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NFL Week 12 Picks 2022 (November 24-28)

With the World Cup having begun, the short week into Thanksgiving Day in the NFL feels even shorter than usual. Four games a day are tough t...

Friday, 2 December 2022

College Football Week 14 Picks 2022- Championship Week (December 2-3)

The final week of the College Football season is Championship Week as the Bowl Games are also set up- of course the big question is which four teams will be invited into the College Football PlayOff.

Some of the decisions will be much easier for the Committee if the 'right' teams win their Championship Games this weekend, but it could quickly become a real challenge for those members if another tumultuous week comes out of the wash.

USC Trojans vs Utah Utes Pick: Beating the same team twice in a season is a huge challenge for any team playing in College Football or in the pros, but that is what the Utah Utes (9-3) will be facing as they look to secure back to back Pac-12 Championship title wins. After a 7-2 record in the Conference, the Utes have benefited from the removal of Divisions this season as they would have finished behind the 8-1 USC Trojans (11-1) when both were members of the South Division last season, and that despite being the only team to beat the Trojans this season.

This is a big game for the higher ups in the Pac-12 Conference as they will be looking to see if they can send a team to the College Football PlayOff- with the way things have broken down over the last month, the USC Trojans have pushed into the top four of the last set of Rankings and look to be in a position of 'win and you're in' when it comes to the eventual top four teams invited into the PlayOff.

It would be a remarkable end to the season for Lincoln Riley and Caleb Williams in their first season in Southern California having both arrived from the Oklahoma Sooners in the off-season. Lincoln Riley had considerable success as Head Coach of the Sooners and guided them to the College Football PlayOff on three occasions so it was a surprise to see him head off to the USC Trojans, but even more so when he was able to transfer Quarter Back Williams with him.

No one would have really expected Riley to have the kind of impact he has had with the Trojans, who finished 4-8 last season and who have not enjoyed a double digit winning season since 2017. However, the Head Coach has been able to get plenty out of an Offensive unit that had eight returning starters and have been able to add Caleb Williams and was has been a potentially Heisman winning season to the mix.

Even in the defeat on the road at the Utah Utes, Caleb Williams and the USC Offensive unit had a huge game and they will feel a neutral setting in Las Vegas gives them a big chance to earn some revenge. Things will never be easy against a Kyle Whittingham led Utah Defensive unit, but the Trojans have to feel like they can replicate the huge yards they produced in the defeat in Salt Lake City.

Both the Florida Gators and UCLA Bruins have also had wins over the Utah Utes and the Bruins had over 500 total yards in that defeat too. In more recent times, the Utes have at least limited the Oregon Ducks Offense, although Oregon have not been playing at the same kind of level that the Trojans have found on a week to week basis.

Running the ball will be a challenge for the Trojans, but they established the ground game well enough in the defeat to the Utes in October. However, ultimately it is going to come down to Caleb Williams at Quarter Back and some of the big questions may be whether he has the confidence to handle the occasion knowing what is on the line for the Trojans.

Nothing suggests Williams will capitulate here and I think this could be another bow to hang on the Heisman Trophy he is now the favourite to win.

USC should have success moving the ball, but they will need the less experienced Defensive unit to step up and make some big plays. The Trojans Defensive Line will be pushed around by the Utah Offensive Line, who have opened monster holes in recent games, and that will at least give Cameron Rising at Quarter Back a chance to replicate the big performance he had in the narrow win over USC at home.

In recent games Cameron Rising has not really had to do a lot to win them, but he cannot afford to be as inaccurate as he was in the defeat to the Oregon Ducks. On that day Rising threw 3 Interceptions, which proved to be critical in the three point loss, while he only managed 170 yards in the loss.

It was a much different story when throwing for 415 yards and 2 Touchdown passes against the USC Trojans and I do think this game will follow that path more than the one against the Ducks. For all the plaudits received by the Trojans this season, the Secondary has been vulnerable and I do think Cameron Rising will have time to make his throws into his Receivers behind the Offensive Line that have protected him.

Overall it has been a good season for Cameron Rising so I do think he can have a good game in this Pac-12 Championship Game in Sin City. His experience of playing in this Championship Game last season cannot be underestimated and I do think the Trojans Secondary is one that can struggle to stop the pass, so I expect Quarter Back Rising to make sure the Utah Utes are competitive.

Cameron Rising did not have the best numbers in the Pac-12 Championship Game win over Oregon, but he will be feeling confident having played as well as he did against the Trojans earlier this season.

I expect this to at least help the narrow underdog and I do believe Utah will head into this game in Las Vegas with a lot of confidence in themselves and what they can achieve. That can be hard to shake, no matter how good the USC Trojans are, but it is also hard to ignore the fact that the Utah Utes are 0-4 against the spread in their last four games against a team with a winning record.

We have also seen the adjustments Lincoln Riley has been able to make following a defeat in the regular season when playing the same opponent again during his time with the Oklahoma Sooners- he played the same team twice in a single season four times and Riley and the Sooners won the second game four times, while also producing a 3-1 record against the spread.

In the two games lost in the regular season, Lincoln Riley oversaw two Championship Game wins and covered the spread both times and I think he will have prepared the USC Trojans that they can just about top Utah Utes this time. The game in the regular season was won by the Utes with 48 seconds left on the clock and it was a two point conversion that took them over the line, but this time I expect the Trojans to score the last points in a win that will take them into the College Football PlayOff.

TCU Horned Frogs vs Kansas State Wildcats Pick: I have already made the point this week that it is incredibly difficult to beat the same team twice in a season, but like the Pac-12 Championship, the Big 12 Championship will be settled in a rematch. This happens in the Conference regularly in the current format which sees all of the teams face one another in the same standings and three of the last four Championships have been won by the team that LOST in the regular season.

That bodes well for the Kansas State Wildcats (9-3) as they bid to end the TCU Horned Frogs (12-0) unbeaten season for a second time. When they met in Fort Worth in mid-October, the Horned Frogs were forced to recover from a big deficit to beat the Wildcats at home, but this Big 12 Championship Game will be played on the neutral field owned by the Dallas Cowboys.

Neutral field games are tougher, but you would imagine the TCU Horned Frogs will be well supported with just 18 miles between their campus and the Stadium hosting the Championship Game. The Horned Frogs will be looking to confirm their unbeaten season and earn their spot in the College Football PlayOff on Saturday, although they will be well aware that the Committee may look down on them unfavourably if they are not able to win the game.

Sonny Dykes and the Coaching staff will feel that is harsh on the Horned Frogs, but they control their own destiny having escaped some tough positions to remain unbeaten through the course of the season. One of those was against the Wildcats when trailing by 18 points in the first half, but the blow out win over the Iowa State Cyclones in Week 13 will have certainly made the Horned Frogs feel much happier ahead of the Championship Game.

The Horned Frogs had not really been ticking along as comfortably as they had been earlier in the season, but Max Duggan and company have to be feeling better after the win last week. They will also look back on the win over the Wildcats and the way they played in the second half as a huge amount of encouragement in their bid to win again.

After some recent troubles, I do think the Horned Frogs will be able to establish the run in this game, which is important for Max Duggan at Quarter Back. Being in front of the chains should make it easier for Duggan to attack this Wildcats Secondary and the Kansas State Defensive Line have struggled to clamp down on the run consistently all season.

Throwing against the Wildcats from third and long spots is a tough challenge for any team, but if Max Duggan is playing in front of the chains, I expect him to have another strong outing. He threw for 280 yards and 3 Touchdown passes in the home win over the Wildcats in October and I do think the Horned Frogs will have a relatively solid outing again.

The bigger impact may come from the Defensive unit, who have really improved in each passing week as TCU have run the table.

Much will depend on how they handle the line of scrimmage, but in the first meeting the Horned Frogs Defensive Line clamped down on Deuce Vaughn and the Wildcats running game, even if they did give up one huge run to the Running Back. You can't expect to hold him back forever, but stopping Vaughn picking up some momentum is the key and TCU have shown they can do that once already and continue to play pretty efficiently on the Defensive Line when it comes to clamping down on the run.

It is expected to be Will Howard at Quarter Back in place of Adrian Martinez again for Kansas State, but Howard has played enough to be comfortable even in this pressurised setting. Will Howard has 13 Touchdown passes with 2 Interceptions on the season and threw for 225 yards in the first game with the Horned Frogs (2 Touchdown passes-1 Interception) in relief of Martinez.

This Horned Frogs Secondary is pretty tough to throw against with any consistency thanks to the ability to force teams into third and long spots and that is going to be a challenge for Will Howard in all likelihood. I think there are one or two holes that Howard will exploit, but it could be another tough test for the Wildcats who live and die by their ability to run the ball.

Kansas State had won three in a row in this series before losing in October and they are a well Coached team who will have learned from that experience.

They have been in good form down the stretch, which also makes the Wildcats dangerous, but I do think they will come up short against the TCU Horned Frogs who look to match up pretty well with Kansas State on both sides of the ball.

Both of these teams have been covering machines at the window this season, but I have to give TCU the edge and this could be one of those rare two wins in a single season over the same opponent for a team in College Football.

Georgia Bulldogs vs LSU Tigers Pick: They may be the defending National Champions and favourites to win it all in January, but the Georgia Bulldogs (12-0) have not won the SEC Championship since beating Auburn in 2017. Since then, the Bulldogs have reached the Championship Game three times and lost each time, although last season they earned revenge over the Alabama Crimson Tide in the National Championship Game.

This year they are perhaps surprised to be faced by the LSU Tigers (9-3), the school that beat the Bulldogs in 2019, especially as the Tigers are in the first season with Brian Kelly at Head Coach. The Tigers have finished 5-5 and 6-7 in the two years since winning the National Championship with an unbeaten team led by Joe Burrow, but they edged out the Crimson Tide for the place in the SEC Championship Game thanks to the tie-breaker of going for a two point conversion and beating Alabama in Overtime.

Last week was a disappointment for the Tigers who were beaten by the Texas A&M Aggies despite being a double digit favourite going into the game. Some will feel they were overlooking the Aggies and focusing on the SEC Championship Game, but it is a defeat that has serious ramifications of keeping LSU out of the College Football PlayOffs even if they were to upset the odds on Saturday.

Not many would have anticipated the SEC Champions failing to make the final four in College Football, but the defeats on the record are hard to ignore. Of course the Tigers could have wins over both Alabama and Georgia on the CV, but two blow out losses to the Aggies and the Tennessee Volunteers are hard to accept, and even more so when you consider the Florida State Seminoles have beaten LSU this season too.

Brian Kelly and his players won't be worrying too much about where they may sit in any College Football Ranking and their sole concern is winning the SEC Championship. This alone would be a remarkable achievement for the school that has struggled without Joe Burrow, although it will take a monumental upset to see that come to fruition.

It is simply difficult to imagine the LSU Tigers having a lot of Offensive success in this one when their unit is powered by a running game that is going to have a tough time establishing anything against this Georgia Defensive Line. The Tigers are going to need John Emery and the Offensive Line to be at their best if they are going to have any chance and that is as much to do with the injury to Jayden Daniels at Quarter Back as anything else.

Running the ball is clearly the ambition for the Tigers, but it doesn't help that their starting Quarter Back is banged up to say the least. They do feel he has escaped a serious injury, but Daniels is not going to be effective running the ball as usual and it is not going to be much fun standing behind this Offensive Line and hoping for protection in third and long spots.

Throwing the ball against this Secondary from those positions are hard enough when fully healthy and I do think Jayden Daniels could be in a tough spot for much of the afternoon.

The pressure may then be on the LSU Defense to step up and try and slow down the Bulldogs on the other side of the ball, but I am not sure they are going to be as effective at clamping down on the run as Georgia are expected to be. The Tigers Defensive Line has played well, but they have allowed huge numbers on the ground in the losses to SEC opponents Tennessee and Texas A&M and I expect the committee run by the Bulldogs to have success and keep Stetson Bennett in a strong position at Quarter Back.

Stetson Bennett is effectively a game-manager for the Georgia Bulldogs at Quarter Back, but he has to be credited for throwing for over 3100 yards this season and has added 16 Touchdowns with 6 Interceptions. Recent outings have not been as consistent as Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs would have liked, but Bennett is capable enough of making plays behind an Offensive Line which will give him time.

He may not need to do a lot, but Stetson Bennett can do what is asked of him and help the Georgia Bulldogs win a first SEC Championship since 2017.

The spread is a big one, but things could get out of hand for the LSU Tigers if they are having to chase and Jayden Daniels is not able to move as much as he would like. They were blown out by the Tennessee Volunteers in Baton Rouge and I am anticipating Georgia to look to make a statement, even if the oddsmakers have tended to get on top of their number.

An experienced Bulldogs Offensive unit should be extra motivated having lost the Championship Game last season in the Conference and I do think they are much stronger on both sides of the ball. A statement win could also give their College Football PlayOff rivals plenty to think about, while Smart and his Coaching staff will not have forgotten the 27 point beat down given to them by the LSU Tigers in the 2019 Championship Game.

I think that all leads to the Georgia Bulldogs looking to win big and covering this mark.

Clemson Tigers vs North Carolina Tar Heels Pick: There was a long period where the Clemson Tigers (10-2) were an annual College Football PlayOff team representing the ACC Conference. However, this looks like being the second season in a row where the Conference will miss out on the final four after the Tigers were upset by the South Carolina Gamecocks last week.

They will still have a chance to win the ACC Championship when taking on the North Carolina Tar Heels (9-3) in what is the final season where Divisions will be used in the Conference. These two teams finished with the best records in the ACC regardless, but late defeats for both the Tigers and the Tar Heels have proved to be fatal in ending their bids to reach the College Football PlayOff.

A crazy final week may still open the door for the Tigers if they can win this game, but it is a long shot and winning the ACC Championship Game will be the big motivation. Some players may be disappointed that they cannot play in the PlayOffs, but that shouldn't take away from winning a Conference Championship considering the Tigers failed to even make the Championship Game twelve months ago.

In fact the Tigers have not won the ACC Championship since 2019 and so there is plenty for the team to achieve even if they have fallen short of their main goal for the season. Inconsistent Offensive performances have really held Clemson back through the course of 2022, but they should feel pretty comfortable matching up against this Tar Heels Defensive unit, which has been struggling.

Clamping down on the run has been one aspect of the North Carolina Defense that has been working well in recent games, but I am not sure the Defensive Line will be able to get the better of the Clemson Offensive Line. Moving the ball on the ground has been where the Tigers have been able to get their Offensive unit going, especially as it has eased some of the pressure on DJ Uiagalelei, who has continued to be a disappointment at Quarter Back.

DJ Uiagalelei is likely going to have an opportunity to have a strong game in this one with the limited pass rush that North Carolina have been able to generate of late and a Tar Heels Secondary that has struggled to make stops. He is very difficult to trust when you think of the completely inconsistent level he has produced throughout his College career, but I think the Quarter Back will be helped by the run and that should see the Tigers continue to churn out the points.

In reality the 10-2 record has been built on the Defensive unit and that is going to be the key for the Clemson Tigers yet again. They will know all about Drake Maye at Quarter Back for North Carolina considering the Tigers wanted to recruit him, but stopping him will be a tough challenge after the year Maye has had.

The edge that the Tigers do have is on the line of scrimmage and they will feel the Defensive Line can largely shut down the North Carolina ability to establish the run and leave Drake Maye to make the plays through the air. There is no doubting that he can have success, but Maye will be under pressure behind a Tar Heels Offensive Line which has not provided the kind of time he will need in third and long spots and especially not against the Clemson pass rush, which has been getting to the Quarter Back regularly in recent games thanks to the run stuffing ability of the Defensive Line.

Drake Maye won't be shut down completely, but he will have to be careful with his accuracy if he is going to guide the Tar Heels to the upset and that may be too tall a task. Back to back losses will have knocked the North Carolina confidence and I do think the Tigers Defensive unit will step up and make enough plays to give their team the chance to win this Championship Game.

Both teams have been inconsistent at the betting window this season and they can be difficult to trust having underwhelmed for much of the year.

However, the Clemson Tigers are a bit more experienced than the North Carolina Tar Heels and they should have enough Defense to edge to the cover of this spread.

Michigan Wolverines vs Purdue Boilermakers Pick: Winning in Columbus is never easy, but winning by the margin that the Michigan Wolverines (12-0) was very impressive. Barring something strange happening, the Wolverines have to believe they can win the Big Ten Championship and return to the College Football PlayOff for a second season in a row.

Cade McNamara has decided he will be transferring away from the Wolverines at the end of the season, but the focus for the team has to be on the Purdue Boilermakers (8-4) who won the Big Ten West with a 6-3 Conference record. The Spoilermakers have regularly upset teams over the last couple of seasons so overlooking them will be a mistake, while there should be plenty of motivation in Purdue to play hard for their Quarter Back Aidan O'Connell.

In Week 13, Aidan O'Connell threw for 290 yards and 2 Touchdown passes with no Interceptions as the Boilermakers beat the Indiana Hoosiers and took their place in the Big Ten Championship Game. The performance was all the more remarkable considering O'Connell had found out his brother Sean had passed away prior to the game and he has been given some time off to grieve with his family.

Everyone expects Aidan O'Connell to return to play in the Championship Game and his team-mates are going to want to give their absolute all in support of a player that is much admired. This is a crushing time for the Quarter Back and Football may not be his biggest priority right now, but there is also no doubt that Aidan O'Connell will return to the team with full focus and that makes him dangerous.

Of course he is facing a Wolverines Defensive unit that is stout, but Aidan O'Connell's grief can be a powerful motivational tool in sports and I have a real belief that he is going to have a massive performance on Saturday. Ultimately it may not be good enough for the upset, but it will make the Boilermakers dangerous.

Running the ball won't be easy, but I don't think Purdue will move too far away from the game plan being produced this week. They just want to make sure O'Connell is given a chance to throw from favourable down and distances, while the Purdue Offensive Line should offer their Quarter Back a little bit of time in the pocket to hit his Receivers.

It will be a tough day for the Boilermakers, but they can make this competitive, although the Michigan Wolverines should be able to come through with a victory that takes them into the College Football PlayOff.

Blake Corum is still banged up for the Wolverines, while JJ McCarthy has not been asked to do a lot at Quarter Back in keeping Michigan's Offensive unit ticking along. The Wolverines showed how efficiently they can run the ball even without Corum last week in the win over the Buckeyes, but this is another stout Defensive Line they are facing and without the same kind of emotion they would have had going into Columbus.

Only a couple of weeks ago the Illinois Fighting Illini made things very uncomfortable for the Wolverines on the Offensive side of the ball and I do think Purdue can do the same in this one.

It may then come down to JJ McCarthy and his arm to help the Wolverines win the game, although the Quarter Back is going to be facing a Boilermakers Secondary which have stepped up their level of play down the stretch. I do think McCarthy will have success, but it may not be as consistent as will be needed to help Michigan cover what is a pretty big number.

I have to respect the fact that the Wolverines crushed the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten Championship Game last season after finally beating the Ohio State Buckeyes under Jim Harbaugh so they could come out and crush the Purdue Boilermakers. However, I am expecting the underdog to play at their very highest level to support their Quarter Back and Purdue should be able to reach 20 points, which may be enough to cover.

The Spoilermakers are 5-1 against the spread in their last six games against a team with a winning record and clearly enjoy the challenges of facing the stronger teams. A lack of Championship Game experience is a concern, but the motivation of the Purdue players should help them keep this one close and competitive.

MY PICKS: Buffalo Bulls - 11.5 Points @ 2.00 Bet365 (1 Unit)
USC Trojans - 2.5 Points @ 1.86 Bet365 (1 Unit)
TCU Horned Frogs - 2.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet365 (1 Unit)
Georgia Bulldogs - 17.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet365 (1 Unit)
Clemson Tigers - 7.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet365 (1 Unit)
Purdue Boilermakers + 16.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet365 (1 Unit)

Friday, 25 November 2022

College Football Week 13 Picks 2022 (November 24-26)

The final week of the College Football season is to be played over Thanksgiving Weekend before the attention turns to the Championship Games next week.

There are still some places to be earned in those games and those will be decided in the next couple of games.

It has been a difficult season for the College Football Picks compared with the NFL Picks, but it is the way it goes and you have to roll with the punches.

NC State Wolf Pack @ North Carolina Tar Heels Pick: The ACC Championship Game has already been set for next week with the Clemson Tigers facing the North Carolina Tar Heels (9-2), but this is rivalry week and the Tar Heels will be looking for a momentum boosting win. They were upset by the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in Week 12, a result that has ended North Carolina's slim hopes of making the College Football PlayOff, but beating their rival and winning the ACC Championship will have fans forgiving their team very quickly.

Focusing on this game will be a challenge with a Championship Game coming up, but the Tar Heels were beaten by the NC State Wolf Pack (7-4) last season and revenge is a big motivational tool in games like this one.

Injuries have really hurt the Wolf Pack as they have lost two in a row and they could be down to their third string Quarter Back for a second game in a row. MJ Morris is perhaps nearer to a return for NC State, but otherwise they will have to give the ball to Ben Finley who finished his last start with 201 passing yards and a single Touchdown and Interception.

There will be opportunities for whoever is able to start at Quarter Back for the Wolf Pack on Friday as there are some holes in the North Carolina Secondary which can be exploited. It helps that the Tar Heels are not able to get a lot of pass rush pressure generated in recent games and that should mean the NC State Offensive Line is able to at least give either Morris or Finley some time to find Receivers down the field.

Running the ball could be an issue for the Wolf Pack though and that does leave the Quarter Back under pressure to make plays from third and long spots. Lacking experience at the position means it can be tough to have a consistent success throwing the ball and that means the Wolf Pack will lean on the very good Defensive unit to try and keep them competitive on the scoreboard.

It has been a real test for teams to try and run the ball against the NC State Defensive Line all season, but in recent games they have really found some pride in clamping down on Running Backs. They will feel they win at the line of scrimmage on this side of the ball and that will force North Carolina to become a little one-dimensional with their play-calling, although Drake Maye has been one of the top Quarter Backs in College Football.

Drake Maye has thrown 34 Touchdown passes with 4 Interceptions and he will have noticed the amount of yards that the Wolf Pack have given up through the air in recent games. However, it won't be easy for Maye to replicate that over and over as he is playing behind an Offensive Line which has struggled to give him the time he may have hoped for, and now they have to face a Wolf Pack pass rush which has been very happy when allowed to pin back their ears and get to the Quarter Back.

Shutting down the run has allowed the pass rush to thrive and, despite the yards being allowed, it does also lead to turnovers. That is something that Drake Maye will be concerned about as he looks to help his team bounce back, but I do think he is capable of doing that even if he has to take a few Sacks on the way.

Both teams are looking to bounce back from a loss, but the feeling is that the North Carolina Tar Heels have more Offensive output and that can see them pull clear eventually.

The Wolf Pack are just 7-19 against the spread in their last twenty-six on the road, while they are 1-7 against the spread in their last eight Conference games. The NC State Wolf Pack have also failed to cover in any of the last five in this rivalry and I do think they are lacking bite Offensively, which will see them struggle to keep up with North Carolina on the scoreboard.

Florida Gators @ Florida State Seminoles Pick: The regular season may be coming to an end for these two in-State rivals, but they can focus on this game knowing they have won the six games to become Bowl eligible for when those selections are made early next month.

You have to imagine the Florida State Seminoles (8-3) are very much aware they have lost the last three games in this rivalry, but this has been a big bounce back year after a number of lean campaigns. They are getting to host the game against the Florida Gators (6-5) this year and they are facing a wounded team that were just embarrassed by the Vanderbilt Commodores in a road loss in Week 12.

It is a loss that would have stung, but the Florida Gators have been beaten by the Tennessee Volunteers, LSU Tigers and Georgia Bulldogs amongst the other five defeats suffered in 2022 and those are losses to some of the very best teams in College Football. Two of those could easily be playing in the College Football PlayOff.

While this offers some encouragement, it has still been a disappointing season for the Gators and especially after the defeat last week. They are now facing a Florida State Defensive unit that have been the key to their successes this season and it could be a tough day for the Gators on this side of the ball.

There will be a healthy respect for the fact that the Seminoles are going to be taking on a SEC Offensive Line which has been able to establish the run, but Florida State have been strong on this side of the ball and have been able to clamp down on the run all season. If they can do that here, they will force the Florida Gators to rely on Antony Richardson to make plays with his arm against a Seminoles Secondary which have restricted teams to under 160 passing yards per game this season.

I do think the Gators will have their moments simply because of how well their Offensive Line are playing, but the consistency may be with the Florida State Offensive unit who should be able to find a balance to their play-calling. The Seminoles Offensive Line should be able to open up some holes to help the Running Backs get something going on the ground, and that should mean the play-action can be employed to attack this Secondary.

Jordan Travis has had a solid season at Quarter Back and he has been well protected by his Offensive Line when has dropped back to throw, so I do think Travis and the passing game will be able to operate effectively as well.

No should ignore the size of the spread and the ability of the Florida Gators to score late and earn the backdoor cover.

However, I do think a motivated Florida State Seminoles team will be pushed forward by the home fans and they can end their losing run in the series by winning by double digits. The favourite is 16-5 against the spread in the last twenty-one between these teams, while the Gators are 3-9 against the spread in their last twelve road games and 2-8 against the spread in their last ten non-Conference games.

A balanced Florida State Offensive unit can be more consistent on this side of the ball than the Florida Gators and that can see them cover.

South Carolina Gamecocks @ Clemson Tigers Pick: A big defeat to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish looked to have ended the Clemson Tigers (9-1) hopes of making the College Football PlayOff, but things have changed in the three weeks since that loss. Others have fallen away from the top four Ranking places and the Tigers will have been grateful to rivals the South Carolina Gamecocks (7-4) were upsetting the Tennessee Volunteers in Week 12.

It was by far the best game of the season for Spencer Rattler and the Gamecocks as they crushed the team many felt would have been invited into the PlayOff as long as they didn't suffer a second loss.

That win would have been celebrated by fans of the Clemson Tigers and the feeling is that they can push into the top four as long as they win their remaining two games, which includes the ACC Championship Game. With one of Ohio State or Michigan losing this week, and TCU barely surviving an upset of their own, the Clemson Tigers could be backed into the College Football PlayOff as a team with a single loss and a Conference Championship in the pocket.

After watching what happened last week, you can be certain that the Clemson Tigers will be focused on the South Carolina Gamecocks. However, the Offensive output from the Gamecocks really did come out of left field and was very unexpected so it will be interesting to see whether they can do the same against a strong Clemson Defensive unit.

The run was a huge part of the success that the Gamecocks had last week and I think they will be looking to establish the ground game in this one too. In recent games there have been one or two more gaps to hit against the Clemson Defensive Line, and it will be important for South Carolina to operate in front of the chains to give Spencer Rattler the chance to back up what has been arguably his most impressive College Football game ever.

The Quarter Back has struggled for much of the season, but carved up the Tennessee Secondary in Week 12, although Rattler will know this might be a more significant test. The Clemson pass rush has been a factor in their play, but since the defeat against the Fighting Irish, the Tigers Secondary have really knuckled down against the pass and will feel they can force Spencer Rsttler into uncomfortable positions considering he is only two weeks further forward since struggling against the Florida Gators.

A major reason the Clemson Tigers are perhaps not considered a genuine College Football PlayOff contender outside of others slipping up is the Offensive issues that have continued to plague them since Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne left for the NFL. They have scored 71 points in beating Louisville and Miami since the loss to Notre Dame, but this is not a unit that many would have associated with a Dabo Swinney coached team.

DJ Uiagalelei has not really stepped up at Quarter Back like many would have hoped and he has even been benched this season when struggling, but he may only need to hand the ball off to the Running Backs to keep the Tigers in front of the chains in this one. The Gamecocks have allowed teams to rip off some big gains on the ground in recent games and the Clemson Tigers will be looking to pick up from that and make sure Uiagalelei is in a position to win the game without having to do that on his own.

Establishing the run should open the passing lanes for DJ Uiagalelei and I think he can make some plays against this Secondary, while the Gamecocks pass rush may be slowed down in third and manageable spots. Turnovers- avoiding them more importantly- will be the key for the Tigers and playing a clean game could help them record one of their more impressive wins of the season, especially playing a South Carolina team that just crushed Tennessee.

The Tigers have dominated this rivalry in recent years and they are 4-1 against the spread in the last five in the series.

They will also be facing a South Carolina team who are 3-8-1 against the spread in their last twelve on the road and one that has only produced a 2-8 record against the spread in their last ten games following a win.

I won't deny the spread is a big one, but I think the emotional Gamecocks could struggle to replicate the performance in the win over Tennessee and that will give the Clemson Tigers a chance to pull away for a big home win.

Michigan Wolverines @ Ohio State Buckeyes Pick: An eight game losing run in The Game had been a cloud over the Jim Harbaugh era as Head Coach of the Michigan Wolverines (11-0), but they snapped that in 2021 and reached the College Football PlayOff for the first time. The win came in Ann Arbor, but this time the Wolverines are travelling to Columbus to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes (11-0) with the Big Ten East Division on the line.

The winning team will not only be punching their ticket into the Championship Game next weekend, but they will also be in pole position for one of the top four berths in the PlayOff Rankings. On the other hand, the losing team may struggle to finish above a couple of the other potential Conference Champions and may have their season effectively coming to an end on Thanksgiving Weekend.

It puts a lot of pressure on the players taking to the field and there should be a fierce atmosphere awaiting in the Stadium when they kick off on Saturday.

A major concern for the Wolverines has to be the health of Running Back Blake Corum who had to leave the tougher than expected win over the Illinois Fighting Illini in Week 12. Some of the lacklustre nature of the win may have been down to the players focusing on this game, but the Michigan Wolverines were a touch fortunate to come away with a win and will need to turn the switch if they are going to beat a team as strong as the Buckeyes.

Everything will be decided at the line of scrimmage when the Wolverines have the ball- their Offensive Line have been strong, but Michigan have not tried to run the ball against a Defensive Line as stout as the one Ohio State will be bringing onto their home field. Without Blake Corum it will be even tougher to establish the run, but even with the strong Running Back having a go, I do think the Buckeyes have shown they can clamp down on all up front.

You would then have to question whether Cade McNamara can do enough at Quarter Back to open up the running lanes and I am not sure he has the arm to do that. The entire Wolverines passing Offense has struggled as injuries have piled up and this Ohio State Secondary may be as good as any in College Football.

There will be a similar problem at the line of scrimmage on the other side of the ball as the Buckeyes try and establish the run against a strong Michigan Defensive Line. Throughout this season, the Wolverines have been incredibly tough to run against, but the question is once again whether they have faced any Offensive unit that can be compared with the one they will meet in Week 13.

That weakness of schedule has meant the Wolverines need the win arguably more than the Buckeyes, but I think the difference between these teams will be made at Quarter Back. I have some doubts about McNamara for the road team, but CJ Stroud has been having a Heisman level of season with 35 Touchdown passes thrown and only 4 Interceptions to go with those.

Michigan have played really well Defensively and have some talented players that are likely going to be playing at the next level, but the feeling is that Stroud will make more plays than McNamara at Quarter Back and that will be the reason the Ohio State are able to get the better of their old rivals.

Both are top teams, but this feels like a game that could develop in a similar way to when the Georgia Bulldogs beat the Tennessee Volunteers in the SEC- the latter had bigger wins than Michigan have produced this season, but Ohio State have long looked the best team in the Big Ten and I think the home advantage is also going to be very important to them.

More consistent play from Quarter Back will likely be the reason the Buckeyes are able to earn revenge for the defeat in 2021 and Ohio State are 4-0-1 against the spread in their last five at home.

Over the last ten season, Michigan are only 6-11 against the spread as the road underdog and their last three visits to Columbus have ended in defeats by 29, 11 and 29 points. Covering this number won't be easy for the Buckeyes, but I think they may some late plays to produce a double digit victory on their way to the Big Ten Championship Game and the College Football PlayOffs.

MY PICKS: North Carolina Tar Heels - 6.5 Points @ 1.85 William Hill (1 Unit)
Florida State Seminoles - 10 Points @ 1.91 Bet365 (1 Unit)
Clemson Tigers - 14.5 Points @ 1.91 Coral (1 Unit)
Ohio State Buckeyes - 8.5 Points @ 2.00 Bet365 (1 Unit)

Thursday, 24 November 2022

NFL Week 12 Picks 2022 (November 24-28)

With the World Cup having begun, the short week into Thanksgiving Day in the NFL feels even shorter than usual.

Four games a day are tough to deal with at the World Cup- of course you want to watch as much of the tournament as possible.

For now you can read my Picks from the three Thanksgiving Day games in the NFL and I will add further selections here before the Sunday and Monday games are set to be played.

Buffalo Bills @ Detroit Lions Pick: Circumstances were out of the control of the Buffalo Bills (7-3) in Week 11 as Mother Nature decided to drop a huge bucket of snow all over their hometown. It meant having to move their scheduled game with the Cleveland Browns to Detroit and it just happens to be a few days before the Buffalo Bills were scheduled to face the home team Detroit Lions (4-6) on Thanksgiving Day. The Bills were able to rally and beat the Browns in this Stadium on Sunday and they will be looking for a second victory in a row and to snap the Detroit three game winning run.

In a very competitive AFC East, the Bills can lay down a marker before the rest of the Division plays in Week 12 and a win would mean they move to the top of the East. At the moment they share the same record with the Miami Dolphins, but the latter hold the tie-breaker and have what should be a relatively straight-forward game to win out of their Bye Week on Sunday.

Sean McDermott and the Coaching staff will be worrying less about what Miami are going to do and instead will be thinking about the Buffalo Bills and how they are going to get the better of the Detroit Lions. Josh Allen still hasn't looked completely like himself since the reports came out about an elbow issue that the Quarter Back has been dealing with and he failed to throw for 200 plus yards in Week 11, despite the win over the Cleveland Browns.

No one associated with the Bills is overly concerned about Allen and the extra few days should have allowed other players to get over an illness that had swept through the team. The quick turnaround is not ideal, but the Buffalo Bills have been used to playing on Thanksgiving Day in recent seasons and that should mean they are well prepared thanks to a strong Head Coach and other members around him.

Josh Allen did do plenty of damage with his legs last week and I think he will be able to do the same in this one against the Lions Defensive Line which is still giving up over 5 yards per carry through their winning run. Handing the ball to Devin Singletary and James Cook should keep the Bills in front of the chains as teams have been too afraid to load the box and allow Josh Allen and the powerful passing game to take control.

Establishing the run does naturally open up the passing lanes too and there are injuries in the Detroit Secondary which can be exploited by Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis. While there are still some concerns about the Josh Allen elbow, he can have a stronger outing than Sunday in the same Stadium and the Buffalo Bills should be able to move the ball up and down the field with confidence.

This is a big spread though and the question is whether this Detroit Lions can continue to be as competitive as they have been in recent games. Three wins in a row in the NFL has to be respected, but the Lions have have actually lost the yardage battle in each of those, although the fans may point to how much they pushed the Miami Dolphins as to their ability to stay with the Buffalo Bills in this one.

Jared Goff has shown he is more than a serviceable Quarter Back in the NFL, but he will need the Running Backs to do their part in this one and try and extend drives. While it has been possible to rip off some gains on the ground against the Buffalo Defensive Line, the Lions have not reached 4 yards per carry in their recent winning run and that is a concern.

They can lean on Jared Goff and ask him to make the plays with his arm, especially as he is playing behind an Offensive Line that has offered plenty of protection. Injuries have also been hurting the effectiveness of the Buffalo Secondary, and so Goff could easily get into a position where the backdoor cover can be secured, especially with this number of points being given to the home underdog.

Playing a clean game and not offering up extra possessions is the key for the Detroit Lions and I do think they are capable of doing that with Jared Goff being given time to scan the field. Winning the game is a big ask, but the Lions have not been blown out at home this season and I think that is important to their mindset, while the three game winning run will clearly give the home team some confidence.

At the same time, the Buffalo Bills have not really been able to pull clear of teams on the road since their opening Week crushing of the Los Angeles Rams. They have played four road games since then and they have been decided by margins of 2, 3, 4 and 3 points and this makes me believe they are being asked to cover too many points here.

Of course the Buffalo Bills are capable of making me look very foolish with their high-octane Offensive firepower, but the Detroit Lions have shown they can be very competitive and may score enough points to make it very difficult for the road team to win by double digits.

I have to respect the fact that the Buffalo Bills crushed the Saints in New Orleans as a big road favourite on Thanksgiving Day last season, but the Detroit Lions are 7-2 against the spread in their last nine at home and I will look for them to produce enough Offense to keep this one within the number too.

New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys Pick: It is Thanksgiving Day and that means the Dallas Cowboys (7-3) will be hosting a game for the 45th year in a row, although you cannot ignore how poorly they have played on the day as far as against the spread goes. The Cowboys have made a habit of failing to cover as a home favourite so it is difficult to see them in this spot against the New York Giants (7-3) in a huge game in the NFC East.

Both have strong records through eleven weeks of the regular season, but both the Cowboys and Giants continue to chase the Philadelphia Eagles who have a two game lead in the Division. The Eagles hold a win over the Dallas Cowboys too, but the Cowboys have the tie-breaker over the New York Giants after a road win over their Divisional rivals in Week 3.

Losing a grip of that tie-breaker will make it very difficult to track down the Eagles in the Division and force the Dallas Cowboys to think about the Wild Card race, but they are coming into this one with a load of momentum having crushed the Minnesota Vikings. On the same day, the New York Giants were perhaps overlooking the Detroit Lions and they have now lost two of their last three games to slip into third place in what looks an incredibly competitive Division.

We are going to learn plenty about the New York Giants in the next four weeks when they play four Divisional games and so this is a big spot in which they will be trying to bounce back from recent setbacks. First year Head Coach Brian Daboll has admitted that he is looking for a reaction from his players who have just lost some of their Offensive spark in recent outings as injuries continue to affect their performances.

Through the course of much of this season, the Giants have been able to pound the rock very effectively, but in their last three games they have only managed to pick up 3.5 yards per carry. Ultimately stopping the run is the weakness of the Dallas Defensive unit and so the Giants have to be confident in picking up the bigger gains, but it is very difficult for New York and Daniel Jones if they are not able to establish the run, or if the game is out of hand and they have to throw the ball.

Saquon Barkley should have a decent game and Daniel Jones will make plays with his legs, but the New York Giants will have to play a clean game if they are going to upset the home town Cowboys. Any time they are behind the chains, the Giants Offensive Line will be under the same pressure they were in Week 3 when they were not able to give Daniel Jones the time in the pocket to make his plays down field.

Injuries in the Wide Receiver room also means the Giants are struggling for options outside of the rejuvenated Darius Slayton. He can offer Daniel Jones a passing threat, but this Dallas Defensive unit have been very impressive by generating a host of pressure up front and the Secondary then being able to step up and make some big plays.

It just feels like a game in which the Giants are going to struggle to have a consistent Offensive outing and especially if they begin to chase the game. That is a distinct possibility with the Dallas Cowboys looking much more potent now Dak Prescott is back behind Center and they have piled up at least 28 points in three consecutive games.

The two home games since Prescott's return have both ended in strong wins for the Dallas Cowboys and the balance they have Offensively is hard to ignore. Ezekiel Elliot may be having his time managed after a return from an injury, but Tony Pollard has shown he has Home Run speed out of the backfield and the Running Back is a massive threat behind this Offensive Line and in the open field.

Dallas should be able to establish the run with confidence and being in front of the chains makes things very comfortable for Dak Prescott. The Quarter Back is well protected by his Offensive Line and there are holes to exploit in the New York Secondary with the likes of CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup and Dalton Schultz all capable of making big plays, and that is also ignoring the threat Tony Pollard poses leaking out of the backfield.

Avoiding mistakes is the key for Dak Prescott who was guilty of that against the Green Bay Packers in a defeat a couple of weeks ago. In general he has played well on his return from injury and I do think the Cowboys will be able to pull away in this one and then tee off on Daniel Jones as he tries to drag the Giants back into the game.

As mentioned, it is hard to trust the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day having seen them fail to cover so often as the home favourite and this is a big spread to deal with.

However, the Cowboys have matched up very well with the Giants and have a 9-2 record against the spread in the last eleven between these Divisional rivals, while Dallas are 4-1 against the spread in the last five games when hosting the Giants.

The Cowboys have a 22-8 record against the spread in their last thirty against their Divisional rivals, while the New York Giants are 0-4 against the spread in those Divisional battles. The game may come down to the final possession as far as this number goes, but I think the Dallas Defensive unit carve up Daniel Jones behind his Offensive Line and they can produce another dominant home win after blow out victories over Detroit and Chicago.

New England Patriots @ Minnesota Vikings Pick: There are ways to lose a game and the Minnesota Vikings (8-2) will be looking for a much better all around effort than the one they put into their Week 11 home drubbing by the Dallas Cowboys. The Vikings remain in firm control of the NFC North where the rest of the Division have a losing record, but they have lost a bit of ground in the race for the top Seed in the Conference as they prepare to play the third game on Thanksgiving Day.

This is a non-Conference game, but it will be as important to the hosts as it will be for the New England Patriots (6-4) who are one of four teams with a winning record in the AFC East. They are only a game behind the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills in the East, and have to face those Divisional rivals three times before the end of the regular season.

The Patriots will be playing on Thursday Night Football again next week and the short preparation time for this game could hurt them, especially after the tough and gruelling win over the New York Jets on Sunday. The Defensive unit played well for the Patriots, but they struggled Offensively and they need to be much better if they are going to compete with the likes of the Bills and the Dolphins within the Division.

Mac Jones has really not pushed on at Quarter Back as the Patriots would have liked, but they should be able to have success running the ball in this one. In recent games the Offensive Line have had some issues opening holes up front, but they may find that a little easier against the Minnesota Vikings than in the games against the New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts.

Finding it easier is one thing, but Mac Jones is going to have to make some plays in the passing game to prevent the Vikings from simply loading the box. The Quarter Back has been guilty of being a little indecisive inside the pocket and the pass protection has broken down around him when he has been left in obvious passing down and distance so it is important for Mac Jones and the Patriots to get the run going.

Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris are a good one-two combo at Running Back, while the former has picked up some significant yards as a pass-catcher leaking out of the backfield and that could be key for the New England Patriots.

Even if not at his best, Mac Jones has to avoid the mistakes and give his Defensive unit a chance of at least keeping the Patriots competitive in this game. Bill Belichick has the Patriots playing really well on this side of the ball and he will have been really encouraged to see the way the Vikings struggled against the Dallas Cowboys last week, especially as Christian Darrisaw has been ruled out on the Minnesota Offensive Line.

If Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings hope to establish Dalvin Cook and cool down any pass rush pressure the Patriots can generate, they could be in for a hard day in the office. The Patriots Defensive Line have held teams to 3.1 yards per carry in recent games and they will look to clamp down on the strong Running Back and force Kirk Cousins to have to step back to throw.

Last week the Quarter Back was absolutely destroyed by the Dallas pass rush and the New England Patriots certainly feel they will be able to get in Kirk Cousins' face throughout this one too. Pressure can lead to mistakes and that has been an issue with Cousins in his career when the pocket collapses around him and I do think the New England Secondary is capable of holding their own against Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen.

If Kirk Cousins has time, he will be able to make plays down the field with the strong play Jefferson gives him, but it is hard to imagine the Vikings can sort out the pass protection on a short week.

I can't ignore the fact that the Minnesota Vikings have had a strong habit of bouncing back from defeats, but I do think the New England Patriots can make the points count as the road underdog.

The Patriots are 6-1 against the spread in their last seven games overall and I think they match up pretty well with the Minnesota Vikings with their Defensive unit capable of setting up short fields for Mac Jones and the Offense. With Bill Belichick at Head Coach, New England should be able to get the pass rush attacking Kirk Cousins and look for the mistakes that gives the team an opportunity to win here and I think they can be backed with the points with every chance of an outright win on the day.

Baltimore Ravens @ Jacksonville Jaguars Pick: Despite having two games against the AFC South leaders to come before the end of the regular season, hopes are dwindling very quickly that the Jacksonville Jaguars (3-7) will be able to return to the NFL PlayOffs for the first time since 2017. A promising season has now turned into one where the Jaguars were beaten in six of their last seven games before the Bye Week and the extra preparation time may have come too late to save the season.

They are hosting the Baltimore Ravens (7-3) who have a one game lead at the top of the AFC North after recording a fourth win in a row out of their Bye Week. An illness had spread through the locker room ahead of the win over the Carolina Panthers in Week 11, but the Ravens should be healthier overall in terms of that illness.

However, injury continue to hold back the Baltimore Ravens and they are only hopeful that the likes of Ronnie Stanley and Mark Andrews are able to return this week. Gus Edwards could be back to join the Running Back committee used by the Coaching staff, but having Stanley and Andrews back would be a big boost for Lamar Jackson and the entire Offensive unit.

The win over the Carolina Panthers was largely down to the continued progress made by the Defensive unit, but the Ravens may feel there are going to be more chances for them with the ball in their own hands. For starters, the Offensive Line are still opening up holes for the team to run the ball efficiently and they may have some joy against a Jacksonville Defensive Line that went into the Bye Week just struggling to clamp down on the run as they have been for much of the season.

Dealing with a dual-threat Quarter Back like Lamar Jackson proved a big challenge when the Jaguars faced Daniel Jones and the New York Giants, while a returning Gus Edwards would give Baltimore another crease to pound the rock with success.

The absence of Mark Andrews has hurt the passing game with key Receivers already down with injuries, but Lamar Jackson should be able to find some holes to exploit in this one. For the majority of the game the Ravens will want to establish the run, but that will further open the issues in the Jaguars Secondary and I think Jackson will be able to keep the chains moving with his legs and his arm.

Establishing the run is likely going to be key for the Jacksonville Jaguars too and they do have a talented player in Travis Etienne who is enjoying a strong season. However, I have mentioned the progress being made by the Ravens and the Defensive Line have been rock-solid against the run which makes it difficult to believe they do not win at the line of scrimmage.

The overall season numbers are impressive, but the Ravens have been incredibly tough in recent games during their winning run. Over their last three games, Baltimore have held teams to 42 yards per game on the ground and, while I think the Jaguars have some success, I think they can at least force Trevor Lawrence to try and have to beat them through the air.

There have been times where Lawrence has looked like the Number 1 Pick that Jacksonville selected, but his Offensive Line protection has been breaking down in recent games and now the Jaguars have to deal with a productive Baltimore pass rush that loves to get to the Quarter Back. That pressure has led to turnovers and the Baltimore Secondary are also playing really well at the moment as they look to hold off the Cincinnati Bengals in the race for the Divisional crown.

Trevor Lawrence has just had issues with his consistency throwing the ball in recent games and I do think the Jaguars will come up short at home, even if it is tough for visiting teams to head to Florida at this time of the year.

On Sunday it could be wetter than normal and that should suit the Baltimore Ravens with their strength at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and I do think they can push their winning run to five games.

Covering isn't easy when you have an Offensive unit that have not really been pulling up trees of late, but I can see the Ravens Defensive unit stepping up and making the plays to put their team in a strong position.

Some will point to the Jaguars having a decent record out of their Bye Week, but current Head Coach Doug Pederson was only 1-4 against the spread out of a Bye with the Philadelphia Eagles. Jacksonville are also just 5-11 against the spread in their last sixteen road games and they are 1-5-1 against the spread in their last seven when playing a team with a winning record.

Baltimore have managed to go 4-1 against the spread in their last five road games and I think they will be able to control the clock and make some big Defensive plays to swing this game in their favour too.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Tennessee Titans Pick: The minute you hear a player saying it is not about revenge, you can almost certainly make the case that players have not forgotten about the teams that have ended their season the previous year. That is what will be on the mind of the Tennessee Titans (7-3) and Ryan Tannehill having been beaten as the home favourites against the Cincinnati Bengals (6-4) in the Divisional Round of the post-season having secured the top Seed in the AFC through the regular season.

Both of these teams will be targeting Divisional crowns in 2022 and this is a big game to see where the Titans and Bengals are. Both have been playing really well after disappointing starts to the season and that is underlined by the fact that the Bengals have won six of their last eight games, while the Titans have won seven of their last eight.

This feels like a game that could be key in working out Seeding come the end of the season and the Bengals will know the next two weeks have seen them scheduled to face the two teams they beat on their way to the Super Bowl. Handling the emotions might be as important as anything else, and they could be boosted by a returning Ja'Marr Chase.

Joe Mixon may not be available having entered the concussion protocol, but he was not likely to get much change out of the Tennessee Defensive Line which have been shutting down the run as the wins have piled up. This is one of the best Defensive Lines in the NFL and the Bengals are not expected to have a lot of success with whoever gets the call to start, although the Running Backs are likely to be key figures in the passing game.

The main reason for that is the Titans Defensive Line have shut down the run and the pass rushers have been able to really get after the Quarter Back in third and long situations. They will feel they have a serious edge over the Cincinnati Offensive Line and that will mean Joe Burrow is likely going to be surrounded by pressure when he does drop back to throw, which makes those Running Backs strong safety blankets on which he is likely to rely.

If Joe Burrow can be given some time, he will feel his Receivers have a big edge over the Titans Secondary and the likes of Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd will be able to push the ball down the field. Teams have been forced to rely on the throw considering how strong the Titans have been at the Defensive Line, but the pass rush pressure, which has been very effective, has not stopped someone like Patrick Mahomes from having a big game throwing the ball and that is a player that Joe Burrow will feel he can match.

Shutting down the Bengals completely is never going to happen in all reality, but I do think the pass rush will at least slow them down at times. Making them settle for Field Goals rather than Touchdowns will be seen as a big win, while you cannot ignore the fact that the despite the yards given up through the air, Tennessee's Defensive unit have held teams to under 19 points per game this season.

That is a number that will always give a team the chance to win games and Ryan Tannehill's return has given the Tennessee Titans a bit more dynamism to the Offensive play-calling. No one will confuse Tannehill with the elite Quarter Backs in the NFL, but he is more than a game manager and that means teams have to respect his passing arm, rather than loading the box to shut down the run.

In recent games Derrick Henry has not been operating at full tilt, but I do think he is still a huge body that will break down the Defensive Line with more and more carries. He has had some big games, but I think the mini-break between Week 11 and Week 12 is key for Henry as he looks to make an impact on a Cincinnati Defensive Line which has been playing well in recent games.

With the plan the Titans have, Derrick Henry will be able to give them a chance to control the clock and to wear down the Cincinnati Defensive unit by keeping them on the field for extended drives. Ryan Tannehill should also be well protected by an Offensive Line which is most happy when it comes to run blocking and the Quarter Back may feel he can make some plays to keep the Bengals honest when it comes to their Defensive schemes.

Cincinnati have a Secondary which is playing well, but Tannehill should be comfortable in third and manageable spots in this game and that is important for the Titans to try and earn that revenge for the defeat in the PlayOffs.

I do like the Tennessee Titans in the spot and I love Mike Vrabel as a Head Coach who has a 6-1 record against the spread in the last seven games where the Titans have been set as the home underdog. He is also 11-3 against the spread in a revenge situation when the Titans are being given points as is the case in Week 12.

The Bengals do have some strong trends which make them hard to oppose, but they are coming in off a tough road win at Pittsburgh and this is going to be another big physical effort. The Titans benefit from having a couple of extra days to prepare and I think the fans will be really up for this game which makes the points with the home team all the more appealing.

Las Vegas Raiders @ Seattle Seahawks Pick: Non-Conference games tend to have a 'lesser' feel than other games on the NFL schedule, but in Week 12 every game matters. That is the case for the Las Vegas Raiders (3-7) who have barely remained alive in the season after a close Overtime win over the Denver Broncos, but everyone associated with the team will feel they need to win at least six of their remain seven games to have a chance of backing into the PlayOffs.

There is no doubt that it is a long shot now, but snapping the three game losing run gives the Raiders a glimmer of hope. The AFC is pretty loaded with talented teams though and the fact is that the Raiders have some tough games left on the schedule, but they can play spoiler with some of the talent that remains on a roster which has underachieved in 2022.

They have to take games as they come and next up for the Las Vegas Raiders is the Seattle Seahawks (6-4) who have lost their lead in the NFC West during their Bye Week. The team were beaten in Munich in Week 10, but this has been a strong season for the Seahawks who have the same record as the San Francisco 49ers at the top of their Division and will certainly be in the mix for a Wild Card spot in the NFC if they can get back on the horse and back to winning games.

Playing at home has proven to be a huge boost for the Seahawks who have a 3-1 record here and they will feel the defeat to the Atlanta Falcons was a game they should have won too.

Geno Smith has been a huge factor in the record having taken over from Russell Wilson at Quarter Back and he looks to have finally found a comfortable home in the NFL. The veteran Quarter Back was not someone that the fans would have had a lot of faith in, but Pete Carroll and the Coaching staff have been comfortable and Smith is playing well and not just simply managing games.

He has been helped by Kenneth Walker III who has come in at Running Back and picked up some huge gains behind this Offensive Line- I fully expect him to have a bounce back game after a couple of tougher days in the office and he should have success against the Raiders Defensive Line which has had issues clamping down on the run.

That will only aid the Seahawks all the more in keeping Geno Smith in comfortable spots on the field, while the Raiders lack of a consistent pass rush means he should have time in the pocket. The quality Receivers that Smith is throwing to should win on the outside and I do think the Seahawks will be able to move the ball with a lot of consistency throughout this game.

Running the ball will be key for the Raiders in this game too, but I am not sure they are going to have a lot of success against an improving Defensive Line. There are also suggestions that Josh Jacobs is banged up and I think there will be a real problem for the Las Vegas Raiders as they try and keep themselves in front of the chains.

Adding to the issues are the injuries to the likes of Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller which has made the passing game that much tougher for Derek Carr. It has been clear for a number of seasons that Davante Adams will get open, as he did in Overtime for the win last week, but the Seahawks have a young, improving and hungry Secondary that have not been giving up much through the air.

That Secondary has been helped by considerable pass rush pressure, although getting to Derek Carr is not easy behind his strong Las Vegas Defensive Line. However, the longer he has to wait and the more the Seahawks can force him to look away from Adams, the better the chances to hit Derek Carr and allow the Secondary to make their big plays.

I really like what this Seattle Seahawks have been able to do in 2022 and I do think they will get the better of the Las Vegas Raiders with the way they match up with them on both sides of the ball.

Las Vegas are only 2-5 against the spread in their last seven road games and had to put in a huge effort to win in Colorado last week, which could leave them short here. I know they can still make the post-season, but it is not going to be lost on the players as to how difficult that will be and I still don't think they are fully behind Josh McDaniels as Head Coach.

Pete Carroll does not have the best record out of the Bye Week in recent seasons, but his team tend to bounce back from losses very effectively and I think that will be the case here. They do have a big Divisional game coming up next, but the Seahawks can't afford to lose ground on the motoring San Francisco 49ers and I think that will see them focused and able to win and cover the spread.

Green Bay Packers @ Philadelphia Eagles Pick: You could see how much the win meant to Nick Sirianni when the Philadelphia Eagles (9-1) outlasted the Indianapolis Colts, who have recently fired his friend Frank Reich. It was also important for the Eagles to bounce back from the defeat to the Washington Commanders as the unbeaten season turned to dust, while the Philadelphia Eagles are very much in a big fight to win the NFC East.

Targeting the Division crown may also lead to the overall Number 1 Seed in the NFC and that is also important to earn the sole Bye in the Conference through to the Divisional Round. Three road games in succession in December by decide their fate, especially as the Eagles will be facing two Divisional rivals in that run of games, but for now they are back on Sunday Night Football against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers (4-7).

Anyone who thought the big comeback against the Dallas Cowboys may be the spark that would turn the Green Bay season around were in for a big disappointment in Week 11 as they were beaten by the Tennessee Titans at home. The Wild Card race is not over, but the Packers have a tough run to end this season and likely will miss out with a losing record.

Aaron Rodgers has simply not been able to get on the same page as his young Receivers often enough and the decision to trade away Davante Adams has been a poor one in Green Bay. It doesn't help that Rodgers has suggested he has been playing with an injury to the thumb and I do think the Packers will soon turn to Jordan Love and see whether he is the Quarter Back of the future like they anticipated when Drafting him in the First Round in 2020.

We are unlikely to see Rodgers and his Receivers have a lot of success against this Philadelphia Secondary who have been strong all season and who have the experience to blanket the Receiving options Aaron Rodgers has. The entire Packers throwing game have not been operating as we have become accustomed to, but they have been able to run the ball and that has been key for Green Bay when they have come up against the better teams in the NFL.

A couple of weeks ago I would have expected Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon to have a lot of success on the ground, but those days may be behind the Eagles who have added big, experienced bodies into the middle of the Defensive Line. Last week they shut down the Indianapolis Colts on the ground and I think the Eagles have now covered up the one big weakness on the Defensive side of the ball, which makes them one of the favourites to win the Super Bowl.

Jalen Hurts has been given a lot of support from the front office with some of the players that have been brought in to surround him, although the injury to Dallas Goedert is a blow. The Eagles should be able to move forward without the Tight End who should be back by mid-December, and Hurts has still got some solid Receivers in AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith who can turn his passes into huge plays.

I have to give the Green Bay Defensive Line credit for just looking a little more stout against the run in recent games, but this is a tough test for them. The threat of the passing game means they cannot concentrate on shutting down Miles Sanders, while Jalen Hurts is capable of making plays with his legs as much as his arm and that should keep the Eagles in front of the chains.

The Quarter Back is operating behind a big Offensive Line who will give him time to go through his progressions and I do think that will help the Eagles. There has been a slowing in the passing game from the Eagles in recent games, but that may also be down to playing with a lead and beginning to use clock management runs and I think the Eagles will be looking to make a statement having lost on Monday Night Football in Week 10.

Opposing Aaron Rodgers as an underdog has not been a successful play in his career, but this Packers team is well short of those we have seen the Quarter Back leading. The Packers are 2-6 against the spread in their last eight road games and they are facing an Eagles team who have been very confident at Lincoln Financial Field.

Covering will come down to the last moments, but the Eagles have enough to win this one by a Touchdown.

MY PICKS: Detroit Lions + 9.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet365 (2 Units)
Dallas Cowboys - 9.5 Points @ 1.91 Sky Bet (2 Units)
New England Patriots + 2.5 Points @ 2.00 William Hill (2 Units)
Baltimore Ravens - 4 Points @ 2.00 Sky Bet (2 Units)
Tennessee Titans + 3 Points @ 1.83 William Hill (2 Units)
Washington Commandeers - 3.5 Points @ 1.86 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Seattle Seahawks - 3.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet365 (2 Units)
San Francisco 49ers - 8.5 Points @ 1.91 Sky Bet (2 Units)
Los Angeles Chargers - 2.5 Points @ 1.86 William Hill (2 Units)
Philadelphia Eagles - 6.5 Points @ 1.91 Sky Bet (2 Units)