NFL Picks Week 12: Picking Each Game in Order of Confidence
Week 12 has some of the most intriguing matchups of the season. It will shape up to be some very exciting football.
One of the most exciting is the San Francisco 49ers against the Baltimore Ravens. It pits the brothers John and Jim Harbaugh against each other.
There are also interesting divisional rivalry matchups such as the Green Bay Packers at the Detroit Lions.
Here are predictions for each NFL game in Week 12 in order of confidence.
No. 16: Carolina Panthers at Indianapolis Colts
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This is the battle of the bad. The 2-8 Carolina Panthers are going to Indianapolis to take on the Colts.
The Colts have the No. 30 ranked offense and the No. 32 ranked defense.
The Panthers are not much better on defense. They have the No. 31 ranked defense.
However, they do have a decent offense with Cam Newton handing the ball off to Jonathan Stewart and throwing the ball to Steve Smith.
Look for the Panthers to put up some points against the Colts
Winner: Carolina Panthers
No. 15: Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams
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The Arizona Cardinals and the St. Louis Rams are both at the bottom of the NFC West.
Both teams recorded a loss in Week 11, but only one can probably lose in Week 12.
It is going to be the Arizona Cardinals.
Quarterback Kevin Kolb will most likely be ruled out for the game, so the Cardinals will have to start John Skelton, who got rattled in Week 12 by the San Francisco 49ers.
He turned the ball over four times.
On the other hand, Sam Bradford and Brandon Lloyd seem to be clicking for the Rams. Lloyd has four or more receptions in the last four games and a touchdown in three of those four games.
Not to mention, Steven Jackson is still running the ball for the Rams.
Winner: St. Louis Rams
No. 14: Washington Redskins at Seattle Seahawks
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The Washington Redskins have not won a game since Week 4. The Seattle Seahawks have won two in a row.
Someone's streak will be broken in Week 12.
With Rex Grossman back at the helm, the Redskins almost beat the Dallas Cowboys in Week 11, so maybe there is something there.
This game will be a defensive shootout. Both teams have decent defenses and weak offenses.
Washington does, however, have the edge with its revitalized passing game.
Winner: Washington Redskins
No. 13: San Francisco 49ers at Baltimore Ravens
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This will no doubt be one of the most interesting games of Week 12.
It is two of the best defenses in the league squaring off. Not to mention, the Harbaugh brothers will get a shot at each other.
In order to win, the 49ers will require a balanced attack on offense, since the Ravens defense is so solid. That may be an issue for Alex Smith, as he has put up nothing more than mediocre numbers all season.
The Ravens, on the other hand, will need to exploit the weak 49ers passing defense to secure the victory. In his last four outings, Joe Flacco has passed for more than 250 yards in each game and has thrown four touchdown passes. If he can do that, Ray Rice will do the rest.
Winner: Baltimore Ravens
No. 12: New York Giants at New Orleans Saints
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In Week 12, the New York Giants are traveling to New Orleans to take on the Saints.
The Saints have the No. 2 offense in the league. They put up 31.3 points per game.
The Giants have a mediocre defense, so by no means will they be shutting the Saints down on offense.
The Saints have an average defense and the Giants have an average offense, so no one really has the advantage there.
New Orleans is coming off a bye week, so expect a very refreshed team.
Winner: New Orleans Saints
No. 11: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tennessee Titans
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This game won't be pretty. The Tennessee Titans have lost three of their last five games, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have lost four straight.
Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman has thrown five interceptions in the last two games. If he can't keep the ball under control, it will be a difficult week for the Buccaneers.
The Titans, on the other hand, have had their own set of problems with running the ball. There is also the question of whether Matt Hasselbeck will be ready to go for the game.
The Titans don't have a great defense, so Freeman shouldn't struggle too much and running back LeGarrette Blount should be able to do some damage.
Winner: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
No. 10: Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers
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There is no doubt that one of the most exciting teams to watch in recent weeks has been the Denver Broncos.
They have won four out of the last five with Tim Tebow running the offense. The San Diego Chargers have lost five games in a row.
Passing doesn't seem to be a priority for Tim Tebow, but rushing is. The Chargers have the No. 23 ranked rushing defense and Tim Tebow expects to run all over it.
The rest doesn't really seem to matter. Tebow just finds a way to win games.
Winner: Denver Broncos
No. 9: Chicago Bears at Oakland Raiders
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Week 12 should be interesting for the Chicago Bears.
Quarterback Jay Cutler has gone down to injury, so it is up to Caleb Haine to run the offense.
Luckily, the Oakland Raiders don't have a great defense and the Bears still have Matt Forte running the ball.
Running back Darren McFadden may still be out for the Oakland Raiders, which is one less thing for the Bears to worry about.
The Bears offense matches up well against the Raiders. The Bears have the No. 6 ranked offense compared to the Raiders' No. 27 ranked defense.
The same can't be said about the Raiders. The Bears defense and Raiders offense are pretty evenly matched.
Winner: Chicago Bears
No. 8: Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions
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After the Detroit Lions' white-hot start, they have lost three of their last five games. Meanwhile, the Packers continue their undefeated season.
At this point, it doesn't really seem to matter who the Packers play. No one can stop Aaron Rodgers. He hasn't thrown for less than 247 yards or two touchdowns in any game this season.
Detroit has a pretty good pass defense, but that is against mortal quarterbacks. Most likely, Rodgers will just rip through them just like he rips through everyone else.
The Packers' Achilles heel seems to be their pass defense. Detroit's pass offense is pretty good, so if Matthew Stafford can keep scoring on pace with Aaron Rodgers, they have a shot at outscoring them.
Winner: Green Bay Packers
No. 7: Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals
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The Cleveland Browns are 4-6. That record is deceiving. They beat Miami, Indianapolis, Seattle and Jacksonville. Four pretty bad teams.
The Cincinnati Bengals are 6-4 and should have no problem with the Browns.
The Browns can do virtually nothing on offense. Colt McCoy has thrown three touchdowns in five games with four interceptions.
Who knows what running back Peyton Hillis is up to. If he does play, odds are that he won't be very effective.
The Browns have a top-10 defense, but all the Bengals need to do is score a few points to outscore the stagnant Browns.
Winner: Cincinnati Bengals
No. 6: Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars
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If this game was happening three weeks ago, there would be no doubt that the winner would be the Houston Texans.
Since then, Texans quarterback Matt Schaub went down to injury and Matt Leinart will be taking over as quarterback. His track record is not great.
On top of that, there is no guarantee that WR Andre Johnson will be ready to go for Week 12.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have the No. 5 ranked defense in the league and the No. 4 ranked pass defense.
Leinart will have a tough time getting things going on offense, so the pressure will rest on Arian Foster.
The Texans, on the other hand, have one of the best defenses in the league, and the Jaguars have one of the worst offenses.
It could be a close game, so an upset is possible, but unlikely.
Winner: Houston Texans
No. 5: New England Patriots at Philadelphia Eagles
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The Philadelphia Eagles have been disappointing all season. Week 12 will be no exception.
They play one of the best offenses in the league and their defense is pretty average.
It is not certain whether quarterback Michael Vick will play or not in Week 12, so the game will be on the shoulders of the sketchy Vince Young. He threw two touchdowns and three interceptions in Week 11. The Eagles will need to run the ball to win this game.
The Patriots have a decent run defense, so that will make things more difficult.
Whatever the Eagles decide to put up, there is no doubt that Tom Brady can outscore them.
Winner: New England Patriots
No. 4: Buffalo Bills at New York Jets
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At this point, the Buffalo Bills are pretty much in a free fall. They have lost four of their last five games, including one to the New York Jets.
In their last meeting, the Bills effectively did nothing until the fourth quarter. Fred Jackson was held to 86 yards and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was held to less than 200 yards with two interceptions.
Look for much of the same out of this game.
The Jets have forced 25 turnovers this season and have been getting by offensively with patches of brilliance.
The Buffalo Bills will lose this game more than the Jets will win it.
Winner: New York Jets
No. 3: Miami Dolphins at Dallas Cowboys
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Both the Dallas Cowboys and the Miami Dolphins have been on hot streaks recently. They have both won their last three games.
In Week 12, one of those streaks will likely end. It is going to be the Miami Dolphins.
The Cowboys have been excellent on offense lately. Running back DeMarco Murray has rushed for more than 100 yards in three of the last five games.
Quarterback Tony Romo has thrown for eight touchdown passes and more than 270 yards in the last three games.
It will be much of the same this week. The Dolphins have the No. 25 ranked passing defense in the league. They won't do much to stop Romo.
The Dolphins offense is mediocre and is nothing that the No. 11 ranked Dallas defense can't handle.
Winner: Dallas Cowboys
No. 2: Minnesota Vikings at Atlanta Falcons
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The Minnesota Vikings have been disappointing all year. There is no reason to expect that they won't be just as disappointing against the Atlanta Falcons.
Especially because Adrian Peterson most likely won't be playing due to a high ankle sprain that he suffered in Week 11.
The Falcons have an excellent run defense that will be extremely effective in shutting down the Vikings backup running back, Toby Gerhardt.
This, in turn, will shut down the passing offense as Christian Ponder won't be able to establish the play-action game.
Not to mention, the Vikings can't stop the pass, so Matt Ryan will be walking all over the Vikings secondary.
Winner: Atlanta Falcons
No. 1: Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs
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The Kansas City Chiefs have been ravaged by injury this season.
First, it was Jamaal Charles who went down to a season-ending injury. In Week 10, it was Matt Cassel.
Now, the starting quarterback for the Chiefs is Tyler Palko.
He doesn't have a chance against the Steelers, who have the third-best passing defense in the league and only give up 183.2 yards per game in the air.
Not to mention, the Chiefs have a very mediocre defense.
This game will be a walk in the park for the Steelers.
Winner: Pittsburgh Steelers