Week 12 NFL picks

Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) celebrates with wide receiver Kenny Stills (84) after a touchdown pass in the second half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013. (Dave Martin/AP)

Saints at Falcons

It's really incredible how the Falcons went from a 13-3 team to the complete and total mess they've become. NFL Network probably thought they were getting a great game when the schedule was released before the season, but it may turn out to be a lopsided mismatch. The Falcons allow an opposing QB rating of 105.8, which is worst in the NFL, and now they have to face Drew Bress and Co.

The Falcons have given up the 4th most points this season, and are only getting worse. Over the last 3 weeks, they've given up 34 points to the Panthers, 33 to the Seahawks, and 41 to the Buccaneers. Those aren't exactly offensive juggernauts.

The Falcons are tied for the second worst record in the NFL. The Jags are 1-9, while the Falcons, Texans, Buccaneers and Vikings are all 2-8. Could the Falcons wind up with Jadeveon Clowney?

Steelers at Browns

Unless the Bengals have an epic meltdown to close the season, these two teams are playing for little more than to stay alive for the 6th playoff spot. The Browns' offense stinks, but they're 4th in the NFL in pass defense, 8th in run defense, and 5th overall. The Steelers have won 4 of their last 6 games, but are 1-4 on the road, which includes losses to bad teams like Oakland and Minnesota (in London).

Buccaneers at Lions

The Bucs have actually won two in a row, and before that they took the Seahawks to OT in Seattle. I've seen the line on this game as high as 10 points, which is ludicrous. This game is far from a gimme for the Lions.

Vikings at Packers

The last time these two teams met, the Packers converted 13 of 18 3rd down chances, and 2 of 2 4th down chances. They held the ball for over 40 minutes, and ran 30 more plays than the Vikes. They had 9 drives in that game: 5 TDs, 3 FGs, and a set of kneel downs to kill the clock. They didn't punt. That is total domination.

Of course, that was with Aaron Rodgers. Still, when pretty much everything you do works against an opposing team, you have to like their chances the next time around, even with a dropoff as enormous as Aaron Rodgers to Scott Tolzien.

This is a must win for the Pack. It's a division game, and if the Packers want to keep pace with the mediocre Lions and Bears while they wait for Rodgers to return, the Vikings are an opponent that you have to beat.

Chargers at Chiefs

Last week, the Broncos showed that they are clearly the best team in the AFC West, as they handled the Chiefs fairly easily in Denver. The Chiefs did not register a single sack or knockdown of Peyton Manning on 40 pass attempts. They'll face Denver again in a week.

Sandwiched in between their Broncos matchups is a sneaky-difficult game against the Chargers. Like Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers does a tremendous job of getting the ball out quickly. The Chargers have only been sacked 19 times this season, which is 5th best in the NFL. If they can negate Justin Houston and Tamba Hali the same way Denver did, they can win this game.

If you're the Chiefs, it will be hard not to look ahead to facing the Broncos in a week. I like the Bolts in the road upset.

Bears at Rams

It's the battle of the Long brothers! Chris Long plays LDE for the Rams, while brother Kyle plays RG for the Bears, so they'll likely get tangled up at some point in this one. The Rams are another one of those impossible teams to figure out. Some days their defense looks like a top NFL unit. Other days their team as whole looks awful.

I'll bet on seeing the "good Rams" coming off their bye.

Panthers at Dolphins

The Dolphins have the 31st ranked offense in the NFL. The Panthers have the 3rd ranked defense, and are rolling after huge wins over the 49ers and Patriots. This team is for real.

Jets at Ravens

The Jets are 5-5, and I think the perception is that they are a decent enough team, especially since two of their wins were over the Patriots and Saints.

Don't be fooled. The Jets have the 2nd worst point differential in the NFL. Look at the company they're in:

Jaguars at Texans


Titans at Raiders

Slightly less gross.

Colts at Cardinals

The Cardinals are 4-1 at home, with their only loss coming to the 10-1 Seahawks. Meanwhile, the Colts are an impressive 4-1 on the road.

The Colts have a number of highly impressive wins. They dealt the Seahawks and Broncos their only losses of the season, as well as the 49ers on the road. Conversely, they've had some bad losses. They got beat by the Dolphins, Chargers, and Rams, all of whom are 4-6.

The Colts are also beneficiaries of playing in the disgusting AFC South, where their division rivals have a combined point differential of -271. They're 3-0 in the division.

For my tastes, the Colts are far too up and down, and they have several significant question marks (interior OL, run O, run D) to be serious Super Bowl contenders, even if they've proven they can beat the big boys if the big boys are having an off day.

Look for the middle of the Cardinals D to dominate the Colts' interior OL in this one.

Cowboys at Giants

This will of course be the game of the week for Eagles fans. The Cowboys come into this game limping. Their DL is thin, and their best LB (Sean Lee) is out.

The Cowboys defense has been an embarrassment the last 3 weeks, as they've given up 1641 yards, 103 points, and 91 first downs. That's 547 yards, 34.3 points, and 30.3 first downs per game. If you have Giants on your fantasy football team, start them.

Meanwhile, the Giants have strung together 4 straight wins, although they came against the following QBs:

I'd kinda like to see them beat a legitimate NFL starter before I buy in for a second that their defense is playing well.

I think the Cowboys will get their points on this overrated Giant D, but I don't think the Cowboys can stop anyone right now.

Broncos at Patriots

It's kind of funny that during the Broncos 3-game stretch of Chiefs-Patriots-Chiefs that this game is sort of an afterthought.

I think I might just update this stat with each new opponent every week to hammer home what kind of juggernaut offense the Broncos really have:

• The Broncos have 47 offensive TD drives this season. The Patriots have 26.

Peyton vs Brady won't be a contest this year, as Tommy just doesn't have the surrounding cast anymore to keep up.

49ers at the Washington team

Washington is a mess and the Niners are coming off two consecutive close losses to good teams. They'll take out their frustrations on a bad one.