NFL Picks Week 12: New York Giants and 5 Teams Most Likely to Upset

Erick FernandezCorrespondent IINovember 22, 2011

NFL Picks Week 12: New York Giants and 5 Teams Most Likely to Upset

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    The NFL regular season is winding down and teams with playoff aspirations are on upset alert. Many teams need to avoid those brutal late-season letdowns if they want to stay in the playoff race or maintain their lead in the division.

    Week 11 was the last bye week for NFL teams, so that means from here on till Week 17, fans will be treated with a full slate of games.

    You know what that means?

    That's right, more exciting NFL games and more potential upsets.

    These are the five teams in Week 12 that have the chance at pulling a major upset in order to shake up the playoff picture.

    The spreads for each game are taken from Vegasinsider.com

Green Bay Packers (-6) at Detroit Lions

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    The Detroit Lions playing at home on Thanksgiving has become as much of holiday tradition as eating turkey, gravy and stuffing.

    The Lions have played a total of 72 times on Thanksgiving, and have played at home every year since 1945. If this tradition was any older, they would have been playing on the Plymouth Rock.

    Unfortunately for Detroit fans, in recent history, the Lions have been so out of the playoff picture by Thanksgiving that the annual classic has had no significance on their season.

    This year has been much different. The Lions have been one of the feel-good stories of the year. They started the year 5-0, and despite losing three of their last five games, they are still a very legitimate threat in the NFC. 

    Although it is very hard to bet against the Packers, the Lions shouldn't be counted out either. 

    The combo of quarterback Matthew Stafford and wideout Calvin Johnson can have a lot of success against the Packers' secondary. Green Bay has the 31st-ranked pass defense in terms of yards allowed per game. This can equate to some trouble for the Pack.

    Also, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers may not have as much as much success against the fifth-ranked pass defense.

    This game should be a doozy.

San Francisco 49ers (+3) at Baltimore Ravers

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    If you are still looking for things to be thankful for, then how about a second serving of a Thanksgiving game with playoff implications?

    The other feel-good story from the NFL has been the 49ers. Coach Jim Harbaugh has led the Niners to legitimacy this year, and his team has created quite a splash in the NFC. They are currently 9-1 and would seem like the favorite to get the second seed in the playoffs if they continue to play so well.

    Unfortunately, heading into this Thanksgiving showdown, they are the underdogs against the Baltimore Ravens.

    Well, the 49ers might find it to be a good thing. They have been looked over the whole year, and weren't even considered the favorites in some eyes to win the West.

    So much for that, huh?

    The 49ers have a chance to win the NFC West title in Week 12 (which is absolutely absurd) with a win at Baltimore and a Seahawks loss. This is a testament to how dominant the Niners have been, and how terrible the rest of the West is.

    The Ravens are 7-3, and currently ahead of the AFC North division. They can't let up for the rest of the season, because the Steelers are tied with them at 7-3, and the surprising Bengals are right behind at 6-4.

    This can be a very important game if the Ravens want to seek a first-round bye in the playoffs.

    Look for the 49ers' top-ranked rush defense to create havoc on the Ravens' running game. That will put a lot of pressure on Joe Flacco, who has been extremely inconsistent all year.

    Also the Ravens might be without their captain and leader of the team, Ray Lewis. Although it is uncertain whether he will play or not, one thing is certain—he won't be at 100%. That ultimately might open things up a bit for Frank Gore and the Niners' running game.

    This matchup of the Harbaughs (Jim vs. John) should be another exciting game.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3) at Tennessee Titans

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    Like the Philadelphia Eagles, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, at 4-6, are not technically out of it, but it will be tough for them to make the playoffs.

    The Tennessee Titans are 5-5, and are only two games behind the division-leading Houston Texans, who just lost their starting quarterback, Matt Schaub, for the season. The season is far from over, especially for the Titans.

    Despite the Bucs' disappointing season, they have show signs of brilliance so far. They have impressive victories against the Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints, but then again, they also have a really a dismal 48-3 loss to the 49ers on their record. 

    Although they suffered a loss in Week 11 to the Packers, they did play well, and had some success defensively against Aaron Rodgers. They were even down two with 4:25 left in the game. The Bucs do have the ability, they just have not played up to their potential this season.

    Speaking of not playing up to one's potential, Titans running back Chris Johnson has played terribly all year. Just downright awful.

    He is making fantasy owners throughout the nation infuriated with his inability to perform at the same level as years past.

    Look for his struggles to continue, and although Matt Hasselbeck is expected to start, he suffered an injury in Week 11 against the Falcons that might resurface.

    Also expect Bucs running back LeGarrette Blount to have a monster game, like he did last week against the Packers. He accumulated 107 yards rushing and one touchdown on 18 carries. This included a 54-yard TD run, where he bulldozed almost the entire Packers defense.

    Blount will be using the truck stick in Week 12 as well. 

The Denver Tebows (+6.5) at San Diego Chargers

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    Okay, okay, so I'm poking fun at the Broncos.

    One thing you can't make fun of is the success they and he have had in the past five games. After starting the season 1-4, the Broncos are now 5-5, and very much in the race for the AFC West.

    After Tebow broke the hearts of Jets fans with his legs in Week 11, Tebowites throughout the nation were calling out the Tebow haters.

    Yes, he's a terrible thrower; yes his mechanics are God-awful (get it?); but he has been getting it done. Right now, you can't bet against him.

    The San Diego Chargers, on the other hand, have been going in the opposite direction of the surging Broncos.

    After starting out 4-1, they have lost five straight games. What do you know? The Chargers are under-achieving once again.

    I expected them to at least get to the playoffs before deciding to choke. Despite all the potential they have and the fourth best passing game in the NFL, how can you bet for them right now?

    Denver will have a good chance to ruin the Chargers' playoffs hopes if they pull this upset.

New York Giants (+7) at New Orleans Saints

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    After losing to the Michael Vick-less and Jeremy Maclin-less Philadelphia Eagles in Week 11, the New York Giants might have a hard time making the playoffs, considering the tough games ahead.

    One would assume that after such a crushing defeat they would have no chance against the New Orleans Saints, who are playing at home in Week 12. The same Saints who have the best passing game in the league and one of the best overall defenses in the league.

    Despite all that working against the Giants, they definitely should not be counted out just yet.

    Although the Saints, who are leading the NFC South, have played well for the majority of the season, they have struggled at times. They lost to the under-achieving Bucs team in Week 6, and they lost to the lowly St. Louis Rams in Week 8.

    Who is to say that the Saints won't have another breakdown?

    The Giants' front four is one of the best in the NFL, and they will get in the face of quarterback Drew Brees. Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul will apply the pressure on the Brees. This will not be easy pickings for the Saints offense.

    If the Giants make some adjustments at the offensive line, take some carries away from Brandon Jacobs, who has been dead weight all year, and pass them over to rookie Da'Rel Scott, they will have a better chance to establish a running game. 

    Also, Giants fans should not lose faith in Eli Manning, despite that fumble in the last two minutes of the game against the Eagles.

    Manning will make things happen, and connect with his go-to receivers Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks.

    Despite the success that the Saints have at home, the Giants seem to perform the best when the chips are down.

    They will have a killer instinct, and much more to fight for in this matchup.