NFL Week 12 predictions: Bet on Patriots over Broncos; Panthers-Cowboys a toss-up

Here are our NFL Nation reporters' predictions for Week 12:


Philadelphia Eagles: There is snow on the ground in Detroit, but there won't be any at Ford Field. Two years ago, a blizzard helped the Eagles contain Calvin Johnson. After watching Mike Evans burn them last week, it's hard to see the Eagles stopping Johnson and Golden Tate. Lions 27, Eagles 23. -- Phil Sheridan

Detroit Lions: The Lions have struggled to score for the past two weeks -- the first team in NFL history to have 18 points in back-to-back games. Philadelphia hasn't been much better, scoring less than 20 points in three of its past four games. So I'll go with the team playing better defensively. Detroit has beaten Green Bay and Oakland the past two weeks; Philadelphia lost to Tampa Bay and Miami. I'll take the Lions. Detroit 18, Philadelphia 17. -- Michael Rothstein


Carolina Panthers: The Panthers lead the NFL in takeaway-giveaway margin at plus-13, having forced a league-high 25 turnovers. Dallas ranks 31st with a differential of minus-9. Quarterback Tony Romo showed a little rust in his return, throwing two interceptions. The Cowboys have forced only seven turnovers all season. On this day of Thanksgiving, it'll be the team that gives that falls short. Panthers 24, Cowboys 13. -- David Newton

Dallas Cowboys: It's amazing what one win can do for the confidence of a team and the confidence of fans of that team. The Cowboys' win last week against Miami has rekindled the playoff hopes of their fans and has some experts wondering if they can get into the playoffs. Such is the power of Tony Romo. Twice in his career, Romo has led the Cowboys to wins over teams that had at least 9-0 records at the time (against Indianapolis in 2006 and New Orleans in 2009). The Panthers are 10-0 and playing as well as any team in the league. They have a defense that takes the ball away and an offense that can win a number of ways. In 2006, the Cowboys rode Romo-mentum to the playoffs after a 4-4 start. Nine seasons later, is Romo-mentum making a comeback? Cowboys 31, Panthers 24. -- Todd Archer


Chicago Bears: The timing could not be worse for Chicago. Green Bay (7-3) is revitalized after an impressive road victory over Minnesota. The Bears (4-6), on the other hand, just dropped a heartbreaker to Denver that effectively ended their playoff dreams. Jay Cutler has never won at Lambeau Field. The Bears' greatest nemesis (Brett Favre) is having his number retired. Chicago is banged-up at almost every skill position. This doesn't look good. Packers 27, Bears 17. -- Jeff Dickerson

Green Bay Packers: The Packers should be thankful the NFL sent the Bears to Lambeau Field for the Thanksgiving night game. In 12 career regular-season games against the Packers, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has only one victory. Cutler is 0-4 at Lambeau Field. Why would this time be any different? Packers 29, Bears 17. -- Rob Demovsky


Oakland Raiders: Oakland has lost three consecutive games to fall to 4-6 after looking like a playoff team at midseason. Its offense has scored just 27 points in the past two games after averaging 35 points for the three previous games. And, yes, the Raiders can't tackle on defense. Still, I believe they are better than the Titans. Check back with me next week. I may not be a believer for too much longer. Raiders 27, Titans 20. -- Bill Williamson

Tennessee Titans: Pressure on the quarterback has keyed the Titans' pass defense this season, but no team has allowed fewer than the Raiders' 13 sacks. That bodes well for Derek Carr and Oakland's passing game. Tennessee gets a bit more point production, but the home losing streak gets extended to 11. Raiders 23, Titans 21. -- Paul Kuharsky


Buffalo Bills: Bills coach Rex Ryan is calling this a "huge, huge game" and he's right. It could determine which of these two teams earns a wild-card playoff berth. In their four-game winning streak, the Chiefs are second in Total QBR (83.0) and first in opposing Total QBR (9.4), so both their offense and defense have been clicking. On a short week and playing their third consecutive road game in a notoriously loud environment, the Bills face a huge test. Chiefs 17, Bills 10. -- Mike Rodak

Kansas City Chiefs: The matchups aren't great for the Bills, at least when they have the ball. The Chiefs are allowing just 93 rushing yards per game, so the going will be rough for LeSean McCoy and the running game. And the Bills, 29th in passing yardage, don't have the firepower to succeed consistently against the Chiefs through the air. Chiefs 26, Bills 16. -- Adam Teicher


Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs are coming off their most impressive showing this season in a rout of the Eagles. The Colts, meanwhile, are vulnerable against the pass, allowing 278.9 yards per game (ranked 29th). Quarterback Jameis Winston can take another step forward if he avoids turnovers and puts up large numbers against a unit that has allowed at least 300 yards passing three times this season. Matt Hasselbeck is a solid replacement for Andrew Luck, but Tampa Bay's defense has allowed just three combined points in the second half in the past two games. Don't look for the Bucs' momentum to stop here. Bucs 27, Colts 21. -- Andrew Astleford

Indianapolis Colts: It's 40-year-old Matt Hasselbeck, who is 3-0 as the starting quarterback, going against No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston, who has led the Buccaneers to victories in three of the past four games. Something has to give. The Colts are beat-up, as starting running back Frank Gore (ankle), safety Mike Adams (ankle) and cornerback Vontae Davis (hamstring) are all dealing with injuries. The Colts' defense is facing a very confident Tampa offense. Winston threw five touchdowns and Doug Martin rushed for 235 yards against Philadelphia last weekend. Hasselbeck gets his first loss of the season in a close one. Buccaneers 24, Colts 21. -- Mike Wells


New York Giants: The Giants are 5-0 against Washington since the start of the 2013 season and 13-24 against everyone else. They operate with a high degree of confidence against this team. They believe Kirk Cousins will give them chances to intercept the ball, and the way they've taken the ball away from their opponents this season (second-most in the league), they believe they can and will take advantage. This should be a close game, as the teams appear evenly matched on paper, but the Giants have this team's number, and I don't think it'll change just because it's a road game. Giants 28, Redskins 24. -- Dan Graziano

Washington Redskins: Washington has lost five in a row to the Giants; quarterback Kirk Cousins has thrown two touchdowns and eight interceptions in three starts against them. At some point, this streak of bad play will end. But when? The Giants' confidence level rises a notch whenever they play the Redskins, who are a resilient team and 4-1 at home. But they still have too many holes on both sides of the ball in the running game. Giants 28, Redskins 27. -- John Keim


New Orleans Saints: The Saints won five straight after byes from 2009 to 2013 after coach Sean Payton started giving players a full week off. Last season, they were playing one of their best games after the bye before blowing it in the final minutes at Detroit. Their sense of urgency couldn't possibly be higher after two straight losses and the firing of defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Now it's up to new DC Dennis Allen to figure out how to actually rattle quarterback Brian Hoyer for a change. The Saints are on pace to allow the highest opponents' passer rating in NFL history (116.5, 28 TDs, four interceptions). Saints 27, Texans 24. -- Mike Triplett

Houston Texans: Their defense has turned a corner. In the past four weeks, they've been second in yards allowed per game (244.7) and second in points allowed per game (9.7) after struggling during the first seven weeks. The Saints' offense ranks second in yards per game, which will pose a tough test for the Texans, and one I believe they'll pass. Texans 20, Saints 14. -- Tania Ganguli


Minnesota Vikings: If the Falcons get Devonta Freeman back from a concussion, they'd present one of the most complete offensive challenges the Vikings have seen this season. But if they don't have him, their turnover-prone quarterback will be working against a defense that hasn't given up many big plays. It's hard to pick a team whose only win since Week 5 is a 10-7 victory over the Titans. In a battle of playoff contenders that need to bounce back, the Vikings will find a way past Atlanta on the road. Vikings 20, Falcons 17. -- Ben Goessling

Atlanta Falcons: Quarterback Matt Ryan is struggling a bit, but he has never lost three games in a row at the Georgia Dome. The Vikings come to town boasting the NFL's top rusher in Adrian Peterson (1,006 yards), but the Falcons have the league's top rushing defense, allowing just 87.4 rushing yards per game. If Ryan shakes off his slump and if the defense can at least contain Peterson, the Falcons should be able to get back on track after losing three straight. The wild card here might be the play of rookie running back Tevin Coleman, seemingly destined to replace Devonta Freeman, who is recovering from a concussion. Falcons 21, Vikings 17. -- Vaughn McClure


St. Louis Rams: The Rams have been known to spring an upset or two against some of the league's better teams in recent seasons. But this doesn't look like the mix for the Rams to make that happen. The Bengals boast the NFL's third-best scoring defense. The Rams have the league's second-worst scoring average. Sometimes, it's not much more complicated than that. Bengals 24, Rams 10. -- Nick Wagoner

Cincinnati Bengals: The only time the Bengals have lost more than one game in November under Andy Dalton was his rookie season (2011). Could Dalton's crew hit three losses for the month on Sunday? While the Rams certainly have a formidable defensive line and boast the league's top rookie running back, it's hard seeing them beat the Bengals in any other areas in a game played at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals have won 17 of their past 21 regular-season home games, and should make it 18 of 22 Sunday. Also, St. Louis is averaging a tame 17.9 points per game, compared to the Bengals' 26.6. Bengals 24, Rams 14. -- Coley Harvey


San Diego Chargers: The Chargers have won four straight against the Jaguars, but face an improved Jacksonville team on Sunday. However, San Diego has to win a game and break out of a six-game slump at some point, and this presents the best opportunity. Jacksonville averages just 21 points a game, and San Diego's Philip Rivers-led offense should move the ball through the air against a defense that is giving up 262 passing yards a game. Chargers 27, Jaguars 24. -- Eric Williams

Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars are favored to win for the second week in a row and they're riding the momentum of back-to-back victories, both of which have come late in the fourth quarter. The problem is they're facing San Diego QB Philip Rivers, who has absolutely destroyed the Jaguars in his career. He's 4-1 against Jacksonville and has won the past four meetings by an average of 21.5 points. He has thrown for 1,599 yards and 11 touchdowns with only four interceptions and completed 72.2 percent of his passes against the Jaguars. But here's why Jacksonville can win: The Chargers are banged-up at receiver. Keenan Allen is out for the season with a lacerated kidney and Malcom Floyd is dealing with a torn labrum. The Jaguars finally have their entire cast of receivers on the field and TE Julius Thomas is starting to become more involved in the red zone. Jaguars 23, Chargers 20. -- Mike DiRocco


Miami Dolphins: Here is an interesting stat to consider: The road team is 7-0 in the past seven meetings in this series. The Dolphins are 3-0 against the Jets at MetLife Stadium since 2012. However, Miami's offense is slumping, averaging just 14.5 points per game in the past four weeks. That is simply not enough to win on the road. The Dolphins fall to 0-5 in the division. Jets 17, Dolphins 16. -- James Walker

New York Jets: The Jets and Dolphins are a combined 2-5 in the month of November, so we're talking about two struggling teams fighting to stay relevant in the playoff picture. The Jets' confidence is sagging and they've lost their identity, especially on offense. They likely will be without cornerback Darrelle Revis (concussion), which means WR Jarvis Landry could have a big game. It'll be ugly and close, but the Jets are 1-4 in games decided by seven points or less. Dolphins 17, Jets 16. -- Rich Cimini


Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals put up 47 points in a 40-point win over San Francisco in Week 3 when the 49ers had Colin Kaepernick as their starting quarterback. Backup Blaine Gabbert led the Niners' offense to 13 points last week in his first start since Kaepernick was put on IR. But where Arizona can bury the Niners early is to take away the run. Last week, San Francisco ran for 59 yards against Seattle, while the Cardinals enter this weekend with the sixth-best rush defense. As long as the Cardinals don't look past the Niners, they should breeze through Sunday afternoon by the bay. However, it won't be as big of a blowout as earlier in the season because the need for starters to rest is greater. Cardinals 38, 49ers 17. -- Josh Weinfuss

San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers are 3-2 at home. They will be wearing their black alternate uniforms in which they dominated the Vikings in the season opener. The Cardinals are coming off two tough prime-time games. Time to pick an upset? Not quite. The Niners should play the Cardinals tougher than they did in a 47-7 loss in Arizona on Sept. 27, but the talent gap is still way too wide. Cardinals 27, 49ers 16. -- Paul Gutierrez


Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers can lose two of their next six games and still finish 10-6, my revised prediction for them. This is one of those two. At 5-5, Seattle is eager to make a late-season run similar to last year's. The Steelers will score enough points to make it interesting, but the defense's efforts to control Jimmy Graham will leave the secondary vulnerable against the Seahawks' supporting cast on offense. Seahawks 24, Steelers 21. -- Jeremy Fowler

Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks' defense has already given up 34 pass plays of 20-plus yards through 10 games. They allowed 32 such plays all of last season. The biggest question mark going into Sunday's game is whether they can hold Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and the Steelers' passing game in check. The key might be more about defensive linemen Michael Bennett (6.5 sacks) and Cliff Avril (6.5 sacks) pressuring Roethlisberger than the coverage in the back end. The Seahawks have held fourth-quarter leads in every game this season, and they'll need the offense to do its part. Seattle escapes with a close win decided in the final two minutes. Seahawks 27, Steelers 24. -- Sheil Kapadia


New England Patriots: Given some of the Patriots' injuries on offense, they'll need some plays (and possibly even some bonus points) from their defensive and special teams units. This is going to be a struggle for them, as the offense has entered into the phase of “finding a way, any way possible” with several key parts missing and an offensive line coming off its worst performance of the season. Given these dynamics, it might take overtime to get the job done, if they can do it. Patriots 20, Broncos 17. -- Mike Reiss

Denver Broncos: The Broncos are No. 1 in total defense, No. 1 in sacks, No. 1 in pass defense and No. 2 in scoring defense. The Patriots are one of just two teams in the league to have averaged at least 30 points a game this season (Arizona is the other). The Broncos have rattled their share of quarterbacks at altitude this season -- Aaron Rodgers is on that list -- but Tom Brady has plenty of Super Bowl rings because of the way he plays in big moments. The Patriots are thin at wide receiver but tight end Rob Gronkowski is averaging a defense-bending 18.5 yards per catch and certainly will be the Broncos' focal point in coverage Sunday night. The bottom line is that the Broncos have not protected their quarterbacks well enough or shown they can consistently run the ball well enough. And Bill Belichick tips the scale in this one. Patriots 24, Broncos 17. -- Jeff Legwold


Baltimore Ravens: The Browns' quarterback switch to Josh McCown actually hurts the Ravens' chances of winning. McCown threw for a career-high 457 yards passing in Baltimore just six weeks ago. Plus, Matt Schaub is taking over for the injured Joe Flacco and hasn't won a game since Sept. 15, 2013. Cleveland has the edge when it comes to journeyman quarterbacks. Browns 24, Ravens 16. -- Jamison Hensley

Cleveland Browns: Lost in the shuffle of the Browns' quarterbacks is this truth: Josh McCown gives the Browns a better chance to beat Baltimore. The defense must play better, but the Browns are playing at home against a Ravens team decimated by injuries on offense. If the Browns don't win this game, they might not win again until the 22nd century. Browns 27, Ravens 20. -- Pat McManamon