Below are my confidence level straight up picks for Week 12. The picks with a confidence level of 1-5 will be available to all NFL Pickwatch readers. 


The selections with a 6+ confidence level, a group of games that have netted a 181-73-2 record since 2020 (including 24-13 since Week 4), will be available exclusively to Pickwatch Pro subscribers. Pickwatch Pro is a great service that allows subscribers to download the best expert data in the industry, see team-by-team winners for every expert, and provides access to Upset Watch, which has been the ultimate cheat code to beat the sportsbooks over the last six years. Combine those elements with the top level of my weekly picks and it makes for a must-subscribe service for anyone serious about betting.


Buffalo at Detroit


The Bills have gone through some much-heralded offensive woes the past few weeks, including a slew of interceptions by Josh Allen, but Buffalo’s biggest problem of late is on defense. The Bills have allowed 76 points over the past three weeks and have given up 387+ offensive yards in four of the past five games, including 147+ on the ground in three contests. 


That could be a problem against a Detroit team that has posted 62 points over the past two weeks and 27+ points in three of the past four games. The Lions defense has also been much stingier since replacing their defensive backs coach, which is why Detroit allowed 27 combined points and racked up six takeaways in recent matchups against the Packers and Giants. 


These factors point to this being a much closer game than the point spread indicates, but Buffalo’s huge talent edge should deliver a victory for the Bills.


KC’s pick: Buffalo


Confidence level: 3


New England at Minnesota


The big question mark here is how rattled will the Vikings be after suffering a 40-3 obliteration against the Cowboys last week? That type of loss can have lingering effects, especially when facing a Patriots team that has won five out of its past six games due in part to figuring out its gridiron identity. A big part of that is having a shutdown rush defense that has allowed 78 or fewer ground yards in four of the past five games. 


The problem for New England is that it is 0-4 in games where the opposing team has scored 20+ points. Minnesota has done that in eight out of ten games and since the Patriots secondary has been hit or miss in coverage metrics at times, this should be a game where Justin Jefferson thrives. That factor is enough to land this one in the Vikings column.


KC’s pick: Minnesota


Confidence level: 3


Denver at Carolina


Since Steve Wilks has taken over as Carolina’s head coach, the Panthers went toe-to-toe with the Rams, beat Tampa Bay, would have beaten the Falcons if not for a DJ Moore celebration gaffe, lost a blowout at Cincinnati, won the Atlanta rematch, and gave Baltimore a four-quarter battle last week. 


This shows the type of moxie that Wilks has instilled in his club, which is something that the Broncos have not shown all year long under Nathanial Hackett. Denver’s ground game won’t be able to take full advantage of a favorable rush defense matchup and the Broncos are 1-4 on the road, so a cross country trip versus a motivated Carolina team is likely to result in a win for the Panthers.


KC’s pick: Carolina


Confidence level: 2


Tampa Bay at Cleveland


The Buccaneers have finally returned to the formula that made this club a Super Bowl contender, as Tampa Bay’s rush defense has allowed only 107 yards in the past two weeks combined. The Buccaneers also ended a takeaway drought of five games, as they tallied one against Seattle in the game in Munich. The ground game also got into gear against the Seahawks, as a switch to Rachaad White led to Tampa Bay posting 161 rushing yards, which is only the second time this year that the club has tallied 100+ rushing yards.


Those elements all bode poorly for Cleveland, as the Browns have allowed 366 rushing yards over the past two weeks, have posted at least one giveaway in seven straight games, and just posted only its second game with fewer than 100 rushing yards gained. Combine this with Cleveland having to replace its starting center with a backup who has started only two games in his NFL career and who missed the Wednesday practice with an illness. Put these together and it makes the Buccaneers the best option.


KC’s pick: Tampa Bay


Confidence level: 4


Baltimore at Jacksonville


The last few weeks has seen Baltimore become the type of club it aspired to be at the start of the season. The Ravens have won four straight due in large part to rushing for 694 yards in those games while also allowing only 241 rushing yards in that span. Baltimore also dominates the turnover battle, having posted a 7-2 advantage in that category in that quartet of contests.


Jacksonville has posted 21+ points on six occasions this season but has done so only twice in the past six games, including once against the abysmal Raiders defense. The Jaguars have also allowed 20+ points in five straight games and just allowed Kansas City to run for 155 yards in Week 10. That shows Jacksonville isn’t suited to play the type of smashmouth football Baltimore will bring to town, so take the Ravens here.


KC’s pick: Baltimore


Confidence level: 4


Chicago at NY Jets


It shows just how far the Bears ground game has come that when Chicago put up 160 rushing yards against Atlanta last week, it was considered a significant letdown since it ended an NFL record five-game streak of gaining 225+ rushing yards. That trend may not recur since Justin Fields is dealing with an AC joint injury in his non-throwing shoulder, but Chicago’s ground game should still be able to move the ball against a Jets defense that has allowed 100+ rushing yards six times.


New York also has a major issue at quarterback, as Zach Wilson has been replaced by Mike White as the starting quarterback for this game after the Jets posted only 44 net passing yards against New England last week. New York can still move the ball on the ground, as the Jets have posted 135+ rushing yards in four of the past six games and could hit that mark against versus a Chicago rush defense that gave up 149 yards on the ground to Atlanta in Week 11.


The key here is if Fields is good to go, but even if he is, the Jets dynamic can take away passing targets and hit Fields when he runs. Combine that with this being a home game for the Jets and it results in this game going in New York’s direction. 


KC’s pick: New York


Confidence level: 3


Cincinnati at Tennessee


Tennessee is proof that the run-first formula of football still works in the NFL, but over the past two weeks the Titans have notched a 566-151 edge in passing yards over rushing yards to show that they can put the ball in the air when necessary. One thing that hasn’t changed is Tennessee’s ability to stop the run, as no team has gained more than 77 yards on the ground against the Titans since Week 3.


That strength won’t be very helpful against a Bengals offense that has largely abandoned the run, as Cincinnati has rushed for more than 78 yards only twice since Week 2. That one-sided approach hasn’t slowed the Bengals, as Cincinnati has tallied 400+ offensive yards in three of the past four games and has scored 30+ points in four of the past five contests.


This could turn this game into more of a passing fest than would be expected from the Titans, but if it goes in that direction, it favors the Bengals since Ja’Marr Chase is on track to return this week. That is enough to slot this pick on Cincinnati’s side.


KC’s pick: Cincinnati


Confidence level: 2


Atlanta at Washington


Commanders head coach Ron Rivera was part of the 1980s Chicago Bears, so he is very familiar with how dominating the ground game and turnover battle are key to winning ball games. This explains how Washington has been able to win five of its past six contests, as the Commanders have an 832-344 rushing yardage advantage and a 12-5 turnover edge in those contests.


Atlanta tries to take a similar approach and it has worked in one way, as the Falcons have rushed for 655 yards over the past four weeks. The problem for Atlanta is that they haven’t mastered the other elements, as the Falcons have allowed 652 rushing yards and lost the turnover battle by a 7-4 margin in that span.


These trends indicate that Washington is better at this type of game and when that is added to it being a home matchup, the Commanders are the pick.


KC’s pick: Washington


Confidence level: 4


LA Chargers at Arizona


The Chargers built this roster to get the most out of Justin Herbert’s talents, but injuries to the Los Angeles receiving corps have held this club to 20 or fewer points in three of the past five games. It has also backfired in the ground game, as the Chargers have rushed for 100+ yards only twice this year and the pass coverage-centric defense has allowed a ridiculous 734 rushing yards over the past four games.


Arizona hasn’t shown a penchant for being able to run the ball, as the Cardinals have tallied 78 or fewer ground yards in three of the past four contests. The passing game hasn’t been much better at times of late, as physical ailments have also held Arizona’s aerial attack in check.


This strongly suggests that the team with the healthiest passing game will be victorious here. Mike Williams is the only Chargers pass catcher who may miss this game and the Cardinals could be without Rondale Moore, Greg Dortch, and Marquise Brown in addition to having Zach Ertz out, so Los Angeles is the selection.


KC’s pick: Los Angeles


Confidence level: 3


Las Vegas at Seattle


The Seahawks loss versus Tampa Bay in Munich in Week 10 was due in part to Seattle running out of gas, as that was the fifth round trip of 966+ miles for the Seahawks since Week 4. That won’t be a problem this week, as Seattle is coming off a bye and hosting the Raiders. This means that a return to the land of scoring 23+ points is likely, as the Seahawks have scored that many points in six of the past eight games.


Las Vegas may not offer much scoreboard resistance, as the Raiders have allowed 20+ points in all but one game and that outlier was against the hamstring Broncos offense. Las Vegas may be able to turn this into a shootout, but since the Raiders have scored more than 22 points only once in the past four weeks and won’t have Darren Waller or Hunter Renfrow for this matchup, the Silver and Black look ill-equipped for that type of battle.


KC’s pick: Seattle


Confidence level: 4


Green Bay at Philadelphia


It was one of the great achievements of the year for the Packers to allow only 88 rushing yards to the Titans in Week 11, as it ended a seven-game streak of the Packers giving up 100+ ground yards despite facing Derrick Henry. Green Bay also has found a new home run hitter in Christian Watson, who has found the end zone five times in the past two weeks.


That potentially opens the door to more paths to success for the Packers, but the Eagles are the league leader in terms of being able to win. Philadelphia has put that skill to test of late with seven giveaways in the past three weeks. This could be an issue against a Green Bay defense that has generated seven takeaways since Week 7, and the Packers have a ground game that can test the Eagles suspect run defense, but Philadelphia still has the talent edge and home-field for this game, so the Eagles are the pick.


KC’s pick: Philadelphia


Confidence level: 3


Pittsburgh at Indianapolis


This is one of the most intriguing games of Week 12, as the Colts have been revitalized under Jeff Saturday and a Week 9 bye for the Steelers gave Pittsburgh a new focus that had been missing for many weeks before that.


The top factor in this matchup is how do the Colts go about attacking the Steelers defense? Their primary attack mode has been running the ball, but Pittsburgh has allowed only 91 yards on the ground over the past two weeks. Part of why the Steelers have fared well in that area is that Pittsburgh has been one of the worst deep coverage groups in the league over the last month. That has caused the Steelers to lean on Kenny Pickett more than they would ideally like to, but Pittsburgh does have a better set of pass catchers than the Colts.


That could make this game in either direction, but the presence of Jonathan Taylor and the contest being in Indianapolis are enough to land a close game in the Indianapolis column.


KC’s pick: Indianapolis


Confidence level: 1


KC’s 6+ confidence level picks, a group of selections that have gone 181-73-2 since 2020 (including 24-13 since Week 4), are available exclusively to Pickwatch Pro subscribers.