With 2 teams on a bye and 6 teams playing on Thanksgiving, the Week 12 NFL Picks and Props had a more limited pool of options to choose from. And yet, Aaron and I have 7 picks to choose from this week. We enter the slate off a less than ideal 2-4 record in Week 11.
Both Aaron and I were feeling great heading into the week and got a little bit of a reality check. Now we both enter Week 12 with a bit of pesimism but maybe that is a good thing.
This slate features a compelling division battles and teams with playoff seeding on the line. However it also features some gross contests between teams who will be selecting early in the 2022 NFL Draft. That being said, opportunity can be hand on a variety of fronts. Before we see who Aaron and I are backing this week, let’s take a look at the records from Week 11 and the season as a whole.
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Aaron’s Week 12 Picks
Just the 2nd losing week on the season… things just didn’t go as I expected. That happens sometimes. My top pick, the Texans +10 with a side of money line action, paid out nicely getting my personal card in the green on the week.
Daniel Jones singlehandedly lost us the Giants pick on Monday Night Football. His interception to the D-lineman was one of the worst this year. There was no excuse for the G-Men to be this far out of the game. The Bucs are a far superior team but 10.5 is a lot of points to give up… and they lost by 20. I’ll be staying away from the Giants for a bit even though I like them at home against the Eagles this week (DON’T DO IT, AARON).
I wish I could say I was close on my teaser, but both the Browns and Cowboys really disappointed last week. Cleveland barely eeked out a win against the Lions at home and the Cowboys made the Chiefs defense look elite.
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In my opinion, week 12 is a very tough slate. We are getting down to crunch time where the good teams typically level up, but bad teams get desperate and pull-out magical performances. We’re going to focus on small spreads this week, taking the better team to cover.
Atlanta Falcons -1.5 @ Jacksonville Jaguars
The Falcons should see the return of their 2021 superstar of the year, Cordarrelle Patterson. Atlanta has not looked good the past two weeks, but I think that was mainly due to playing the Cowboys and the Patriots – two very good defenses. This team isn’t giving up just yet, but they see the Bucs, Panthers, Niners, Bills, and Saints in their upcoming schedule and will feel like they need to make a statement here by not losing to one of the worst teams in football.
On the other side of the ball are the Jacksonville Jaguars, led by rookies Urban Meyer and Trevor Lawrence. This is a very bad team that is still trying to figure out their identity 12 weeks into the season. I think it’s going to take another 12 weeks before they figure out who they want to be when they grow up. The Jags have only covered 4 times all season – two of them were surprise wins against the Bills and Dolphins. Most of their other games they were >4-7-point underdogs… this is just a smart, safe play to go against them here.
Pick: Falcons -1.5
Los Angeles Rams -1 @ Green Bay Packers
I’ll come out and say this now: this is a risky pick.
Pick: Rams -1
Baltimore Ravens -3.5 vs. Cleveland Browns
With this pick, I almost went with the Carolina Panthers -2 over the Miami Dolphins. Maybe it seems too obvious, but I had a bad feeling about laying it down on paper. Cam Newton has re-invigorated that team and the Browns are in full-blown, injury-riddled, struggle mode. Take this as a bonus pick as you wish.
Back to the game at hand. Divisional games are typically hard fought and stay close, especially in the AFC North in which parity runs supreme. However, at this moment in time, the Ravens are in 1st place and the Browns are in last. The Ravens are coming off a hard-fought win against the Bears without Lamar Jackson last week. This should rile up this team to increase their motivation going down the home stretch.
On the Browns side, they are dealing with a plethora of injuries to their skill position players. Baker Mayfield is (basically) playing with one shoulder and Jarvis Landry / Donovan Peoples-Jones have been banged up for a couple of weeks. This team barely snuck by the Lions, led by Tim Boyle, last week. How are they going to keep up with this Ravens’ offense? They aren’t. Nick Chubb may do enough to keep this competitive, but I still see the Ravens winning by 7-10 points.
Pick: Ravens -3.5
Pittsburgh Steelers +3.5 @ Cincinnati Bengals
Why not stay in the AFC North here? The public continues to be down on the Steelers and high on the Bengals (recency bias due to how each team started the year). Sure, the Steelers aren’t this high-flying offense we expected/hoped, but they are still solid all-around.
They should be getting back most, if not all, of their missing defensive players: Minkah Fitzpatrick, T.J. Watt, and Joe Haden. Their return should help keep this sometimes-explosive Cincinnati Bengals offense at bay. I’m trending toward the under in this game based on their returns alone.
Since starting the year 5-2, the Bengals have come back down to earth recently… losing to the Jets and Browns in the process. They also barely beat the Jaguars and smashed the Ravens… so this team is a little all over the place.
Who knows what team shows up for this game, but as I alluded to above, these divisional games are typically hard-nosed, ground & pound football. I’m going to give the Steelers the edge in those matchups 80% of the time. This one is no exception – lay the points and watch what should be a truly entertaining football game.
Pick: Steelers +3.5
Kyle’s Week 12 Picks
Tennessee Titans + 7 at New England Patriots
There is a lot to process with this game but when it comes to value, the Titans present a ton in this spot. While the loss to the Texans is far from ideal, we are still talking about a team who beat Kansas City, Buffalo, the Rams and Indianapolis twice.
The Patriots come into this game winners of 5 in a row and 6 of their last 7. However outside of Cleveland and the Chargers who have shown the elite upside that makes the wins impressive but also have laid eggs in multiple spots this year. Their other wins have come against the Texans, Jets, Panthers and Falcons, all teams that should be drafting in the Top 5 of the NFL Draft.
Prior to last week’s results, the line for this game was a field goal or shorter. No AJ Brown is far from ideal but he is not worth 4 points. I continue to believe the Patriots are far from the team many perceive them as. Atlanta had 2 red zone trips that resulted in 0 points which helped the game get sideways..
The Titans defense will travel and the offense should be able to do enough to keep this game close. They may not win outright, a ML sprinkle that is worth a look, but they will keep this game within a TD.
Pick: Titans +7
Jonathan Taylor OVER 79.5 Rushing Yards
This prop can be a little scary especially with how stout the Buccaneers have looked thus far against opposing rushers. That being said, that perception has a lot more to do with the talent Tampa Bay has faced and less about how stout they actually are.
After last week, everyone knows how special Taylor can be. Beyond Taylor, his offensive line is rounding into form. In fact, this is the best unit Tampa Bay has seen since the first month of the season for sure, if not all season long. Assuming Frank Reich stays committed to the run, Taylor should have plenty of opportunities to go over this total.
I like the Colts in this contest, especially if a +3.5 pops up but the rushing prop feels a bit safer. This could be a close game that has a final score that is not necessarily indicative of the game with Tom Brady’s ability to put up points in bunches and Bruce Arian’s willingness to continue to throw.
Pick: Jonathan Taylor OVER 79.5 Rushing Yards
San Francisco 49ers -3 vs Minnesota Vikings
The San Francisco 49ers are really rounding into form at the right time. Their offensive line is fully healthy with Trent Williams playing up to his All-Pro abilities. Having a healthy George Kittle even if just for his blocking has made a tremendous difference also. QB Jimmy Garoppolo is looking to improve with protection he is seeing.
Minnesota comes into this game after a massive win a week ago against their division rival Packers. The Vikings passing offense has flashed over the past few weeks. Unfortunately their defense has not been holding up their end of the deal. They have allowed 31, 20, 34, 20 and 28 in their last 5 contests. While I expect Minnesota to keep this one close as they usually do, look for the 49ers to win at home covering the field goal.
Pick: 49ers -3