We started spreading the holiday cheer around early here at Best Bets. We needed a bounce back week and we got one, going 3-0 last week and doing so pretty comfortably. And I was all over the Lions on Thursday — though I forgot to Tweet it out before kickoff as I dealt with a mad Planes, Trains and Automobiles type travel day up to NYC for THE NFL TODAY. (The dude at the Avis counter on 43rd street told me I literally got the last rental car available in all of NYC. First time hauling a flat bed 4×4. Drove better than I expected.)
Anywho, let’s see if we can keep the heater going here. I will be honest, I am not in love with the remaining slate of games. Too many matchups of bad teams for my liking. But if you have been paying attention to this space, I have been riding two teams that I believe continue to have value, and I am going to stick them here. On the season we now stand at 16-11. Still not good enough.
Here are the two point spreads I like the most in Week 12:
New York Giants
You know the Eagles are going to run the ball. There still isn’t much you can do about it. I can’t imagine what was going through the heads of the struggling Giants players and coaches as they watched the Eagles-Saints film last week. (I came this close to making the Eagles a best bet as well in Week 11, but didn’t want to press my luck.) Jalen Hurts will give the Giants fits, and they lack the caliber of athletes required to harness what the Eagles are doing in the option game. The Giants are a below average rushing defense and they are having issues slowing anyone down these days. They do come into this game near the very top in the NFL having allowed just two runs of 20 yards or more all season, but I could see that figure doubling by the end of Sunday.
Offensively, the Giants don’t have much of anything going on, and as much as I could never figure out why Jason Garrett was ever allowed to call plays for them, I also don’t see any reasons to expect much to change without him. Daniel Jones seems to be taking the firing pretty personally, there are no shortage of grumbling receivers in NY (for good reason) and Saquon Barkley still has ways to go to get back where he was before his surgery. Oh, and the Eagles defensive line is feasting these days and the Giants offensive line is below grade and Jones isn’t pushing the ball down the field much, so the big-play potential looks limited. The Eagles are playing with renewed confidence and vigor and the Giants are wondering if their head coach is getting fired — again.
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New England Patriots
Do you know who is leading the NFL in interceptions? No, not Trevor Lawrence (though he is close) or Patrick Mahomes (he’s cooled off some) or even Sam Darnold, now that he has been benched. It’s Ryan Tannehill. And do you know who may have the best ballhawking secondary in football right now? Yeah, JC Jackson and the Patriots. The Titans run game has evaporated without Derrick Henry, which was inevitable. Play action is drying up. Tannehill is reverting to his early years and forcing things and trying to do too much, and it’s snowballing in a bad way.
I don’t see much of that changing here, against a defense that gets ample pressure without having to bring numbers. They can drop and deploy the linebackers in all sorts of ways that could present problems, and it’s kind of down to AJ Brown in the passing game. Who is better at eliminating the other team’s best offensive player than The Hoodie? You’re right — no one. Tennessee is too easy to defend these days and the Titans are running into a buzzsaw in Foxboro. I know the Pats lost a bunch of home games early, but that seems like a long time ago, now.
Yes, the Titans defense is legit and rookie Mac Jones against a menacing Titans front gives me some pause. But Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels continue to put him in positions to shine and will do so here. Because the OL is legit and they can run you over with two different running backs and they will tire out Jeffery Simmons and Co. with a steady diet of 2-1 and 2-2 personnel and use the fullback a ton. They can’t eat up your kid QB if he’s handing it off. The Pats can run their way to a victory by a touchdown or more … and I wouldn’t be surprised if they win by double digits, even if it becomes a low-scoring affair given how constricted the Titans attack has become.