Week 12 Picks Against Spread: Turkey Day Special

An official signals touchdown as Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) runs the ball into the end zone during the second half of the team’s NFL football game against the Washington Redskins on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Good food, great desert and even better football all day long. Three games from noon to-night and what better way to boost your holiday than lining your pockets with a few extra bucks. I’m coming off a tough week going 4-9 overall and 3-9-1 against the spread. It was by far my worst week of the season with many favorites going down, but I pledge to bounce back this week with a strong performance. Without further ado, I’ll jump right in.

All lines courtesy of Bovada in Las Vegas

Thanksgiving Game I: Chicago Bears (7-3) at Detroit Lions (4-6): DET +3.5 Confidence: 6

The Bears get another matchup with a division rival in the Lions after beating them just a few weeks back and a big Sunday night win over the Vikings. The Lions meanwhile are coming off a big win over the Panthers surviving Ron Rivera’s call to go for two and the win. I like Matthew Stafford and Detroit in this spot. They play in this game every year and usually step up in the moment. Stafford channels a late 4th quarter comeback and the Lions win the football game. I’ll take the 3.5 points.

Thanksgiving Game II: Washington Redskins (6-4) at Dallas Cowboys (5-5): WSH +7.5, Confidence: 7

The Redskins were handed a crushing blow last Sunday when Alex Smith suffered a gruesome season-ending injury that will likely derail any playoff hopes for Washington. This team has been bitten with the injury bug year-after-year and this is no different. Colt McCoy should fill in admirably and I like his odds at keeping each game close and competitive including on Thursday, but at home riding a wave of momentum, I’ll take the Cowboys to win at home. Redskins keep it close with this lofty spread, but Dallas wins at home.

Thanksgiving Game III: Atlanta Falcons (4-6) at New Orleans Saints (9-1): ATL +13.5, Confidence: 8

The Saints are dynamic from top-to-bottom and have emerged as the clear best team in the league right now. Drew Brees is putting together an MVP campaign and Sean Payton has his team motivated every week. This is a big spot for the Falcons too as 4-7 just about eliminates them entirely from the playoffs this year. That offense is still humming and they can get points against the New Orleans secondary. I will take the Falcons to cover this big almost two touchdown spread, but I like the Saints to win. Somewhere around 41-31.

Oakland Raiders (2-8) at Baltimore Ravens (5-5): BAL -11, Confidence: 8

Would you look at that, the Raiders finally won another football game this year. As a reward they travel to the east coast to play a smashmouth football team with a dynamic running Quarterback Lamar Jackson coming off his first career win as a starter. This one will get ugly and John Harbaugh isn’t going to pull any punches. Might want to separate Derek Carr & Jon Gruden after this week again, too.

Jacksonville Jaguars (3-7) at Buffalo Bills (3-7): JAX -3, Confidence: 7

I get the much more talented roster, despite the internal combustion, and only have to swallow a field goal on the road? Like it, I love it. This is the Doug Marrone revenge game for Bills Mafia, unfortunately the Bills just don’t have enough talent to slow down the Jaguars big rushing attack and hold their elite defenders in check. This one will probably be ugly and low scoring like last year in the playoffs, but I’ll take the Jags something like 13-6.

Seattle Seahawks (5-5) at Carolina Panthers (6-4): CAR -3, Confidence: 8

Have to give Pete Carroll a ton of credit for keeping this Seahawks team engaged and fighting each week, but traveling to the east coast to take on a very talented Panthers team that will be looking to avenge a loss to the Lions, doesn’t bode well for Seattle’s chances. The Panthers need to play a mistake-free football game which is a big ask from Cam Newton, but Christian McCaffrey needs to be heavily involved in the offense all game. Panthers win and cover.

Cleveland Browns (3-6-1) at Cincinatti Bengals (5-5): CLE +3, Confidence: 7

The Bengals are in trouble here. If Baker Mayfield wakes up feeling dangerous again, they are screwed. Especially with former Browns head coach Hue Jackson helping Marvin Lewis run the Bengals very bad defense. Gregg Williams isn’t the long-term answer in Cleveland clearly, but he can definitely motivate this team to win games and this division matchup is one ripe for the taking. I’ll take Baker and the field goal, I like the Browns to win this game.

New England Patriots (7-3) at New York Jets (3-7): NE -10, Confidence: 9

The last time we saw Tom Brady and the Patriots they were getting their asses handed to them by the Titans in Nashville. Now, they have had a bye week to refresh and work on the fundamentals while I’m sure getting chewed out by their head coach for three bad losses in the first half. Now, the poor Jets draw a Pats team that has had to watch tape of that ugly loss two weeks back and will be motivated to blow the doors off their enemy from New York. We don’t know if Sam Darnold will be back or not, but with Gronk expected back, I will easily swallow the 10 points. This one will be ugly.

New York Giants (3-7) at Philadelphia Eagles (4-6): PHI -6, Confidence: 8

Despite the Super Bowl hangover of sorts for the Eagles, they still have a shot to win the division and make some noise in the playoffs. They were slaughtered last Sunday in New Orleans and didn’t even make it a respectable showing, but they get a chance to bounce-back at home against the Giants. A win here and the division is in reach, a loss and it’s time for Philly to panic. Carson Wentz gets it done this week staving off the assembled mob.

San Francisco 49ers (2-8) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-7): SF +3.5: Confidence: 7

Tampa Bay is turning back to Jamies Winston this week as they shift towards evaluating the future after a loss to the Giants last week. At home with that offense against a 49ers team that has been very underwhelming you’d think this is a slam-dunk win for the Bucs. Not so fast! Kyle Shannahan still wants to prove his team has some fight in them and stealing one on the road is exactly what I envision this week. Take the points as Jameis will turn the football over at least three times on Sunday. Dirk Koetter on his last legs in Tampa.

Arizona Cardinals (2-8) at Los Angeles Chargers (7-3): LAC -12, Confidence: 8

The Chargers lost a tough one last week in the division to the rival Broncos thanks to a game-winning field goal and comeback effort by Case Keenum. They have a chance to shake that loss off with a lopsided home win against a very bad Cardinals football team. Phillip Rivers throws for 5 TD’s this week and Chargers roll. Swallow the 12 points here.

Miami Dolphins (5-5) at Indianapolis Colts (5-5): MIA +8, Confidence: 6

With the returning Ryan Tannehill, I’m going to take the Dolphins getting 8 points because of the talent Miami has on both sides of the ball, but I like the Colts to win the game. Andrew Luck hasn’t been sacked in his last 5 games and it’s no wonder the Colts are playing great football led by their QB. Frank Reich has made the most of this opportunity and the Colts continue to show why they are ticketed for the playoffs.

Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2-1) at Denver Broncos (4-6): DEN +3, Confidence: 7

Pittsburgh has won six straight games and now enters a brutal stretch of their schedule where they travel to Denver, face the Chargers at home as well as the Patriots and also travel to the Saints. All over the next 5 weeks. I like Case Keenum and the Broncos in this spot with the home field advantage of playing in mile-high. Their defense is still fantastic and they’ve hung in their with the best of the best. Broncos cover and pull off the upset as the home-dog against the Steelers.

Green Bay Packers (4-5-1) at Minnesota Vikings (5-4-1) MIN -3, Confidence: 8

These two teams tied back in week one and a lot has gone on since then. The reported rift between Aaron Rodgers and his head coach and the Packers just not being able to hang with the tough teams in the conference. It will be more of the same this week as I like Kirk Cousins and the Vikings offense loaded with weapons and their defense to slow down No. 12 in route to their 6th win of the season. The Vikings still have a shot to catch the Bears in the division despite the loss last week, and it starts on Sunday night.

Monday Night Football: Tennessee Titans (5-5) at Houston Texans (7-3): TEN +5.5, Confidence: 8

The Texans are coming off their 7th consecutive win last week on the road in Washington and face a tough test this week at home on Monday Night against the Titans. Mike Vrabel knows this Texans team better than anyone having coached there the last few years and serving as the defensive coordinator last year. The Titans are expected to get Marcus Mariota back this week and I like the Titans to pull off the upset like they did in Dallas and against New England a few weeks back. Deshaun Watson has been on fire, but he will know just how to slow him down on Monday. Titans win in a hard-fought battle.

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