NFL Week 12 Picks: Bengals vs Titans, Bears vs Jets, More
Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Mike Vrabel.
Happy Thanksgiving Week!
And what a glorious week of sports it's been. Hopefully you got all your Turkey Day bets in, then feasted on a weekend of college football rivalries, college basketball holiday tournaments, World Cup matches and more. Now, it's time to settle in for another Sunday NFL slate.
We've already made decisions for nearly every Week 12 game, so be sure to check the full explanations. Let's recap those Bet, Lean and Pass decisions now that the lines have settled and get to our final two decisions.
- Seahawks -3.5 vs Raiders
- Commanders -3.5 vs Falcons
- Ravens -3.5 at Jaguars
- Bucs -3 at Browns
- Texans +14 at Dolphins
- Packers +6.5 at Eagles
- Steelers +2.5 at Colts
- Panthers +1.5 vs Broncos (Lean Under 36.5)
- Chiefs -15.5 vs Rams
- Saints +9.5 at 49ers
- Cardinals +3 vs Chargers
- Seahawks (-3) at Rams
- Packers (-2.5) at Bears
This might be Sunday's marquee match. It feels like the opening playoff game on that first postseason Saturday, and it's a rematch of a Bengals upset last year that featured the Titans registering nine sacks but making three killer turnovers, one leading to the walk-off field goal.
Cincinnati's offensive line has hemorrhaged pressure at times this year, but Tennessee's pass rush could be muted by injuries. Denico Autry is out along with Harold Landry, and stud lineman Jeffery Simmons remains a weekly question mark. Still, Mike Vrabel and this defense seem to pick up dudes off the street, slot them in and maintain a top-five unit.
The Bengals will be shorthanded offensively. Joe Mixon is out, which might have been a secret Cincinnati advantage in the past as it forced the Bengals to pass, but the team has run the ball very well of late so that's a real loss. Ja'Marr Chase is still questionable and feels like a decoy at best.
Cincinnati's attack has quietly become quite lethal. It's scored at least 30 points in four of its last five games, the lone exception a Monday night stinker against the Browns. The Bengals rank second in offensive DVOA in those wins, but the Titans defense has been nearly as strong, and the injuries on both sides could end up offsetting each other.
This may be a game of two halves. Tennessee ranks top five in offensive DVOA in the first half, including first in the first quarter, but plummets to 31st in the second half. Its defense ranks top five in the first quarter. Cincinnati, on the other hand, has covered 17 of its last 19 second halves (89%). The Titans are known for grinding out wins with Derrick Henry late, but that hasn't been the case this year. Tennessee is 3-7 ATS (30%) in the second half.
I like a Bengals second half best. These teams are also a combined 13-5-1 to the under in the second half this season.
For the full game, I can't shake the feeling that Tennessee has proven to be too battle tested to be a field goal dog at home. The Titans have lost by more than a field goal only five times in 27 games. Mike Vrabel is 9-4 ATS (69%) as a home underdog, winning all four such instances the last two seasons.
This feels like a field goal game, so if we're getting all three points on the spread, I'll take them.
The Pick: Lean Titans +3 | Previously: Wait for the injury reports
OTHER ANGLES: Bengals 2H
We waited for decisions on both QBs and got one from New York: Zach Wilson was benched for Mike White.
It's hard to know what to make of White. He memorably threw for three touchdowns in a big upset win over the Bengals last fall, but he also had two interceptions that game and got blown out in three other appearances, tallying eight picks in four games.
White isn't as stable or sure of a thing as Joe Flacco, but it helps easing in at home against one of the league's worst defenses. Chicago ranks last in the first half in DVOA before stiffening late, so this could be a soft landing spot for White to find his footing.
We don't have a decision yet on Justin Fields, and that makes this game impossible to call. Fields has been spectacular over the past five games, lifting the Bears to the eighth best offensive DVOA over that span. But he was limited down the stretch last week with shoulder and hamstring injuries that have him looking like a game-time decision here.
If Fields sits for Trevor Siemian, I want no part of the Bears, who are basically fielding a lineup of fringe NFL players at that point against what's become one of the league's best defenses. Then again, how do we know White is any better than Siemian?
This line feels like a hedge on Fields playing. I grabbed Jets -3.5 early this week on the app when news about Fields' health sounded worrisome, and I'll feel good about that if he's limited or out.
At this line, I don't need to play. If this gets to -7, know that the Jets have only covered that line twice all year, once against Skylar Thompson. With a low total and a high line, it's usually best to just take the points.
The Pick: Bears +6.5 (Pass) | Previously: Wait for decisions on both QBs