The hunt for a playoff spot continues across the league as the Wild Card spots remain up for grabs. The Baltimore Ravens have a tenuous grip on the final spot in the AFC at 5-5 SU and are being hounded five other teams. Meanwhile, the NFC picture is just as muddy with nine teams currently in the mix for the final two spots in the post season. The race to January adds some juicy tension to my NFL Week 12 picks as the stakes get more intense with each passing Sunday.

At 4-6, the Denver Broncos aren’t out of the playoffs just yet. Even if the Chargers nail down the first wildcard, the Broncos are only a game behind contenders Miami, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Tennessee for the second wildcard. The Broncos host the Pittsburgh Steelers in one of the top matchups on NFL Week 12 Sunday.

In the other cracker heading your way on Sunday, the Carolina Panthers take on the Seattle Seahawks in a must win. The Panthers are suddenly at 6-4 after starting the season winning 6 of their fist 8. With a loss, Cam Newton’s squad would fall into a tie with the Seahawks, and a half-game behind the Vikings in the wildcard chase.

Time to roll up our sleeves and figure out which teams are worth backing in my NFL Week 12 picks!

Sunday, Nov. 25

Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers -3.5

The Seahawks have rolled to a winning 2-1-1 ATS streak in their last 4. Carolina’s lost their last couple, but the trends say they bounce back. The Panthers are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 at home and 6-1 ATS in their last 7 in Week 12. Carolina can do more on offense and they’ll take advantage of the homefield after two straight on the road. Seattle’s now the top ranked team in the NFL on the ground, averaging 154.3 per, but truthfully feel like they’re running out of steam. There’s a bit of “overachieving” going on here, just like the 2017 Washington Redskins. I like the Panthers to put the Seahawks on the playoff ropes.

NFL Week 12 Picks: Panthers -3.5

Oakland Raiders at Baltimore Ravens -10.5

Oakland’s not great, but Baltimore is not 10.5 points better than them. Not right now with Joe Flacco hurt and rookie Lamar Jackson not doing much more than running the wildcat. Ravens have gone just 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games against teams with losing records, and are an abysmal 2-5 ATS in their last 7 home stands. The easy thing to do is shade Oakland, but there’s no trusting Baltimore right now.

NFL Week 12 Picks: Raiders +10.5

Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals -3

Trends are in Cincinnati’s favor: 9-2 ATS in their last 11 versus the AFC, 5-1 ATS in their last 6 versus the AFC North, and the Browns are 0-7 in the last 7 meetings. But, Cleveland should be well prepared for this after their Week 11 bye. The Browns have talent on offense and the Bengals will field a historically bad defense, one that allows an insane 450 yards per. I’m going Cleveland moneyline. Hue Jackson will not be a factor in this one.

NFL Week 12 Picks: Browns +140 ML  

New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles -6

The Eagles are reeling, having lost 3-of-4 and 2 straight while the Giants are on a roll after notching their second straight win. Eagles own the head-to-head, NYG is 6-14-1 ATS in he last 21 meetings. The Giants are also 4-0 ATS in their last 4 on the road, and are clearly not tanking. The points are there for the taking and I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

NFL Week 12 Picks: Giants +6

San Francisco 49ers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers -3.5

San Francisco is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games versus a team with a losing home record. Their starting quarterback, Nick Mullen, got the benefit of a bye week. Also in the 49ers’ favor is that they battle a team that’s 1-6-1 ATS in their last 8, 0-4-1 ATS versus a team with a losing record, and 2-10-1 ATS in their last 13 after allowing more than 150 yards rushing in their previous. Tampa is starting the turnover prone Jameis Winston, who propels one of the best offenses the league has ever seen in terms of total yards. The issue is that they have a lot of trouble scoring. The 49ers simply feel like a more reliable entity overall.

NFL Week 12 Picks: 49ers +3.5

New England Patriots -9.5 at New York Jets

Coming off a bye, the Patriots should demolish the Jets on Sunday, right? Maybe, not. New England is an awful 2-7-1 ATS in the last 10 meetings and 0-5 ATS in their last five at NYJ. The Jets are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 home games versus a team with a winning road record. I’m all over the Jets at this spread. The threat of a backdoor cover is real, even if the Patriots put this one out of harm’s way early.

NFL Week 12 Picks: Jets +9.5

Jacksonville Jaguars -3 at Buffalo Bills

Neither team has much of an edge based on trends. The Jaguars have a couple of hot trends. Buffalo has only a single hot trend. I prefer to look at styles in this one where the Jaguars’ top rated pass defense does them no good because Buffalo can’t throw the football. The Bills average close to 109 yards on the ground. They also rank 2nd in yards allowed per with only 302.2 on average. I like Buffalo to win, but the points are coming in at a good value. Circle those wagons!

NFL Week 12 Picks: Bills +3

Arizona Cardinals at L.A. Chargers -12

The Chargers should have no trouble covering the large spread. They’re 6-1 ATS in their last 7 in November, 4-1 in their last 5 after an ATS loss, and 5-2 ATS versus a team with a losing record. Arizona averages less than 15 points per. The superior team should dominate. Ignore the performance the Chargers gave us last week. They should snap to attention with a home stand against a bad team and a turnover happy quarterback.

NFL Week 12 Picks: LAC -12  

Pittsburgh Steelers -3 at Denver Broncos

The line against Jacksonville dropped from Pittsburgh -5.5 all the way to Steelers -4 despite the fact that the Steelers head to Colorado having gone 5-0-1 ATS in their last 6. Because the Broncos are 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 at home, the Steelers should easily cover the soft spread. The oddsmakers are overvaluing the Broncos on home turf.

NFL Week 12 Picks: Steelers -3

Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts -9

One of the major stories this season is how Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck has come back as great as he was before taking off all of last season. Luck’s been unreal lately, which is why Indianapolis brings a 4-game winning streak and 3-0-1 ATS blitz into this home battle with Miami. All 5 of Indianapolis’ losses happened before Oct. 15. Right now, they’re one of the better teams in the AFC. The Dolphins won’t slow them down in Week 12, even with a returning Ryan Tannehill. Indy covers.

NFL Week 12 Picks: Colts -9