NFL Week 12 Picks: Teams That Will Keep Playoff Hopes Alive with Wins

Michael MillSenior Analyst IIINovember 26, 2011

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 17:  Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos scrambles with the ball as Calvin Pace #97 of the New York Jets pursues at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on November 17, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Jets 17-13.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The 2011 NFL season is quickly coming to a close and the chase for a spot in the playoffs is up for grabs for many teams across the league.

In fact, this year is so tight that there are even teams with losing records who are still alive in the hunt.

This week will are going to see many teams' chances fall apart, and others that will see the light at the end of the tunnel grow bigger.

Here are three teams that will win this weekend and keep their playoff dreams alive.

Atlanta Falcons (6-4)

The Atlanta Falcons aren't only in the race to get a wild-card berth in the playoffs. They are actually only one game behind the New Orleans Saints in the NFC South.

The Falcons aren't a team that has gained much support or talk around the league this season. However, they are still capable of making a playoff run.

This weekend they take on a Minnesota Vikings team that will be without their star, Adrian Peterson.

A rookie quarterback will be forced to lead the Vikings over the Falcons, who will likely shut down the running game with their second ranked rush defense.

With Julio Jones returning from injury, this offense will be back at full strength. It's hard to believe that Minnesota, who ranks 28th in pass defense, will be able to hold down this Atlanta offense.

Chicago Bears (7-3)

The Chicago Bears are fighting for a wild-card berth in the playoffs.

They are a team that has played good enough to win most divisions, but the chances of that happening are unlikely thanks to the Green Bay Packers.

However, with a win this weekend, the Bears will be the top ranked team in the wild-card race.

That won't be as easy as some may think.

The Oakland Raiders are battling to stay at the top of the AFC West. Carson Palmer seems to be figuring things out in Oakland.

Add in the fact that Jay Cutler is out and the Bears have a big problem.

This game is going to weigh heavy on running back Matt Forte. Forte has emerged as one of the top running backs in the league.

The Raiders allow a league worst 5.2 yards per carry for opposing rushers. Forte will carry this team to the playoffs.

Denver Broncos (5-5)

I'm drinking the Tim Tebow Kool-Aid.

I don't know why. I think Tebow is a terrible NFL quarterback. I don't think he'll be starting a year from now. I really don't believe in Tebow at all.

But the guy wins games.

The team is 4-1 with Tebow as the starter. It may be ugly, but it gets the job done.

They face a team that is sliding the other direction in San Diego. The Chargers have dropped five straight since their bye week after a 4-1 start to the season.

With a Broncos win and a Raiders loss, the Broncos will actually become the top team in the AFC West.

There really is no logic to this choice.

Tim Tebow defies all logic.