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NFL picks, predictions against the point spread, Week 12 [UPDATED]

Will Jesse’s Sunday picks be better than his Thursday ones?

New Orleans Saints v Buffalo Bills
Tyrod Taylor
Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Maybe I have this thing figured out (probably not), but I went 8-4-2 in Week 11 to get me a little ahead in the season. And the season record would be fine if I could erase the extremely impressive 0-12-2 record I had in Week 7. This week here could be a very big week. It’s an odd week with a lot of big point spreads and a lot of home dogs — two things I tend to gravitate towards.

Minnesota Vikings (-3) at Detroit Lions

Thanksgiving is Turkey, and Lions and Cowboys football. The Lions, I feel (I didn’t look it up) always seem to play up on Thanksgiving and they are a home dog in a divisional game, although I do think the Vikings are legitimately the better team.

Pick: Lions

Final score: Minnesota 30, Detroit 23

LA Chargers (-1) at Dallas Cowboys

Dak Prescott over the last two games without Tyron Smith: 5.9 yards per pass attempt, and 4.7 yards per attempt. Sacked 12 times and 3 INT with zero touchdowns. The Chargers don’t do everything well, but they really rush the passer. The Cowboys NEED Smith back in this game and right now he’s questionable to play. I think with Smith, though, the Cowboys are the better team and they are home dogs getting points on Thanksgiving.

Pick: Cowboys win out-right.

Final score: Chargers 28, Cowboys 6

New York Giants (+7) at Washington

Washington’s injury list contained 22 players on Monday. That’s tough. Short week doesn’t help coming up against the Giants. Eli is 17-9 against the Washington team, they have found a running game, the biggest threat to the Giants would be Chris Thompson (out for season) and Jordan Reed (who hasn’t played much this season).

Pick: Giants

Final score: Washington 20, Giants 10

Cleveland Browns (+8.5) at Cincinnati Bengals

I don’t trust the Bengals as 8.5-point favorites against anyone. Yes, including the Browns.

Pick: Browns

Chicago Bears (+13.5) at Philadelphia Eagles

Can the Bears run enough to keep this game close? I think so.

Pick: Bears

Miami Dolphins (+16.5) at New England Patriots

Another big point spread divisional game. The Dolphins aren’t great, but they are OK and it’s a divisional game. The 16.5 points is a big spread. Too big. There is just too much that can happen on any given Sunday.

Pick: Dolphins

Buffalo Bills (+10) at Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs have cooled off since their terrific start. The Bills have as well. Coach McDermott thought Tyrod Taylor was the problem. Fun fact — Tyrod Taylor is the all-time leader in INT percentage for quarterbacks with a minimum of 1,000 passes. I like the Bills here provided that Taylor starts.

Pick: Bills

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+9.5) at Atlanta Falcons

Another big point spread for a divisional game. The Buccaneers with Ryan Fitzpatrick have won two games (same as they did with Winston). I like the Buccaneers to cover the spread.

Pick: Buccaneers

Carolina Panthers (-4.5) at New York Jets

Another home dog. The Jets have only a -21 point differential. They have been very competitive this year. I like the Jets to cover the spread here.

Pick: Jets

Tennessee Titans (-3.5) at Indianapolis Colts

If the Titans can rediscover their run game from last year they would be in great shape, but despite the same offensive line and running backs they are not as dominant. Marcus Mariota I think will bounce back here after a terrible game vs. the Steelers. Plus, the Colts are just not good.

Pick: Titans

Seattle Seahawks (-7) at San Francisco 49ers

Pick: 49ers

New Orleans (+2.5) at Los Angeles Rams

The Saints have probably the best one-two running back combo in the league right now with the way Ingram and Kamara are running. I think this is the best game of the week and I’ll take the more experienced dynamic passer over the young guy.

Pick: Saints win

Jacksonville Jaguars (-4.5) at Arizona Cardinals

The Jaguars defense should overwhelm the Cardinals and stumble into enough offense to cover the 4.5 points.

Pick: Jaguars

Denver Broncos (+5) at Oakland Raiders

The Raiders are one of the more disappointing teams of the season this year. I like the Broncos here. I think Elway calling the team soft will lead to a good defensive performance here.

Pick: Broncos

Green Bay Packers (+14) at Pittsburgh Steelers

The Packers got blanked by the Ravens, who aren’t very good, and Big Ben and Antonio Brown have been unstoppable, but 14 points is so many.

Pick: Packers

Houston Texans (+7) at Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens might make the playoffs because their remaining schedule might be the easiest in the league, but they are not good.

Pick: Texans

Season record

Week 1: 10-5

Week 2: 7-9

Week 3: 10-5

Week 4: 10-6

Week 5: 7-6-1

Week 6: 10-4

Week 7: 0-12-2

Week 8: 6-7

Week 9: 7-4-1

Week 10: 3-10-1

Week 11: 8-4-2

Season overall: 73-68-8