NFL Week 12 Predictions
By Matthew Wieselthier
1:00 PM ET
Lions 27, Buccaneers 21
Tampa Bay has hit its first hot streak of the year. Two straight wins and almost stealing a win against Seattle, it would only make sense to go with the hot streak. However, they have beaten the Dolphins and Falcons, both of which are not great teams with not much upside for the season. They have also only showed up in the first half, having to fight through the second half to grind out their wins. The Lions are not a team you can do that against. Even if you beat them in the first half, the offensive weapons in Detroit’s pocket are too great to just play one half against. The marquee matchup will be WR Calvin Johnson vs. CB Darrelle Revis, but with the rest of the Lions weapons, they should be able to take the second half and win at home.
Packers 28, Vikings 13
Even undrafted third-string QB Scott Tolzein can handle this dreadful Vikings defense. Ranked 30th in the league, the Vikings have yet to stop any team from bulldozing them. The Packers starting lineup may mostly be in the infirmary right now, but the ones on the field should be able to stop the Vikings offense, which has the 25th best passing game in the league. Very simple, the Packers will take this game easily.
Texans 27, Jaguars 10
The Texans are the best terrible team there is. They are ranked 8th in offense and tops in the league in defense. They just can’t seem to close out games. Despite being strong at basically every part of the game, the Texans are out of playoff contention and having a very disappointing season. The future should be bright however with QB Case Keenum proving to be a viable option at starting QB.
Chiefs 17, Chargers 14
Andy Reid’s bid to coach his new team to a perfect season is finally over. The Chiefs fell to the Broncos last week and now they have to restart the streak and don’t have an easy team to do it against. Division rival Sand Diego Chargers may have a losing record, but they are a fighting team and don’t lose easily. QB Philip Rivers is having a comeback season and is leading the 4th best passing offense in the NFL. However, the Chiefs defense has been one of the tops in the league all season and has 6 returning Pro-Bowlers from that side of the ball.
Panthers 34, Dolphins 17
The Panthers are the hottest team in football winning six straight games and looking good doing it. Despite being underdogs in their last two matchups, they have come out on top, controversial calls or not. And their defense can do most of the talking for them. Led by former Defensive Rookie of the Year Luke Kuechly, Carolina has the 3rd best defense in the league. That should bode well for them against the 31st best offense in the league of the Dolphins.
Browns 21, Steelers 20
The Browns are doing much better than anticipated, especially after trading RB Trent Richardson to the Colts. However, that deal seems to have helped the Browns record wise, who are .500 since trading him away after a 0-2 start. They are also impressive passing wise surprisingly, still able to go through the air despite going through so many QBs this season. Their defense is where they shine though, being 4th in the league and have been stopping even the top offenses in the league.
Bears 19, Rams 12
The Bears have been injured and that’s been a major cause of their loses this season. Even with QB Jay Cutler injured, Josh McCown has been a suitable replacement and the running game of RB Matt Forte has been quite good this year. The Rams are also injured at QB and terrible in general, having a good game here and there but not good enough to say they could win any game.
Jets 22, Ravens 17
The Jets have been on and off every other week. According to the pattern, this week they should be on. And it seems like they should be, they have the 9th best defense in the league led by their defensive line and linebackers. They also are very good in the running game, whether it be Chris Ivory or Bilal Powell taking the lead. The Ravens have also been very shaky this season, with the 3rd worst offense in the league, headlined by their lack of a running game with Ray Rice. For both teams though, this is a must win to stay in the AFC Wild Card hunt for the 6th seed.
4:00 PM ET
Raiders 20, Titans 13
The Raiders may not have a good passing game, but they have one hell of a running game. Ironically, the best rusher for them is QB Terrelle Pryor. He can make a throw when he needs, but he’s better with his legs. The Titans are trying to make a resurgence from their strong start but are not looking too hot lately. The Raiders should be able to take this one, as they are able to in odd situations.
Cardinals 24, Colts 21
The Cardinals have been strong all season, and Andre Ellington having his dreadlocks pulled out last week shouldn’t stop that. On the other hand, the Colts have been shaky the past few weeks, including last week when they squeaked out a Thursday Night win against the Titans. The Cardinals have looked really good lately, helped out by the 9th best defense in the league.
Cowboys 38, Giants 27
The Cowboys have a top QB this year in Tony Romo. They just need a healthy RB in Demarco Murray, who is continually injured. The Giants may have won four straight, but they haven’t played any great competition. The Packers would have been a quality win if they weren’t in the infirmary now. Playing a quality opponent like the Cowboys should bring the Giants back down to Earth.
8:30 PM ET
Broncos 47, Patriots 24
The Broncos are the best of the best, with both sides of the ball working together better than any other team. Now with LB Von Miller back, the defensive side has come back into action and the offense is tops in the league with QB Peyton Manning at the helm. The Patriots have been weak on both sides of the ball this year, especially defensively. That can’t help with Broncos top offense. Expect trouble for New England tonight.
8:40 PM ET
49ers 23, Redskins 14
Robert Griffin III is probably the biggest disappointment of anyone this year. He has shown no upside and is probably the main reason for the Redskins poor record. Even going against an even worse passing offense (the worst in the NFL) in the 49ers shouldn’t help him. That being because QB Colin Kaepernick is finally getting back to where he was, piece by piece. The defense is also very strong, 9th in the league and should easily stop the Redskins offense to end off Week 12.