2020 NFL Expert Picks: Week 12

2020 NFL Expert Picks: Week 12

by November 26, 2020 0 comments

Three NFL experts from the Prime Time Sports Talk staff came together to share their picks for Week 12.

These three writers will continue to make their picks for the entire season, earning two points for any correct win-loss outcome and an additional three points for correctly predicting the exact score. (Failure to accurately predict a tie will be treated as a loss.) A cumulative points total and record will be listed at the bottom of every article. An archive of all 17 regular-season and four playoff editions can be found here.

Mike FanelliJoe Heller, and Andersen Pickard contributed to this article.

Houston Texans vs. Detroit Lions

Mike Fanelli: Texans 27, Lions 16

Last week, the Texans got their first win over a team not named the Jaguars this season. Meanwhile, despite having their starting quarterback, the Lions scored zero points against the Panthers. With a short week, the Lions may be playing with a depleted roster for this game. Texans get their second straight win.

Joe Heller: Lions 24, Texans 20

Matthew Stafford will lead the Lions to a Thanksgiving Day win. Deshaun Watson and the Texans will come up just short.

Andersen Pickard: Lions 24, Texans 22

While the Lions have a losing record on Thanksgiving Day, in a game like this that is in a dome with America watching, whichever team has the ball last should win. The Lions’ experience playing on Turkey Day makes them an instant favorite in a toss-up game like this. Look for Matthew Prater to connecting on the game-winning kick.

Washington Football Team vs. Dallas Cowboys

Mike: Cowboys 24, Washington 20

Both of these teams won last week in a semi-upsetting fashion. While both teams are still in the playoff race despite holding a 3-7 record, the loser of this game would have the inside track to a top-five draft pick. The Cowboys’ offense played well against the Vikings while Washington got a break with the unfortunate injury to Joe Burrow. Cowboys win and take over first place in the NFC East.

Joe: Cowboys 24, Washington 17

Andy Dalton gives the Cowboys their second win in a row against the team that caused him to miss a few weeks after a questionable dirty hit.

Andersen: Cowboys 27, Washington 23

In a revenge game against the team that gave him a concussion, Andy Dalton should have another impressive game as the Cowboys extend their winning streak while remembering strength and conditioning coach Markus Paul, who tragically passed away at the age of 54 this week. In the wake of Paul’s death, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the uniqueness of Thanksgiving 2020, this could be an emotional game. Dallas-Washington is true must-watch TV on Thursday.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Mike: Steelers 28, Ravens 21

These two teams played four weeks ago, with the Steelers getting the win thanks to a last-second stop on defense. Since then, the Steelers have won by an average of 18.3 points per game. Meanwhile, the Ravens have lost two in a row. The Ravens are currently out of the playoffs and don’t expect that to change this week.

Joe: Steelers 23, Ravens 20

Originally, the Ravens provided enticing optimism, but with all the players sidelined with injuries or COVID-19, the Steelers will remain undefeated for yet another week.

Andersen: Steelers 31, Ravens 20

You cannot pick a 10-0 team, especially when the alternative is a banged-up team that has lost several impact players due to COVID-19. The Steelers win again while the Ravens move further away from playoff contention.

Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets

Mike: Dolphins 26, Jets 13

Last week, the Dolphins’ winning streak ended as Tua Tagovailoa was benched. However, the Jets are still the Jets and likely don’t get a win this season. Dolphins bounce back this week with a double-digit victory.

Joe: Dolphins 31, Jets 10

The Dolphins’ defense will shut down the Jets’ offense. Miami’s offense, meanwhile, will play well as they continue their push for the postseason.

Andersen: Dolphins 21, Jets 13

The Dolphins struggled last week while the Jets held their own with the Chargers, albeit from a two-score distance most of the time. Tua Tagovailoa won’t have a huge bounce-back game, but it will be enough to pick up the win.

Arizona Cardinals vs. New England Patriots

Mike: Cardinals 27, Patriots 20

Both teams are coming off a disappointing loss last week and hoping to bounce back this week. If Kyler Murray is healthy, the Cardinals should have no trouble winning this game as they keep pace in the very competitive NFC West.

Joe: Cardinals 34, Patriots 24

The Cardinals will bounce back from their loss to Seattle. The Patriots will fall further out of a playoff spot.

Andersen: Cardinals 27, Patriots 14

Both teams are coming off disappointing losses in Week 11 and are ferociously attacking a bounce-back performance this week in hopes of salvaging their playoff hopes. However, the Cardinals are the better team. Therefore, while betting against Bill Belichick is dangerous, look for Arizona to prevail as New England’s playoff hopes continue to slip away.

Carolina Panthers vs. Minnesota Vikings

Mike: Vikings 24, Panthers 20

Despite missing Teddy Bridgewater and Christian McCaffrey, the Panthers were able to shut out the Lions last week. Meanwhile, the Vikings’ winning streak came to an end but they still are fighting for a Wild Card spot. This game can go either way, but expect Dalvin Cook to have a monster performance and get the Vikings the win.

Joe: Vikings 30, Panthers 24

The Vikings’ offense played well enough last week that they could have won. They will do the same this week but actually get the win this time around. Dalvin Cook will get back to dominating form.

Andersen: Panthers 27, Vikings 21

The Panthers need to accept that they can’t stop Dalvin Cook and instead focus on keeping Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen in check. When all is said and done, the big storyline will be how Teddy Bridgewater returned to Minnesota and picked up a commanding Week 12 victory without Christian McCaffrey. Carolina should improve to 5-7 this week.

Cleveland Browns vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Mike: Browns 31, Jaguars 17

The Browns have won seven of their last nine games and currently sit tied for the third-best record in the conference. Meanwhile, the Jaguars haven’t won since Week 1 and Jake Luton threw for interceptions last week. With Mike Glennon under center, the quarterback will be new but the result will be much of the same. Browns win by double-digits.

Joe: Browns 26, Jaguars 13

The Browns’ ground game will continue to lead them this week. While the Jaguars are stout against the run, Cleveland’s one-two punch is tough for most defenses and Jacksonville will be no different.

Andersen: Browns 30, Jaguars 17

Here’s what it boils down to, folks: the Jaguars are bad and the Browns are (dare I say it?) good. Despite Myles Garrett‘s absence, Cleveland should win handily as they oppose Mike Glennon and the struggling Jaguars.

Tennessee Titans vs. Indianapolis Colts

Mike: Colts 28, Titans 24

These two teams played two weeks ago on Thursday night, with the Colts getting the 34-17 win. Then, last week, the Colts pulled off the win against what many believe to be the best team in the NFC, the Green Bay Packers. Meanwhile, the Titans got the overtime win against the Ravens but had lost three of their previous four games. The Colts keep their winning streak going and take firm control of the AFC South division.

Joe: Titans 27, Colts 20

Other than Steelers-Ravens, this game is the biggest matchup in the AFC. The winner will claim sole possession of first place in the AFC South. The Titans will win this time around, aided by the legs of Derrick Henry.

Andersen: Colts 27, Titans 20

Both of these teams won in overtime last week, with the Colts topping the Packers and the Titans edging out the Ravens. The Colts are clearly the better team and should win against the Titans if they put forth a solid running game yet again this week.

New York Giants vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Mike: Giants 24, Bengals 13

Surprisingly, the Giants have won two games in a row and are only one half of a game out of first place in the awful NFC East. If Burrow hadn’t suffered a season-ending knee injury last week, the Bengals should be the favored team in this matchup. However, with Brandon Allen under center, the Bengals aren’t likely to win a game the rest of the season.

Joe: Giants 20, Bengals 13

At 3-7, the Giants are only one half of a game out of first place in the NFC East. The Bengals have a tough matchup in their first game without Joe Burrow.

Andersen: Giants 20, Bengals 9

The Bengals could finish the season on a long losing streak with Joe Burrow done for the year. Joe Mixon is also likely out for the season while Giovani Bernard is a longshot to play on Sunday. Down to their third-string running back (Samaje Perine) and third-string quarterback (Brandon Allen), it’s hard to see the Bengals scoring a touchdown this week.

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Buffalo Bills

Mike: Bills 38, Chargers 31

Can you say points? This game should be high-scoring and very entertaining as both offenses have young quarterbacks who like to sling it around. The Bills currently sit with a one-game lead in the AFC East and are coming off their bye week. Justin Herbert will have to wait another week to get his third career win.

Joe: Bills 31, Chargers 23

The Bills, fresh off of their bye, will win in a shootout. Josh Allen will outduel Justin Herbert as Buffalo stretches their division lead, inching closer to the AFC East title.

Andersen: Bills 38, Chargers 30

After routing the Jets last week for his second career win, Justin faces a stingier matchup in Week 12 as the Chargers oppose the Bills. While Austin Ekeler could return, the Chargers aren’t good enough to slow down a red-hot Buffalo squad coming off its bye.

Las Vegas Raiders vs. Atlanta Falcons

Mike: Raiders 31, Falcons 24

They left too much time on the clock. That’s the storyline everyone will take away from the Raiders’ Sunday night loss as Patrick Mahomes marched the Chiefs downfield for the game-winning touchdown with under a minute left. However, the Raiders are a very underrated team at 6-4 and should be favored to make the playoffs in the AFC. The Falcons lost to the Saints by 15 points without Drew Brees last week, and there is no way they pull off the upset over the Raiders.

Joe: Raiders 27, Falcons 20

The Raiders will rebound from their loss to the Chiefs. With Julio Jones continuing to battle through a hamstring injury, the Falcons will come out on the losing end.

Andersen: Raiders 31, Falcons 17

The Falcons looked horrible last week against the Saints and should lose by at least two scores yet again in Week 12 against the Raiders. While Atlanta could turn in a solid offensive showing, they have a horrible defense that will be exposed countless times by Las Vegas’ impressive offense.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Los Angeles Rams

Mike: Rams 23, 49ers 20

The Rams need to win this game to keep pace with the Seahawks and Cardinals in the division. Meanwhile, the 49ers can get back into the playoff mix with a win. However, the Rams are mostly healthy and playing well, while the 49ers are still without their starting quarterback and star tight end. Rams win the game, but it will be closer than it should be.

Joe: Rams 27, 49ers 17

The Rams are rolling while the 49ers are trying to weather the storm of a bevy of injuries across the board. The win will keep the Rams in playoff contention as they seek a possible division title.

Andersen: Rams 31, 49ers 20

The Rams looked incredible on Sunday against a Buccaneers team that could not do anything right. They should rattle Nick Mullens and the 49ers in a similar fashion, defeating San Francisco by two scores and holding on to their division lead.

New Orleans Saints vs. Denver Broncos

Mike: Broncos 21, Saints 20

Is Taysom Hill the future starting quarterback for the Saints? I don’t believe so, but he played well enough for the Saints to get the win last week. Meanwhile, Denver pulled off the upset over the Dolphins, and at this point in the season, they are on spoiler alert. If Drew Lock can protect the ball and the running game can do what it did last week, the Saints are in trouble.

Joe: Broncos 20, Saints 19

Taysom Hill’s second game won’t go the way the first one did. The Broncos will eke out an upset over the Saints. Hill will make a costly mistake late in the game.

Andersen: Saints 24, Broncos 21

The New Orleans Saints are the best team in the NFC and it’s nearly impossible to see them losing to a struggling team like the Broncos. Even with Taysom Hill under center, the Saints have an explosive offense. Plus, their defense has been one of the best in the league over the past few weeks. New Orleans should win.

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Mike: Chiefs 31, Buccaneers 27

Patrick Mahomes against Tom Brady. How is this game not on Monday night? This game should be the best this weekend as both offenses can beat you in multiple ways. However, the Chiefs are the best team in the AFC not named the Steelers, and Mahomes should get his revenge on Brady from the AFC Championship game a few years ago.

Joe: Chiefs 27, Buccaneers 24

This game will come down to which MVP quarterback has the ball last. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are hard to pick against.

Andersen: Chiefs 37, Buccaneers 30

It’s hard to imagine a scenario where the Buccaneers win this game. However, to their credit, they should keep it somewhat close. Patrick Mahomes will work his magic while Tom Brady regains his footing and throws for three touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers

Mike: Packers 34, Bears 24

These two teams will meet up again in Week 17, and a lot could be on the line for both clubs. The Bears are coming off their bye week, and if they can get the running game going, it could be a long day for the Packers. Last week, the Packers gave up 140 rushing yards to the Colts. Despite their struggles on the defense, the Packers were a fumble by Marquez Valdes-Scantling away from winning. Expect Rodgers to put on a show Sunday night.

Joe: Packers 23, Bears 16

The Packers will get the win against their division rivals. The ground game for Green Bay will have success against the Bears.

Andersen: Packers 27, Bears 14

The Packers are one of the best teams in football while the Bears don’t even know who will be starting for them at quarterback. Green Bay’s ground game might falter, but Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams have proven that they can be reliable pass-catching weapons, too. The Packers are the clear better team on paper and should prevail on Sunday night.

Seattle Seahawks vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Mike: Seahawks 34, Eagles 24

One of these teams plays in the best division in football while the other one plays in the worst division in football. One team has Russell Wilson, DK Metcalf, and Tyler Lockett, while the other doesn’t. If the Eagles win this game, it would be the most 2020 thing ever.

Joe: Seahawks 35, Eagles 17

This game will be out of hand in favor of the Seahawks early. Russell Wilson will throw for four touchdowns. The loss for Philadelphia will see them relinquish their spot atop their division.

Andersen: Seahawks 31, Eagles 20

You know it’s going to be a lopsided affair when even the Seahawks’ defense is expected to record multiple turnovers. Long story short, the Seahawks are one of the best teams in football while the Eagles are playing horribly. Even with Zach Ertz returning, the Eagles should lose by two scores.

Point Totals

Mike: 212
Joe: 198
Andersen: 201


Mike: 106-55
Joe: 99-62
Andersen: 99-62

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Mike Fanelli on Twitter @MikeSports22
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Andersen Pickard on Twitter @AndersenPickard

Main Image Credit: 

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Andersen is a teenage sportswriter and reporter whose articles have appeared across the Prime Time Sports Talk, Sports Illustrated Kids, FantasyPros, and SB Nation platforms. He has also received credit from RotoWorld, CBS Sports, ESPN, Bleacher Report, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, The Athletic, SB Nation, NBC Sports, NY Post, and dozens of other sports sites for his reporting work.

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