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NFL picks week 12: The Patriots and the J-E-T-S

On Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern, the Boston-New York sports rivalry gets renewed once again.

New York Jets v New England Patriots Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Of all the professional sports rivalries involving teams from Boston, Patriots-Jets is probably the least intense.

It has nothing on Red Sox-Yankees (best rivalry in all of sports), and probably not much on Bruins-Canadiens (we hate the Habs) or even Celtics-Lakers (Beat LA! Beat LA!). Those three rivalries are top notch, and are widely considered the best rivalries in each of their respective sports.

As for the Patriots and the Jets, it’s definitely not the most intense rivalry in the NFL. That belongs to Chicago and Green Bay.

But nevertheless, anytime the Pats and Jets get together, the general sports rivalry between the cities of Boston and New York gets revived. There is always plenty of dislike there, entirely because of the cities involved.

Maybe one day, this rivalry will be evenly matched. For almost two decades, New England has had Tom Brady, while New York has fiddled around with quarterbacks like Chad Pennington, Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith … just to name a few. Maybe Sam Darnold can break the Jets out of their quarterback funk, if he can eventually get past his rookie season jitters (he’s had A LOT of those).

However, if Brady (apparently having knee problems) is ruled out for Sunday’s game — which I highly doubt Brady would allow to happen in a million years — then the two teams might be on an even playing field. I don’t care who the Jets throw out there at the QB position, I would take that person over Brian Hoyer any day of the week.

If that actually did happen, then there might be a pretty interesting game taking place at the Meadowlands on Sunday. At least, it would be interesting until the Jets fans start screaming their ridiculous “J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS!” chant.

Moving on…

With three games already out of the way thanks to Thanksgiving Day, let’s plow through the rest of these Week 12 picks.

(Home teams in caps, and lines courtesy of OddsShark.com)

BENGALS (-3) over Browns

Hue Jackson has spent the last two and a half seasons screwing over the Browns as their head coach. Now he has the opportunity to screw them over once again as a member of Cincinnati’s coaching staff. He might have been plenty useless in the past, but now he can practically give Cleveland’s playbook to the Bengals.

Baker Mayfield might not be worried about that, but he should be.

BILLS (+3) over Jaguars

There are two factors that make this game interesting. Firstly, Josh Allen is making his return to the Bills after more than a month away, officially putting an end to the revolving door of quarterbacks that have passed through Buffalo in the last few weeks.

Secondly, Leonard Fournette is getting back into his groove for the Jags, which is the one and only thing about Jacksonville’s offense that isn’t totally putrid.

But still, you can expect a low-scoring game here.

Giants (+5.5) over EAGLES

Philly is 1-4 against the spread at home this season. Isn’t it wild that this Eagles team beat the Pats in the Super Bowl about nine months ago? And that was with Nick Foles. Unreal.

JETS (+10) over Patriots

If the Pats are starting Brian Hoyer, then I’m rolling with the Jets plus-10 all day, every day. There’s no way New England covers a 10-point spread on the road with Hoyer. Not in a million years

That being said, there’s no way Brady doesn’t play unless his knee is literally broken, or his ACL is torn, or something of that nature. Brady doesn’t miss games unless he’s near death.

But honestly, even with Brady on the field, I’m still taking the Jets plus-10 because they always keep it really close with the Patriots at MetLife Stadium, for some reason.

Raiders (+10.5) over RAVENS

I get that Jon Gruden and the Raiders are brutally awful, but the Ravens are seriously being favored by 10.5 points with a rookie quarterback who has made one start in the NFL? Does that seem a little unfair?

Wait a minute… we’re talking about Jon Gruden’s Raiders. It’s totally fair. But I’m still picking them to cover.

BUCCANEERS (-3) over 49ers

It’s Fitz. Wait, no, it’s Jameis.

Wait.. it’s Fitz.

No, no, no, it’s Jameis. Or is it Fitz?

I think it’s Jameis. But it might be Fitz.

Wait, no … aaarggghh, screw it.

PANTHERS (-3) over Seahawks

The Panthers may have lost to the Lions last week, but they are still a perfect 6-0 at home in 2018 and have won 10 straight home games going back to 2017. So they’ve got that going for them.

CHARGERS (-13) over Cardinals

The Cardinals lost to the Raiders last week, so they should just quit now.

Dolphins (+7.5) over COLTS

Indy has won four straight games and Andrew Luck appears to be back to form. But 7.5 points seems like a little much for two 5-5 teams each looking to snag a wild card spot in the AFC.

The Colts definitely have the quarterback advantage, and that’s why they will win the game. But covering 7.5 points? I’m not sold.

Steelers (-3) over BRONCOS

I’m actually really looking forward to this game. It’s a do-or-die game for the Broncos. What little playoff hope they actually have will be completely gone if they lose. And if they want to keep that tiny sliver of hope alive, they will have to snap Pittsburgh’s six-game winning streak. This should be fun.

Packers (+3.5) over VIKINGS

Sports sure are funny. The Packers and Vikings were supposed to be fighting for the NFC North crown, and yet instead, they are fighting for second place because neither team is really that good.

But on a Sunday night at U.S. Bank Stadium, I’m rolling with Aaron Rodgers, who has thrown 40 touchdowns and six interceptions in 20 career starts against Minnesota.

PS: How long will it take delusional Vikings fans to admit paying Kirk Cousins $84 million was a bad idea? My guess is probably in about 15 years.

TEXANS (-6) over Titans

What a turnaround it’s been for the Texans. They’ve reeled off seven straight wins after starting the season 0-3. I want to see them keep this thing going. It’s a pretty cool story.

Last week: 6-6-1

This week: 2-1

Season: 80-77-7