NFL Week 12 2023: Shortened schedule leaves few options

With Thanksgiving weekend behind us, the NFL’s Week 12 schedule is a little shortened. This doesn’t leave players with many betting options, something you always want when watching a series of games. Injuries also start to take their toll and affect the betting lines.

Quick…with Bengals QB Joe Burrow out for the season with a torn wrist tendon, who is his replacement? If you knew it was Jake Browning, you’re either a big fan of the Queen City Kitties or you must be a Browning family member. The same goes for the Minnesota Vikings, where Joshua Dobbs had some great performances after QB Kirk Cousins’ season ended, although they did come back down to earth last week against the Broncos.

At this point in the season, every team in the NFL has minor, if not season-ending, injuries. How these teams deal with adversity is part of what makes the season so fascinating. It is also what makes betting on the games an adventure in its own right.

There are a dozen games left in NFL Week Twelve (there were three games on Thanksgiving – and if anyone says the Packers beat the Lions, they’re a liar). We’ll try to give you the same great insight as we make some picks for the NFL Week Eleven schedule. As always, all advice is for entertainment purposes only, but make sure each selection has been carefully considered (Home Team in CAPITAL LETTERS).

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (-2.5)

Would you believe me if I told you this game has playoff implications? Yes, with the fourteen-team playoff schedule, both the Bucs and Colts are still in contention to win The respective places in the playoffs come in January. While the realists among us probably won’t choose either team to make the post-season tournament, there is still something for these teams to play for.

It’s hard to pick this game. The Bucs have a series of mediocrities typical of their season – 2-3 home, 2-3 away – but they are relatively healthy as they make the trip to the Indy dome. Surprisingly, the Colts were miserable at home – 1-4 overall, 4-1 away – and QB Gardner Minshew was a big part of that home record (responsible for two of the four losses). The Bucs’ defense should have a second celebration after the Thanksgiving holiday this week and pick up a win on the road to keep their playoff hopes alive.

CHOOSE: Buccaneers +2.5

Jacksonville Jaguars (-1.5) v. HOUSTON TEXANS

Once again we have another game that has HUGE playoff implications. At the top of the AFC South are the Jaguars, who have been perfect on the road and are 4-1 in their last five games. Surprisingly, the Texans rose to challenge the Jags for first, losing just once at home while going 4-1 themselves and watching QB CJ Stroud become a star before their eyes.

The tipping point for my pick in this game is the simple fact that the Jaguars appear to be taking advantage of their opponent’s abilities. In games that are supposed to be easy, they make it difficult. On paper, this should be an easy win for the Jacksonville team, but don’t be surprised if the Texans win this one outright and take first place in the AFC South.

CHOOSE: Texans +1.5 (And a Texans ML bet is not out of the question here)

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. CINCINNATI BENGALS (A/U 35.5)

With Cincy’s support and the Steelers’ poor offensive performance (so much so that the team fired offensive coordinator Matt Canada earlier this week), this game was supposed to be a defensive battle from the start. Both teams pride themselves on their defensive prowess, so don’t think the teams will thunder up and down the field. Take the BELOW here and avoid watching if you can.


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