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NFL Picks, Week 12: Winners, losers against the point spread

Jesse gives you his thoughts on where to place your money if youa re betting NFL games this week.

Oakland Raiders cheerleaders
Oakland Raiders cheerleaders
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Last week was another winning week (though barely) which brings my season record to 85-56-2 against the spread. I also did pretty well with my locks going 2-1-1, the Falcons beat the Panthers by 2 which was the spread and the Bills couldn't cover the 5 against the Dolphins. I continue to be throwing darts at the board for the over/under, but hopefully I can get better at that.  This week the two most interesting stories to me are can the Giants play spoiler to the Cowboys and when the Bills even be able to play in Buffalo on Sunday which is going to end up getting six feet of snow? That should tell you about the slate of games out there, not a ton of interesting ones.

Kansas City Chiefs  (-7.5) at Oakland Raiders O/Under 42.5

It's hard to say this about a team that is defeated for the season, but I think the Raiders are somehow underrated. They are clearly not a good football team, but the spreads every week are huge. I think no player in the league wants to be apart of a team that went defeated for an entire season so I expect to see some inspired performances until the Raiders get a win. The Chiefs have a good record, but their offense is underwhelming. This should be a fairly low scoring game because even though the Raiders offense is the worst in the league, the defense is not terrible. I'll take the points.

Pick: Chiefs win, Raiders cover

Cleveland Browns (+3) at Atlanta Falcons Over/U 47

Every time I pick the Browns to win a game you would hope they could win to prove they are for real they blow it and lose. The Browns should be running away with this division because they have won some big games, but they have also lost to the lowly Jaguars and the Texans. When they are sitting at home during the playoffs they'll be lamenting that. The Falcons are now winning the NFC South with a -17 point differential on the season and a 4-6 record. You can't make it up. They are better at home than they are on the road and this is a huge game for them if they want to keep pace. They are winners of 2 straight (and lost the other by a last second field goal in London) and I think they take care of business this week despite the return of Josh Gordon for the Browns.

Pick: Falcons cover the spread

Tennessee Titans (+11) at Philadelphia Eagles Under/48.5

The Titans are not any good, but they actually out gain their opponents per pass and per rush if you can believe it, they also sack the opposition more than they themselves are sacked and only have a -2 turnover differential. They are losing a lot of games, but they should be winning more. The Eagles have Mark Sanchez. I'm not picking Sanchez to win by 11 more points than anybody.

Pick: Titans cover the spread, Eagles win

Detroit Lions (+7) at New England Patriots O/Under 48

The Patriots got demolished on Monday night by the Chiefs and since then are unbeatable. The Lions are chugging along and are keeping every game close because of their tremendous front 7.  The Patriots are the better team, but the Lions defense is legit and I think the Patriots defense is vulnerable. The Lions have play makers on offense they are just not making enough plays. I might consider the Lions in an upset in Detroit, but not in New England. I do think, however, that they keep this game close than people expect. There is also the trend of betting against teams who score 30 or more points in three consecutive victories being unable to cover the spread in the fourth, but that's just a bonus because I think the Lions front four is the kind of team that can give the Patriots trouble.

Pick: Lions lose by less than 7

Green Bay Packers (-9.5) at Minnesota Vikings Over/U 48.5

The Vikings will lose this game, but the question is by how much. Right now the line is basically saying the Packers should win this game by 12.5 points and based on the first game this season that seems like a good bet (they lost 42-10), but the Packers are only 2-3 on the road straight up this season and they should have lost at Miami, plus I don't like to give up double digit points in divisional games.

Pick: Vikings

Jacksonville Jaguars (+14) at Indianapolis Colts  Over/U 50.5

I just wrote how I don't like to give up double digit points to divisional opponents and that is true, but I'm going to make an exception here because I like the Colts to bounce back here angry and blow out the Jaguars.

Pick: Colts win big

Cincinnati Bengals (+1.5) at Houston Texans Over/U 43.5

This is not super complicated I think the Bengals are the better team and they are getting points. Now they do lay duds here and there which concerns you and J.J. Watt can always wreck a game, but the Bengals have to bring their A game every week because the division is too close and one slip up could not only cost the division, but playoffs.

Pick: Bengals win outright

New York Jets (+4.5) at Buffalo Bills O/Under 39

This game is tough for me because I don't know what the situation will be in Buffalo. Blizzard? Will they be playing a "home" game in the Meadowlands. Will the game be held in Cleveland or some other municipality or on some other day?  Neither offense is good, and both defenses are pretty good so I think it should be a close game, the last time they played the Bills forced the Jets to move on from Geno Smith because of how often they turned him over. I think the Bills win, but I wouldn't them to do so by more than 4.5 points especially considering they might not even get a real practice in this week (so far they have practiced using conference calls and Ipads etc)

Pick: Jets cover the spread, Bills win

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+5.5) at Chicago Bears O/Under 46.5

I don't think the Buccaneers are quite as bad as their record says they are (you aren't what your record says you are?), and the Bears haven't turned the corner from a 21-13 defeat of the Vikings. The Buccaneers are also actually better on the road (2-3) than home (0-5).  Sunday's forecast is also for 50 degrees and rain which can make turnovers unpredictable. I like the Buccaneers to cover and wouldn't even be surprised if they won.

Pick: Bears win, by less than 5.5

Arizona Cardinals (+6.5) at Seattle Seahawks O/Under 42

This just looks like a questionable point spread. The Seahawks haven't been that great this year, they haven't even been dominate at home as they have lost to the Cowboys (and were outplayed by the Giants...and except for a 3 game mirage, no one is outplayed by the lowly Giants). The Cardinals might even be the better team (though losing Carson Palmer should hurt). The Cardinals defense is legit and the offense is extraordinarily average, but that could describe the Seahawks too and the spread is saying the Seahawks are 9.5 points better than the Cardinals? I"m not even sure they are better.  This is a game everyone should check out, especially Giants fans who want to remember the olden days when defenses could hit people.

Pick: Cardinals cover the spread, Seahawks squeak out a victory.

St. Louis Rams (+4.5) at San Diego Chargers Over/U 44

What happened to the Chargers. Weren't they on their way to be the best team in the league six weeks ago? They are still 6-4, but are only 1-3 in their last four games.  The Rams are one of the hardest teams in the league to figure out, but they are very well coached and have very nice building pieces to a great team, but they lack a quarterback and all the playmakers they have drafted (Tavon Austin, Chris Givens, Brian Quick) haven't amounted to anything, probably in large part due to the fact that they have no quarterback, yet they still play hard and come up with big victories. I don't think they can win 2 big games like this in a row, but could keep it close.

Pick: Rams cover the spread, Chargers win

Miami Dolphins (+7) at Denver Broncos Over/U 49.5

7 points is a big number against a Dolphins team that is really pretty good, but the Broncos have Superbowl aspirations and they need to start playing better. I expect them to come out focused and determined to make a statement. I also think because the Broncos are so good against the run that the Dolphins offense will struggle to score points.

Pick: Broncos win big

Washington Redskins (+9) at San Francisco 49ers O/Under 44.5

The Redskins are actually better than the Giants over their last 4 games (2-2) to the Giants 0-4. They also have a better point differential than the Giants and they could be a pretty decent team. Their defense is top 11 in rush yards allowed, pass yards allowed, and overall yards (10th), but they still manage to give up 25.4 points per game (26th best in the league). On offense they are 7th in pass yards, average 109.6 rushing yards per game (16th) and are 8th in total yardage but they score 20.4 points per game (22nd in the league). Where's the disconnect? They are essentially a top 10 offense and defense, but are 3-7. They have a -11 turnover differential. They just can't take the ball away on defense. The 49ers are a pretty good team, but not a great one. This game I think should be close.

Pick: 49ers win, Redskins cover

Dallas (-3.5) at New York Giants  Over/47.5

All right, Giants show me what you got. There is no reason to think the Giants can win this game the Cowboys are coming off a bye and are one of the better teams in the league. The Giants on the other hand are one of the worst. The Cowboys are 4-1 against the Giants over the last three seasons and 4-1 against the spread. The Giants can't get out of their own way on offense and can't stop anyone on defense. Their special teams are terrible. They haven't shown up for a prime time game in three years. This game should be a blowout in favor of the Cowboys. Any sane rational thought would have to trend that way. But I'm calling it. Giants win outright brought to you by gut feeling. #Analysis

Baltimore Ravens (+3.5) at New Orleans Saints Over/U 50

I think the Ravens are the better team and they are getting points. I know the Saints are difficult to beat at home, but they have lost 2 straight at home.

"Best Bets"

The games I like the most this week are the Lions +7 (acknowledging only an idiot would bet against Tom Brady), Cardinals +6.5, Titans +11, and the Bengals +1.5

Week 1 -- ATS: 8-7-1 Straight up: 12-4

Week 2 -- ATS: 7-8  Straight Up: 8-7

Week 3 -- ATS: 13-3  Straight up:14-2

Week 4 -- ATS: 6-7 Straight up: 7-6

Week 5 -- ATS: 9-5 Straight up: 10-4

Week 6 -- ATS: 10-4 Straight up: 8-5-1

Week 7 -- ATS: 8-6  Straight up: 8-6

Week 8: ATS: 9-6 Straight up: 10-5

Week 9: ATS: 8-5 Straight up: 8-5

Week 10: ATS; 6-7 Straight up: 8-5  Over/Under 6-7

Week 11: ATS: 7-6-1 Straight up: 8-6  Over/Under 7-7      Locks-2-1-1

Season -- ATS: 85-56-2  Straight up -- 91-50-1