NFL Pick ‘Em: Week 12
Picking the winners and losers of NFL Week 12
It’s Week 12 in the NFL, which means that there are only six games left this season before the postseason arrives and the weak teams are weeded out.
At this point in the season, some teams have already had a fork stuck in them as records begin to cancel out their chances of not spending the postseason watching from the comfort of home. Other teams have separated themselves from the herd and are ready to put everything on the line for the shot at football’s most coveted hardware.
Every week offers up a crucial game that can make or break a season. One loss can start a chain reaction that ends in a disappointing 7-9 record and early vacation. One win, however, can be the momentum shift that a team needs to put themselves on the Super Bowl radar.
Without further ado, here’s a look at this week’s games and what the outcome may or may not be. Take a peek and make sure to keep an open mind; it is the NFL after all and anything can happen on game day.
My Week 11 picks kept my 10-4 record streak alive, as I’ve managed that record for the past three weeks. My only misses came on upset predictions, which didn’t pan out as well as I was expecting (I knew I shouldn’t have picked against the Patriots offense). It’s another week, though, and I’m hoping to see similar – if not better – results by the time Monday night is over.
Detroit Lions (4-6) vs. Houston Texans (9-1)
Coming off of a historic passing effort in Week 11, Matt Schaub is looking to clinch a playoff berth for his 9-1 Texans against a subpar Lions defense. Detroit, however, won’t lie down and hand them the win. The Houston defense will have to earn this one against Matt Stafford and the Lions’ air assault.
My pick: Texans come away with another overtime victory
Dallas Cowboys (5-5) vs. Washington Redskins (4-6)
The Cowboys are doing everything they can to take advantage of the subpar play from their NFC East foes, and need a huge win here to keep their playoff hopes alive. It’s going to be tough against RG3 and the Redskins’ running game, but the defense should do just enough to land them in the win column.
My pick: Cowboys win one that goes down to the last possession
New York Jets (4-6) vs. New England Patriots (7-3)
It doesn’t matter how tough it has been for the Patriots to slow opposing offenses down this season; their own offense is too explosive for the Jets to even pretend they stand a chance. New England has blown much better teams out of the water, so the Gang Green shouldn’t pose any sort of threat.
My pick: Patriots win like it’s the 2007 regular season
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9) vs. Tennessee Titans (4-6)
Since when was Chad Henne a relevant NFL quarterback who could actually keep his team in games? I’m not sure, but he proved that he was last week when the Jaguars almost beat the AFC-leading Texans. The Jaguars keep coming close to another win, and will finally get one against a limping Titans team.
My pick: Jaguars win and still no one cares
Indianapolis Colts (6-4) vs. Buffalo Bills (4-6)
Andrew Luck and the Colts need a comeback after falling flat on their faces against the Patriots. What better team to get it against than the Bills? Buffalo is struggling to get anything going this season beyond the run game, which means that the Colts only need to do one thing: keep C.J. Spiller contained.
My pick: Colts win after handcuffing the one-dimensional Bills
Cleveland Browns (2-8) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4)
It’s 2004 all over again for the Steelers as Charlie Batch and Plaxico Burress don the black and gold as starters. Despite what appear to be setbacks, Pittsburgh shouldn’t have too much trouble dispatching a lackluster Browns team. They need a win to stay in the hunt, and should get it before they leave Cleveland.
My pick: Steelers win it in cruise control
Cincinnati Bengals (5-5) vs. Oakland Raiders (3-7)
For the first time since being traded, Carson Palmer will take on the team that brought him into the NFL and allowed him to make a name for himself. Now leading the Raiders, Palmer will be looking to tear apart a Bengals team that’s trying to stay alive. This could get interesting.
My pick: Raiders win in a squeaker because of Palmer’s push
Kansas City Chiefs (1-9) vs. Denver Broncos (7-3)
Does anyone really think that the Chiefs stand a chance against the Broncos? Maybe the KC homers, but no one else. Peyton Manning will have a great game as usual, but it’ll be interesting to see how rookie Ronnie Hillman can fill the void at running back.
My pick: Broncos win and continue to humiliate a devastated Chiefs team
Miami Dolphins (4-6) vs. Seattle Seahawks (6-4)
This is going to be a battle of defenses as the Dolphins continue to watch their offense flail week after week. Although the Seahawks have a solid array of offensive weapons, Miami will do enough to slow them down. It, however, won’t be enough to keep Seattle out of the win column.
My pick: Seahawks win in a low-scoring game of tug-of-war
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-4) vs. Atlanta Falcons (9-1)
Riding a four-game win streak, the Buccaneers will be looking to make a statement against the 9-1 Falcons. That’s exactly what’s going to happen, as Doug Martin is likely to run all over the Atlanta defense. Matt Ryan and Co. won’t make it easy, though; expect a shootout.
My pick: Buccaneers win by the skin of their teeth
Chicago Bears (7-3) vs. Minnesota Vikings (6-4)
If the 49ers can wipe the floor with the Bears, so can the Vikings and their explosive pass rush. Chicago has hit a brick wall with the loss of Jay Cutler, which could open the door for the Vikings and their enigmatic offense to move one step closer to cracking the postseason.
My pick: Vikings win in a surprisingly-dominant victory
San Diego Chargers (4-6) vs. Baltimore Ravens (8-2)
This season is all but over for the Chargers, who have squandered as many chances in 2012 as they have in the last three seasons. It’s time for a rebuilding project, and the Ravens will begin the demolition. The Ravens have been rolling for the past few weeks and won’t let San Diego slow them down.
My pick: Ravens win in a cake walk
Arizona Cardinals (4-6) vs. St. Louis Rams (3-6-1)
After losing the last six games, the Cardinals are in desperate need of a win and the return of Kevin Kolb could be just what the doctor ordered. The Rams, meanwhile, have been playing feeble football and could easily fall to an Arizona offense led by a semi-competent quarterback.
My pick: Cardinals win and prove that their 4-0 start wasn’t a complete fluke
New Orleans Saints (5-5) vs. San Francisco 49ers (7-2-1)
The Colin Kaepernick era has begun in San Francisco, and the Bears have already fallen victim to the athletic, second-year passer. His next victim will be the Saints, who are desperately looking to get back into the playoff picture. NFL: say hello to the next electrifying quarterback.
My pick: 49ers win after putting on an offensive clinic
New York Giants (6-4) vs. Green Bay Packers (7-3)
If there was one team for the Giants to stop their nosedive against, it isn’t the Packers. Aaron Rodgers, like usual, is keeping the Cheeseheads’ offense running at optimum levels and the defense is playing good enough to keep up. Eli Manning needs a huge game to keep the Giants in it.
My pick: Packers win as Rodgers strengthens his MVP candidacy
Philadelphia Eagles (3-7) vs. Carolina Panthers (2-8)
As the Eagles continue to crumble at Andy Reid’s feet, Cam Newton is primed for a bounce-back game. The Panthers’ quarterback of the future has been dragged down by a sophomore slump all season long, but should wipe away the cobwebs and turn in a 2011-esque performance in Philadelphia.
My pick: Panthers win in 2012’s biggest MNF snoozer ever