NFL Week 12 picks, how to watch: 49ers beat Packers as NFC's best, Lamar Jackson leads Ravens over Rams
The 49ers prove they are the best team in the NFC with a win over the Packers
Week 12 of the NFL season has a very exciting slate as all the primetime games feature teams with winning records. With the league starting to head towards the Thanksgiving slate and all teams having their bye weeks completed, the race for division titles and playoff spots is on.
The Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans kick off the exciting primetime slate as first place in the AFC South is on the line, a game the Texans have to win since they lost the first meeting in Indianapolis. The Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots are on the late slate in a game the Cowboys need to have to prove they are a contender in the NFC and can beat a team with a winning record. The Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers will battle for the top seed in the NFC on "Sunday Night Football" and "Monday Night Football" rounds out the weekend with the Baltimore Ravens at the Los Angeles Rams. The NFL isn't blessed with great primetime games every week, so take advantage of the situation.
To prepare you for the great slate of Week 12 games, let's get to those picks!
Indianapolis Colts (6-4) at Houston Texans (6-4)
Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET (Fox/NFL Network)
Line: Texans -3.5, per Sportsline
The first big primetime game of the weekend will be for the AFC South lead, an advantage the Colts already have since they beat the Texans in Week 7. A win by Indianapolis will give the Colts control of the division with a sweep of the Texans and the tiebreaker, so this is a game the Texans have to win. Houston got a subpar performance from Deshaun Watson in the first meeting as he threw two interceptions and the Texans committed 10 penalties. Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett had his best game of the year with four touchdowns, taking advantage of a Texans pass defense that allows 272.4 yards per game (29th in NFL) and 7.1 yards per pass (22nd in NFL). No Marlon Mack hurts a Colts offense that is fourth in attempts (31) and rush yards (141.4 per game). Mack was shut down in the first game, but Jordan Wilkins makes the Colts one dimensional. Also hard to see Watson play poorly in back-to-back games with the division on the line, injury or not. The Texans will challenge the Colts on the ground and control the time of possession.
Pick: Texans 24, Colts 22
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.
Denver Broncos (3-7) at Buffalo Bills (7-3)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Line: Bills -4
The Bills are definitely taking advantage of a weak schedule, beating teams with a combined record of 14-56. That's not Buffalo's fault since the Bills have a defense that is third in points (17.0) and yards (304.1) allowed while being fourth in yards allowed per play (4.9). The Bills are just 2-5 in one-score games this season, taking away the fourth-ranked defense in yards allowed (310.8) and fifth in pass yards allowed (210.3). Denver's offense has been better with Brandon Allen, averaging 348 yards per game and 125.5 rush yards per game. Allen's mobility does play into the hands of a Bills defense that sees Josh Allen in practice every week. The Bills are tied for ninth in the league in sacks (29) while the Broncos offensive line has allowed 32 sacks this year (tied for 22nd in NFL). Buffalo has the edge in the trenches, which will be Denver's downfall. Bills clinch a .500 season with this victory.
Pick: Bills 23, Broncos 17
New York Giants (2-8) at Chicago Bears (4-6)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox)
Line: Bears -6
The Bears are spiraling out of control, led by a quarterback saga that may be the beginning of the end for Mitchell Trubisky. The Giants pass defense is the perfect medicine for the struggling quarterback, 31st in the NFL by allowing 8.3 yards per pass. The Giants are also 23rd in run defense (122.7 yards per game), so the Bears can get Tarik Cohen involved in the pass game while giving him some touches on the ground to stretch the defense. Forget about an offense that averages 4.3 yards per play (30th in NFL), 3.5 yards per carry (29th in NFL), and 5.3 yards per pass (last in NFL), the Bears should be able to put up points against the Giants. They should be able to put up 300 yards of offense against the Giants, who are one-dimensional with Saquon Barkley banged up (the Bears defense allows 3.6 yards per carry, fourth in NFL). If the Bears don't win this week, they may lose out.
Pick: Bears 24, Giants 20
Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (0-10)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Line: Steelers - 6.5
The Steelers' loss to the Browns was crucial, not just because Pittsburgh surrendered the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoffs, but also because they play the winless Bengals this week. Pittsburgh allowed just 175 yards in the first meeting and an even better Steelers defense gets a Cincinnati offense that averages 14.7 points per game (30th in NFL) and 4.8 yards per play (29th in NFL). The Bengals have had five consecutive games scoring 17 points or less, not even reaching the 17-points mark since Week 7. Quarterback Ryan Finley was 13 of 31 last week and sacked five times, a major problem against a Steelers defense that's fourth in the NFL in sacks with 34. Again, there's just no reason to pick the Bengals.
Pick: Steelers 30, Bengals 10
Miami Dolphins (2-8) at Cleveland Browns (4-6)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox)
Line: Browns -10.5
Even with the Myles Garrett fallout, the Browns season is far from over based on taking advantage of a favorable second-half schedule. Next up are one of the worst teams in the NFL in the Dolphins, a matchup that really favors Cleveland. The Dolphins are dead last in the NFL in rushing in yards per carry (3.0) and yards per game (60.3), a weakness they can't expose in the Browns run defense (4.8 yards per carry, 28th in NFL; 127.2 yards allowed, 26th in NFL). The Browns would be wise to pound the ball with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt against a Dolphins run defense that allows 148.3 yards per game (31st in NFL), especially since Cleveland is fifth in the league averaging 4.9 yards per carry. Baker Mayfield hasn't had a turnover in three weeks, a key to the Browns' turnaround. No turnovers for Mayfield in this one will lead to a Browns rout.
Pick: Browns 31, Dolphins 14
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-7) at Atlanta Falcons (3-7)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox)
Line: Falcons -4.5
Don't look now, but the Falcons are starting to play up to their potential. Atlanta has won two in a row in convincing fashion, outscoring their opponents 55-12. Not only is the defense allowing six points a game, but they are also allowing 64.5 rushing yards per game in one of the surprising turnarounds of the year. The Buccaneers run offense is still struggling even with Ronald Jones as the lead back, averaging just 3.9 yards per carry (22nd in NFL) and 94.8 yards per game (21st in NFL). Tampa Bay is sixth in points (27.7) and yards (380.4), but average 2.5 giveaways per game (most in NFL), thanks to Jameis Winston leading the league in interceptions (18). The Falcons (300.3 pass yards, 3rd in NFL) can throw the ball all day off the Buccaneers (290.9 pass yards, 31st in NFL). The way the Falcons defense has improved, three straight wins is in the cards.
Pick: Falcons 27, Buccaneers 17
Carolina Panthers (5-5) at New Orleans Saints (8-2)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Line: Saints -9.5
The Buccaneers were what the Saints ordered last week as the New Orleans run defense held Tampa Bay to just 36 yards and forced four turnovers in the win. Now the Saints get a Panthers offense which has seen Kyle Allen throw nine interceptions over his last four games (he has just three touchdowns in that span). Carolina averages 5.1 yards per carry (second in NFL), but convert just 30.71% of third downs (28th in NFL). Not good against a Saints defense that allows a 33.59% conversion rate on third down (fifth in NFL). The Panthers run defense (128.4 yards allowed, 27th in NFL) and 1.8 rush touchdowns per game (last in NFL) hasn't been doing them any favors, especially against a Saints offense that is starting to get Alvin Kamara healthy and averages 107.5 yards a game (17th in NFL). The Saints can control this game and force Allen to make the mistakes he's been making the past four games.
Pick: Saints 28, Panthers 20
Seattle Seahawks (8-2) at Philadelphia Eagles (5-5)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox)
Line: Eagles -1.5
The Eagles offense is a mess right now, given all the injuries to several skill players (Jordan Howard, Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson) and right tackle Lane Johnson potentially missing the game with a concussion. The wide receiver unit is a mess and not doing quarterback Carson Wentz any favors. Teams can throw on the Seahawks (271.8 pass yards allowed) and average 39.2 attempts per game off them, but the Eagles average just 6.2 yards per pass (24th in NFL). The mismatch is there, but the Eagles can't take advantage of it. Seattle averages 7.8 yards per pass (fourth in NFL), but the Seahawks are facing an Eagles defense that has vastly improved for the past three weeks -- 14.6 points allowed, 238.3 yards allowed, 160.3 pass yards allowed, 78 rush yards allowed, two takeaways, eight sacks in that time span. The Seahawks' fourth-ranked offense (389.4 yards per game) will be a true test, but the Eagles may not generate enough offense to beat Seattle -- even with Howard back.
Pick: Seahawks 23, Eagles 20
Detroit Lions (3-6-1) at Washington Redskins (1-9)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox)
Line: Lions -3.5
The Redskins are a train wreck in having the worst record in the NFL, ranking last in points (12.5) and 31st in yards (255.7). The pass offense isn't very good either, averaging 5.8 yards per pass (28th in NFL) and ranking last in yards (169.8). Of course, teams can pass on Detroit, as the Lions are 30th in the league with 288.6 pass yards allowed and allow 7.6 yards per pass (26th). Even though Jeff Driskel played well in his last start (two touchdowns, 109.3 rating), the Lions need to establish a run game against a Redskins defense that allows 133.9 yards on the ground. Detroit can establish the run with Driskel's scrambling ability and actually give J.D. McKissic more touches. If Detroit pounds the ball, 20 points should be enough to beat Washington.
Pick: Lions 24, Redskins 16
Oakland Raiders (6-4) at New York Jets (3-7)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Line: Raiders -3
The Jets have won two in a row, averaging 34 points per game during the winning streak. In comes a Raiders defense that allows 25 points per game (21st in NFL) and 368.1 yards per game (20th in NFL). The Jets won't be a pushover for the Raiders, who can set up a first-place showdown the following week against the Chiefs with a win. The Jets have the No. 1 run defense in the league, allowing 3.0 yards per carry and 79.1 yards per game. Oakland will look to pound the football with Josh Jacobs as the Raiders average 128.2 yards per game. Where the Raiders can take advantage of the Jets is in the passing game, as Oakland averages 7.8 yards per pass and leads the NFL in completion rate (72.20%). The Jets aren't facing the Redskins passing attack this week, as their 253.3 pass yards allowed (21st in NFL) is a bit of a mislead.
Pick: Raiders 27, Jets 19
Jacksonville Jaguars (4-6) at Tennessee Titans (5-5)
Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET (CBS)
Line: Titans -3
The Jaguars got Nick Foles back last week, but their running game let Foles down. Jacksonville was held to nine carries for 29 yards against the Colts while Foles threw for 296 yards and two touchdowns. Unacceptable for a team that averages 4.7 yards per carry (sixth in NFL) and 119.5 rush yards per game. Jacksonville will need to commit to the run against a defense that allows 4.0 yards per carry, even though the Titans are 22nd in the NFL in pass defense (256 yards). Tennessee has the glaring mismatch in this one, coming off two performances which the Titans have averaged 173 rush yards per game. The Jaguars run defense is last in yards per carry allowed (5.3) and 29th in yards allowed (134.6). Late November and December is Derrick Henry season, which the Titans will use to beat the Jaguars.
Pick: Titans 24, Jaguars 23
Dallas Cowboys (6-4) at New England Patriots (9-1)
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)
Line: Patriots -6.5
One of the marquee matchups of the weekend as the NFL's top offense faces the NFL's top defense. The Cowboys are first in yards (444.6), yards per play (6.7) and third-down conversions (52.07%) while the Patriots are first in points allowed (10.8), yards allowed (249.9), yards per play (4.3) and opponents third-down conversions (19.33%). Something is going to give here and the Cowboys have the advantage as they are seventh in yards per carry (4.6) and rush yards per game (131.9). The Patriots run defense is good, but they are 23rd in yards per carry allowed (4.6) and allowed 5.6 yards per carry the previous six games before holding the Eagles to 3.9 in Sunday's win. They can do that against the Cowboys, but Dallas will be giving them a heavy dose of Ezekiel Elliott. Dallas allows 6.3 yards per pass (22nd in NFL) and the Patriots throw the ball 40.8 times (second in NFL), so they'll test the secondary. Can the Patriots pass offense generate enough big plays to make a difference? Dallas hasn't beaten a team with a winning record and the combined record of teams the Cowboys beat is 15-44-1. Hard to get over that when picking this one.
Pick: Patriots 27, Cowboys 21
Green Bay Packers (8-2) at San Francisco 49ers (9-1)
Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)
Line: 49ers -3
The battle of the top two teams in the NFC complete the Sunday slate, but the 49ers appear to have the glaring advantages in this one. San Francisco can run the ball efficiently against Green Bay, even if Matt Breida is unavailable. The 49ers are second in the league in rushing, averaging 149 yards per game while the Packers allow 126.9 rush yards per game (25th in NFL) and 4.8 yards per carry (25th in NFL). San Francisco averages 7.5 yards per pass (eighth in NFL) and faces a pass defense that allows 7.4 yards per pass (24th in NFL). The 49ers also have the second-best defense in the NFL, allowing 15.5 points and 253 yards per game -- and 4.5 yards per play. The 49ers allow 142.5 pass yards per game (best in NFL), neutralizing a Green Bay pas offense that is 10th in the NFL at 7.3 yards per pass. The 49ers have all the advantages and they're home. If Green Bay would win, it would be a huge upset. I just can't see that happening.
Pick: 49ers 30, Packers 21
Baltimore Ravens (8-2) at Los Angeles Rams (6-4)
Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Line: Ravens -3
Lamar Jackson on "Monday Night Football" will be something to see, especially since he's leading the NFL MVP race with his electric play on the field. The Ravens are first in the league in yards per carry (5.7), rush attempts (35.8) and rush yards per game (203.8), thanks to Jackson and Mark Ingram. The Rams run defense can match the Ravens, allowing just 3.3 yards per carry (second in NFL) and 89.2 yards per game (fifth in NFL). Just another team that will dare Jackson to throw the ball against their pass defense (6.3 yards per pass allowed, fifth in NFL). Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters will be a huge help in unlocking the secrets of the Rams defense, especially since he's been huge in the Ravens' turnaround. This is a dead-even matchup based on the yards per play and the Rams' ability to counter the Ravens run offense. Baltimore needs Lamar Jackson to play like the MVP, which the Ravens have received all season. They will on Monday night as well.
Pick: Ravens 27, Rams 21
KERR'S RECORD (Week 11): 11-3
KERR'S RECORD (Overall): 98-63-1 (.605 win percentage)
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