Control of the NFC North comes down to a pivotal Thanksgiving showdown between the Lions and Vikings. Our experts aren’t giving Minnesota much of a chance to enjoy a postgame turkey dinner.
All but one of our NFL writers predicted that Detroit would defend its home turf in Week 12 and take sole possession of first place in the division. They did! The Lions have now swept the Vikings for the season, and they did it with another fourth-quarter comeback, their seventh.
The Cowboys were also heavy favorites to beat a surging Washington team in an NFC East matchup on Thanksgiving. And they did not disappoint, winning their 10th game in a row.
Pittsburgh-Indianapolis will be another game with big playoff implications, but despite identical records and home-field advantage for the Colts, nearly every picker is running with the Steelers. Le’Veon Bell had a bounce-back game last week when he ran for 146 yards, but that was against the Browns, who started an airbrushed exercise ball at defensive tackle. He’ll have the opportunity to prove last week was no fluke against a team ranked 24th in rushing yards and 28th in yards per rush allowed.
And Indianapolis might have to start Scott Tolzien at quarterback, which would also be bad for the Colts.
While confidence is swelling in Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Dallas, Houston’s controversial loss to Oakland hasn’t inspired much support. The Texans hold a tenuous lead over the AFC South and need to dispatch the 4-6 Chargers to stay at least a game ahead of the Colts. But while San Diego may be the only team in the matchup with a losing record, the Texans are playing like one.
The Chargers, thanks to a litany of close losses, have recorded a +14 point differential this fall. The Texans, despite being 6-4, are at -34. So 6-4 Houston has been playing more like a 4-6 team, while 4-6 San Diego has been closer to a 6-4 squad.
Maybe that’s why the majority of our experts are picking the Chargers to leave the great state of Texas with a victory despite being a 1-point underdog.
They’re also overwhelmingly leaning toward the Broncos sending the Chiefs to their second straight loss. Kansas City was upset by Tampa Bay in Week 11, and another defeat could put its playoff hopes in jeopardy. With Miami surging — and all nine of our experts picking the Dolphins to beat San Francisco — we could see a tie for the final wild card spot once the weekend wraps up.
While a few barn-burners are in store for Week 12, there are also plenty of mismatches. The Patriots are a unanimous choice to beat the Jets. Ditto the Titans (vs. the Bears), Bills (vs. the Jaguars), Ravens (vs. the Bengals), Saints (vs. the Rams), and Dolphins (vs. the 49ers). Here’s your look at SB Nation’s picks as a whole:
|Game||RVB||Stephen White||Thomas George||Jeanna Thomas||Adam Stites||Louis Bien||Joel Thorman||Fooch||OddsShark computer|
|MIN vs DET||DET||DET||DET||DET||DET||MIN||DET||DET||DET|
|WAS vs DAL||WAS||DAL||DAL||DAL||DAL||DAL||DAL||WAS||DAL|
|PIT vs IND||PIT||PIT||PIT||PIT||PIT||PIT||PIT||PIT||IND|
|TEN vs CHI||TEN||TEN||TEN||TEN||TEN||TEN||TEN||TEN||TEN|
|JAX vs BUF||BUF||BUF||BUF||BUF||BUF||BUF||BUF||BUF||BUF|
|CIN vs BAL||BAL||BAL||BAL||BAL||BAL||BAL||BAL||BAL||BAL|
|AZ vs ATL||ATL||ATL||ATL||ATL||ATL||ATL||AZ||ATL||ATL|
|NYG vs CLE||NYG||NYG||NYG||NYG||NYG||CLE||NYG||NYG||NYG|
|LA vs NO||NO||NO||NO||NO||NO||NO||NO||NO||NO|
|SF vs MIA||MIA||MIA||MIA||MIA||MIA||MIA||MIA||MIA||MIA|
|SD vs HOU||HOU||SD||HOU||HOU||SD||SD||SD||SD||SD|
|SEA vs TB||SEA||SEA||SEA||SEA||SEA||SEA||SEA||SEA||TB|
|CAR vs OAK||OAK||OAK||OAK||OAK||OAK||CAR||CAR||OAK||OAK|
|NE vs NYJ||NE||NE||NE||NE||NE||NE||NE||NE||NE|
|KC vs DEN||DEN||KC||DEN||DEN||DEN||DEN||DEN||DEN||DEN|
|GB vs PHI||GB||GB||PHI||PHI||PHI||PHI||GB||PHI||PHI|