NFL picks for Week 12: Giants will win — and coverNovember 29, 2020
COVID-19 has wreaked havoc with the Week 12 NFL schedule. The Thanksgiving night game between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers was pushed back to Sunday afternoon and then again to Tuesday night because of an outbreak of positive tests on the Ravens, including quarterback Lamar Jackson.
The Denver Broncos might have to use a running back at quarterback on Sunday at home against the New Orleans Saints.
Here are my selections for the remainder of the weekend, with lines and comments from Wednesday’s Post’s Bettor’s Guide and updates where noted.
Home teams in CAPS:
New York Giants (-5) over CINCINNATI BENGALS
The Bengals don’t have much time to get Brandon Allen ready to take over Joe Burrow’s offense. Allen was the choice after Ryan Finley got nothing done last week in the second half as a 9-7 lead over Washington turned into a 20-9 loss. Moderate road favorite is a new role for the Giants of late, but Joe Judge’s team leads the NFC at 7-3 against the spread and is in a divisional playoff hunt while their opponent is finished.
Update: The current line is Giants -6.
NEW YORK JETS (+7) over Miami Dolphins
What a difference a receiving corps makes. Denzel Mims stretches the field, draws penalties and makes contested catches. Jamison Crowder and Breshad Perriman contribute, and there was even a Chris Herndon sighting last week. It’s no coincidence they are 3-1 ATS since that crew has been together. If Sam Darnold returns, he will be playing for his Jets career, and a couple of wins can knock Trevor Lawrence out of the picture. The Dolphins couldn’t handle it as 3.5-point road favorites at Denver and I have no interest in laying double that.
Update: Ryan Fitzpatrick is likely to start at quarterback for the Dolphins with rookie Tua Tagovailoa listed as doubtful with a thumb injury. The line remains Dolphins -7.
Los Angeles Raiders (-3) over ATLANTA FALCONS
The Raiders’ offense has become extremely dangerous with a Josh Jacobs ground game, Henry Ruggs deep threat and Darren Waller catching everything else. Having Kolton Miller back at left tackle really helps Derek Carr. Maxx Crosby and Jonathan Abram will make enough plays on defense to help Vegas pull away.
Update: Falcons RB Todd Gurley will miss the game with a knee injury. The line remains Raiders -3.
Los Angeles Chargers (+6) over BUFFALO BILLS
Rightfully stayed away from the Chargers as heavy favorites last week and was rewarded with a nice back-door cover by the Jets. This time we take Los Angeles with enough points to possibly inoculate us against one of its patented should’ve-won-but blew it heartbreaks. While the Chargers are 3-7 and Bills are 7-3, both teams are 5-5 ATS. Justin Herbert, the former Oregon Duck, shouldn’t have much problem with the Orchard Park forecast of partly sunny, 49 degrees and light to moderate winds.
Update: The Chargers activated starting RB Austin Ekeler from IR and he is expected back in the lineup. The Bills placed deep-threat WR John Brown and OL Cody Ford on IR. The line has dipped to Bills -4.
Tennessee Titans (+4) over INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
Tennessee gets a rapid shot at revenge for its 34-17 home loss to the Colts two weeks ago. Indianapolis thoroughly earned that victory, but this is a new day for two 7-3 teams. Figuring Mike Vrabel will have something new, and there seems to be a bit of extra Titans value at this price.
Update: The Colts will be without starting RB Jonathan Taylor, who was placed on the COVID list on Saturday. The line has dipped to Colts -3.
Carolina Panthers (+4.5) over MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Teddy Bridgewater is still iffy for the Panthers, but it sounded as if he were close to returning last week. Carolina has covered four road spreads, including at New Orleans and Kansas City. The Vikings looked as if they were starting to roll before giving up 180 rushing yards in a loss to Dallas.
Update: Bridgewater indeed is expected to get the start on Sunday against the team for which he began his career. The line has dropped to Vikings -3.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (+2.5) over Arizona Cardinals
The line has shuttled between 2.5 and 3, with sharp bettors diving in at Patriots +3. I’m not getting their price, but this would seem to be the sharper side, at least.
Update: Cardinals QB Kyler Murray, who appeared to be suffering from an injury to his throwing shoulder in the previous game against the Seahawks, was removed from the injury list late in the week and is said to be fine. The line, however, has dipped to Cardinals -1.5.
Cleveland Browns (-6.5) over JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
The Browns have given up just 30 points in their last three games. They’ve played in terrible weather, but they also terrorized Carson Wentz last week. The Jags lost excellent DE Josh Allen and two other defensive starters last week.
Update: WRs D.J. Chark and Chris Conley also are out for the Jaguars. The Browns will be missing CB Denzel Ward. The line has edged up to Browns -7.
DENVER BRONCOS (+6) over New Orleans Saints
The Saints have now won their past six without Drew Brees over the past two seasons as Taysom Hill opened with a bang in a 24-9 win over the Falcons. Nevertheless, there’s some room here for the Saints to win again but not cover, as Hill has to take it outdoors on grass.
Update: According to multiple reports on Saturday night, three quarterbacks —Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles — were removed from the practice field on Saturday and sent home over concerns about their maskless contact with QB Jeff Driskel, who is infected with COVID-19. ESPN reported WR Kendall Hinton or RB Royce Freeman might have to play quarterback. The game was taken off the board at most sportsbooks on Saturday night and then reposted at many as Saints -14 or -14.5.
San Francisco 49ers (+6.5) over LOS ANGELES RAMS
This is as big a discrepancy in rest as you will see in the NFL, with the 49ers off a bye and the Rams having to travel cross-country after a physical Monday night win at Tampa Bay.
Update: The 49ers announced on Saturday that three players — RB Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. and CB Richard Sherman — had been activated off IR. Also, OT Trent Williams and LB Joe Walker were activated off the COVID-19 list and both are listed as questionable. The line remains Rams -6.5.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (+3.5) over Kansas City Chiefs
The Bucs have been terrible in prime time, but super on Sundays, and this is a great bounce-back spot for Tom Brady. It has the feeling of a game that will see a lot of lead changes and even a small spread could matter.
Update: Bucs coach Bruce Arians said center A.Q. Shipley has been advised to retire after suffering a neck injury in last week’s loss to the Rams. The line remains Chiefs -3.5.
GREEN BAY PACKERS (-8.5) over Chicago Bears
Prime-time ’dogs have been good bets this season (22-12 ATS). But even though the Bears come in off a bye, they still don’t know who their quarterback will be, as both Nick Foles and Mitch Trubisky are injured. You don’t want to be on that side if the answer is Tyler Bray.
Update: The Bears ended the mystery and named Trubisky as the starter for this game. Interestingly, the line has moved up a half-notch to Packers -9.
Monday Night Football
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (+5) over Seattle Seahawks
Carson Wentz has been brutal and Doug Pederson has given him no answers. Wondering if the Seattle defense, which has given up a league-worst (by far) 343.7 passing yards per game, could be the tonic they both need. The Eagles still have a good team, if the offense can get out of the ditch.
Update: Lane Johnson, probably the Eagles’ best offensive lineman, is out for the season after suffering an ankle injury last week in Cleveland. The line jumped a bit to Seahawks -5.5.
Baltimore Ravens at PITTSBURGH STEELERS
The game was off the board at all sportsbooks as of Saturday night. Ravens QB Lamar Jackson and RBs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins have been ruled out and six more players were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Saturday. If this game is played, The Post’s Bettor’s Guide handicappers and Richard Witt will make new selections at the prevailing point spread. You can find that in Tuesday’s editions of The Post and at nypost.com.
Best bets: Browns, Giants, Chargers.
Lock of the week: Browns (Locks 3-7-1 in 2020).
Last week: 5-9 overall, 1-2 Best Bets.
Thanksiving: 1-1. Lions (L), Washington (W).
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