NFL Picks Week 12: Predicting This Weekend's Top Games

Kyle NewportFeatured ColumnistNovember 18, 2013

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 07:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots and Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos greet each other at midfield following the game on October 7, 2012 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Week 12 has several games with major playoff implications, and the Denver Broncos will be one of the teams that will come out with important victories this weekend.

Playoff positioning could be determined this weekend. A win could give one team home-field advantage, or it could even give a team the edge in the wild-card race.

There are no more undefeated or winless teams. Now that those teams have ended their streaks to start the season, it's time for NFL fans to turn their attention to the playoff picture.

This week's biggest games are full of reunions. New York Jets safety Ed Reed will make his second trip—with a second different team—back to Baltimore. Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians will face the team that he helped lead to the playoffs last season. Denver Broncos receiver Wes Welker will make his first trip back to Foxboro.

Here's a list of the full schedule for Week 12 as well predictions for the weekend's biggest games.

2013 NFL Schedule-Week 12
DateTime (ET)AwayHomePrediction
11/218:25 p.m.New Orleans SaintsAtlanta FalconsSaints
11/241 p.m.Tampa Bay BuccaneersDetroit LionsLions
11/241 p.m.Minnesota VikingsGreen Bay PackersPackers
11/241 p.m.Jacksonville JaguarsHouston TexansTexans
11/241 p.m.San Diego ChargersKansas City ChiefsChiefs
11/241 p.m.Carolina PanthersMiami DolphinsPanthers
11/241 p.m.Pittsburgh SteelersCleveland BrownsSteelers
11/241 p.m.Chicago BearsSt. Louis RamsBears
11/241 p.m.New York JetsBaltimore RavensRavens
11/244:05 p.m.Tennessee TitansOakland RaidersTitans
11/244:05 p.m.Indianapolis ColtsArizona CardinalsColts
11/244:25 p.m.Dallas CowboysNew York GiantsGiants
11/248:30 p.m.Denver BroncosNew England PatriotsBroncos
11/258:40 p.m.San Francisco 49ersWashington Redskins49ers
Kyle Newport

 

New York Jets (5-5) vs. Baltimore Ravens (4-6)

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 17: Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens runs for a touchdown against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on November 17, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

This game could end up deciding the final AFC Wild Card. Yes, a battle of teams at and below .500 in Week 12 is meaningful.

The Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs are both going to make the playoffs. One will win the AFC West, and the other will likely grab the first Wild Card. 

New York currently sits as the sixth seed. It has surprised the entire league by having five wins already and could stun everyone by making the playoffs. However, they need to go on a little run. Check out this stat that ESPN Stats & Info tweeted out on Sunday:

The Jets would be due for a win this week, but they have to go to Baltimore. Rookie quarterback Geno Smith has been yanked in two of the last three games, so there are a lot of concerns with New York's offense. He has only eight touchdowns to 16 interceptions on the season.

Baltimore has lost four of its last five games. Its last five losses have come by a combined 17 points. The Ravens have been in every game since getting blown out in their opener. They are only 4-6, but they are 3-1 at home.

Playing at home will give the Ravens the edge that they need, and Smith's mistakes will hurt the Jets. Baltimore has a few winnable games in the coming weeks, so look for this to be the start of a run for the Ravens.

Prediction: Baltimore Ravens 17 - New York Jets 13

 

Indianapolis Colts (7-3) vs. Arizona Cardinals (6-4)

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 14:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts looks to pass in the second quarter against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on November 14, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

This game is extremely intriguing. The Indianapolis Colts are running away with the AFC South, and the Arizona Cardinals are making a run at a Wild Card.

Indianapolis has a three-game lead, plus the tiebreaker, over the Tennessee Titans. The Colts can afford to lose a game or two down the stretch. They did a nice job of rebounding after getting blown out at home in Week 10 to beat the Titans last Thursday.

T.Y. Hilton and Coby Fleener will have to continue to make plays to help the Colts move the football. Running back Trent Richardson has averaged only 2.8 yards per carry with the Colts, and receiver Reggie Wayne is out for the year.

On the other side, the Cardinals are tied for second with the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC West. They have won three straight gamesand scored exactly 27 points in each gameto gain some momentum. However, their three wins have come against teams that are a combined 5-25.

This is a big test for Arizona. Quarterback Carson Palmer continues to get better, and he has thrown six touchdowns to only two interceptions during the winning streak. Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu give the Cardinals good, young playmakers in the secondary.

In the end, the Colts are just too good. They are 4-1 away from home, and the Cardinals will have a tough time containing Andrew Luck.

Prediction: Indianapolis Colts 28 - Arizona Cardinals 21

 

Denver Broncos (9-1) vs. New England Patriots (7-2)

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 17:   Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos looks to pass against the Kansas City Chiefs in the second quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on November 17, 2013 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Depending on what happens in Week 11's Monday Night Football, this game could wind up deciding the top seed in the AFC. A prime-time matchup of Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady will once again be the game of the week.

The Broncos just knocked off the previously undefeated Kansas City Chiefs. The victory put them in the driver's seat of the AFC West and the AFC. They are in the middle of a three-game stretch in which they play the Chiefs twice with the New England Patriots in the middle.

Manning is on his way to a fifth NFL Most Valuable Player award. He has already thrown for 3,572 yards and 34 touchdowns. Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas and Wes Welker each have at least nine touchdowns this season.

Brady is good, but he doesn't have the receivers that Manning has. Wideout Danny Amendola and tight end Rob Gronkowski are both very good players, but the Patriots don't have the depth that the Broncos have.

Denver has Montee Ball and Knowshon Moreno that it can use to run the ball. Both are dangerous threats and will force New England to at least respect the run.

The biggest reason the Patriots have a chance to stay in this game is that it's at home. They are a perfect 5-0 and have averaged 29.6 points per game at home this season. 

New England is also at a slight disadvantage as they will have to host Denver on a "short" week. Its Monday night game in Carolina won't be easy, and then it has to turn around to play its biggest game of the year.

Brady is 9-4 against Manning, but he will have a hard time keeping pace with Manning in what figures to be a shootout.

Prediction: Denver Broncos 42 - New England Patriots 31

 

*All stats are via NFL.com