(28-25-2 against the spread this season)
By Danny Picard
BOSTON — I went 3-2 against the spread in Week 11. So that’s a decent bounce-back week from a couple bad weeks in a row.
Seeing that it’s Thanksgiving weekend, and with the debut of a new “Black Friday Game” (why is it on at 3 p.m. instead of 8 p.m.?), eight teams have already played. So I have a limited number of games to pick from.
Also, forgive my shorter-than-usual breakdowns this week. I was planning on writing this late Saturday night, after Survivor Series ended. But if you follow me on instagram (@DannyPicard), then you’ll understand how I could not possibly focus on breaking down these NFL picks, as CM Punk made his wild return to the WWE in dramatic fashion as the event was about to end.
I’m writing this early Sunday morning, and we’re recording an emergency podcast soon to react to the shocking Survivor Series return, so I have to get this out quick.
But I will never abandon you on this front. Here are my picks for Week 12:
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-4) over New York Giants
-I’m doing it. This is me trusting Bill Belichick against a rookie quarterback in Tommy DeVito. How can you not trust Belichick in this matchup. He owns rookie quarterbacks. It’s in New York, so the four points is definitely high for a road favorite, especially considering that road favorite is the 2-8 Patriots, who, as I’m writing this, have yet to officially name their starting QB for the game. Reports indicate Mac Jones will get the nod, but whoever it is, it’ll be better than what’s on the other side. I’m banking on a defensive score for the Pats against the 3-8 Giants, and a big day on the ground for Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott against a New York rush defense that allows 135 yards-on-the-ground per game. Patriots win by a touchdown at MetLife.
LOS ANGELES RAMS (-2.5) over Arizona Cardinals
-Kyler Murray is back for the 2-9 Cardinals, and you’d think that’d be bad news for the 4-6 Rams on Sunday in Arizona. Problem is, Murray is not good in his career against LA. He’s 1-6 against the Rams with seven touchdown passes, six interceptions, and just one rushing touchdown. I expect this divisional matchup to be tight. For the Rams, Cooper Kupp hasn’t scored in a few weeks since his return, so look for Matthew Stafford to get him in the end zone for at least one TD against a Cardinals defense that allows 26 points per game, which is sixth-worst in the NFL. I’ll take LA to go into Arizona and win by a field goal.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (-3) over Buffalo Bills
-The 9-1 Eagles have won four straight, and are coming off a huge win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday night. The Bills are 6-5 and are coming off a win over the lowly New York Jets. Outside of that win over the Jets, Buffalo has had its issues as of late. So much so, that I can’t possibly pick them to go into Philadelphia and win this game. This is an extremely tough stretch for the Bills, as they face the Chiefs and Cowboys after the Eagles. I think the Eagles take advantage of the home field in what could be a much lower-scoring game than the over-under of 48.5 projects. Give me Philly to win and cover.
BALTIMORE RAVENS (-3) over Los Angeles Chargers
-I usually don’t like picking East Coast teams on the West Coast, but the 8-3 Ravens seem like a major mismatch for a 4-6 Chargers team that feels like it needs a coaching change as soon as possible. LA has lost two straight and they have one of the worst defenses in the league. On the other end, Baltimore has the second-best defense in the league, allowing just 16 points per game. I like Lamar Jackson to go off on Sunday Night Football. Ravens win by 10.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS (-3) over Chicago Bears
-Both the 6-5 Vikings and 3-8 Bears are coming off a loss. If the playoffs began today, Minnesota would be in, as the NFC’s No. 6 seed. And I’d be rooting for Josh Dobbs like you wouldn’t believe. How can you not root for him right now? The Vikings lost Kirk Cousins to a torn Achilles, but Dobbs’ presence makes it feel like they still have a shot to at least make things interesting. That shouldn’t change against a Bears team that allows 26 points per game. Also, Justin Fields has returned from injury for Chicago, but in his career against the Vikings, he’s 0-3 with two touchdown passes, and one interception. A Monday night in Minnesota against that? Give me the Vikings to win and cover.
Follow Danny on instagram @DannyPicard.