Welcome to my Week 12 NFL Picks & Previews. Last week, I went 9-5, putting my overall record at 94-66-1 (95-66-1 with Week 12 TNF). This week, I expect a lot of high scoring games. But only a few of these high scoring teams will be able to stand out, winning this week’s shootouts and proving themselves capable of playoff contention. Which teams will stand out? Keep reading to find out what I think, and as always, feel free to comment with your thoughts.
Lock of the Week
After a big win over Pittsburgh last week, Cleveland will begin to turn their season around. Even without DE Myles Garrett, expect the defense to show promise against an anemic Miami squad. Meanwhile, QB Baker Mayfield will have another big week, throwing 3 TD and utilizing RB Nick Chubb as he leads the Browns to an easy victory.
Upset of the Week
RB Devonta Freeman and TE Austin Hooper are still out, so the Falcons will fall short here as Tampa’s deeper offense thrives. I can’t see both WR Mike Evans and WR Chris Godwin having a big game, but one of them should thrive against a below average Falcons secondary. Meanwhile, TEs O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate will see improvement, helping nail in a Bucs win.
The Other Games
|Posted to Twitter Thursday
||WR T.Y. Hilton is expected to play, but even with Hilton in, RB Marlon Mack will be out. In Houston, I can’t see the Colts pulling off an upset without their lead RB. QB Deshaun Watson and his receivers wlll thrive in this game as they face an inexperienced Colts secondary. QB Jacoby Brissett and Hilton will score some points for Indy, but it won’t nearly be enough for victory.|
|The Bills won’t be at their best in this game against a strong Denver D. But they should still win with margin for error. QB Josh Allen and his offense will work around star OLB Von Miller and CB Chris Harris Jr. Meanwhile, Denver will struggle against a rising Buffalo D.|
|QB Sam Darnold and his offense will put up a pretty strong game. RB Le’Veon Bell will lead that effort in his strongest game yet. However, this Oakland offense is one of the league’s deepest, and against a banged-up Jets D, they should thrive. RB Josh Jacobs and the rest of Oakland’s run game will also look strong, but QB Derek Carr will also throw multiple TD’s to nail in the Oakland victory.|
|This will not be easy for Pittsburgh, as RB James Conner and WR JuJu Smith-Schuster are out. But look, they’re playing the 0-10 Cincinnati Bengals. A Steelers loss here would be disgraceful. I think this will be down to the wire, but Pittsburgh will lean on TE Vance McDonald against a weak Bengals secondary.|
|With WR Josh Gordon on board, the Seahawks have one of the best groups of WRs in the league. QB Russell Wilson will have a huge game here. But against a troubled Seattle secondary, QB Carson Wentz and his receivers will look even better. Wentz has the TE duo of Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert to rely on. This will be a close shootout, as both passing games thrive and both secondaries struggle.|
|Washington will be without CB Josh Norman, but the defense should be able to stop QB Jeff Driskel, preventing the Lions from scoring much. Meanwhile, the RB duo of Derrius Guice and Adrian Peterson has an optimal match-up against a flawed Lions front seven. These two will lead the Redskins to victory.|
|You might expect this to be a battle between RBs Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara. But both these teams are much better against the run than against the pass, so I expect more passing in this game than you might think. It will be close, but a strong game from QB Drew Brees and WR Michael Thomas will help lead the Saints to edge out the victory.|
|QB Mitch Trubisky and his offense hit rock bottom last week, as Trubisky was benched for QB Chase Daniel. Even if Trubisky does get the start here, I don’t expect Chicago to outscore an improved Giants offense in this one. Though the Bears have one of the best defenses in the league and should slow New York down, QB Daniel Jones and his offense will still put up a solid game. Look for RB Saquon Barkley to be hungry for improvement after regressive struggles last week. Trubisky and his receivers should look alright, but they won’t score enough to top the Giants here.|
|This will be a defense heavy game, as QBs Ryan Tannehill and Nick Foles struggle to keep up with the young, energetic defenses they’re facing. WR D.J. Chark will put up a strong game for Jacksonville, but that won’t be enough in Tennessee after Tannehill’s recent performances.|
|Even with WRs Mohamed Sanu and Phillip Dorsett banged up, QB Tom Brady will find a way to lead the Pats to victory. Expect him to rely on TE Ben Watson as well as young WRs N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers. RB Ezekiel Elliott will lead Dallas to make it close, but QB Dak Prescott and his receivers will struggle against a strong Pats defense.|
|With TE George Kittle returning, QB Jimmy Garoppolo and his receivers should have enough in the tank to take down Green Bay on Niners turf. The Packers will make it close, but with CB Richard Sherman zeroing in on star WR Davante Adams, QB Aaron Rodgers will struggle to find enough open receivers to lead Green bay to victory.|
|In a Monday Night game that will be featured at Gonk Knocks Football Night, QB Lamar Jackson and the Ravens will continue to thrive. But QB Jared Goff will rely on his backfield, as well as WR Cooper Kupp, to lead the Rams to a close home victory. Meanwhile, LA’s strong defense will limit Jackson’s surroundings, holding the Ravens back from outscoring Goff and Co.|
That’s all for my picks this week. Stay tuned for more NFL coverage soon. I mentioned Gonk Knocks Football Night in my Rams-Ravens pick. If you’re wondering what Gonk Knocks Football Night is, you can check out this post for more information. This Monday at APEX Entertainment, we’ll be showcasing Season 2 of Gonk Knocks as well as MNF while raising money for the Algonquin Football Boosters and the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism. Come on Monday to bowl, eat, and have fun.