It's Thanksgiving Week, so you know what that means: Instead of football picks, I'm going to share all my favorite Thanksgiving recipes with you! Actually, that's a lie, I know zero recipes and I can barely make a Hot Pocket, so there's a literally no chance I'll be sharing anything like that this week.
Instead, I'm going to tell you about the things I'm thankful for this year. It's a long list and I'll completely understand if you just want to skip through it and go straight to the picks. You know what? We'll be here all day if I start sharing my list, so let's go straight to the picks.
Before we get to the fun stuff, here's your weekly reminder to check out the picks from all our other CBS Sports NFL writers, which you can do by clicking here. If you have no interest in their picks and you're only here because you want to know how to slow roast a turkey, don't worry, I got you covered, just click here.
Alright, I'm getting hungry, so let's get to these Thanksgiving picks.
NFL Week 12 Picks
Chicago (7-3) at Detroit (4-6)
This game will mark the second time in 11 days that these two teams have met, which is kind of crazy if you think about it. I mean, I'm pretty sure I still have milk in my refrigerator that was in there the last time they played, which reminds me, I should probably go check on that stuff because I'm not so sure that milk is supposed to last for 11 days.
The thing about this game is that I don't feel like much has changed since their last meeting. When these two teams played back on Nov. 11, the Bears jumped out to a 26-0 lead and eventually won 34-22 in a game where they sacked Matthew Stafford six times. If I'm Stafford, I wouldn't ever want to see the Bears defense again, let alone 11 days after they beat me to a pulp.
The one small advantage the Lions will have in this game is that Chicago will basically be playing on zero rest. Not only did they have to play Sunday night against Minnesota, but now, they have to turn around and play the early game on Thanksgiving. Of course, the Bears are so much better than the Lions this probably won't matter. Instead of winning by 12 like they did last time, they'll probably only win by 10, and instead of sacking Stafford six times, they'll only sack him five times.
The one mystery in this game is the health of Mitchell Trubisky. The Bears quarterback injured his throwing shoulder on Sunday against Minnesota and was put on Monday's injury report. Since I'm not 100 percent sure if Trubisky is going to play or not, we're going to do my favorite thing for this game. I'm going to make two picks: One for if he plays, and one for if he doesn't play.
If Trubisky can't play Thursday, that means Chase Daniel will be the starter. I know what you're thinking and I didn't realize he was still in the league, either. Anyway, since the Bears defense will probably provide half the team's points in this game, I'm starting to think it might not matter who the quarterback is on Thursday.
The pick: Bears 30-20 over Lions (with Trubisky) -- Bears 27-20 over Lions (without Trubisky)
The result: Bears 23, Lions 16
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Washington (6-4) at Dallas (5-5)
4:30 p.m. ET, Thursday (FOX) (stream on fuboTV, try for free)
This NFC East showdown has a lost a little bit of its luster now that Alex Smith is . I actually thought about posting a clip of Smith's injury here, but I want all of us to be able to digest our food on Thanksgiving, so I decided to pass.
The Redskins will now be turning to Colt McCoy at quarterback and let me just say that going from Smith to McCoy is basically like showing up at your mom's house for Thanksgiving and finding out that instead of turkey, she's serving dead squirrel and Funyons. Now, there's nothing wrong with dead squirrel and Funyons, but it's just not as good as turkey, kind of like McCoy won't be as good as Smith.
My biggest problem with McCoy is that he hasn't started a game since 2014, which means, not only is he starting his first game in four years this week, but he also has to do it with just four days of preparation. Basically, I see this Colt McCoy thing going one of two ways for Washington: Either he pulls a Nick Foles and somehow manages to lead the Redskins to the Super Bowl or the team crashes and burns for the rest of the season, starting with this week's game. I'm not going to lie, option two sounds like the more realistic one.
Of course, the most important Redskins quarterback story going into this game has nothing to do with Smith or McCoy and everything to do with Mr. Butt-Fumble himself, Mark Sanchez. In the ultimate twist of irony, the game on Thursday will mark the sixth-anniversary of the butt-fumble, which took place on Thanksgiving Day 2012.
Basically, if you have nothing else to be thankful for this week, just be thankful that the Redskins signed Sanchez, which means we're likely going to get an unhealthy amount of butt-fumble replays on Thursday.
Hopefully I don't butt-fumble this pick.
The pick: Cowboys 23-16 over Redskins
The result: Cowboys 31, Redskins 23
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Atlanta (4-6) at New Orleans (9-1)
8:20 p.m. ET Thursday (NBC) (stream on fuboTV, try for free)
If the NFL's plan this year was to get the drunkest possible crowd for a Thanksgiving game, then I'm pretty sure they're going to accomplish that. I mean, when you put a primetime game near Bourbon Street, there's a 100 percent chance that people will be drunk, and when that game is on Thanksgiving, well, let's just say there will probably be a lot of moms taking shots out of test tubes and then planting succulents.
my mom just took a shot of alcohol out of test tubes in bourbon street and she kept the tubes because she wants to “plant succulents in these” she’s drunk— Molly Priddy (@mollypriddy) November 2, 2018
Who doesn't want to plant succulents in a test tube shot glass?
By the way, hopefully, no one's drinking every time the Saints score this year, because that couldn't possibly be good for your health. The Saints lead the NFL with 37.8 points per game and that number doesn't appear to be going down anytime soon. The Saints have been especially impressive over the past three weeks, averaging 48 points per game. A big part of that is because of Drew Brees, who's thrown 11 touchdown passes and zero interceptions over that span.
Brees might throw 11 touchdown passes on Thursday alone, and that's because he gets to go up against an Atlanta defense that's the fourth-worst in the NFL against the pass. You know what, Falcons fans? You might want to grab a drink too, because it could be a long night.
The good news for Falcons fans is that this game could potentially help them get mentally prepared for Black Friday, and that's because the only thing more frustrating than watching the Falcons this season is getting in a fight with someone over the last item in a Black Friday sale.
The pick: Saints 38-30 over Falcons
Result: Saints 31, Falcons 17
Sunday, November 25
Green Bay (4-5-1) at Minnesota (5-4-1)
8:20 p.m. ET (NBC) (stream on fuboTV, try for free)
I had buyer's remorse one time after buying a pair of shoes, and although those shoes didn't cost $84 million, I'm starting to think that the Vikings might be slightly regretting the fact that they gave Kirk Cousins a fully guaranteed contract. As a matter of fact, we are now at the point in the season where the head coach is making passive-aggressive comments about his quarterback, which is never a good sign.
Mike Zimmer on pressure on Kirk Cousins: "Watching the tapes there's a lot of clean pockets in there.''— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) November 19, 2018
The Vikings signed Cousins to win the big games that Case Keenum couldn't win last year and instead, he's doing the opposite. The Vikings have played three games this season against teams that currently have a winning record and they're 0-3 in those games. If they wanted to be 0-3 against winning teams, Keenum could have done that, and he probably would have done it at half the price.
Basically, the Vikings offense has somehow gotten worse with Cousins running the show.
How the Vikings' pass offense changed since signing Kirk Cousins:— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) November 19, 2018
2017: 4th in passer rating
2018: 10th in passer rating
2017: 11th in yards per pass
2018: 20th in yards per pass
2017: 7th fewest sacks
2018: 15th fewest sacks
2017: 2nd fewest INTs
2018: 11th fewest INTs
I would say that a primetime game at home would be the perfect time to turn things around for the Vikings, but Cousins and his 4-12 career record in primetime kind of put a damper on that thought.
As much as I would love to pick against Cousins, the problem with taking the Packers is that it means picking them to win a road game, which they haven't been able to do all season. When the Packers leave Green Bay, it's almost like they forget how to play football. Fortunately for Green Bay, the trip to Minnesota is short, so they shouldn't forget too much football on the way there.
For reasons I can't clearly explain, I'm going with the Packers, and I have to say, I'm pretty sure my actual cousins are going to hate me for picking against a guy named Cousins, especially this week. They're probably not even going to show up for Thanksgiving now.
The pick: Packers 27-24 over Vikings
Seattle (5-5) at Carolina (6-4)
1 p.m. ET (FOX) (stream on fuboTV, try for free)
Since I have yet to miss a Seahawks pick all season, we're adding a new section this week where I will vaguely explain who I'm going to pick in Seattle's upcoming game. This section will only exist as long as my record stays perfect, which will probably only be for a few more days since there's a 90 percent chance I just jinxed myself by even creating this section.
This week, there are a lot of reasons to like Carolina and one of those reasons is that they've been unbeatable at home. The Panthers are 5-0 at Bank of America Stadium this season and have actually won 10 games in a row there dating back to last year. The big problem for the Panthers though is that Cam Newton has been getting beat up. During their two-game losing streak, he's been sacked eight times and he's been hit multiple other times. The Seahawks are averaging 2.8 sacks per game this year, which means it could be a long day for Cam.
I hate picking against a team that's undefeated at home when they're playing at home, but that's what I'm going to do here.
The pick: Seahawks 19-16 over Panthers
NFL Week 12 picks: All the rest
Buccaneers 27-23 over 49ers
Best pick: Last week, I isn't even fair anymore, at least that's what my bookie is telling me. This Seahawks streak is so out of hand that I'm 95 percent sure I've been banned from betting Seattle games in the state of New Jersey. I also might actually be banned from the state of New Jersey in general after that bachelor party I went to in September got out of hand, but that's a different story altogether.would go out and beat the Packers by three and then the Seahawks went out and beat the Packers by three. At this point, I'm starting to think that me picking Seahawks games
Worst pick: I had so many bad picks in Week 11, I'm not even sure where to start here. For the first time all season, I finished the week with a losing record (6-7) and let me just say that there is a lot of blame to go around.
First, I'd like to blame Cam Newton for overthrowing a wide open receiver on a two-point conversion that would have won the game against the Lions. I picked the Panthers, the Lions won by one. Second, I would also like to pin some blame on the Chargers kicker. I'm not even going to mention his name because he probably won't even be the kicker in three weeks -- because Chargers kickers never last more than three weeks with that team -- but he missed an extra point in L.A.s' one-point loss to the Broncos. I feel like I should also pin some of the blame on the Bengals defense, which seemed to somehow have no idea that a running quarterback was going to run on them. I picked the Bengals to win by three, but they lost by three.
The only decision from last week that I'm going to take full blame for is picking the Buccaneers over the Giants. The Buccaneers have a bad defense, half their team was injured and they have no idea who their quarterback is 11 weeks into the season, yet I still picked them to win on the road against the Giants. If I had a Harvard degree like Ryan Fitzpatrick, I definitely would have been smart enough not to pick the Bucs, but I don't, I have a degree from a diploma mill in Nicaragua.
Finally, if you guys have ever wondered which teams I'm actually good at picking, this is the part where I tell you, but you already know since I never stop talking about it. Through 11 weeks, I only have a perfect record picking one team: The Seahawks (10-0). Also, I'm 10-1 picking the Rams.
On a related note, I'm just 3-7 picking the Panthers this year, which means Sunday could turn into a total disaster. (I'm also 3-7 picking the Eagles).
Alright everyone, have a happy Thanksgiving, and please remember to tell your family not to drink every time the Saints score.
Straight up in Week 11: 6-7
SU overall: 102-57-2
Against the spread in Week 11: 5-8
ATS overall: 75-81-5
Exact score predictions: 2