NFL Week 12 picks: Colts stun Titans, Lions pull Thanksgiving upset on Vikings

It's Thanksgiving Week, which means I have less than three days to figure out how to cook a turkey or I'm going to be eating potato chips for dinner again this year. 

Don't feel sorry for me though -- the chips are basically the same as eating a Thanksgiving dinner. I get all the same Thanksgiving flavors without all the Thanksgiving calories. I'm still not sure how anyone was able to get a chip to taste like a turkey, but Pringles managed to do it, so I'm not going to argue. 

Finally found a Thanksgiving Dinner that I can actually prepare myself. #thanksgiving #pringles

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The fact that I'm willing to eat potato chip turkey over real turkey proves I'm the worst cook ever. Basically,  I cook about as well as Nathan Peterman plays quarterback. 

Before Sunday, I didn't think throwing five interceptions in one half was even possible, but Peterman proved me wrong against the Chargers. Jim Kelly had more fantasy points than Nathan Peterman on Sunday and Jim Kelly has been retired for 21 years. 

Peterman was so bad that I don't even think benching him is the right answer this week. If the Bills are smart, they'll cut their losses and throw him in the Pit of Misery, which I think right now is only populated by Browns fans. 

The only upside to the Browns being so horrible is that their fans seem to get more creative every week. To be honest, there's no reason the Dawg Pound shouldn't rename itself the Pit of Misery. It's way more fitting and that's mainly because Browns fans look miserable all the time. Someone at Budweiser needs to call someone in the Browns organization and make that happen. While they're at it, Bud Light should just go ahead and promise to sponsor the 0-16 parade that Browns fans are planning. I mean, the one thing I will say about Browns fans is that they're usually prepared for anything ... unlike the team's coaching staff, which is almost always prepared for nothing. 

I think the moral of the story here is that when you sit down for dinner Thursday, be thankful that you're not a Browns fan. 

Alright, let's get to these Thanksgiving picks. 

Actually, before we do that, here's your weekly reminder to check out the picks from all our other CBS Sports NFL writers. You can do that by clicking here. If you have no interest in their picks and you just want to know how to cook a turkey, then click here. I think that explains it. I took copious notes and I'm thinking I'll finally get to eat real turkey instead of just turkey potato chips this year. 

NFL Week 12 Picks

Minnesota (8-2) at Detroit (6-4) 

12:30 p.m. ET, Thanksgiving Day (Fox)

I have no idea what Jim Caldwell's favorite holiday is, but I'm guessing it's Thanksgiving because that guy basically turns into an NFL Coach of the Year candidate on the fourth Thursday of every November. For 364 days a year, Caldwell plays the role of a completely average NFL coach. However, on Thanksgiving, he's like Don Shula leading the 1972 Dolphins

Since being hired by the Lions in 2014, Caldwell has gone 3-0 on Thanksgiving, which might be the most impressive thing any coach has done over the past three years and I don't care that Bill Belichick has won two Super Bowls. To put Caldwell's 3-0 record in perspective, the Lions didn't even win that many Thanksgiving games in the 13 YEARS before his arrival. From 2001-13, the Lions went just 2-11 on Thanksgiving. 

I'm pretty sure that if they were still around, even the pilgrims would be impressed with Caldwell's Thanksgiving performance in recent years. Sure, we would have to explain to them what football is and why it's played on Thanksgiving, but once we got through all those minor details, they would definitely be impressed with what Caldwell is doing on Turkey Day. 

Besides Thanksgiving, the only other time you're guaranteed to see Caldwell outcoach someone is when he goes up against Mike Zimmer. Since Zimmer was hired by Minnesota in 2014, the Vikings have gone just 2-5 against the Lions, including a Thanksgiving loss last season. 

I have no idea what Caldwell's Thanksgiving secret is, but I do know that I'm not going to pick against it. I also know that I'm going to eat as many sweet potatoes as possible Thursday. As a matter of fact, I'm going to try and eat a sweet potato for every point the Lions score, so let's hope this game doesn't turn into a shootout. 

The pick: Lions 22-19 over Vikings 


L.A. Chargers (4-6) at Dallas (5-5) 

4:30 p.m. ET, Thanksgiving Day (CBS)

There has been so much drama with these two teams this year that the winner of this game should probably get its own television show on Bravo. If the Chargers win, the show would definitely be called "Lost Angeles" because they seem lost there and I'm still convinced nobody in that city actually wants them.

If the Cowboys win, the show would be called "Law Suits" and it would just involve Jerry Jones walking around in a leisure suit, threatening to file a lawsuit against anyone he meets. That show could also be called "Real Life" because I think that's basically what Jones is doing with everyone in the NFL right now.  

At the rate he's going, Jones is probably going to sue the next team the Cowboys lose to, and that very well could be the Chargers. And to be honest, with the Chargers' luck, they would probably lose the lawsuit and then Jones would take ownership of the team and move them back to San Diego.

As for the game, after watching the Cowboys play for the past two weeks, I have no idea how Dak Prescott is still standing. In losses to the Falcons and Eagles, Prescott was sacked 12 times, which is horrible news for Prescott because the Chargers are actually better at getting to the quarterback than both Philly and Atlanta. The Chargers have 30 sacks this season, which is third in the NFL. Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa are probably really thankful this week that they get to face a beat-up Cowboys offensive line that will only be getting three days of rest after a disastrous performance against Philadelphia.  

I'll say the Chargers win, and just in case any Bravo executives are reading, I would air their new "Lost Angeles" show right after the "Real Housewives of Orange County." I feel like those two shows would go well together. 

The pick: Chargers 27-20 over Cowboys


Tennessee (6-4) at Indianapolis (3-7) 

1 p.m. ET (Fox)

I've watched enough Colts games this season to know exactly how this game is going to play out: Indianapolis is going to take a two-touchdown lead in the first three quarters and then completely collapse in the fourth quarter because that's what they've done all season. 

It's almost impressive the way the Colts have been able to blow fourth-quarter leads. Through 10 games, they've been outscored 109-28 in the fourth quarter and that's not even the ugly part. The ugly part is that they've blown a fourth-quarter lead in four of their seven losses, including a 10-point lead to the Cardinals in Week 2 and an eight-point lead to the Steelers in Week 10. Basically, if the Colts have a fourth-quarter lead, they're going to blow it. 

The Colts might be the best bad team in the NFL, which is kind of fitting for this game because I'm actually pretty convinced that the Titans are the worst good team, and to be honest, I'm not sure which one is better (or worse). I mean, think about it, would you rather be the ugliest attractive person or the most attractive ugly person? AND WHAT'S EVEN GOING ON HERE RIGHT NOW? 

You see what the Colts have done to me. I started this pick by talking football and now I'm having an existential crisis. Is this what life is like as a Colts fan? 

I'll take that as a yes. 

Although I would love to take the Titans in this game, I just can't do it and that's because Lucas Oil Stadium has basically been a Twilight Zone for Tennessee. Since the stadium opened in 2008, the Titans have gone 0-9 there. Derek Zoolander can't turn left, the Titans can't win in Indy. Some things in life just can't be fixed. 

The pick: Colts 27-24 over Titans


New Orleans (8-2) at L.A. Rams (7-3)

4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)

If I was basing this pick on which quarterback screams out the best audibles, then there's a 100 percent chance that I would take the Rams to win by 67 points. I mean, based on this video, it's pretty clear the Rams just hang out at TMZ headquarters all day and brainstorm audible ideas with them. 

It's also possible that the Rams are stealing their audible calls from the National Enquirer because I'm pretty sure I've read at least one story in that publication that was about Elvis, Tupac and Obama living together on an island in northern Canada. I think the story said something about how Obama had to move there because he didn't have a birth certificate. I don't know, it was the National Enquirer, and I was in the grocery line and it was the only thing around to read. Don't judge me. 

Unfortunately for the Rams, I'm not basing my pick on audible calls this week because it never works out when I do that. Instead, I'm basing this pick on the fact that the Rams defense is ranked 28th against the run. From 2006-16, that wouldn't have mattered at all when you're playing the Saints, but this year it actually matters because New Orleans has finally figured out how to run the ball. The Saints' rushing attack is ranked third, which is a fact that Drew Brees probably still finds confusing because he has never even had a top-five rushing attack during his 11-plus seasons in New Orleans. 

Here's how mystified I am by the Saints' suddenly impressive running game: If you would have told me in August that either the Saints would have a top-three rushing attack this year or Pauley Shore would win a best actor Oscar for making a sequel to "Bio-Dome", I definitely wouldn't have guessed the first one. That's right, a Pauley Shore Oscar seemed more probable to me than the Saints being good at running the ball. 

The pick: Saints 34-27 over Rams


Houston, we have a problem and it's the Texans Curse 

Jacksonville at Arizona

4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)

For 11 weeks, I've refused to believe that the Texans curse is a real thing, but after the Rams loss on Sunday, I can no longer ignore it. If you need a quick refresher on the curse: Every team that has played the Texans this season has lost the following week. EVERY. SINGLE. TEAM. So far this year, teams are 0-9 in the week after playing Houston.  

The Rams played the Texans in Week 10 and then lost to the Vikings in Week 11. Even though I've been babbling on about this curse for three weeks, I still picked the Rams, and of course, the pick blew up in my face. It's not just the Rams who are cursed though, it's everyone! 

The Patriots, Chiefs and Seahawks have all been victims of this curse. I'm not sure anyone can stop it and I feel pretty confident that if someone does break the curse, it's not going to be the Cardinals. I mean, if Tom Brady couldn't beat it, then Blaine Gabbert has no hope this week. Blaine Gabbert also has no hope because he's playing the Jaguars defense. 

The Cardinals played the Texans in Week 11, so by the rule of the curse, I am picking them to lose in Week 12. Of course, the one problem with picking Jacksonville is that I'm going to have to completely ignore the fact that the 7-3 Jaguars seem to forget how to play football in even weeks. 

In odd weeks, they're 6-0 and have outscored teams 172-37, but in even weeks, they're just 1-3 and have been outscored 107-73. It's inexplicable. You put them in an odd week and they beat the Steelers 30-9 (Week 5). You put them in an even week and they get blown out by the Titans 37-16 (Week 2). The Jaguars are basically like "The Fast and the Furious" movie series because all the odd numbered movies are good and all the even numbered ones are horrible. If you've never seen a "Fast and Furious" movie, I recommend starting with the fifth one because I play a train passenger. 

I like to think I'm the Blake Bortles of acting, which might be why I've never been asked to be in another movie. 

The pick: Jaguars 19-13 over Cardinals

NFL Week 12 picks: All the rest

Last Week

Best pick: In my Week 11 picks, I predicted that the Lions would score 27 points and beat the Bears, and guess what happened? The Lions scored 27 points and beat the Bears. Now, did I know that Connor Barth was going to completely choke on a potential game-tying field goal with just three seconds left to play? Of course I did, but that's only because this random guy on Twitter tweeted that it was going to happen about five minutes before it actually happened, and since I believe everything I read on Twitter, I knew what was coming. 

For some reason, I don't actually think it was fun to watch for the Bears fans or their mascot, who seemed to take the loss pretty hard. As a matter of fact, someone needs to schedule a one-on-one interview with Mr. Staley Da Bear, so he can walk us through the range of emotions he went through as the kick was in the air because I think he went through all of them. 

I don't think that Staley and Connor Barth will be spending Thanksgiving together. If you watch that video nine or 10 times, you can eventually pinpoint the exact moment where Staley's heart breaks in half. I mean, I haven't seen that much emotion from a bear since Lotso revealed that he was left in a rest stop parking lot in "Toy Story 3". 

Of course, if Staley ends up as crazy as Lotso, then there's a good chance we're going to have a reverse "Ace Ventura" situation on our hands where the mascot kidnaps the kicker. The Bears are clearly trying to avoid that, which I'm guessing is why they cut Barth on Monday. 

Worst pick: My worst pick of Week 11 would have been Bills-Chargers, but I pulled a fast one on you guys last week: I switched my pick at the last second. Unless something crazy happens, I almost never switch my picks once they're published on Tuesday morning. In this case, I think we can all agree that something crazy happened. 

First of all, Bills coach Sean McDermott decided four days before the game that he was going to bench his starting quarterback (Tyrod Taylor) and go with a rookie (Nathan Peterman). That was red flag No. 1. 

The same day Taylor got benched, LeSean McCoy came out and basically said, "I have no idea if this rookie is any good. Honestly, he might throw five interceptions." That was red flag No. 2 and IT ACTUALLY HAPPENED. Here is McCoy saying he wouldn't be surprised if Peterman threw five picks. 

After that, Philip Rivers got cleared from concussion protocol, then the Bills released a ridiculous "Entourage" image on Instagram and that was red flag number four because that show ISN'T EVEN ON TV ANYMORE, BILLS. 

We’re bringing our entourage to LA. ⭐️ #GoBills

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That was the final straw. Although if the Bills had photoshopped Johnny Drama to be playing the part of Nathan Peterman, then I might have stuck with my pick. 

Anyway, I went with the Chargers and now you know why. I promise to never pull a late week change on you ever again, unless Nathan Peterman is starting for any team at any point in his career because after Sunday's game, there's no way I can ever pick that guy to win a game ever again. 

Finally, if you guys have ever wondered which teams I'm actually good (or bad) at picking, here's a quick look. 

Teams I'm 9-1 picking this year: Eagles, Cardinals, Browns, Lions

Teams I'm 3-7 picking this year: Jaguars

Every other team is somewhere in the middle.

Note: Fortunately for all of us, I'm not 0-10, 1-9 or 2-8 picking any team this year

Picks Record

Straight up in Week 11: 11-3

SU overall: 98-62

Against the spread in Week 11: 7-6-1

ATS overall: 79-75-6


You can find John Breech on Facebook or Twitter and if he's not doing one of those things, he's probably in the pit of misery reading from his giant collection of National Enquirers. 

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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