NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 12

Here at Bang the Book, we have all of the top matchups of the 2013 NFL betting campaign covered! Today, we’re taking a look at the best matchups for Week 12!

New Orleans Saints (8-2 SU, 6-4 ATS) @ Atlanta Falcons (2-8 SU, 2-8 ATS)
Spread: New Orleans -9.5, Total: 53.5

Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA – Thursday, November 21st, 8:25 ET

Handicapping Match-up Details Pick & Preview

The Saints and the Falcons were supposed to be on comparable terms this year, and in Week 1 when these two played in the Bayou, many scoffed at the fact that New Orleans was favored by more than the value of home field advantage at -3.5. Little did we know that 10 weeks later, the de facto spread between these two teams would grow by two touchdowns. Atlanta has been the most brutal disappointment in the league this year, and it has got to be hoping that this nightmare ends soon. Head Coach Mike Smith, in spite of the fact that he has rallied this team to a pair of NFC Championship Games, is clearly on the hot seat, and winning a game like this would go a long way towards keeping his job. The Saints are rolling though, and they have covered five of the last six and have gone 4-2 SU in the last six in this series.

Pittsburgh Steelers (4-6 SU, 4-6 ATS) @ Cleveland Browns (4-6 SU, 5-5 ATS)
Spread: Cleveland -1, Total: 40

FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, OH – Sunday, November 24th, 1:00 ET

Handicapping Match-up Details Pick & Preview

The Browns and the Steelers are playing in a pivotal game against one another in the AFC North and in the AFC Wild Card chase. That’s tough to imagine in and of itself on multiple fronts. Pittsburgh was dead in the water at 0-4 and has clawed back into the chase, while Cleveland is on its third starting quarterback of the season, has traded away its best player in RB Trent Richardson, and for lack of better terms, it’s Cleveland; no one expected the Browns to challenge for a playoff spot this year, even without all of this adversity. Alas, these two teams are both 2.5-games back of the idle Bengals at the top of the AFC North, but more importantly, they’re both just a game back of the Jets and the Dolphins, who are tied for the last playoff slot at 5-5. There is a mad chase going on for that last spot, and with virtually the whole AFC still available to get it, games like this are pivotal. Pittsburgh has only been beaten once in the last six meetings between these divisional rivals, but it is just 3-3 ATS to show for its work in those games.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8 SU, 4-6 ATS) @ Detroit Lions (6-4 SU, 5-5 ATS)
Spread: Detroit -9, Total: 49

Ford Field, Detroit, MI – Sunday, November 24th, 1:00 ET

Handicapping Match-up Details Pick & Preview

You’ll have to forgive the Lions if they don’t seem all that interested in this game. It’s one that they shouldn’t overlook for sure, but with the massive Thanksgiving Day game coming up against the Packers in just four days, it would be easy to lose focus. Tampa Bay is a stingy team, and with the way that QB Mike Glennon is going, this very well could end up being an upset. The Bucs are no longer the worst team in the league, nor do they look the role. The Lions were beaten last week by the Steelers on the road, and that was a painful game to swallow. It knocked them into a tie with the Bears for the top record in the NFC North, and they are going to want to reassert themselves as the best team in this division in a hurry with the likelihood that QB Aaron Rodgers is going to be back for Thanksgiving. The Buccaneers have just one cover in this series since 2000 when these two teams shared the NFC Central together.

Minnesota Vikings (2-8 SU, 4-6 ATS) @ Green Bay Packers (5-5 SU, 5-5 ATS)
Spread: Green Bay -4.5, Total: 43.5

Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI – Sunday, November 24th, 1:00 ET

Handicapping Match-up Details Pick & Preview

This is the toughest game to handicap of the whole weekend for our money. The Vikings are the worst team in the NFL as we see it, and they are the one team that really needs QB Teddy Bridgewater more than any other. Minnesota is going to want to do what it can to get rid of QB Christian Ponder, who is still starting on account of the team has no other legitimate options to try to throw the ball. However, the Vikes have the better starting quarterback in this one, as QB Scott Tolzien is starting for the injured QB Aaron Rodgers for the Packers. Green Bay really needs a jolt in a hurry, as losing this game could put it in a position where it doesn’t get into the playoffs in a division which it should have won. However, we have to think that Rodgers is thinking about returning on Thursday against the Lions in Motown. These two have already met four times in the last calendar year, and three of the four meetings went SU and ATS to the Pack.

Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9 SU, 2-8 ATS) @ Houston Texans (2-8 SU, 2-8 ATS)
Spread: Houston -10, Total: 43.5

Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX – Sunday, November 24th, 1:00 ET

Handicapping Match-up Details Pick & Preview

Oy. That’s about all we can say about the seasons for the Jaguars and the Texans. We were touting Houston as a team which could have turned it all around this year up until last week. Losing at home to a team which was just 3-6 coming in without its Pro Bowl caliber running back and starting an undrafted rookie free agent who had only made one appearance in an NFL game prior in his life isn’t good. Now, soon-to-be former Head Coach Gary Kubiak really threw a wrench into the works when he benched QB Case Keenum in favor of the soon-to-be cut QB Matt Schaub in the second half of last week’s game. Schaub lost the game at the end, got into a spat with the clearly upset WR Andre Johnson, the cornerstone of the franchise, and the rest is history. Why the oddsmakers think this team can cover double digits against anyone, even lowly Jacksonville is beyond us. The Texans have lost eight games in a row, the longest such streak in franchise history, and last year when they were significantly better, they needed a feverish comeback and overtime to beat the Jaguars here at Reliant Stadium. This one might not be much prettier, and in fact, it might be much, much uglier.

New York Jets (5-5 SU, 6-4 ATS) @ Baltimore Ravens (4-6 SU, 5-5 ATS)
Spread: Baltimore -4, Total: 39

M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD – Sunday, November 24th, 1:00 ET

Handicapping Match-up Details Pick & Preview

Doesn’t this just have the feel of a game the Jets are going to find a way to win even though there really isn’t any justification for it? New York has alternated wins and losses all season long, and if that stays the course, it would win this week’s game. The Ravens though, have different ideas, as they badly need this game to perhaps force a tie atop the race for the last Wild Card slot in the AFC. The defending champs finally had their first really good rushing day of the year last week against the Bears, but that was spoiled with an overtime defeat. These are the types of games that Baltimore has to win if it is going to end up challenging to get into the second season, and we’ll even go so far as to say it is a must-win game. Baltimore is 8-1 ATS in its last nine games in this series, and the last Jets SU victory came back in 1997.

San Diego Chargers (4-6 SU, 5-4-1 ATS) @ Kansas City Chiefs (9-1 SU, 6-4 ATS)
Spread: Kansas City -4.5, Total: 41.5

Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO – Sunday, November 24th, 1:00 ET

Handicapping Match-up Details Pick & Preview

Bust out your pastrami and rye, because this is the biggest sandwich game you’ll ever see. The Chiefs have their two biggest games of the season on opposite sides of this game against the Bolts, both of which happen to come against the Broncos. This is a huge advantage for San Diego, which is probably the best 4-6 team in the bunch this year. The Chargers have lost three straight games, but they really haven’t been out of a lot of games this season, and we know that they have the goods to come on the road and win this one, especially in this scheduling spot. This is the first time we are going to see how the Chiefs react to a loss this year, and as we have seen with others in the past, the reaction isn’t always good, and that first loss sometimes ends up breeding multiple defeats. The Chargers swept this series SU and ATS last season, though obviously, this is a much different Kansas City team we are speaking about in 2013.

Chicago Bears (6-4 SU, 2-7-1 ATS) @ St. Louis Rams (4-6 SU, 4-6 ATS)
Spread: St. Louis -1, Total: 45.5

Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, MO – Sunday, November 24th, 1:00 ET

Handicapping Match-up Details Pick & Preview

There used to be a point when 46 was an awfully high number for an NFL ‘total’, and never would games between a pair of backup quarterbacks feature such a high number. Alas, here we are in St. Louis, where QB Josh McCown and QB Kellen Clemens are both expected to get their teams in the 20s. If there is ever a day where the Bears can hold someone in the teens, something they mysteriously haven’t done all season long, this is the day. The Rams have an offense that can be sometimes shaky, especially now that QB Sam Bradford is out for the rest of the season with an ACL injury. The Bears are still tied atop the NFC North and legitimately could win this division. St. Louis absolutely has to have this game if it wants to even think about challenging for a playoff spot come December. Chicago is 5-1 ATS in the last six in this series.

Carolina Panthers (7-3 SU, 7-3 ATS) @ Miami Dolphins (5-5 SU, 5-5 ATS)
Spread: Carolina -4.5, Total: 41

Sun Life Stadium, Miami, FL – Sunday, November 24th, 1:00 ET

Handicapping Match-up Details Pick & Preview

The Panthers are the team du jour right now in the NFL, as they have logged six straight victories, each seemingly more impressive than the last. There’s a lot of controversy around the way Sunday Night Football ended last week, but we know that Carolina was always the better team and deserved that win regardless of whether that was really pass interference on LB Luke Kuechly or not (it was). Here’s the problem this week. It’s a short week for the Panthers, and they have to travel down to South Beach, where the Dolphins, for all of their flaws, are tied for the last AFC Wild Card spot at the moment. These Fins have proven that they can beat some big boys, and if they can go on the road and beat the Colts, albeit 10 weeks ago, they can sure find a way to win this game, too. Remember that Carolina has never won nor covered a game in this series in team history.

Indianapolis Colts (7-3 SU, 6-4 ATS) @ Arizona Cardinals (6-4 SU, 6-4 ATS)
Spread: Arizona -2.5, Total: 45

University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ – Sunday, November 24th, 4:05 ET

Handicapping Match-up Details Pick & Preview

If there is a coach in the NFL out there that should be able to figure out how to beat QB Andrew Luck, it should be Cards’ Head Coach Bruce Arians. Arians was the offensive coordinator and stand-in head coach for the Colts last season, and he taught Luck everything he knows about being an NFL quarterback. That said, there’s something to be said about raw talent, and Luck’s talent clearly dwarfs that of QB Carson Palmer. Without WR Reggie Wayne, the Colts have been suspect at best offensively, and Luck really doesn’t have the numbers you would expect for him to have at this point in this second year in the league. However, Indy still leads the AFC South, and it really doesn’t have much, if any in the way of challengers, and even finishing 8-8 is surely good enough to top the division. The Cards are another one of these teams in the NFC that have come out of nowhere to be right in the thick of the playoff chase, but they haven’t exactly beaten many good teams of late. They haven’t won a game in this series SU since 1990.

Tennessee Titans (4-6 SU, 5-4-1 ATS) @ Oakland Raiders (4-6 SU, 7-3 ATS)
Spread: Oakland -1, Total: 41.5 Coliseum, Oakland, CA – Sunday, November 24th, 4:05 ET

Handicapping Match-up Details Pick & Preview

Fitzpatrick! McGloin! It’s the NFL on CBS! Okay, for as funny as that sounds, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the fact that these two teams are both just a game back of the last Wild Card slot in the AFC, and if the chalk holds up, the winner of this game is going to be tied for that last slot by the time this one is said and done with. QB Matt McGloin has earned the right to start a second straight game after he threw for three TDs against the Texans last week on the road in his first career start. The undrafted rookie has shown some real grit and moxie, and if he wins this game, we have to think that he becomes the regular starting quarterback, supplanting QB Terrelle Pryor. The Titans only have one win since QB Jake Locker got hurt the first time, and now that he is out for the season, we aren’t so sure how well Fitzpatrick is going to react to the pressure of such a big time game.

Dallas Cowboys (5-5 SU, 7-3 ATS) @ New York Giants (4-6 SU, 4-6 ATS)
Spread: New York -2.5, Total: 44.5

MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ – Sunday, November 24th, 4:25 ET

Handicapping Match-up Details Pick & Preview

The good news for the Giants is that they have won four games in a row to get back within just a game and a half of the lead in the NFC East. The bad news for them is that they really haven’t beaten much of anyone in this stretch. The argument could be made that they still aren’t playing much of anyone, though for our money, Dallas is still the best of the bunch in the NFC (L)East. QB Tony Romo has had a much better year than he is given credit for, and he knows that he has already beaten this team once this season, albeit in a game where he was given a 6-1 turnover edge by his defense. The Giants are actually 6-3 ATS in their last nine games in this series, and they are going to hope to build upon that in a crucial game on Sunday afternoon.

Denver Broncos (9-1 SU, 6-4 ATS) @ New England Patriots (7-3 SU, 5-5 ATS)
Spread: Denver -2.5, Total: 54

Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA – Sunday, November 24th, 8:30 ET

Handicapping Match-up Details Pick & Preview

Both of these teams played in primetime last week, and they’re back at it in the showcase game this week on Sunday Night Football. New England badly needs this one. Losing could possibly put it just a game up in the AFC East with five games to play. Winning would at least keep the possibility open of getting up to the #1 seed in the AFC, and at least would keep it in front of the Cincinnati Bengals and the Indianapolis Colts for the lead for the #2 seed. Denver meanwhile, is in the middle of two games against the Chiefs, whom it slaughtered last week to take control once again of the AFC West. Winning these next two would all but ensure that the road to the Super Bowl has to go through Mile High for the second straight season. New England has won and covered three straight in this series, but the Patriots might be without three of their top cornerbacks in this game, which would be a huge strain against a Denver team that loves to spread the ball all over the field.

San Francisco 49ers (6-4 SU, 6-3-1 ATS) @ Washington Redskins (3-7 SU, 3-7 ATS)
Spread: San Francisco -6, Total: 47

FedEx Field, Landover, MD – Monday, November 25th, 8:40 ET

Handicapping Match-up Details Pick & Preview

Last year with six games to play, the Redskins turned on the jets, won six straight, and stormed to the NFC East title. This year, they are probably going to need to do roughly the same thing if they are going to get into the postseason. It’s still doable at 3-7, but this year’s team just doesn’t feel like it has the goods of last year’s team. Too many turnovers. Not enough support defensively. The 49ers though, don’t exactly look good either. They are just 6-4, and if the playoffs were to start today, they’d be on the wrong side of them. San Fran really has no shot of running down the Seahawks atop the NFC West, and even getting into the playoffs would make the task of returning to the Super Bowl for the second straight season virtually impossible with three road games to play, one of which would have to be in Seattle in all likelihood. The 49ers have covered six of their last seven, but they have lost back to back games SU to NFC South foes as well.

Adam Markowitz

is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.

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