Saturday, November 25, 2017

2017 NFL Week 12 Picks

Week 11 wasn't quite as good as I had hoped, but I was quite thankful for Thursday's results. It's back to a full slate now that every team has had a bye, so now is the time to separate from the pack at the top of my picks pool.

Last week: 8-6
Season total (counting the Thanksgiving games): 87-76

Titans -3.5 at Colts

Rishard Matthews' likely absence hurts, but facing the #26 pass defense in DVOA is a great bounce back spot for Marcus Mariota after a 10 day layoff. In fact, Tennessee's remaining schedule unfolds pretty nicely for them to secure their playoff spot in the open AFC field.

Falcons -8.5 versus Buccaneers

I was already going to say this is the week Julio Jones breaks loose in a big way for his fantasy owners, and that was even before I read that he has 68 catches for 1,110 yards and 8 touchdowns in 10 career games against Tampa. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been surprisingly effective thanks to poor competition, but I doubt he'll be able to keep pace in this game.

Browns +8.5 at Bengals

Sometimes it seems like Cleveland just wants to give away the cover with the way DeShone Kizer has turned the ball over late in games. I feel like a broken record, but Cincy's putrid offensive line going up against this solid defensive front should keep this one close, though. Give me the points.

Patriots -16.5 versus Dolphins

Eagles -13.5 versus Bears

Conversely, there weren't enough points in the world for me to take these two poor teams on the road against arguably the two best teams in the league. The Matt Moore to Kenny Stills connection could create some worry for a backdoor cover, but Tom Brady should create enough of a cushion against DVOA's 31st ranked pass defense. And I just can't see the Bears passing game getting anything going against Philly's defense due to the lack of weapons.

Panthers -4.5 at Jets

Yes, yes, everyone knows this is a trap game for Carolina coming off a bye before their big matchup with the Saints next week, but their defense should be too much for New York by themselves. Greg Olsen's return from IR certainly helps, as well, especially with Curtis Samuel now out for the year as the secondary target behind Devin Funchess.

Chiefs -9.5 versus Bills

Kansas City might seem hard to trust after laying that dud in New York after their bye, but a Buffalo team that struggles on the road going to Arrowhead seems like a disaster. The mistake everyone saw coming, Nathan Peterman, may not be starting anymore, but Justin Houston and Marcus Peters are always threats to generate turnovers against mediocre offenses.

49ers +7.5 versus Seahawks

San Francisco were close to the upset when these teams met in Seattle at the beginning of the year, and now Shaq Griffin is joining Richard Sherman and Kam Chanchellor on the shelf in the secondary, for this week at least. On the other side of the ball, Seattle is still relying solely on Russell Wilson to make plays given the state of their offensive line and running game, and that's just so hard to sustain week after week.

Cardinals +4.5 versus Jaguars

Call me crazy for picking against Jacksonville and with Arizona again, but both of their games last week were closer than the final score indicated. Jalen Ramsey injuring his hand in practice helps, but if Adrian Peterson can get going early against the more vulnerable run defense, that could put the pressure on Blake Bortles. And after all, it's the Blaine Gabbert revenge game!

Rams -2.5 versus Saints

I should have went with my initial instincts against New Orleans last week, and now that top corners Marshon Lattimore and Ken Crawley are out, this should be where their winning streak ends. Not having Robert Woods hurts, but this is a good spot for Jared Goff to finally feed Sammy Watkins and take care of business at home.

Raiders -4.5 versus Broncos

In a matchup between a Denver team that just fired their offensive coordinator and an Oakland squad that replaced their defensive coordinator, give me the far superior quarterback in Derek Carr, especially at home. Facing replacement level right tackles should also get Khalil Mack going to spark their disappointing defense.

Steelers -14.5 versus Packers

Another week, another prime time home game for Ben Roethlisberger against a beatable pass defense. I'm surprised SNF didn't flex out of this game because Brett Hundley on the road against a tough Pittsburgh defense isn't something anyone wants to see.

Ravens -7.5 versus Texans 

Out of all the big home favorites, this is the one I feel least comfortable with since Joe Flacco doesn't exactly inspire confidence whenever he drops back. However, Baltimore just has such a good defense, plays well at home, and is facing Tom Savage. That might just be enough.

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