As the holidays approach, the playoff races get even more heated. As always, this week has some intriguing match-ups.
The final 4 teams left have their bye weeks: the Eagles, Bengals, Bills and Seahawks.
I went 9-5 in week 11, including correctly picking both the Broncos and Panthers to pick up big wins in prime-time. Here are my week 12 picks.
Thursday Night Football
- New Orleans @ Atlanta: If you asked me early in the year, I would’ve said this week 12 match-up would be a battle for the division. Instead it’s just a chance for the Falcons to play spoiler. I know the Saints haven’t been the same team on the road as they’ve been at home, but Atlanta hasn’t been good anywhere. NEW ORLEANS WINS
1PM Sunday Games
- Tampa Bay @ Detroit: The Bucs are finally on a winning streak, while the Lions blew a chance to hold on to the top spot in the NFC North. While Tampa has put up over 60 points the past two weeks, it wasn’t like they were going against two elite teams. The Lions had a setback a week ago, but they are still way more dangerous on offense than the Falcons and Dolphins, and I think they get back on track in front of their fans this week. DETROIT WINS
- Minnesota @ Green Bay: Both teams are coming off losses, and the Packers are trying to get healthy on the fly. Aaron Rodgers has missed 3 straight, all loses for Green Bay, but has returned to practice and is throwing without pain. Even if the Pack don’t get their QB back, I still think they’re a better team than the Vikings, and I can’t see them dropping 4 straight. GREEN BAY WINS
- Jacksonville @ Houston: How many times have I said I will stop picking the Texans? Well, I keep shutting that voice down and I think I have to do it again. Neither of these teams are good, but the Texans run game and defense is better than it’s shown. Not to mention Case Keenum (if he starts again) is better than Chad Henne. I think Houston can finally snap their franchise record losing streak. HOUSTON WINS
- San Diego @ Kansas City: The Chargers have the offense to beat this team, but they’re not consistent enough. The Chiefs defense is going to be hungry after a “down” performance against Denver a week ago. They’re back home with the first loss of the season on their mind. I think San Diego continues to under achieve here on the road. KANSAS CITY WINS
- Carolina @ Miami: One team is on an upswing, the other is not. The Panthers have shown they can win anywhere, and shut down some of the leagues best teams. The Dolphins finally won a game last week, but their run game isn’t great on a good day, and Carolina knows how to shut the best run games down. Give me the road team to make it 7 straight wins. CAROLINA WINS
- Pittsburgh @ Cleveland: The Steelers had their best offensive showing a week ago, while the Browns were shutdown after a good 1st quarter. Cleveland got off to a good start of the season, and haven’t looked terrible in a majority of their losses, but injuries at QB slowed their progress down. Pitt got of to a slow start, and have been coming on of late. I think this is going to be a close game throughout, but I think the Steelers are just better all around right now. PITT WINS
- Chicago @ St. Louis: Jay Cutler remains out. The Rams defense has looked pretty good all year. So what wins out? The Bears ability to win despite being without their starting QB, or an offense that found away to tear apart the Colts two weeks ago? I think it’s the latter. ST LOUIS WINS
- New York Jets @ Baltimore: The Jets looked bad on every front a week ago, and now they head to Baltimore to face a hungry Ravens team. The reigning Champs blew a 10-0 lead following 2 hour weather delay, but there were positives. The biggest of all was the return of Ray Rice. Sure the Jets know how to stop the run, but just giving the Ravens another option other than throwing the ball helps this team. Last week I said the Jets would finally win two in a row, now I’m saying they’ll actually lose two in a row. BALTIMORE WINS
4/4:25PM Sunday Games
- Dallas @ New York Giants: With how the first 6 weeks of the season went, most people wouldn’t have thought this game would have such big playoff implications. The Cowboys weren’t able to put anyone away in the East, and now find themselves in 2nd with Big Blue on their heels. A win on Sunday would give New York their 5th straight, split the season series with Dallas, and put them in a tie for 2nd, despite their 0-6 start to the year. Tony Romo has been better than Eli Manning this season, but the Giants are healthier (strange I know) and are coming together at the right time. And these two always find a way to split their head-to-head match-ups, and don’t see this season being any different. Give me the streaking Giants to keep things interesting for another week. NEW YORK WINS
- Tennessee @ Oakland: The Titans got off to such a good start, but have been on the downward track. The Raiders have been up and down all season, and are coming off a win against Houston. I know this is a home game for the Raiders, but I can’t see Matt McGloin having the same kind of game he had Sunday, because most of his success came on good field position gained from two early turnovers. While the Titans have been bad of late, it hasn’t really been turnovers that have been the problem. And if Chris Johnson can do anything on the ground, Ryan Fitzpatrick has the ability to get things done. So give me the road team in a close one. TENNESSEE WINS
- Indianapolis @ Arizona: The Colts are coming off their bye, and are looking to get back on track after 3 straight shaky games. They won 2 of those 3, but both were come-from-behind wins, while the loss was a blowout to St. Louis. They have to get off to a good start this week on the road, because the Cardinals defense has the ability to hold on to leads late. Not to mention Carson Palmer is coming off his best start of the year, and this team is a surprise 6-4 because of it. I think Andrew Luck uses his week off to good use, and the Colts get off to a good start and picks up the road victory. INDY WINS
Sunday Night Football
- Denver @ New England: Peyton Manning vs Tom Brady. It’s one of the most entertaining match-ups of the last decade. You’ve got a Bronco team tied for the AFCs best record on the road against the East leaders, who’re coming off a tough loss on Monday Night. So who wins the biggest match-up of the week? It’s tough to win in Patriots territory, but the Broncos defense has looked dominant since Von Miller returned from his suspension, and I think they can stop Brady and company. So give me the road team in a fun one. DENVER WINS
Monday Night Football
- San Francisco @ Washington: The 49ers are looking to rebound off 2 losses by a total of 4 points, while the Skins hope to stay relevant in the NFC East. Which team comes out on top to end the week’s action? I think it’s the road team, as they’re much more consistent than Washington. So give me the Niners to stop the skid and pick up their 7th win of the season. SAN FRAN WINS
So that’s it. Enjoy all of the week 12 action.