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NFL Week 12 picks: Jets beat Raiders, Giants cover; 49ers top Packers; Ravens lock of week on MNF

Sam Darnold could have another big day against

Sam Darnold could have another big day against the Raiders' pass defense.  Credit: ERIK S LESSER/EPA-EFE/Shuttersto/ERIK S LESSER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Goodbye byes, hello playoff races. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, the home stretch for the NFL season is heating up.

This is the final week for byes, as the Cardinals, Chargers, Chiefs and Vikings are off. Teams haven't fared too well off a bye, going 8-16 straight up and 9-15 against the spread. Teams in that spot this week are the Giants, Packers, Seahawks and Titans. Favorites went 9-4-1 ATS last week but underdogs still lead 89-70-3.

My most confident picks ATS are the Ravens, Seahawks, Jets and Titans. Avoid (and don't watch) Lions-Redskins and Steelers-Bengals.

RAIDERS (6-4) AT JETS (3-7)

TV: Ch. 2, 1 p.m.

Raiders by 3; O/U: 46.5

When the Raiders beat the Chargers on TNF, I Googled their schedule and tweeted that they'd be a wild-card team. That was based on them beating the Jets to get to 7-4. Now? I see it differently. This isn't because the Jets beat the two-win Giants and one-win Redskins, although the team's first winning streak obviously boosted morale. This is more about how great a spot this is for the Jets. Similar to their Week 6 matchup with the Cowboys (who had the Eagles the next week in prime time), the Jets host a Raiders team that could already be looking ahead to next week's AFC West clash at Kansas City. Oakland's success is all about Josh Jacobs and its O-line, but guess who is No. 1 at stopping the run? Yep, the Jets. On the flip side, the Raiders have a bottom-6 pass defense, so expect Sam Darnold to air it out. Upset! Jets win, 24-20.

The pick: Jets

GIANTS (2-8) AT BEARS (4-6)

Bears by 6.5; O/U: 40.5

What do you do when one of the worst offenses takes on one of the worst defenses? Well, besides from not watching, you take the points. Especially when it's this many. The Giants are off a bye, so hopefully they addressed their pass coverage. Luckily for Big Blue, the Bears' QB options aren't intimidating. The defense can be, though, so Daniel Jones can't turn it over. Look for Saquon Barkley to regroup after his 1-yard rushing effort against the Jets as the Giants keep this close.

The pick: Giants

1 p.m. Games


Eagles by 1; O/U: 48

When Philadelphia's back has been against the wall, it has responded. It won at Green Bay to avoid a 1-3 start and rolled at Buffalo to get to 4-4. This will be tougher. The Eagles' plodding offense won't do enough against a reinvigorated Seahawks defense that played its best game of the season in the overtime MNF classic at San Francisco before their bye week. Jadeveon Clowney could wreck this game, too. This was originally the SNF matchup before it was moved to an early start. That won't affect Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll, though: According to Odds Shark's Joe Osborne, the Seahawks are 5-0 SU in their last five trips to the East Coast, and even more impressive, 9-0 ATS in their last nine spots as an underdog. Wilson finds a way to eke out another win.

The pick: Seahawks


Saints by 9.5; O/U: 47

This is the Panthers' season, so expect everything they've got as they try to stay in the wild-card race. They can keep this in single digits.

The pick: Panthers

BUCS (3-7) AT FALCONS (3-7)

Falcons by 4; O/U: 51

After dominant wins at New Orleans (26-9) and Carolina (29-3), it would be SO NFL for Atlanta to return home and lay a dud. This should be a close, high-scoring game as both pass defenses will struggle. Also, the Falcons host the Saints on Thanksgiving night, so there's a possibility they'll be looking ahead to facing their biggest rival again.

The pick: Bucs


Browns by 10.5; O/U: 44.5

Only the Browns could turn the final seconds of their biggest win into their biggest loss. Not having Myles Garrett will obviously hurt an already-depleted defense. This is a lot of points, but this could be the spot for the Browns' first blowout win at home against a Miami defense that just allowed 37 points to the Bills. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt run wild and Baker Mayfield finds ex-Dolphin Jarvis Landry for a pair of TDs.

The pick: Browns


Steelers by 6.5; O/U: 38.5

This is the frontrunner for "Game To Be Shown The Fewest Times on NFL RedZone."  Pittsburgh's defense will earn the win, but considering how shorthanded the Steelers offense is, I'll take the points and hope the winless home team shows up against its biggest rival.

The pick: Bengals

BRONCOS (3-7) AT BILLS (7-3)

Bills by 4; O/U: 37.5

Much like the Bills' 6-2 vs. 2-6 matchup with the Browns in Week 10 (a 19-16 loss at Cleveland), this 7-3 vs. 3-7 is a lot closer than you think. Denver has had a ton of tough luck with close losses, including last week after leading 20-0 at Minnesota. The Broncos will be able to run the ball and keep this another field-goal difference. For whatever reason, Buffalo has historically struggled the week after playing Miami, losing their last five such instances and 13 of 17 dating since 2010.

The pick: Broncos

LIONS (3-6-1) AT REDSKINS (1-9)

Lions by 3.5; O/U: 41.5

You'd usually never want to lay points on the road with a backup QB, but when the alternative is backing a Redskins offense that has scored 17 points or fewer in eight straight games, including 3, 7, 0, 9 and 9 in five of them, what choice do you have?

The pick: Lions

4 p.m. Games


Patriots by 6.5; O/U: 45.5

New England is 9-1 because of its defense and special teams. Tom Brady said it himself after a 17-10 win in which the offense needed a Julian Edelman TD pass to rally against the Eagles. Take it from someone who's learned not to doubt the Pats: Once you do, it's almost automatic they'll be playing for the Lombardi Trophy. That doesn't mean this is an easy cover. Dak Prescott (NFL-best 3,221 passing yards) is having a career year, and while this is by far the toughest secondary he's faced, I can see Ezekiel Elliott having sucess running early and opening up the passing game. Dallas hangs around in a fun one.

The pick: Cowboys


Titans by 3; O/U: 42

Tennessee is always one of the toughest teams to figure out, but this feels like an easy one for a change. You don't have to worry about a letdown after their dramatic win over the Chiefs because that was two weeks ago. At home off a bye, Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry will get the best of a Jaguars team that lost its last two by 23 and 20 points. The Titans have won the last five meetings in Tennessee.

The pick: Titans


PACKERS (8-2) AT 49ERS (9-1)

TV: Ch. 4, 8:20 p.m.

49ers by 3; O/U: 48

This game was flexed to SNF, and for good reason. The winner takes one step closer to a first-round bye, and anytime you can get Aaron Rodgers vs. the NFL's best defense, it's ratings gold (and red). If you want to go with Rodgers off a bye and getting points, it's understandable. The Packers struggle to stop the run, though, so Tevin Coleman should hit for some big plays as Kyle Shanahan's run-heavy game plan keeps Rodgers on the sideline. When he's on the field, he will be introduced to Nick Bosa.

The pick: 49ers



RAVENS (8-2) AT RAMS (6-4)

Ravens by 3; O/U: 46.5

Lamar Jackson and the running Ravens look unstoppable right now. Two of their last three wins were 37-20 against the Patriots and 41-7 over the Texans. If they could rattle Deshaun Watson, imagine what they'll do to Jared Goff. As great as Jackson, Mark Ingram and the offense has been, the defense has turned it around and it will continue against an overmatched O-line. Goff will be blitzed early and often, and don't be surprised if former Ram Marcus Peters takes his old QB to the house for another of his signature pick-6s. Jackson will of course dazzle with his legs and arm. I can see the headline in bright lights now: LA-MAR!

The pick: Ravens


(best bets in bold)


77-82-3 overall, 6-5 best bets

Last week: 5-8-1

Jets Giants Seahawks Panthers

Bucs Browns Bengals

Broncos Lions Cowboys

Titans 49ers Ravens


72-87-3, 3-8

Last week: 10-3-1

Raiders Giants Eagles Saints

Falcons Browns Steelers

Bills Lions Cowboys

Titans Packers Ravens


80-79-3, 6-5

Last week: 11-2-1

Raiders Bears Seahawks Saints

Falcons Dolphins Bengals

Bills Lions Patriots

Jaguars 49ers Ravens


82-77-3, 4-7

Last week: 9-4-1

Raiders Bears Seahawks Saints

Falcons Dolphins Steelers

Broncos Lions Patriots

Titans Packers Ravens

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