NFL Week 12 Picks


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. It’s a time to celebrate family, food, football, and fake stories about awkward conversations during dinner. What a wonderful time! I like Thanksgiving, but it’s not my number one (I know for a fact I’ve gone into this before, but it’s Christmas. Obvi). Give me the meal, but I’ll skip the explanations to countless family members of how I’m still kind of a loser. But that’s not what this is about. This is about football. For the first time this season, you’ll get some Thursday picks, so be thankful for that. Hmmm. Thankful. That sounds like a decent gimmick. I think I’ll go through every game and say what they make me thankful for. No one’s done that, right?

Chicago Bears (-3.5) at Detroit Lions

I’m thankful for the Lions’ early Thanksgiving game, which has eased me into countless Thanksgivings by giving everyone something to talk about. I’m thankful for my uncle from Australia (yeah, I’m pretty worldly, NBD) who, without fail, would watch the majority of every game with me once he got a taste for it. I’m thankful for Matt Stafford because it’s nice to have guys with huge stats that don’t actually win anything. I’m thankful for Khalil Mack because it’s fun to watch future Hall of Famers in their primes. I’m thankful for Mitchell Trubisky not playing, because it makes this a lot easier.

Pick: Lions

Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys (-7.5)

I’m thankful that, eventually, this game will end.

Pick: Redskins

Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (-13)

I’m thankful for the invention of the forward pass, which will be on full display during this game. I’m thankful for Drew Brees, who was indirectly related to one of my crowning achievements (eating 13 cupcakes during the 2009 Super Bowl). I’m thankful for Matt Ryan for being a major character in the greatest night of my life (when the Falcons lost the Super Bowl despite being up 28-3. Don’t know if I’ve mentioned it). I’m thankful I don’t really have to do any research, because my gut tells me there’s no way a division game in the Thanksgiving prime time spot ends in a blowout. That only happens when the Jets are involved.

Pick: Falcons

Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers (-3)

I’m thankful for all the random receivers the Seahawks have who seem to decide before every game who’s going to have a 50 yard play. I’m thankful for Cam Newton because he makes me question how I share 99% of my DNA with someone like him. I’m thankful for Russell Wilson because he’s one of the most fun QBs to watch of all time and one of the weirdest people in world history. I’m thankful that this game exists to appease all the sticks in the mud who complained about too much offense on Monday night.

Pick: Panthers

New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (-6)

I’m thankful for the future where society crumbles under the apocalyptic heat of the collapsing sun and the NFL is left behind, because that means there won’t be any more NFC East games.

Pick: Giants

New England Patriots (-9.5) at New York Jets

I’m thankful for Tom Brady (obviously) for being the driving force behind the, like, five happiest moments of my life (yes, I’m a loser). I’m thankful for this exact matchup for giving us the Butt Fumble massacre on Thanksgiving night six years ago. I’m thankful that the Jets have provided so much comedy over the years and are the perfect slump-busters. I’m thankful for whichever QB starts for the Jets because they’re going to be very bad.

Pick: Patriots

San Francisco 49ers at Tampa Bay Bucs (-3)

I’m thankful for every quarterback involved with this game. The definition of electric. That’s it, though. Not much else to look forward to.

Pick: Niners

Oakland Raiders at Baltimore Ravens (-11)

I’m thankful for season 3 of Ballers, because the storyline that Spencer Strasmore was spearheading the Raiders move to Las Vegas is still the most preposterous thing I’ve ever seen. I’m thankful for Lamar Jackson because he’s really fun to watch, even if he’s on my least favorite team. I’m thankful for crab and crabcakes, some of America’s most underrated cuisine. I’m thankful for the Mark Davis-Jon Gruden-Reggie McKenzie triumvirate, because it gives me hope that, no matter how bad I am at a given task, there’s always the chance that someone out there will pay me handsomely to do it.

Pick: Ravens

Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals (-3)

I’m thankful my family is from New England and not Ohio. I’m thankful for the 2007 version of this game where Derek Anderson and Braylon Edwards looked like the future of the league. I’m thankful for the Browns’ jerseys and brown jerseys, in general, because it separates the sartorial men from the boys. I’m thankful Andy Dalton went to a team with orange helmets. I’m thankful for those same Bengals helmets for being one of the best in the league since the moment they were introduced in 1981. I’m thankful that both these franchises have selflessly decided to be perennial losers so other teams don’t have to be. I’m thankful for Baker Mayfield and every promising young QB cursed by where they were drafted.

Pick: Browns

Jacksonville Jaguars (-3) at Buffalo Bills

I’m thankful football games are only 60 minutes long.

Pick: Bills

Arizona C*******s at Los Angeles Chargers (-12)

I’m thankful for turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, bread, apple pie, pumpkin pie (even though I’m a bit of a h8tr), and everything else that you, yes you reading this now, like eating on Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for those of us who don’t follow society’s pressure to trash food online because it makes us feel cool and liked. I’m thankful for cranberry sauce even though I don’t really like it, because I know plenty of people do and that’s reason enough for it to be on the table. I’m thankful for leftovers. Mostly leftover turkey, but most Thanksgiving leftovers fall under the umbrella. I’m thankful for that America is the land of the free and I will never face persecution or prosecution for eating way too many appetizers and snacks before the actual meal. I’m thankful that I’ve never been (and hopefully never will be) the drunkest person at a Thanksgiving dinner. I’m thankful that one day, the C*******s will be watchable again.

Pick: Chargers

Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) at Denver Broncos

I’m thankful that the Steelers refuse to beat the Patriots in the playoffs. I’m thankful that the Broncos won’t make the playoffs so the Pats can’t lose to them.

Pick: Steelers

Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts (-8)

I’m thankful that the Dolphins have been the Pats’ chief competition in the AFC East. I’m thankful that they win the offseason Super Bowl every year and still never win more than nine games. I’m thankful that the Colts are still the ultimate “you can just bludgeon them in the playoffs” team after all these years. I’m thankful for Parks and Rec, because it gave us some of the greatest athlete cameos in TV history. I’m thankful that the Dolphins quit a couple months ago.

Pick: Colts

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings (-3)

I’m thankful for Al Michaels, who’s still one of the best in the business. I’m thankful for Kirk Cousins because he gives the worst pre-game speeches of all time. I’m thankful for Aaron Rodgers because he’s really good. I’m thankful one of these teams will be effectively eliminated after this, because I’m sick of the “will they, won’t they” dance both of them are doing.

Pick: Vikings

Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans (-6.5)

I’m thankful that I’m going to see Creed II in one of the new Dolby Theaters on Monday night, because it means I don’t have to watch this.

Pick: Texans

What I’m Thankful For


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. There’s a certain hierarchy to holidays here in America, and Thanksgiving is at the top of the pyramid. If Thanksgiving isn’t in your personal top 3 holidays, you should have your citizenship revoked. Now, I’m more of a Christmas guy, myself (being born in January in Vermont during a snowstorm, winter is in my blood), but I’m a vocal defender of Autumn and respect everything Thanksgiving represents: the food, the historical ties to the founding of America, the food, explaining to my family that I’m still single and stuck at a dead-end job, the food, the football, and, of course, the food. Thanksgiving is a time to sit back and reflect on life and be grateful for what you have, so I figured I’d give all of you a seat at the Brian’s Den Thanksgiving table and share what I’m thankful for this year.

  • I’m thankful for turkey. Somehow the most overlooked part of Thanksgiving dinner. The meal doesn’t work without turkey, so put some respeck on its name.
  • I’m thankful I’ve never been present, and never will be present, at a Thanksgiving dinner that serves ham as the main course.
  • I’m thankful for stuffing, the most time-sensitive food ever invented. Would you even know what stuffing was if someone put it in front of you in July? I’m not sure I’d recognize it as actual food. My brain just isn’t conditioned to think about stuffing for 10 months out of the year. Also, stuffing is for Thanksgiving. I know people eat it on Christmas, but don’t.
  • I’m thankful for pie. Don’t think that needs much explanation.
  • I’m thankful for power rankings. For example, my top five Thanksgiving foods is 1. turkey 2. mashed potatoes 3. apple pie 4. stuffing 5. everything else
  • I’m thankful for the NFL, which is probably the worst thing currently in my life. As a spoiled Patriots fan, I literally only get anything resembling joy one day a year, and even then it’s more of a perverse satisfaction at how unhappy everyone else is. Every accomplishment by other teams is just trivial nonsense that I can easily mock because I already know how the season is going to end. I can’t imagine being a fan of another team and getting excited or emotionally invested in anything that happens during the regular season because not even I’m that self-loathing. Most NFL games aren’t even fun to watch because everyone besides the Pats is arguably the worst pro football team ever put together. Still, I would give my life for Tom Brady and would die before I willingly miss a second of NFL action. Thank you for providing a needed distraction and a way to fill my “conversations with family members” quota for the day (while we’re at it, my picks this week: MIN -3, LAC -2, WAS -7.5, KC -10, NE -17, PHI -14, TEN -3.5, NYJ +5, ATL -10 (I know I said I’d never pick the Falcons when they’re favorites again but the Bucs are just terrible), CIN -8, SF +7.5, NO +2.5, DEN +5, JAC -5, PIT -14, HOU +7).
  • I’m thankful for Squanto, whose foolish decision to become liaison to the white man and teach us Thanksgiving allowed us to easily take all of their land. Good looks.
  • I’m still very thankful for John Wick 2.
  • I’m thankful that there’s less than a month until The Last Jedi.
  • I’m thankful for this Donald Trump-LaVar Ball feud, until I get sick of it in like a week.
  • I’m thankful for the NBA, or rather, what’s left of it after the Celtics laid waste to everyone who opposed them.
  • I’m thankful for board games, the GOAT after dinner activity.
  • I’m thankful when other people do the dishes.
  • I’m thankful for Thanksgiving decorations. I’m a big leaves guy.
  • I’m thankful that it’s almost December so I can listen to Christmas music without catching shade for jumping the gun.
  • I’m thankful that they keep making Pokemon games.
  • I’m thankful that Santa’s going to get me a Nintendo Switch.
  • I’m thankful for Taco Bell and Chick-fil-a.
  • I’m thankful all the damage the salt they put on the icy roads is about to do to my car.
  • I’m thankful for local TV commercials.
  • I’m thankful for beer, which becomes socially acceptable to drink all day on Thanksgiving.
  • I’m thankful for calories, which I will eat an ungodly amount of for the next month.
  • I’m thankful for Bed, Bath, & Beyond. Just a good store.
  • I’m also thankful for Bath & Body Works.
  • I’m thankful for the Chinese film Dragon Blade, which may be the worst movie I’ve ever seen in my life.
  • I’m thankful for YouTube and most things on it.
  • I’m thankful silk is back (if it ever left).
  • I’m thankful I have a full head of hair. Thoughts and prayers to everyone that doesn’t.
  • I’m thankful for flannel, great for winter and looks twice as good when you pair it with other patterned clothes.
  • I’m thankful for the times the Patriots play in primetime so I can watch Red Zone all day on Sunday.
  • I’m thankful that, since I don’t live with my parents anymore, I never have to go to the doctor or dentist ever again.
  • I’m thankful for grocery store soundtracks.
  • I’m thankful for animals. Even bugs.
  • I’m thankful that I don’t have any elite skills that I can use to achieve fame and riches, because then there would be too much pressure to perform.
  • I’m very thankful for Gal Gadot, but wish her character hadn’t been (spoiler alert) killed in Fast & Furious 6.
  • I’m thankful I live in America, one of about 20 countries suitable for human life.
  • I’m thankful for The Witcher 3 and Persona 5, two games which I think about almost daily.
  • I’m thankful that it’s Christmas season on TV, because Thanksgiving specials are almost all bad.
  • I’m thankful for Dunkin’ Donuts’ holiday flavored donuts, which are under-the-radar but excellent.
  • I’m thankful it’s time to transition from the admittedly appealing golden, earthy Autumn hues into the sharp Winter color palette, which suits my fair complexion much better.
  • I’m thankful for people who say hello first, because god knows I never will.
  • I’m thankful for the few remaining days of Net Neutrality we have left.
  • I’m thankful for filling up on appetizers, having less of an appetite for dinner, acting like I’m on a diet, then housing leftovers after everyone has gone to bed.
  • I’m thankful for my friends and family, who don’t get upset when I give a powerful take.
  • Lastly, I’m thankful for you, my dozen(s?) of loyal readers. Sometimes, you make it all worth it.


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