Scott Shapiro's Week 12 NFL 4-Pack
After a trio of games on Turkey Day, a slate without the Saints, Rams and Chiefs awaits us on Sunday. There are still plenty of meaningful games on tap though.
Here is my Week 12 NFL Sunday 4-Pack:
Minnesota Vikings (-3.5) vs Green Bay Packers
In a game both NFC North teams need desperately, the Packers make the short trip to the Twin Cities to take on the Vikings. Green Bay comes in off of extra rest after losing a tough one to Seattle last Thursday night. The Packers took an early 14-3 lead in CenturyLink Field, in large part due to the play of running back Aaron Jones, but failed to execute late and fell to the Seahawks 27-24.
Minnesota will not have the luxury of extended rest like their opponent after losing to the first place Bears on Sunday night in Solider Field, but they do return home. They did not play very well in Chicago, but I expect them to perform much better in U.S. Bank Stadium in a near must win spot for a team many considered the favorite to win the NFC in 2018.
The Vikings have struggled to run the ball all year and may do so again against Green Bay, but their defense is significantly better at home and their passing game will be tough for the Packers to stop. Green Bay surrendered 12 catches, 131 yards, and a touchdown to Adam Thielen and 9 receptions, 128 yards, and two TD’s to his counterpart Stefon Diggs in the first meeting. The Pack is likely to struggle to cover arguably the league’s best duo of wide receivers once again on Sunday night.
The Packers have lost their first five games away from Lambeau Field this season and the Vikings are 18-7 against the spread in their last 25 contests on turf. Look for the Vikings to win and cover on primetime.
Week 12 NFL Pick- Minnesota Vikings (1 unit)
San Francisco 49ers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (O/U 54)
There was a minor bump in the Buccaneers “OVER train” two weeks back when Tampa Bay failed to execute in the red zone and played against a Redskins team that is strong on defense and banged up big time on offense, but things got back to normal last week. The Bucs found themselves in a familiar spot behind several scores early against the Giants, but made their customary late run before falling short in a 38-35 loss to the G-Men.
The Niners may not have the firepower that most of the Bucs opponents have been equipped with over the last several games, but they have one of the NFL’s sharpest offensive minds in head coach Kyle Shanahan. Combine Shanahan’s play calling with a Bucs defense that makes tons of mistakes and you have a San Francisco offense that should score early and often despite being away from home on Sunday.
On the other side of the ball, Jameis Winston takes over starting duties after a pitiful performance in MetLife Stadium from veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick last week. This Tampa offense has matchups to attack all over the field against a San Francisco defense that has given up over 26 points per game. Winston should be able to take advantage.
Eight of the first ten Tampa Bay games have gone OVER The total. Another one will on Sunday.
Week 12 NFL Pick- OVER (1 unit)
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (O/U 47)
If you follow my work, you know I usually avoid playing OVER the total the second time divisional rivals meet during the regular season, but there are a number of reasons to make an exception in this NFC East tussle.
Firstly, the Eagles are incredibly banged up in the secondary, which will make it tough to defend the electric Odell Beckham, Jr. If the“Birds commit to stopping OBJ, Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley all can make them pay.
The Eagles offense is tough to trust after showing no fight or pride last week on the road against New Orleans, but I expect Carson Wentz to rally the troops against a defense they have had success against recently. They posted 34 points in their initial encounter in 2018 and put up 34 and 27 in 2017. Philadelphia should have plenty of success through the air with the receiving trio of Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffery and newly acquired Golden Tate.
The last five contests between these two have gone OVER the total. They make it six on Sunday.
Week 12 NFL Pick- OVER (1 unit)
Buffalo Bills (+3) vs Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars controlled their must-win game against the Steelers last week into the fourth quarter. They held a 16-point lead, but fell apart late and lost to Pittsburgh 20-16. After getting their heart ripped out, Jacksonville heads north to Buffalo to take on the 3 and 7 Bills.
Buffalo is widely considered one of the worst teams in the NFL, but their defense is a solid group and they finally get first round pick Josh Allen back on Sunday. The rookie signal caller was far from perfect in his starts to begin the season, but his arm strength and ability to make plays with his legs give the Bills a much more dynamic player under center.
The Jaguars have shown a lack of energy at some points this season and I expect that to be the case on Sunday in a game that will be hard for them to get up for. On the other hand, the Bills won two weeks ago in New York and should come off the bye week ready to play.
Hold your nose and take the points.
Week 12 NFL Pick- Buffalo Bills (1 unit)
Scott Shapiro’s NFL Record 30-24-4 (+3 units)