One team in position to rebound, and another possibly on the rise, comprise this pair of free picks for putting together a winning Sunday for this NFL Week 12.
The Bengals started 8-0 this season, but have lost their last two games, including a 34-31 decision at NFC West-leading Arizona last week. But Cincy gave a much better account of itself last week than it did two weeks ago in that dud loss against Houston. Cincy led the Cardinals early, fell down 28-14, rallied back to tie the game at 31-31 but lost on a field goal with two seconds left.
The Bengals got outgained by Arizona, but only 383-377. On the season Cincy has outgained six of ten opponents, and outrushed seven of ten foes.
St. Louis, meanwhile, after showing some promise earlier this season, has lost three in a row, falling at Baltimore last week 16-13. The Rams, playing with backup quarterback Case Keenum, led that game 13-3 through three quarters, but let the Ravens score the last 13 points, the last three on a field goal at the buzzer, following a Keenum fumble.
St. Louis got outgained by Baltimore 388-213 and lost four fumbles. Two weeks ago the Rams got outgained by 112 yards in a 37-13 loss to Chicago. Heading into this week they're not sure who's going to play quarterback, they're banged-up along the offensive line and even their kicker is hurt.
We like Cincy's chances of bouncing back with a win and a cover Sunday with a value NFL pick.
Free NFL Pick: Bengals -8.5 (-112) at Heritage
Jumping on the Jags
Jacksonville, 3-1 SU, 4-0 ATS over its last four games, hosts a San Diego team sliding toward oblivion.
The Jags are coming off a 19-13 victory over Tennessee last week. It wasn't pretty, but in the end, it was a victory. Jacksonville trailed the Titans late into the fourth quarter, but showed some gumption by scoring the last 10 points of the game to not only win but also cover as a three-point favorite.
Two weeks ago Jacksonville rallied to beat the Ravens in Baltimore 22-20; just before that they gave the Jets a tough game in New Jersey, losing 28-23 but covering at +7; and just before that they beat Buffalo in London 34-31. The Jags have now outrushed three of their last four opponents, while
quarterback Blake Bortles now owns a 20/12 TD/INT ratio on the season.
San Diego, meanwhile, is now a lost cause, losing six games in a row to fall to 2-8 on the season. Last week the Chargers got crushed at home got by Kansas City 33-3, whiffing on the spread as three-point home dogs. The Bolts got outgained 385-201 and outrushed 153-52, and have now been outrushed in eight of 10 games this season, four times by at least 70 yards. And numbers like that are not conducive to winning games or covering spreads.
Usually quarterback Philip Rivers is able to rally his Chargers offense, after his team has fallen behind, for at least a back-door score or two. But lately he hasn't even been able to do that.
Finally, while San Diego just beat Jacksonville in Week 4 last season 33-14, these two teams are different now; the Chargers thought they were playoff contenders then, while the Jags were a total mess. Heading into this game those roles are almost reversed.
Free NFL Pick: Jags -4.5 (-110) at BetOnline