There could be upsets galore as the NFL’s postseason push begins.
A look at the best bets around the league for Week 12:
Pittsburgh Steelers at Seattle Seahawks (-4.5)
Once again the Seahawks are sizable favorites based on reputation rather than what they’ve done on the field this year. This column looks to go 3-0 picking against the Seahawks in CenturyLink Field this year after giving out Carolina (Week 6) and Arizona (Week 10) as SU underdog winners earlier this season. After pummeling the hapless 49ers last Sunday, the Seahawks upped their season record ATS to an ugly 3-6-1. They’ll face a Steelers squad that is 4-1-1 ATS in their last six road contests and has a fully healthy Ben Roethlisberger ready to go off a bye after he demolished the Browns 30-9 despite entering the game in relief at less than 100% on Nov. 15. Pittsburgh’s 5th-ranked run-stoppers should be able to shut down the Seahawks’ potent running game, and that will force Russell Wilson to drop back behind an offensive line that’s allowed him to be hit in the backfield a league-high 76 times this season, including 35 sacks. D’Angelo Williams and the Steelers can run the ball with the best of them, so Seattle won’t be able to cheat up against Roethlisberger’s favorite target; Antonio Brown. The Steelers look like a solid underdog selection.
The pick: Steelers +4.5
New York Giants (-2) at Washington Redskins
The Giants have won five straight against the Redskins (covering the spread each time) and are in a good position to extend that streak to six. “Big Blue” comes into this game fresh off their bye week, which is bad news for Washington as the Giants have won six of their last seven games off a bye. The Redskins have been much better at home than they have on the road this season, but New York is 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven road contests. This game projects to be a shootout and the Giants are better equipped to handle that, as they’ve scored at least 26 points in four straight games. Eli Manning’s offense should be able to outperform Kirk Cousins and company and maintain control in the NFC East.
The pick: Giants -2
Minnesota Vikings at Atlanta Falcons (-2)
The Vikings suffered a discouraging loss to the Packers last Sunday, but no one has been falling faster than the Falcons, who have lost four of their last five games (all as favorites) and are 0-5 ATS in that span. They are installed as small home favorites again but are impossible to trust at this point, especially considering the Vikings have covered as road underdogs five times in a row. Matt Ryan will face heavy resistance from Minnesota’s 6th-ranked pass defense, and he may not have a healthy Davonta Freeman to keep the Vikings honest, as Freeman suffered a concussion on a helmet-to-helmet hit in the second quarter against the Colts last Sunday. The Vikings will try to move the ball on the ground with their 4th-ranked rushing attack, led by Adrian Peterson, but they will face the NFL’s best run stoppers. However, Peterson should be able to grind out enough yardage to at least keep the Falcons’ defense from cheating up, and that will allow Teddy Bridgewater and speedy wideouts Stefon Diggs and Jarius Wright to exploit Atlanta’s 18th-ranked pass defense. Expect the Vikings to scratch out a win in a close, low-scoring tilt.
The pick: Vikings +2
Best of the rest (picks in bold)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Indianapolis Colts (-3)
St. Louis Rams at Cincinnati Bengals (-9)
Miami Dolphins at New York Jets (-3.5)
San Diego Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars (-4)
Oakland Raiders (-2) at Tennessee Titans
New Orleans Saints at Houston Texans (-3)
Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs (-3.5)
Arizona Cardinals (-10.5) at San Francisco 49ers
New England Patriots (-3.5) at Denver Broncos
Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns (-2.5)
Lines are based on a consensus of major sportsbooks and are subject to change.