NFL Week 12 Predictions: Favorites Sure to Falter in Crucial Weekend

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVNovember 20, 2013

ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 17: Chris Ivory #33 of the New York Jets stiff arms Leodis McKelvin #21 of the Buffalo Bills during NFL game action at Ralph Wilson Stadium on November 17, 2013 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Once again, the NFL weekend slate is littered with tough matchups between teams fighting for playoff berths, and there are a handful of favorites ready to fall on the big stage.

With the hierarchy of the league changing week after week and parity proving to loom large this season, plenty of favorites go down each week, and Week 12 will be no exception.

Here are my picks in two Week 12 games where the favored teams are certain to be upset. 

NFL Week 12 Schedule + Picks
Away TeamHome TeamSpreadPick
New Orleans SaintsAtlanta FalconsNO -7.5Saints
Pittsburgh SteelersCleveland BrownsCLE -2Steelers
Tampa Bay BuccaneersDetroit LionsDET -9.5Lions
Minnesota VikingsGreen Bay PackersGB -3Packers
Jacksonville JaguarsHouston TexansHOU -10Texans
San Diego ChargersKansas City ChiefsKC -4.5Chiefs
New York JetsBaltimore RavensBAL -3.5Jets
Chicago BearsSt. Louis RamsSTL -1Bears
Carolina PanthersMiami DolphinsCAR -3.5Panthers
Indianapolis ColtsArizona CardinalsARI -1Cardinals
Tennessee TitansOakland RaidersOAK -1.5Titans
Dallas CowboysNew York GiantsNYG -2.5Giants
Denver BroncosNew England PatriotsDEN -3Broncos
San Francisco 49ersWashington RedskinsSF -549ers
VegasInsider

All statistical information, unless otherwise noted, courtesy of Pro Football Reference 

 

New York Jets over Baltimore Ravens (-4)

ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 17: Head coach Rex Ryan of the New York Jets and Ed Reed #22 look on from the sideline during NFL game action against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on November 17, 2013 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szcze
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The Jets are the most up and down team in NFL history.

No, really. Per the Associated Press via Yahoo! Sports, New York is the first team since the merger to trade wins and losses each week through the first 10 weeks of the season. 

History says the Jets will win against the Ravens on Sunday. The defending champs have struggled to a 4-6 record this season, but are starting to get things going on the ground with Ray Rice, who carried 25 times for 131 yards and a score last week.

The Jets will be having none of that. The league's top-rated run defense is giving up just 73.2 yards per game on the ground, and they're in the top 10 in rushing on the offensive side of the ball.

Joe Flacco has been far from consistent this season, and the Jets will be one of the tougher defenses he faces all season. Chalk up a struggle-happy game for Baltimore as the Jets continue their quirky trend. 

Jets 28, Ravens 24

 

Pittsburgh Steelers over Cleveland Browns (-2)

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 17 :  Heath Miller #83 of the Pittsburgh Steelers breaks a tackle between DeAndre Levy #54 and Don Carey #32 of the Detroit Lions on November 17, 2013 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Image
Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The only thing surprising about this upset pick is the sheer fact that it's an upset pick.

Of course, the Steelers sputtered to an 0-4 start and according to their quarterback were the worst team in the league. Now, they've won four of six and suddenly have loads of life in what was a forgotten season.

Meanwhile, the Browns are noticeably more competent this season, at least enough to be home favorites against a division opponent with an identical record. It'll be a clash of two very good secondaries, with Pittsburgh ranking eighth and Cleveland fourth in pass yards given up per game.

Pittsburgh can be exposed with a solid run game, which the Browns do not have, ranking 26th in rush offense and currently attempting to start Chris Ogbonnaya at running back to dissolve those problems.

When two good secondaries clash, you have to take the quarterback with the best arm and the most weapons. Ben Roethlisberger has a deadly arm that has been on target in recent weeks, and Antonio Brown is unstoppable in that stretch as well. 

Expect Pittsburgh to shred Cleveland for a big day passing and keep its offense rolling as the team inches closer to .500.

Steelers 30, Browns 23