I went 2-3 in Week 11, which was my first losing week in a long time. My record on the season is now 37-18. Week 12 marks the last week of byes this season, and only two teams have the bye: the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Rams. And with the three games on Thanksgiving, there are less games for me to choose from on Sunday.
But let’s get back to work. Here are my picks for Week 12:
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES over New York Giants
-My how the mighty have fallen. The defending Super Bowl champion Eagles have lost two straight and are now 4-6 on the season. All hope in Philadelphia is not lost though, even after getting crushed by the New Orleans Saints, 48-7, in Week 11, because the first-place Washington Redskins are only 6-4 and just lost starting quarterback Alex Smith for the season with a devastating leg injury. But if Philadelphia has any chance of keeping up with Washington and the the 5-5 Dallas Cowboys, then they’ll have to beat the 3-7 Giants in Philly Sunday at 1 p.m. The Giants have actually won two straight, but those two teams they beat were the San Francisco 49ers and, most recently, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I’m making this pick with my gut. And my gut tells me that the Eagles — a 6-point favorite — will bounce back at home against one of the worst teams in the league. Give me Philadelphia to snap its two-game losing skid and stay alive in the NFC East race.
CAROLINA PANTHERS over Seattle Seahawks
-The 6-4 Panthers have lost two straight and will now host a 5-5 Seahawks team Sunday at 1 that’s coming off a huge win over the Green Bay Packers on Thursday Night Football. This game is crucial for both teams because the winner of this game could be the difference in who makes the playoffs and who doesn’t. Barring some insane drop off from the Saints and the Rams, neither the Panthers or Seahawks are going to win their respective division. So all that’s left for them are the two Wild Card spots. If the playoffs began today, Carolina would be the No. 5 seed in the NFC, and Seattle would be on the outside looking in. The top tiebreaker is head-to-head, so the winner of this game will hold the upper hand. And even though the Panthers have lost two straight, I’m taking them here to bounce back in a big way in their own building, just a week after losing in Detroit because they decided to go for a two-point conversion late in the fourth quarter, rather than kick the extra point and take it to overtime. The two-point conversion attempt failed, and the Lions won in regulation. Carolina is a solid team that I believe will make the playoffs. They’ll prove that with a win over the Seahawks on Sunday. I’ll take the Panthers as a 3.5-point favorite at home, where they are 5-0 this season.
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS over Arizona Cardinals
-Perhaps what the Chargers had been doing was too good to be true. They had won six straight, and then, just when it looked like they were going to keep up with Kansas City in the AFC West, they lost to the Broncos at home. Unbelievable, only, it’s totally believable. These are the Chargers we’re talking about here. And now, they’re 7-3, hosting the 2-8 Arizona Cardinals Sunday at 4:05. The Chargers are an 11.5-point favorite in this one, as well they should be. The Cardinals are terrible and are in a race for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. if the Chargers don’t win this game, then they don’t deserve to be in the playoffs. San Diego, I mean, LA all day.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS over Denver Broncos
-If it wasn’t for some awful offensive play-calling by the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 11, the Steelers wouldn’t be on a six-game win streak. Pittsburgh came from behind to beat the Jags in Jacksonville last Sunday, but it was a game that the Steelers probably should’ve lost. Instead, Pittsburgh is now 7-2-1 and hold the No. 2 seed in the AFC. The Steelers are a 3-point favorite in Denver Sunday at 4:25, and I’m taking them to make it seven straight wins by defeating a 4-6 Broncos team that’s lost six of their last eight. The Broncos are 2-3 at home this season, while the Steelers have yet to lose on the road, with a 4-0-1 record away from Heinz Field. Pittsburgh might lose a game or two down the stretch, but it won’t be this Sunday. Give me the Steelers to find a way to win in Denver.
LOCK OF THE WEEK: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS over New York Jets
-Let’s keep this simple. Both the 7-3 Patriots and the 3-7 Jets are coming off the bye. The Jets have lost four straight. The Patriots are coming off a brutal loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 10. As a 9.5-point favorite, there is no way the Pats lose this game Sunday at 1 at MetLife. No bleeping way. Patriots by at least two touchdowns.