Spread picks and scores for every Week 12 NFL game

Mike Renner makes spread picks and score predictions for every Week 12 game of the NFL season.

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Spread picks and scores for every Week 12 NFL game

As with every week, I’ll be giving a primer of all Week 12 games, as well as highlighting the key matchups. I’ll give you my picks and how confidence level for each, from a betting perspective. The confidence grade is on our patented -2 through +2 scale.

A positively graded prediction means that I feel good about the bet. If it’s zero, I’m on the fence. And if it’s negative, I really don’t like the line either way.

Here are against-the-spread picks and scores for every NFL game:

Eagles at Lions (Pick ’em)

The Lions’ defensive surge the past couple of weeks has certainly been impressive, but it hasn’t coincided with any change in that struggling offense. Philadelphia’s defense is better than it showed last week and its showing against the run was completely uncharacteristic. Even though Mark Sanchez is at the helm, I like the Eagles’ chances of moving the ball on the ground, as they’ve gone over 130 yards rushing in five of their last six games.

Prediction: Eagles 24, Lions 20
Confidence grade: 0

Panthers (-2) at Cowboys

Are the Cowboys suddenly back to the 12-4 team they were a year ago now that Tony Romo is healthy? Probably not. Does it completely transform their offense? You bet. Is that enough to cover for their defensive shortcomings against a 10-0 Panthers team? That’s the big question, and the answer I’ve come to is no. The Cowboys have our fourth-worst-graded run defense, and the Panthers with Jonathan Stewart and Cam Newton have our second-highest run grade. If they focus on stopping the run, Newton has been too deadly with his arm downfield not to expose the Cowboys’ below-average secondary.

Prediction: Panthers 30, Cowboys 24
Confidence grade: -0.5

Bears at Packers (-9)

The Packers’ offense may be starting to come around, but I don’t see them being back to an elite level yet. The timing part of their passing game is still sorely lacking, although Eddie Lacy being back and healthy gives the offense a dimension it’s been sorely lacking. That doesn’t suggest a blowout. If Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett are healthy enough to go, I think they keep it close.

Prediction: Packers 31, Bears 27
Confidence grade: -0.5

Raiders (-1) at Titans

The Raiders’ offense has dropped off a cliff as of late, after they looked like a playoff team at 4-3. Was it a sign of things to come, or two off games versus some good defenses? I’ll side with the latter. The Titans defense is better than you would expect for a 2-8 team though the offense has been exactly what you would expect. They’ve scored 13 points or fewer in seven of their last eight games. Yikes. Even against a Raiders defense that has our third worst coverage grade, I can’t see Marcus Mariota keeping up with Derek Carr.

Prediction: Raiders 24, Titans 17
Confidence grade: 0

Bills at Chiefs (-5)

The Chiefs have looked like a playoff team of late, there is no doubting that, but five points against a Bills team that on Monday night held Patriots to their lowest point total of the season? Far too high for me. I don’t anticipate either team reaching the 20s, and if the game is that low scoring it would be silly to expect the Chiefs to cover. The only reason I don’t feel better about the bet is Tyrod Taylor’s shoulder, which could limit or even keep him out of Sunday’s game.

Prediction: Chiefs 17, Bills 13
Confidence grade: -0.5

Buccaneers at Colts (-3)

Matt Hasselbeck may have almost 20 more years of football under his belt than Jameis Winson, but the Bucs’ 21-year-old rookie is already playing like a veteran. Winston’s performance against the Eagles last week was one of the most impressive I’ve seen all season — from any quarterback. While Hasselbeck has filled in admirably and done enough to win three games, I don’t see him having the ability to completely slice up a secondary as weak as the Bucs’. I’ll side with possibly the league’s best running back duo in Doug Martin, our No. 1 back in PFF grades, and Charles Sims, our No. 7 back, facing our 21st-graded run defense.

Prediction: Buccaneers 28, Colts 27
Confidence grade: +0.5

Giants (-2.5) at Redskins

Can I pass on this one? If someone truly could get a good feel for either of these teams they’d be rich, because it seems like a different team shows up every week for both. What we do know is that the Redskins are completely inept at running the ball, grading out in the bottom 10 for both rushing grade and run blocking as a team. With Jason Pierre-Paul back I think the Giants’ defense has enough talent up front to make the Redskins one dimensional.

Prediction: Giants 31, Redskins 28
Confidence grade: -1.5

Saints at Texans (-3)

The blueprint for beating the Saints isn’t to stop Drew Brees, it’s to rack up points on their hapless defense. Parting ways with defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and his sometimes needlessly aggressive ways should be a boost, but there are still too many holes there. The problem is that the Texans don’t have the type of offensive talent to attack the Saints. Houston is one of two teams to grade negatively in passing, receiving, rushing, run blocking, and pass blocking this year. Brees is still good for 20 or so points per game by himself, and I don’t see the Texans keeping pace.

Prediction: Saints 23, Texans 20
Confidence grade: +0.5

Vikings at Falcons (-2.5)

The limited playmakers on the Falcons offense is turning into a very big problem. They haven’t scored more than 21 points since Week 5 and not so coincidentally they haven’t had a receiver not named Julio Jones gain over 50 yards since Week 4. With one of the best defensive minds scheming against them in Mike Zimmer and with top 10 pass-rushing and pass-coverage grades as a team, I don’t see the Falcons scoring more than 21 again on Sunday. That means all the Vikings need to do is get Adrian Peterson back on track, and I like their chances going up against two of our lowest-graded linebackers in Paul Worrilow and Justin Durant.

Prediction: Vikings 24, Falcons 20
Confidence grade: +1

Rams at Bengals (-9)

There is no tip-toeing around it — the Rams’ offense is awful. They are averaging 17.9 points per game, the second-lowest in the league, and 24.3 yards per drive, the lowest in the league. Their plan to force-feed rookie running back Todd Gurley had its moments, but teams quickly caught on that they weren’t going to be beaten with a counter-punch through the air. The Bengals were exposed downfield by the Cardinals last week, but almost every team is. This is still a top-tier defense that can shut down the Rams’ one dimensional attack.

Prediction: Bengals 27, Rams 10
Confidence grade: 0

Chargers at Jaguars (-4)

How many wins would the Chargers have with a below-average quarterback instead of Philip Rivers? I vote zero. This may be the least talented team in the NFL at the moment, with the secondary (outside of Brandon Flowers) being the only redeeming quality on defense. Now they are headed across the country to play the early game Sunday against a Jaguars team that is finally starting to shed their doormat label. With Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns emerging as a legitimate 1-2 punch at wide receiver, the Jaguars offense has the upper hand in both the run and pass.

Prediction: Jaguars 33, Chargers 20
Confidence grade: -0.5

Dolphins at Jets (-3.5)

Their last meeting led to Joe Philbin losing his job. This time it’s the playoff lives of each team on the line. I don’t so much like the Jets in this one as much as I dislike the Dolphins and their mess of an offense. They refuse to be a run-first team even though their pass blocking is a nightmare and Lamar Miller and Jay Ajayi are grading out extremely well. The Jets secondary has struggled of late, and Darrelle Revis is the only member grading positively in coverage, but they’ll look a lot better when the Jets defensive interior is constantly putting pressure in Miami QB Ryan Tannehill’s face Sunday.

Prediction: Jets 23, Dolphins 17
Confidence grade: -0.5

Cardinals (-10.5) at 49ers

The 49ers are averaging 13.9 points per game this season. 13.9!! Arizona is averaging 33.6, which leads the NFL. No point in rolling through matchups, this should be a cakewalk for the Cardinals. I don’t think there is any way the 49ers score more than 10 points against the Cardinals, so I feel comfortable with the high spread.

Prediction: Cardinals 27, 49ers 10
Confidence grade: +1

Steelers at Seahawks (-4)

I know Patriots-Broncos gets all the headlines, but this has got to be my favorite matchup this week. Martavis Bryant and Antonio Brown against that Seahawks secondary that keeps allowing busted coverages. And then there’s Thomas Rawls against a Steelers defense that has missed the most tackles in the NFL. With Ben Roethlisberger healthy, though, there aren’t many teams I’d feel comfortable right now laying four points against the Steelers, and the Seahawks certainly aren’t one of them. On a per-dropback basis, he’s grading out right on par with Carson Palmer and Tom Brady. Right now I’d struggle picking against all three of those guys.

Prediction: Steelers 27, Seahawks 21
Confidence grade: -0.5

Patriots (-3) at Broncos

No Peyton Manning in this one, but I’m not sure the drop-off to Brock Osweiller is noticeable the way Manning was trending. The Broncos defense poses the toughest matchup the Patriots will have seen all season, and they’ll be without Julian Edelman and possibly Danny Amendola. That being said, Tom Brady is as healthy as can be and he’s still playing lights-out football. More importantly, the Patriots are playing lights-out defense. They actually lead the NFL in points per game against and have our second-highest-graded secondary to go along with above-average run defense and pass rush.

Prediction: Patriots 20, Broncos 13
Confidence grade: +0.5

Ravens at Browns (-3)

The Browns came away with the late W the last time these two teams met, although that was with Super Bowl winner Joe Flacco at quarterback. Now Josh McCown gets to try his hand at taking down Matt Schaub in the battle of journeymen quarterbacks. The worrisome thing for the Browns is once again their second-lowest-graded run defense going up against a top-10 run-blocking offensive line. The Ravens line is far too depleted for me to feel confident in them, though, with center Jeremy Zuttah out for the season and left guard Kelechi Osemele uncertain to play.

Prediction: Browns 20, Ravens 16
Confidence grade: -1

Season Record: 91-69 (77-79-1 ATS)

| Senior Analyst

Mike is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has also been featured on The Washington Post, ESPN Insider, and 120 Sports.

  • KingCheese

    I don’t know…whenever I hear about the Browns the words suck balls usually follow.

  • crosseyedlemon

    Just how many times do the Falcons have to give games away before the sportsbooks realize this team shouldn’t be favored? Vikes should rebound here without much trouble.

    • Sam Doohan

      It’s because they keep starting strong. They keep falling off too but they were good early this season (were undefeated for a while IIRC), and were good at the start of last season too and it wasn’t long before that they were surging into the playoffs and pushing for a superbowl.

      They are patchy as all hell but it’s clear they have real talent. That’s why bookies love them and love putting up outrageous lines because no-one knows what the hell is going to happen which means plenty of people betting on both sides and that makes for a happy bookie.

  • Paul Harry

    Prediction: Eagles 24, Lions 20
    Confidence grade: 0

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  • CountMahdrof

    1 win, 2 losses on T-giving. A mentally handicapped rhesus monkey could do better. Wow, really impressive “focus”.

  • Joe Haden

    Obviously you have NO CONFIDENCE in betting. You have a -0.5 that the Panthers win? I had a 100 that they would cover the spread by a touchdown. I don’t even bet on sports.

    • Sam Doohan

      Lots of things look certain with retrospect and it really wouldn’t have taken much for that game to be very competitive. It took two pick sixes AND Romo leaving halfway through for the Panthers to win by as much as they did and no-one would ever have predicted that. I’m glad you won your bet and that the Panthers kept on trucking but on Wednesday this looked like a much much closer game than it turned out being.

  • polfnikufesin

    The picks here, NFL and CFB, are brutal. Just get rid of the articles, it’s a complete joke.