Toby’s Week 12 NFL Picks and Previews for Every Game
TOBY’S WEEK 12 NFL PICKS AND PREVIEWS FOR EVERY GAME – I am on the road this weekend doing family stuff, so I’m not able to update and run my usual losing numbers for week 12.
However, being “with family” for “the holidays” doesn’t mean I’m not going to sneak away for an hour to make my weekly betting picks. Who do you think I am, a well-adjusted adult? BORING!
We’re blowing through college funds parlaying second half unders, just as the Founding Fathers intended. Particularly Samuel P. Chase, the only Supreme Court Justice to ever be impeached, for what I can only imagine was making illegal bets on skirmishes in the western territories with the Natives. If only there were a way to verify that. I guess we’ll never know.
As I cannot update my numbers, I am throwing a changeup and doing this week solely on vibes. This is probably a good thing, as I am under .500 on the year and still trailing the hypothetical flipped coin. Maybe this is the week I dominate and catch up to the heads or tails method of prognostication. We can dream.
Here are all games this week in order followed by all games ranked by my confidence in each bet.
I’ve already briefly covered the Thanksgiving Day games, as I’m not sure when we will be able to get this up given that I’m sitting here writing it on Thanksgiving morning before all of the normal people wake up.
Accordingly, I will not be changing my picks, even though the line movement in the Cowboys game (from -11 to -13.5 so far) is giving me pause.
HIGH CONFIDENCE GAMES
#1: TAMPA BAY +2.5 @ INDIANAPOLIS
This one strikes me as very odd. Why on Earth is Indianapolis getting points against any team with a pulse?
I had to check the injury report just to see if Baker Mayfield was questionable with a hangover, but all I found were some defensive injuries from last week. Sure it’s not ideal to lose your corners and outside linebacker, but as long as we’re not seeing Kyle Trask this week, I’m skipping my mortgage payment to put it on Tampa Bay this week.
Tampa is still an under-the-radar pretty good team so far in 2023. While I didn’t love the matchup they had last week in San Francisco, I noted that I was hoping for to take them in a future week where they got a line that I perceived as disrespectful.
And here it is, the very next week. I feel like I’m missing something here. Sure they are on the road, but is Indy really all that difficult of a trip? Can they manage potentially without their top corners to stop the aerial circus of Gardner Minshew, fresh off hanging ten points on the Patriots? Let me check the weather…nope. It looks like the forecast calls for room temperature this week.
I’m sure Indy will slap the Bucs around and make me look foolish but for now I love taking the Bucs to win this one straight up, let alone with a 2.5 point cushion. This feels like another big Mike Evans game as well.
#2: PITTSBURGH -2 @ CINCINNATI
This one started out at -1, and that’s where I took it as I figured it would start moving. It has only moved a point so far, and I still like the Steelers at -2.
I’m not expecting sudden magic now that they finally fired Matt Canada and replaced him with some guys that they had working under…Matt Canada, but I am expecting a little bit of coherence in their offense and possibly even some college-level route-concepts. Perhaps they might even move the WRs around in the formations? A man can dream.
Now, obviously the reason that this spread isn’t Cincinnati -21.5 is the season-ending injury to Joe Burrow in week 11, where his thumb looked to hit the air too hard and shattered into 100 pieces.
Don’t quote me, I’m not a doctor.
In his place, the Bengals are starting a guy named Jake Browning, who lit it up in 2016 at the University of Washington before not lighting it up in 2017 and 2018 and going undrafted. Since then, he has thrown 15 NFL passes and parlayed them into 68 yards, which is positively Kenny Pickett-ian if you ignore that he also threw an actual touchdown on one of them. So this is shaping up to be a potentially epic mid-off between two “one good year in college” QBs who throw nothing but RB swing passes.
This would seem like a classic Mike Tomlin let-down spot. However, the Bengals are only 2 point dogs here so I’m hoping that the Steelers are bad enough that they can never truly be in position to have a letdown game. May the mediocre-est team win!
#3: CLEVELAND @ DENVER -1
I mentioned last week that Denver has been surprisingly decent over the last month, and they did just enough to beat the Vikings last week at home.
I was all over the Browns last week against Pittsburgh despite them starting Dorian Thompson-Robinson-Alouicious IV, however after his performance on the field I can’t back them again, especially not in Denver. The Browns signed Joe Flacco which might be fun but all reports suggest that it will be DTR again this week and I think the Broncos can manage a 6-3 victory.
Sidenote: A lot of people have been acting like Russell Wilson is good again because his stats look good. He’s not — he’s just not atrocious.
Wilson is still incapable of making an offense run properly and loves spinning around and taking sacks on 3rd downs. They are essentially just screen-passing their way downfield and somehow it has been working. The primary reason for their improvement, in my opinion, is that the defense is no longer a sieve of historic proportions. I think it’s good enough to shut down the rudderless Browns attack.
#4: MIAMI -9.5 @ NY JETS
Okay, I’ve seen Tim Boyle play and, yeah, it’s nice that the Jets FINALLY admitted that Zach Wilson should be working as a cashier in the Team Store. But Tim Boyle is most certainly not it.
He is, as the kids say, not Him. And I don’t just mean he’s not an NFL quarterback. He wasn’t even good in college! Hell, he wasn’t even average in college. This is a guy who played like a random walk-on, AT UCONN. I can’t say I watched any Tim Boyle UCONN footage, but his numbers are absolutely stunningly atrocious.
Then he transfers to an FCS school in Eastern Kentucky. Bailey Zappe time, right? NO! He was terrible there as well! HOW ON EARTH IS HE IN THE NFL? MAKE IT STOP.
This is not some hidden gem that got dealt an awful hand and just needed some NFL polish. He got to start a few games in Detroit, and he was awful. But he’s apparently Aaron Rodgers’ friend, and that’s enough to get you on the Jets roster these days. Oh, and this year the NFL is playing a Friday game during Thanksgiving week, and this is the one that we’re getting. So it’s going to be a heaping serving of Tim Boyle for everybody. What delicious leftovers!
The only way I can see the Jets covering this game is if they manage to lose 7-0. Jeff Wilson will probably have 50 carries for 73 yards and 6 TDs in this one, which would be the single most Jeff Wilson game in NFL history. Hypothetical congratulations to Jeff Wilson Jr.! Hell, to Jeff Wilson Sr. as well. You, sir, made the world another tremendous Jeff Wilson and you should be proud.
#5: SAN FRANCISCO -7 @ SEATTLE
I’ve already covered this one so I’ll keep this one short. San Francisco has absolutely owned the Seahawks, and I don’t see that abating any time soon.
MODERATE CONFIDENCE GAMES
#6: CHICAGO +3.5 @ MINNESOTA
Once Chicago gets going late in the season, I just feel like they are a cover machine.
They probably won’t win this one, but I have some faith that they can certainly lose it by 3 or less. That being said I wouldn’t be surprised if they did win it, as I can them running all over Minnesota on Monday night. This feels like one of those games where Justin Fields has a 70+ yard TD run.
#7: KANSAS CITY @ LAS VEGAS +9
After last week, I’m sold on the Antonio Pierce Raiders. On top of that, they always seem to play Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs well. Kansas City is notoriously bad at covering the giant spreads they often receive, and that is in seasons where they are actually good offensively.
But this team, led by the rigid hands of MVS and the fruitless routes to nowhere of Skyy Moore? I’ll take the Raiders to not lose by a lot of points.
I wonder what retread they will hire over Pierce after the season? Just feels like this is going to be Rich Bisaccia all over again.
#8: GREEN BAY +8 @ DETROIT
Enjoy a good Lions team this Thanksgiving, which we seem to get about as often as Halley’s Comet. That being said, vibes are telling me this isn’t going to be a blowout so I’ll take the points in one of the NFL’s oldest rivalry games.
#9: JACKSONVILLE -1.5 @ HOUSTON
This is another purely vibes pick, as I just have a feeling that Jacksonville wins this one and splits the season series with the Texans.
If, however, CJ Stroud and the Texans dice them up again, we need to really start having the Stroud for MVP conversation like for real for real. This team is boring and terrible and not supposed to be very good but here they are, being pretty good. I loved Tank Dell coming out of college but even I didn’t expect it to be this good this quickly.
#10: NEW ORLEANS (PK) @ ATLANTA
A true pick-em! Between two terrible, poorly-coached awful teams!
New Orleans in particular has been hard to bet on or against due to their variance, and they are led by the single most boring QB in the NFL in Derek Carr, but I am picking them because they are not led by Arthur Smith.
Arthur Smith has to be doing a bit. There’s no way a coach can be this aggressively bad otherwise.
Speaking of Derek Carr, all indications are that he is going to play and go back to screaming at Chris Olave every time he misses him on a deep ball. It’s an interesting strategy that hasn’t paid off yet but perhaps just needs some more time to show positive returns.
This team was forced into a quarter of Jameis Winston, saw the absolute excitement that crazy Jameis provides – and saw Olave actually involved and making big plays – and they said screw this, this is too much, we need to go back to the slow steadiness of Derek Carr.
Derek Carr is a rocket-armed freak who is afraid to take a hit and outside of some scheduled deep balls just lives to get rid of the ball underneath to a tight end. He probably has a Lamborghini that he drives just below the speed limit on the Interstate.
Speaking of Jameis, how is he not on the Jets? Did the Jets not at least call the Saints about him? Can the NFL not step in and make this happen? What are we doing here? “No”, you angrily meow, “the Jets need to play safe, turnover-free football and let their defense win games”. To that I say “NO!” and spray you with a water bottle.
Zach Wilson was playing turnover-free afraid-to-lose ball and we see where that got them. Bring in Jameis and let him rip it! Yeah, Josh Allen often gives up too many turnovers and this season in particular it has been costly to the Bills.
But Josh Allen is awesome, and it’s because he knows he can absolutely rip it and make throws like this. The Bills are apparently going to try and turn him into Derek Carr and I’m here to predict that it doesn’t end well.
#11: LA RAMS @ ARIZONA +1.5
Another vibes pick; I just have a feeling that Arizona wins this game. Kyler Murray was better than I thought he’d be after a year off due to his injury and I think he’ll play well enough to his bad team with a few good players on it to a home win over a rival bad team with a few good players on it.
LOW CONFIDENCE GAMES
#12: WASHINGTON @ DALLAS -13.5
This spread has exploded from 11 to 13.5 and it might crack 14 by the time this one kicks off on Thursday afternoon. I’m sticking with my initial pick of Dallas, because it does seem like Washington is a bad team and Dallas generally destroys bad teams.
But does feel like something weird might happen here, and I might put in a weird lottery ticket of sorts revolving around the Washington moneyline.
#13: BALTIMORE -3.5 @ LA CHARGERS
I don’t think the injury to Mark Andrews is enough to knock the Ravens from the #1 spot in my personal NFL power rankings, and so if I had to pick one of these teams here I would go with them.
But I really don’t like this spread for a cross-country road trip and I would rather bet on any of the games above then put money down on this one.
#14: CAROLINA @ TENNESSEE -3.5
Hate this spread, but I do generally like to bet against trash teams, even if I have to take a slightly less trash team in doing so. Will Levis’s numbers look good last week but – he didn’t really do anything until it was already 27-0 and clearly garbage time. Before that he was just completing short passes and taking sacks. Is he Blake Bortles but with a fridge full of protein shakes rather than Bud Lights?
By the way, if you haven’t seen the Barstool Sports knockoff version of MTV Cribs video at Blake Bortles’ house, you need to do so. Just search for it on YouTube. How he thought this was a good idea blows my mind, and if they hadn’t known already, this was probably the point where the Jags realized that their Lemon Bar VIP quarterback was not going to be the long-term franchise solution.
Oh, and somehow the Titans only threw 17 passes in a blowout loss. Do your thing, Vrabes!
#15: BUFFALO +3 @ PHILADELPHIA
Both Eagles and Bills games are so hard to bet on. I’m defaulting to my usually strategy with these two teams, which is “just take the points”.
Well, my actual strategy is “don’t bet on this game under any circumstances”, but like, you know, if I had to this is what I would do. I might take the over (48.5), actually. Yeah, let’s do that! That sounds fun!
#16: NEW ENGLAND -3.5 @ NY GIANTS
No. Shut up! I said no! I am not betting on this game!
Ok, ok – put the gun away. All right – I’ll take the Patriots, I guess. I’m not buying one game of Tommy DeVito against the Trashmanders defense. Yes, I know this means Mac Jones or Bailey Zappe or Scott Zolak have to score more than 3 points to cover this. The over/under is 33.5, and I don’t even expect it to come close to that unless there are bushels of pick-sixes.
I feel dirty for even thinking about this game. This one should be played at 3 a.m. on CSPAN. I hate these teams and I hate that they can’t be relegated to the CFL, though I understand doing so could cause an international incident. Every player on this field is Tim Boyle.
Until next week, Happy Thanksgiving and may all of your 6-leg parlays come true.