NFL Week 12 Picks - Early Games

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NFL Week 12 Early Games

All times Eastern

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Week 11: Rick: 7-7; Coin: 6-8
Cumulative: Rick: 74-86-2; Coin: 76-84-2

Thursday, November 21

8:20 pm Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans (-3 1/2, 45 1/2) - No surprise, the Colts got Jacoby Brissett back from a two-week absence and demolished the Jaguars, 33-13, tying the Texans for first place in the AFC South as the Texans were gutted at Baltimore, 41-7.

While the Texans are certainly not as bad as they looked against the Ravens, they are just 6-4, when they should have been ripping apart their division. The Colts already beat Houston once this season, 30-23, and will be ready to do it again. Though on the road, Indy will encounter stiff resistance, but overall, their offense is more versatile and their defense underrated. Houston's defense hasn't been good all season.

Coin Flip: Indianapolis

Prediction: Colts 27 Texans 22

Sunday, November 24

1:00 pm Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints (-9 1/2, 47) - Carolina's 29-3 loss to the Falcons last week shouldn't be viewed in a vacuum, since those same Falcons tore up New Orleans the week prior, 26-9, so the game may be a heck of a lot closer than the line is indicating.

New Orleans won at Tampa Bay last week, 34-17, and this is the first meeting of the season between these two NFC South foes. The 5-5 Panthers are still alive in the wild card but they may be eyeing the division title, as they host the Saints on the final week of the regular season and win here would put them just two games behind.

Coin Flip: Carolina

Prediction: Panthers 23 Saints 20

1:00 pm Denver Broncos at Buffalo Bills (-4, 37) - Buffalo's defense ranks third in points allowed (17.0) and yards allowed (304.1 per game) though Denver has similar numbers (19.7, 310.8). Neither offense inspired fear in the opposition, so this game could easily come down to field position and kicking.

Though 3-7, Denver seldom gets blown out. Four of their losses have been by four points or fewer. It may come down to which Allen has a better day - Denver's QB, Brandon Allen, or Buffalo single-caller, Josh Allen. At 7-3, the Bills probably need this one, because they still have Dallas, Baltimore and New England on the remaining schedule. Close game. Tough call.

Coin Flip: Buffalo

Prediction: Buffalo 16 Broncos 13

1:00 pm Detroit Lions (-3 1/2, 42 1/2) at Washington Redskins - The Lions give a solid effort every week, and, despite their 3-6-1 record, are a much better team then the Redskins put on the field.

Whether Matthew Stafford or Jeff Driscoll plays at QB for the Lions this week shouldn't be an issue because the Redskins are simply not going to score more than 21 points, which they've done exactly once this season (week 1). Their 1-9 record speaks volumes.

Coin Flip: Detroit

Prediction: Lions 30 Redskins 14

1:00 pm Miami Dolphins at Cleveland Browns (-10 1/2, 44) - The 4-6 Browns have a lot to be sorry about this season and they owe their fans an apology. They can start by tearing up the woeful Dolphins, traditionally a very bad cold weather team. It could snow this weekend in Cleveland and it certainly will be much colder than it will be on South Beach.

Coin Flip: Cleveland

Prediction: Browns 35 Dolphins 6

1:00 pm New York Giants at Chicago Bears (-6 1/2, 40 1/2) - To be honest, nobody really cares who wins or loses this game because both teams have been 2019 busts, especially the Bears. The Giants, at least changed QBs early on, giving their new choice, Daniel Jones, the chance to gain valuable experience. The Bears have stuck with their 2018 players, and have produced a huge dull, thud, offensively.

While the 2-8 Giants had last week off, the Bears were suffering an uninspired loss to the Rams, a potential playoff team that beat them soundly, 17-7, Sunday night. The Bears never had many good scoring opportunities as has been the case for most of the season. A seventh loss would put them almost out of the playoff picture entirely, but New York's defense (28.9 points allowed per game) is not getting it done to the point at which Chicago may equal or exceed their season high.

Coin Flip: Chicago

Prediction: Bears 31 Giants 13

1:00 pm Oakland Raiders (-3, 45 1/2) at New York Jets - The Jets have won two in a row, but they beat the Giants and Redskins, not exactly elite pro teams. The Raiders, on the other hand, are winners of three straight, over the Lions, Chargers, and Bengals, not quite a ringing endorsement either.

The difference is that at 6-4, the Raiders are in the hunt for a wild card or the AFC West title, where they trail the Chiefs by 1/2 game. Jon Gruden will have his team ready to handle the pressure and remind his players that next week's game matters a lot less if they lose in New York.

Coin Flip: Oakland

Prediction: Raiders 38 Jets 30

1:00 pm Pittsburgh Steelers (-6 1/2, 38 1/2) at Cincinnati Bengals - The last time the Steelers played was last Thursday, and they were thoroughly dismantled at Cleveland in a 21-7 defeat. The Bengals did the best they could, losing their 10th straight this season, at Oakland, 17-10. Extending back to 2018, the Bengals have lost 12 straight and 17 of 18.

Equally mediocre at home and on the road, with 0-5 marks on each, the Bengals are looking at 0-16 unless they get lucky, as they could here against a Pittsburgh squad that is still looking for offensive answers. They didn't find any at Cleveland and that could carry over to a second straight road game.

Coin Flip: Pittsburgh

Prediction: Bengals 23 Steelers 20

1:00 pm Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons (-4 1/2, 51 1/2) - Atlanta's played lights out defense the past two weeks in wins over New Orleans and Carolina and are now even with the Buccaneers in the NFC South at 3-7.

The QB match-up may be a big difference in this game. Matt Ryan isn't careless with the football, while James Winston has thrown 18 picks and fumbles more often than he should. Turnovers and time of possession should work in Atlanta's favor.

Coin Flip: Atlanta

Prediction: Falcons 26 Buccaneers 17

1:00 pm Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles (-2, 48) - Hardly surprising that the Eagles are only two-point favorites here, after their sorry performance in their 17-10 loss to New England last week. While they remain home for a second straight week, the quality of the opponent improves, which makes the Eagles favoritism something of a joke. Seattle should bomb them with Russell Wilson having an all-pro season and the Seahawks coming off three straight wins (Atlanta, Tampa Bay, SF) and a bye week.

Coin Flip: Seattle

Prediction: Seahawks 31 Eagles 16

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