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NFL 2021 Week Twelve Picks, Post-Thanksgiving

November 28th, 2021

Pittsburgh (+3.5) at Cincinnati
You can’t lose division games in the tight AFC North and expect to find a way into the postseason. And the Steelers definitely can’t hope to survive a season sweep by the Bengals. But that’s where this thing appears to be headed. Pittsburgh is going to need to force Joe Burrow to beat them through the air if they’re to have any chance. But they did that when they hosted the Bengals back in week three and they still managed to lose. So you never know, except sometimes you know. Bengals by six.

Tampa Bay (-3) at Indianapolis
Tom Brady has won more games in Indianapolis than Carson Wentz. That doesn’t actually mean anything, but it’s kinda fun. What does mean something is the question of whether the Buccaneers can play run defense against an opponent with an actual run offense. That’s what makes the difference here. But I don’t know the answer, so I think I’ll hedge and take the Bucs by a point.

Carolina (-2.5) at Miami
The Panthers aren’t anything more than an average team that knows how to take advantage of weak opponents. But that should be plenty to get them through this game. Carolina by four.

Tennessee (+7) at New England
Foxborough has not been great to Ryan Tannehill. Yeah, Tannehill and the Titans got the job done the last time they traveled to New England, eliminating the Patriots in the first round of the 2019 postseason, but not a lot was asked of the Tennessee quarterback that day. He completed 8 of 15 passes for 72 yards with a touchdown and a pick, while Derrick Henry (182 yards rushing, 22 receiving, two TDs) and the Titans D carried the day against the undermanned Patriots. And that was Tannehill’s only career victory in Foxborough. Including that game, he’s 1-6 all time in road games against the Patriots with a stat line of 150 for 248 (60.5%) for 1,632 yards (6.6 yards per attempt) with 6 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. That calculates to a passer rating of 69.5. The injured Henry won’t be there to carry the Tennessee O this weekend. And a Patriots D that has rounded into form to become one fo the best in the league (maybe the best) has probably taken note of the Titans’ struggles on the ground since Henry went down. I suspect the Tennessee D will find a way to show Mac Jones a few looks he isn’t familiar with, which will likely produce some rookie mistakes. But unless those prove back breaking, I don’t see a path to victory for the Titan’s here. New England by a field goal.

Philadelphia (-3.5) at NY Giants
Maybe the Eagles really have found the formula that will propel them through the rest of the season an on to success in the post. Or maybe they’re just in the midst of a strong mid-season run. We’ll see. What we can say for sure, though, is that the Eagles are able to field an actual football team. That’s all they’ll need this weekend. Philadelphia by 10.

Atlanta (-2) at Jacksonville
One of these teams is actually worse than the other. That’s so sad. Falcons by three.

NY Jets (+2.5) at Houston
One of these teams is actually worse than the other. That’s so sad. Texans by one.

LA Chargers (-2.5) at Denver
The Broncos have managed to stay in the mix in the AFC West even though they really don’t belong there. That’s nice for them, I supposed, but it isn’t sustainable. Chargers by a touchdown.

LA Rams (-1.5) at Green Bay
The Rams stumbled into their bye week with back to back losses to the Titans and 49ers. They really can’t afford to stumble back out. And yet I suspect Los Angeles is going to struggle yet again to move the ball on the ground. And one dimensional offenses don’t win games against the Packers at Lambeau. Green Bay by four.

Minnesota (+3.5) at San Francisco
Move the ball well on the ground and you beat the Vikings. Seems like the Niners should be able to make that formula work for them. San Francisco by a field goal.

Cleveland (+3.5) at Baltimore
Five of the Raven’s final seven games come against AFC North teams. They go in 0-1 in the division with a loss to the Bengals. They need to come out no worse than 4-2. And it’s probably going to take two wins over the Browns over the next three weeks to get them there. I think they at least make a good start of it. Baltimore by three.

Seattle (pick ’em) at Washington
This should just about do it for the Seahawks. Brand X by six.

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