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 Team||Home Team||Spread||Pick|
|New Orleans Saints||Atlanta Falcons||NO -7.5||Saints|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||Cleveland Browns||CLE -2||Steelers|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Detroit Lions||DET -9.5||Lions|
|Minnesota Vikings||Green Bay Packers||GB -3||Packers|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||Houston Texans||HOU -10||Texans|
|San Diego Chargers||Kansas City Chiefs||KC -4.5||Chiefs|
|New York Jets||Baltimore Ravens||BAL -3.5||Jets|
|Chicago Bears||St. Louis Rams||STL -1||Bears|
|Carolina Panthers||Miami Dolphins||CAR -3.5||Panthers|
|Indianapolis Colts||Arizona Cardinals||ARI -1||Cardinals|
|Tennessee Titans||Oakland Raiders||OAK -1.5||Titans|
|Dallas Cowboys||New York Giants||NYG -2.5||Giants|
|Denver Broncos||New England Patriots||DEN -3||Broncos|
|San Francisco 49ers||Washington Redskins||SF -5||49ers|
All statistical information, unless otherwise noted, courtesy of Pro Football Reference
New York Jets over Baltimore Ravens (-4)
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)
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