NFL

NFL Picks Week 12: Home Teams That Don't Stand a Chance

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 13:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots stands on the field with head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots prior to playing against the Houston Texans during the 2013 AFC Divisional Playoffs game at Gillette Stadium on January 13, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Mike MoraitisAnalyst INovember 22, 2013

Week 12 of the NFL season will feature matchups that involve home teams that don't have a chance of beating their road foes.

The Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins and New England Patriots will all be at home against extremely tough opponents, and because of unfavorable matchups in many aspects of the game, those teams won't emerge victorious.

Let's take a closer look at each of these teams' opponents and find out why the road team will win.

Week 12 NFL Picks
GamePick
Chicago Bears at St. Louis RamsBears 20-13
New York Jets at Baltimore RavensRavens 17-14
Dallas Cowboys at New York GiantsCowboys 28-27
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland BrownsBrowns 20-17
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit LionsLions 23-20
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay PackersPackers 24-10
San Diego Chargers at Kansas City ChiefsChiefs 21-16
Carolina Panthers at Miami DolphinsPanthers 24-10
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston TexansTexans 31-20
Tennessee Titans at Oakland RaidersRaiders 23-17
Indianapolis Colts at Arizona CardinalsColts 24-21
Denver Broncos at New England PatriotsBroncos 38-31
San Francisco 49ers at Washington Redskins49ers 31-20
Mike Moraitis' Picks

 

Miami Dolphins (vs. Carolina Panthers)

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 11:  Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Miami Dolphins looks to pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first half  at Raymond James Stadium on November 11, 2013 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Dolphins are riding some momentum stemming from a win last week over a talented San Diego Chargers squad. Unfortunately for Miami, it is about to run into the hottest team in football, the Carolina Panthers.

Carolina has won six consecutive games and is now in the hunt for not only the playoffs, but the NFC South crown. Wins over good teams like the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers in back-to-back weeks means the Panthers are no joke.

The biggest problem for Miami this season has been its offense, specifically the ground game. While Miami's passing attack isn't scaring anyone with a No. 20 ranking, the rushing attack is even worse as it ranks No. 24 in the NFL.

Carolina's defensive line should be able to hold the Dolphins' ground game in check and abuse an offensive line that has allowed the most sacks in football, thus allowing the Panthers to drop extra defenders into coverage to stop what has been the Dolphins' strength this season.

Either way, Carolina ranks in the top five against both the pass and run in 2013-14, so it's plausible both aspects of Miami's offense gets completely shut down by this elite defensive unit.

Offensively, the Panthers won't have to do much if their defense continues the trend of allowing the fewest points per game in the NFL (13.5), and that's especially true considering the Dolphins are scoring just 21.3 points per game against some of the lesser defenses they've played.

The key here will be Carolina exploiting Miami's weak run defense, which ranks No. 25, and that shouldn't be an issue at all thanks to the Panthers' incredible depth at running back that has resulted in the No. 10 run offense.

Once they break a few solid gains on the ground, Carolina will be able to do more through the air in order to put some points on the board.

Final score: Panthers 24, Dolphins 10

 

Washington Redskins (vs. San Francisco 49ers)

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 07: Mike Shanahan of the Washington Redskins looks on during the game against the Minnesota Vikings on November 7, 2013 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Fos
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

As if they needed more motivation to win football games, the Niners come into this contest having dropped a game they should have won against the New Orleans Saints in Week 11.

The chip on their shoulder from that loss isn't good news for a Redskins team that was wholly unable to break through against a suspect Philadelphia Eagles defense last week.

Not only did that loss spur some controversy that may end up being a distraction for the 'Skins in Week 12, but it also outlined Washington's problems on offense at times during games, as evidenced by their scoring only 16 points and turning the ball over twice.

That horrid effort was carried out against a Philly defense that is ranked No. 15 in points allowed per game (23.6). Things won't get any easier this week vs. a San Fran defense that allows the fourth-fewest points per game this season (17.8).

Defensively, the Redskins are a total mess as they are allowing the third-most points among all teams during the 2013-14 campaign (31.1). Not to mention, the Niners' biggest weakness, their league-worst passing attack, will have an opportunity to thrive against a 'Skins pass defense that ranks No. 26 overall.

On top of that, the Niners have a top-five rushing attack that should have no issue burning the Redskins on the ground, with Washington owning a below-average squad in that respect (No. 19 run defense).

Seeing as how San Fran is ranked No. 10 against the pass and No. 12 against the run, it just isn't clear how Washington will be able to prop up its horrendous defense with enough offense to stave off a San Francisco offensive attack that will put plenty of points on the board.

Final score: 49ers 31, Redskins 20

 

New England Patriots (vs. Denver Broncos)

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/G
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Ah yes, another matchup between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning that will result in a highly anticipated and exciting contest pitting two Hall of Fame quarterbacks against one another. The only problem for New England is that they don't stand a chance of winning this game.

Denver comes into this highly anticipated matchup at Gillette Stadium with some serious confidence that is mostly spurred from having a share of the best record in the AFC and the No. 1 scoring offense in football (39.8 points per game).

If it was even possible, that confidence took another step in the right direction after the Broncos disposed of the formerly undefeated Kansas City Chiefs and their top-flight offense (No. 2 in points allowed per game). Against the No. 9 pass defense in the NFL, Manning was still able to compile 323 yards through the air with one touchdown and zero picks.

Manning's opponent this week, the Patriots, are a step below the Chiefs with the No. 12 pass defense in the NFL and a No. 7-ranked defense overall in the points allowed department (19.9). To make matters worse, if the Chiefs were unsuccessful in getting to Manning in order to rattle him—which is always the key to success against the all-time great QB—the Pats probably won't have any more luck.

New England, who sports a slightly worse pass rush with four less total sacks than the Chiefs, likely won't have anymore success, and that will open the door for Manning to have plenty of time in the pocket and ample opportunities to pick apart New England's defense.

Fortunately for head coach Bill Belichick and company, they have plenty of weapons on offense to match what the Broncos can bring. Brady will enjoy throwing against the No. 28-ranked pass defense in football, although things may come a bit tougher on the ground thanks to Denver's No. 4 run defense.

There's no doubt the Pats can get into a scoring fest with the Broncos that will make for an exciting game, but the Broncos offense is by far more explosive and that will give them the edge come Sunday night.

Final score: Broncos 38, Patriots 31.

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