The first 11 weeks of the NFL season have shaken out a lot of surprises. Will Week 12 see more upheaval?
The “week 12 nfl picks straight up 2021” is a guide that includes the latest NFL Week 12 game picks, schedule, injuries and more.
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The NFL’s Week 12 schedule for the 2021 season is chock-full of intriguing matches, and we’ve got you covered with everything you need to know ahead of the weekend. Our NFL Nation reporters provide us with the most important aspects of each game, as well as a bold prediction for each matchup and, of course, final score predictions.
Additionally, for each game, ESPN Stats & Information gives a key statistic to know as well as a betting nugget, and our Football Power Index (FPI) delves deeper into the stats with a matchup rating (on a scale of 1 to 100) and a game forecast. Kyle Soppe, an ESPN researcher, also provides useful fantasy football advice. Everything you need to know to prepare for a jam-packed weekend of NFL football is right here in one place.
Let’s take a look at the whole Week 12 schedule, which includes a massive duel between AFC powerhouses in Foxborough, Massachusetts, a Tom Brady vs. Jonathan Taylor confrontation, an offensive fight between the Rams and Packers, and two key AFC North matchups. It all comes to a head on Monday Night Football when Seattle and Washington face off on ESPN. (Unless otherwise stated, all games are on Sunday.)
TB-IND | TEN-NE | PIT-CIN CAR-MIA | PHI-NYG | ATL-JAX NYJ-HOU | LAC-DEN | LAR-GB MIN-SF | CLE-BAL | SEA-WSH TB-IND | TEN-NE | PIT-CIN CAR-MIA | PHI-NYG | ATL-JAX NYJ-HOU | LAC-DEN | LAR-GB MIN-
Takeaways from the Thanksgiving game Bye-bye, ARI and KC
1 p.m. ET | 84.1 Fox Matchup rating | TB -3 spread (51.5)
What to look out for: Will the Colts’ defense be able to slow down Buccaneers QB Tom Brady? The Colts did a fantastic job of keeping Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen in the pocket and preventing him from being a dual-threat quarterback. They must now push Brady outside of his comfort zone, away from the pocket. This season, Brady leads the NFL in passing yards per game (317.7) and passing touchdowns (29) while throwing just eight interceptions and being sacked fewer than twice a game. Matt Eberflus, the defensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts, said it best: “You’re not going to fool Tom Brady. That will not be the case.” Mike Wells’ remark
The Bucs’ top-ranked rush defense will limit Indianapolis running back Jonathan Taylor to 70 yards or less on the ground. That’s the lowest score he’s had in the last six games. This season, the Bucs have only given up 100 rushing yards to one running back (Khalil Herbert, in Week 7). Their bread and butter is stopping the run, but they must prove they can win on the road, which has been a challenge all year. Jenna Laine is a writer who lives in New York City.
Colts quarterback Carson Wentz has two or more throwing touchdowns and zero interceptions in six games this season. Only Aaron Rodgers and Kirk Cousins have more of these contests under their belt (seven each).
Buccaneers | Colts Injuries
What you should know about fantasy: Taylor’s five touchdowns from last week are well-known, but did you realize he has a 30-yard touch in eight consecutive games? He’ll not only be a good contender for fantasy MVP in 2021, but he’ll also be a strong contender for the #1 overall selection next summer. Check out the Week 12 standings.
Tampa Bay has gone 0-5 against the spread (ATS) this season on the road. Continue reading to learn more.
Buccaneers 29, Colts 27 is Laine’s choice. Buccaneers 31, Colts 30 is Wells’ prediction. TB, 60.6 percent, according to the FPI (by an average of 3.6 points)
Must-read matchups: Where do Evans and Godwin rank among the greatest WR duos? In 2018, Reich’s calm approach aided the Colts’ comeback after a sluggish start.
1 p.m. ET | CBS Matchup rating: 67.7 | NE -6.5 spread (44)
What to look out for: “They have every blitz you could imagine.” The Titans have been labeled as “a continual meal of blitzes” by Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, and after rookie quarterback Mac Jones experienced a steady diet of blitzes from the Falcons last week, expect more of the same this week. The result is likely to be determined by Jones’ handling of the blitz. — Reiss, Mike
Against the Patriots, the Titans will win the turnover fight despite coming off a defeat in which they turned the ball over five times. During its five-game winning run, New England’s defense has 18 interceptions, the most in the NFL, and has forced 13 turnovers. The Titans, on the other hand, will depend on their front four to provide pressure on Jones while dropping seven into coverage in the hopes of obstructing the passing lanes and securing interceptions. Turron Davenport (Turron Davenport)
Since trailing the Browns 7-0 in the first quarter in Week 10, the Patriots have outscored opponents 70-0. On their last 19 opponent possessions, the Patriots have allowed 0 scores (nine sacks, five interceptions and 3-for-21 on opponent third-down conversions).
Titans against. Patriots: Injuries
What you should know about fantasy: A.J. Brown of the Titans has gone three games without catching a 20-yard pass for the second time this season. After being a top-five receiver in his first two games, he hasn’t been a top-30 receiver in any of his last three games. Check out the Week 12 standings.
1 p.m. ET | CBS Matchup rating of 44.0 | CIN -4.5 spread (45)
What to look for: The Bengals are attempting to sweep the Steelers for the first game since 2009. They won at Heinz Field earlier this season. Although the Steelers haven’t won since a close win over the Bears in Week 9, running back Najee Harris leads the NFL with 1,022 yards from scrimmage. Pittsburgh will want to get him on the field as soon as possible. – Ben Little
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The Bengals will contain Harris to less than 50 running yards, according to my bold prediction. The Bengals held Harris to 40 yards on 14 carries in their first encounter, but 20 of those yards came on one run. While the Steelers’ run game has improved since that Week 3 battle, Harris only managed 39 yards on 12 attempts last week against the Chargers’ run defense, which is statistically one of the league’s worst. The Bengals allow less than 100 running yards per game on average. Brooke Pryor is an actress who plays Brooke Pryor.
Bengals wideout Ja’Marr Chase is one touchdown short of matching the team’s rookie record most receiving touchdowns in a single season. (In 1973, Isaac Curtis had nine.) Chase is tied with Adam Thielen for the most receiving touchdowns in the NFL with seven.
Bengals | Steelers Injuries
In Week 3, despite completing 40 fewer passes than Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger, Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow earned more fantasy points than Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger. In that game, Burrow threw for 172 yards and three touchdowns on 18 attempts, displaying fantasy efficiency at its best. Check out the Week 12 standings.
Betting tip: As an underdog this season, Pittsburgh is 4-1 ATS. Continue reading to learn more.
Bengals 24, Steelers 21 is Pryor’s prediction. Bengals 20, Steelers 16 is Baby’s choice. CIN, 54.6 percent, according to the FPI (by an average of 1.6 points)
Matchup must-reads: Following his matchup with COVID-19, Roethlisberger puts in a defining performance… The Bengals unveiled their playoff plan ahead of their matchup with the Steelers.
1 p.m. ET | 37.3 Fox Matchup rating | CAR -1 spread (42)
What to look for: The Panthers’ defense has the greatest sack percentage (10.8 percent of dropbacks) in the NFL over the last four games, while Miami has given up the sixth-most sacks. Last week, the Dolphins didn’t allow a sack, but this will be their hardest test yet, as they attempt to preserve quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and their three-game winning run. — Louis-Jacques Marcel
With all of the focus on Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, the star will be running back Christian McCaffrey, who will have more than 200 yards from scrimmage against a defense that ranks 29th in the NFL in yards allowed per game (382.8). McCaffrey now has 22 games with 50 yards running and 50 yards receiving. A 23rd would tie Tiki Barber and LaDainian Tomlinson for the second most in NFL history. David Newton is an author.
Tagovailoa’s completion percentage in the first half of games this season is 64.6 percent, which ranks 22nd in the NFL. However, he leads the league with a 72.2 percent completion percentage in the second half and overtime.
Panthers | Dolphins Injuries
1 p.m. ET | 36.6 Fox Matchup rating | PHI -3.5 spread (45.5)
What to look out for: The Giants’ offensive coordinator, Jason Garrett, is no longer with the team. So, how will this affect their offensive strategy? Will it be a significant lift for Daniel Jones, the quarterback? Will the play-calling be noticeably different now that Freddie Kitchens is in charge? It will be fascinating to see this unfold. Jordan Raanan is a writer.
Here’s how the playoff bracket currently stands, as well as the possible outcomes. • Who’s in the playoff picture right now? • The Playoff Machine on ESPN » • Football Power Index » | Standings
With Jordan Howard out, Boston Scott will lead all Eagles running backs in total offense with 100 yards or more. Although Miles Sanders is the starter, Scott’s background with the G-Men cannot be overlooked. He has 222 running yards and five touchdowns in four games versus the Jets, along with 14 receptions for 210 yards and a touchdown. To put things in perspective, throughout his whole career, he has only rushed for 840 yards and nine touchdowns. He goes all out against the Giants for some reason. Tim McManus, Ph.D.
According to NFL Next Gen Stats, New York quarterback Jones has 26 completions into tight windows (less than 1 yard of separation) this season. This is the best in the NFL, and his 44% completion percentage in tight windows is second only to Jimmy Garoppolo (46 percent ).
Eagles | Giants Injuries
What to know for fantasy: The Eagles have recently moved to a run-heavy system, but it didn’t provide much clarity for fantasy managers in Week 11. Sanders led the backfield with six carries in the first quarter, followed by Howard’s eight in the second and Scott’s four in the third. Check out the Week 12 standings.
New York hasn’t gone over the total in any of its five home games (0-4-1). Continue reading to learn more.
Eagles 27, Giants 13 is McManus’ prediction. Giants 27, Eagles 25 is Raanan’s prediction. PHI, 56.1 percent, according to FPI (by an average of 2.1 points)
Must-reads in this matchup: Hurts makes a strong case to remain the Eagles’ quarterback beyond 2021… The Giants’ offensive coordinator Garrett is the first to be dismissed, and more might follow… Garrett has been fired as offensive coordinator by the Giants.
1 p.m. ET | CBS Matchup rating: 9.3 | ATL -1 point spread (46.5)
What to look out for: This is expected to be a low-scoring match. In the last two weeks, the two teams have combined for 30 points, with the Jaguars scoring 27 of them. The Falcons are without wide receiver Calvin Ridley and running back Cordarrelle Patterson, who has been sidelined with an ankle issue. Meanwhile, the Jaguars will be without wide receiver Jamal Agnew (hip) and running back James Robinson, who is dealing with heel and knee problems. As a result of the lack of playmakers on the field — Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts is by far the finest skill position player on the field — this game might wind up being a puntfest. — Mike DiRocco is an actor who has been in many films.
Atlanta will reach the end zone a lot after going two weeks without scoring a touchdown. The Falcons will score five touchdowns against the Jaguars to put an end to talk about the team’s scoring woes. They are attempting to win their fourth consecutive game against the Jaguars, which would be their second-longest current winning run against a single opponent (five straight vs. the Raiders). Michael Rothstein is a writer and producer.
In his last three games, Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence has thrown 0 touchdowns and zero picks. Since 2000, just one quarterback has started and had zero of both in four consecutive games: Jacoby Brissett from 2019 to 2021.
Falcons | Jaguars Injuries
1 p.m. ET | CBS Matchup rating: 2.9 | HOU -2.5 | Spread: (44.5)
What to look out for: For the first time in club history, the Texans have forced five takeaways in back-to-back games, and the Jets might be the team to keep that trend going. According to ESPN Stats & Info, New York has the most turnovers (23) in the league and is the only club in the NFL to have a turnover in every game this season. With 19 takeaways this season, Houston is tied for fourth in the NFL. Sarah Barshop is a writer.
With quarterback Zach Wilson back in the lineup after missing four games due to a knee injury, I’m making a bold prediction: the Jets will commit three turnovers in their worst defeat of the season. This isn’t a difficult task: The Jets have a minus-15 turnover margin, which is the lowest in the league. The Texans have a plus-2 record. Cimini, Rich
The Jets have averaged 435.8 yards per game over their last four games (since Week 8), which is the best in the NFL. In the same time period, they have allowed 431.8 yards per game, which is the worst in the NFL.
4:05 p.m. ET | CBS Matchup rating: 58.1 | LAC -2.5 spread (47.5)
What to look out for: It’s all about your degree of comfort. The Broncos will struggle in a crucial game for the AFC West playoff chase if Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert is too relaxed. Herbert has passed for at least 300 yards and completed at least 70% of his passes in three games this season, two of which have happened in his last three starts. With four-man pressures, the Broncos must find a way to put some heat on him. Legwold, Jeff
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Herbert will combine for more than 400 yards passing and running, and he’ll score at least once both ways, according to my bold prediction. In his last six starts versus AFC West opponents, he has 15 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Shelley Smith says:
Melvin Gordon III, the Broncos’ running back, has scored a touchdown in four consecutive games. Since Julius Thomas in 2014, no Broncos player has scored a touchdown in five successive games. Gordon, on the other hand, has not scored a touchdown in two games against the Chargers since joining the Broncos.
Chargers | Broncos Injuries
What to know in fantasy: Chargers running back Austin Ekeler has gotten more carries on the ground this season than he has in any other year of his career, and when you combine that with the fact that he has scored over 10 points as a pass-catcher in each of his last three games against the Broncos, there is a lot of upside here. Check out the Week 12 standings.
Denver has gone under the total in eight of its ten games this season. Continue reading to learn more.
Chargers 34, Broncos 21 is Smith’s prediction. Broncos 26, according to Legwold. Chargers (24 points) DEN, 54.4 percent, according to the FPI (by an average of 1.5 points)
Matchup must-reads: James is embracing his position as a leader on the Chargers’ defense now that he’s well… When the Broncos meet the Chargers, Fangio will be reunited with’special’ Staley.
4:25 p.m. ET | 83.1 Fox Matchup rating | LAR -1 spread (47)
What to look for: The Rams should be rejuvenated after their bye week, but the Packers are beat up and limping into their bye week next week. The disparities will be most evident up front, where the Packers will be missing three of their five starting offensive linemen, while the Rams should have a significant edge on defense with Aaron Donald, Leonard Floyd, and Von Miller. To counter this, Green Bay coach Matt LaFleur is expected to use a quick-passing offense. Demovsky, Rob
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Speculative prediction: Donald will have his second game with multiple sacks this season. The Rams’ great defensive lineman was limited by a rib injury the last time he played at Lambeau Field, and Los Angeles lost in a divisional playoff game. The Rams’ new-look defensive front, which now features outside linebacker Miller, will maintain the pressure on Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who is battling with a toe injury. Lindsey Thiry (Lindsey Thiry)
Know this: Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford has the most career throwing touchdowns versus the Packers with 37. However, his 13 defeats versus them in his career are the second most since 1950. (Fran Tarkenton led the way with 14.)
Injury Reports: Rams vs. Packers
What you should know about fantasy: Davante Adams, a wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers, snagged a pair of touchdown receptions last week in Minnesota, after an uninspiring three touchdowns this season. In December of last season, he grabbed seven touchdown passes. Could he be on his way to become a league champion once more? Check out the Week 12 standings.
Green Bay is 8-0 ATS following a defeat in the last three seasons under LaFleur. Continue reading to learn more.
Packers 27, Rams 24 (thirty’s selection). Rams 27, Packers 24 is Demovsky’s prediction. The FPI predicts that the United Kingdom will win 51.5 percent of the vote (by an average of 0.6 points)
Matchup must-reads: The Rams are on the decline as they go into their bye week… The Packers have survived injuries in the past, but losing Jenkins may be their toughest challenge yet.
4:25 p.m. ET | 63.6 Fox Matchup rating | SF -3 spread (48)
What to look for: The 49ers’ recent success has been fueled by a resurgent rushing game and a reduction in turnovers. Meanwhile, Minnesota’s run defense is last in the NFL in projected points added, while the Vikings are tied for seventh in turnover margin (plus-6). This is a crucial game for both teams, and the club that wins those categories has a great opportunity to win and put itself in a position to compete for an NFC wild-card slot. Nick Wagoner is a writer.
With Danielle Hunter (IR), Dalvin Tomlinson (reserve/COVID-19), Michael Pierce (IR), and Everson Griffen (who is dealing with a mental health problem) not playing against San Francisco, the Vikings’ defensive line looks nothing like it did at the start of the season. The 49ers’ run game will aim to take advantage of Minnesota’s front-line depth woes, rushing for 215 yards and three touchdowns. Deebo Samuel, who the Niners used significantly in the backfield against Jacksonville, Trey Sermon, and Jeff Wilson Jr. will all play, with Elijah Mitchell remaining questionable due to a finger issue. — Cronin, Courtney
Justin Jefferson, a wide receiver with the Vikings, needs 56 yards to reach 1,000 yards for the second year in a row. He’s aiming to become just the second Vikings player to have 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first two seasons (Randy Moss). And, with 143 and 169 yards receiving in his last two games, he now has 11 career 100-yard receiving performances, tied for second most in the Super Bowl era through two seasons. (Odell Beckham Jr. led the team with 15.)
Vikings | 49ers Injuries
NBC Matchup rating: 58.2 | Spread: BAL -3.5 | 8:20 p.m. ET (46)
What to look out for: Will the Browns finally be able to stop Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson? In his last four games with the Browns, Jackson, who is 4-1 as a starter against them, has accounted for at least three touchdowns. According to Elias Sports Bureau records, just six quarterbacks have had five-game streaks of three or more total touchdowns versus a single club. The Browns have given up three or more touchdowns to four quarterbacks this season: Justin Herbert, Patrick Mahomes, Kyler Murray, and Mac Jones. Jamison Hensley (Jamison Hensley)
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Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield and the Browns’ offense will finally break out with five touchdowns after a streak of disappointing offensive performances. Jackson, on the other hand, will score five touchdowns in his comeback from sickness last week. Jake Trotter’s remark
Fact to be aware of: Myles Garrett of the Cleveland Browns leads the NFL with 13.0 sacks this season. He needs 1.5 more sacks to break Reggie Camp’s single-season sack record for the Browns (14.0 in 1984).
Browns | Ravens Injuries
Mayfield has thrown at least one interception in each of his six games against the Ravens (10 TDs, eight interceptions), tying him for the longest interception streak against the Ravens in franchise history (Derek Anderson, Steve McNair). Check out the Week 12 standings.
Baltimore is 2-6 ATS as a favorite this season, including a 1-6 ATS record in Jackson starts (all as at least a three-point favorite). Continue reading to learn more.
Ravens 38, Browns 35, according to Trotter. Ravens 24, Browns 20 is Hensley’s prediction. BAL, 61.3 percent, according to the FPI (by an average of 3.9 points)
Must-reads before of the game: Mayfield says he ‘doesn’t really care’ if Browns supporters boo him… A day after missing the Ravens’ triumph due to sickness, Jackson said he ‘felt fine’… The Browns are banking on a banged-up Mayfield to turn around his – and their – season.
WSH -1 | Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET | ESPN Matchup rating: 43.5 (46.5)
What to look out for: Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson has struggled in his two games since returning from a finger injury, allowing seven sacks in total. Seattle’s guards have struggled, so Washington’s defensive tackles Jonathan Allen, Darron Payne, and Matt Ioannidis are a nice matchup. Wilson and the Seahawks’ passing offense — DK Metcalf has not reached 50 yards in the last three games — will continue to struggle if Washington takes advantage of this situation. ‘John Keim’
J.D. McKissic, the Washington running back, will exceed 50 yards receiving and score a touchdown pass against his former club, according to a bold prediction. Given his prodigious pass-catching ability and the Seahawks’ struggles defending screens out of the backfield, that may be cautious. McKissic, who played 19 games with Seattle from 2016 to 2018, is tied for sixth in the NFL in catches (38) and fourth in receiving yards this season (371). Meanwhile, Seattle has given up the most passing yards to running backs this season (726). Brady Henderson’s quote
In Week 11, Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke led the NFL in Total QBR (92.5), and he’s on his way to become the first Washington quarterback to throw three or more passing touchdowns in back-to-back games since Kirk Cousins in 2016.
Seahawks | Washington | Injuries
What to know for fantasy: On Monday night, how fortunate do you feel? In four consecutive games, Seattle wide receiver Tyler Lockett has gone over 110 receiving yards or under 25 receiving yards. Check out the Week 12 standings.
Seattle games have gone under 8-1-1 this season, including 5-0-1 after a defeat and 6-0 in conference games. Wilson has a 13-2 record in his last 15 regular-season starts. Continue reading to learn more.
Henderson’s prediction is that the Seahawks will win by a score of 21 to 19 against the Washington Redskins. Washington 24, Seahawks 21 is Keim’s prediction. SEA, 50.8 percent, according to the FPI (by an average of 0.3 points)
Matchup must-reads: Seahawks CB Brown’s season might be over after surgery… Heinicke’s revival has fuelled Washington’s turnaround… Frustrated Carroll leaves the presser and returns later.
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The “nfl odds week 12 2021” is a website that provides NFL game picks, schedule guide, fantasy football tips, odds, injuries and more.
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