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Thursday, 24 November 2016

NFL Week 12 Picks 2016 (November 24-28)

Thanksgiving Day is here and that means the NFL are going to provide three games for the viewers to go along with their turkey (at least for those in the United States).

Week 12 of the NFL season is about to get set to go and this is the point of the season when I do try and predict the Play Off teams as we start seeing the difference between the pretenders and the contenders.

I would be surprised if New England and Dallas don't hold the Number 1 Seeds in the two Conferences, although there isn't much room for mistakes as I see both Oakland and Seattle being able to push them all the way and eventually ending with the Number 2 Seeds in their respective Conferences.

At the moment I also see the NFC East and AFC West both sending three teams to the Play Offs with Denver and Kansas City joining Oakland and Philadelphia and Washington joining Dallas in the post-season.

Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Minnesota and Atlanta make up the remaining teams to make the Play Offs if I was to predict the rest of the season, but we all know the NFL is so fluid and changes week after week with upsets never far away.

Last week I felt a little sick to not come away with a winning week as I seemed to get little fortune on my side. Both Dallas and Detroit scored late Field Goals which saw them cover their numbers after I had backed Baltimore and Jacksonville who had been in winning positions going into the final two minutes of games.

You could even make an argument for Arizona being closer than the six point loss, but Green Bay were bad again as the picks went 3-4 but could easily have been 5-2 if they had finished in the manner they perhaps should have.

This week I am going to have my picks from the NFL Thanksgiving Day games out first and will add the Sunday and Monday picks in the next couple of days. Hopefully a positive Thursday can set me up for a big Week 12 to get back to winning ways.

Minnesota Vikings @ Detroit Lions Pick: The first Thanksgiving Day game is hosted by the Detroit Lions and this might be one of the bigger ones they have played in years with the NFC North Division lead on the line when the Minnesota Vikings come to town. Both teams have 6-4 records and the Detroit Lions also have beaten the Minnesota Vikings which means this game might mean a lot more to the visitors who will effectively be two games behind the Lions if they are to be beaten on Thursday.

The first game was very close with Matt Prater forcing Overtime with a huge Field Goal before the Lions were able to prevail on the road. There looks to be little doubt that this will be another low-scoring game between these teams barring short fields thanks to Special Teams plays and turnovers.

There is a chance we will see big time Special Teams with both the Lions and Vikings using a big Punt Return and a Kick Return to win games respectively last week. However those elements can be very difficult to predict and instead you have to look at this game and look at how it is most likely to go down.

The Defensive units look to be the superior ones on the field at any time, but the Minnesota Vikings have not been as effective as earlier in the season. The first five opponents the Vikings faced didn't score more than 16 points, but the last five opponents have all scored at least 20 points which has to be a concern. On the other hand the Detroit Defense have given up 20 points or fewer to their last four opponents and so the chances of seeing a lot of scoring from this Thanksgiving Day game seems unlikely to say the least.

One of the issues the Vikings have had in recent weeks is slowing down the run, but that isn't exactly the strength of the Detroit Offense and so it hard to see how they take full advantage of that. Instead much looks like it will be down to Matt Stafford at Quarter Back who has had a decent season, but doesn't have the best set of Receivers now that Calvin Johnson is gone.

There is some criticism that Stafford used to be too obvious in going to Johnson at big moments, but he has shared the ball around a lot more and that hasn't always been helpful with some bad routes run and drops at critical times. Stafford could be under some pressure if dropping back from third and long spots, but he gets the ball out quickly and has avoided taking too many Sacks or turning the ball over.

Drives could bog down and Detroit could have to settle for Field Goals in this one, while the Punter should get plenty of work too.

The same could be said for Minnesota though who have really had a hard time of late and just about snapped a four game losing run last week. While the Defensive unit should be improved with players returning from injury, the continued absence of Adrian Peterson has resulted in the Vikings struggling to run the ball and it is not likely to change much this week.

It will mean Sam Bradford has to make plays through the air and he is likely to be without Stefon Diggs in this one. While Kyle Rudolph is a threat and Bradford did have a solid game against Detroit two weeks ago, Detroit have Ziggy Ansah back on the Defensive Line and might have more success getting to the Quarter Back than they did in Week 10 when taking down Bradford twice.

Like Stafford, Bradford has looked after the ball and that is going to be key in a game where points could come at a premium. Therefore it could once again come down to the kickers after Prater hit two from 50 plus yards in the first game earlier this month, while Blair Walsh missed an Extra Point and a Field Goal for Minnesota. Walsh has since been cut and Kai Forbath has been signed as a replacement.

I am not sure I trust Forbath more than Prater, but I do think the Vikings can make enough plays to win this one on the road. These teams are closely matched, but I do think Detroit are not quite as good as their record while they have a 4-8 record against the spread in recent Thanksgiving Day games. Minnesota are also 4-1 against the spread in their last five games in Detroit and I think they might be on the right side of a close game this time.

I do think the Minnesota Defensive unit is getting healthier and they can make a few more big plays to stop Detroit than the other way around. I think the Lions are underrated on the Defensive side of the ball, but Bradford has been smart with the ball and I will take the points with the Minnesota Vikings.

Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys Pick: The NFC East might be the best Division in the NFL or at least it would be arguing it out with the AFC West and two of the teams meet in a big Thanksgiving Day game. The Dallas Cowboys moved to 9-1 thanks to another win in Week 11 and remain on course to finish with the Number 1 Seed in the NFC, but the Washington Redskins are not too far behind with their 6-3-1 record and another appearance in the Play Offs looks to be on course.

For now these teams will concentrate on their second Divisional meeting after a really good game in Week 2 that the Washington Redskins will feel they gave away. Since then they have had a number of injuries on the Defensive side of the ball as they try to slow down the two rookie sensations that have been leading the Cowboys to nine straight wins.

Not many teams have been able to slow down Ezekiel Elliot at Running Back and I don't really think the Redskins Defensive Line are going to have a lot of success in this one. While recent games might have shown improvement, Washington have played Cincinnati, Minnesota and Green Bay and none of those teams have an Offensive Line like the Dallas Cowboys. Instead you have to think Elliot is going to have a really big game for the Cowboys which should set up Dak Prescott to follow suit.

Dez Bryant might be shadowed by Josh Norman in this one, but there are plenty of holes in the Washington Secondary if Prescott sees the Washington pass rush slow down by the running game. I expect Bryant can win some of his battles with Norman, but the likes of Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams and Jason Witten can see their fair share of big catches as well as Elliot leaking out of the backfield.

Dallas should be moving the chains with some consistency in this one, but the Redskins are going to be confident behind Kirk Cousins who has improved significantly from the start of the season. The doubters in the locker room after the loss to the Dallas Cowboys at home have been silenced and Cousins outplayed Aaron Rodgers in a home win in Week 11.

'Fat Rob' Kelley at Running Back has given Washington a real boost after the fumbles of Matt Jones and he is the kind of Back that will get a few yards after initial contact. I do like the way Dallas have played up front, but Kelley can have some big gains which can help Cousins who is good enough to make some big plays against a Cowboys Secondary that is dealing with injuries.

You do have to think the Dallas Defenders are going to be focused on shutting down Kelley after he called them the Cowgirls a couple of days ago, but the bigger challenge will come against Cousins at Quarter Back. Cousins has been well protected by his Offensive Line although the absence of Trent Williams is still an issue despite how well Ty Nsekhe has played at Left Tackle and Dallas will look to get near the Quarter Back and force him to throw the ball much quicker than he wants.

However getting time should mean Cousins is able to make some big throws to the likes of Pierre Garcon, Jordan Reed and DeSean Jackson although the last of those may not be available. I do think Cousins will have success but he will be under pressure to keep up with the Dallas Cowboys in a shoot out and having to play in the late game on Sunday Night Football in Week 11 going into this one looks a really tough spot for them.

There has to be some fatigue with even less time to travel and prepare for this game and that could be a big factor as the game wears on. Washington do have a very good record in Dallas in recent years, while playing on Thanksgiving Day has been tough for the Cowboys, but I think these trends will be reversed in Week 12. The Dallas Cowboys will look to wear down Washington with their Offensive Line and I can see them pulling away for a win by around ten-fourteen points in a high scoring shoot out.

Both teams should have success Offensively, but fatigue might mean Washington playing keep up and Cousins eventually making a mistake which allows Dallas an extra possession to cover this number.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Indianapolis Colts Pick: I have picked the Pittsburgh Steelers twice as a road favourite of more than a Touchdown twice this season and so far those picks have gone 1-1. The first lost when Ben Roethlisberger was virtually knocked out of the game at Miami, but the Steelers did cover as a big road favourite at the Cleveland Browns on Sunday in Week 11.

Now I am going to go back and look to break the tie in a positive way as I like the Pittsburgh Steelers to remain focused and win this game at the Indianapolis Colts. The Steelers are in the midst of a really tough AFC North Divisional race and Pittsburgh catch a break, and also face this big spread, because Andrew Luck has been ruled out for the hosts.

That's not what the television companies would have wanted to hear when obviously picking Roethlisberger versus Luck in the late Thanksgiving Day game, but the latter is in the concussion protocol after taking a heavy fall to the turf in the Week 11 win over Tennessee. It means Scott Tolzien will get the start at Quarter Back and it is a big test for the former Green Bay Packer on a short week and with the television cameras broadcasting this game to the entire United States.

The pressure will be on Tolzien as it is unlikely that Frank Gore and the running game is going to offer too much support on the ground. The Steelers have shown improvement up front with just 3.1 yards per game given up over their last three games despite going up against Ezekiel Elliot and the Dallas Cowboys during that time. Pittsburgh will likely force Tolzien to throw the ball by loading the line of scrimmage and daring Indianapolis to take advantage through the air.

With Andrew Luck under Center the Colts would have been able to make some big plays through the air, but it will be much tougher for Tolzien who was average when having to start in place of Aaron Rodgers for the Green Bay Packers. This Offensive Line doesn't offer the same level of protection and Pittsburgh could be in the Quarter Back's face a lot in this one which can lead to mistakes although the Secondary have had some problems to suggest Tolzien makes some plays.

He will need to do that because this looks a really nice match up for Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers even though they are dealing with some issues at the Wide Receiver position. Importantly none of those issues involve Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell and Big Ben is going to be throwing into a Secondary missing some key players which makes it tough to slow down this passing Offense. Ladarius Green gives Roethlisberger another big weapon in the End Zone and Bell is also off a big running performance and can keep the yards churning on the ground.

Barring drops or Roethlisberger having one of his worst games of his career, I can only see the Steelers being too strong for the Colts on a short week and with a back up Quarter Back. That might mean others bring their best to try and help Indianapolis, but they won't be able to run the ball as they want and I can't see the Colts keeping up with a potent Offense like the Steelers.

Pittsburgh have blown out Indianapolis in 2014 and 2015 as they hung 51 and then 45 points on them, but both games were played at home. The fast track in Indianapolis should suit Pittsburgh too though and I will look for them to record a big win on the road.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Buffalo Bills Pick: I still don't know how the Jacksonville Jaguars failed to cover in Week 11 in their loss to the Detroit Lions but missing out by a couple of points can be thanked on three moments. One was a Punt Return TD, another was a Interception returned for a TD and the third was giving up a Field Goal with less than 30 seconds to play in the game.

That loss has virtually eliminated their chances of making it to the Play Offs in what has become a very disappointing season for the Jaguars. They dropped to 2-8 when many tipped them up as a dark horse this season for the Play Offs and now the pressure is on Gus Bradley to show he is the right Head Coach to take this team forward into 2017.

They head to the Buffalo Bills this weekend who are coming off a big win at Cincinnati and very much in the Play Off race in the AFC. The Bills can't afford to overlook the Jaguars with some big games to come, but a loss would put Buffalo in a really difficult position and Rex Ryan has to be preaching that all week.

Injuries are an issue for the Bills who have LeSean McCoy banged up, although set to play in Week 12, while both Robert Woods and Sammy Watkins are big losses in the Receiving position. With Tyrod Taylor at Quarter Back the Bills have been very much a run orientated Offense and he should combine with McCoy to give Jacksonville some problems, although the Jaguars Defensive unit is perhaps underrated. The Defensive Line has been very strong through the season and they could have success in at least slowing the huge gains that the Bills have been known to rip off on the ground.

The Offensive Line has also been much better when running the ball and protection for Taylor will break down with the pressure Jacksonville are able to get up front. That has helped an improving Secondary and the Jaguars can continue to show the improvement Defensively to keep this one close. But then it all comes down to whether the Offense can provide a spark if the Jaguars are going to win this game.

Blake Bortles has regressed significantly at Quarter Back and has been guilty of the back breaking turnovers which have cost the Jaguars in recent games. He is actually a doubt for this game, but I don't think the move to Chad Henne will hurt as much as it would have in the 2015 season if Bortles can't go.

It hasn't all been on Bortles because the Jaguars have been made to look a little one-dimensional of late with issues running the ball. They won't have much success to do that against the Bills this week whose Defensive Line have been bolstered by Marcel Dareus although the Buffalo Secondary have given up some big plays.

A fierce pass rush is a problem for whoever plays at Quarter Back but I do think the Jaguars can make this a competitive game and getting more than a Touchdown worth of points looks huge. With the Bills having Oakland and Pittsburgh next up on deck, there is every chance they are a little lacklustre against a 2-8 Jaguars team whose underrated Defensive unit can prevent Buffalo from running away with it.

That is as long as Jacksonville avoid the turnovers which have killed them in recent games and play the Special Teams better than they did last week in Detroit. Those are the 'x factors' in games that are hard to predict, but this does look a lot of points for the road team to be given in this one and I will back the Jaguars in this game.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens Pick: Marvin Lewis has had a successful time as Head Coach of the Cincinnati Bengals, but failing to make the Play Offs might put him on the hot seat at the end of the season. The Bengals are 2.5 games out of the AFC North lead, but a loss to the Baltimore Ravens will really put them behind the black ball and injuries have contributed to a difficult season for them.

It hasn't been that much easier for Baltimore who were beaten in Dallas last week which means they have dropped five of their last seven games. However they are 3-0 in the AFC North Divisional games and a win would move the Ravens to 6-5 for the season and once again give them the lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers thanks to a head to head win over them.

The Ravens have been inconsistent Offensively which has slowed down their win rate in recent weeks but they could find some encouragement against this Cincinnati Defensive unit. Terrance West and Kenneth Dixon have not separated themselves as the main Running Back, but both could have solid games against this Bengals Defensive Line which has struggled in recent weeks with some signs in recent games that Baltimore are getting the run going effectively.

That is so important to keep things open for Joe Flacco who has begun to take a few more shots down the field since Marc Trestman was fired as Offensive Co-Ordinator. Flacco has been protected by the Offensive Line and the Bengals pass rush has not been as strong as in recent seasons, while their Receivers can find separation against a Secondary that hasn't been able to replace Reggie Nelson and whose Corner Backs look to have lost a step in coverage.

It should mean the pressure is on Cincinnati and Andy Dalton to stay with the Ravens and that is not going to be easy with both Giovani Bernard and AJ Green on the sidelines. The loss of Green should have a huge impact in this game for Dalton, although he does have Tyler Eifert who is a big time Receiver from Tight End. However playing against this Baltimore Defensive unit is not easy with a fully healthy Offense and it could be a long day for Dalton.

There won't be a lot of support from Jeremy Hill running the ball after Baltimore showed they could compete with the vaunted Dallas Offensive Line and that will put the pressure on Dalton. He has had a hard time behind the Offensive Line which has not protected him well and Baltimore should get some pressure on Dalton which can lead to mistakes without the go-to Receiver in Green.

Baltimore have not been that consistent this season, but they can snap their five game losing run to the Bengals in this one. They look to have enough of an edge on both sides of the ball as they take advantage of the injuries in the Cincinnati team and I think the Ravens can come away with a win by around seven to ten points.

Arizona Cardinals @ Atlanta Falcons Pick: Bruce Arians has returned from hospital having been taken there last weekend and he has been back Coaching up the Arizona Cardinals who have fallen far short of expectations. A loss to the Minnesota Vikings has put the Cardinals in a desperate spot and anything other than going 5-1 in their final six games might mean missing out on the Play Offs.

Games against the likes of the Atlanta Falcons could have huge Play Off implications for the Cardinals going forward and they can't afford to lose this game with potential tiebreakers in play in January. It won't be easy against an Atlanta team that have likely been steaming for two weeks since losing to the Philadelphia Eagles and trying to keep their rivals in the NFC South in arms distance.

The Arizona Defensive unit have performed to the kind of level expected and it was Special Teams and turnovers which cost them in Minnesota last weekend. One concern has to be that Patrick Peterson might be missing this weekend as the cover Corner who would have been assigned Julio Jones, a big time Receiver who has had two weeks to get back to better health.

Tevin Coleman is also back for the Falcons at Running Back to give them a one-two punch with DeVonta Freeman, but the Arizona Defensive Line have been stout for much of the season. However both players give Matt Ryan another Receiving option when they leak out of the backfield and I can see them having an impact in this game.

There has also been a decent pass rush established by the Cardinals and Matt Ryan has had to scramble around to make plays. He will have some more issues making plays into the Secondary which has performed well although the absence of Peterson would be a big blow for the Cardinals.

So this may come down to whether Carson Palmer can finally start showing that he is far from a faded force in the NFL at Quarter Back. He has been a big problem for the Cardinals this season and one of the big reasons they are at 4-5-1 going into Week 12 of the season. A vintage Palmer and any decent Quarter Back in the NFL would be very keen on the match up against this Atlanta Secondary which is missing Desmond Trufant although his availability for this game is questionable.

A problem for Palmer has been an Offensive Line hasn't been that good in protection and Atlanta have been able to get some pressure up front, but a bigger issue for the Quarter Back has been the bad throws that have led to Interceptions. This isn't a Secondary that has made too many big plays through the season though and I do think Palmer can bounce back from a really poor performance at Minnesota where he virtually cost the Cardinals the win.

He will be helped by the fact that David Johnson should find better running lanes in this one and could churn out some yards on the ground to keep the Offense in third and short which will help. Johnson is one of the best Backs in the NFL, and he can also be dangerous as a Receiver out of the backfield and I do think the Cardinals can keep this one close.

They are getting a few more points than last week because of the Peterson status but they can move the chains in this one and the Falcons have been involved in plenty of close games this season. Only one of the last five Atlanta games has seen the Falcons win by more than six points and I will look for Palmer to have one of his better games this season and help the Cardinals keep up with the Falcons in a shoot out.

New York Giants @ Cleveland Browns Pick: The New York Giants go into Week 12 with the Number 5 Seed in the NFC and they can't afford to drop a silly game against the winless Cleveland Browns. The Giants have some really tough games to play the remainder of the 2016 season if they want to get into the Play Offs and that makes it even more important that they don't overlook the Browns who have lurched from disaster to disaster.

There are still some questions about the Giants and how good they actually are with some tough, grind it out victories. One of the problems for them has been the one-dimensional nature of the Offense as they have struggled to run the ball and the Giants won't have much of a chance to do that in this game either.

In recent games the Browns have been better on the Defensive Line and slowing down the run will mean Eli Manning has to drop back and make plays to a number of solid Receivers he has at his disposal. Manning should have the time to throw the ball as Cleveland have struggled to get to the Quarter Back and Manning has been willing to throw the ball quickly to Receivers running slants and capable of making plenty of yards after the catch.

With Joe Haden banged up at best, the Giants should be able to get the ball to the likes of Odell Beckham Jr to keep the chains moving and the New York Football Giants to score their points.

It will be up to Josh McCown at Quarter Back this weekend for the Cleveland Browns as their musical chairs approach to that position continues to frustrate the fans and the media. This is a difficult game for McCown to come into as he is going to have to make a lot of the plays himself with the difficulties that Cleveland have had in running the ball in recent games and facing a Giants Defensive Line that have been stout up front.

With the Offensive Line issues, McCown is going to have some real problems throwing the ball even if Jean Pierre-Paul is unable to suit up. They have been giving up too many Sacks as Receivers have struggled to get open, and the Giants can get close to McCown and look to take him down or force him to make mistakes. Landon Collins has been an Interception machine for Giants and it would be no surprise if he was to pick up another one as a poor Cleveland team self-destruct again.

This is a lot of points for the Giants to cover, but it is hard to see how Cleveland can keep up with them thanks to the Offensive problems they have been having in recent weeks. I can't imagine the Giants overlooking them with the games they have got coming up and I think the Browns have been a mess while they are going to be missing a key Corner Back, or at least have Haden limited, which will make it tough to stop the Giants.

I can only see the Giants taking control and pulling away in the second half for a comfortable road win and I will back them to cover the points.

San Francisco 49ers @ Miami Dolphins Pick: As a Miami Dolphins fan, the 1-4 start to the season has become too much of a familiar sight and not many would have predicted the kind of turnaround they have had since then. Adam Gase needs a lot of credit at Head Coach as the Dolphins have won every game since to move to 6-4 and very much in the Play Off mix in the AFC.

One concern has to be the injuries they have suffered on the Offensive Line which may see the Dolphins missing at least two of the five starters this week. That Offensive Line has been the reason Miami have started winning games as they have punched out some big holes for Jay Ajayi which has also meant huge gains for the Running Back and keeping Ryan Tannehill from making mistakes at Quarter Back.

Even a banged up Dolphins Offensive Line will feel they win the battle with the San Francisco Defensive Line who have been battered on the ground over the last few weeks. I fully think Ajayi has a solid outing in this one, while Tannehill has the Receivers who can make plays down the field when the Linebackers edge forward.

Eric Reid is the latest player to go down for the season for the 49ers and Miami can take advantage of a team that has to travel across the country to play an early start. That is never easy for any team and the 49ers could have a long day if their Defensive unit are not able to get off the field and have to stay out in the sun for extended time.

It won't go completely the Miami way as San Francisco have started some of their games effectively on the Offensive side of the ball. Colin Kaepernick and Carlos Hyde gives the 49ers a chance to at least run the ball although the Miami Defensive Line have been able to shut down better Offensive Lines than the one they will face in Week 12.

Kaepernick also has a couple of targets in the passing game that could make the plays to keep the chains moving forward. However the Quarter Back can't hold the ball for too long with the pressure Miami have gotten up front thanks to the likes of Cameron Wake and it has felt like Kaepernick has been unable to put in a 60 minute game as teams adjust to what he is trying to do.

This is a big number for Miami who simply don't get asked to cover these spreads too often. In fact it has been at least three seasons that they have been favoured by at least seven points and that could play a part in the mindset even if the Dolphins can't afford too many more losses thanks to their poor start.

I still think Miami can do it though because they are facing a San Francisco team who haven't been able to keep up in games with Defensive problems. Injuries are hurting that unit too and I think Miami will wear them out with Jay Ajayi and they can pull away for a win by double digits like so many have done against the San Francisco 49ers.

Seattle Seahawks @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pick: The Seattle Seahawks are doing Seattle Seahawks things by getting hot in the final third of the NFL regular season which makes them a big danger in the Play Offs. The Seahawks are travelling across the country for this road game, but they haven't played badly in this spot previously and Seattle are fully focused as they look to chase down the Dallas Cowboys for the Number 1 Seed in the NFC.

They can't take anything for granted at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who have won two in a row and that has seen them close on the Atlanta Falcons for the lead in the NFC South. The Buccaneers have been a little inconsistent though and they have not been as good at home which is a concern going forward, while Jameis Winston has not always shown his best when the top teams face him.

Winston is facing one of the best Defensive units in the NFL in Week 12, but one that is missing Earl Thomas at Safety. That is a blow to the Legion of Boom who have allowed some big numbers through the air, but some of that has been down to teams playing catch up and having to throw against them.

The Buccaneers can have some success moving the ball through the air with Cameron Brate and Mike Evans proving to be reliable targets for Winston. However the Quarter Back is likely to feel the pressure when he drops back to throw the ball and Seattle have been very strong at getting to the Quarter Back and taking him down even without Michael Bennett in the line up.

Slowing down the pass rush by running the ball effectively is not really possible for Tampa Bay in this game either and so it could be tough for the Buccaneers to consistently move the chains even though Thomas is out at Safety.

Moving the chains doesn't look like being as big a concern for the Seattle Seahawks with Russell Wilson back to full health at Quarter Back. His ankle issues look to be behind him and the Buccaneers are going to have some problems preventing Wilson having a big game with Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham capable of making the moves to break down the coverage as Wilson scrambles around the backfield.

Thomas Rawls is also back to give Seattle a better running game which should be able to get going against the Buccaneers who have allowed 4.5 yards per carry in recent games and might be more focused on stopping the pass. With Russell Wilson looking after the ball effectively too, it could be tough for Tampa Bay to stay with Seattle in a shoot out and I do like the road team to win this one.

The Buccaneers have had some problems at home in recent seasons and this game is kicking off at around 1pm West Coast time which should suit the road team. The public are backing Seattle but I can see the Seahawks being too good and making some big Defensive plays to come through with a ten point win on the road so I will back them to cover this number.

New England Patriots @ New York Jets Pick: The New England Patriots have made some big trades with players leaving the team and those don't look like they will be the ones that the Patriots will look back on with fondness. Chandler Jones and Jamie Collins have been moved out since the end of last season and the Patriots Defensive unit have had some problems this season.

Most will feel they can bounce back and blow out the New York Jets on the road in Week 12 and I am not surprised with the public pounding the Patriots. However I think this is going to be closer than most people think and want to back the Jets with more than a Touchdown start in this game.

Ryan Fitzpatrick is not going to be the answer for the Jets at Quarter Back but he is back as the starter coming out of the bye week which hasn't impressed the local media. However Todd Bowles believes this Quarter Back gives the Jets the best chance of winning the game and I have to agree with him.

It won't be up to Fitzpatrick to win the game though as Matt Forte should have a great game running the ball against a New England team that have been struggling up front. Forte is also a pass catching threat out of the backfield and he can help keep the Jets in third and manageable spots where Fitzpatrick isn't asked to make too many risky throws that have blighted his career.

Running the ball should also be effective in slowing down the pass rush that the Patriots have been able to generate and Fitzpatrick does have Receivers like Brandon Marshall who can make the big catches to keep the chains moving. The Jets have not been that productive in recent games Offensively, but they can do better against the Patriots Defense especially coming out of a bye week.

On the other side of the ball it is going to be far from easy for the Patriots and Tom Brady to have the kind of Offensive production they are used to. The Jets Defensive Line is amongst the best in the NFL so you have to think this will come down to Brady's arm if the Patriots are going to win the game, but the Jets Secondary have also shown some improvement prior to the bye.

However you do have to believe Brady can have a solid outing even if Rob Gronkowski is limited and the Patriots can have some success. On the other hand this is the kind of game that the Jets look forward to more than any other and and I expect their team to come out firing out of a bye week and trying to at least ruin a rival's season.

The Defensive unit can keep this close immediately, but a clean game from Fitzpatrick should mean the Offensive unit can keep up with New England and make these points very important. Getting more than a Touchdown looks too appealing and I will back the home underdog in this spot.

I've added the pick from Monday Night Football below to close Week 12 of the NFL season.

MY PICKS: Minnesota Vikings + 2.5 Points @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Dallas Cowboys - 6.5 Points @ 1.91 Sky Bet (2 Units)
Pittsburgh Steelers - 9.5 Points @ 2.05 Bet365 (2 Units)
Jacksonville Jaguars + 7.5 Points @ 1.95 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Baltimore Ravens - 4 Points @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Atlanta Falcons + 6 Points @ 1.91 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
New York Giants - 7 Points @ 2.00 Sky Bet (2 Units)
Miami Dolphins - 7.5 Points @ 2.00 Bet365 (2 Units)
Seattle Seahawks - 6 Points @ 2.00 Bet365 (2 Units)
New York Jets + 7.5 Points @ 1.91 Sky Bet (2 Units)
Green Bay Packers + 4.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet365 (2 Units)

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