COVID-19 is wreaking more havoc on the NFL this week than it has all season.
The Broncos are going to play the Saints on Sunday without a single one of their quarterbacks. The 49ers suddenly need to find a new place to practice due to new restrictions in Santa Clara County. And the Ravens have a full-on outbreak that has put their game against the Steelers – currently scheduled for Tuesday night – into significant danger.
We're now late enough in the season that the league doesn't have the flexibility it used to have. If Ravens-Steelers can't be played on Tuesday, the NFL may need to add an 18th week to the season in order to make accommodations.
These are dicey times for the league, but the football isn't stopping. Here are my picks for every remaining game on the Week 12 slate.
Note: home teams in BOLD. Record last week: 8-5
Raiders over FALCONS
It feels odd to say this, but the Raiders are legitimately good. Even though they lost their rematch with the Chiefs, I came away highly impressed with them last Sunday night. Derek Carr has that offense humming, and they shouldn't have much trouble beating a Falcons team that might be without Todd Gurley and Julio Jones.
BILLS over Chargers
The Chargers narrowly avoided being the team to end the Jets' winless season. Justin Herbert is incredibly fun to watch, but his team as a whole is quite bad. The Bills win this one at home.
Giants over BENGALS
Brandon Allen gets the start for the Bengals in Week 12, which offers a bit more hope than if Ryan Finley were under center. Still, Daniel Jones and the Giants have more talent and more incentive to win.
Titans over COLTS
The Colts dominated when these two teams met on Thursday Night Football a couple weeks ago, but I don't expect that to be the case again this time around. Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown will have big days for Tennessee in a road victory.
Browns over JAGUARS
The Jaguars might legitimately be worse than the Jets. Replacing Jake Luton with Mike Glennon isn't going to solve anything.
Panthers over VIKINGS
This may seem like an overreaction to one game, but I think Teddy Bridgewater is going to come to Minnesota and officially put the nail in the coffin when it comes to his former team's playoff hopes. Bridgewater gets the ball out quickly and has a trio of impressive receivers at his disposal. On the other side of the ball, Brian Burns should wreak havoc on Kirk Cousins and the Vikings, who are without Irv Smith Jr. and Adam Thielen. It feels like a recipe for a fifth loss in six home games.
Cardinals over PATRIOTS
After losing to Deshaun Watson and the Texans last week, the Patriots run into another young star quarterback with an explosive offense. New England is going to have a hard time keeping up on the scoreboard with Kyler Murray.
Dolphins over JETS
If there were ever a time for a Jets victory, this might be it. They're at home. Sam Darnold is back. Tua Tagovailoa is out for the Dolphins. And yet, I still can't see it happening. FitzMagic and Brian Flores' defense won't let Miami lose this one.
Late afternoon games
Saints over BRONCOS
This is going to be must-watch television. The Broncos are without all four of their quarterbacks due to potential COVID-19 exposure, meaning they'll be starting practice squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton, who played some quarterback at Wake Forest. I'd imagine Denver will try to get creative on offense, but it's probably going to be ugly.
RAMS over 49ers
The Rams might just have the best defense in the entire NFL. That unit shouldn't be tested too much by Nick Mullens and the 49ers' banged-up offense.
Chiefs over BUCCANEERS
Earlier this season, Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes sounded like a lot of fun. But Brady has struggled to hold off Father Time in recent weeks, making this matchup a lot more one-sided.
Sunday Night Football
PACKERS over Bears
Mitch Trubisky is back! He might actually give that offense a boost, considering how awful Nick Foles has been for most of this season. The Bears also have the defense to keep this thing close. I'm just not comfortable picking Trubisky to beat Aaron Rodgers.
Monday Night Football
Seahawks over EAGLES
Carson Wentz has been playing so poorly that I'm not sure he'll be able to take advantage of this porous Seahawks defense. And if that doesn't happen, there's no way the Eagles can keep this one close.
Tuesday Night Football (?)
STEELERS over Ravens
I don't think this game will wind up happening as scheduled, given that the Ravens' outbreak appears to still be growing. But if it does, I'll pick the Steelers to get the win at home at stay undefeated.
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