Week 12 NFL picks against spread: Saints romp Rams; Steelers rout Packers

Week 12 in the NFL goes back to being a full 16-game schedule with no teams on bye.

It starts with a feast of Thanksgiving contests that figure to be close. It ends Sunday and Monday with several lopsided matchups on paper. There are big point spreads to match, including four teams favored by double digits.

Here are this week’s predictions and prognostications, both against the spread and straight up. Thanks again to Bovada for the Week 12 betting lines.

MORE: Week 12 NFL picks straight up

Week 12 NFL picks against the spread

(All times ET)

Game of the Week

New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Rams (-2 1/2)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m., CBS

The Rams struggled with the versatile rushing duo of the Vikings. Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara are even better. Being down Robert Woods is a big blow for LA’s passing game, as well. Todd Gurley will keep the hosts in the game, but eventually Drew Brees will help the Saints build a comfortable lead vs. a shorthanded Jared Goff.

PICK: Saints win 33-24.

Games of the Midweek

Minnesota Vikings (-3) at Detroit Lions

Thursday, 1 p.m., FOX

Detroit won at Minnesota in Week 4. The Lions’ defense matches up well to contain the Vikings’ passing game. At home on the holiday, Matthew Stafford will protect the ball better and play sharper than cooling-off counterpart Case Keenum. The Lions won’t waste the opportunity to suddenly tighten things up in the NFC North.

PICK: Lions win 23-17.

Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas Cowboys (pick ‘em)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m., CBS

The Cowboys’ offense is in a funk, as they strangely have become a one-dimensional rushing offense without Ezekiel Elliott. Those passing game woes play right into the Chargers’ hands. Dak Prescott won’t suddenly bust out of his slump with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram rushing him, plus Casey Hayward shutting down one half of the field. On the other side, Sean Lee’s absence will allow Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler to feast in the second half.

PICK: Chargers win 23-20.

New York Giants at Washington Redskins (-7 1/2)

Thursday, 8:30 p.m., NBC

New York got an inspired, gritty victory against Kansas City, and the Giants will come hard at its NFC East rival with a short-week short trip. The Redskins have had a rough schedule, being swept by the Eagles and losing to both the Vikings and Saints in consecutive weeks. They finally get a break here for Kirk Cousins’ play to pay off as he out-duels Eli Manning with a better array of mixed-bag targets.

PICK: Redskins win 27-23 but fail to cover the spread.

Lock of the Week

Pittsburgh Steelers (-14) over Green Bay Packers

Sunday, 8:30 p.m., NBC

After facing a Baltimore defense that shut out his team, Brett Hundley faces an even stronger Pittsburgh unit against the pass. The Steelers also are playing better against the run of late. Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown will stay hot against a reeling secondary with more help from JuJu Smith-Schuster. Le’Veon Bell will get plenty of second-half work to pad the lead and work the clock.

PICK: Steelers win 38-10 and cover the spread.

Upset of the Week

Indianapolis Colts over Tennessee Titans (n/a)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX

The Colts come out of their bye feeling frustrated about not finishing off the Steelers at home in Week 10. Jacoby Brissett will be able to move the ball on the Titans, getting into a good duel with Marcus Mariota. With the teams racking up field goals, Adam Vinatieri will nail the late, long game-winner.

PICK: Colts win 26-23.

Rest of the Week

Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs (-10)

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

The Bills wouldn’t start Nathan Peterman over Tyrod Taylor again after that debacle in LA, would they? Let’s hope not, because Taylor protecting the ball and LeSean McCoy running will keep Buffalo in this game of fading playoff hopefuls in a tough road environment. The Chiefs, though, will go back to a simple, grinding offense and pull this out by remembering they still have Kareem Hunt.

PICK: Chiefs win 24-17 but fail to cover the spread.

Carolina Panthers (-4 1/2) at New York Jets

Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX

After a bad road loss against the Bears several weeks ago, the Panthers won’t take anything for granted here. Away from prime time and Charlotte, Cam Newton will need to be more of a grinder than Superman, as Todd Bowles’ defense will do its best to contain his running and downfield passing. Former Panthers backup Josh McCown will make it interesting with a few big pass plays in the second half, but the Jets will fall a little short at home.

PICK: Panthers win 24-20 but fail to cover the spread.

Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles (-14)

Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX

Mitchell Trubisky will aspire to have the same kind of second season as fellow second overall pick Carson Wentz has had this year. But for now, Wentz has the greater supporting receivers (including former Bear Alshon Jeffery) and the deeper running game. Chicago’s defense will only limit Philadelphia for a couple series before the Eagles fly up to their usual heights. Trubisky will be under siege against Philly’s defense for much of the second half.

PICK: Eagles win 31-7 and cover the spread.

Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals (-8)

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

This looks like a spot for the Browns to steal one, but then again, the Bengals’ defense is playing well, and Andy Dalton has steadied himself after an awful start. It’s early afternoon at home, so Dalton will get the job done with plenty of A.J. Green and Tyler Kroft, but a late TD from DeShone Kizer brings Cleveland close in the waning moments.

PICK: Bengals win 23-17 but fail to cover the spread.

Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (-17)

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

You know the Patriots are getting close to can’t-miss Super Bowl favorites when the spreads start ballooning past two touchdowns. Miami is an absolute mess, far removed from the second AFC East playoff team under Adam Gase a season ago. The Dolphins’ defense has numerous holes for Tom Brady to exploit, while New England’s suddenly sound defense will stop whoever is quarterback the other side.

PICK: Patriots win 40-14 and cover the spread.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons (n/a)

Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX

The Falcons won’t have a letdown after their big Monday night upset victory in Seattle. That win proved Atlanta is actually closer to the top of the NFC again than to a true Super Bowl hangover. There’s not much reason to think the Bucs’ defense will slow down Matt Ryan, or that it has the offense to keep up with Ryan Fitzpatrick.

PICK: Falcons win 30-14.

Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers (n/a)

Sunday, 4:05 p.m., FOX

The Seahawks are shell-shocked from what happened in back-to-back home losses, so go figure that they’ll enjoy going back on the road, where they have won three straight games. Seattle’s depleted defense gets a much-needed break against a lesser, transitional San Francisco offense lacking in firepower. Meanwhile, Russell Wilson can go to work on a much worse San Francisco unit.

PICK: Seahawks win 31-20.

Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders (-5)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m., CBS

The Broncos’ offense can’t find a quarterback or a passing game despite two top wide receivers. The Raiders have Derek Carr and greater potential in the passing game, but that group is underachieving. These two disappointing AFC West teams will meet somewhere in the middle. It’s easier to trust Carr to come through late in a mostly inept game offensively.

PICK: Raiders win 17-13 but fail to cover the spread.

Jacksonville Jaguars (-5) at Arizona Cardinals

Sunday, 4:25 p.m., CBS

Blaine Gabbert will start for the Cardinals against his former team, and he might already regret it. After Adrian Peterson runs often for little yardage again, Gabbert will be forced to drop back often against former Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell, who will dominate a bad offensive line to build on his defensive player of the year candidacy. Sacksonville comes to the desert, along with Leonard Fournette, maybe the next Peterson.

PICK: Jaguars win 17-10 and cover the spread.

Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens (-7)

Monday, 8:30 p.m., ESPN

The Texans got a win with Tom Savage, but it took a game against a team with another backup quarterback starting and no running game to make it happen. Joe Flacco isn’t exactly elite, but his veteran receivers are coming through enough to take advantage of a shaky Houston secondary. Flacco won’t need to do much for a second consecutive week, with Baltimore’s defense toying with its fourth shutout of the season.

PICK: Ravens win 20-6 and cover the spread.

Stats of the Week

Week 11 record straight up: 10-4

Week 11 record against the spread: 7-6

Season-to-date record straight up: 102-58

Season-to-date record against the spread: 68-81