From left: Sports Editor Karl Winter, Assistant Sports Editor Paxton Ritchey, Staff Writer Kyle McCabe, Photo Editor Ali Levens, Sports Assistant Justin Touhey and Staff Writer Austin Hall. This group of six made its picks for the 13th week of the NFL season after a Week 12 that featured 2020-like chaos. Art by Madeline Duvall
Week 12 encapsulated the 2020 NFL season like no other.
One game (Pittsburgh versus Baltimore) was postponed from Thanksgiving to Sunday to Tuesday and finally to Wednesday afternoon — not Wednesday night, because a Christmas tree took precedence over football.
That left us to watch mediocrity Thanksgiving Day — two NFC East teams and the sub-.500 Lions and Texans.
One team (the 49ers) had no choice but to depart its entire county and practice and play in Arizona due to new county-wide COVID-19 guidelines.
It was the most 2020 week of 2020 football.
However, it may be the first week that one of us actually picked the Jets to win.
Without further ado, allow Staff Writers Kyle McCabe and Austin Hall, Sports Assistant Justin Touhey, Assistant Sports Editor Paxton Ritchey, Photo Editor Ali Levens and Sports Editor Karl Winter to make their selections for this week, including a few notable upset picks.
Cleveland Browns (8–3) at Tennessee Titans (8–3) (Sunday, Dec. 6 at 10 a.m., PST)
“I’ve been pretty high on the Titans all season, and I’ll continue to be a high on them. I am a little bit more concerned, though, than I have been in the past because the Titans’ pass rush is not very good, and that’s where the Baker Mayfield thrives. I think it will be very close, but I like the Titans in close games, especially against Baker Mayfield because he does not play well in close games.” — Justin
Las Vegas Raiders (6–5) at New York Jets (0–11) (Sunday, Dec. 6 at 10 a.m., PST)
“Sometimes you have to make a crazy pick because you’ll look like a genius if you’re right.” — Kyle
“I just want to give a shoutout to [veteran Jets running back] Frank Gore. He doesn’t deserve this.” — Paxton
Jacksonville Jaguars (1–10) at Minnesota Vikings (5–6) (Sunday, Dec. 6 at 10 a.m., PST)
“Poor Gardner [Minshew]. Another G who can’t throw [Mike Glennon] came in to replace him and his mediocre, first-week-win dynasty.” — Ali
Cincinnati Bengals (2–8–1) at Miami Dolphins (7–4) (Sunday, Dec. 6 at 10 a.m., PST)
“Even with Tua [Tagovalioa]’s questionable status, bring the [*insert Justin voice*] Fitz-Magic.” — Ali
Indianapolis Colts (7–4) at Houston Texans (4–7) (Sunday, Dec. 6 at 10 a.m., PST)
“The amount of faith I have in Philip Rivers is negligible because he is old.” — Kyle
“[Deshaun Watson] is missing Will Fuller this week, which I think will be a big difference maker. The Texans also haven’t ran the ball well, so they can’t really turn to that with as good of a run defense as the Colts have. The Texans are second-worst in the NFL in rushing yards per game. It would require a heroic effort from Watson, and I just don’t see that happening.” — Karl
Detroit Lions (4–7) at Chicago Bears (5–6) (Sunday, Dec. 6 at 10 a.m., PST)
“[Matt] Patricia is gone, the Lions are hungry and [Matthew] Stafford wants his revenge. Doesn’t matter which quarterback the Bears begrudgingly send out — Lions are winning this game.” — Austin
“I don’t think the Lions are somehow going to magically turn things around in a week. They looked absolutely terrible last week. [The Bears] tend to play well against Detroit. [Mitch] Trubisky is just a completely different quarterback against them — he’s got around 1600 yards in six games against them and bunch of touchdowns. It was an improbable win in Week 1, but with the Bears being back at home, we just need a couple of wins to finish 7–9 and ruin our draft stock.” — Karl
New Orleans Saints (9–2) at Atlanta Falcons (4–7) (Sunday, Dec. 6 at 10 a.m., PST)
“This is the Falcons’ favorite time of the season — when it couldn’t matter less for them. Taysom Hill can play five positions, but quarterback isn’t one of them. Upset alert.” — Austin
“The Saints are vulnerable because Taysom Hill hasn’t needed to pass yet for the Saints to win, but the Falcons are not the team that’s going to force him to do so, so the Saints will win.” — Paxton
Infographic by Inez Kim
New York Giants (4–7) at Seattle Seahawks (8–3) (Sunday, Dec. 6 at 1:05 p.m., PST)
“I miss the good old days of Daniel Jones throwing interceptions. I hope this trend makes a comeback this week. Hats off for the first beatdown of the NFC East today.” — Ali
Los Angeles Rams (7–4) at Arizona Cardinals (6–5) (Sunday, Dec. 6 at 1:05 p.m., PST)
“Jared Goff is in the middle of one of the worst stretches of his career. He’s been totally cold since Week 6. Sometimes the team has led them to victory anyway, but the Cardinals are going to be more motivated — more explosive — and their offense is more diverse. I think they do have to worry about the [Rams’ defensive] line getting in the backfield, but they’ve got a decent screen game with Kenyan Drake and a slant game with DeAndre Hopkins where Kyler [Murray] can get the ball out quickly, so I like Arizona.” — Paxton
“The Rams play really well against the Cardinals. They are 6–0 against [the Cardinals] since [Sean] McVay’s been the head coach, which is a level of consistency you don’t see that often in that division. They have a really good pass defense, so I think they’ll be able to neutralize Kyler and DeAndre Hopkins enough. When it comes to the Rams. It’s really about if their offense can put together a complete game, and Arizona’s defense isn’t that great.” — Karl
New England Patriots (5–6) at Los Angeles Chargers (3–8) (Sunday, Dec. 6 at 1:25 p.m., PST)
“Who would’ve thought that [Chargers Head Coach] Anthony Lynn would become more disgraceful than Norv Turner? Meanwhile Cam Newton threw for 84 yards and two interceptions against the Cardinals — and they won. This is a coin flip of disappointments; I’m going with the better coach.” — Austin
Philadelphia Eagles (3–7–1) at Green Bay Packers (8–3) (Sunday, Dec. 6 at 1:25 p.m., PST)
“The Aaron Rodgers revenge tour continues. Everyone who doubted him this year, he continues to prove wrong. The Eagles are the exact opposite of that. Expect Aaron Rodgers to throw for 400 yards, five touchdowns, and his passer rating is going to be, like, 138. I expect that to happen.” — Justin
Denver Broncos (4–7) at Kansas City Chiefs (10–1) (Sunday, Dec. 6 at 5:20 p.m., PST)
“Please.” — Kyle
“[The Chiefs have] too many weapons. The Broncos are too banged up, too in disarray with their locker room. And Kyle, games like this are why you’re in last place.” — Paxton
Washington Football Team (4–7) at Pittsburgh Steelers (11–0) (Monday, Dec. 7 at 2 p.m., PST)
“My first prediction of the year for the Steelers is that they were not going to be very good. I’ve been proven extremely wrong about that. I’m really hoping, just for the Giants’ sake, that the Steelers beat the Washington Football Team, so that the Giants can still be in first place in that division.” — Justin
Buffalo Bills (8–3) at San Francisco 49ers (5–6) (Monday, Dec. 7 at 5:15 p.m., PST)
“Nick Mullens would have to really open up the field for Raheem Mostert for the Niners to have a chance, and that’s just not going to happen. The Niners have played well defensively, but Stefon Diggs is another elite receiver they’re facing this year. […] Josh Allen has built a good rapport with him. There are just a lot more scenarios where the Bills are able to win this game, and I think they’ve taken care of business in most instances this year. It’s a crowded pool at the top of the AFC, so every win matters, and they need to be able to host a playoff game and put their division away.” — Karl
Dallas Cowboys (3–8) at Baltimore Ravens (6–5) (Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 5:05 p.m., PST)
“The funniest thing about this game is how the Ravens, who some thought could go 16–0, are the Cowboys of the AFC North. RGIII [Robert Griffin III] hilariously couldn’t even make it through a game, meaning college-football party legend and overall meme Trace McSorley has the starting job. I like him, but the Cowboys are more well-versed at playing backup and third string quarterbacks at this point.” — Austin
“I’m pretty upset with the Cowboys this year. I was hoping for a nice 8–8 or 7–9. The Eagles and Cowboys have disappointed me a lot because I was hoping for a .500 team there and having the Eagles edge out the Cowboys to crush the heart and soul of Cowboys fans everywhere.” — Justin
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Contact Karl Winter via Twitter: @karlwinter23 or by email: email@example.com