NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS) Week 12

Will the Thanksgiving games turn out to be turkeys?

The Chiefs and Rams put on a show on Monday night and gave us hope for the future of the NFL. I wouldn't mind seeing that rematch in January, but we know that the Saints and Patriots (and perhaps another team or two) will have something to say about that. The handicapping stays the same as we barrel towards the end of the regular season. The teams we thought had packed it in are trying too with the Raiders and Giants both picking up wins. It'll be a fun one down the stretch.

 

Record: 31-19-2 (53-32-3 last year)

 

Note: All times are ET.

 

Here are this week's best NFL picks against the spread:

 

Chicago Bears (7-3) at Detroit Lions (4-6), 12:30 p.m. (Thursday)

The Bears' defense has been absolutely incredible this season especially with Khalil Mack roaming around. They are holding teams to under 80 rushing yards per game, but that doesn't matter for the Lions. These two teams played in Chicago just 11 days ago with the Bears winning 34-22. I took the under in that one and unfortunately it didn't hit. Mitchell Trubisky had a good game, but it looks like Chase Daniel will be under center for the road team because Trubisky is dealing with a shoulder injury suffered late Sunday night. I don't think the Bears' skill position guys are good enough to overcome a backup quarterback. Detroit is coming off a 20-19 win over the Panthers. The defense clamped down on the run. On offense, Marvin Jones and Kerryon Johnson look to be out so Kenny Golladay and Theo Riddick will have to step up. I think the Lions can win this one outright. They are used to the quick turnaround for a Thanksgiving game. SELECTION: Lions +3.5

 

Washington Redskins (6-4) at Dallas Cowboys (5-5), 4:30 p.m. (Thursday)

It'll be Colt McCoy under center for the Redskins as they take on archrival Dallas. These two teams played a month ago in DC with the Redskins winning 20-17. In that one the Redskins had more rushing yards and the Cowboys missed a late field goal to decide the outcome. My concern with the Skins is that they've suddenly gone from a team great against the run to one that has struggled mightily to stop it. I tried to fade Dallas last week and it didn't work out. Even with the back-to-back wins, I'm still not all of a sudden buying these Cowboys as a viable contender in the NFC. They are benefiting from a weak division. I think this is a lower scoring game with Washington's offense maybe looking a little smoother with McCoy, who has been there for years. SELECTION: Redskins +7.5

 

Jacksonville Jaguars (3-7) at Buffalo Bills (3-7), 1 p.m. (Sunday)

The Bills had a nice bye week to rest up for the stretch run and the time off means Josh Allen will be back under center. The last we saw this team, Buffalo won 41-10 at the Jets two weeks ago. This defense is absolutely fierce against the run and the pass. The Bills also are as healthy as you can get for the most part. Last year, these teams played in the playoffs with the Jaguars winning 10-3 at home in a game that saw Jacksonville manage just 230 yards of offense. The Jags have lost six in a row and put a lot into their loss against the Steelers last week. Jacksonville stifled Pittsburgh for three quarters, but had no faith in its quarterback and the defense struggled to get stops in final frame. I think the Jags come out flat as can be in this one. Buffalo will be jacked for this one and may even win outright. SELECTION: Bills +3

 

Miami Dolphins (5-5) at Indianapolis Colts (5-5), 4:25 p.m. (Sunday)

The Colts have won four straight entering this one against the Dolphins. Their offense has been clicking with Andrew Luck firing away at will. I don't trust their defense, but they've been doing enough to get the wins as of late. Indianapolis did allow 28 points at Oakland just a few weeks ago so this defense can be scored on. In comes the Dolphins who have lost three of their last four, but are coming off the bye week. With that time off, Ryan Tannehill has been able to get healthy and will make his return. Frank Gore is going up against his former team and the defense will present a challenge. Miami has held five of its last six opponents to fewer than 250 passing yards and that included the likes of the Packers and Texans on the road. This is a divisional game sandwich for the home team, who hosted the Jaguars and Titans and will be playing at Jacksonville and Houston coming up. I think focus could be a little bit of an issue. SELECTION: Dolphins +9

 

Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2) at Denver Broncos (4-6), 4:25 p.m. (Sunday)

I think this one will be lower scoring than others are predicting. Pittsburgh's defense has held six straight opponents to 21 points or less. The Steelers' offense has had their issues a little bit on the road, scoring just 20 at Jacksonville and 23 at Baltimore the last two times away from home. Denver has scored no more than 23 points in six of its last seven games. Case Keenum could be on the run often. I think Denver's D does its job and keeps this within one score late. SELECTION: Under 47

 

— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.

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