My week 12 NFL picks (with spreads from ESPN.com's Pigskin Pick 'em):
(8-2) New England Patriots** at
(2-8) Detroit Lions +6.5
We could hope for the Lions to show up on Thanksgiving, but the Patriots are still way too good right now for this one to even stay close.
(7-3) New Orleans Saints** at
(3-7) Dallas Cowboys +3.5
If it weren’t for the close spread, I’d probably take the Cowboys. They’ve played very well since Jason Garrett took over, but the Saints are looking elite again and the possible return of Reggie Bush makes them even better.
(2-8) Cincinnati Bengals at
(8-2) New York Jets** -9.5
I guess it’s wishful thinking to hope that the Jets would be able to win by two scores, but I feel like this may finally be the one where they prove a point.
(7-3) Green Bay Packers at
(8-2) Atlanta Falcons** -2.5
This may be the best game of the weekend. Atlanta has been one of the toughest teams to beat at home since drafting Matt Ryan in 2008 and will be on their game on Sunday.
(7-3) Pittsburgh Steelers** at
(2-8) Buffalo Bills +6.5
Tough to think the Steelers won’t blow out the Bills, but there’s always that chance that the Bills play another close one like they have the last month. Pittsburgh should still win by at least a touchdown.
(1-9) Carolina Panthers** at
(3-7) Cleveland Browns -10.5
As bad as the Panthers have been this season, a 3-7 Browns team starting the Panthers former quarterback, Jake Delhomme, should not be expected to blow them out.
(6-4) Jacksonville Jaguars** at
(6-4) New York Giants -7.5
The Giants are very hurt and are uncertain at the running back position. With the Jags played very well lately, this one will be closer than it should be.
(3-7) Minnesota Vikings** at
(5-5) Washington Redskins -2.5
The Redskins are not a bad team by any means, but with Leslie Frazier now running the team, I expect the Vikings to come out with a fresh, powerful game plan.
(5-5) Tennessee Titans at
(4-6) Houston Texans** -6.5
Rusty Smith makes his first career start this Sunday against the Houston Texans. The Texans offense should be able to put up more points than Smith in his first start, even with how bad their pass defense has been this season.
(6-4) Kansas City Chiefs at
(5-5) Seattle Seahawks** +1.5
The Seahawks only seem to win at home, while the Chiefs always struggle on the road. Should be a close win for Seattle.
(5-5) Miami Dolphins at
(5-5) Oakland Raiders** -3.5
With Tyler Thigpen expected to start again and Brandon Marshall likely out, the Dolphins offense will not be able to put up many points for the second straight week.
(7-3) Philadelphia Eagles at
(7-3) Chicago Bears** +3.5
The Bears have one of the best defenses in the league. The Giants’ defense showed how to limit Michael Vick’s impact last week. Chicago can most likely do a better job.
(7-3) Tampa Bay Buccaneers at
(7-3) Baltimore Ravens** -7.5
I say it every week and will say it again; the Bucs have not beaten an opponent over .500, and the Ravens are one of the most complete teams in the NFL. They won’t break that streak this week.
(4-6) St. Louis Rams** at
(3-7) Denver Broncos -3.5
This is a good opportunity for the Rams to get their first road win. Bradford and Jackson will need to have a big impact to keep up with Kyle Orton and the Broncos’ offense.
(5-5) San Diego Chargers** at
(6-4) Indianapolis Colts -3.5
Surprisingly, Peyton Manning has struggled of late with his no name receivers and injured running backs. The Chargers are way too hot right now to lose this one.
(3-7) San Francisco 49ers at
(3-7) Arizona Cardinals** +1.5
Both teams stink this season. No one can deny that. I only take the Cardinals because they are playing at home. This may be the least exciting Monday night game of the season.