KC Joyner's Week 12 NFL pick'em selections

KC Joyner, one of the most accurate pick'em experts in the business over the past six years, details his winners for all of the Week 12 matchups.

KC Joyner

24 Nov, 2020

My Week 11 picks went 7-7, bringing my 2020 season mark to 101-45, or a 67.5 percent win rate that is tied for eighth highest among the more than 100 analysts tracked by Pickwatch.com.

 

Here are my Week 12 picks. Each section details which team is predicted to win and provides a quick summary of why that selection was made. The picks also contain a confidence value for each selection, based on a 1-10 scale with “10” being the most confident and “1” being the least confident.

 

Now on to the picks!

 

Thursday, November 26

 

Houston at Detroit

 

KC’s pick: Houston

 

Confidence level: 5

 

The Texans were one of the worst teams in the league in the first month of the season, but they have won three of their past six and two of their three losses in that span were by a total of nine points. A major factor in the turnaround is turnover control, as Houston has posted only two giveaways in the past five weeks. Detroit is trending in the other direction, having lost three out of four while getting shut out this past week for the first time since Week 6 of the 2009 campaign. The Lions defense is a sieve, having allowed more than 350 offensive yards in all but one game this year and giving up 23 or more points on seven occasions. Since Houston has scored 27+ points in four of the past six games, they are likely to put up a point total that the injury-wracked Lions cannot keep up with, so the Texans are the pick in this one.

 

Washington at Dallas

 

KC’s pick: Dallas

 

Confidence level: 1

 

This matchup isn’t the holiday battle of the heavyweights it was back in this rivalry’s prime, but the Football Team and the Cowboys are both playing at a much higher level now than they were earlier this year. Washington has won two of its past four games in part due to allowing fewer than 300 net offensive yards in three of those four contests. Dallas saw an immediate passing improvement with Andy Dalton back under center, but don’t overlook a Cowboys ground attack that has generated 130+ rushing yards in three straight games. This is the epitome of a pick’em matchup, so home field moves this one towards the Cowboys.

 

Baltimore at Pittsburgh

 

KC’s pick: Pittsburgh

 

Confidence level: 6

 

Baltimore started the year off with a 5-1 mark but have since lost three out of four and will be eliminated from the AFC North divisional title race with a loss in this contest. Myriad issues have caused this drop-off, as the Ravens have allowed 170+ rushing yards in three of their past five games, have tallied more than 200 net passing yards only three times this season, and haven’t scored more than 24 points in a game since mid-October. The undefeated Steelers have been in cruise control the past two weeks by beating Cincinnati and Jacksonville by a combined 63-13 score. The Steelers habit of overlooking opponents won’t occur in this bitter divisional matchup, so they are the choice here by a comfortable margin.

 

Sunday, November 29

 

Las Vegas at Atlanta

 

KC’s pick: Las Vegas

 

Confidence level: 4

 

The Raiders are on an offensive tear right now, as the Silver and Black have scored 98 points over the past three contests. Las Vegas has yet to post fewer than 300 net offensive yards in a game and they have only two giveaways in the past four games. That pace should continue against an Atlanta defense that has yet to allow fewer than 350 net offensive yards in a game this year and has allowed 23 or more offensive points in all but one matchup. The Falcons offense could try to keep up in a shootout, but Atlanta has scored 22 or fewer points in four of their past seven contests. Add it all up and the Raiders simply have more paths to victory, so Las Vegas gets the selection.

 

Los Angeles Chargers at Buffalo

 

KC’s pick: Buffalo

 

Confidence level: 6

 

Scoring points hasn’t been an issue for the Chargers since Justin Herbert took over as quarterback, as the Bolts have racked up 26+ points in six of the past seven games. The problem for Los Angeles is their defense is every bit as adept at giving up points, something evidenced by a seven-game streak of allowing 28+ points. The Bills were one of the highest scoring teams in the league until Tennessee showed everyone how to slow Buffalo’s offense, but 74 points in the past two games indicates Buffalo’s offense is back to its top-flight level. The key here is Buffalo is 4-1 in shootout games this year, while the Chargers are 2-3-1, with their wins coming against the Jets and Jaguars. That indicates the Bills are better suited for this high scoring contest and thus earns Buffalo the pick.

 

New York Giants at Cincinnati

 

KC’s pick: New York

 

Confidence level: 6

 

It’s tough to overlook the Giants 1-7 start, yet the reality is this is a team trending in the right direction in many areas. Big Blue’s offense was arguably the worst in the league in September, but the Giants have now scored 20+ points in six straight games and have posted 732 offensive yards and zero giveaways over the past two weeks. New York’s defense has also been highly opportunistic with 12 takeaways since Week 4. The Bengals offense lost a ton of firepower with Joe Burrow’s season-ending knee injury, so this one easily lands in the Giants column.

 

Tennessee at Indianapolis

 

KC’s pick: Indianapolis

 

Confidence level: 3


These teams both sport 7-3 records, yet the reality is they are trending in different directions. The Colts have won four of their last five largely due to an offense that has racked up 400+ offensive yards in three of those wins and 31+ points in four of those victories. The Titans have lost three of their last five primarily because an inability to put points on the board, as they tallied only 61 points in those three losses. Those trends point towards Indianapolis being able to pace this game in a way that doesn’t bode well for Tennessee, so the Colts are the pick in this one.

 

Cleveland at Jacksonville

 

KC’s pick: Cleveland

 

Confidence level: 7

 

This has been a two-part season for Cleveland, as the Browns started the year by racking up 32+ points in four of their first five games but have since scored 10 or fewer points in three of the past five games. This hasn’t stopped Cleveland from success, as the Browns have allowed 17 or fewer points in three straight and given up 250 or fewer net passing yards in five of the last six games. Jacksonville isn’t as bad as their 1-9 mark indicates, as five of their losses have been by one possession, but they simply don’t have the firepower on offense or defense to keep up with a very talented Cleveland squad, so the Browns are the pick here.

 

Carolina at Minnesota

 

KC’s pick: Minnesota

 

Confidence level: 4

 

Minnesota looked like they had turned things around in a three-game win streak, but their defense fell back into old habits by giving up 31 points and 180 rushing yards against Dallas. That game also marked the eighth time Minnesota has allowed 350+ offensive yards to an opponent. Carolina was on the flip side of that equation, as they ended a five-game losing streak by shutting out the Lions and holding Detroit to only 185 net offensive yards. The problem for the Panthers is the Lions had an injury-wracked offense and the Vikings won’t missing be most of their impact offensive talent, so Minnesota is the selection by a solid margin.

 

Arizona at New England

 

KC’s pick: Arizona

 

Confidence level: 5

 

The Patriots aren’t the offensive juggernaut that they were in the Tom Brady years, but over the past three weeks they have racked up 1,176 yards and zero giveaways on offense, so this platoon is more than holding its own of late. By contrast, the Cardinals had their worst offensive showing of the year last week by posting season lows in points scored and offensive yards against Seattle. Having noted these trends, Arizona did poorly against Seattle because they had the Thursday night road game blues, so the Cardinals should return to the 30+ point range they posted in five straight contests prior to that loss. Since New England has scored 30+ points only once since Week 4, they likely will not be able to keep up with Arizona’s scoring pace, so the Cardinals are the pick here.

 

Miami at New York Jets

 

KC’s pick: Miami

 

Confidence level: 2

 

It may have seemed shocking for Miami to bench Tua Tagovailoa against Denver last week, but it was necessary considering that the Dolphins have posted fewer than 300 net offensive yards in three of the four games that Tua has started. Miami’s defense has also become a major problem, as the Dolphins have allowed 440+ offensive yards in three of the past four contests. The Jets are trending better in many areas, as New York has posted 55 points, 614 yards, and only two giveaways in the past two weeks. Miami has too much of a talent edge to pick against the Dolphins in this one, but it would not be a surprise if the Jets pulled off the upset, so Miami gets this selection by a very small margin.

 

New Orleans at Denver

 

KC’s pick: New Orleans

 

Confidence level: 7

 

One of the main reasons that the Saints didn’t miss a beat without Drew Brees in the lineup is that New Orleans is no longer a pass-centric team. The Saints have thrown for more than 300 net passing yards only two times this year and they have gained 100+ rushing yards in all but two contests. The New Orleans pass defense is key to this, as the Saints have held seven straight foes to under 250 net passing yards. That platoon has also racked up ten takeaways in the past four weeks and given up an average of 48 rushing yards per game in the past five contests. Denver was able to work around its limitations to beat a flawed Miami team last week, but the Saints won’t provide the Broncos with a similar path to victory, so New Orleans is the choice here.

 

San Francisco at Los Angeles Rams

 

KC’s pick: Los Angeles

 

Confidence level: 7

 

The Rams have been an underrated team for much of the 2020 season, but that should change after the past two weeks when they held the powerhouse Seattle and Tampa Bay offenses to a total of 40 points and 429 passing yards combined. The Rams are also experts at takeaways, having generated at least two of those in four straight contests. Los Angeles doesn’t score a ton of points, but their offense has tallied 370+ offensive yards in all but two games this year. That last trend doesn’t bode well for a San Francisco offense that has posted two or more giveaways in six of the past seven games, so the Rams are the pick here by a considerable margin.

 

Kansas City at Tampa Bay

 

KC’s pick: Kansas City

 

Confidence level: 2

 

The Chiefs started the season with a ground-and-pound approach but have returned to their pass-happy ways of late with 350+ net passing yards in three straight games. This display of firepower is a main factor in Kansas City averaging a ridiculous 36.5 points per game over their past four contests. The Chiefs secondary doesn’t allow teams to use the same pass-centric approach in return, as Kansas City has given up fewer than 250 net passing yards in six games this year. Tampa Bay goes as their offense goes, as the Buccaneers are 6-1 when they post 330+ offensive yards and 1-3 when they don’t. Since the Chiefs defense has the ability to slow the Buccaneers passing attack down, the odds are strong that Tampa Bay ends up under the 330-offensive yard mark, so Kansas City is the selection here by a small margin.

 

Chicago at Green Bay

 

KC’s pick: Green Bay

 

Confidence level: 6

 

The NFC East keeps the Packers from being the least impressive division leader in the league, but the fact that in the past six weeks Green Bay was destroyed by Tampa Bay, got run over by Minnesota’s rushing attack, scored only three points in the second half and overtime while blowing a 14-point halftime lead to the Colts, and notched three wins against mediocre clubs shows just how poorly the Packers are playing right now. The good news for Green Bay is Chicago now counts as a mediocre club after losing four straight and posting 17 or fewer points in three of those losses. Add this contest being in Green Bay and the Bears quarterback quandary and it equals a fairly confident Packers win.

 

Monday, November 30

 

Seattle at Philadelphia

 

KC’s pick: Seattle

 

Confidence level: 5

 

Russell Wilson said he was going to do everything he could to eliminate the turnovers that had been plaguing the Seahawks offense and he delivered on that with zero giveaways in Seattle’s win last week over Arizona. A big part of why Wilson was able to do that was a Seahawks ground attack that racked up 165 rushing yards. That factor should dovetail well versus a Philadelphia rush defense that has surprisingly allowed 130+ rushing yards in six straight contests. Combine this trend with Carson Wentz not being able to solve his penchant for giveaways and Seattle’s strong track record of faring well in east coast games and this pick ends up in the Seahawks column.