NFL Picks Week 12: Game-by-game predictions against the spread

Houston Texans cheerleaders perform in military costumes as part of Salute to Service month festivities during the game against the Oakland Raiders at Reliant Stadium. - Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jesse makes his NFL Week 12 predictions against the spread.

I'm back after a week hiatus -- the good news is that I didn't miss one single pick last week, the bad news is that I'm still slightly under .500 for the season after an atrocious start. The other good news is that Ed filled in for me last week and well I'm no longer worried about job security (just kidding, Ed).

[Note by Ed Valentine, 11/21/13 8:28 AM EST: Hey, so I went 2-10-2. I told you I was bad at picking games. I DID get two games right! Give me some credit here.]

New Orleans (-9) at Atlanta Falcons

I've picked the Falcons almost every week this year it seems, and every week they have disappointed me. I don't like taking such a big spread on a Thursday night game, but if looks to me like the Falcons have completely checked out. I feel fairly confident about the Saints winning big here. (This means you should probably bet big on the Falcons).

Pick: Saints

New York Jets at Baltimore Ravens (-4)

This is the Jets "good week' this week after losing again last week, but the problem here is that I think the Ravens are going to make a playoff push now and the Jets happen to be standing in their way. The Ravens, I believe, make this playoff push because they get the next three games at home, where they have been better this year.

Pick: Ravens

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns (-1)

The Steelers, like the Giants, seem to be finding their groove a little bit, but the Browns are no slouch. A point spread of -1 basically means it's a pick 'em game. The Browns are only 1-3 with Jason Campbell under center this year and they can't ever beat the Steelers.

Pick: Steelers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit Lions (-10)

I thought the Buccaneers would quit on Greg Schiano, but that hasn't happened. The Buccaneers are also averaging 23 points per game since their bye week (the second week Mike Glennon was the starting quarterback). I think the Lions win, but the Buccaneers can keep it closer than 10.

Pick: Tampa Bay

Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (-5.5)

Scott Tolzien is no chump. Even though he's a third-stringer he has made a number of big throws since filling in for Rodgers and Wallace. The problem is a few untimely turnovers. The Vikings are last in the league in giving up 32 points per game on the season (which is brutal) and I think the Packers score early and often.

Pick: Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans (-11.5)

The Texans shouldn't be favored by 11.5 points over anybody. And then I'm also really rooting hard for the Jaguars defense here because my fantasy team's opposing quarterback is Case Keenum and this is basically the last week I need to win to secure some moolah.

Pick: Jaguars

San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (-4.5)

The Chiefs aren't a pretty team, but they are a good team. The Chargers are still a team that makes a big mistake at a terrible time just like they were under Norv Turner. You can't do that against a team that is as efficient as the Chiefs are this year. Even though the Chiefs don't have a reputation as a high powered offense they put up 23 points per game while only giving up 10 points per game (they are third in the league in point differential). I think they win by more than 4 points.

Pick: Chiefs

Carolina Panthers (-4) at Miami Dolphins

Defense travels. Good defense can play in any stadium and that's where the Panthers dominante. They now have the No. 1 scoring defense in the league just ahead of the Chiefs and Cam Newton is making big plays without turning the ball over consistently. The Dolphins are also working with a patch-work offensive line and I saw what the Panthers did do the Giants and their patchwork line. I like the Panthers big and this is the "best bet" of the week.

Pick: Panthers

Chicago Bears at St. Louis Rams (pick 'em)

Two average teams are trotting out backup quarterbacks to try and win and stay relevant. I'll take the team that is home and off the bye.

Pick: Rams

Indianapolis Colts at Arizona Cardinals (-1)

I thought the Colts would be favored in this game, even though Arizona's not a bad team and are at home. I like the Colts to win here, who continue to chug along despite Wayne's absence.

Pick: Colts

Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants (-1)

Let's do a little reverse psychology here. If the Giants win I'll take the loss in the pick 'em column happily. If they lose this will be the smallest of consolation prizes. If I'm picking this game analytically. I'd say the Giants offense might be rounding into form, but is by no means dominant. The passing game is missing its trademark big plays, the defense has beaten up on scrub quarterbacks (though the run defense is for real) and the Cowboys are just as desperate for a win here as the Giants are. The Cowboys have a very good quarterback in Tony Romo and I expect them to score some points, they are also getting back a few players, including DeMarcus Ware, who has a history of feasting on Eli Manning. This should be a close game here and hopefully the Giants pull it out.

Pick: Cowboys

Denver Broncos (-2) at New England Patriots

The Patriots deserve respect because of Tom Brady and coach hoodie, but the Broncos are a better team. The Broncos are a team that will likely only beat itself. The Patriots are not a team who creates a ton of turnovers. Now if Wes Welker and Julius Thomas get declared out, it will make things interesting.

Pick: Broncos

San Francisco 49 (-4) at Washington Redskins

Redskins are a sinking ship. The 49ers should be able to take advantage of the Redskins poor defense, despite the 49ers own struggles.

Pick: 49ers

Overall Record: 66-72-4

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