NFL Picks Week #12 (2019 regular season)
NFL PICKS (WEEK #12)
BY PROFESSOR MJ
Written Wednesday November 20th, 2019 at 2 p.m. Eastern Time (spreads/odds may have changed)
PICK #1: Tennessee Titans -3 vs Jacksonville Jaguars (rated 4 stars)
Jacksonville has won four games this year. Those wins occurred against the Jets, the Bengals, Denver and Tennessee. The combined record of those opponents is 11-29. In other words, no significant wins there.
The rest factor is a big plus for the Titans. Not only are they coming off their bye week, but they have been at home for five of the past six weeks! Meanwhile, Jacksonville will be on the road for a third time over the last four weeks, including a long exhausting trip to London.
Marlon Mack ran all over the Jaguars last week. Derrick Henry is probably salivating right now.
Tennessee is going to be looking for revenge after dropping a game in Jacksonville back in Week #3. The Titans are 3-0-1 against the spread when hosting the Jags in the past four meetings in Tennessee!
PICK #2: Dallas Cowboys +6.5 at New England Patriots (rated 3 stars)
My gut feeling tells me I should make the following bold call: the Cowboys are going to pull off the upset in New England this Sunday.
Why am I only rating it three stars then? Because I am always worried when it comes to betting against the Patriots. Always.
Based on each team’s rosters, I love this play. There is no doubt in my mind that the Cowboys can play with the Patriots. Dak Prescott has been playing at a very high level. Ezekiel Elliott has been more quiet in the last two games, but he rushed over 100 yards in the previous three.
Meanwhile, New England keeps racking up the wins, but they have showed signs of weaknesses. Tom Brady has openly said he is frustrated with the way the offense is going. Dallas has an above-average defense, I seriously doubt they will get shredded by New England’s offense.
Basically, all of the ingredients are there for a tight game and I can hardly see Dallas getting beaten up. I do feel an upset in the making.
PICK #3: New York Jets +3 vs Oakland Raiders (rated 3 stars)
I was pretty disappointed with the way the Raiders played against the lowly Bengals last week. They should have crushed them, considering they were at home against an unexperienced quarterback. Oakland has won six games thus far in 2019, but none of them had a margin of victory greater than 8!
I kept repeating the Jets weren’t as bad as most people thought, and there were a few occasions where I lost picks because of them. They might finally be showing encouraging signs after winning two straight games.
Granted, those wins occurred against the Giants and the Redskins, but Sam Darnold’s play definitely improved in those games. This won’t be an easy task for the Raiders.
The temperature is expected to feel like 3 degrees Celsius. That’s not good news for a warm weather team like Oakland. Also, the Raiders will play an early 1 pm game, which will feel like 10 am to Raiders players.
I like the Jets to put a blow in the Raiders’ quest to catch up the Chiefs in the AFC West division.
PICK #4: Detroit Lions +3.5 at Washington Redskins (rated 3 stars)
How can I say this politely? The Redskins are bad. Very bad.
Washington’s best performances this season were a 17-16 win over the Dolphins and a 5-point loss to the Eagles. Other than that, they lost all of their remaining eight games by at least 9 points! In this case, give me the Lions laying 3.5 points for sure!!!
Sure, the Skins are at home for the third consecutive week. And this could be viewed as a sandwich game for the Lions, as they are coming off games against Chicago and Dallas, while awaiting meetings with Chicago and Minnesota.
Still, I’m taking Detroit. I expect them to win easily.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford is still out for the Lions, but that’s not a problem. Backup QB Jeff Driskel has done well throwing the ball so far, and his athleticism allows him to extend plays or make good runs.
He has a good surrounding cast with Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola. Scoring 27 points against Dallas was a good output last week. The only problem was their defense who struggled to stop Prescott and company. No one is going to confuse Prescott with Dwayne Haskins, who is simply not good.
The more I talk about this game, the more I like Detroit. Perhaps I should have rated it 4 stars? I’ll let you be the judge.
PICK #5: Seattle Seahawks +1.5 at Philadelphia Eagles (rated 2 stars)
The bye week gave plenty of time for Pete Carroll to come up with a sound plan against Philly. It also gave additional time for Seattle’s top target, Tyler Lockett, to heal his leg injury. He is good to go for Sunday.
Another key benefit was the extra time for newly acquired Josh Gordon to familiarize with his new offense. He picked up two big first downs in his first game with the Seahawks a couple of weeks ago against the Niners.
I am a bit worried about the Eagles being at home for the fourth week in a row, though. Also, Seattle is a West Coast team that will need to play an early Sunday game on the East Coast.
Alshon Jeffery was limited in practice Wednesday, but he should suit up for the game. However, right tackle Lane Johnson is less certain to play; that would be a big blow for Philadelphia because he’s the one who was supposed to face Clowney.
The big gamblers seem to agree with me, as the average bet size on Seattle is $249 versus just $54 on Philly!
In the end, in this key NFC matchup, I trust Russell Wilson more than Carson Wentz. Wilson is having a MVP year and he is simply hard to beat. Facing a suspect Eagles pass defense, I’ll go with the Seahawks.
PICK #6: Cincinnati Bengals +7 vs Pittsburgh Steelers (rated 2 stars)
The Bengals offense has not done well since they switched quarterbacks to see how Ryan Finley would do. They scored 13 points against the Ravens and just 10 in Oakland. Finley has completed less than 50% of his passes.
At least, Joe Mixon did a nice job trying to give his QB some support. During those past two outings, he rushed 45 times for 200 yards (a nice 4.4 yards per rush average, which is awesome considering defenses are probably focusing on him).
So why in the world should we pick Cincinnati? Well, I’m wondering if Pittsburgh’s offense is going to be any better than Cincinnati’s. They are severely banged up.
Juju Smith-Schuster is a long shot to play, while their second-best wide receiver Diontae Johnson is also unlikely to play. He took a severe hit, and we could see some blood around his ear after the play. To make matters worse, running back James Conner is questionable.
With a surrounding cast falling down, can Mason Rudolph be the savior? After watching his 4-interception performance last week, I doubt it.
Sure, Pittsburgh gets three extra days of rest after playing last Thursday, but their meeting in Cleveland left many scars. It was a very physical game.
I believe this game will be very low-scoring, in which case betting a seven-point underdog seems like the smartest move to do.
PICK #7: New York Giants +6.5 at Chicago Bears (rated 1 star)
The Bears offense is offensive to watch. You just want to rip your eyes out. Man, they are painful to watch.
With such a struggling offense, I am betting New York to keep it close enough to cover the spread. I wouldn’t fall off my chair if they won the game. The Bears defense is doing okay, but we expected more from them.
Meanwhile, quarterback Daniel Jones is doing well. Who expected him to get a 15-to-8 TD-to-interception ratio? That’s better than expected, especially with a roster who had to deal with a few injuries to Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate and now Evan Engram.
Both Evan Engram and Rhett Ellison are expected to miss the game. On the other hand, Sterling Shepard and cornerback Janoris Jenkins should be back on the field.
The Giants had the week off, which is a good point in their favor.
The Bears scored 31 points in Washington (nothing heroic here). Then, there were three games where they scored between 20 and 25 points, while they scored 19 points or less in all of their other six matches.
Based on this information, they are fairly likely to score between 17 and 24 points. Can the Giants put between 11 and 18 points on the board to cover the spread? I think they have enough firepower to do so. For one, Saquon Barkley can take one to the house in the blink of an eye.
PICK #8: Cleveland Browns -10.5 vs Miami Dolphins (rated 1 star)
Miami’s secondary is completely decimated. They already had many injuries, and following their loss to Buffalo they placed Reshad Jones and Bobby McCain on I.R. The Dolphins might soon need to call high school players to the rescue.
Cleveland saved their season with a big win over their archrivals from Pittsburgh, but that game was a costly one. Myles Garrett lost his mind, ripping Mason Rudolph’s helmet before hitting the quarterback on the head with the helmet. That very dangerous move got him to be suspended the rest of the year.
Defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi also received a one-game suspension after the game. And safety Morgan Burnett is done for the season after suffering an injury. The only good news is defensive end Olivier Vernon could be back. The Browns desperately need him after the recent events.
The good news for Cleveland is they get three additional days of rest after playing last Thursday. Moreover, this is their third straight week at home.
Have a nice weekend!
(Sports Betting Expert / University Professor / PhD in statistics)