NFL

NFL Week 12 picks, Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalists revealed, plus recapping every Thanksgiving game

Welcome to the Friday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!

It’s actually a miracle there’s even a newsletter today and that’s because my fingers have been cramping up all morning, which probably has something to do with the 11 pounds of turkey and 19 slices of pumpkin pie I ate on Thanksgiving. 

Besides eating yesterday, I also spent nine straight hours watching football, which was actually pretty difficult and that’s because I wanted to spend seven of those hours taking a nap. However, I’m glad I didn’t take a nap, because there were some pretty wild games yesterday and we’ll be covering them all in today’s newsletter, so let’s get to the rundown. 

Remember, your job this weekend is to get as many people you know to sign up for the newsletter. To get your friends to sign up, all you have to do is click here and then share this link with them. Signing someone up makes a great holiday gift and that’s mainly because it’s free. 

1. Today’s show: Recapping all three Thanksgiving games


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After spending Thanksgiving Day with my family, I moved on and spent Thanksgiving night with my podcasting family aka Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson. The three of us stayed up extra late last night so that we could recap all three games that were played on Thursday. 

Here are a few key aspects of each game that we touched on: 

  • Bears win dramatically over Lions. With Matt Nagy on the hot seat, the Bears slightly cooled things down for him with their wild win over the Lions. On paper, this was the worst Thanksgiving game of the day and the one where a nap would have made a sense, but if you took a nap, you missed a surprisingly entertaining game. Andy Dalton threw for 317 yards and that includes going 4 of 6 for 39 yards on the Bears’ final possession, which ended with Cairo Santos hitting a 28-yard field goal as time expired to win the game. During the final drive, the Lions went full Lions when coach Dan Campbell pulled the old “double timeout” move which is totally illegal, because In the NFL, you’re not allowed to call two timeouts in a row, but Campbell did it anyway. You can read his explanation for the gaffe by clicking here
  • Raiders win wild one over Cowboys. We should probably refer to the losing team in this game as the “Allas Cowboys” because they had absolutely no “D” on Thursday. Four days after holding the Chiefs to just 19 points, the Cowboys had no answers for a Raiders offense that piled up 36 points and more than 500 yards. The Raiders’ offensive strategy was “just throw the ball up and hope something good happens” and it actually worked in this game. Not only did Derek Carr connect on several deep balls, but the Raiders also got several huge plays off of pass interference calls on the Cowboys. We’ll be covering this game in more detail further down the page, so I’m going to stop talking about it now. 
  • Bills blow out Saints. This was the Thanksgiving nightcap and if you had way too much food and alcohol in you to pay close attention to this game, I have some good news: You didn’t miss much. The Bills jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead and it was basically over after that. With Trevor Siemian at quarterback, the Saints simply couldn’t move the ball on Buffalo’s defense. The Saints finished with just 190 yards of offense, marking the second time this year they’ve finished with under 200 yards. To put that in perspective, they only finished with under 200 yards twice during Drew Brees’ ENTIRE time with the team (2006-2020). As for Buffalo’s offense, the Bills weren’t flashy, but Josh Allen did do more than enough (260 yards, four TD passes) to lead his team to the blowout win. 

To listen to or watch today’s episode on YouTube, be sure to click here. (Seriously, you can WATCH the podcast.) You can also check out our takeaways from each game by clicking here for Bears-Lions, here for Cowboys-Raiders and here for Bills-Saints

2. Today’s show Part II: Best bets for Week 12

The best part about Friday — besides the fact it’s Friday — is that you get two episodes of the podcast in your feed. After the recap of the Thanksgiving games, Brinson politely asked me and Ryan Wilson to leave so that he could bring on R.J. White for a discussion about their best bets for Week 12. 

To be honest, Brinson didn’t even have to ask me to leave. I ditched him as soon as the Thanksgiving podcast was over so that I could eat more pumpkin pie. Speaking of Thanksgiving, the picks podcast usually also includes Pete Prisco, but he decided to take the week off due to the holiday, which was the least surprisingly news of the week. 

Anyway, Brinson and White spent nearly 60 minutes going over the best bets for every single game, and we’re going to cover three of their picks below (Even though he didn’t show up for the podcast, Prisco decided to email some picks in). 

Pete Prisco (2-1 last week in picks featured here)

Will Brinson (1-2 last week in picks featured here)

R.J. White (2-1 last week in picks featured here)

The guys also have a parlay they like that pays out +595.  

  • Falcons (-2) to cover against the Jaguars
  • Rams (-1) to cover against the Packers
  • Panthers (-1.5) to cover against the Dolphins

If it hits, that parlay would win $595 on a $100 bet.  

To hear what the rest of the best bets are for Week 12 — and there are quite a few — be sure to click here so you can listen to the entire episode of the podcast. You can also watch the trio give out their picks on YouTube by clicking here

3. Deeper dive on the Raiders’ upset win over the Cowboys


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The craziest game of Thanksgiving Day was definitely the one that happened in Dallas and since things got so wild during the Raiders’ overtime win, we thought we would take a more detailed look at the game here.

Here are a few notable things that happened during the Cowboys’ 36-33 loss: 

  • Derek Carr goes off. After struggling for three straight games, Carr finally got his groove back in Dallas. During the Raiders’ three-game losing streak, Vegas averaged just 14.3 points per game and a big reason for that was because of Carr’s struggles. However, those struggles appear to be over after he exploded for 373 passing yards and a touchdown against Dallas. He also had a 22-yard run on a third-and-11 that was one of the biggest plays of the day for the Raiders. Carr was especially good when targeting Hunter Renfrow, going 8 of 9 for 134 yards.
  • Desean Jackson makes immediate impact for Raiders. Jackson’s career with the Raiders got off to an ugly start two weeks ago when he lost a fumble against the Chiefs on his first touch. However, he more than made up for that against the Cowboys. The speedy receiver caught three passes for 102 yards, including a 56-yard TD on the Raiders’ third offensive play from scrimmage. Jackson also drew two pass interference penalties. One penalty went for 30 yards on a drive that ended with a Josh Jacobs TD. The other penalty gave the Raiders 17 yards and ended with a field goal. Without Jackson, the Raiders probably don’t win this game. 
  • Damn, Daniel. One of the Raiders’ MVPs in the game was Daniel Carlson. The kicker, who was dealing with food poisoning as recently as Monday, rebounded to score 18 of the Raiders’ 36 points. Those point came on five field goals and three extra points. Not only did Carlson hit a 56-yard field goal to put the Raiders up 33-30 with under two minutes left to play, but he also hit a game-winner from 29 yards in overtime. Carlson was the first Raiders kicker to hit five field goals in a game since 2012 when Sebastian Janikowski pulled off the same feat. 
  • Dak Prescott has big day, but that wasn’t necessarily a good thing for the Cowboys. Although Prescott had a huge day (375 yards, two touchdowns), that’s not necessarily a good thing for the Cowboys and that’s because they were going up against one of the NFL’s worst run defenses. Going into Thursday’s game, the Raiders were surrendering 132.1 rush yards per game, which was the fourth-most in the NFL. The Cowboys should have been able to run on them, but they couldn’t get anything going. Their offense sputtered in the first half and a big reason for that is because their ground game was nonexistent. The Cowboys totaled just 64 rushing yards on 20 carries.  
  • Tony Pollard comes through with huge play. Although Pollard didn’t put up any eye-popping numbers on the ground, he did have a 100-yard kickoff return for a TD in the third quarter that was huge, because it came right after the Raiders had scored a TD to take a 24-13 lead. Pollard’s return was the longest kickoff return TD for the Cowboys since 2002 (Ryan Swinton) and the team’s first kickoff return for a TD on Thanksgiving since 1971. It was also the third longest TD play in Thanksgiving history. 
  • Refs were a little too penalty happy. I didn’t keep track of who got the face time on TV during this game, but I’m 85% sure it might have been head referee Shawn Hochuli. If it seemed like he was showing up on your television screen every five seconds, you’re not crazy. The refs ruined the flow of the game by throwing way too many penalty flags. Both teams were penalized 14 times, marking the first time in 18 years that two teams were penalized at least 14 times in a game. Also, the Cowboys finished with 166 penalty yards, which was the most in franchise history. Most of that penalty yardage came courtesy of cornerback Anthony Brown, who got flagged four times for pass interference. The Cowboys were penalized for 110 yards on JUST THIRD DOWN, which was the most of any team since 1991, according to NFL.com. The two teams were penalized for a combined 276 yards, marking just the third time since 2005 that there was more than 275 penalty yards in a game. 
  • Street fight or football game? It’s probably a good thing these teams only play once every four years, because they don’t seem to like each other very much. There were two fights in this game. The first one happened at the beginning of the second half when Cowboys corner Kelvin Joseph and Raiders safety Roderic Teamer got into it on the sideline following a punt, which then resulted in a mob of players getting into a scrum. There was also another scuffle after the game when Raiders offensive lineman John Simpson and Cowboys defensive tackle Trysten Hill got into an altercation. You can see video of that altercation by clicking here
  • Rare Thanksgiving overtime. The best part of this game is that it included some free football when it went to overtime, which is something that almost never happens on Thanksgiving. Before Thursday, the last Turkey Day game to go to overtime came in 2012 when the Texans beat the Lions. The last time the Cowboys went to OT on Thanksgiving came all the way back in 2005 in a game they lost to the Broncos
  • Darren Waller goes down with injury. Although the Raiders won the game, it wasn’t all good news for them and that’s because Darren Waller could miss some time. Their star tight end went down with a knee injury in the second quarter and didn’t return to the game. According to NFL.com, Waller will undergo an MRI today and the Raiders will be hoping that it’s nothing serious. The good news for the Raiders is that Waller’s knee will have nine days to heal before their next game. 

The Cowboys’ loss to the Raiders continued a crazy Thanksgiving trend of home teams getting beat. This year marked the third straight season that every home team lost on Turkey Day. A home team hasn’t won on Thanksgiving since 2018. 

4. NFL Week 12 picks

This is the final newsletter of the week, which means I feel morally obligated to cram as many picks as possible into this space. I crammed 112 pounds of food into my body yesterday, so I know I’m good at cramming. 

With that in mind, we’ve got some Week 12 picks coming your way and those will be coming from Will Brinson, Tom Fornelli and Jonathan Jones along with CBSSports.com writers Jordan Dajani and Tyler Sullivan. 

Here’s how things are going to work: I’m going to give you one pick from each guy and then direct you to the rest of their picks. That way, if you like their pick, you’ll be able to read the rest of them, but if they pick against your favorite team, you can ignore the rest of their picks and move on. 

  • Will Brinson: Rams 24-21 over Packers (Los Angeles covers -1). “I hate picking against Aaron Rodgers, but Green Bay just has too many injuries on the offensive line — couple that with Aaron Jones hurting the explosion factor in the pass game and Los Angeles should take care of biz here.” For the rest of Brinson’s Week 12 picks, be sure to click here
  • Jonathan Jones: Dolphins over Panthers (Miami +110 moneyline). “Miami is trending up and Carolina’s going the wrong way. It’s looking more like Carolina caught Arizona on a bad day than the Panthers are a real wild card threat. I love the way Miami’s defense is playing right now.” For the rest of Jones’ Week 12 picks, be sure to click here.
  • Tom Fornelli: Bengals 26-23 over Steelers (Pittsburgh covers +4.5). “While I think the Bengals can win this game, and I respect what they’ve accomplished so far, I have this spread being closer to a field goal than 4.5 points. The Steelers haven’t won either of their last two games, but they’ve looked more dangerous offensively lately, and I think this is a matchup they can exploit.” For the rest of Fornelli’s Week 12 best bets, be sure to click here
  • Jordan Dajani: Vikings 28-24 over 49ers (Minnesota covers +3). “The Vikings have now led by seven or more points in every game they have played this season, and they are the only team in the NFL to do that. Kirk Cousins has an NFL-high 10.5 TD/INT ratio and Justin Jefferson is thriving. Does the Minnesota run defense have to step up to contain San Francisco’s ground game? Of course. But I expect this to be a close game and I really think the Vikings win.” For the rest of Dajani’s Week 12 picks, be sure to click here.
  • Tyler Sullivan: Jets 23-17 over Texans (New York covers +2.5). “While the Jets aren’t anything to write home about, they are poised to get Zach Wilson back this week and have enough weapons at the skill positions to get an edge here.” For the rest of Sullivan’s Week 12 picks, be sure to click here.

5. Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalists announced

The Pro Football Hall of Fame has officially taken one giant step closer toward revealing its next class. The semifinalists for the class of 2022 were announced this week with a total of 26 players making the cut, including seven first-time nominees. 

Here’s a look at the semifinalists who were eligible for the first time this year: 

You can check out the entire list of semifinalists by clicking here

One surprising name on the list of semifinalists was Eddie George, who has made it this far for the first time ever. The former Titans running back retired in 2004 and has been eligible for the Hall of Fame for more than 10 years, but had yet to make it to the semifinal round of cuts before this year. 

The next step in the process will come in January when the HOF narrows down the list of semifinalists down to just 15 finalists. After that, the selection committee will vote on the 2022 class during the week of Super Bowl LVI. Once the final vote is tallied, the official class will be announced at the NFL Honors ceremony on Feb. 10. 

6. Rapid-fire roundup

It’s been a busy 24 hours in the NFL and since it’s nearly impossible to keep track of everything that happened, I went ahead and put together a roundup for you. 

  • Rams and NFL settle with St. Louis for nearly $800 million. There is finally a settlement in the St. Louis lawsuit and it’s a hefty one. To make the suit go away, the Rams and the NFL have agreed to pay $790 million to the plaintiffs. One thing that’s not clear is whether that money will be paid solely by Rams owner Stan Kroenke or if every NFL team will be splitting the cost. Kroenke has made it clear that he only agreed to pay the legal fees in the case and that the any settlement number should be split 32 ways. If that happens, each team would have to pay roughly $24.69 million. 
  • Dolphins claim Phillip Lindsay. The former Pro Bowl running back already has a new team lined up after being waived by the Texans this week. Lindsay was claimed by the Dolphins, which means he could be on the field as soon as Sunday when Miami hosts Carolina.
  • Situation involving Everson Griffen. Police were called to Griffen’s house early Wednesday after the Vikings pass-rusher locked himself inside. The incident started after Griffen posted to Instagram that someone was trying to kill him. According to police, there was no one with Griffen in his house when they arrived. According to the Vikings, the team “got him the necessary help that he needs and [he’s] in the care of medical professionals.” You can read more details about the situation by clicking here
  • Pro Bowl voting surprise. The NFL has released the results for early Pro Bowl voting and surprisingly, it’s not a quarterback like Patrick Mahomes or Tom Brady who has the most votes. The leading vote-getter right now is actually Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (81,087). However, that could change between now and when the voting ends. Pro Bowl voting runs through Dec. 16 and that will be followed by the official rosters being revealed on Dec. 20. 



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