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Week 12 NFL Picks - Saints Go Marching Along
Saints Face Another Tough Test In Rams
When they opened the NFL season with losses to the Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots, no one was touting the New Orleans Saints for the Super Bowl.
Nobody expected that they'd then proceed to rattle off eight wins in a row. They've been awesome at times - putting up 52 points on the Detroit Lions and 47 at Buffalo - fashioning those eight successive victories by an average margin of 16.5 points.
The Los Angeles Rams present another tough test for the Saints, a road game against a division leader, and both of New Orleans' losses this season have come at the hands of teams that currently lead their division. But after absorbing a 24-7 shellacking from the NFC North-leading Vikings, you have to ask if the Rams really are all that? As the Saints keep proving week after week they are indeed all that, and the proverbial bag of chips.
The 8-2 Vikings face a significant challenge of their own when they travel to Ford Field to face the 6-4 Lions. A win here and Minnesota can all but lock up the division crown. A year ago, the Viking also came to Detroit with a share of the division lead, lost to the Lions and stumbled right out of the playoff picture. Here are all the Week 12 picks straight up and against the spread. The underlined teams, with their money line odds, are the straight up picks, based on odds provided by Bovada.
*Week Eleven Record: 10-4 straight up, 8-5-1 against the spread
Lions Pillage Vikings
Minnesota (-160) at Detroit (+140) - Last season, the Vikings and Lions also met on Thanksgiving at Field deadlocked for the NFL North lead. Detroit got the win and grabbed the division lead, but would ultimately squander it to Green Bay via a season-ending three-game losing skid. There's much more at stake here for the 6-4 Lions. Suffer defeat and they can forget a division title. And they also lose head-to-head wildcard tiebreakers to the Saints, Falcons, and Panthers. The Lions have won four straight on Thanksgiving.
BABB Pick: Detroit (+3), under (44.5)
Chargers Bag This One
Los Angeles Chargers (-125) at Dallas (+105) - Minus suspended running back Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys have dropped two in a row by a combined margin of 64-16. Meanwhile, the Chargers blasted Buffalo 52-24 last week and played the Jaguars and Patriots tough on the road in the two preceeding weeks. Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott was sacked 12 times in those two losses, and the Chargers, led by Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, are third in the NFL with 30 sacks.
BABB Pick: Los Angeles Chargers (pick), over (48)
Not Ready For Prime Time
New York Giants (+275) at Washington (-350) - As the powers that be were mapping out the NFL schedule, they probably figured this Thanksgiving prime time game would be one with playoff implications. Instead, it's a chance for Washington QB Kirk Cousins to show the football world what it must finally - albeit grudgingly admit - that this guy can play. The rest of the Redskins, not so much. Blowing a 15-point lead to New Orleans in the final six minutes of regulation put a dagger in their playoff hopes.
BABB Pick: New York Giants (+7.5), over (45)
Chiefs Get Back On Track
Buffalo (+350) at Kansas City (-500) - Not so long ago the Chiefs looked to be the scourge of the AFC and the Bills a playoff team for the first time since 1999. Wow, have times changed quickly. After opening 5-0, the Chiefs are 1-4 and coming off a loss to the Giants, and are lucky to be playing in the pitiful AFC West. The Bills surrendered 101 points the last two weeks. The decision by Bills coach Sean McDermott to bench QB Tyrod Taylor in favor of Nathan Peterman ranks right up there alongside the idea for new Coke.
BABB Pick: Kansas City (-10), over (45)
It's Patriots' Day Again
Miami (+775) at New England (-1500) - It speaks to the dominance of the Patriots that they are able to simply roll along, unconcerned about fielding the NFL's worst defensive unit, and still pile up an NFL-leading plus-83 points differential. They will add to that total significantly against a Dolphins team that has followed Jay Cutler's lead down a wormhole toward oblivion. If Miami can find a way to keep this one within two touchdowns, the Dolphins should chalk that up as a moral victory.
BABB Pick: New England (-17), over (48)
Eagles Keep On Soaring
Chicago (+550) at Philadelphia (-900) - The Bears impressively gave the Detroit Lions everything they could handle last week. But that was at Soldier Field, Chicago still lost, and the 9-1 Eagles are not the Lions. Carson Wentz and company have totalled an NFL-leading 320 points. The Eagles have scored no fewer than 33 points in each of their past four games and have won all four of them by margins of 10 points or greater. Make it five in a row as the Eagles continue to soar.
BABB Pick: Philadelphia (-14), over (44)
History Sinks Titans
Tennessee at Indianapolis (no line) - Did we see the real Titans show up last Thursday at Pittsburgh, and if so, what does the future hold for them? Here's where it gets worse. Tennessee is a lifetime 0-9 at Lucas Oil Stadium. On the other hand, the Colts have blown fourth-quarter leads in four of their nine losses and may be without deep threat Ty Hilton. Regardless, it's hard to look past the woeful history of the Titans in Indy. And Tennessee has dropped three of its last four on the road.
BABB Pick: Indianapolis (n/a), under (n/a)
Potential Trap Game For Panthers
Carolina (-220) at New York Jets (+180) - The Panthers have won three in a row and are well-rested, coming into this tilt off their bye week. Carolina's defense has allowed 21 points or fewer in each of the past four games. The Jets have lost their way, as well as four of their last five games. But they've displayed an ability to hang around in those games, albeit ultimately losing most of them. Take the Panthers straight up, but play the Jets to beat the spread.
BABB Pick: New York Jets (+5), under (40)
Falcons Looking Much Better
Tampa Bay (+325) at Atlanta (-450) - The Buccaneers are probably feeling good about themselves after back-to-back wins over the Jets and Dolphins, but they'd best pack the Pepto-Bismol for this road trip. The Falcons have got their groove back, piling up 61 points in winning at home over Dallas and on the road in Seattle. Anticipate plenty of pressure from the Atlanta front seven on Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick that will lead to turnovers and great field position for Matt Ryan to set up shop.
BABB Pick: Atlanta (-10), over (49)
Down Go The Browns ... Again
Cleveland (+310) at Cincinnati (-420) - Disillusioned Browns fans have acquired a city permit to allow them to hold a parade around Browns Stadium, a.k.a the Factory of Sadness, a.k.a. the Pit Of Misery, if their heroes manage to polish off an 0-16 campaign. The 0-16 dream will stay alive this week as 0-10 Cleveland visits its cross-state rivals. The Bengals have been in most games this season and finally finished on the winning side of the scoreboard last week at Denver.
BABB Pick: Cincinnati (-8), under (38)
Upset In The Making?
Seattle at San Francisco (no line) - Taking into account Seattle's decimated secondary, you could make a case for a 49ers upset victory here ... well you could, if the 49ers situated a serviceable quarterback under center. San Fran is coming off a bye, while the beat up Seahawks played Monday night. But the 1-9 49ers haven't beaten Seattle since Dec. 13, 2013. That situation won't change, but San Francisco should be able to keep it close and beat the spread.
BABB Pick: San Francisco (n/a), under (n/a)
Rams Doing It With Mirrors
New Orleans (+125) at Los Angeles Rams (-145) - Rallying from a 15-point deficit to beat Washington in overtime for their eighth straight victory, the Saints just keep on finding ways to win. And they've also found a running game which is currently ranked third in the NFL, giving QB Drew Brees an added weapon. Although on paper, the 7-3 Rams should be a serious test, in reality, they've won just once against teams with winning records. L.A.'s defense couldn't contain Case Keenum, but they're going to stops Brees? Sure.
BABB Pick: New Orleans (+2.5), over (53.5)
Broncos In Free Fall
Denver (+195) at Oakland (-235) - Remember the time whenever these two met and it was must-see TV? Yeah, you probably remember when you used to call people on the phone, too. It's been some time since both the Broncos and Raiders were good. The Raiders clearly aren't good this season, but on the other hand, the Broncos are abonimable. Losers of six straight, Denver fired offensive coordinator Mike McCoy this week because evidently, it was all his fault.
BABB Pick: Oakland (-5), under (43.5)
Jaguars Defense Will Carry The Day
Jacksonville (-230) at Arizona (+190) - The Jaguars are the NFL's No. 1 defense, and the league's top pass defense, allowing a paltry 182 yards per game through the air, meaning the Cardinals will need to rely on the old legs of ancient Adrian Peterson to try and make a contest of it. If that already isn't more than enough to leave you leaning Jacksonville's way, consider that the Cardinals beat the Texans last week. Teams that have played Houston this season are 0-9 the following week.
BABB Pick: Jacksonville (-5), over (38)
Steelers Firing On All Cylinders
Green Bay (-600) at Pittsburgh (+1000) - Those fellows in the black and gold unis last week sure looked impressive, and on both sides of the ball. Pittsburgh's struggling offense kicked it into gear in a big way against Tennessee, with QB Ben Roethlisberger tossing a season-high four TD passes. The Pittsburgh defense gives talented QBs fits. Imagine what they will do to Packers starter Brett Hundley, who was sacked six times and picked off three times last week against Baltimore.
BABB Pick: Pittsburgh (-14), over (41.5)
Defensive Struggle Goes To Ravens
Houston (+265) at Baltimore (-330) - If you like field goals, then this is the game for you. Expect little in the way of sustained offensive drives by either team's mediocre offense, but the Ravens have the powerful leg of kicker Justin Tucker and that's one significant edge on their side. They've also displayed a propensity for punishing bad teams and the Texans definitely qualify. Minus QB Deshaun Watson and defensive end J.J. Watt, there isn't much to see here.
BABB Pick: Baltimore (-7), under (38)
Beabetterbettor's Top 10 NFL Teams This Week
Current odds to win Super Bowl LII listed after team record, with last week's ranking in brackets.
Odds provided by Bovada sportsbook.
- (1) Philadelphia Eagles (9-1) +375 - Win over Cowboys was eighth in a row
- (2) New England Patriots (8-2) +275 - Defense? They don't need no stinkin's defense.
- (3) New Orleans Saints (8-2) +750 - Rallied from 15-point 4th-quarter deficit to beat Redskins
- (4) Minnesota Vikings (8-2) +1400 - Face tough test on Thanksgiving at Detroit
- (6) Pittsburgh Steelers (8-2) +500 - Leading rusher (Le'Veon Bell), receiver (Antonio Brown)
- (8) Jacksonville Jaguars (7-3) +2500 - DE Calais Campbell shares NFL lead with 11.5 sacks
- (5) Los Angeles Rams (7-3) +1800 - Only one victory against team with winning record
- (8) Carolina Panthers (7-3) +2200 - Defense allowed 21 points or fewer in last four games
- (-) Atlanta Falcons (6-4) +2000 - Defending NFC champs have scored 61 points in two weeks
- (10) Kansas City Chiefs (6-4) +1800 - Only win since Oct. 15 was against Broncos
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