It’s one of the biggest weeks of the regular season in the NFL because of the three games on the American Thanksgiving holiday Thursday.
Kansas City and Arizona are on the bye – they could meet in the Super Bowl. Here’s a quick look at all Week 12 NFL games, played Sunday unless noted.
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions, Thursday
Most NFL fans outside Michigan are tired of seeing the sad-sack Lions host the first American Thanksgiving holiday game each year, but it’s not going to change. Both teams’ starting quarterbacks could miss this game as Chicago’s Justin Fields was injured in Sunday’s 16-13 loss to Baltimore and Detroit’s Jared Goff didn’t play in a 13-10 loss in Cleveland with an oblique injury. This wraps up the season series as Detroit lost in Chicago 24-14 in Week 4. David Montgomery rushed for 106 yards and two scores to lead the Bears.
Pick ATS: Detroit
Las Vegas Raiders at Dallas Cowboys, Thursday
Per usual, the mid-afternoon holiday game is hosted by the Cowboys, who partly became America’s Team because of this national spotlight. Dallas looked terrible offensively Sunday in a 19-9 loss in Kansas City. Pro Bowl receiver Amari Cooper missed it in COVID protocols and won’t go here. Cooper isn’t the Cowboys best wideout, though. That would be second-year CeeDee Lamb, who left the loss with a concussion and probably won’t be cleared by Thursday. The Raiders’ implosion continued with a 32-13 home loss to Cincinnati.
Pick ATS: Dallas (alternate line of -7)
Buffalo Bills at New Orleans Saints, Thursday
The Thanksgiving night game is not assigned to any team or location, although the Saints have been in it quite a bit in recent years. Buffalo was shockingly routed at home by Indianapolis on Sunday, 41-15. The Bills have some great wins and look Super Bowl-worthy at times but they also have a few bad losses. The Saints upset the Bucs in Week 8 but lost starting QB Jameis Winston to a season-ending injury in that game. They are 0-3 since following a 40-29 loss Sunday in Philadelphia. Star running back Alvin Kamara missed his second straight game.
Pick ATS: Buffalo
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals
Pittsburgh played without three of its best defensive players, including Defensive Player of the Year candidate TJ Watt, on Sunday night at the Chargers and not surprisingly allowed 41 points in a loss. There’s a good chance all three are back this week. Cincinnati came out of its bye and won in Las Vegas 32-13. Joe Mixon rushed for 132 yards and two scores, his seventh straight game with at least one TD. This concludes the season series between AFC North rivals. Cincinnati won in Pittsburgh 24-10 in Week 4 as Joe Burrow threw three TD passes, two to rookie J’Marr Chase. Ben Roethlisberger had two interceptions.
Point spread: Bengals -4.5
Pick ATS: Cincinnati
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Indianapolis Colts
Short week for the Bucs off hosting the New York Giants on Monday to conclude Week 11. We have a new contender for league MVP honors in Colts running back Jonathan Taylor. In Sunday’s upset of Buffalo, Taylor had a career-high 32 carries for 185 yards, and he became just the 18th player in NFL history to score five touchdowns. Taylor became the third-youngest player to have five touchdowns in a game and the third to get all five in just three quarters. He has scored at least one in eight straight games.
Point spread: Bucs -2.5 (may change after Monday)
Pick ATS: Indianapolis (alternate line of -3)
Carolina Panthers at Miami Dolphins
What do these disappointing teams have in common? Both were reportedly heavily involved in trade talks for Deshaun Watson – and probably will be again in the off-season. Cam Newton made his first start Sunday under centre since recently returning to Carolina and the Panthers were upset 27-21 at home by Washington. Newton threw for two scores and rushed for one. Don’t look now, but the Dolphins might be turning their season around on a three-game winning streak. They won 24-17 at the Jets on Sunday behind two TD passes from Tua Tagovailoa.
Pick ATS: Miami
Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots
The Titans got caught in the definition of a trap game on Sunday with their six-game winning streak (the previous five against 2020 playoff teams) ending in a 22-13 home shocker against a terrible Houston Texans club. Top Tennessee wideout AJ Brown left with a chest injury. New England is the hottest team in the AFC, winning a fifth straight Thursday in Week 11, 25-0 in Atlanta. That defence is playing out of its mind, allowing just 50 points in that winning streak. Rookie QB Mac Jones has been great too.
Pick ATS: New England
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants
It’s the first meeting of the season between NFC East clubs. New York is on a short week after visiting Tampa Bay on Monday to conclude Week 11. The Giants were without leading receiver Sterling Shepard and safety and defensive captain Logan Ryan. The Eagles won their second in a row Sunday, 40-29 over New Orleans. Philly really struggled to run the ball early this season, other than with QB Jalen Hurts, but has now becoming a running monster as it had 242 yards and three scores (all from Hurts) on the ground vs. the Saints.
Pick ATS: Philadelphia (alternate line -2.5)
Atlanta Falcons at Jacksonville Jaguars
The Falcons have lost back-to-back games by a combined score of 68-3 and QB and former league MVP Matt Ryan has looked done in those games – the team doesn’t have anyone capable of replacing him, however. Jacksonville was dominated 30-10 at home by San Francisco on Sunday. Rookie QB and No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence had his third straight game of under 165 yards passing and without a TD.
Pick ATS: Jacksonville
New York Jets at Houston Texans
About the only thing at stake here is the loser still has a shot to earn the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, although that’s most likely going to Detroit. We have no clue who will start at QB for the Jets. Veteran Joe Flacco did in Sunday’s 24-17 loss to Miami but if rookie No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson is healthy, it should be him in Houston. The Texans stunned the Titans 22-13 to snap an eight-game skid despite totaling just 190 yards.
Pick ATS: NY Jets (alternate line of +3.5)
Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos
First meeting this season between AFC West rivals. Denver comes off its bye week with serious quarterback questions but apparently no inclination to replace Teddy Bridgewater. The Chargers took advantage of an injury-depleted Pittsburgh defence on Sunday night and won 41-37 behind four TDs from running back Austin Ekeler (two rushing, two receiving).
Point spread: Chargers -1.5
Pick ATS: Denver
Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay Packers
Perhaps the most important game remaining in the NFC this regular season. Both teams pursued free-agent receiver Odell Beckham Jr., and he of course picked the Rams. They have not looked right in back-to-back lopsided losses but at least come out of their bye. It likely couldn’t have come at a better time. The Packers entered Week 11 as the NFC’s top seed but lost it thanks to a 34-31 defeat in Minnesota despite 385 yards and four TDs from Aaron Rodgers, who says he is playing through a painful toe injury.
Pick ATS: Green Bay
Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers
Rather amazingly, every Vikings game this season has been decided by seven points or fewer. They were on the right side of it for the second straight outing Sunday, knocking off Green Bay 34-31 on a short field goal as time expired. Kirk Cousins threw for 341 yards and three scores and Justin Jefferson caught eight for 162 and two scores. Sunday was a potential trap game for the Niners off a big home win vs. the Rams and having to travel across the USA and play Sunday at 10 a.m. Pacific time in Jacksonville, but San Francisco had little trouble in a 30-10 win. The Niners scored on their first five possessions.
Pick ATS: San Francisco
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens
Sunday night game. Cleveland barely beat winless Detroit on Sunday, 13-10. Baker Mayfield is completely beaten up right now and not very good, throwing for 176 yards and two picks. Star running back Nick Chubb returned from a game in COVID protocols and rushed for 130 yards and caught a TD pass. Baltimore surprisingly scratched QB and MVP candidate Lamar Jackson with a non-COVID illness shortly before Sunday’s game in Chicago but was able to pull out a 16-13 win with Tyler Huntley making his first NFL start. Jackson should be fine for this one.
Pick ATS: Baltimore
Seattle Seahawks at Washington Football Team, Monday
Alas, Monday night games can’t be flexed until next season. Don’t be shocked if Seahawks QB Russell Wilson is traded this off-season … to Washington. Seattle hosted an Arizona team missing its two best offensive players on Sunday yet the Seahawks still lost 23-13 as Wilson played poorly for a second straight week. Washington won its second in a row Sunday, 27-21 at Carolina. Taylor Heinicke threw for 206 yards and three scores.
Pick ATS: Washington