Week 12 NFL Picks

Brandon Staley’s career is winding down, the NFL is gearing up, and I still can’t find a groove picking winners.

Enjoy all the football this weekend. Treat it like Turkey. Take in as much as you can and workout survival later.

It’s taken me a few days to recover from the Eagles game Monday night and then all of sudden Thanksgiving is here, so we’re going rapid fire this week.

Last Week:  6 – 8 – 0
Season:       78 – 78 – 8

Thanksgiving (12:30PM, 4:30PM, 8:20PM ET)

Packers at Lions
The Lions can’t stop anyone, so this is a golden opportunity for Jordan Love… in front of a national audience… to gain momentum for his campaign to return as starter for the 2024 season. PACKERS +8.5

Commanders at Cowboys
Not sure why Ron Rivera is still employed, but the extra three days after this loss and then a Week 14 bye seems like the opportune time to let Riverboat Ron float on downstream. Dallas loves to crush bad teams, so I should definitely not take the points. However, it’s gonna happen one of these times, and I’ve been wrong every time before so why quit now? COMMANDERS +13

49ers at Seahawks
Geno Smith is playing injured, the Seattle ground attack has disappeared and the 49ers pass rush has found itself. Maybe San Francisco looks ahead to their rematch with the Eagles. That’s the best hope I can offer Seattle right now. 49ERS -7

Black Friday (3:00PM ET)

Dolphins at Jets
I don’t like Sean Payton. Not even a little. However, maybe we all owe him a little apology for attacking his comments about Nathaniel Hackett. For two straight seasons Hackett’s offenses have lacked production, scoring and anything resembling offense. To put it bluntly, they’ve sucked. Unwatchable even. Spare me the backup quarterback excuse. Plenty of teams are rolling with backups and no one has been close to as bad as the Jets. Even the Giants scored three touchdowns last week. Maybe Payton was right all along. DOLPHINS -9.5

Early Games (1:00PM ET)

Saints at Falcons
I hope Arthur Smith has been saving his rookie sensation for the stretch run. If not, and Bijan Robinson continues to get “limited” touches, then I hope the Falcons crash and burn. There are too many unwatchable teams this season and a team with three straight top ten skill position picks should not be one of them. FALCONS -1

Steelers at Bengals
Firing Matt Canada sounds well and good but do we really expect the Steeler offense to drastically improve? Kenny Pickett can’t read a defense, nor can he accurately put the ball on a receiver with any consistency. Coordinators can’t play quarterback. STEELERS -2

Panthers at Titans
Losing in your first season as head coach isn’t a big deal. Losing with a rookie quarterback at the helm isn’t a big deal. Losing and showing no improvement, no identity and no direction is a disaster. Carolina should unload Frank Reich now and apologize to Steve Wilks. (Taking the Panthers again because I don’t think the Titans want to win.) PANTHERS +3.5

Buccaneers at Colts
Both are very much alive in their respective playoff races. Both are very not good in their respective conferences. COLTS -2

Patriots at Giants
The Giants taught Tommy Devito how to successfully throw the football at the NFL level in three weeks. Zach Wilson and the Jets had 11 weeks and couldn’t figure it out. The Poor Giants are a Saquon Barkley and Tyrod Taylor brain fart away from sitting at 5-6 and in the thick of the Wildcard race. Now they get to play spoiler and hope they find some offensive weapons to use in 2024. GIANTS +3.5

Jaguars at Texans
The early slate is a rough one but this AFC South matchup redeems it. I said a few weeks back the Texans would regress and they’ve continued winning in impressive fashion ever since. I’m so good at this. JAGUARS -1.5

Afternoon Games (4:05PM ET)

Browns at Broncos
What do the Browns, Broncos, Steelers, Jets and Raiders have in common? They’re all trying to overcome bad offense with stellar defense in the chase for an AFC Playoff berth. Want to know the sixth team that should be added to that list? The Kansas City Chiefs. BROWNS +1.5

Rams at Cardinals
Give us Carson Wentz. That’s all I want from the Rams for the rest of the year. Wentz will likely be a mess as he was in Indy and Washington and Philadelphia (2020). However, 2017 and 2019 Wentz were a lot of fun and it was cool to see a fellow player appreciate that version of Wentz. RAMS -1.5

Chiefs at Raiders
Andy Reid and the Chiefs had that game Monday and then the running game disappeared on them. And yes, the drops too. Patrick Mahomes is good enough to throw the ball 40+ times and win. Unfortunately, the guys he’s throwing to are not. Kansas City used a 2nd rounder on receivers in consecutive drafts, so we can’t say they haven’t tried. However, regardless of effort, they’ve failed to provide enough talent to keep Mahomes and the offense churning. They must find a way to pay Tee Higgins this offseason before the wheels completely fall off Travis Kelce. RAIDERS +8

Bills at Eagles
Is Jalen Hurts hurt or not? Why isn’t this being covered like the Joe Burrow situation? The Eagles call a QB draw on 3rd and long and Hurts takes off with the explosiveness of a turtle. He’s caught before he makes it a yard beyond the line of scrimmage. Then it’s 3rd and goal from the six and Hurts races to end zone like it’s 2022 again. What is going on? And why is our franchise quarterback so hesitant to unleash his legs this season? And the offensive play calling is still a hot mess. Even Hurts couldn’t bring himself to praise Brian Johnson as the OC (though he did some impressive verbal gymnastics to praise Johnson as a coach and player – just not a play-caller). EAGLES -3

Sunday Night (8:20PM ET)

Ravens at Chargers
Brandon Staley is unhinged. Desperate men are unhinged. I know this because my picks have been unhinged. If you’re the Patriots, do you offer your first rounder in 2024 and 2025 for Justin Herbert? If you’re the Chargers, do you say no? The Chargers would get to reset the clock with a new quarterback, new coach and build from there with an additional pick. Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and maybe even Joey Bosa see their best days in the rearview. I don’t see a future for this core. The Patriots, on the other hand, get a quarterback and probably end up back in the Wildcard hunt next year at the very least. Is two firsts enough for Herbert? I’d say probably not, but that 2024 pick is looking like it’s top three, so I don’t think New England would throw another one on top. CHARGERS +3.5

Monday Night (8:15PM ET)

Bears at Vikings
Justin Fields and Joshua Dobbs are a ton of fun. With that said, I would not enjoy 17 weeks of them as my quarterback. The roller coaster ride is too turbulent. Also, how does time management continue to be so bad across football? The Bears were so bad at closing out the Lions I considered they might be actively tanking. Florida lost to Missouri because their running back didn’t stay in bounds. An NFL running back made the same mistake in Week 11 (I forget who). Jalen Hurts ran out of bounds in the final minute of the 1st half deep inside his own territory, preserving time the Chiefs ultimately needed to kick a field goal. Come on people. Pay attention. BEARS +3.5

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