NFL picks, predictions against the spread Week 12: Eagles edge Bills, Broncos bump Browns, Texans upset Jaguars again

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Russell Wilson, Jalen Hurts, C.J. Stroud
(Getty Images)

All good things must come to an end. In this case, it was our multiple-week heater in making NFL picks and predictions against the spread. Week 11 led to some tough beats as there were some topsy-turvy results and games flipping at the last minute.

The only that can be done is to start fresh and attack the challenges that come wih a full slate of 16 more matchups in Week 12. With three games on Thanksgiving kicking things off, there also is plenty of intriguing action on Friday, Sunday and Monday. 

We're hungry to make amends, so let's dive right into a heaping helping of fearless forecasting. Here are Sporting News' NFL picks against the spread for Week 12:

(Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook)

POWER RANKINGS: 49ers, Cowboys, Broncos keep rising; Seahawks, Steelers slip

NFL picks against the spread for Week 12

Thanksgiving Day games

  • Packers at Lions (-7.5, 45.5 o/u)

Thursday 12:30 p.m. ET, Fox

The Packers' offense found more of a groove with the young targets around Jordan Love and played more inspired shorthanded defense vs. the Chargers. They should have some confidence for ther wild-card push going into this rematch of a Week 4 game at Lambeau Field, which they lost 34-20. The Lions will try to take pressure off Jared Goff early with a heavy dose of running and shortening the game so they can get home for a heavy Thanksgiving "linner."

Pick: Lions win 27-20 but fail to cover the spread.

Result: Packers win 29-22

  • Commanders at Cowboys (-11, 48 o/u)

Thursday 4:30 p.m. ET, CBS

The second course is less appetizing, given the Commanders just lost at home to the Giants 31-19 in Week 11. The Cowboys beat those same Giants 49-17 in Week 10. They just beat up the Panthers, 33-10. They rip into bad teams by pouring it on with Dak Prescott's now sizzling passing, the running game, defense and special teams. The Commanders tend to show up vs. their archrivals during this holiday tradition, but there's big change coming in Washington soon with Micah Parsons, Daron Bland and Dallas also ripping into Sam Howell.

Pick: Cowboys win 38-14 and cover the spread.

Result: Cowboys win 45-10 and cover the spread.

  • 49ers (-7, 43 o/u) at Seahawks

Thursday 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC

The 49ers' offense seems unstoppable at the moment. Brock Purdy is in the absolute zone with all of his weapons clicking at the same time. The defense is battling through more injury attrition, but the pass rush is revved up and they're still active in shutting down the run. Geno Smith is hurting on a short week and should be without Kenneth Walker in the backfield. It's not looking good for Seattle after it lost to the Rams and San Francisco keeps the home team in a tryptophan stupor.

Pick: 49ers win 30-17 and cover the spread.

Result: 49ers win 31-13 and cover the spread.

Tua Tagovailoa and Maxx Crosby
(Getty Images)

Black Friday game

  • Dolphins (-10, 46.5 o/u) at Jets

Friday 3 p.m. ET, Amazon Prime Video

The Dolphins need to remember to run the ball and not get too pass happy with Tua Tagovailoa in this type of matchup. They should have run a lot more against the Raiders to exploit their biggest weakness. The Jets also are weak defending the rushing attack. They can't put Tagovailoa in uncomfortable situation vs. a fine pass rush and coverage. The Jets find a little more offense this week with Tim Boyle, but it's not enough as the Dolphins' defense comes through to save the day again.

Pick: Dolphins win 23-16 but fail to cover the spread.

Result: Dolphins win 34-13 and cover the spread.

  • Game of the Week: Bills at Eagles (-3.5, 47.5 o/u)

Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

The Bills should like this matchup against a weak pass coverage team because of involving receivers all across the field, with Khalil Shakir and Dalton Kincaid now helping Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs most. But Philadelphia can also win with pressure in key situational moments. Sean McDermott used to work for the Eagles, and the zone looks will keep this from being a high-scoring game. Philadelphia is better positioned to grind out a physical victory at home.

Pick: Eagles win 24-22 but fail to cover the spread.

  • Upset of the Week: Buccaneers (+2, 42.5 o/u) at Colts 

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Buccaneers are seeing their pass defense fall apart at cornerback and elsewhere in the back seven. but they can still contain the run up front and get after the QB. Baker Mayfield keeps playing well in favorable spots and he can pick apart this secondary with his key downfield weapons, led by Mike Evans on the fast track. With Jonathan Taylor contained after a bye, Gardner Minshew will make more mistakes as Indy falls to another NFC South foe.

Pick: Buccaneers win 23-20 

(Getty Images)
  • Lock of the Week: Broncos (-1, 36.5 o/u) over Browns 

Sunday 4:05 p.m. ET, Fox

The lock isn't about just figuring out t heavy favorite; it is about finding the ideal number. With a lot of essential pick 'em games this week with slight favorites, feel best about the Broncos in their particular matchup. Cleveland's dominant defense isn't the same on the road and that will allow Javonte Williams to get back on track running.  The Broncos' defense also has been balling on every level and will be backed again by a hostile environment. Russell Wilson won't be outplayed by Dorian Thompson-Robinson at home as Denver stays hot.

Pick: Broncos win 20-17 and cover the spread.

  • Saints at Falcons (pick 'em, 42 o/u)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Saints have a little more stability and consistency with their offense vs. the Falcons, who are dealing with unknowns at quarterback and suspect personnel usage. Both teams are coming off a bye, and it's easier to trust Dennis Allen and his staff than Arthut Smith. This figures to be a sloppy game between two teams with similar defensive schemes and downfield passing limitations. The Saints march toward making it a two-team race with the Buccaneers in the NFC South.

Pick: Saints win 20-17.

  • Steelers (-1, 34.5 o/u) at Bengals

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Steelers still have Kenny Pickett at QB, which is better than the Bengals' situation minus Joe Burrow. That didn't help them enough vs. the Deshaun Watson-less Browns last week. But here they can get on track running the ball and take advantage of their rival hosts also having other key injuries. Between the running game, throws to the middle and Jake Browning facing T.J. Watt and nasty pressure front for the first time, Pittsburgh rebounds to further sink Cincinnati's season.

Pick: Steelers win 20-17 and cover the spread.

Kenny Pickett
Getty Images
  • Jaguars (-1, 47 o/u) at Texans 

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Jacksonville is 1-4 vs. Houston with Trevor Lawrence as its starting QB. The Texans present some tricky defense with their zone looks under DeMeco Ryans and they dominated the first matchup, 37-17 in Week 3. Lawrence got revved up last week and played better, while C.J. Stroud survived his first major interception woes. That will make the rematch closer, but the Texans tend to be strong at home and have proved to have superior coaching. The home team shockingly takes first place in the AFC South.

Pick: Texans win 24-23.

  • Patriots (-3.5, 33.5 o/u) at Giants 

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Fox

New England is mulling over a QB change from Mac Jones, while New York is getting a spark from Tommy DeVito minus Daniel Jones. This game will come down to the running game and more offensive versatility. The advantage goes to Patriots on both fronts, especially with Bill Belichick coming off a bye with his defense schemed up well to thwart another rookie QB.

Pick: Patriots win 20-10 and cover the spread.

  • Panthers at Titans (-3.5, 37 o/u)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Panthers step into a bad spot with their consistent running game and their offensive line that can succumb to the Titans' pressure strengths up front. This is a chance for Bryce Young to exploit a shaky secondary when protected, but it is a better matchup at home for rookie counterpart Will Levis. Derrick Henry will rumble to a big game and set up nice play-action shots to DeAndre Hopkins.

Pick: Titans win 27-20 and cover the spread.

Kyler Murray Cardinals
(Getty Images)
  • Rams (-1, 44.5 o/u) at Cardinals

Sunday 4:05 p.m. ET, Fox

The Rams will be able to throw well downfield with Matthew Stafford but likely will be without Cooper Kupp and their running game remains inconsistent. The Cardinals have found a little more offensive pop around a healthy Kyler Murray and should get back to running and using the middle of the field well in the passing game. The Rams had a close shave vs. the Seahawks and here they go back to taking a small nick.

Pick: Cardinals win 23-20.

  • Chiefs (-9.5, 44 o/u) at Raiders

Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs have seen a clearer path to AFC regular-season supremacy with misfortune hitting a lot of other contenders. They will build on the tough spot vs. the Eagles by taking it out on the Raiders with an improved dedication in the running game to open up Mahomes throwing downfield to Travis Kelce and others. Aidan O'Connell also will be overmatched at home vs. a defense that can create multiple problems.

Pick: Chiefs win 30-14 and cover the spread.

  • Ravens (-4, 46.5 o/u) at Chargers

Sunday 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC

The Ravens are rolling with another AFC North title in sight with their competition fading because of injury and attrition. Lamar Jackson has struggled with the Chargers in the past and their passing inconsistency can keep them from pullingi away. The Chargers' defense will play a little more inspired at home with Brandon Staley on the hottest of seats. Justin Herbert also can keep his team in the game with the AFC wild-card hopes on the line.

Pick: Ravens win 27-24 but fail to cover the spread.

Josh Dobbs
(Getty Images)
  • Bears at Vikings (-3.5, 44.5 o/u)

Sunday 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN

The Vikings couldn't finish well against the Broncos but that changes back at home in prime time. Josh Dobbs' mobility and playmaking can cause Chicago's defense problems and there's a good chance Minnesota will deploy Justin Jefferson before the bye as a passing game-changer. With him stretching the field, it will open up things all over the field. Then the Vikings' run defense and pass rush will take care of the rest to contain Justin Fields.

Pick: Vikings win 30-23 and cover the spread.

Stats of the Week

Week 11 straight up: 7-7

Week 11 against the spread: 5-9

Season straight up: 113-51

Season against the spread: 91-70-1

Vinnie Iyer Photo

Vinnie Iyer is an NFL writer at The Sporting News