N.F.L. Picks Week 12: Rams Over Saints, Eagles Over Bears
Packers at Steelers, 8:30 p.m., NBC
Line: Steelers by 14
Last week’s 40-17 laugher against Tennessee is the type of game you would expect from the Steelers (8-2) considering the presence of Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and a top-tier defense. But their ability to do anything they want offensively against the Titans just underscored how odd it is that their offense has been held to 21 or fewer points six times this season. A hallmark of the season has been Pittsburgh struggling in weeks that seemed like comical mismatches. They barely beat Cleveland in Week 1, lost to the Bears in overtime in Week 3, and needed a dramatic second-half comeback to beat Indianapolis in Week 10. There is a chance they have learned their lessons, and will not likely sleep through a game against the injury-riddled Packers (5-5). But from what the Steelers have shown so far this season, making them huge favorites seems like a recipe for a game that is far closer than anyone expects. Pick: Packers
Dolphins at Patriots, 1 p.m., CBS
Line: Patriots by 16.5
Coach Bill Belichick of the Patriots (8-2) took time out of his conference call this week to address the Dolphins’ (4-6) quarterback depth chart of Jay Cutler and Matt Moore.
“The Dolphins have very good depth at quarterback,” Belichick said on a conference call with the Miami media Wednesday. “Both players are outstanding players. They can throw the ball well, they’re smart, they can handle the different looks that Coach Gase gives them to make the defense declare what they’re in and then attack it.”
The Dolphins are averaging 15.7 points a game, the second-worst figure in the N.F.L., and their overall quarterback rating is a 27th-worst 79.6.
Conclusion: Belichick is far more generous than most people give him credit for.
Miami should in no way be expected to truly compete in this game, but they get the pick based on a spread that is simply too high for a game that does not involve some sort of personal vendetta. Pick: Dolphins
Jaguars at Cardinals, 4:25 p.m., CBS
Line: Jaguars by 5.5
Through the first seven games of the season, the Jaguars (7-3) were allowing an average of 138.6 rushing yards a game. It was clearly the team’s weak link, as their pass-rush and secondary were both superb, and their offense, while not always pretty, tended to get the job done. The addition of Marcell Dareus, and some increased emphasis on slowing down opposing running backs, has resulted in Jacksonville allowing a measly 55.3 yards a game on the ground over the last three weeks.