NFL picks Week 12: Packers-Steelers and every other game

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 23: Brett Hundley
PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 23: Brett Hundley /

The Green Bay Packers will lose again on the road at Pittsburgh. Picks for each NFL game over Thanksgiving weekend.

The Packers need a win to keep their fading playoff dreams alive. Unfortunately they run into a red-hot Steelers team on the road.

Which teams will leave Thanksgiving weekend with a win? Here’s my picks for Week 12.

Green Bay (5-5) at Pittsburgh (8-2)

Pittsburgh’s defense is allowing just 16.5 points per game, second-fewest in the NFL behind only the Jaguars. That’s concerning for a Packers team that has been stuck in first gear since Brett Hundley took over at quarterback.

And then just think what the Le’Veon BellAntonio Brown combination might do to Green Bay’s defense.

Pick: Pittsburgh

Minnesota (8-2) at Detroit (6-4) – Thanksgiving

This is a huge game in the race for the NFC North title. The Lions can’t afford to lose. A win for Detroit would pull it within a game of the Vikings, while also giving Jim Caldwell’s team the head-to-head tiebreaker advantage after winning at U.S. Bank Stadium earlier this season.

That said, this Vikings team is on fire, and they will effectively win the division on Thanksgiving Day.

Pick: Minnesota

LA Chargers (4-6) at Dallas (5-5) – Thanksgiving

The Cowboys have fallen apart the past two weeks, but they could have All-Pro Tyron Smith back on Thanksgiving, which would give the entire offense a boost. Even better news is that no team has allowed more rushing yards this season than the Chargers. At home on Turkey Day, Dallas gets back on track.

Pick: Dallas

NY Giants (2-8) at Washington (4-6) – Thanksgiving

The Giants haven’t entirely quit on the season after pulling off the upset over the Chiefs in Week 11, but don’t expect them to back it up with another win on Thursday night.

Pick: Washington

Buffalo (5-5) at Kansas City (6-4)

This is the game for the Chiefs to get back on track. Even if Tyrod Taylor takes back his job as the Bills’ starting quarterback, I’m picking Kansas City at home. No team has allowed more rushing touchdowns than Buffalo (16) this year. This could be a nice bounce-back game for Kareem Hunt.

Pick: Kansas City 

Tennessee (6-4) at Indianapolis (3-7)

If the Titans are to make a final push towards the playoffs, they need to take care of business against teams like the Colts. Tennessee takes advantage of the league’s third-worst ranked defense to win a seventh game on the year.

Pick: Tennessee

Cleveland (0-10) at Cincinnati (4-6)

The Browns have to win at some point, right? Will it happen on Thanksgiving weekend? You know what, I just have a feeling it might finally happen. Yes, here we go. I’m picking the … no I can’t do it. Bengals win.

Pick: Cincinnati

Tampa Bay (4-6) at Atlanta (6-4)

Atlanta needed that win in Seattle badly, and it could spark a late-season run towards the playoffs. They get a struggling Bucs team at home who are No. 31 defending the pass, which is like music to the ears of Matty Ice.

Pick: Atlanta

Miami (4-6) at New England (8-2)

No contest.

Pick: New England

Chicago (3-7) at Philadelphia (9-1)

The Bears have lost a few close games this year, but this one could get out of hand. The 9-1 Eagles are No. 3 in total offense, and MVP candidate Carson Wentz has been instrumental in that. Their roll continues.

Pick: Philadelphia

Carolina (7-3) at NY Jets (4-6)

Carolina is slipping under the radar somewhat. It’s in a competitive division, but the Panthers need to be considered Super Bowl contenders. They take on a Jets team that has allowed the third-most rushing yards to quarterbacks in 2017, according to That’s good news for Cam Newton, who has rushed for 181 yards and a touchdown in his past two games.

Pick: Carolina

Seattle (6-4) at San Francisco (1-9)

The 49ers are allowing just over 133 yards per game on the ground, second-worst in the NFL. Can Seattle’s run game, one that has just scored three rushing touchdowns all season, get it done? I think so.

Pick: Seattle 

More from Lombardi Ave

New Orleans (8-2) at LA Rams (7-3)

Who could’ve guessed three months ago that this game would be one of the picks of the week at Thanksgiving? It could eventually settle who earns a first-round bye in the NFC. Both teams run the ball well: New Orleans is No. 3 in rushing offense, Los Angeles No. 9.

Neither defense is particularly strong against the run, either. The Saints are allowing 115 rushing yards per game, while the Rams are giving up 123, fifth-most in the NFL. As the game is in LA, the Rams get the slight advantage.

Pick: LA Rams

Jacksonville (7-3) at Arizona (4-6)

Jacksonville’s defense has been unstoppable, and believe it or not the Jaguars look destined for the playoffs. A matchup with the free-falling Cardinals helps their case.

Pick: Jacksonville

Denver (3-7) at Oakland (4-6)

The Raiders have been one of the league’s biggest disappointments in 2017. They need this one to have any chance of reaching the playoffs. Oakland wins to save its season.

Pick: Oakland

Houston (4-6) at Baltimore (5-5)

How’s this for a primetime game? Yeah, enough to put even fans of the two teams to sleep. Baltimore’s defense might score the only points in this game. But I’m sure Ravens fans won’t mind when they wake up to a win for their team.

Pick: Baltimore

Next: Top 30 moments in Green Bay Packers history

Last week: 9-5

Season: 99-60