NFL Picks Week 12: Aaron Rodgers Hopes Turkey Tastes Better With Victory


The Thanksgiving menu differs a little from household to household.

Some homes go with the candied yams, while others opt for green bean casserole. Some folks enjoy walnuts in their stuffing, while other people prefer their stuffing bone-dry and nut-free. Let’s just say there are a ton of options.

One thing that’s sure to be consumed just about everywhere, however, is football. The Turkey Day slate features three nationally televised games, culminating in the Green Bay Packers retiring Brett Favre’s No. 4 before taking on the Chicago Bears. The Ol’ Gunslinger victimized the Bears more than any other opponent in his NFL career, and Aaron Rodgers will get a chance to show his predecessor he can do the same.

Let’s check out the standings as Week 11 opens:
Ben Watanabe: 85-67-4 (Last week: 7-6). In hindsight, trusting Jay Cutler to not wet himself against Denver was a bad idea.
Mike Cole: 82-70-4 (Last week: 8-5). Thanks to Rex Ryan and the Bills, he picks up a game on the leader.
Ricky Doyle: 76-76-4 (Last week: 7-6). Hey, at least he’s back to .500 for the season.

Let’s carve into this week’s picks, with all lines provided by OddsShark.

(EV) Philadelphia Eagles (4-6) at Detroit Lions (3-7), 12:30 p.m. ET
Ricky: Eagles. Wake me up when dinner’s ready.
Ben: Lions. Remember when they used to give away that weird mechanical turkey trophy to the Thanksgiving Day MVP? Nobody playing in this game should get that — or any trophy of any kind.
Mike: Lions. Talking to your family doesn’t seem as bad when you consider Lions-Eagles is the alternative, right?

(EV) Carolina Panthers (10-0) at Dallas Cowboys (3-7), 4:30 p.m.
Ricky: Cowboys. I subtly predicted a Turkey Day victory for the Cowboys in last week’s picks column. Can’t turn back now. And you know what? I feel good about it.
Ben: Panthers. Tony Romo’s return makes this one a lot more interesting, but the Panthers are better and still undefeated ATS on the road.
Mike: Panthers. The fact that everyone’s going to be all over the Panthers here scares me, but Cam Newton is just playing so well right now.

Chicago Bears (4-6) at (-10) Green Bay Packers (7-3), 8:30 p.m.
Ricky: Packers. Jay Cutler is really bad against the Packers, and Aaron Rodgers is really good against the Bears. Also, Eddie Lacy’s resurgence last week bodes well for Green Bay against a Chicago defense ranked 25th in the NFL with 123.7 rushing yards allowed per game.
Ben: Bears. The Packers will win, for sure, but the Bears should have enough on offense to make this a touchdown loss at worst.
Mike: Packers. Everything going against Chicago here. Green Bay’s better, Lambeau will be fired up for the Brett Favre ceremony, and Jay Cutler has 12 interceptions there since joining the Bears.

Minnesota Vikings (7-3) at (-1) Atlanta Falcons (6-4), 1 p.m.
Ricky: Vikings. The Falcons are one of the worst bets in the NFL (0-6 ATS in their last six games), while the Vikings are one of the best (8-1 in their last nine games). Let’s say last week was just a hiccup for Minnesota, which was blown out by a Green Bay team desperately needing a win.
Ben: Vikings. The Falcons are beyond awful. They’re not the worst team in the league, but they are playing like it lately.
Mike: Falcons. The Vikings and Falcons are Nos. 13 and 14 in the OddsShark power rankings, respectively, so this is a toss-up. That being said, I’ll take the home team, but I’m not crazy about it.

St. Louis Rams (4-6) at (-10) Cincinnati Bengals (8-2), 1 p.m.
Ricky: Bengals. Good week for the Bengals to bounce back, as the Rams’ offensive incompetence is surpassed only by St. Louis’ incompetence when it comes to dealing with player injuries.
Ben: Bengals. Andy Dalton’s at home in an early game against an opposing offense incapable of holding onto the ball, let alone moving it down the field. No pressure, Tiggers roll.
Mike: Bengals. I’m not even sure how to go about looking this up, but it feels like the Rams probably have a horrible record in games they trail at some point. They can’t play from behind at all, which could be an issue against the Cincinnati offense.

New Orleans Saints (4-6) at (-3) Houston Texans (5-5), 1 p.m.
Ricky: Texans. Houston’s defense has allowed just two touchdowns in 14 quarters since the Dolphins scored 41 points in the first half of the teams’ Week 7 matchup.
Ben: Texans. Picking the Texans giving up points always is an uneasy proposition, but Houston is 4-1 ATS in its last five games, and the Saints’ defense still is shedding the stink of Rob Ryan.
Mike: Texans. The Saints aren’t very good, and all of a sudden, the Texans are in the playoff race. What a world.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5) at (-3) Indianapolis Colts (5-5), 1 p.m.
Ricky: Bucs. Tampa Bay is tied for fourth in the NFL with 20 takeaways. Indianapolis ranks dead-last in the league with 22 giveaways.
Ben: Bucs. The Colts are going to make the playoffs, but the Bucs are the better team right now and will this one outright.
Mike: Bucs. Jameis Winston in his last three road games: Eight touchdowns and zero interceptions.

San Diego Chargers (2-8) at (-4) Jacksonville Jaguars (4-6), 1 p.m.
Ricky: Jaguars. Philip Rivers literally has nothing to work with. The Jags, meanwhile, look like they’re onto something. No, seriously.
Ben: Jaguars. There’s no worse feeling than throwing your support behind the Jags for the third consecutive week and just knowing it’s probably one week too many.
Mike: Jaguars. The Chargers look like they could use a little, ahem, charging.

Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs (5-5), 1 p.m.
*No line as of Tuesday morning

Miami Dolphins (4-6) at (-3.5) New York Jets (5-5), 1 p.m.
Ricky: Dolphins. Picking these AFC East games sans the Patriots is an absolute chore — heck, picking Pats games is becoming a chore, too — so I’m going to take that extra half point and run with it. Jets by a field goal.
Ben: Jets. Hey, it’s the preseason favorite to challenge the Pats versus the midseason favorite to challenge the Pats! And both of them are horrible! But Ryan Tannehill is a national embarrassment.
Mike: Jets. Is there a way everyone in the AFC East not named the Patriots finishes 8-8? What about 7-9?

(-1) Oakland Raiders (4-6) at Tennessee Titans (2-8), 1 p.m.
Ricky: Titans. The Raiders had everyone fooled. I still think they’re a better team than the Titans, but Oakland is 3-22 in its last 25 games on the road, which is meaningful in a contest that’s essentially a pick ’em.
Ben: Raiders. Last week’s loss to Detroit showed the Raiders aren’t quite there yet, but they’re closer to “there” — wherever that is — than the Titans are.
Mike: Raiders. The Titans give up the fifth-most passing yards per attempt, which should be just what the Oakland offense — in a bit of a slump — will need to get going again.

(-1) New York Giants (5-5) at Washington Redskins (4-6), 1 p.m.
Ricky: Giants. The Redskins are rather sloppy with the football (minus-5 turnover differential). The Giants, on the other hand, rank second in the NFL — behind the undefeated Panthers — with a plus-12 turnover differential. Jason Pierre-Paul should only get better as the season progresses, which obviously will improve New York’s pass rush, which has been ho-hum to this point.
Ben: Giants. Eli Manning usually scores lots of points; Kirk Cousins does, too, sometimes. The Redskins are scuffling pretty bad with a 1-4 ATS record in their last five games, while the G-Men are 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven on the road.
Mike: Giants. Not only have the Giants beat the Redskins in their last five meetings, they’ve covered the spread each and every time.

(-11.5) Arizona Cardinals (8-2) at San Francisco 49ers (3-7), 4:05 p.m.
Ricky: Cardinals. According to OddsShark, Arizona has been favored by more than a touchdown on the road just four times since 1980. That has no bearing whatsoever on this week’s game, but “Another One Bites The Dust,” “Whip It” and “Stomp!” all were released that year — appropriate given the ass-whopping the Cards are about to dish out.
Ben: Cardinals. If the Niners are going to lose to Seattle sans-Beast Mode by more than two touchdowns, I shudder to think what the Cards might do to them.
Mike: 49ers. Rolling with Blaine Gabbert doesn’t seem like a great idea, but he’s been a relatively considerable upgrade over Colin Kaepernick, and that’s a lot of points for the Cardinals to cover.

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4) at (-4.5) Seattle Seahawks (5-5), 4:25 p.m.
Ricky: Steelers. The Seahawks have had trouble beating good teams this season, with four of their five losses coming against the Packers, Bengals, Panthers and Cardinals. Spoiler: The Steelers are a good team with Ben Roethlisberger at the helm.
Ben: Seahawks. Seattle is just 2-3 ATS at home this season, but the ‘Hawks appeared to turn a corner in their loss to the Cards two weeks ago. Pittsburgh’s 4-1-1 ATS record in its last six road games should give you pause, though.
Mike: Seahawks. The Steelers’ run defense has been good this season, but Thomas Rawls is red-hot right now, and I guess that makes the difference in this one. I hate this pick, though, but I’m too much of a coward to go the other way.

New England Patriots (-3) at Denver Broncos (8-2), 8:30 p.m.
Ricky: Broncos. This really isn’t a good matchup for the Patriots, who, despite being 10-0, suddenly look vulnerable given their rash of injuries.
Ben: Broncos. Brock Osweiler wasn’t completely pathetic in his debut, and the Pats are reeling along their offensive line, i.e. the last place you want to have issues when you’re facing Denver’s defense.
Mike: Broncos. The Patriots’ offensive line looked “meh” at best Monday night. The Patriots also are littered with injuries at the skilled positions. This game is in Denver. New England’s on a short week. That’s a lot to go against.

Baltimore Ravens (3-7) at (-2.5) Cleveland Browns (2-8), 8:30 p.m.
Ricky: Browns. Clear. Your. Schedule.
Ben: Browns. Just when the Ravens finally win a close game, they lose their elite-ish quarterback for a calendar year.
Mike: Ravens. Just gonna ignore that the Ravens will be without Joe Flacco and Justin Forsett, instead hanging my hat that I can’t in my right mind pick the Browns to cover as favorites.

Thumbnail photo via Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports Images

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