When the NFL schedule came out in April, I didn't circle Week 11 on the calendar, but maybe I should have, because it turned out to the craziest weekend in NFL history and I'm not even sure if I'm exaggerating.
If you missed anything from Week 11, here's a quick refresher of what happened: Someone used a helmet as a weapon, the field in Mexico City didn't fall apart (although it came close), a team got eliminated from the playoffs for the first time this year (not surprisingly, it was the Bengals) and I also got the impression that Colin Kaepernick and the NFL still hate each other. Also, and probably most importantly, someone celebrated a touchdown by doing a keg stand.
In what might go down as the greatest touchdown celebration of all-time for a score that didn't count, Colts guard Quenton Nelson rounded up his teammates and did a keg stand after scoring on a one-yard run against the Jaguars.
The unfortunate part of this celebration is that the NFL eventually ruled that Nelson didn't actually score because he came up inches short of the end zone, which is dumb. I don't care what the NFL rulebook says, if someone celebrates a touchdown by doing a keg stand, then you can't overturn that touchdown, and if that's not a rule, then it should be. I mean, does the NFL even know how much work went into that celebration? First of all, there's a 330-pound man being held upside down. If anything, the Colts should be rewarded for that.
I was so impressed with the keg stand celebration that I think I'm going to do one myself if I get all of my picks right this week, so let's all hope I go 14-0, because who doesn't want to see me do a keg stand, besides probably everyone in my family. Anyway, with that in mind, let's get to the picks.
Actually, before we get to the picks, here's a quick reminder that you can check out the weekly picks from every CBSSports.com NFL expert by clicking here. If you click over, you'll notice that I ALMOST went 14-0 last week, so maybe the idea of me going 14-0 this week and doing a keg stand isn't so far-fetched, but it probably is, because it would involve me having two dominating weeks in a row, and we all know that's not going to happen. Also, here's your weekly reminder to download the Pick Six Podcast, which is our daily NFL podcast here at CBSSports.com.
For three days each week (Monday, Tuesday and Friday), I join Pick Six host Will Brinson to talk football and anything else we can think of. On Tuesday's episode, which you can listen to below, we talked about how miserable life must be as a Chargers fan, plus, I spent the final 10 minutes of the podcast trying to kill a giant spider that snuck into my office. I hate spiders and I'm now probably going to burn my office down. It was truly podcasting drama at its finest.
Even though I'm only on three days per week, there's a new Pick Six episode every single day from Monday thru Friday and you should try to listen as often as possible. (You can click here to check out the podcast and subscribe).
Alright, that's enough of that, let's get to the picks.
NFL Week 12 picks
Indianapolis (6-4) at Houston (6-4)
Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET (Fox, NFL Network, Amazon Prime)
Point spread: Texans -3.5
I don't think the Colts are going to forfeit on Thursday, but honestly, they might want to at least consider that option because I'm not completely sure that they're going to have enough players to field a team. With roughly 48 hours to go until kickoff, let's check-in on the Colts' injury situation heading into Week 12.
#Colts injuries to watch this week:— Kevin Bowen (@KBowen1070) November 18, 2019
-T.Y. Hilton: calf
-Devin Funchess clavicle
-Parris Campbell: hand
-Jordan Wilkins: ankle
-Pierre Desir: hamstring
-Marlon Mack: hand
-Rock Ya-Sin: ankle
-George Odum: arm
-Shakial Taylor: ankle
-Mo Alie-Cox: thumb
-Khari Willis: concussion
After reading the names on that tweet, I have to say, it might have just been easier to list the players who aren't injured. At this point, I feel like the Colts have two option: Forfeit or have everyone on the team do a keg stand and then pray to the football gods that it cures everyone's injuries.
The thing about this game is that, besides that insanely long list of injuries, I don't feel like much has changed since the last time these two teams met back in Week 7. When these two teams played on Oct. 20, the Colts jumped out to a 21-9 lead and eventually won 30-23. Although Marlon Mack won't be on the field Thursday, he didn't really do anything in that game (44 rushing yards). The Colts won thanks to Jacoby Brissett (326 passing yards, four touchdowns) and a defense that sacked Deshaun Watson three times. Well, here we are five weeks later and not only is the Texans secondary still bad (so Brissett might have another big game), but the Texans' offensive line hasn't got much better (Watson got sacked six times against the Ravens on Sunday), which means the Colts defense might have another big day.
Basically, I think this game is going to play out very similarly to that Week 7 game, except with slightly fewer points. And to add some spice to this pick, I'm going to say that the Colts win this on an Adam Vinatieri field goal. Yes, I am predicting that a guy who hasn't been able to make any kicks this season is actually going to make a kick. Please don't let me down, Adam.
The pick: Colts 23-20 over Texans
Who should you back against the spread, on the money line and the total in every Week 12 NFL game? And which Super Bowl contender goes down? Visit SportsLine to see their Week 12 cheat sheet, all from the model that is up over $7,000 on its top-rated NFL picks.
Seattle (8-2) at Philadelphia (5-5)
1 p.m. ET (Fox)
Point spread: Eagles -1.5
The oddsmakers in Vegas must've started drinking their Thanksgiving alcohol a week early this year because that's the only way to explain why the Seahawks opened as an underdog in this game. I mean, it doesn't make any sense. Actually, now that I'm thinking about it some more, it kind of makes perfect sense, because I'm CONFUSED and that's exactly what they want in Vegas: Confused gamblers. The entire city was basically built by confused gamblers throwing their money away on point spreads they don't understand. I bet on a cricket match once, and let me tell you, that did not go well. I'm guessing that mostly had to do with the fact that I don't understand a single rule in cricket.
As for this game, I know the Seahawks are flying all the away across the country, but if there's one team that seems to enjoy leaving home, it's Seattle. Maybe they love the bonding experience, maybe they just want to get away from their families, but the Seahawks are 5-0 on the road this year, making them one of just two teams in the NFL that's still undefeated in road games (the 49ers are the other).
The other thing about this game is that west coast teams usually struggle in the eastern time zone, but again, that doesn't apply to the Seahawks, who seem to be the only western team in the NFL that can deal with a 10 a.m. kickoff, which I guess makes sense, because if you're from a city that's known for its coffee like Seattle is, then you better be perky in the morning. Anyway, since 2013, the Seahawks have played a total of 19 games in the eastern time zone and they've gone 16-3.
The Eagles' only advantage in this game is that they don't have any advantages that I can see unless you count having more injured players as an advantage. In their loss to the Patriots, the Eagles didn't have Jordan Howard, Darren Sproles or Alshon Jeffery and they also saw both their starting tackles (Jason Peters and Lane Johnson) get injured at different points in the game. Basically the Eagles are beaten up and the Seahawks are more talented, which makes this seem like an obvious pick. Crap. That's what Vegas wants. They want me to think it's obvious. You know what, I'm going to open my Thanksgiving alcohol a week early and I'm not going to overthink this. I'm taking the Seahawks.
The pick: Seahawks 26-23 over Eagles
Dallas (6-4) at New England (9-1)
4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)
Point spread: Patriots -6.5
If Roger Goodell could handpick the Super Bowl this year, I'm guessing he would go with these two teams, and that's because a Cowboys-Patriots game would likely break every TV ratings record known to man. Since 50 percent of the country's population is either a Cowboys or Patriots fan and the other 50 percent of the country would be hate-watching the game, that means 100 percent of the country would be watching. I think that's how that works.
By the way, on a somewhat related note, if I could hand pick the Super Bowl this year, it would be Steelers versus Browns and no one would be allowed to wear a helmet, but that Super Bowl isn't technically possible since both teams are in the AFC so let's move on, because I'm getting sidetracked here. I need to get to this pick before I forget which game I'm picking.
This might not be the best game of the week on paper -- that honor probably goes to Packers-49ers -- but this is definitely the most fascinating game.
For one, although you might not know it by their 9-1 record, the Patriots have been struggling on offense. As a matter fact, New England has been so bad on offense this year that the normally chipper Tom Brady got kind of short with the media after New England's 17-10 win over the Eagles on Sunday.
Brady speaks for all of 1:41. I’ve never seen him more dejected after a win— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) November 18, 2019
To be fair, I'd be dejected too if I took the hits that Brady took against the Eagles. The Patriots offensive line hasn't been great this year, and one of their biggest weaknesses has been left tackle Marshall Newhouse.
Yikes. Does Marshall Newhouse know that his quarterback is 42 years old and can't afford be taking hits like that? I don't care how pliable Brady is, if he keeps getting hit like that, the Patriots aren't going to be able to do anything on offense, and I don't expect them to do much in this game.
As for the Cowboys, they're one of the few teams in the NFL that can actually attack the Patriots defense the way that the Ravens did; you know, the one team that actually beat the Patriots this year. The Cowboys have the quarterback, the running back and the wide receivers to be able to move the ball on New England, and the scary part for the Patriots is that the Cowboys offense might have more talent than Baltimore's (the Ravens offense is definitely better coached, but the Cowboys probably have more overall talent). If the Patriots defense has had one weakness this year, it's stopping the run, so I'm fully expecting Jason Garrett to copy the Ravens' game plan, which is smart for two reasons. For one, that means Garrett won't have to come up with a game plan of his own, which is arguably a good thing for Dallas. And two, the Ravens game plan worked, so why not use something similar.
Guys, I'm 10-0 picking Patriots games this year and I'm putting my perfect record on the line by picking against the Patriots.
The pick: Cowboys 27-24 over Patriots
Green Bay (8-2) at San Francisco (9-1)
8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)
Point spread: 49ers -3
The last time the Packers played on the west coast, it turned into such a disaster that coach Matt LaFleur has decided to change Green Bay's travel plans this week. Instead of flying out on Friday like they did before their 26-11 loss to the Chargers in Los Angeles, the Packers will be flying out on Saturday.
I'm not a travel agent, but I don't feel like that change is going to help much. It's too bad the Packers aren't flying out earlier because then it would have given LaFleur some time to hang out with his brother, Mike, who just happens to be the 49ers passing game coordinator. That's right, Matt LaFleur will be coaching against his brother on Sunday. Needless to say, I think we can all agree that things are probably going to get slightly awkward at the LaFleur house for Thanksgiving next week. I'm guessing the loser of this game is going to have to sit at the kids table.
The fact that the 49ers have their own LaFleur feels like an advantage to me, and the fact that Matt LaFleur took some of Kyle Shanahan's concepts to design his own offense in Green Bay also feels like an advantage for the 49ers. Basically, unless the Packers completely revamp their offense before Sunday, the 49ers defense is going to know exactly what to look for.
As for the Packers defense, if they've had one weakness this season, it's stopping the run, which isn't ideal, since they'll be playing a team on Sunday that leads the NFC in rushing and ranks second in the NFL in rushing yards behind only the Ravens. As someoneto get to the NFC title game this year, it pains me to say it, but I think Green Bay is going to get rolled on Sunday night.
The pick: 49ers 30-20 over Packers
Lock of the Week
Cincinnati (0-10) at Pittsburgh (5-5)
1 p.m ET (CBS)
Point spread: Steelers -7
If the the Steelers and Bengals decided to cancel the game on Sunday and just hug each other for four quarters, that would be completely understandable based on what both teams are currently going through right now. If you haven't watched any football for the past week, here's a brief rehash of what happened: Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph nearly had his head smashed in by Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, who somehow decided that ripping off someone's helmet and then using it as a weapon against them would be a good idea. The helmet fight came at the end of a 21-7 loss to the Browns, so the Steelers could definitely use some hugs this week.
As for the Bengals, their entire fan base could probably use a hug right now and that's because the team has already been eliminated from the playoffs; oh, and they're also off to an 0-10 start, which is tied for the worst start in franchise history. If the Bengals lose on Sunday, they'll drop to 0-11, which will set the record for worst start in franchise history, and it will also mean another week of this guy living on his restaurant roof, because apparently, he's vowed to live there until the Bengals finally win a game, which might not actually happen until 2023 at the rate things are going.
The last time these two teams played, the Steelers won 27-3 and although it doesn't sound possible, I think the Bengals have actually gotten worse since then. However, the Steelers offense has also gotten worse, which is why I think this game will be slightly closer than the last time around, but not much closer. The Steelers are dealing with a multitude of injuries on offense, but their defense is mostly healthy, which is all that's going to matter in this game.
The pick: Steelers 24-13 over Bengals
Lock of the week record: 10-1 straight up, 4-7 against the spread
NFL Week 12 picks: All the rest
Falcons 34-24 over Buccaneers
Bills 20-16 over Broncos
Saints 31-23 over Panthers
Bears 20-17 over Giants
Raiders 30-27 over Jets
Lions 19-13 over Redskins
Browns 24-17 over Dolphins
Titans 22-19 over Jaguars
Ravens 27-20 over Rams
Best pick: Last week Iand upset the Panthers, and then the Falcons went on the road and upset the Panthers. My pick was so good that someone on the internet actually complimented me for it. Now, that might not sound like a big deal, but trust me, it is, because no one ever compliments anyone on the internet or points out anything positive. This guy was positive.
I've been on the internet since 1994, and I'm pretty sure this is only the second nice thing that anyone has ever said to me. Thanks for the tweet Ron and thanks to Kyle Allen for throwing four interceptions.
Worst pick: Last week, I literally spent two paragraphs talking about how I don't trust Mitchell Trubisky and that picking his team to win would be a horrible idea, and then guess what I did, I picked Mitchell Trubisky's team to win. I've made some bad choices in my life and I have to say, picking the Bears to beat the Rams last week might have been the worst one I've ever made that didn't involve tequila.
Finally, if you guys have ever wondered if I actually know what I'm doing with these picks, here's what the best and worst individual team picks look like heading into Week 12 (All records listed are straight-up).
Teams I'm 10-0 picking this year: Patriots
Teams I'm 9-1 picking this year: Redskins, Dolphins, Lions (8-1-1)
Team I'm 4-6 picking this year: 49ers
Every other team is somewhere in-between.
Straight up in Week 11: 12-2
SU overall: 105-56-1 (Tied for ninth overall among all media members on Pickwatch)
Against the spread in Week 11: 7-7
ATS overall: 77-83-2 (Not tied for ninth overall)