Skip to main content

Week 12 2016 NFL Picks: Challenge Athlon Sports Experts!


The NFL season is nearing the homestretch, and the competition off the field among fans is nearly as heated as the competition on the field on game day.

The Athlon Sports Pro Football Experts Club presented by New Era gives you the chance to compete with your friends and our experts each week.

Think you’re up for taking on our experts every week? Think you can beat the writers and editors each week? Join our weekly pick ‘em game and compete for tons of cool prizes.

Here are this week’s picks from Athlon Sports senior editor John Gworek:

Thursday's Games

Minnesota at Detroit

The Lions won at Minnesota in overtime just three weeks ago, one of five wins by seven points or fewer in their last six games. The Vikings snapped a four-game losing streak last week despite gaining just 217 yards on offense against Arizona.

Gworek's Pick: Detroit, 21–20

Washington at Dallas

Dallas won the first meeting this season in Week 2, 27–23, despite 364 passing yards from Washington’s Kirk Cousins. Cousins may need to repeat that performance, because Dallas should be able to run the ball against the Redskins.

Gworek's Pick: Washington, 30–28

Pittsburgh at Indianapolis

Ben Roethlisberger has been unstoppable at home but very ordinary on the road for more than two seasons now. But Le’Veon Bell should have a big day against a bad Colts run defense, and Andrew Luck is likely to miss the game due to a concussion. Even Road Roethlisberger should win here.

Gworek's Pick: Pittsburgh, 26–17

Sunday’s Games

Tennessee at Chicago

The Titans had been averaging more than 30 points per game for seven weeks before struggling to score in a loss at Indianapolis last week. They won’t need that many against the Bears, who are starting Matt Barkley at quarterback with Jay Cutler and Brian Hoyer injured.

Gworek's Pick: Tennessee, 27–14

Jacksonville at Buffalo

The Jags actually have a top-10 defense statistically, but their turnover margin is the league’s worst at minus-15. Combine that with the fact that the Bills have just six turnovers, fewest in NFL history through 10 games, and it’s easy to think Buffalo wins at home.

Gworek's Pick: Buffalo, 28–20

Cincinnati at Baltimore

The Bengals are technically still in the AFC North race because they play the Ravens twice, but major injuries to A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard will be too much to overcome. The Ravens defense should have no trouble bouncing back from its worst game of the season against Dallas.

Gworek's Pick: Baltimore, 20–10

Arizona at Atlanta

The Cardinals lost in Minnesota thanks to kickoff and interception return touchdowns, but they are struggling to protect Carson Palmer. The Falcons are coming off their bye and play four of their last six at home, so they could go on a run here.

Gworek's Pick: Atlanta, 30–24

N.Y. Giants at Cleveland

The Giants are 7–3 but haven’t won a game by more than a touchdown all season and struggled to put away the Bears last week. But the Browns may actually be getting worse, having scored 26 total points in their last three games.

Gworek's Pick: N.Y. Giants, 27–13

Los Angeles at New Orleans

The Rams defense has kept them in games, but rookie Jared Goff couldn’t put up enough points to hold off Ryan Tannehill last week. It’s tough to imagine him beating Drew Brees head-to-head on the road.

Gworek's Pick: New Orleans, 26–14

San Francisco at Miami

The 49ers are 1–9 and play four of their next five on the road. Miami’s Jay Ajayi could have his third 200-yard day of the season against the NFL’s worst run defense.

Gworek's Pick: Miami, 30–20

San Diego at Houston

The Chargers are coming off their bye, while the Texans are on a short week after blowing a late lead against the Raiders on Monday night in Mexico City. San Diego tends to get into wild games with lots of turnovers on both sides. Its passing game can often overcome that; Houston’s cannot.

Gworek's Pick: San Diego, 28–27

Seattle at Tampa Bay

The Bucs are 3–2 since their bye and look like a team on the rise, but those three wins came against offensively challenged San Francisco, Chicago and Kansas City. They have up 73 points in losses to Oakland and Atlanta. Seattle’s offense is finally at full strength, averaging nearly 30 points per game this month.

Gworek's Pick: Seattle, 31–20

Carolina at Oakland

Carolina has won three of four to create some faint playoff hopes in the NFC South, but losing star linebacker Luke Kuechly is big blow. The Raiders need to take advantage of Kuechly’s absence after rushing for a season-low 30 yards in a win over Houston.

Gworek's Pick: Oakland, 27–24

New England at N.Y. Jets

The Jets are coming off a bye and get Ryan Fitzpatrick back at quarterback, but he has struggled all season even when healthy. It’s tough to see him keeping up with Tom Brady, who has thrown 16 touchdowns and one interception since returning from his suspension.

Gworek's Pick: New England, 34–17

Kansas City at Denver

The Broncos have been far from dominant of late, but they have been putting up some points (25 ppg over their last four games). The Chiefs have been struggling to get to 20 points per game and could be without two key players in Jeremy Maclin and Dee Ford.

Gworek's Pick: Denver, 21–17

Monday’s Game

Green Bay at Philadelphia

The Eagles are in last place in the NFC East at 5–5, yet they feel a lot more like a playoff team than the Packers at this point. Green Bay’s injury-depleted defense is giving up yards in huge chunks, and it’s been too much for even Aaron Rodgers to overcome.

Gworek's Pick: Philadelphia, 30–26

Week 11 Record: 10–4

Overall Record: 89–70–2