Wes Welker, Peyton ManningOn paper at the beginning of the season, this was supposed to be the NFL’s best week.

The Saints and Falcons were supposed to kick things off on Thursday night in a battle for NFC South supremacy. The Packers and Vikings were to duke it out at Lambeau Field in Greg Jennings‘ return to Green Bay. Cowboys at Giants? That’s usually pretty good, right? On Monday night, Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III would square off to see which breakout quarterback could be more breaky-out.

But then the Falcons stunk, Jennings (and Aaron Rodgers) are hurt, the NFC East is abysmal and both Kapernick and Griffin took steps back and don’t look quite as dangerous as they were last year. Bummer on all accounts.

However, there’s still one game this weekend that we all expect to live up to expectations, and that’s Patriots-Broncos on Sunday night, the latest meeting between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.

Of course, that’s part of the NESN.com Week 12 picks for editors John Beattie and Mike Cole. See their weekly picks below.

All lines are from Bovada as of Thursday. If lines are off on Bovada Thursday, Yahoo! lines will be used for those games.

Saints at FALCONS (+10)

John: Falcons

Mike: Saints

Why: As hard as it was to type the “F Word” above, a double-digit home-dog is too tempting to pass up.-JB

Buccaneers at LIONS (-10)

John: Buccaneers

Mike: Buccaneers

Why: All of a sudden, the Bucs don’t hate Greg Schiano anymore, which is nice. Also, the Lions are too wishy-washy to trust with a double-digit spread, especially with the 30th-ranked pass defense. -MC

Jaguars at TEXANS (-10)

John: Texans

Mike: Jaguars

Why: This could be an awesome display of offense. Or, just another stupid pick.-JB

Vikings at PACKERS (-5)

John: Packers

Mike: Packers

Why: Scott Tolzien still stinks, which is kind of a bummer, but he moved the ball well at times last week against the Giants. If he can limit the turnovers in the slightest this week, I think he and the Pack can do work against a really, really bad defense. -MC

Chargers at CHIEFS (-5)

John: Chiefs

Mike: Chiefs

Why: Expect a nice little bounce-back win from K.C.-JB

Panthers at DOLPHINS (+4 1/2)

John: Panthers

Mike: Panthers

Why: What am I missing here? -MC

Steelers at BROWNS (-1)

John: Steelers

Mike: Steelers

Why: The Steelers are going to make the playoffs. -MC

Bears at RAMS (-1)

John: Rams

Mike: Bears

Why: No reason whatsoever. -JB

Jets at RAVENS (-4)

John: Ravens

Mike: Jets

Why: It’s not unrealistic to think this game ends with someone winning 3-0. These offenses aren’t great, which makes me lean toward taking the points, especially when you consider the Ravens have won twice in their last six games — by a combined six points. -MC

Titans at RAIDERS (PICK)

John: Titans

Mike: Titans

Why: Because I can’t be the only one thinks Matt McGloin isn’t a good NFL quarterback, right? At least not when he’s playing someone other than the Houston Texans. -MC

Colts at CARDINALS (-1)

John: Colts

Mike: Colts

Why: The Cards may have won three straight but Luck and the Colts’ big second half last week could spark something big.-JB

Cowboys at GIANTS (-3)

John: Giants

Mike: Giants

Why: The Giants are one win away from being at the “We can do this even though everyone counted us out a while back” level, and a win over the Cowboys would do that. Also, not taking the Boys on the road, not this week at least. -MC

Broncos at PATRIOTS (+2 1/2 on Yahoo!)

John: Patriots

Mike: Broncos

Why: Tom and Bill against Peyton at Gillette GETTING points? Sure, why not, you guys. -JB

49ers at REDSKINS (+6)

John: Redskins

Mike: 49ers

Why: The ESPN execs were much more excited about this matchup before the season began than they are now. Talk about two quarterbacks who have regressed (or figured out). Regardless, defense travels, and the Redskins are doing a better job of trending downward. -MC

Last week:

JB: 3-9-3

MC: 5-7-3


MC: 66-88-7

JB: 62-92-7