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Week 12, Post Thursday Night

November 24th, 2019

Well, I went 12-2 picking straight up in week 11. That’s something, right?

I hope so, because I know the only thing my 5-9 finish against the spread last week qualifies as is embarrassing.

Not counting Thursday night’s game (which I somehow managed to get right both straight up and with the points) I’m now I’m 110-51-1 (.682) this season picking straight up, 83-77-2 (.519) against the spread.

Let’s see if I can’t get my record picking the hard way down below .500 this week.

Here’s what not to expect.

Miami (+10.5) at Cleveland
There isn’t a lot of doubt about the outcome of the game. Let’s just hope nobody’s skull gets caved in along the way. Browns by 12.

Denver (+4) at Buffalo
It’s a second straight road game for the Broncos, the first since their collapse against the Vikings. Maybe the Denver D will remember to play all four quarters this time around. I’m going to assume that’s the case and figure Buffalo only comes out on top by three.

Pittsburgh (-6.5) at Cincinnati
The Steelers’ last chance of recovering their season and qualifying for the playoffs died last Thursday night in Cleveland. (No, Pittsburgh hasn’t been officially eliminated. But let’s be realistic.) The Bengals chances of securing (and then wasting) the first overall pick in the 2020 draft are still very much alive. Pittsburgh by 10.

NY Giants (+6) at Chicago
One of these teams has to win this game. Makes sense that it would be the home team. Bears by four.

Oakland (-3) at NY Jets
The Raiders have a pretend shot at the AFC West title and a very real shot at the conference six seed (which will likely earn them an extra visit to Kansas City). The Jets are an outright lock to continuing being the Jets. Oakland by six.

Carolina (+9.5) at New Orleans
Here’s where the Saints, for all practical purposes, wrap up the NFC South. And still, even though the home team is considerably better than the visitors and ought to win by double digits, I’m reluctant to give close to 10 points in a division matchup. New Orleans by eight.

Tampa Bay (+3.5) at Atlanta
These are not good football teams. (How’s that for insight?) Falcons by three.

Detroit (-3.5) at Washington
The Racists actually have one thing over the Lions. It’s that no one can call Washington “disappointing.” They’re exactly as good as they ought to be. Detroit by a touchdown.

Seattle (-1) at Philadelphia
Sometimes the better team doesn’t win. Eagles by a field goal.

Jacksonville (+3.5) at Tennessee
It was always the case that each game in this season series was going to the home team. Titans by a point.

Dallas (+6) at New England
If the Patriots’ receiving corps were at full strength, this wouldn’t be a challenging game to pick. Here are your big three predictives: passer rating differential, Patriots +13.9; scoring differential, Patriots +4.5; takeaway-giveaway differential, Patriots +19. Those numbers don’t point to a good day for the visitors. But the thing is, the New England receiving corps is not at full strength. And that has to at least give Dallas some hope, even if the home team gets a boost to its ground game. Is that hope enough? Probably not. The Patriots’ outstanding defense carried the team to a win in Philadelphia a week ago. You have to figure it can do much the same at home this week. If it has to. New England by a touchdown.

Green Bay (+3) at San Francisco
The 49ers can effectively seal a first round bye with a win here. I don’t think there’s anything the Packers can do to prevent it. San Francisco by six.

Baltimore (-3) at LA Rams
I suppose it’s possible the Rams hold off functional elimination by rising up and beating the surging Ravens. Lots of things are possible, including a great number of things that never come to pass. Baltimore by seven.

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