NFL Week 12 expert picks and odds for Packers vs. Eagles, Giants vs. Cowboys and every other game


NFL Week 12 starts with a triple-header on Thanksgiving and features several good matchups, and The Athletic is here with our expert picks to win each game. Seahawks beat writer Michael-Shawn Dugar went 14-0 in Week 11. Can he keep up the hot streak? Additionally, there are no teams on bye this week, so we get a full slate of football with an appetizer on Thursday.

We could see several different quarterbacks start on Sunday as the Jets, Texans, Rams, Bears, and Panthers all have named new starters or may be forced to start a different quarterback due to injury.

The Bills play the Lions in Thursday’s first game, and it’ll be the Bills’ second straight game in Detroit after the blizzard forced their Week 11 game to Detroit. The Bills are favored by nine points as of Monday morning.

The second game features an NFC East battle between the Giants and Cowboys.  Dallas is favored by more than a touchdown at home. The Giants hit their lowest point of the season Sunday when they lost to the Detroit Lions at home.

Minnesota hosts the Patriots in the final game on Thanksgiving and is a field-goal favorite. The Vikings are 8-2 and have the second-best record in the NFC, but they can’t feel great after being blown out by the Cowboys.

The Chiefs are the biggest favorites of Week 12. They’re favored by two touchdowns against the struggling Los Angeles Rams, who may be without Matthew Stafford, who suffered another concussion against New Orleans on Sunday. Bryce Perkins is expected to start for Los Angeles.

Sunday night is an interesting matchup between the Packers and Eagles.  Green Bay scored a critical victory against Dallas before dropping another game to Tennessee last Thursday. Will the Eagles re-find their mojo? The Eagles dropped a game to the Commanders and barely escaped Indianapolis with a win thanks to a late rushing touchdown from Jalen Hurts.

NFL Betting Trends

  • Favorites are 98-62-1 straight up on the season, but underdogs are 88-67-6 (56.8%) against the spread
  • Unders are 92-69-2 (57.1%) this season and primetime unders are 19-13-1 (59.4%)
  • Favorites went 11-2 in Week 11 straight up but 8-5 against the spread.
  • Over/unders tied 6-6 in Week 11.

All odds update live. No teams are on bye this week. 

Buffalo Bills at Detroit Lions

After playing as the “home” team in Detroit this past week, the Bills will be back at Ford Field on Thanksgiving to pay a visit to the Lions. Buffalo will be looking to win its second consecutive game and get back on track in the AFC playoff race and is favored by more than a touchdown against the Lions.

Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m. ET Thursday from Detroit. The game will be broadcast on CBS.

There was a lot to like about Buffalo’s performance on Sunday if you are a Bills fan, as they snapped their two-game losing streak. Josh Allen eliminated the turnovers from his game that was holding the team back in recent weeks while the running steamrolled a bad Browns run defense to 171 yards, a 5.2-yard per carry average, and a touchdown. Both Devin Singletary and James Cook topped the 80-yard mark in the win.

The only things that have held the Bills back this season have been the occasional turnover problem from Allen and a lack of production from their running backs. If they get those two things under control, or at the very least limit the turnovers from Allen, they will be one of the toughest outs in the AFC playoffs.

They are still fighting for the top spot in the AFC East, and their remaining schedule is set up for a frantic finish in the division. Four of their remaining seven games come against AFC East foes (including both games against New England) and a potential first-place showdown with Miami. With Cincinnati also remaining on the schedule, it will be a tough run the rest of the way, making games like Detroit the type of games you can not slip up in.

But do not sleep on the Lions or think this will be a walkover game.

Dan Campbell has his team playing gutsy football, producing three consecutive wins over Green Bay, Chicago, and a convincing win over the New York Giants on the road on Sunday. They have played a lot of really good teams close this season and have lost some tough one-score games to Philadelphia, Minnesota, Seattle, and Miami. Each of those four games was decided by four points or less.

It is also an incredibly short and hectic week for Buffalo. After going through everything it did to get to Detroit for the rescheduled game, the Bills opted against staying in Detroit. They returned to Buffalo for a couple of nights before heading back to Detroit for an early Thursday afternoon game. Road teams are already at a scheduling disadvantage on the short week, which adds to it.

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys

It’ll be a classic NFC East rivalry matchup on Thanksgiving when the surprising New York Giants (7-3) travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys (7-3). While the Giants and Cowboys have the same record, the Cowboys own a +84 point differential, while the Giants have only outscored their opponents by one point.

Kickoff is scheduled for 4:25 p.m. ET Thursday. FOX will broadcast the game.

Dallas has won three of its four games since Dak Prescott returned to the lineup, but all four were against NFC North opponents. The lone loss came in overtime at Green Bay after the Cowboys blew a 14-point fourth-quarter lead.

Cowboys running back Tony Pollard leads the NFL in explosive play rate with 14.1% of his touches going for runs of more than 12 yards or receptions of more than 16 yards, per TruMedia. Ezekiel Elliott returned to the lineup last week from a knee sprain and scored two touchdowns while Pollard received most of the work at running back.

Daniel Jones and the Giants’ offense will have to deal with a Dallas defense that leads the league in pressure rate (42.7%). Saquon Barkley is still second in the NFL with 953 rushing yards despite a poor performance in Week 11.

New England Patriots at Minnesota Vikings

It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving Day without football, right? The New England Patriots will take on the NFC North-leading Minnesota Vikings to close out the holiday’s three-game NFL slate. Minnesota will enter Week 12’s contest as a small favorite.

The Vikings will get to stay home for the holiday when they host the Patriots at 8:20 p.m. ET Thursday at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on NBC. It’ll be Minnesota’s sixth time playing in Minneapolis this season, which is a place where first-year head coach Kevin O’Connell has managed a 4-1 record. Whether the game is won with their offense, defense or special teams, the Vikings’ seven wins without a loss in one-score games this season should indicate that a close score game might be their best chance of celebrating Thanksgiving with a win.

How the defense performs could become the difference between a Patriots win or loss. No one’s been able to defeat New England this season when the Patriots keep opponents under 20 points. Matt Judon and the defense will have the challenge of trying to limit a touch Vikings offense led by Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook.

New England is both 3-2 at home and on the road. New England is 6-3-1 agains the spread this season while the under is 6-4 in their games so far. Minnesota is 8-2, but only 4-5-1 against the spread and overs and unders are tied at 5-5.

Chicago Bears at New York Jets

Sunday’s Week 12 matchup between the Chicago Bears and New York Jets features two teams looking to get back on track. The Jets enter this matchup being more than field-goal favorites at BetMGM. Jets coach Robert Saleh said he will start Mike White at quarterback and Joe Flacco will serve as backup. That means previous starter Zach Wilson will serve as the third-string quarterback.

The Jets could be facing a backup quarterback with Chicago quarterback Justin Fields suffering a separated shoulder. Trevor Siemian is the backup for Chicago.

Just a game behind the AFC North-leading Miami Dolphins (7-3), the Jets are hoping to stay in the hunt for a division title when they host the Bears at 1:00 p.m. ET at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford. Those who will follow the action live on FOX should expect to see the Jets’ defense flying around and making plays throughout the game, it’s what continues to propel New York to what is shaping up to be its best season since 2015.

For as optimistic as Jets fans should be about their team’s defense, Bears fans surely have the right to be optimistic about their team’s offense so long as Fields is under center. He’s fully taken advantage of his speed throughout the season, and as his chemistry continues to grow with his pass-catchers, he’ll almost single-handedly make the Bears a threat week in and week out. But after suffering a shoulder injury in Week 11, will Fields be healthy enough to lead Chicago against the Jets?

Houston Texans at Miami Dolphins

The Houston Texans and Miami Dolphins Week 12 matchup is projected to be one of the most lopsided of the day. BetMGM has the Dolphins as double-digit favorites.

Miami will remain at home following its Week 11 bye for a p.m. ET Sunday matchup against the Texans at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, which will air on CBS. The Dolphins control their destiny to an AFC East title, and a win over Houston would keep them atop the division. But Miami might be in store for something better: a bye in the first round of the playoffs and the No. 1-seed in the AFC. With their new-and-improved offense that’s headlined by Tyreek Hill, the Dolphins trail only the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC standings by one game with six weeks of the season remaining.

Houston doesn’t just have one problem; it has many. And when Miami’s high-octane offense takes the field, the Texans may have another. It’s unlikely that the Texans offense can trade blows with the Miami offense. But perhaps Dameon Pierce and the offense could find enough success against Miami’s defense to give Houston a realistic chance at picking up its second win of the season.

Texans’ coach Lovie Smith will start Kyle Allen at quarterback and bench Davis Mills. .

Jacoby Brissett will get one more chance to prove himself to the Cleveland Browns when they host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brissett and the Browns are a little more than a field goal underdog at home against Brady and the Bucs.

Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET Sunday. The game will be televised on FOX.

In what might be an unexpected twist for this Browns season, the offense under Brissett has not really been the problem. They enter Sunday’s game with a top-10 offense that has averaged 24 points per game. Brissett has not been perfect, and he has had some issues protecting the ball, but Nick Chubb has helped power the ground game and the offense has at least kept them in some games.

The issue in Cleveland has been on defense where the Browns have been torched most of the season, allowing at least 30 points in five different games.

That might be good news for a Tampa Bay offense that has really struggled to find consistency.

Tom Brady has been great at protecting the football and avoiding turnovers, but the big plays and touchdowns have been largely eliminated. Brady has just 12 touchdown passes in 10 games and is averaging just 6.6 yards per attempt, one of the lowest marks of his career.

Despite their struggles on offense, the Buccaneers still enter the week in first place in the NFC South and the only team in the division without a losing record. Given that spot, and a remainin schedule that only features two more winning teams (San Francisco and Arizona) Tampa Bay figures to be in the driver’s seat for that top spot.

When the 2022 NFL season began the Denver Broncos probably assumed they would be playing for playoff seeding or a potential division title by Thanksgiving. Instead, they might be playing for coach Nathaniel Hackett’s job. They enter Sunday’s game at Carolina as only a slim favorite (less than a field goal) against a Panthers team that is one of the worst in the league.

Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET Sunday. The game will be televised on FOX.

Normally this might be a game you look at and start thinking about draft position, but the Broncos do not even have that going for them after trading their 2023 first-round pick to Seattle for Russell Wilson. Wilson has struggled through the worst season of his NFL career and has been one of the many problems on a Denver offense that has completely wasted one of the best defensive performances in the league.

The Broncos are allowing just 17.1 points per game, third best in the league, but have still managed only a 3-7 record in their first 10 games. They have lost five games in which they have allowed less than 20 points, and that does not even include this past Sunday’s overtime loss to Las Vegas where they allowed just 16 points in regulation.

The offensive performance is even more disappointing given how Wilson was supposed to help solve their biggest hole at quarterback.

That combination of great defense and bad offense could produce a low-scoring slugfest on Sunday. Denver’s offense has seemed incapable of scoring against any defense, while Carolina brings in one of the league’s worst offenses, averaging just 18 points per game. The Panthers have already changed coaches, traded away two starters on offense (Robbie Anderson and Christian McCaffrey) and have received sub-par play from both Baker Mayfield and P.J. Walker at quarterback. Sunday, they’ll turn to former first-round pick Sam Darnold as the starter.

The over/under for this game is set at 36 points, which is by far the lowest total of any game on the NFL schedule this week.


The Baltimore Ravens have one of the easiest remaining schedules and unless they completely waste that opportunity should be considered the favorites to win the AFC North. After surviving a close scare against Carolina on Sunday, they get another bottom-team this week when they visit the Jacksonville Jaguars and are a little more than a field goal road favorite.

Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET Sunday from Jacksonville. The game will be televised on CBS.

While the records and rosters should make this a game Baltimore is expected to win, Jacksonville has had a knack for keeping games extremely close this season and giving everybody a fight. Only one of their seven losses (this past Sunday’s 10-point loss to Kansas City) has been by more than one possession. They are in every game no matter the level of competition, but have simply been unable to consistently get over the hump.

Second-year quarterback Trevor Lawrence is showing some improvement and is coming off back-to-back performances with a passer rating over 106.0, and has only thrown two interceptions over his past five starts (both coming in the same game).

For Baltimore, Lamar Jackson has cooled off considerably after a dominant start, and has really struggled in the passing game. Over his past seven starts he has had a passer rating above 88.0 just one time, and has thrown only six touchdowns to five interceptions. He is still lacking weapons in the passing game outside of tight end Mark Andrews, and it might finally be catching up to the Ravens.

Even so, they still have a 7-3 record, own the top spot in the division, and do not play another team with a winning record the rest of the season.

With one more win this season the Jaguars would match their win total from the past two seasons (combined).

We’re set for a rematch of last postseason’s AFC Divisional Round when the Tennesse Titans welcome the Cincinnati Bengals to Nashville. Unlike the recent playoff matchup, the Bengals will enter enemy territory as the favorite.

The Titans host the Bengals at 1:00 p.m. ET Sunday at Nissan Stadium in Nashville on CBS. Both teams could stabilize their current playoff positioning with a victory while building on their current streak of wins. Yet, the Bengals (currently holding onto a Wild Card spot) might need the win a little more. The good news for Cincinnati is that its offense is alive and well following its slow start to the season. Wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase may return this weekend, and if he returns, it will only add to what Joe Burrow and the offense have going.

Derrick Henry is undoubtedly the first name that comes to mind when thinking of the Tennessee Titans, understandably so. But his dominance shouldn’t overshadow how well the team’s defense is currently playing. Having not played since November 17, expect both Henry and the Titans’ defense to be well-rested, sharp and ready to avenge last postseason’s loss to the Bengals.

When the 2022 NFL season began would you have guessed the Week 12 game between the Washington Commanders and Atlanta Falcons would have significant playoff implications? Well, it does, and the Commanders are a little more than a four-point favorite with a chance to win their third game in a row. They have also won five of their past six games to climb back into the Wild Card race.

Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET Sunday from FedEx Field. The game will be televised on FOX.

While both teams enter the week on the outside of the NFC playoff picture, they are both very much in the race.

Washington finds itself just one game back of Seattle for the seventh playoff spot in the NFC and seems to have found some new life with Taylor Heinicke replacing Carson Wentz. Statistically speaking there is not much separating the performance of the two quarterbacks, but they have still managed to win four of five under him. That includes a 32-21 win to end Philadelphia’s hopes for an undefeated season.

The defense has been a big part of that success in recent weeks, and that defense should get a lift with defensive end Chase Young being activated after missing the past year due to a knee injury. Young still may miss another game as he recovers from the injury that he sustained a year ago.

A win on Sunday would go a long way to setting the stage for a frantic finish in the NFC East where Washington still has two games against the New York Giants and one more against Dallas.

Atlanta, despite its 5-6 record, is still only a half game back of Tampa Bay in the NFC South (with one more head-to-head meeting looming in Week 18) and is still very much alive not only for a playoff spot, but also a potential home playoff game if it can emerge with the top spot in the division.

The Falcons have one of the league’s best running games, but are facing a stiff test against a Commanders team that has the sixth-best run defense in the league. It might be a game where Atlanta needs Marcus Mariota and the passing game to make some plays, but they will not have one of their top passing targets in tight end Kyle Pitts.

Los Angeles Chargers at Arizona Cardinals

Sunday’s Week 12 matchup between the Los Angeles Chargers and Arizona Cardinals is a West Coast battle featuring two teams trying to find their way into the playoff picture. Arizona will return home as underdogs ahead of Sunday’s showdown.

When the Chargers take on the Cardinals at 4:05 p.m. ET at State Farm Stadium in Glendale on FOX, they’ll be playing to keep pace with the rest of the AFC. At .500, Justin Herbert and the Chargers find themselves three games behind the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West standings. But more importantly, Los Angeles is currently on the outside of the playoff picture with just six weeks of the regular season left. Perhaps facing an opponent who has also dealt with a list of injuries throughout the season will put Brandon Staley’s crew in a spot to steal a road win.

Even at 4-7, the Cardinals aren’t quite out of the race for an NFC West championship. However, they’ll need to start stockpiling wins and in order to do so, Kyler Murray’s got to be healthy and taking snaps. Without him, Arizona is every bit of the underdog that BetMGM is projecting them to be. Murray said Wednesday he expects to play against the Chargers after missing two games with the hamstring issue.

It’ll be a matchup between one of the most disappointing teams and most surprising teams on Sunday when the Raiders (disappointing) travel to Seattle to take on the Seahawks (surprising).

Kickoff is set for 4:05 p.m. ET Sunday on CBS from Lumen Field in Seattle.

The Raiders kind of stink, right? A week after Derek Carr had a teary presser and he and Davante Adams kind of cryptically referenced players on the team not giving their all, the Raiders beat the Broncos in OT, 22-16. Was it a season-saver? Probably not. If you want a good 3-7 team, look no further than Carolina. The Raiders, meanwhile, seem like a rudderless team still looking for a defining personality trait. That trait is quickly becoming “forgettable” — if the 2022 Raiders are known for anything, it’s… ahhh… man. Derek Carr crying?

The Seahawks, meanwhile, are maybe the easiest time in the NFL to root for. Geno Smith redemption story! The team that nobody believed in is 6-4 and first in the NFC West! The offense has been super efficient and effective (Lockett and Metcalf both have 70+ targets), and Kenneth Walker  III has been a revelation. Although, according to TruMedia (via Aaron Reiss), it “might be tough for Kenneth Walker to record many explosive runs in this game. The Raiders have allowed explosive runs at the seventh-lowest rate (7.2%).” Still, it should be a decent path for Seattle to strengthen its hold on making the NFC playoffs.

New Orleans Saints at San Francisco 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers will settle down in the Bay Area on Sunday for an NFC battle against the New Orleans Saints. The Niners are heavily favored at BetMGM to pull out a Week 12 victory.

Despite dealing with injuries at almost every critical position, the Saints are just two losses behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC South standings. Their date with the 49ers at 4:25 p.m. ET Sunday at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on FOX could push could either keep them in the hunt for a division title or sink them further in the standings. From Andy Dalton and Alvin Kamara on the offensive side to Cameron Jordan on the other side, it’s likely going to take a complete effort for New Orleans to steal a win from one of the hottest teams in the NFC.

The 49ers are hot and suddenly playing like one of the better teams in the NFC for many reasons, including Christian McCaffrey’s addition, healthy pass-catchers in George Kittle and Deebo Samuel, and a defense that’s continuing to show up week in and week out. With a win, San Francisco could close out November with a 3-0 record and extend its winning streak to four games.

Los Angeles Rams at Kansas City Chiefs

This game between the Rams and Chiefs features two of the last three Super Bowl champions but has lost the excitement we may have had for it in the preseason. The Chiefs are favored by more than two touchdowns, with the 3-7 Rams on a four-game losing streak.

Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET Sunday from Arrowhead Stadium. FOX will televise the game.
The Chiefs have previously been favored by more than 14 points five other times with Patrick Mahomes as the starting quarterback, but they’re only 2-3 against the spread in those games, per TruMedia.

The Rams are expected to start third-stringer Bryce Perkins at quarterback. Matthew Stafford left last week’s game against the Saints, and backup John Wolford is also battling an injury. Perkins is a third-year player out of Virginia. He signed as an undrafted free agent with the team in 2020.

The Chiefs’ offense is banged up, with JuJu Smith-Schuster, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kadarius Toney and Mecole Hardman all battling injuries. On defense, safety Juan Thornhill suffered a calf injury against the Chargers on Sunday night.

Green Bay Packers at Philadelphia Eagles

The good news for the Green Bay Packers is Aaron Rodgers has looked a little more like Aaron Rodgers over the past couple of games. The bad news is their season is still hanging by a thread with almost no margin for error, and the worse news is they have to travel to Philadelphia on Sunday, where they are a touchdown underdog.

Kickoff is set for 8:20 p.m. ET Sunday night. The game will be broadcast nationally on NBC.

After a dreadful start to the season where Rodgers and the Packers offense looked lost, he seems to have developed some chemistry with rookie wide receiver Christian Watson who has hauled in five touchdowns over the past two games after catching just 10 passes total over the first nine games of the season. Whether or not that newfound connection will be enough to salvage the Packers’ offense and season remains to be seen, but they can not afford many more slip-ups, which makes a Sunday night game in Philadelphia all the more problematic.

Even though the Eagles have looked a little off the past two weeks, they still own the NFL’s best record at 9-1 and recently brought in some reinforcements on defense with the additions of Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh. They contributed half a sack in their debut with the Eagles in a 17-16 win over Indianapolis this past week.

The Eagles still do not have much room to breathe in the NFC East despite their record, with the Giants and Cowboys both within a couple of games and three head-to-head matches (two against the Giants and one against the Cowboys) still ahead during the stretch run of the regular season.

The third game of the Jeff Saturday era is upon us, and so far, the results have been… unexpectedly great? Saturday has guided (inspired? Willed?) the Colts to a 25-20 win over the Raiders and suffered a heartbreaking 17-16 loss to the would-be NFC Champion Eagles. How is he doing it? The 207 rushing yards in Week 10 were the most the team had all season; the 99 rushing yards in Week 11 were only eclipsed three times by the previous regime. The Colts have turned the ball over once in the last two weeks; in the nine previous games this season, the team had 16 total turnovers.

The Steelers, meanwhile, have been a weird dichotomy. They have an exciting rookie duo of George Pickens and Kenny Pickett. Still, they’ve all but ignored the passing game — they’re last in passing yards, and touchdowns and only three teams have thrown fewer passes this season (granted, Pickett has thrown a fair share of picks, but still — Pickens, Diontae Johnson, Pat Friermuth… let’s go!) They’ve managed to run a lot, though. Najee Harris has failed to repeat his standout 2021 season, but he was quietly playing with a steel plate in his shoe through mid-October and may just now be healed from a Lisfrac sprain. He’s been on fire the last two games.

So what does this all mean? The Colts are suddenly exciting and in every game. The Steelers are underachievers leaning on a guy who should’ve missed four weeks to heal (and is suddenly very hot)l. If you want any piece of this game, it’s probably the under.

Fun fact (from Aaron Reiss and TruMedia): In the past two games, the Colts have an early-down pass rate in the first 28 minutes of 41%, making them the seventh-most run-heavy offense in the NFL during that span.

(Photo of Kenneth Gainwell, Quez Watkins: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)


Related posts

Leave a Comment