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Pigskin A Blanket: NFL Week 12 Picks

Point spreads, pigskin, and the pursuit of a profit: weekly football wagers from a wannabe wiseguy

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With Thanksgiving upon us, it's time to celebrate with the four Fs: family, friends, food, and football. In order to carve out ample time for the first three, let's not waste any time breaking down the latter.

Here's to a safe, happy and prosperous holiday weekend.

Turkey Day Teaser: Carolina +7.5 at Dallas, Green Bay -2.5 vs. Chicago

Fighting for their playoff lives, the Cowboys are good again with Tony Romo back at the helm and have a very real shot to win, but they'll be hard-pressed to build a big lead. The Panthers are the better team and week after week have shown no shortage of motivation while playing to keep their perfect record intact.

In the nightcap, the Packers enter as the superior team, at home, having lost to the Bears only once in the last five years. That was the night Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone, leaving the majority of the game's snaps to Seneca Wallace.

After Green Bay re-established Eddie Lacy last week against a stout defense in Minnesota, Chicago will need to focus on containing the ground game. This could finally lead to some open receivers for Rodgers to throw to, providing the Packers a golden opportunity to gobble up points.


New York Giants -2.5 at Washington

The Giants come in off a bye and eager to take out two weeks' worth of pent-up frustration on Washington after letting the Patriots off the hook the last time they stepped between the lines. Having lost several close games in the final stages, the regrouped and revitalized G-Men will set out to prove they're better than their 5-5 record indicates.

While Washington stands to benefit from the favorable side of its home/road dichotomy, the team appeared to have quit by halftime in Carolina last week and has little to play for.

New York may be missing Victor Cruz, but still could very well cruise to victory and a bigger lead in the NFC East.


Denver +3 vs. New England

The Patriots remain the top team in the NFL, but as the injury bug continues to bite, they become increasingly limited in terms of presenting their signature myriad matchup nightmares. While Dion Lewis and Julian Edelman are far from elite players, they fit such specific roles in the New England offense that they can't be replaced. Danny Amendola falls into a similar category and will either be sidelined or limited with a knee sprain, leaving Tom Brady precious few weapons to work with aside from Gronk.

Lining up against what's left of the Patriots offense will be the league's top defense, making for a setting the Broncos are well equipped to control.

On the other side of the ball, Denver is as good if not better with new QB Brock Osweiler leading the way. After observing his arm strength, athleticism and poise en route to a road win last week, even Peyton Manning would have to agree.


Pick of the Week: Teaser - Cincinnati -2.5 vs. St. Louis, Minnesota +7.5 at Atlanta

The Bengals have to be fuming following back-to-back losses, creating a sense of urgency to get back into the win column and regain a firm hold of the AFC's No. 2 seed and the first-round bye that comes with it.

The Rams pose little threat with a decimated offensive line Cincinnati can be expected to exploit with its strong defensive front, putting the Bengals in position to control the game regardless of whether it's Case Keenum or Nick Foles at QB for St. Louis.

The Vikings will also be in position to take advantage of a struggling opponent, with Matt Ryan and the Falcons looking nothing like the 5-0 team they once were. Atlanta has lost six straight against the spread, with the last four coming against rookie or backup quarterbacks.

In a game that should be lined closer to pick 'em, getting more than a touchdown with the better team presents the kind of value you don't want to step in front of.


Week 12 Record: 2-2
Season: 22-17-1
Picks of the Week: 7-3