With the season now past its halfway point and teams jockeying for playoff position amid a parity-stricken NFL, tensions are high as most of the league is still fighting for the postseason.
Even though we're entering Week 12, very few teams are out of the running, as records such as 5-5 and 4-6 dominate the landscape. But despite that parity, a few favorites are guaranteed to cover the spread this week.
Here is a look at teams that are locks for victory in Week 12.
|Week 12 Picks + Spread|
|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|
Kansas City Chiefs (4.5) over San Diego Chargers
Not only did the Chiefs lose their unbeaten record this past weekend, but they also showed an inability to get to the passer for the first time this season.
Playing in Denver and against Peyton Manning had a lot to do with both of those developments, and it just so happens that Kansas City enjoys a return home this weekend to face the Chargers, who have lost three straight.
The Chiefs defense got exposed for the first time all season against the Broncos, but holding Manning to 27 points is actually quite the feat. The fact that it was the first time in 10 games that Kansas City has given up more than 17 points says all you need to know about the defense—it's one of the best units in the NFL.
About the only chance for the Chargers to pull off the upset would be if they get the ground game running with Danny Woodhead and Ryan Mathews. However, the Chiefs' front seven will be hungry in Week 12 after being questioned all over the place due to their ineffective performance in Denver.
After shutting down the run, the Chiefs should be able to make Philip Rivers pay, as they average more than one interception per game.
Chiefs 24, Chargers 14
San Francisco 49ers (-5) over Washington Redskins
Speaking of hungry teams, the Niners are coming off another two-game losing streak. They are ready to overcome the controversial call on Ahmad Brooks in last weekend's loss to the Saints and get back in the win column.
Colin Kaepernick has struggled to find his rhythm in the passing game, throwing for less than 200 yards in the last two games. That should change in this matchup because the Redskins pass defense is one of the worst at 26th in the league.
The Washington offense is having all sorts of problems as well. The unit matched up well last weekend against Philadelphia's putrid secondary, and Robert Griffin III still completed less than half of his passes and threw a pick. His two fourth-quarter touchdowns didn't make a difference.
RG3 won't be able to rally back in a game like this. The 49ers boast one of the scariest defenses in the league with playmakers at each level and rank in the top 12 both on the ground and through the air.
49ers 27, Redskins 17
Green Bay Packers (-3) over Minnesota Vikings
Sunday's matchup against Minnesota is just what the doctor ordered for Green Bay's sudden starting quarterback Scott Tolzien.
In one start and one game coming in for Seneca Wallace (practically two starts, considering Wallace was hurt early against Philly), Tolzien has thrown just one touchdown and five picks. But those results don't do his performances justice.
In those two games, he is averaging more than 300 yards per contest and has completed 65.8 percent of his passes.
Unfortunately for the Pack, Tolzien's encouraging games came against clubs who got things going early offensively. The same can't be said of the Vikings, who have scored a first-quarter touchdown in just one of their last three games.
It will be Tolzien's second game at home, but he was thrust into his first, and that makes all the difference when it comes to starting quarterbacks.
In these last three weeks, the Packers have realized their playoff hopes are in jeopardy. That sobering dose of reality should be all they need to light a fire under them against an overmatched opponent.
Packers 27, Vikings 14