It’s been a long time since so much mediocrity has existed in the NFL, making it more difficult to predict winners. Only nine teams have a winning record in Week 12, and most of the games on the schedule could go either way.
The favorites covered six of 11 point spreads last week, though underdogs continue to have a lot of success. Every underdog that covered the spread in Week 11 won outright. On the upcoming schedule, half of the games feature a point spread of three points or less, according to vegasinsider.com.
Below are picks against the spread for every game in Week 12, as well as updated betting odds at Las Vegas casinos.
Philadelphia Eagles (PK) at Detroit Lions
This might be the toughest game on the schedule to predict. The Eagles are the most inconsistent team in the league, and the Lions have two wins in a row after looking like the NFL’s worst team for eight weeks. Detroit has the edge because their defense has played well of late and Mark Sanchez has looked like he did at the tail end of his time with the Jets.
Prediction ATS: Detroit
Carolina Panthers (PK) at Dallas Cowboys
Even though the Cowboys have won seven fewer games than the Panthers, Thursday’s game could be a close one. Having Tony Romo at quarterback makes them a completely different team, and Dallas could win most of their remaining games. But the Panthers have established themselves as the best team in the NFC, and they should be favored in Dallas, where the Cowboys have lost 10 of their last 15 games.
Prediction ATS: Carolina
Chicago Bears (+9) at Green Bay Packers
Chicago has been very competitive since Jay Cutler returned from a hamstring injury in Week 4, going 4-3 and suffering each defeat by three points or less. After losing three straight games, Green Bay seems to be a tier below the NFL’s top teams, and they shouldn’t be giving the Bears so many points. Chicago had a chance to beat Green Bay late in the fourth quarter of their Week 1 matchup, and Sunday could have a similar result with the Packers winning by one score.
Prediction ATS: Chicago
New Orleans Saints (+3) at Houston Texans
Houston’s defense is finally playing like many thought it would at the beginning of the season. The Saints have put up big offensive numbers in a few games, but they’ve struggled when facing good defenses. That could be the case against the Texans, who’ve allowed 29 total points in their last three games.
Minnesota Vikings (+2) at Atlanta Falcons
Even though they lost to the Packers by three scores, the Vikings are still one of the best NFC teams. Despite their 6-4 record, the Falcons are not. Atlanta has beaten one good team all season in a game that they probably should have lost to the Giants, and they’ve lost three of their last four contests. Minnesota has won three straight road games, and Sunday should extend that streak to four.
Prediction ATS: Minnesota
St. Louis Rams (+9) at Cincinnati Bengals
Any chance the Rams had of making the playoffs likely ended with their loss to the Ravens in Week 11. But they can keep Sunday’s game close with their defense. Two of the Rams' defeats in their three-game losing streak were decided by a last-second field goal. Andy Dalton has looked much more like the Andy Dalton of old in recent weeks, and he could struggle against St. Louis, who had upset wins over the Cardinals and Seahawks.
Prediction ATS: St. Louis
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3) at Indianapolis Colts
Both teams are 5-5, but the Buccaneers are probably the better team. Tampa Bay ranks higher in total offense (9th to 18th) and total defense (13th to 27th). Matt Hasselbeck has played surprisingly well in three starts, and he could be due for a bad performance in Week 12.
Prediction ATS: Tampa Bay
New York Giants (-2.5) at Washington Redskins
The Redskins have already lost by 11 points to the Giants this season, and New York should be able to leave Washington with a win. Kirk Cousins has been picked off in every Redskins loss, and he might commit a few turnovers on Sunday, having thrown six interceptions in his last two games against the Giants.
Prediction ATS: New York
Oakland Raiders (-2) at Tennessee Titans
The Raiders might not be a playoff team like it appeared earlier in the season, but they should be able to beat the Titans, who might be the NFL’s worst team. Only two of Tennessee’s eight losses have come against winning teams, and they still haven’t won at home. A victory almost assures Oakland to cover the spread, making the Raiders the smart pick.
Prediction ATS: Oakland
Buffalo Bills (+5.5) at Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City’s five-game losing streak might have been a product of their opponents more than anything. After going through a stretch of playing teams with a combined 34-16 record, the Chiefs have been dominant for four consecutive games. Having won all of those games by double-digits, including three straight wins by an average of 27 points, they could have an easy time against Buffalo and a banged up Tyrod Taylor.
Prediction ATS: Kansas City
Miami Dolphins (+3.5) at New York Jets
The Jets are in a bad way, failing to cover the last four point spreads while losing four of their last five games outright. Miami has played poorly as well, losing three of their last four games by double-digits. This feels like a three-point game either way, and the best bet is to take the points.
Prediction ATS: Miami
San Diego Chargers (+4) at Jacksonville Jaguars
It’s hard to pick the Chargers these days. They haven’t won since Week 4, and their only two victories have come against the lowly Lions and Browns. Two of their last three losses have come by a field goal, so San Diego might lose and still cover, but Jacksonville is clearly the better team and the smart pick.
Prediction ATS: Jacksonville
Arizona Cardinals (-10.5) at San Francisco 49ers
It’s very rare for a road team to be favored by more than 10 points, but it’s appropriate in this case. Arizona has already beaten San Francisco by 40 points this season, and they’ve made a habit of blowing out bad teams on the road. The Cardinals have three road wins of at least 14 points, including two victories by 25 points. The 49ers already have two home losses by 14 points, and Sunday could mark a third.
Prediction ATS: Arizona
Pittsburgh Steelers (+4) at Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks might very well beat the Steelers, but they shouldn’t be four-point favorites. Pittsburgh has been the better team this season, and Seattle hasn’t been unbeatable at home. The Seahawks have already lost to two superior teams in Seattle, and they were lucky to beat Detroit. Ben Roethlisberger could have a big day against the Seahawks’ secondary, which has struggled against good quarterbacks.
Prediction ATS: Pittsburgh
New England Patriots (-5.5) at Denver Broncos
The Patriots have a legitimate chance to go undefeated this season, but they are no guarantee to win in Denver. The Broncos have the NFL’s best defense, and they could have a big night against a banged up New England offense. Peyton Manning threw six interceptions in Denver’s two losses, and the Broncos will be in this game until the end if Brock Osweiler doesn’t commit multiple turnovers.
Prediction ATS: Denver
Baltimore Ravens (+2.5) at Cleveland Browns
Without their No.1 quarterback, running back or wide receiver, the Ravens might not win again for the rest of the season. The Browns are a better team with Josh McCown playing over Johnny Manziel, and they are the easy pick since they just need to win by a field goal to cover the spread.
Prediction ATS: Cleveland
Season Record: 81-73-6