It’s the week for giving thanks, and the 89% of NFL survivor pool entries that made it out of Week 11 have much to be thankful for. There will be plenty of big spreads over the next few days and they won’t be limited to the dinner table. Five teams on this week’s slate are favored by two scores.
Before we dig into Week 12’s plate, let’s evaluate Week 11’s leftovers:
Week 11 picks
Best Bets: 2-0 (YTD: 11-10)
Leans: 1-0 (YTD: 12-3)
Traps to avoid: 1 elimination avoided (YTD: 13)
On to the Week 12 picks!
All lines from BetMGM.
Many analysts predicted Los Angeles would experience the infamous “Super Bowl hangover” this season, but I don’t think anyone expected them to be 3-7 at this point. Even before injuries started piling up, this was a bad team with an irredeemable offense.
The defense hasn’t been that much better, generating pressure like a broken shower head. Only the Falcons have a lower QB pressure percentage than the Rams (14.1%). They’re best against the run, which won’t help much against a pass-heavy Kansas City team that’s won 25 straight games in November and December.
The Chiefs’ offense leads the league in points per drive, as Patrick Mahomes looks like a lock for MVP. Los Angeles QB Matthew Stafford will miss this game with a concussion, leaving Bryce Perkins in line for the start behind a decimated offensive line that’s allowed the third-most sacks. The Rams have lost six of their last seven games and enter this contest with four consecutive losses. They won’t be breaking that streak on Sunday.
Kansas City is the fifth-most popular pick this week, at 3.52%. Their future value lies in a Week 15 game at Houston.
New York suffered a year’s worth of injuries in last week’s loss to the Lions, leaving them without their top two cornerbacks, the majority of their offensive line, and their emerging rookie receiver. Dallas leads the NFL in sacks per game (4.2) by a healthy margin and will spend their Thanksgiving feasting on Daniel Jones.
The Giants’ defense ranks 27th in DVOA and 26th in rushing EPA, while Cowboys running back Tony Pollard is cutting through opponents like Uma Thurman in Kill Bill. Over his last four games, Pollard is averaging 143.3 rushing and receiving yards.
Dallas took care of business when these two met earlier this year, sacking Jones five times. The Cowboys are playing too well and New York is too short-handed to make a game of it this time around.
Mike McCarthy’s team is the sixth-most popular pick this week, at 3.34%. Like the Chiefs, their best future value comes against the Texans (Week 14).
The line on this game shot up 1.5 points on the news of Zach Wilson’s benching. New York is in the playoff hunt, and Robert Saleh understands that Wilson was holding the team back, both on and off the field. Saleh’s defense has been outstanding this year, allowing the fifth-fewest points per drive. The defensive line is dominating the trenches and the cornerbacks are locking down like it’s March 2020. All QB Mike White has to do is not be completely terrible against a Chicago defense that’s second-worst in EPA per play.
It’s still up in the air whether Justin Fields is the Bears’ QB on Sunday, after separating and partially tearing ligaments in his shoulder
Just under 2% of entries are riding the Jets this week, making them the eighth-most popular team. They have very little future value.
TRAPS TO AVOID
Miami should blow the doors off the Texans, but the NFL is weird and you never want to take a team in survivor that’s 65% owned like the Dolphins are this week. There are plenty of other large favorites, all of whom come in at sub-12% ownership.
After missing practice last week with an illness, Lamar Jackson is now sidelined with a hip injury. He’ll likely play, but I’m not backing him as a short road favorite against a Jags team coming off their bye.
Baltimore is the seventh-most popular pick, at 2.1%.
Kirk Cousins in primetime, versus a New England defense that ranks first in defensive DVOA? I don’t like that.
The Vikings are the ninth-most popular play this week, at 1.8%.
Stats provided by Pro Football Reference, teamrankings.com, Football Outsiders, StatMuse, and rbsdm.com (garbage time removed).