The best way to know who’s going to win an NFL game is to take multiple perspectives and pick out what makes the most sense to you, weigh the odds and go from there. That’s what we’ve got for you here in our “Best Bets” article series. We’re not just going to tell you which team is going to win, but we’re going to tell you how confident we are, and on occasion we’ll include the betting lines.

Roll out, NFL Week 12 Sunday picks…

Tampa Bay Bucs @ Detroit Lions

Pigskin Pig – While Tampa might be riding a two-game win streak following an overtime-deciding match-up against one of the NFL’s elite teams, I can’t buy into them this time around against the Lions. Both of the Bucs wins were at home, and the Lions are just finishing a two-game road trip. Nine points is A LOT for Detroit to give up, though, so I’d be going the other way based on the spread. Probably the safest bet is the 49-point total. I’d take the over, since Tampa has been averaging right around 30 the past three weeks.

Bryan Lienesch (@bclienesch) – Tampa’s been playing better of late, but this is still Detroit at home. I don’t think it’ll be close, either. The Lions should win by at least two scores.

Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers

Pigskin Pig – I’ll go out on a limb here and take the Vikings. The past three weeks, the best the Packers could muster was 20, getting only 13 in the other two losses. Aaron Rodgers being out is really hurting them, as everyone expected that it would. If someone’s going to give you 4.5 points to take the Vikings, I’d absolutely do that. I’m less sure what to do with the 44-points, though I’d be inclined to take the under.

Bryan Lienesch (@bclienesch) – This is a very,very different Green Bay team without Aaron Rodgers, I’ll give you that. The offense has been so conservative at times, you’d think it’d be on Capitol Hill trying to repeal Obamacare. But this is the Minnesota Vikings. You know, that team that took Tampa Bay’s sloppy seconds at quarterback. It won’t take much for Green Bay to stifle Minnesota’s one-prong offense and, when it does, the offense will find enough point to scrounge up a W. Still, I wouldn’t touch this game with money.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans

Pigskin Pig – Alright, so Houston’s on a three-game losing streak, and they only have one more win overall than Jacksonville does, but they still have more weapons on both sides of the ball than the Jaguars do, so I’m taking the Texans. I won’t give up the 10 points, and I would absolutely bet the UNDER on the 43.5-point line. The Texans are averaging just about 24 points, and the Jaguars aren’t likely to exceed 20, a point total they hit (or exceeded) only TWICE this season.

Bryan Lienesch (@bclienesch) – This is sort of the ultimate test for Houston’s season. Their three-game losing streak ended their season, but now the question is does the front office need to tear down this foundation and rebuild. Seriously, we might be at that point if Houston loses to Jacksonville. I’ll hesitantly take the Texans, pretty much only because they are at home, and, again, I’ll keep my money under my mattress for this one.

San Diego Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs

Pigskin Pig – This game should be close, but I’ll go with the Chiefs. Their bye in Week 10 gave them time to prepare a bit extra for the Broncos and Chargers, since they still had the divisional opponents each twice on their schedule for the 7 games remaining in the season. I just don’t think the Chargers are as good as Kansas City, and I’d have no problem giving up 4.5 points to take the Chiefs. I wouldn’t touch the 42 point line, because I think that sounds about accurate.

Bryan Lienesch (@bclienesch) – The only excuse for thinking this game will be close is that it’s a divisional rivalry. Four of San Diego’s six losses have come on the road. Add in the fact that Phillip Rivers’ head-turning hot start to the season is starting to cool quickly, and I’m not even sniffing the chargers in this one. Kansas City bounces back from a tough loss to Denver and they roll over San Diego. That means by MORE than 4.5 points, in case you hadn’t figured it out.

Carolina Panthers @ Miami Dolphins

Pigskin Pig – Given all the issues Miami is going through with their offensive line off the field, and the fact that they lost to Tampa Bay, I can’t pick them against a stout Panthers team who beat the 49ers and Patriots the past two weeks. Would I give up 4 to take Carolina? Doubtful, since the Dolphins have a tendency to keep things close. I wouldn’t take either side of the 41-point line.

Bryan Lienesch (@bclienesch) – As long as the Dolphins are going through this Richie Incognito fiasco, it’s going to be hard to take them. Carolina, controversial call or not, proved last week and the week before that they are the real deal. On the road, though, it might be close. It may even come down to a field goal as Graham Gano’s career seems to have rebounded since leaving Washington. That’s why I wouldn’t be betting on this one.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cleveland Browns

Pigskin Pig – Five weeks ago, I would be picking the opposite, but the Steelers have looked rejuvenated lately, and the Browns laid an egg against the Bengals last week coming off a bye. I would absolutely take the Steelers +2, and given that the Browns let up 41 points last week and the Steelers scored 37 against Detroit last week, I’d take the OVER on the 40-point line.

Bryan Lienesch (@bclienesch) – How are the Steelers underdogs in this one? It absolutely baffles me. Mike Tomlin appears to have turned things around a bit in Pittsburgh and the days of Cleveland being dangerous this season are long gone. Pittsburgh rolls and, I agree, it could turn into a little bit of a shootout.

Chicago Bears @ St Louis Rams

Pigskin Pig – Sure, the Rams are coming off of a bye week following a HUGE win over the Indianapolis Colts, but that doesn’t make me a huge believer in them this week. The Bears might not be a great team, but they’re getting the job done the past three weeks, winning in Green Bay and against the Ravens, with a loss by just 2 to the Lions in there. The 1.5 points you have to give up to take the Rams is also something I’m not willing to do. The 45.5 point total is something I won’t touch.

Bryan Lienesch (@bclienesch) – The Rams have one big games this season, but they have yet to make it a regular thing. Bye week or not, I kind of like Chicago to take this one. But the oddsmakers are on to something: this is going to be a close one. And if the Bears can’t find a way to stop Zac Stacey, I wouldn’t be surprised if St. Louis wins. Still, I’m sticking with Chicago.

New York Jets @ Baltimore Ravens

Pigskin Pig – The Ravens look rejuvenated and the Jets have fallen down a well. Because the last thing I saw from the Jets was a 23-point loss to BUFFALO following a bye week, there’s no chance I’m picking them this week. In fact, I have no qualms taking Baltimore even if I have to give up 3.5 points. Because Baltimore hasn’t scored more than 20 points since week 5, I’d go the UNDER on the 39-point line.

Bryan Lienesch (@bclienesch) – The question seems to be which New York Jets team shows up? With them being 1-4 on the road, it’s a pretty safe bet it won’t be the one that knocked off New Orleans. Not only do I like Baltimore to win this one, but like you, Pigskin Pig, I like them to cover the spread.

Tennessee Titans @ Oakland Raiders

Pigskin Pig – The fact that Tyrelle Pryor is questionable doesn’t fare well for Oakland, as it added uncertainty to their practices this week. The Titans have put up an average of 27 points the past three weeks, seemingly having found something after their Week 8 bye. I’ll go with the Titans here, even if I have to give up 1 point.  This game should go OVER the 41.5-point line.

Bryan Lienesch (@bclienesch) – Two mediocre teams leaves something to be desired if you’re planning on watching this one. A couple things have me picking Oakland, though. One, the Raiders are at home and it’s a bit of a haul for the Titans. Two, Terrelle Pryor may or may not play Pigskin Pig, but the Titans are DEFINITELY on to their second quarterback. His cameo on The League aside, Ryan Fitzpatrick is nothing special. In fact, he can be a detriment, at times, to his own team. That’s why I like the Raiders in what is basically a pick ’em.

Indianapolis Colts @ Arizona Cardinals

Pigskin Pig – Even though I like the potential shown by the Arizona Cardinals at times, I can’t buy into them against the mighty Colts. Some weeks Andrew Luck has probelms throwing touchdown passes, but I don’t think this is going to be one of them. I’d take the Colts even without the 3 points they’re getting from odds-makers, and neither teams pass defense is good enough to keep this one from going over the 45-point total line.

Bryan Lienesch (@bclienesch) – Bruce Arians has done a great job so far in Arizona, but I’m not buying them in this one. The funny thing about the line is that I think a field goal WILL decide it. Don’t go to your bookie on this one, but I’m taking the Colts.

Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants

Pigskin Pig – This four-game winning streak the Giants are on doesn’t impress me all that much. They beat the Vikings, who only have two wins total. They beat the division-rival Eagles in a low scoring game. Then after a bye week they picked off the cross-country-traveling Raiders by a mere 4 points and then beat the Packers in New York without Aaron Rodgers. The Cowboys are coming off a bye week where they had to regroup after being crushed by the Saints, and they’re going to have to show people why Jerry Jones is giving his head coach the vote of confidence to return for next year. The Cowboys are much better than the Giants, and although I expect it to be somewhat close, I think Dallas wins it. Obviously I’d take the 2.5 points and the Cowboys, and I’d take the OVER on 45, because I don’t think Dallas’ defense is good enough to keep the Giants under 21.

Bryan Lienesch (@bclienesch) – Who would’ve though just a few weeks ago that these two teams would be seprated by one game. These are two notoriously inconsistent teams which means I don’t pretend to even have the slightest clue how this one will play out. The Giants are at home, though, and they’re the hotter team as of late, so I’ll go with them.


Denver Broncos @ New England Patriots

Pigskin Pig – Wait, are Peyton Manning and Tom Brady playing each other this week? You’d think this would be a story that ESPN would hit us over the head with non-stop starting Tuesday morning… oh that’s right, they have. Denver has looked a bit more human following their bye week, with Peyton shaken up a bit and his knee slightly banged up. The Patriots made a strong comeback last week, looked great when they pounded the Steelers – putting up 55 points in Week 9, and you can bet that they put a ton of thought into how to beat Manning during their Week 10 bye. I’m absolutely going with the Patriots this week, regardless of whether I’m given the 2.5 points. I absolutely think this game will go OVER the 54-point line.

Bryan Lienesch (@bclienesch) – Have you heard of the big game hangover? I think that’s exactly what Denver has on their hands in this one. A week after dismissing Kansas City to even the race in their own division, I just don’t know if the team can’t get that energy back up to face the Patriots and Tom Brady who ALWAYS seems to have Manning’s number. I won’t touch the line in this one, as I think it’s going to be super close, but I do like the Patriots to pull out the ‘W’.