The first stress-free recommendation in a few weeks with the Steelers taking care of the Jaguars. On the other hand, the Vikings knocked a few people out so if you’re still alive, you are closer to victory. Now if the Jets would’ve taken care of the Chargers, and they were about 40 yards short, the pools would have shrunk by a lot. Our plan of saving the Vikings for week 12 sure looks good now but with their performance at home against the Cowboys, can we trust them? 

There are no teams on bye in week 12 so everyone is available which helps as we get deeper into the season and only Tampa and Carolina are on bye in week 13.  One of the games with a point spread of 7 or more points is Green Bay over Chicago in the land of the frozen tundra (This game is currently off the board at Westgate but is 8 ½ at most books). Green Bay’s defense laid an egg in the second half against the Colts, but the offense didn’t help either keeping the defense on the field. On the flip side, the Bears offense is horrendous and we’ll have to check on the status of Nick Foles after he was carted off the field in their last game. Foles is not reminding anyone of Dan Marino this year, and it may not even matter if he’s back.  Chicago’s defense is what gives this game the remote possibility of being close. The Packers will be a popular pick if you have them available or if you can take any team each week.

Miami travels to New Jersey to face the Jets as 7 point favorites. A week ago you would have thought that this was a slam dunk. The Jets have stepped up their game a bit, and if they had the semblance of an NFL secondary on Sunday, they may have beaten the Chargers. Miami went to Denver and allowed the pathetic Broncos offense to come back to life. Tua also struggled and was lifted for Fitzmagic, but he did was Fitz does late in the season and threw an interception thwarting a Dolphins comeback. The Jets are getting closer to winning a game. Will the potential return of Sam Darnold help or hurt the cause? If Darnold plays I’ll lean more towards the Dolphins but this is no slam dunk game for Miami.

Cleveland travels to Jacksonville and is favored on the road by 6 ½. They beat the Eagles at home in the pouring rain, which the way Philly was playing wasn’t that hard. The return of Nick Chubb and offensive lineman Wyatt Teller has allowed Cleveland to lessen the load on Baker Mayfield and this has led to fewer mistakes. Myles Garrett will miss his second straight due to a Covid 19 designation. Jacksonville was awful against the Steelers and this was a combination of the Steelers’ stellar defense and the struggles of Jake Luton. Gardner Minshew is making some progress in his attempt to return from his thumb injury, but he needs another week so the Jags will be starting Mike Glennon . This is the week to take the Browns if there ever was one. 

In L.A. the Rams host the 49ers and are favored by 7. Jared Goff led the charge against a Tampa defense that is fading with each week on Monday night. The Rams are on a roll and find themselves in first place. The Niners come off their bye after losing three straight. It remains to be seen who will suit up for them at running back. McKinnon is the only healthy back, but Tevin Coleman and Raheem Mostert may return. Jeff Wilson was also designated for return to practice but it appears he may need another week before being activated. Deebo Samuel has also begun to practice and may also see the field on Sunday. This is going to be a tough one to read as the Rams are hot and we haven’t seen the Niners in two weeks. The potential return of some offensive weapons may help San Francisco keep this one close.

As I mentioned earlier the Vikings were a team that I was targeting for this week. After losing to the dreadful Cowboys they face the Panthers as 4 ½ point favorites and have become harder to rely on. The Panthers blanked the Lions and PJ Walker filled in admirably for the injured Teddy Bridgewater . If you’re still alive you probably still have the Vikings to choose from. It may be wise to save them for another week but they will be an option.

There are a few other games that intrigue me despite their lower point spreads and one may be where I go this week for my pick. Houston travels to Detroit on Thanksgiving and are 2 ½ point favorites. Detroit has been terrible and this point spread just seems low. Houston could be a contrarian option for you. 

The Giants travel to the now Joe Burrow-less Bengals and are 5 ½ point favorites. They have played well recently and come off their bye. They are dealing with some Covid issues, but it doesn’t appear to have gotten too out of hand. The Bungles should be back and the Giants will also need to be closely looked at as an option. 

The Saints are 6 point favorites at Denver and didn’t skip a beat with Taysom Hill at quarterback. The only ones complaining were the Alvin Kamara owners who saw him get shut out on the reception front. If you have them, they could also be a team to look at. 

Buffalo is a 5 ½ point home favorite over the Chargers.  The Chargers find a way to lose and almost did so against the Jets. There is a chance the Austin Ekeler returns and this would help L.A. as Buffalo would have to account for him. The Bills aren’t the biggest favorite of the week but have one of the highest win probabilities. 

Lastly, on Monday, Seattle goes into Philadelphia as 5 ½ point favorites coming off their road win in Arizona. The Eagles are just awful right now. They may have some motivation on Monday as there will be at least one, and maybe two teams with 4 wins in the pathetic NFC (L)East. Russell Wilson should shred the Eagles secondary and the expected return of Chris Carson could help keep the pass rush at bay just a bit. Seattle is a strong play.

So there are a lot of options this week but no team, based on the point spreads, is a slam dunk. Your choice this week will depend on who you have left to choose from and what you see going forward. A few of the teams I have mentioned can’t be my choice as I’ve chosen them already this year such as the Rams, Saints, Dolphins, Bills, and Packers.

Here’s a list of my picks so far:  Buffalo, Arizona, Chargers (L), Rams, Dallas, Miami, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Green Bay, and Pittsburgh.

Pick of the Week: New York Giants

I may be going out on a limb here. The Giants have been playing well and with the injury to Joe Burrow and the IR designation of Joe Mixon , the Bengals offense is in trouble. The game is on the road, but without many fans, this hasn’t been much of a detriment this year. Daniel Jones is developing into a run threat (or is it just against the Eagles?) and the Bengals defense will have to be wary of him. The Giants’ secondary has improved and Brandon Allen , who will start after being activated from the practice squad, could easily struggle.  The Giants have no value the rest of the season and this allows you to save teams like Minnesota (week 13 vs. Jax), Seattle (week 14 vs. Jets), and others for upcoming weeks. If you’re worried about taking the Giants I would probably lean towards the Packers/Bills/Vikings/Rams if you have them available. If you take the Vikings this week, the Raiders would be in play next week against the Jets.  

Have a Happy Thanksgiving. I am thankful obviously for my family, but also for the opportunity to be part of this #FAmily. Hope to see you back next week!