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NFL Week 12 game picks: Chiefs edge Buccaneers; Colts top Titans

Gregg Rosenthal went 6-8 on his predictions for Week 11 of the 2020 NFL season, bringing his total record to 98-61-1. How will he fare in Week 12? His picks are below.


Miami Dolphins 30, New York Jets 17

Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will come after rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa on Sunday because that's what Gregg Williams does, especially when trying to avoid his second 0-16 record in four years. I expect the Dolphins to have an answer because they learn from mistakes and already out-coached the Jets staff in a 24-0 shutout back in Week 6.

Arizona Cardinals 27, New England Patriots 24

After facing Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson this season, Bill Belichick is probably ready to end his tour of the Quarterback Revolution. It's clear that no amount of scheming is going to make the Patriots' front seven talented enough to hang with players like Kyler Murray, especially when the opposing QB's backed by a dynamic running game. Cam Newton is playing well enough to stay close in games, but not well enough to survive a defense ranked 25th in EPA and dead last in DVOA.

Carolina Panthers 28, Minnesota Vikings 27

These teams are evenly matched, with efficient offenses doing their best to cover up holes defensively (especially rushing the passer). The status of Teddy Bridgewater and Christian McCaffrey makes a difference here, but I like that Carolina's coaching staff puts Teddy Two Gloves in more advantageous situations than Kirk Cousins by throwing more on early downs. In this Thanksgiving week, Teddy winning in Minnesota makes me sentimental.

Cleveland Browns 30, Jacksonville Jaguars 20

The Jaguars' defense has played far better since the bye week (promise!), but a devastating new wave of injuries (Josh Allen, D.J. Hayden, C.J. Henderson and Daniel Thomas) should end that progress. The matchup sets up well for Baker Mayfield to finally put up numbers in normal weather. My original score prediction was closer when I thought Gardner Minshew (thumb) could return to the starting lineup for the Jaguars, but the ascension of Mike Glennon to the job makes you wonder about Jacksonville's priorities down the stretch.

Indianapolis Colts 30, Tennessee Titans 27

Philip Rivers is playing well, fitting passes into tight windows to a growing group of receivers, while the Colts' running game has suddenly come alive. These developments are not unrelated. Beating the same team twice in three games is a tall order, but I remain convinced that Indianapolis is quietly the tougher team up front on both sides of the ball than the Big, Bad Titans.

New York Giants 24, Cincinnati Bengals 11

The Giants' COVID issues and coaching staff strife off the field belie a team that is increasingly cohesive on it. Daniel Jones is a big part of a running game that is giving the Giants an identity, while defensive coordinator Patrick Graham has schemed confusion and mistakes from much better quarterbacks than Bengals surprise starter Brandon Allen.

Buffalo Bills 31, Los Angeles Chargers 30

The Chargers, Steelers and Chiefs remain the only three teams to avoid a two-score loss this season. That figures to remain true for the Bolts this week against a Bills outfit still allergic to putting together a complete game on both sides of the ball. The return of Joey Bosa last week and possibly Austin Ekeler this week gives Los Angeles hope in what should be another narrow loss to a quality opponent.

Las Vegas Raiders 32, Atlanta Falcons 28

After their emotional Sunday night loss, the Raiders have to get up for a dangerous 10 a.m. PT game in a lifeless Atlanta dome. With Julio Jones already dubbed a game-time decision, the Falcons may not have the firepower to keep up with one of the NFL's most balanced, consistent and diverse offenses. Jon Gruden is a good coach, people!

Los Angeles Rams 27, San Francisco 49ers 23

This score comes from my football-addicted 5-year-old son, Walker, who says, "The Rams beat the Bucs, who are better than the 49ers." It's hard to argue with that logic, although the possible return of Deebo Samuel and Raheem Mostert to a Niners offense that always gives the Rams problems figures to make this another Shanahan-McVay showdown that winds up closer than expected.

New Orleans Saints 30, Denver Broncos 20

Back in May, I wrote about the Saints having the NFL's best, most complete roster. Now in late November, they are Football Outsiders' top team by far in overall efficiency, ranking in the top five in offense, defense and special teams. They have too many ways to win, no matter who is at quarterback, especially against a team as uneven as the Broncos.

(UPDATE: NFL Network's James Palmer reports Broncos quarterbacks Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles have all been ruled out for Sunday's game due to close contact tracing linked to fellow Denver QB Jeff Driskel, who was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday.)

Kansas City Chiefs 30, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 28

I am hesitant to bury the Bucs because their defense is still so good and provides a challenge Patrick Mahomes hasn't faced all season. I am hesitant to pick the Bucs because their offense asks Tom Brady to do the things he's least comfortable doing (holding the ball, taking hits, throwing deep) while providing too few of the things that he likes, such as a running back with two working hands. The Chiefs are 18-1 in their last 19 games. I've picked against them twice in that span and even that feels disrespectful. Nothing makes me feel dumber than watching Patrick Mahomes break the quarterback position when I foolishly thought it might not happen.

Green Bay Packers 23, Chicago Bears 17

Aaron Rodgers is unlikely to see as many wide-open receivers as usual against this sound, well-coached Bears defense. Aaron Jones' mini-slump may even continue. But there's little reason to think the Bears' skill position players -- including the quarterback -- will be put in a position to make any of it matter. I'm thankful this is Chicago's last prime-time game.


Seattle Seahawks 30, Philadelphia Eagles 19

The Seahawks' defense has been good enough in three of their last four games, with Carlos Dunlap adding some necessary pass-rush boost. Good enough is all this unit needs to be! In Philadelphia, the 'Hawks face an offense that ends slumps. The Eagles' run-first approach plays to Seattle's strengths, and Carson Wentz -- even with shackles on -- just keeps making mistakes.


Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Baltimore Ravens 14

The Ravens' domination of Pittsburgh up front in Week 8, only to lose because of turnovers, feels like a long time ago. Lamar Jackson going on the COVID-19 list torpedoes the chance of them winning this week, as they were already soft up the middle on both sides of the ball because of injuries. Robert Griffin III has not shown much reason in his limited chances with the Ravens to believe he could keep the team competitive against this Steelers defense.

(UPDATE: The Ravens-Steelers game has been rescheduled again to Tuesday at 8 p.m., the NFL announced Friday, as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 situation within the Ravens organization.)


Houston Texans 27, Detroit Lions 20

Feel free to call Deshaun Watson one of the NFL's top five quarterbacks at the Thanksgiving table, especially when he's coming off one of his best career games against a Patriots defense with similar coverage tendencies to these Lions. The questionable status of two key Lions -- Jenga piece Kenny Golladay and explosive runner D'Andre Swift -- impacts the score prediction here, but I love the Texans to win either way, improving their record to 4-1 against teams that currently have a losing record.

(UPDATE: Golladay and Swift are both inactive for Thursday's game.)

Washington Football Team 24, Dallas Cowboys 21

Alex Smith vs. Andy Dalton in what is annually the most-watched time slot of the NFL season feels like taking a portal back to the innocent days of 2015. While the Dallas defense has greatly improved over the last month, Smith is playing better than I imagined possible for a plucky Washington outfit and is ready to spread some holiday cheer.

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