NFL Week 12 Picks: Which Contenders will Lock Up A Playoff Spot?

Welcome to my NFL Week 12 Picks.  I went 10-4 last week, placing my overall record at 88-72.  How will I do in this week’s slate of games?  Read below and comment with your thoughts.  This week could start factoring into the playoff chances of all 32 teams.  Who will lock up a spot?  Who will be eliminated from contention?

 

To see my picks for the Thanksgiving Day games this week, click here.

 

Note: In the images, the team on the top is the road team, and the team on the bottom is the home team.

 

Lock of the Week

 

Emerging as a top QB in the league, Carson Wentz has led the Eagles offense to become one of the best offenses in the league.  The Bears will be their next victim as the Eagles blow them out.  The Eagles offense is as good as it gets.  They have 3-4 strong running backs, who will dominate against a weak Bears defensive front.  They have a trio of great receivers and a top 5 tight end in Zach Ertz, who will just be too much for the young Bears secondary.
The Bears will struggle to strike back as young QB Mitch Trubisky is under too much pressure, and the Bears’ own RB duo is shut down by Philly’s strong run defense.  The Eagles will end up winning by one of the largest deficits seen this season.
Upset of the Week
RB Devonta Freeman is out for the second straight week, and that will cause the Falcons offense to struggle this time around.  They were able to survive without him last week, but this week Atlanta will start to miss him.  The Bucs defense will take advantage of that fact and will shut down the weakened Falcons offense.  For the Bucs, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick will continue to do well in the place of QB Jameis Winston, leading the Bucs to victory with the help of his receivers as well as RB Doug Martin.

Sunday’s Games

 

 

QB Tom Brady and the Pats offense will thrive against their divisional rivals, even without key receivers Chris Hogan and Martellus Bennett.  The Dolphins secondary will struggle to cover their powerful receivers like Brandin Cooks and Rob Gronkowski.  The Dolphins will also struggle offensively, as their run game looks hopeless without Jay Ajayi.  QB Matt Moore will also struggle to find his receivers and be picked off frequently by a stingy Pats secondary.  Pats win easily.

 

 

The Chiefs will struggle to bring life to their offense, but they will dominate defensively in this game.  The Chiefs will overpressure whoever is at QB for the Bills.  The QB problems will cost them as the Chiefs defense dominates against Buffalo’s troubled offense.

 

 

The Panthers young guns will help lead Carolina to victory, even without WR Kelvin Benjamin and TE Greg Olsen.  The Jets will keep it close with a strong offensive game, as the Panthers secondary struggles to cover the Jets receivers.  But the Panthers defensive front will shut down the Jets run game.  The Panthers will win after the younger players step it up, including RB Christian McCaffrey and WR Curtis Samuel.

 

 The Bengals offense will continue to come up big against the struggling Browns defense.  TE Tyler Kroft will continue to make a big impact for them in the role of the injured TE Tyler Eifert.  The Bengals D will also thrive in this game, shutting down the strong Browns run game.  They will pressure QB DeShone Kizer, causing him to struggle regressively.  The Bengals will win after dominating in all three aspects of the game.
The Titans will win as their balanced attack dominates against a struggling Colts defense.  QB Marcus Mariota will throw for 300+ yards and toss 2 TDs to his group of versatile receivers.  In addition, the Titans RB duo of DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry will rush for 150+ combined yards and one TD each.  Colts QB Jacoby Brissett will also lead his offense to a big game, but it won’t be enough as the Titans outscore them in an offensive shootout.
QB C.J. Beathard will lead the 49ers offense to another strong game, but this time, their injuries, as well as the Seahawks relentless defense, will have a big impact on slowing them down.  For the Seahawks, the offense will continue to thrive, even without new RB Mike Davis playing against his former team.  The 49ers troubled defense will fail to slow them down significantly, and the Seahawks will win.
The Jaguars will win after their defense dominates, shutting down Cardinals RB Adrian Peterson as well as Cardinals new starting QB Blaine Gabbert.  Gabbert will struggle to find his receivers under so much pressure, especially with WR John Brown out.  The Cardinals defense will also hold up QB Blake Bortles and the Jags offense, but the Jags will still win after their amazing defensive performance.
The Broncos beat the Raiders in Denver, but that was without QB Derek Carr.  This time, Carr will lead the Raiders offense to thrive against the tough Broncos defense  His versatile receivers will be too much for the No Fly Zone, scoring 3 TD on them.  Broncos QB Brock Osweiler will try to lead the Denver offense to rebound, but it won’t be enough to outplay the strong Raiders offense.
The Rams will beat the flaming New Orleans Saints, led by RB Todd Gurley’s huge game.  QB Jared Goff will also rebound from a rough against another strong team, the Vikings, last week.  Despite the fact that one of their best receivers, Robert Woods, is out, the big games out of Goff and Gurley will help lead the Rams to victory.  The Saints RB duo will struggle against the tough Rams run defense, and that will cost the Saints.
SNF
The banged-up Steelers offense may come in unprepared, but they will still do well against the Packers defense, especially with Clay Matthews hurt.  For the Packers, QB Brett Hundley will struggle to find his receivers, as the Packers offense fails against the Steelers without their top two RBs.  The Steelers will win as the Packers continue to fall apart without QB Aaron Rodgers.
MNF
The Ravens will win as the Texans continued to struggle without QB Deshaun Watson.  With WR Will Fuller out, QB Tom Savage and the Texans will struggle to produce offense against the tough Ravens D, despite the fact that three of their best defensive players are banged-up.  For the Ravens offense, QB Joe Flacco will thrive against a Texans D that’s also depleted by injuries.  Baltimore will win despite several injuries of their own.
That’s all for my Week 12 Picks.  Feel free to comment with your thoughts.

 

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NFL Week 15 Match-Up Breakdown

Week 15 is a week full of playoff scenarios, grudge matches and more.  Below are some of my favorite match-ups of the week, and analysis on each of them.

carolina-panthers-logo.jpg AT  new-york-giants-logo

The Panthers take on the Giants in New York.  The Panthers fight to stay undefeated, while the Giants fight to stay relevant in playoff contention.  I personally think the Giants are still relevant and can win this game.  If games were only 58 minutes long, the Giants would be 11-2!  But unfortunately, they have to play those last two minutes, and they’ve blown 5 games in that span, including losses to the Falcons, Saints, Patriots, Redskins and Jets.  So they have to be at 6-7.  Here are some factors to a win.

Keys To A Win

Panthers

  1. Put pressure on Eli Manning.  If he can’t do well, how can this powerful offense argue?
  2. The defense needs to stay aware of not just a good passing game, but an underrated run game.  Keep those running backs in the pocket.
  3. The Panthers offense needs to look out for an underestimated Giants defense.  It’s no Panthers lock.

Giants

  1. The Panthers secondary is better than you might think.  Keep the receivers away from them, and make sure Eli doesn’t throw picks.
  2. The Giants have so many good weapons on offense.  Take advantage of that and use lots of different players on the offensive lineup.
  3. Watch out, Cam Newton can run.  He has the 6th most rushing TDs in the entire NFL.  Put some extra LBs on Newton to stop him when he runs with the ball.

Pick A Winner!

Me      My Dad     Jill

new-york-giants-logo.jpg     new-york-giants-logo.jpg       carolina-panthers-logo

chicago-bears-logo.jpg  AT Minnesota_Vikings_Logo

The Vikings try to stay relevant against the Bears today.  This actually brings a real challenge for Minnesota.  Despite the Bears’ 5-8 record, the Beras are just 1-6 at home, but 4-2 on the road, like today.  The Vikes are only 4-2 at home, despite being 8-5 overall.  Can the Bears challenge the Vikings to this division and defeat them?  Here’s how each of the teams can grab a victory.

Bears

  1. Don’t think the Vikings defense is a weakling defense.  Keep your eye out for a young, powerful monster of a defense.
  2. The backups on this offense have potential, despite having a weaker set of starters.  Split the offense equally between all players.

Vikings

  1. Stop that rush!!!  Running backs Matt Forte and Jeremy Langford have too much strength not to attract defensive attention.  Keep your eye out for those Chicago Bears running backs.
  2. Pass!!  A young but full Bears secondary will even be overwhelmed by the receiving depth this team has, including Stefon Diggs, Kyle Rudolph, Rhett Ellison, MyCole Pruitt, Mike Wallace and Charles Johnson.  AP is really the only good player in the backfield.  Pay more attention to Teddy Bridgewater and his receivers than the running game.
  3. Pressure Jay Cutler.  Cutler’s monster season has got to stop.  He struggles under pressure.

 

Pick A Winner!

Me    My Dad    Jill

Minnesota_Vikings_Logo      Minnesota_Vikings_Logo  Minnesota_Vikings_Logo

green-bay-packers-logo.jpg AT   oakland-raiders.jpg

The Packers take on the Raiders in Oakland.  The Packers fight to keep the division lead, while the Raiders fight to stay in playoff contention.  The Packers are favorites, but can the Raiders stay relevant and pull the upset handle?  There was a point when the Raiders were legit playoff contenders, above .500.  Can they go back to that or is it too late?  Keys to a win are below.

Packers

  1. The receivers, especially Davante Adams and James Jones, need to catch the darn ball.  Make sure that Aaron Rodgers doesn’t overthrow or underthrow the football too often, or this duo will fail to function.
  2. Keep Derek Carr and the rest of the Raiders offense under good pressure.  When this offense is pressured, they do absolutely nothing.
  3. Use the running game more frequently.  Eddie Lacy has potential to be a star again, and James Starks is developing into a solid player as well.

Raiders

  1. Get Derek Carr out of the pocket, and make sure he has open receivers.  That’s the Raiders’ offensive winning formula.
  2. Keep the defense ready, this Packers offense has lots of potential, yet it’s already really good.

Pick A Winner!

Me    My Dad    Jill

green-bay-packers-logo   oakland-raiders    green-bay-packers-logo

 

denver-broncos-logo.jpg  AT  pittsburgh-steelers-logo.jpg

The Broncos battle for a first round bye in Pittsburgh against the Steelers.  The Patriots can clinch a first round bye if Denver loses, so us Pats fans must root for the Steelers again, but do the Steelers have a shot?  Meanwhile, the Steelers are attempting to sneak into the playoffs.  Keys to each team’s victory is below.

Broncos

  1. Keep an eye out for not just Antonio Brown, but the rest of this strong receiving game.  Don’t focus this powerful defense too much on just the superstars.
  2. Brock Osweiler needs to keep doing whatever he’s doing.  His magic formula has made the Broncos go 3-1 under his command.

Steelers

  1. Use not just receivers, but DeAngelo Williams and the run game.  Williams has still been underused this season.
  2. The defense needs to stop the power of the Denver offense.

 

Pick A Winner

Me   My Dad   Jill

pittsburgh-steelers-logo  pittsburgh-steelers-logo      pittsburgh-steelers-logo

az-cards.jpg   AT  philadelphia-eagles-logo.jpg

Battle of the Birds!!!  The Cardinals aim for a first round bye while the Eagles fight to stay in the NFC East race.  This Sunday Night game could be a lock, upset or grudge match!  Who will win?  See the keys to a win below.

Eagles

  1. Keep Carson Palmer in the pocket to prevent too far of passes and keep him under pressure.
  2. The Cardinals secondary is more dangerous than you might think.  Keep some extra receivers open on all passing plays.
  3. Don’t underestimate the Cardinals defense in general.  Treat it like the 2013 Seattle defense.

Cardinals

  1. Also don’t underestimate the weak but young Eagles defense.
  2. Use the running game too, even though the Eagles have a weaker secondary than running game.

Pick A Winner!

Me       My Dad     Jill

philadelphia-eagles-logo.jpg   az-cards.jpg       az-cards.jpg

Want to talk about your favorite match-ups of the day?  Tell me in comments.