NFL Week 12 Picks: Underdogs Most Likely to Surprise in Upcoming Weekend

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVNovember 21, 2013

Nov 17, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) gestures at the line of scrimmage against the Detroit Lions during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Steelers won 37-27. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

The NFL's 2013 season has been a whirlwind of unpredictability. Whether it's the Kansas City Chiefs going from worst to first, the Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans turning from possible Super Bowl contenders to candidates for the No. 1 pick in the draft or everything in between, there hasn't been a lack of surprises. 

Week 12 should only breed more of the same with a handful of matchups that could go either way. Count on these underdogs to test their opponents and potentially give us an upset. 

Week 12 Picks and Spreads
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


Pittsburgh Steelers against Cleveland Browns

Nov 17, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (left) celebrates a late game touchdown with tackle Marcus Gilbert (77) against the Detroit Lions during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Steelers won 3
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

The Steelers were all kinds of bad early in the season, surprising anybody who knows how successful this organization has been year after year. It shouldn't be a surprise, then, that they've won four of six and suddenly have their season back.

It is quite a shocker, however, that the Steelers are underdogs. 

Surprises have come all over the place for Pittsburgh's competition. From trading Trent Richardson to starting a promising 4-6, the Browns have seen a bit more winning than they're used to but still have a ways to go.

Cleveland does boast one of the stronger defenses in the league, but Ben Roethlisberger has been just too dangerous in recent weeks to see that stopping him. He's had huge days in a loss to New England and win against Detroit in the last three weeks, sprinkled in with a solid performance against Buffalo in which he led his team to a victory. 

Big Ben has nine passing TDs through the air in his last three games, and more than one or two will be enough to put a stagnant Cleveland offense still aiming to find consistency on its heels. 

Steelers 30, Browns 23


New York Jets against Baltimore Ravens

Nov 17, 2013; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets tight end Jeff Cumberland (87) runs the ball into the end zone for a second half touchdown while being defended by Buffalo Bills free safety Aaron Williams (23) at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Jet
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Spor

The Jets have been incredibly inconsistent this season, bouncing back from each of their losses to get back into the win column—albeit for only a week at a time. But it's just more than that trend that they have going for them in a Week 12 showdown against Baltimore. 

Even in a 37-14 loss against the Bills last week, New York still had success running the ball with 134 yards on the ground. Buffalo had just 68, even though it enjoyed a large lead and had the opportunity to run the ball as much as it wanted in the second half.

Facing the top run defense in the league, Ray Rice won't be able to continue his recent effectiveness and will go back to the rusher who failed to surpass 45 yards in all but two games this season. 

The only way to get up on the Jets is to shred them through the air, and Joe Flacco has regressed at a notable pace this season after a memorable 2012 that earned him a hefty amount of dollars.  


All stats, unless otherwise noted, courtesy of Pro Football Reference