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Russell Wilson
AP
Odds and Ends

NFL Week 12 underdog picks & predictions

by NBC Sports EDGE Staff
Updated On: November 22, 2019, 11:46 am ET

Russell Wilson has been a live underdog his entire pro career. 

Despite his perceived draft stock, height, early QB competitions, “baby mamma drama” and beef with a rapper, and the lack of a trusted offensive line or elite receivers, Wilson has made one hell of a career for himself in Seattle – and it’s only getting better.

Ever since going with Wilson over Matt Flynn (remember that $20.5 million toilet flush?), the Seahawks have not only been one of the most successful NFL franchises but also one of its best bets: 74-56-5 ATS since 2012 (57 percent). 

And, what’s even more impressive – and oh-so on brand for DangeRuss – is that Seattle is 25-11-2 ATS as an underdog in the eight years with Wilson under center, covering at an NFL-best 69.4 percent when getting the points. That’s where we find Seattle, catching 1.5 points at Philadelphia in Week 12.

I’m not going to go full Stan on Wilson, who’s neck and neck with Lamar Jackson in the MVP odds, but holy hell this guy is playing incredible football. His pinpoint throws and Houdini-inspired scrambles are a treat to watch... unless you’ve got a bet against Seattle. Then he’s the most frustrating player in the league. That’s a frustration that will be plasterd all over the faces of the Eagles Defense this Sunday.

Philadelphia has tried and failed against quality QB competition this season, losing to the likes of Tom Brady, Kirk Cousins, Dak Prescott, Matt Stafford and Matt Ryan (0-5 ATS). Outside of a win over Aaron Rodgers in Week 4 (when Rodgers was finding his footing in a new playbook), the Eagles have taken victories against teams led by the likes of Case Keenum, Luke Falk, Josh Allen, and Mitch Trubisky. 

The Seahawks are not without their faults but have had two weeks to prep for a Philadelphia offense with less teeth than a retired hockey player. While they rumbled to 31 points versus the Bills in Week 8, the Eagles have posted point totals of 20, 10, 22 and 10 since Week 6. They’re outgunned here.

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PICK: Seattle +1.5

 

NEW YORK GIANTS AT CHICAGO BEARS (-6, 40.5)

The Giants rarely win the QB portion of the "Tale of the Tape", but with the quarterback mess in the Windy City, we’re giving the nod to “Danny Dimes”. 

Jones and G-Men are getting six points in Chicago, entering Week 12 off a much-needed bye. New York had a laundry list of ailments with plenty of key players pushing through injuries before that Week 11 break. Now, those legs are mended and ready to roll against one of the toughest defenses in the NFL.

Jones is getting better by the game. He’s thrown for a touchdown in eight straight contests, has completed at least 62 percent of his passes in three straight outings, and during those three games has nine TDs to just one interception. Now, if he could just stop fumbling the damn ball.

New York doesn’t need Jones to do much to gain the edge over the Bears Offense (well, other than hang on to the football), which has failed to crack the 20-point plateau in four straight outings. 

Due to that offensive ineptitude, Chicago’s vaunted defense has been on the field way too much in recent games, playing an average of 33:09 over the last three contests, and is well off the pace in terms of forcing turnovers when compared to last season, with just 14 takeaways (finished with an NFL-best 36 in 2018). The Bears sack total is also down, with 25 total QB kills compared to 50 total last season and the pass rush has registered only six total sacks over its last three games.

Six seems like a lot, especially with New York having two weeks to prep and heal up. 

PICK: N.Y. Giants +6

 

DENVER BRONCOS AT BUFFALO BILLS (-4, 38)

The Broncos may have crapped out in the second half versus the Vikings last week, but at least they held on to cover the free 10.5 points being handed out by oddsmakers. I should frickin’ hope so, after holding a 20-0 lead. 

Denver is a red-hot 5-1 ATS in its last six games and is once again is catching the points as 4-point pups in Orchard Park this Sunday. The Bills, on the other hand, are 2-2-1 ATS in their previous five outings, with those paydays coming against full-on tank teams Miami and Washington.

Brandon Allen - one of two QBs named Allen in this matchup - has looked great in place of Joe Flacco (not that hard, by comparison) and has shown a confidence in making some big throws at big times. The Broncos ground game has supported him well in those two starts and faces a Bills Defense that doesn’t quite look right.

Buffalo is 14th in the NFL in defensive DVOA at FootballOutsiders and 27th in rushing defense DVOA. The Bills may have stymied the Dolphins' empty-cupboard backfield to only 23 yards last week, but allowed totals of 218, 127, and 147 yards on the ground in the previous three games. 

Denver tends to keep things close, with six of its 10 games decided by a touchdown or less, and three of those decided by two points. I like the Broncos on the other side of a field goal in Week 12.

PICK: Denver +4

Week 11: 1-2 ATS
Season to date: 19-14 ATS