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NFL Picks, Week 12: Vikings-Falcons, Patriots-Eagles, Giants-Saints And More

With three games already out of the way, the NFL's week 12 slate appears a little sparse. The opportunity for financial gain is as strong as ever, though, especially with names like Matt Leinart, Toby Gerhart and Vince Young heavily in the mix. The lines are here!

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The picks:

Minnesota @ Atlanta (-9 1/2). When the Falcons 2011 schedule was announced last spring, this game was highlighted for one reason: my first opportunity to see Adrian Peterson play in person. Well, thanks to his high ankle sprain last week, Toby Gerhart will instead run the ball for Minnesota. That, combined with QB Christian Ponder's erratic play of late, should assist the Falcons with a pretty easy victory. PICK: Atlanta

Cleveland @ Cincinnati (-7). Interesting only as a battle of former UGA receivers: Mohamed Massaquoi vs. AJ Green. (In other words, not very interesting at all.) PICK: Cleveland

Carolina (-2 1/2) @ Indianapolis. Who will break first - Carolina's all-time crappy defense or Indianapolis's all-time crappy offense? Considering the Panthers operate fairly soundly on the other side of the ball, I have to think they'll emerge victorious here. But if you have kids wanting to pick up the game some day, keep them away from this one. No lessons to be learned in Indy today. PICK: Carolina

Houston (-6) @ Jacksonville. And the Matt Leinart era begins in Houston. The Texans are actually getting some respect from Vegas, likely thanks to Arian Foster and the return of Andre Johnson. But will Leinart's limited machinations (job description: Hand Off Machine) allow the Texans to cover? Eh, probably. PICK: Houston

Buffalo @ NY Jets (-9 1/2). The Bills were 4-1 to start, 1-4 since - and a glance at their schedule suggests they might not win another one. That said, laying this many points at Mark Sanchez's feet is pure madness. He could be playing the University of Buffalo and I still wouldn't feel comfortable with that. PICK: Buffalo

Arizona @ St. Louis (-2 1/2). Watching this game is like opening the Ark of the Covenant. I promise your face will melt off. And not in a good way. PICK: St. Louis

Tampa Bay @ Tennessee (-3). Couldn't either of these teams reel off a 6-0 to end the season without it being too shocking? Couldn't either of these teams reel of an 0-6 to end the season without it being too shocking? PICK: Tennessee

Chicago @ Oakland (-3). Houston will be able to survive without Matt Schaub, and Chicago thinks it can do the same without Jay Cutler. Newsflash to Bears Fan #1, though: Cutler meant so much more to his team than Schaub did to his. The Bears' running game, the wide outs - that offense hinged on Cutler's underrated precision, and it will be sorely missed. Even the defense will look off today. PICK: Oakland

Washington @ Seattle (-3). Do 20 push-ups for even reading this sentence. PICK: Seattle

New England (-3) @ Philadelphia. Michael Vick will miss his second straight game for the Eagles, which has provided us with the NFL's funniest Tebow-less sideshow: Philly fans attempting to convince themselves Vince Young is good. The comedy gift that keeps on giving. PICK: New England

Denver @ San Diego (-5 1/2). Denver's 2011 season should win an Emmy for Best Comedy Series, and I don't even mean that as a slight. Watching Tim Tebow dash through the Jets defense on his way to the winning touchdown was hilarious - especially coming against this vaunted D that knew exactly what was coming. My U. of Georgia diploma aside, I'm ready to hop on this Tebow bandwagon as long as he keeps frustrating the "experts" and making Rex Ryan's head explode. PICK: Denver

Pittsburgh (-10) @ Kansas City. One reason I'm picking the Chiefs: this line has violently swung toward the Steelers this week, meaning everybody is taking Mr. Roethlisberger and Co. When everybody bets one way, practice your healthy gambling discipline and sprint the other. PICK: Kansas City

NY Giants @ New Orleans (-8 1/2). This seems to be an overreaction to recent Giants losses which, let's remember, came against the not-so-bad 49ers and Eagles. Pump the brakes a little bit. And how's this for a little prognostication: not only do the Giants cover, they win. (Shhhh.) PICK: NY Giants

For the rest of the season, the Thursday game pick will be posted that day to Twitter: follow @joshmassey1

Last week: 7-6-1
Thursday's games:
Yearly total: 89-70-4

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.