NFL Week 12 Preview: Playoff Candidates to Stretch Legs7 min read
There is just over a quarter of the season left in the NFL, and the cream has well and truly risen to the top. Week 12 sees a host of the league’s premier teams matched-up with some of the teams fighting just to stay in contention. There are a few marquee match-ups, but Week 12 should see teams cementing this season’s pecking order.
After hitting on a nearly 4/1 accumulator in our Thanksgiving preview, we’re once again bringing you breakdowns and tips for the week’s best action.
Chicago Bears @ Philadelphia Eagles
Sun 26th Nov: 6pm Sky Sports Action
Highlighting a slate of seemingly lopsided early kick-off games, the Philadelphia Eagles once again look set to cruise to victory. Philadelphia is not an easy place for opponents to play at the best of times, even more so with a rookie quarterback facing one of the leagues most talented defences.
As per usual, the Bears will lean heavily on a strong running game, but the Eagles will put point ups on the board in bunches and methodically moving the ball on the ground won’t be enough to keep the Bears within reach.
Philadelphia has won and covered the spread eight times this season, but as 13.5 favourites this week are becoming victims of their own success for bettors. That said, they are averaging a league high 32 points per game compared to Chicago’s 17.4 points per game, and should run away with this one.
Philadelphia Eagles total points over 29
Philadelphia Eagles winning margin 13-18 points
New Orleans Saints @ Los Angeles Rams
Sun 26th Nov: 9.25pm Sky Sports Action
The marquee match-up of the day sees two teams that could not be more evenly matched across the board. Points per game, the Rams score 30.3 to the Saints 30.2 (2nd and 3rd ranked in the NFL). Defensively it’s the same story, the Rams give up 18.6 points per game to the Saints 19.6 (7th and 8th ranked in the NFL).
The Rams have been given the slight edge given they play at home, and that line may move more towards them over the weekend with both of New Orleans’ starting cornerbacks out for the contest.
However, I’m going to stick with the same reasoning that led me to predict their loss in Minnesota last week – I’m not yet sold on Jared Goff as a big game quarterback that can beat the league’s best teams. They blowout below average teams, but in his near two years in the league we are yet to see Goff put the team on his back in a pressure situation.
The injuries to the Saints secondary will be a huge factor, and both teams will put serious points on the board, but I’m going to trust Drew Brees and go with the Saints to win a close shootout.
Total points over 53.5
New Orleans Saints winning margin 1-6
Green Bay Packers @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Mon 27th Nov: 1.30am Sky Sports Action
Week 12’s Sunday Night Football clash is back to another seemingly lopsided contest. The Packers haven’t been able to find any answers with Aaron Rodgers out injured, and got shut out at home against the Ravens last week. Meanwhile the Steelers once again look like the only contenders to stop the Patriots in the AFC.
Pittsburgh’s offense hasn’t been as high powered as it was advertised at the start of the season, but the young players on their defence have stepped up and the team looks like a well-balanced machine.
As 13.5-point favourites, the Steelers should have no problem in this one. They are a much better side at home and the noisy Pittsburgh crowd will give Packers quarterback Brett Hundley problems. Their spread is a lot to cover, but I think they are 8-2 against the spread on the season, and I would expect them to comfortably win this one.
Pittsburgh Steelers -14.0 handicap
Pittsburgh Steelers over 3.5 total touchdowns
Houston Texans @ Baltimore Ravens
Tue 28th Nov: 1.30am Sky Sports Action
If injuries hadn’t decimated both teams, this prime-time match up would have been an exciting one with two teams pushing for the playoffs. As it stands, it is a battle between two sides who can’t move the ball.
However, as painful as the offenses are to watch, the Ravens defence has been lights out – shutting out three teams in only ten games. Add to that a Texans defence that has some of the most exciting individual talent, and there is still potential for a fun game – albeit it one for the purists.
The Ravens are favoured by a touchdown, but if their defence plays close to how it did last week they will win by more than that; and don’t be surprised if the defence gets a couple of scores.
On track for a playoff spot, and with their schedule opening up, I expect the Ravens to start to be taken seriously after a win in this one.
Total points under 38
Baltimore Ravens -7.0
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Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots, Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints, Baltimore Ravens all to win