which New York desperately needs to avoid falling out of the AFC playoff race.
— Dallas Robinson
Beasley: Jets 24, Bears 17
Miller: Jets 23, Bears 17
Robinson: Jets 21, Bears 17
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Tennessee Titans
Bengals -1.5; Bengals -120, Titans +100; O/U 42.5
Starting slow is becoming an annual tradition for the Bengals. After ranking just 20th in EPA per play over the first five weeks of the season, Cincinnati was first in efficiency from Weeks 6-11.
Joe Burrow and Co. went 4-1 in that stretch and scored at least 30 points in all four wins, and they did it largely without Ja’Marr Chase, who could return from a hip injury on Sunday.
Things will get tougher against the Titans’ defense, which ranks second in DVOA over the past month. Tennessee held the Chiefs to 20 points in Week 9, so stopping the Bengals is within the realm of possibility.
The only question is whether the Titans can score enough to keep up with Cincinnati. Thus, another ball-control, clock-killing game plan is likely in order.
— Dallas Robinson
Beasley: Bengals 23, Titans 21
Miller: Titans 21, Bengals 20
Robinson: Bengals 24, Titans 21
Denver Broncos vs. Carolina Panthers
Broncos -2.5; Broncos -135, Panthers +115; O/U 36
There’s no under too low for this one. This is a matchup of two of the five or six worst offenses in the league.
The next time the Broncos score 24 will be the first time in 2022. They’ve managed just 56 points in their last four games. That’s very, very hard to do.
The Panthers aren’t much better. They probably have the worst quarterback situation in the NFL. It’s so bad, in fact, that the Panthers are turning to Sam Darnold Sunday after Baker Mayfield bombed and P.J. Walker got hurt.
Darnold, you might remember, was the NFL’s 29th-ranked passer in 2021, based on QBR (38.8).
The only place where either team has a clear edge? Defense. The Broncos — second in EPA per play — are fantastic on that side of the ball, and if Russell Wilson was at all good this year, they’d be a playoff team.
The Panthers, meanwhile, have allowed 107 points in their last four games. But against the Broncos, that’s probably irrelevant. Expect a close, unpleasant three hours in Charlotte.
— Adam H. Beasley
Beasley: Broncos 18, Panthers 17
Miller: Broncos 16, Panthers 13
Robinson: Broncos 20, Panthers 17
Los Angeles Chargers vs. Arizona Cardinals
Chargers -4.5; Chargers -220, Cardinals +180; O/U 47.5
It’s tough to trust the Chargers, but it’s even more difficult to count on the Cardinals. Their 4-7 record might overstate their talent level; they rank 30th in points allowed per drive while only rank in 20th in points scored per drive.
The Chargers, who just took the Chiefs to the wire, might be getting healthy at the right time.
Justin Herbert seems to be past his rib injury and is maximizing his receiving corps. If it happens to include Mike Williams this week, all the better. There’s not much in the Arizona secondary that can keep up with Keenan Allen, and they have less hope if Williams is healthy.
The Chargers’ defense may not be able to match up directly with DeAndre Hopkins, but their pass rush will give them a lot of leeway, especially against a quarterback that holds onto the ball far longer than usual.
Murray hasn’t been making up for lost ground with his dazzling scrambles, and he may not get much opportunity to, either. Even with injuries, the Chargers just look more talented all around.
— Arif Hasan
Beasley: Chargers 25, Cardinals 17
Miller: Chargers 28, Cardinals 21
Robinson: Chargers 28, Cardinals 24
Los Angeles Rams vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Chiefs -14.5; Chiefs -1100, Rams +700; O/U 44
After the Chiefs put on one of the best shows of the year — at least their third time doing that this season — it’s hard to begrudge the two-touchdown spread that bettors have given them over a Rams team missing Cooper Kupp.
It’s clear that the Chiefs’ offense, led by Patrick Mahomes, is going to be the star of the show. Seeing the improvement in chemistry between him and his receiving corps feels much like hearing the hum of the Death Star as it’s charging.
The Mahomes offense can be deadly, and it’s coming online, especially with Travis Kelce playing seemingly unstoppable football and Isiah Pacheco giving them an incredible running game.
At times, it seems like it’s just Aaron Donald out there on defense — despite the star-studded cast — and that’s proven to be insufficient. Jalen Ramsey can’t hold together the back end on his own, either — even with the return of Troy Hill.
But defensively, the Chiefs are looking better, with George Karlaftis, Chris Jones, and Frank Clark doing a better job harassing quarterbacks. The young secondary is doing well, too.
And with just Allen Robinson to pay significant attention to, they should give time for the defensive line to harass a slower-moving Matthew Stafford behind a makeshift line.
— Arif Hasan
Beasley: Chiefs 29, Rams 15
Miller: Chiefs 30, Rams 16
Robinson: Chiefs 21, Rams 17
New Orleans Saints vs. San Francisco 49ers
49ers -9; 49ers -455, Saints +345; O/U 43
The 49ers showcased their upside on Monday night, scoring 38 points in a demolition of the Cardinals. Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and George Kittle represent a smorgasbord of weapons for Jimmy Garoppolo, who tossed four touchdowns against Arizona.
Jimmy G has four 4-TD games in his career — three have come against the Cardinals, while the other was against the Saints, whom the 49ers will face on Sunday.
New Orleans isn’t going anywhere this year, and every loss only makes its incredibly aggressive offseason look more misguided. Andy Dalton posted the best passer rating of his career against the Rams in Week 11, so Dennis Allen can’t change quarterbacks unless he wants to lose the locker room.
Still, getting another look at Jameis Winston — the Saints’ only QB under contract for 2023 — should be on the docket at some point.
— Dallas Robinson
Beasley: 49ers 25, Saints 17
Miller: 49ers 27, Saints 20
Robinson: 49ers 27, Saints 22
Green Bay Packers vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Eagles -7; Eagles -320, Packers +250; O/U 46.5
The Green Bay Packers are coming off of yet another disappointing multiple-score loss this season, this time to the Titans. Their newfound connection between Aaron Rodgers and Christian Watson hasn’t proven to be enough to turn this team around, and they remained mired in 4-7.
Against Darius Slay, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, and the rest of the Eagles secondary, that could be a big issue.
MORE: NFL Super Bowl Odds 2022
They should have a chance with their running game, though. Without Jordan Davis, the Eagles have resorted to signing nearly-retired defensive tackles to shore up their run defense, and it thus far hasn’t worked. The Packers love grinding the ball with Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon, so we could see some movement there.
They’ll have to, because even after the upset loss to the Commanders, there’s still a lot of explosive upside with the Jalen Hurts-led offense, both through the air and on the ground. That could be dangerous with Joe Barry’s disorganized defense, especially without Rashan Gary. There’s a lot of talent on Green Bay’s defense, but it hasn’t been put together.
— Arif Hasan
Beasley: Eagles 30, Packers 16
Miller: Eagles 26, Packers 20
Robinson: Eagles 25, Packers 19
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Indianapolis Colts
Colts -2.5; Colts -155, Steelers +130; O/U 39
Interim head coach Jeff Saturday continues to impress, and his ability to motivate his team and make them look like an entirely new squad, especially with the help of new play-caller Parks Frazier, has them favored against the Steelers after a narrow loss to the Eagles and a win over the Raiders.
The Steelers are beginning to generate some offense with Kenny Pickett, George Pickens, and Najee Harris, but it’s not enough to hang your hat on. With how the Colts’ defense is playing, especially EDGE Yannick Ngakoue, there are enough obstacles for that offense to overcome.
On the other side of the ball, we’ll have to see if the Colts’ improving offensive line will be enough to slow down T.J. Watt. If they can do that, Jonathan Taylor should feature heavily while Matt Ryan distributes the ball to the likes of Parris Campbell, Alec Pierce, and Michael Pittman Jr., a pretty good receiving corps. They’ll have to watch out for Minkah Fitzpatrick, but there’s opportunity there.
— Arif Hasan
Beasley: Colts 22, Steelers 17
Miller: Colts 20, Steelers 17
Robinson: Colts 23, Steelers 16
Season Standings Through 11 Weeks
Adam Beasley: 93-70-1 straight up, 73-85-6 against the spread
Dalton Miller: 96-67-1, 75-83-6
Dallas Robinson: 108-55-1, 81-77-6