Week 12 NFL Picks: San Francisco 49ers and Teams on Upset Alert

Chris TrapassoAnalyst INovember 20, 2012

November 19, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree (15) is congratulated by quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) after catching a touchdown pass against the Chicago Bears in the third quarter at Candlestick Park. The 49ers defeated the Bears 32-7. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE
Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

The San Francisco 49ers will ride a wave of momentum into their NFC clash with the New Orleans Saints in Week 12, after their 32-7 dismantling of the Chicago Bears in prime time. 

Colin Kaepernick dropped jaws en route to a dazzling 16-of-23, 243-yard, two-touchdown performance, and Aldon Smith totaled a ridiculous 5.5 sacks. 

However, Jim Harbaugh's bunch must not take the New Orleans Saints lightly. 

They're winners of five of their last six and have emerged victorious in their last three contests inside the Mercedes Benz Superdome. 

A win for New Orleans isn't assured, but the 49ers are undoubtedly on upset alert. 

Let's look at their game with the Saints and two other favorites that must proceed into Week 12 with caution.  



San Francisco 49ers

Is there a quarterback controversy in San Fran? After Kaepernick's 133.1 QB rating against arguably the best defense in football, can Jim Harbaugh send him back to the sidelines when Alex Smith is ready to return from his concussion? 

The 49ers coach said the following after the game, according to ESPN.com: "I usually tend to go with the guy that has the hot hand and we have two quarterbacks that have a hot hand."


Though that quote doesn't lean in either Kaepernick's or Smith's favor, it certainly didn't end the possibility of controversy. 

Either way, the 49ers defense will face arguably their toughest test of the season. 

They handled the Green Bay Packers in Week 1, but the Saints offense is sizzling, scoring an average of 29.5 points over their last six games. 

Even more impressively, New Orleans defense has held opponents to an average of 23.8 points per game during that stretch, after allowing 32.5 points per outing in their first four contests of the year.

The Saints look to be back to their dynamic ways on offense, and their defense is doing enough to keep them in games. 



New York Giants

The Giants opened as favorites over the Green Bay Packers, another team that's won six of its last seven. 

New York is coming off a bye, but heading into the layoff the G-Men were outclassed by the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals in consecutive weeks. 

Following a start to the season that made him a darkhorse for the MVP, Eli Manning completed 58 percent of his passes with three interceptions and no touchdowns during the mini losing streak. 

If he doesn't return to the top of his game, the Giants could easily find themselves in a losing tailspin.

The lowest QB rating Aaron Rodgers as pieced together over the last month and a half is 95.7, and the Packers defense has allowed 19.2 over the last five games. 

Upset alert for Big Blue? 

I would say so.



Atlanta Falcons 

As it currently stands, the Falcons are favorites on the road against a young and exciting Tampa Bay Buccaneers team. 

After a shaky performance at home against the pedestrian Arizona Cardinals, some are starting to wonder how legitimately elite Atlanta really is and if they'll be able to compete with the better teams in the NFC down the stretch. 

The Falcons have more overall talent than Tampa Bay, but Greg Schiano's squadron heads into this pivotal NFC South matchup on fire. 

They've won five of six, and Josh Freeman has—ready?—16 touchdown passes to only three interceptions during that span of a half dozen games. 

Just as importantly, the Buccaneers defense, a unit that allows a ton of aerial yardage, has surrendered an average of just 22 points per game. 

You think they'll be amped for this game? 

I do. 

The Falcons, the last team on upset alert this weekend.