Week 12 is rapidly turning into Covid-19 weekend. Also, the NFL is spiraling towards becoming a parody of itself. Denver has ruled out all four of their quarterbacks for today’s game against the Saints. Baltimore will be struggling to field a team Tuesday against the Steelers and Pittsburgh players are also beginning to drop like flies. Those games will not be included in this column.
For the remainder of the Week 12 slate, let’s get started.
Game of the Week
Tennessee Titans +3 vs Indianapolis Colts (1PM ET; Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN)
This game will establish who controls the AFC South for the remainder of the season. Indianapolis won their first meeting in Week 10. A win this week will give the Colts a virtual two-game lead in the division with five games to play.
Tennessee holds the edge in points per play, ninth, and points per drive, sixth, while the Colts are seventh in the league on defense in those stat categories. Ryan Tannehill has a top 10 passer rating but Indianapolis is third in defensive passer rating. The Titans are third in the NFL in rushing yards per attempt. Indianapolis is third on defense.
So, who do we take here? Both teams have 2-2 records against teams that are currently over .500. The Colts have won four of the last five meeting between the two. As for betting trends, Tennessee has won four of his last six games as the underdog.
Nostrathomas has always said, with all things being equal, take the team with the better quarterback. At this point in the season, that quarterback is Ryan Tannehill.
Tennessee Titans 29 Indianapolis Colts 25
Las Vegas Raiders -3 vs Atlanta Falcons (1PM ET; Mercedes Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA)
It’s rare when you encounter a game where both the public and sharps are on the same side of a spread. The Raiders have covered in four straight games and are 7-3 against the spread for the season.
Atlanta is 3-7 against the spread this season and are 1-5 against the number at home.
Las Vegas is in a fight for a postseason berth in the AFC. The Falcons are fighting to reach the end of the season. Take the Raiders to win and cover.
Las Vegas Raiders 28 Atlanta Falcons 20
Kansas City Chiefs -3.5 vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4:25PM ET; Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL)
Good teams are beginning to catch up to the Buccaneers lately. What they are finding out is that what Tom Brady likes to do as a quarterback doesn’t mesh well with how Bruce Arians runs his ideal offense.
Meanwhile, Patrick Mahomes can play any style of game depending on what Andy Reid needs done.
The Chiefs are on a 7-0 run against the spread when favored by 6 points or less. Take them to push that streak to 8-0.
Kansas City Chiefs 32 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20
Los Angeles Chargers vs Buffalo Bills -4.5 (1PM ET; Bills Stadium, Buffalo, NY)
Both Buffalo and the Chargers look to be set at quarterback for approximately the next decade. The difference between these two teams today is that the Bills are fighting for their first division title since 1995. Los Angeles is out of the playoff hunt for this season and will be looking to the future once Black Monday arrives.
Buffalo Bills 32 Los Angeles Chargers 24
Best of the Rest
Miami Dolphins -7 vs New York Jets (1PM ET; MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ)
Tua Tagovailoa has been listed as doubtful for this game. That means Ryan Fitzpatrick has had a full week of practice in preparation for facing the worst team in the league.
The Dolphins defeated New York 24-0 in Week 6, which also turned out to be the week of Tua’s on-field debut.
Take Miami to was the taste of last week’s loss to the Broncos out of their mouths.
Miami Dolphins 35 New York Jets 16
Arizona Cardinals -2 vs New England Patriots (1PM ET; Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA)
Can the Patriots running game keep up with Arizona’s offense? Not this season. This isn’t your father’s New England Patriots.
Arizona Cardinals 29 New England Patriots 20
Carolina Panthers vs Minnesota Vikings -3.5 (1PM ET; U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN)
It looked like the Vikings were on their way to relevance this season until they took a humiliating Week 11 loss at home to Dallas. One of the things you don’t want to do as a handicapper though is overreact to the previous week’s results.
One key to this game, Dalvin Cook against the Panthers run defense. Cook wins which means Minnesota takes this game.
Minnesota Vikings 25 Carolina Panthers 20
Cleveland Browns -7 vs Jacksonville Jaguars (1PM ET; TIAA Bank Stadium, Jacksonville, FL)
As Nostrathomas has been saying all seasons, this Browns team win the games they’re supposed to win. They win this game because they should win.
Cleveland Browns 20 Jacksonville Jaguars 10
New York Giants -6 vs Cincinnati Bengals (1PM ET; Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH)
Do not bet this game. Asking the Giants to give points this season is just another sign that we are still in 2020. Still, Cincinnati without Joe Burrow is a team that will be depending on Ryan Findlay at quarterback.
New York Giants 23 Cincinnati Bengals 10
San Francisco 49ers vs Los Angeles Rams -6.5 (4:05PM ET; SoFi Stadium, Los Angeles, CA)
The Rams have won two straight games against quality teams. San Francisco is not a quality team.
Los Angeles Rams 27 San Francisco 49ers 13
Chicago Bears +9.5 vs Green Bay Packers (Sunday Night Football, Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI)
The Packers are too good to lose to the 2020 Chicago Bears, especially with Mitch Trubisky starting at quarterback. They’re not good enough to win this game by double-digits.
Seattle Seahawks -5.5 vs Philadelphia Eagles (Monday Night Football, Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA)
The Seahawks are fighting to keep up with Los Angeles in the NFC West. The Eagles are going as far as Carson Wentz can take them. In 2020, that’s the stadium parking lot.
Seattle Seahawks 26 Philadelphia Eagles 19