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Week 12 NFL Picks: The Thanksgiving Feast Is Upon Us

Ryan Mayer

It's Thanksgiving week! That means three Thursday games as you gulp down mountainous plates of food while arguing with your aunt over the state of the country currently. Fun! Anyway, with the holidays right around the corner, you might be looking to add a little extra cash to your stockpile to help with your gift-giving. Well, let's see if we can help you out with that by picking some winners for this upcoming weekend's of NFL action. It was a rough week last week, following a pretty hot stretch over the two previous weeks. So, let's get back to the winning ways right? Right.

No way we can lose - locks of the week: As you can guess, these will be the stone-cold locks of the week. The games I'm so confident about that I'd wager my life's savings on them, if I had a life's savings to wager.

Feeling pretty... pretty good: Not quite willing to bet the farm on this batch, but as Mr. Larry David would say, 'I'm feeling pretty... pretty good' about these games.

Heads or tails: These are your true toss ups: they can go one way or another, and you should pick with caution, even after heeding my expert advice.

All lines courtesy of Sportsline. All times Eastern.

Credit: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Minnesota Vikings @ Detroit Lions (+3), Thursday 12:30 p.m.

Level of Confidence: No Way We Can Lose...Locks of the Week

ATS & Straight up: Vikings

Case Keenum is having the run of his career right now and Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs seem to have a really good rapport with him. The Lions are fighting to stay in the playoff race, which means it's a desperation game for them, but I think the Vikings avenge the loss earlier this season to the cats and get the win on the road.

Los Angeles Chargers @ Dallas Cowboys (+1), Thursday 4:30 p.m.

Level of Confidence: Heads or Tails...Toss Up

ATS & Straight up: Chargers

Dak Prescott played the worst game of his young career last week against the Eagles, turning the ball over four times as the Cowboys lost 37-9. While I don't expect him to repeat that kind of performance this week, he's clearly struggling without Ezekiel Elliott and left tackle Tyron Smith. Not great news with Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa coming to town with a Chargers team brimming with confidence following their blowout win over the Bills last week.

New York Giants @ Washington Redskins (-7.5), Thursday 8:30 p.m.

Level of Confidence: Heads or Tails...Toss Up

ATS: Giants

Straight up: Redskins

This game is way less appealing than the schedule makers likely thought it would be prior to the season. The Giants have nothing left to play for but pride while the Redskins are still hoping to maintain their slim playoff hopes. New York's defense woke up last week as they held the Chiefs to just nine points, but I think Kirk Cousins and company get it done at home.

No Way We Can Lose...Locks of the Week

Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Carolina Panthers @ New York Jets (+5), Sunday 1:00 p.m.

ATS & Straight up: Panthers

The Panthers have figured out that Cam Newton running the football is still their most efficient form of offense recently, and while that likely doesn't bode well for Cam's long-term durability, it should mean a win here. The Jets have been friskier than expected this season, but they rank 23rd in stopping the run allowing over 117.9 yards per game. New York has lost four of five with the lone win coming against the dysfunctional Bills. Panthers by a touchdown.

Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs (-10), Sunday 1:00 p.m.

ATS: Bills

Straight up: Chiefs

Speaking of those dysfunctional Bills, they've decided to go back to Tyrod Taylor this week at QB. That means this is ripe ground for a "I'll show them" type of game from Taylor, particularly against what has been a porous Chiefs defense this season. The Chiefs, since starting 5-0, have gone 1-4 and opponents seem to have figured out how to slow Andy Reid's offense. Unless Reid has a whole new bag of tricks up his sleeve for this weekend, I think the Bills cover.

Feeling Pretty...Pretty Good

Credit: Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Miami Dolphins @ New England (-16.5), Sunday 1:00 p.m.

ATS: Dolphins

Straight up: Patriots

Look, the Dolphins have by no means been good. Jay Cutler sustained a concussion last week and is doubtful to play here while the Patriots have rounded into what looks to be potential Super Bowl form. Still, basically laying two touchdowns and a field goal is too high for me.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta Falcons (-8.5), Sunday 1:00 p.m.

ATS & Straight up: Falcons

The Buccaneers have won two straight with Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB instead of Jameis Winston. Go figure. Still, they face the Falcons on the road this week and Atlanta is coming off an impressive victory over Seattle. Dirty Birds take it at home.

Tire. (AP)

Chicago Bears @ Philadelphia Eagles (-13.5), Sunday 1:00 p.m.

ATS & Straight up: Eagles

This has the feel of a potential letdown game for the Eagles. Coming off a big win over a division rival while staring down a difficult three-game road trip, it would be easy to overlook a Bears team with a feisty defense and good running game. But, the Eagles have yet to really lose focus in a game this year and are 8-2 ATS this season. They own the best run defense in the league which means it would be up to rookie Mitch Trubisky to try and beat them with his arm. Don't see that happening.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Arizona Cardinals (+4.5), Sunday 4:25 p.m.

ATS & Straight up: Jaguars

The Jaguars have become a pretty good bet this season, racking up a 6-4 ATS record and a 7-3 record overall. The defense has demolished opponents and kept Blake Bortles from really having to do much to win games. This weekend, they'll be facing former Jags bust-QB Blaine Gabbert. Could get ugly in the desert.

Heads or Tails...Toss Up

Cleveland Browns @ Cincinnati Bengals (-8), Sunday 1:00 p.m.

ATS: Browns

Straight up: Bengals

The Browns don't have many opportunities left to win games this season as after this game they face the Chargers on the road, Packers and Ravens at home, before wrapping up with road games at Chicago and Pittsburgh. Not a monstrously tough slate, but the Browns have struggled with self-inflicted wounds this season, particularly in the turnover department, racking up 28 this season. Cincy gets the win by virtue of a couple of late turnovers from the Browns.

Credit: Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Tennessee Titans @ Indianapolis Colts (+3.5), Sunday 1:00 p.m.

ATS & Straight up: Titans

The Titans were dominated by Pittsburgh last week showing they're not quite yet at the level of the AFC's elite. But, they are better than the Colts, even on defense, which has been a struggle point for Tennessee this year. Considering the Colts difficulties in stopping really anyone this season, I'd expect the Titans to bounce back with a win this week.

Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers (+6.5), Sunday 4:05 p.m.

ATS: 49ers

Straight up: Seahawks

The Seahawks are seriously banged up and it could force them to miss the playoffs. They should win this week against the 49ers, but it may not be the dominant win you'd expect from Seattle against a 1-win team. Also, adding to the intrigue here is the potential first start in a Niners uniform for QB Jimmy Garoppolo.

Denver Broncos @ Oakland Raiders (-5), Sunday 4:25 p.m.

ATS: Broncos

Straight up: Raiders

The Broncos will start their third QB of the season when Paxton Lynch goes under center this week. Lynch is a former first round pick, and this is a nice soft landing spot in which to start him against a Raiders defense that just fired its defensive coordinator. But, I still think the Raiders get the win here, due to the fact that they're still alive in the AFC West race.

Credit: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

New Orleans Saints @ Los Angeles Rams (-2.5), Sunday 4:25 p.m.

ATS & Straight up: Saints

The Saints have been impressive this season, particularly on defense and heading out to L-A this week, I think that continues. Jared Goff and the Rams offense was stifled last week by Minnesota. While I expect a better performance from that group this week, the Saints have been playing too well to pick against when they're getting points.

Green Bay Packers @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-14), Sunday 8:30 p.m.

ATS & Straight up: Steelers

The Packers were shut out by the Ravens last week and now face a Steelers team that is coming off its best performance on the season last Thursday and they're on 10 days rest. Steelers, big.

Houston Texans @ Baltimore Ravens (-7), Monday 8:30 p.m.

ATS: Texans

Straight up: Ravens

While the Ravens looked impressive last week against the Packers, they've been an up-and-down team all year long. This feels like another potential down slope, not enough of one to lose, but enough to give the Texans a chance to cover.

Last Week

ATS: 5-8-1

Straight: 9-5


ATS: 74-75-6

Straight: 100-59

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