Happy Thanksgiving Mas. We had a bad week in Week 11 as the Miami Dolphins had their worst home outing of the entire season, the Los Angeles Chargers wide receivers forgot how to catch and the Detroit Lions struggled mightily against the lowly Chicago Bears.
In addition, Taylor Swift had to reschedule her concert in Brazil, meaning she was unable to facilitate the merger of two powerful families in Kansas City as planned. Without her presence, the Chiefs predictably lost. Sportsbooks should refund all Chiefs tickets because the NFL world assumed KC’s main weapon would be active for “Monday Night Football.” I’m not kidding, I’m actually angry.
Here’s a look at what I’m thinking this week. As always, thanks to the CBS Sports research team for making me sound smart.
All odds are from Caesars Sportsbook
Top five picks ATS record: 23-29-3
Overall ATS record: 67-91-6
Direct record: 94-70
Thursday, 12:30 PM ET (Fox, fubo)
Featured game | Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers
I’m biting the lions… again. They have only covered the spread once in the past four games, but are 4-0 SU and ATS in their past four games against the Packers. Additionally, Green Bay will be without Aaron Jones and Darnell Savage, while Jaire Alexander, De’Vondre Campbell, AJ Dillon and Dontayvion Wicks are questionable to play.
The Lions are clearly the better team. When these two teams met last month, the Lions won by eight points and held a 24-0 halftime lead. Detroit will rock for Thanksgiving.
The choice: Lions -8
Projected score: Lions 31-20
Thursday, 8:20 PM ET (NBC, fubo)
Featured game | Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers
The report of the 49ers’ death was greatly exaggerated. After blowing out the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brock Purdy and the boys covered against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers despite the big numbers, as the second-year signal caller recorded a perfect passer rating (158.3) in his 15th career regular season start.
The Seahawks, on the other hand, have been struggling a bit lately. After being eliminated by the Baltimore Ravens in Week 9, Seattle struggled against the Washington Commanders and then got a fourth-quarter comeback win over the Los Angeles Rams. Now, in a short week, quarterback Geno Smith is dealing with a bruised right tricep. I imagine he will play, but it is a legitimate question how effective he will be.
Both teams are 5-4-1 ATS this season, but the 49ers are 8-0-1 ATS in their last nine division games and 4-1 ATS in their last five primetime games. I’m taking San Francisco as cover, expecting an attack at worst.
The choice: 49ers-7
Projected score: 49ers 29-21
Sunday, 1:00 PM ET (CBS, Paramount+)
Featured game | Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Steelers fans got Thanksgiving early as offensive coordinator Matt Canada was relieved of his duties. This was a big deal, as it was the first time the Steelers had made an in-season coaching change since 1941. I’m not going to pretend that firing Canada will suddenly turn Pittsburgh into an offensive juggernaut, but I do think it is something that can fuel this unity.
Running backs coach Eddie Faulkner and quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan will replace Canada, and it will be interesting to see what changes are made on Sunday. Will Jaylen Warren become RB1? Will George Pickens receive a target increase?
As for the Bengals, their fan base isn’t all that excited. Of course, star quarterback Joe Burrow is now out all year with a wrist injury, so we get our first look at Jake Browning. The Steelers are 5-0 ATS in their last five division games and 13-4 ATS in their last 17 games. Give me Pittsburgh on the road.
The choice: Steelers -1
Projected score: Steelers 20-17
Sunday, 4:25 PM ET (CBS, Paramount+)
Featured game | Las Vegas Raiders vs. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs bounce back from what was truly a shocking loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. It was shocking for several reasons. Philly looked dead in the water in the first half and trailed by 10 points at halftime. However, the Chiefs again scored zero points in the second half. Their last points in the second half came on October 22! It’s been a month now! Then of course we all saw Marquez Valdes-Scantling drop what could have been the winning touchdown. The last time Mahomes threw a touchdown pass on a throw from more than 30 yards down the field was September 15, 2022, and there is a legitimate question about his wide receiving corps. At the same time, we all know that the Chiefs are still one of the best teams in the NFL and will likely bounce back.
The Raiders impressed in their loss to the Dolphins last Sunday. Antonio Pierce has improved this defense as they kept Miami out of the end zone in the second half. However, Aidan O’Connell and the offense let the defense down big time with zero points in the second half and three turnovers.
Mahomes is 9-1 against the Raiders and has won five straight against his rivals. He is also 5-0 on the road against Vegas and has thrown 16 touchdowns compared to one interception in those matchups. I’m assuming everyone thinks the Chiefs win this game, but the question is the spread. Kansas City has won three of the last four meetings against Vegas by at least 18 points.
The Raiders have new life with coach Pierce, but I’m rooting for a superior Chiefs team that’s out for blood. I’d even pour it on in the second half to send a message.
The choice: Leaders -9
Projected score: Leaders 28-14
Baltimore Ravens (-3.5) at Los Angeles Chargers
Sunday, 8:20 PM ET (NBC, fubo)
Featured game | Los Angeles Chargers vs. Baltimore Ravens
I backed the Chargers against the Packers last week, and it didn’t work out. It feels like everything is falling apart for LA. The defense allowed Jordan Love to have his first-ever 300-yard game, and Justin Herbert’s weapons let him down multiple times.
Brandon Staley may coach his last games for the Chargers. His defense has allowed the most 25+ yard plays since he took over in 2021 with 117. Meanwhile, the Ravens have one of the best defenses in the league, a unit that allows an NFL-best 4.2 yards per play. That’s the lowest since the 2008 Steelers won the Super Bowl. The Ravens have averaged 34.2 points per game over the last five games, so imagine what they can do against this Chargers defense.
The Ravens appear in primetime, as Jackson is 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS in his last five matchups under the lights. In the only game between Lamar and Herbert, the Ravens defeated the Chargers by 28 points.
The choice: Raven -3.5
Projected score: Ravens 35-24
Other choices from week 12
Cowboys (-13.5) 30-14 over Commanders
Dolphins 23-20 over Jets (+9.5)
Patriots 16-13 over Giants (+3.5)
Texans (+1.5) 30-27 over Jaguars
Colts (-2.5) 23-18 over Buccaneers
Falcons (+1) 24-20 over saints
Titans (-3.5) 21-14 over Panthers
Aries (-1) 26-24 over Cardinals
Browns (+1.5) 17-13 over Broncos
Eagles (-3) 27-23 over Bills
Vikings 23-21 over Bears (+3.5)