2021 NFL Expert Picks: Week 12

2021 NFL Expert Picks: Week 12

by November 24, 2021 0 comments

Who’s ready for some Turkey Day football? Three NFL experts from the Prime Time Sports Talk staff came together to share their picks for Week 12.

These three writers will 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 18 regular-season and four playoff editions can be found here.

Sam Schneider, Joe Heller, and Andersen Pickard contributed to this article.

Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions

Sam: Bears 31, Lions 20

This just feels like a “get right” game for Chicago. For all the slag Andy Dalton gets, as a backup he’s still better than numerous starting quarterbacks in the NFL. Additionally, after a couple of weeks away, David Montgomery came up with a 67-yard effort against a stout Baltimore defense in his return. This is a ball-control game all the way, which plays right into the hands of Dalton, Montgomery, and the Bears’ defense.

Joe: Bears 20, Lions 17

The Bears keep the Lions winless for yet another week. This game will be full of missed opportunities. With the win, the Bears keep their ever dim playoff hopes alive.

Andersen: Bears 21, Lions 17

Thanksgiving Day begins with a narrow divisional battle in Detroit. Jared Goff returns for this game while the Bears will be without Justin Fields. Still, Chicago mounts a second-half comeback to secure the win.

Las Vegas Raiders vs. Dallas Cowboys

Sam: Cowboys 32, Raiders 16

The Gruden hangover is real, as I predicted a few weeks ago. Even without Amari Cooper (and probably CeeDee Lamb, too), the Cowboys should bounce back from their embarrassment at the hands of Kansas City on Sunday. The Raiders are coughing up 4.5 yards per carry to opposing running backs, none of which are in the class of Ezekiel Elliott. Dallas gobble-gobbles up the Las Vegas defense.

Joe: Cowboys 31, Raiders 24

Dak Prescott and the Cowboys’ offense will return to their high-scoring ways. The Raiders will keep the game close but won’t steal the win.

Andersen: Raiders 27, Cowboys 17

The Cowboys will likely be without both Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb in this one. Dalton Schultz, Ezekiel Elliott, and Tony Pollard will all have solid games, but the offense will stall a bit too much. Las Vegas secures a two-score victory on Thanksgiving evening.

Buffalo Bills vs. New Orleans Saints

Sam: Bills 28, Saints 20

After being demolished in an aberration against the Indianapolis Colts, the Bills are not screwing around. They go on the road to New Orleans and (shocker) Josh Allen outplays Trevor Siemian with ease, while reassuring fans they are the class of the AFC. The Saints lose their fourth-straight game, further cementing their “pretender” status in 2021.

Joe: Bills 31, Saints 30

The Bills right a ship that was beginning to take on water. Their defense will get the critical stop late in this game to stave off a Saints upset.

Andersen: Saints 20, Bills 19

The Saints’ defense will come up big in this one, slowing down the Bills’ passing game enough to secure a narrow victory. At the same time, Trevor Siemian throws for a pair of touchdowns as he continues to look good in place of Jameis Winston.

Tennessee Titans vs. New England Patriots

Sam: Titans 24, Patriots 21

The Patriots are having a resurgence, and playing even better than “good enough” to win each week. Not in Week 12. Even without Derrick Henry, the Titans are playing solid football. Prior to their “trap game” last week against Houston, they rattled off six-straight wins, beating the likes of the Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams, Colts, Saints, and Bills. After an upset loss against their division rival last week, the roll into Foxborough on Sunday and flex their AFC muscle, proving they’re the team to beat.

Joe: Patriots 24, Titans 17

The Patriots are rolling behind their defense and the efficiency of quarterback Mac Jones. The Titans, coming off an upset loss to the Texans, head into their bye week after this game. Back-to-back losses will make it an uncomfortable but much-needed week off.

Andersen: Patriots 34, Titans 13

The Patriots will host the Titans and crush a team that is already decimated. New England is cruising all of a sudden and inches closer to the No. 1 spot in the AFC. Tennessee, meanwhile, remains in contention but heads into a much-needed bye week.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Sam: Bengals 24, Steelers 20

The Cincinnati Bengals have not taken two from Pittsburgh in the same season in 12 years. This game is especially big, as Baltimore is facing Cleveland in another AFC North divisional matchup. The two games could very well be a springboard for the teams down the stretch. Cincinnati takes another one from Pittsburgh on the strength of their ever-growing confidence that seems to balloon every week for the fourth-youngest team in the NFL. Ja’Marr Chase has had a rough few games of double-teams. He breaks out again in Week 12.

Joe: Bengals 24, Steelers 20

Joe Burrow and the Bengals will get a vital divisional win to keep pace with the Ravens in the AFC North. This will be a typical chippy late-season matchup between division rivals.

Andersen: Bengals 24, Steelers 21

Divisional games tend to be close. Cincinnati will remain in control throughout all of this one, taking an early lead and holding onto it for the remainder of the clash. Still, Pittsburgh will remain competitive until the final whistle. Look for running backs Joe Mixon and Najee Harris to combine for more than 300 scrimmage yards.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Indianapolis Colts

Sam:  Buccaneers 41, Colts 13

Vegas got it wrong. This game is in Indianapolis where the Colts have three wins, but those wins were against Jacksonville, Houston. and the New York Jets. Not a particularly encouraging home-field advantage. The Buccos come in and steamroll the home team before a home stretch that should see them go 5-1 (if not 6-0) en route to the No. 1 seed.

Joe: Buccaneers 31, Colts 27

The hottest running back in the NFL, Jonathan Taylor, will look to keep his current league-leading pace against the Buccaneers. While Taylor will get his touches and his yards, it won’t be enough to lead the Colts to the win.

Andersen: Buccaneers 34, Colts 26

After relying on Jonathan Taylor for over 200 yards and five touchdowns last Sunday, the Colts will go pass-heavy against the Buccaneers. Carson Wentz and Michael Pittman Jr. will link up for at least one score, but it won’t be enough to defeat a Tampa Bay team that has been absolutely cruising.

Carolina Panthers vs. Miami Dolphins

Sam: Dolphins 26, Panthers 23

I’ve been down on Miami (and specifically Tua Tagovailoa) all season, but they are about to win their fourth-straight and fifth win overall. Expect Christian McCaffrey to have a big game, but Cam Newton falls short against a Miami defense that has been one of the best in the league in past three weeks, allowing just 36 total points in those contests.

Joe: Panthers 27, Dolphins 24

Cam Newton and the Panthers will end the Dolphins’ winning streak at three. Tua Tagovailoa will have his team in a position to win this game late but fall short.

Andersen: Panthers 17, Dolphins 13

Tua Tagovailoa‘s hot streak will come to an end against an imposing Carolina defense headlined by Stephon Gilmore and Brian Burns. On the other side, look for another big effort from Christian McCaffrey.

Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants

Sam: Giants 17, Eagles 13

It’s going to be an ugly matchup in this NFC East tilt. Philadelphia has played well of late, although it was against a weak stretch of opposition separated by a loss to the Chargers. Believe it or not, Daniel Jones finishes this game with more rushing yards than Jalen Hurts, and the G-Men’s defense (which has not been bad this season) comes up big at home. Philadelphia will be good eventually, but in 2021 they are still fakers.

Joe: Eagles 24, Giants 16

The Eagles are soaring while the Giants are struggling. The Eagles will get the win, although it will be far from pretty. The Giants lose yet another winnable game.

Andersen: Eagles 27, Giants 14

Jalen Hurts and the Eagles have silenced the haters and could be legitimate candidates for a playoff spot. They’ll handily defeat the Giants, who are on a short week and coming off a primetime loss that resulted in Jason Garrett‘s firing.

Atlanta Falcons vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Sam: Falcons 30, Jaguars 26

Not buying the narrative that Jacksonville is turning the corner. Their 9-6 win against Buffalo was a complete fluke, and their defense has been awful this year. Matt Ryan and the Falcons haven’t been much better, but in this league, experienced veterans always win against teams that are competing for the the first pick in the draft. A late score from the Jags makes it look closer than it is, but Urban Meyer’s seat is sizzling.

Joe: Jaguars 21, Falcons 13

The Falcons can’t seem to play with any form of consistency. Against a Jaguars defense that has been getting better and better every week, the Falcons’ offense will struggle once again to put up points.

Andersen: Jaguars 21, Falcons 14

The Jaguars were silenced by the 49ers last Sunday, but they get a much easier matchup against the Falcons this week. Atlanta’s offense has been pitiful in all departments, which should lead to success for Jacksonville’s defense. As a result, pressure will be taken off Trevor Lawrence and the offense, allowing him to throw for a pair of touchdowns.

New York Jets vs. Houston Texans

Sam: Texans 22, Jets 20

Everyone should tune into this game, because who doesn’t love a good train wreck? Every week there’s a game that someone has to win. Zach Wilson returns for the Jets after Joe Flacco and Mike White both landed on the COVID-19 list for New York. It really makes no difference. Tyrod Taylor is back for the Texans, after authoring a huge win against one of the AFC favorites on the road in Tennessee last week. Watch them play keep away from New York for the majority of the game before holding on for a victory.

Joe: Jets 27, Texans 24

The last two teams to beat the No. 1 seed in the AFC, the Titans, face off in this one. This game will be far from pretty that ultimately goes the Jets’ way.

Andersen: Jets 28, Texans 21

The Jets’ offense is looking very strong as of late. Losing Michael Carter hurts, but some of the pain is alleviated by the return of Zach Wilson. At the same time, Elijah Moore is putting up Rookie of the Year-caliber numbers while Corey Davis and Jamison Crowder provide a strong supporting cast around him. New York should have no trouble defeating Houston.

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Denver Broncos

Sam: Chargers 33, Broncos 19

Wrong again, Vegas. Los Angeles’ victory over the Steelers was way closer than the score reflects, so they are going into Denver with “make a statement” on their minds against a division rival. Expect Justin Herbert to air the ball out early and often in the the thin Mile-High air, as they continue to pressure Kansas City in the AFC West. The Denver defense is good, but the Chargers are sixth in passing yards and seventh in total yards per game on offense. This is going to get ugly early.

Joe: Chargers 31, Broncos 20

The Chargers’ offense has returned to form after a few lackluster showings. The Broncos, although they will lose by two scores, look better than they did at the low points of their season.

Andersen: Chargers 35, Broncos 21

After a big game on Sunday night, Justin Herbert and the Chargers’ offense won’t skip a beat as they drop five touchdowns on division rival Denver. The Broncos will have a fine day, but too many punts will lead to the team’s demise.

Los Angeles Rams vs. Green Bay Packers

Sam: Rams 26, Packers 23

Every week I talk about Vegas getting the line wrong on Green Bay. This week is no different, only this time it’s not that they aren’t favoring the Packers by enough, but rather that they are favored at all. The Rams are coming off back-to-back losses and are out for blood, while Green Bay may be getting a little too comfy for their own good. Los Angeles strolls into Lambeau and steals an enormous NFC road win in a potential playoff preview.

Joe: Packers 27, Rams 24

Few quarterbacks carry the weight of an unlikely loss on their shoulders like Aaron Rodgers. While the Rams have struggled as of late, too, the Packers will get the win.

Andersen: Rams 31, Packers 28

Matthew Stafford and Aaron Rodgers combine for eight passing touchdowns while Odell Beckham Jr. finds paydirt for his first time as a Ram. This game will be a close, neck-and-neck affair that ultimately leans in Los Angeles’ favor. This very well could be a preview of the NFC Championship Game.

Minnesota Vikings vs. San Francisco 49ers

Sam: 49ers 17, Vikings 13

This has “ground and pound” written all over it, but Jeff Wilson gets San Francisco out to an early lead as they control the clock, rendering Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook absent. The Vikings have been playing well, but we are about to see the team who only put up 16 against Dallas.

Joe: Vikings 31, 49ers 17

In a rarity for the Vikings, this game won’t come down to late-game heroics. Kirk Cousins and the offense will jump out to an early lead that they never relinquish.

Andersen: Vikings 37, 49ers 11

After a strong slew of games for the 49ers, they’ll be stunned at home this week. The Vikings are cruising and have one of the best offensive cores in the NFL. Kirk Cousins‘ miraculous touchdown-to-interception ratio grows while Justin Jefferson tallies another 100-plus yards and a score. For San Francisco, the abrupt loss leads to chants calling for Trey Lance.

Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens

Sam: Ravens 30, Browns 17

Each week, I’m expecting Baker Mayfield to be lost for the season. He can barely throw (shoulder fracture) or run (knee) and seems to be one big hit away from ending 2021 on the injured reserve. It could happen this game. In an uncharacteristically high-scoring AFC North showdown, Lamar Jackson returns to lead the Ravens and their defense gets into the backfield repeatedly as Baltimore maintains the overall edge in the division.

Joe: Ravens 24, Browns 20

Lamar Jackson returns and will lead his team to the win over the Browns. The Cleveland running game will struggle against the defense of the Ravens.

Andersen: Ravens 27, Browns 16

The Browns have faltered as of late, and they almost lost to the Tim Boyle-led Lions last Sunday. The fact that this is a divisional game will keep the score close, but the eye test will prove that Baltimore dominates this one.

Seattle Seahawks vs. Washington Football Team

Sam: Seahawks 34, Football Team, 24

Washington has won two straight, but that does not mean they’ve fixed anything on their defense… it’s still a wreck. The Seahawks defense has actually played quite well this season. Russell Wilson is shaking the rust off, and a game against the Washington secondary is just what the doctor ordered. Expect an enormous day from him.

Joe: Seahawks 27, Football Team 20

This matchup of two playoff teams from last season has both of them watching their respective seasons getting away from them. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks win this one, but it will likely be too little too late in terms of their postseason aspirations.

Andersen: Football Team 23, Seahawks 16

Second-half Russell Wilson returned from an injury on the back half of the midway point in the season. He has struggled to get much going over the last few games. Now, another loss for Seattle almost confirms that they’ll miss the playoffs.

Point Totals

Sam: 188
Joe: 186
Andersen: 198


Sam: 94-71
Joe: 93-72
Andersen: 99-66

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Sam Schneider on Twitter @BuyAndSellYou
Joe Heller on Twitter @JerseyJoe317
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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