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Early NFL Week 12 Lines and Predicted Movement (2021)

by November 24, 2021
Brandin Cooks

It’s one of the most enjoyable weeks of the year in the NFL, Thanksgiving week. With a three-game slate on Thursday, plus the regular Sunday and Monday action, it doesn’t get much better than football during a holiday weekend. Let’s dive right into the slate and try to identify some possibilities for line movement. This week’s lines come courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.

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Thursday, November 15 — 12:30 p.m. EDT

Chicago Bears (-3) at Detroit Lions
O/U 41.5

Predicted movement: Start your Thanksgiving celebration off right by gathering your family around the television screen for a display of utter sadness. This game between the Bears and Lions has the potential to be downright ugly, but it’s Thanksgiving and it’s football. So of course, we’ll be watching–and betting–the action on Thursday. The potential line movement on the contest is entirely related to the quarterback situations for both sides.

Chicago’s already made its intentions clear, with Matt Nagy declaring Andy Dalton as Thursday’s starter. Justin Fields suffered an injury to his ribs in Week 11 and won’t be ready to start on Thanksgiving. Dalton fared pretty well in relief of Fields last week, nearly leading the Bears to a comeback victory, so confidence in the Bears shouldn’t wane too much upon the confirmation of their QB news.

On the other side, however, the Lions are going to need Jared Goff to start if they want any chance of successfully moving the ball on the Bears’ defense. Detroit’s backup QB Tim Boyle threw one career touchdown in his collegiate career, so it’s kind of insane that he’s still on an NFL roster some five-plus years later. He was quite bad in a Week 11 loss to the Browns, so if he’s back behind center for Detroit on Thursday, the line could shift further in favor of the Bears as the game approaches.

Thursday, November 25 — 4:30 p.m. EDT

Las Vegas Raiders at Dallas Cowboys (-7.5)
O/U 51

Predicted movement: The Thanksgiving slate is full of injury implications, and the late afternoon contest in not immune. The Dallas Cowboys will be without Amari Cooper due to COVID. They might be missing CeeDee Lamb, too, after the star wideout suffered a concussion on Sunday. If the second half of that game against the Chiefs was any indication, that would be an unfortunate situation for the Cowboys’ offense. Dallas struggled to move the football devoid of their top two passing options. Cowboys backers hope that Stephen Jones’ early-week assertion comes to fruition.

The Cowboys’ executive stated that Lamb has an “opportunity” to clear the concussion protocol in time for Thursday’s game. We’re skeptical. If Lamb misses, that could draw the Raiders closer in the spread department, but Vegas is in a freefall of its own lately. The Cowboys may not even need positive news on Lamb to push the line further, but if they get it, that could send things into a frenzy. The Raiders haven’t been very good on either side of the ball lately, and this could be a get-right game for Dallas with the eyes of America upon them.

Thursday, November 25 — 8:20 p.m. EDT

Buffalo Bills (-6.5) at New Orleans Saints
O/U 45

Predicted movement: The Alvin Kamara situation is officially alarming. We haven’t seen the Saints star running back since Week 9–and New Orleans hasn’t won a game since. Though the framing of Kamara’s knee injury initially made it out to seem particularly severe, time has shown otherwise. Kamara still isn’t practicing in the lead-up to Thursday, and now there are also questions about the health of his capable backup, Mark Ingram. If we learn the Saints are going to be without both running backs this week, that could limit the potential for the offense against a Bills team that was recently embarrassed by Colts running back Jonathan Taylor.

Speaking of that game–yeah, the Bills aren’t exactly in a good place at the moment, either. Josh Allen has been pretty up-and-down this season. He’s got an opportunity in primetime on Thanksgiving to re-assert himself in front of a national audience. It comes against a Saints defense that looks moderately generous of late. Monitor the Saints’ RB situation for clues as to the potential line movement, but keep in mind that the Saints typically play better at home. The spread shouldn’t get too far out of hand even if the Saints are ultimately undermanned.

Sunday, November 28 — 1:00 p.m. EDT

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3) at Indianapolis Colts
O/U 52

Predicted movement: Jonathan Taylor leveled up last week, eh? Five total touchdowns against the Bills as he essentially singlehandedly lifted the Colts to a blowout victory over the Bills. Taylor has essentially established himself as a Derrick Henry-level game breaker for the Indianapolis offense. That theory will be put to the test on Sunday against the stout Tampa Bay run defense. Meanwhile, Tom Brady and the Bucs’ offense didn’t need to necessarily be at their best on Monday to dispose of the Giants. That changes this week against Indy in what should be a closely contested game.

The Colts are becoming a difficult team to handicap given the unique nature of their success coming from the running back position. Because that’s a strength seemingly mitigated by what Tampa does well, the Buccaneers are favored by a field goal early in the week. Even with the Colts playing at home, it’s probably going to stay that way.

Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots (-6.5)
O/U 44

Predicted movement: Such an interesting match-up between seemingly quality teams steering in vastly different directions. The Titans had consistently outperformed expectations. They won six games in a row, the majority of which came against legitimately good teams like the Bills, Chiefs, Colts, and Rams within that stretch. Then, well, Tennessee lost to the Texans. The realization arrived that, oh, they have no healthy offensive weapons aside from their quarterback. And he fumbled twice while throwing four interceptions Sunday. Not great.

The Patriots, however, have rattled off five straight wins and are gaining steam both offensively and defensively behind the strength of their recent performances. The defense just shut out the Falcons one week after holding the Browns to just seven points. The offense poured on 70 points combined across those two wins. The spread that sees New England as near-touchdown favorites reflects the present statuses of both teams. Though the Titans still technically lead in the race for the No. 1 seed in the AFC, they might not have the firepower to stay within a touchdown on the road in New England. If banged-up AJ Brown misses the game, the spread might eventually respect that concept later in the week.

Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5) at New York Giants
O/U 45.5

Predicted movement: The Giants are bad in all phases of the game right now. They just fired Jason Garrett, and credit to New York for coming to the conclusion that he wasn’t the answer after just a couple of years. It took the Dallas Cowboys far longer to realize the same thing. That said, firing the offensive coordinator isn’t going to fix the mounting Daniel Jones problem overnight. Though the Giants get this game at home, they’re facing a Philly team riding hot on the possibility that Jalen Hurts could actually be a long-term solution to their quarterback quandary, after all.

Hurts has improved significantly of late, leading the Eagles to outputs of 30 and 40 points over the past two weeks. And against somewhat reputable defenses in the Broncos and Saints, to boot. The Eagles are in position, even on the road, to run away with this game if they are able to continue the recent momentum they’ve built. -3.5 might not be a large enough margin, though it’s worth noting that the extra juice is currently on the Giants side at the moment–it’s -115 to bet the G-men on Draftkings Sportsbook.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals (-4)
O/U 45.5

Predicted movement: The Steelers fell short against Justin Herbert and the Chargers on Sunday Night Football. Surprisingly, the game turned out to have been one of Week 11’s most compelling. Ben Roethlisberger still can’t really throw the ball especially well. He showed Sunday, though, that against forgiving defensive units, he can do just enough, using his surrounding weapons to matriculate the ball down the field.

The side of the ledger upon which Cincinnati falls defensively seems to depend on the week. Their success against the Raiders last week might have been more about the current state of the Raiders than it was about anything the Bengals were doing. Yet, the Cincy offense has carried its weight with four outings of 30+ points in its last five games. That, combined with the 37-point outburst by Pittsburgh on Sunday night, could mean this 45.5-point total is a little low. The Bengals are favored by a touch more than the customary three points that often accompany the home team in otherwise even match-ups. A dip to -3.5 seems possible.

Carolina Panthers (-2) at Miami Dolphins
O/U 42.5

Predicted movement: Reunited and it feels so good. Cam Newton turned back the clock in his first start for the Panthers–the second time–on Sunday. His performance wasn’t enough to earn Carolina the win over the resurgent Washington Football Team, however. Cam will take his act on the road this coming weekend to face the Miami Dolphins, whose defense has suddenly gotten things back on track.

The Dolphins feel the least like a team that has won three straight games in the history of teams who have won three straight games. But considering they have actually done so, it makes sense to see them as narrow home favorites over the Panthers. That’s even considering the state of the new-look offense with Cam back in the picture. Defensively, the Panthers have had stretches of success, but the lack of consistency for the unit could be exploited by Tua Tagovailoa and Co. Miami should remain favored throughout the week, but not by more than a field goal.

New York Jets at Houston Texans (-2.5)
O/U 44.5

Predicted movement: This game between two bottom-feeders of the league isn’t especially compelling on paper, but the Jets and Titans both claim wins this season over the 8-3 Titans. So that’s an interesting quirk coloring this match-up between Tyrod Taylor and, apparently, Zach Wilson. The Jets’ rookie quarterback is slated to return to action in this game. He’ll have the chance to pick up where his backups Mike White and Joe Flacco left off, ideally guiding the Jets offense to an improved level of production relative to Wilson’s early-season performances before an injured knee knocked him out of action for several weeks.

Houston, meanwhile, is riding high off its win over the AFC’s best record. Tyrod Taylor’s mobility brings a different element to this offense and makes the Texans slightly less terrible as a team. The Texans’ defense also found its footing against the Titans, forcing five turnovers against Ryan Tannehill. With that kind of pressure, Houston should have another profitable week against the rookie Wilson. It feels gross to say it, but the Texans should probably be favored by more points.

Atlanta Falcons (-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars
O/U 47

Predicted movement: Look, I’m as apathetic toward Jets-Texans as the next guy, but I honestly think this Falcons-Jags match-up might be even worse. How the Falcons are favored over literally anybody at this point is entirely beyond the scope of my understanding. Last Thursday against the Patriots, I felt comfortable predicting the Falcons wouldn’t score a point. And then they… didn’t score any points. They’ve mustered one whole field goal in their last two games. The offense is in complete disarray.

The Jaguars are no juggernaut on the other side of this one. But at home, they should probably end up being favored before this game kicks off. Of all units in this game, the Jaguars’ defense is probably the most capable of making a meaningful impact. The Falcons’ offense will probably be inclined to accommodate that thought process. I don’t understand how the Falcons are favored in a football game, at this point. The total also feels rather high, unless the Jaguars are going to handle 30+ points on their own.

Sunday, November 28 — 4:05 p.m. EDT

Los Angeles Chargers (-2.5) at Denver Broncos
O/U 48

Predicted movement: Justin Herbert showed on Sunday night that he is, in fact, that dude. Herbert shined through the air and on the ground as the Chargers fended off a comeback attempt by the Steelers. Austin Ekeler, Mike Williams, and Keenan Allen all contributed to the Los Angeles offense, which is presently humming on all cylinders. They don’t do it every week, but when the Chargers look good, man do they ever look good. At Denver isn’t necessarily the best of circumstances for Week 12, but the firepower possessed by this unit is enough to draw them status as road favorites.

The Broncos got the bye week to think about things after a rough performance by their offense in a Week 10 loss. Could the shift to more Javonte Williams be in play after the bye? It seems as though the Broncos will need more than their running backs to keep pace with the Chargers. The line movement so far has actually teetered in favor of the Broncos, but unless major news comes out regarding the players involved in this game, that seems like a curious movement given LA’s offensive potential.

Sunday, November 28 — 4:25 p.m. EDT

Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers (-3.5)
O/U 48

Predicted movement: One of the more compelling games of the weekend, on paper anyway, pits the Vikings against the 49ers during a time when both teams are ascending. Jimmy Garoppollo has been a vastly improved quarterback in recent weeks, guiding San Fran to a 5-5 record and within striking distance of a playoff position. The Vikings just upended the Packers in a thrilling Week 11 upset to reach 5-5, as well. Does unstoppable force meet immovable object? The winner could slide into a particularly favorable position when it comes to the wild card chase in the NFC.

With the game taking place out West, San Francisco opens as a respectable favorite. The one area the Vikings haven’t been especially strong, even in last week’s win over the Packers, is the defense. In the same way, he has picked apart opposing defenses in recent weeks, Jimmy G has the weapons to exploit the weaknesses in the Minnesota unit. The 49ers are still capable of clunkers, but they should finish up as 3 to 4-point favorites by the time the dust settles on this line.

Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay Packers (-1)
O/U 48

Predicted movement: We can dream of a world in which these two potentially high-powered offenses put it together for a wonderful show on Sunday afternoon. But is that the way this edition of Packers-Rams is going to play out? Last week’s supposed shootout affair between the Cowboys and Chiefs turned out to have been anything but. And the Rams offense is certainly struggling heading into this one, still evidently flummoxed by the notion of operating without the injured Robert Woods.

Though he’s got plenty of experience at Lambeau Field from his days with the Lions, it’s not like Matthew Stafford is coming into this game looking his best. His wife is throwing pretzels at people, for goodness sake. Prior to their loss to the Vikings, the Packers’ defense had been looking much more in sync. This is a tough game to call given both teams are coming off losses. The Rams have had longer to think about theirs, though, and Sean McVay should have had more than enough time to correct some of the issues with his offense over the bye. This game should end up as a pick’em. I’d say the total should also hit 50, but I’m not entirely sure this game will be a walk in the park for Green Bay’s offense against the LA defense. 49 feels like a nice landing spot for the total.

Sunday, November 28 — 8:25 p.m. EDT

Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens (-3.5)
O/U 45.5

Predicted movement: Baker Mayfield struggled in a major way against the Detroit Lions last week. The Browns held on for a win thanks to a solid game by Nick Chubb and the Cleveland defense, but still. That’s another example of “not the way you drew it up” for the Browns this season.

Though it took heroics for the Ravens to finish off the Bears, they did it with a depleted offense that didn’t have Lamar Jackson or Hollywood Brown. All things considered, an impressive outing for Baltimore to collect that win sans their two best offensive players. This game could be equally ugly, and is somehow Jackson isn’t over his illness yet in time to suit up, the total should tumble toward 40. The Ravens should probably remain slight favorites, though, even if that worst-case scenario should come to pass.

Monday, November 29 — 8:15 p.m. EDT

Seattle Seahawks at Washington Football Team
O/U 47

Predicted movement: Washington is favored in this game and somehow I can’t even confidently say that’s wrong. Russell Wilson looks decidedly cooked, though it’s probably the result of his superhero act coming back to bite him in the rear. The guy came back too quickly from his finger injury. He cannot properly throw a football. And it’s hurting his team. No matter, of course, as the Seahawks probably won’t be his team for very much longer. The Seahawks’ offense looks totally disjointed.

Normally, a date with the Washington Football Team’s defense would be a perfect prescription for whatever it is that ails your offense. The last few weeks, however, have represented steps in the right direction for the WFT. Give this unit any reason to build upon that recent confidence, and the Football Team is going to take it. Still, Seattle’s defense isn’t terrible. This is a game that feels tough to call, so pick’em might be the final destination. The total actually seems a little high though given the potential for this game to be relatively ugly.

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Brenden Schaeffer is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Brenden, check out his archive and follow him @bschaeffer12.

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