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NFL Week 12 Picks Straight Up – Predicted Upsets and Underdogs Showing Value

Eric Thompson

by Eric Thompson in NFL Football

Updated Nov 27, 2021 · 6:44 AM PST

Jeffery Simmons celebrates, Tennessee Titans
Tennessee Titans defensive end Jeffery Simmons reacts after his third sack during the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
  • Will the Minnesota Vikings come through for us again this week in San Francisco?
  • Can the banged up Tennessee Titans hang with the surging New England Patriots?
  • Last week’s picks went 1-2, losing 1 unit and bringing our season total to +11.09 (14-16 record)

As a non-American, I have no reason to be thankful this week (real Thanksgiving was in October). So let’s start the column off with a list of things I’m not thankful for this season: John Mara and his stupid taunting rule, injury ruining one of the great running back seasons of all-time (also my fantasy team) and of course, Justin Herbert.

The Chargers QB dashed our hopes of pulling out a winning Week 11. Now, we look to rebound on a lighter schedule, courtesy of three Thanksgiving games already being played. From here on out, oddsmakers expect a tightly contested weekend: no remaining Week 12 spread is set at more than a touchdown.

With so many close games projected, where do we start? How about with the only bet we got right last week…

NFL Week 12 Upset Picks

Matchup Spread Moneyline Pick Units
Minnesota Vikings vs San Francisco 49ers SF -3 +150 Vikings 1.75
Tennessee Titans vs New England Patriots NE -7 +265 Titans 1.25

Odds as of November 26th at DraftKings and FanDuel

Vikings Keep Rolling Over Niners

Both the San Francisco 49ers and the Minnesota Vikings have launched themselves back into the NFC Wild Card race with back-to-back wins. Which team will make it three in a row when they clash at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday, where the Niners are favored by a field goal?

We outlined last week why the Vikings are better than their record indicates, and many of those points also apply to the 49ers.

The reason I’m higher on Minnesota here has to do with who’s under center. Though it may sound laughable to some to suggest there’s a difference between Kirk Cousins and Jimmy Garoppolo, the numbers this season suggest Cousins is in far more elite company.

To his credit, Jimmy G has had an impressively efficient stretch of play since Week 8. But he’ll always be more of a product of Shanahan’s offense, which lately has been all about ball control and milking the clock.

Shortening the game is all well and good, but the Vikes can score in the blink of an eye, and should against this 49ers secondary. And when it comes to crunch time, Cousins regularly gets Minnesota in a position to win, while Garoppolo has been credited with just one game-winning drive over the last two seasons.

Also, you can throw out the notion of homefield advantage here: the Niners are 2-9 at home since the start of last season. Take Minnesota to keep ascending in the NFC.

Titans Stay Atop AFC

Your eyes do not deceive you. The AFC-leading Tennessee Titans are 6.5-point underdogs in New England as they take on the resurgent Patriots. This tilt between the 8-3 Titans and the 7-4 Pats has the largest spread of the week’s remaining games.

It’s understandable that bettors are down on the Titans. They lost at home to those dreadful Texans and their offense still hasn’t found a rhythm since losing Derrick Henry in Week 8.

Meanwhile, the Patriots have won five-straight, their defense is dominant and their run game can’t be stopped. Throw in rookie QB Mac Jones making smart decisions with the football, and this is a team that doesn’t appear to have any major flaws heading into the stretch run. In fact, we’re already getting the Tom Brady vs New England Super Bowl pieces.

After all, when has a team everyone bought into this season ever fallen flat?

It’s hard to make an exciting case for the Titans to win, since I’m counting on a fundamentally sound team to avoid the kind of mistakes that cost them last week. But this is a team that rebounds from poor performances: the Titans are 10-4 straight up coming off a loss since 2019.

On the field, Tennessee matches up pretty well with New England. They have a ferocious D of their own that hasn’t allowed an opponent to top 100 yards on the ground since Week 5 and won’t get pushed around by the Pats offensive line.

Mike Vrabel is also 2-0 against his former head coach. He’ll have his depleted team ready to play on Sunday in a spot they’re very comfortable in.

It appears A.J. Brown won’t be going this Sunday. But in a way, that could help this Titans offense. If the Patriots are notorious for taking away your top option and Tennessee has none left, New England has nothing to focus on.

Take Tennessee to win ugly.

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