Week 12 of the NFL season kicked off on Thursday, as Thanksgiving arrived in the USA. The road teams were very thankful, winning all three games on the holiday. Which other teams will be feasting this weekend? Which teams will be turkeys this weekend? Here are my picks.
Minnesota at Chicago
Huge game in the NFC North. The Bears are tied for first place with Green Bay, with a 7-3 record. The Vikings are only a game back at 6-4. The Bears were humiliated in San Francisco on Monday night, and need this game, or they will be in danger of falling back. The Vikings need this game to keep pace with both the Bears and Packers. The Bears received some good news, as quarterback Jay Cutler has been cleared to play, after suffering a concussion two weeks ago. Add to the fact, the game is at Soldier Field. Chicago wins.
Oakland at Cincinnati
The Bengals have won two straight, and are in the thick of a wildcard battle in the AFC. The Raiders are 3-7, and are virtually out of the playoff picture. The Raiders have given up 135 points in the last 3 games, while the Bengals have scored 82 points in the last 3 games. This game also features Carson Palmer’s return to the Queen City. This could get ugly. Cincinnati wins.
Atlanta at Tampa Bay
Key game in the NFC South. The Falcons are 9-1 and are threatening to run away with the division. The Bucs are a surprising 6-4 and have a decent shot at a wildcard spot. The Falcons were very fortunate to defeat Arizona, despite Matt Ryan throwing 5 interceptions. The Bucs will rely on rookie running back Doug Martin’s strong ground attack. Upset special. Tampa Bay wins.
Pittsburgh at Cleveland
A great rivalry that has lost some of its lustre over the years. But I have a feeling it could pick up with this game. The Steelers lost a heartbreaker to Baltimore last week, and still won’t have Ben Roethlisberger in the lineup, as he is nursing a sprained shoulder. Charlie Batch will get the start for the Steelers. The Browns lost a tough overtime decision to Dallas, despite having a 13 point halftime lead. Cleveland has been playing good football, but it hasn’t shown in the win-loss column. The Steelers are banged up, and could fade. Upset special No. 2. Cleveland wins.
Buffalo at Indianapolis
The Colts are one of the feel good stories of the NFL. A surprising 6-4 record, and playing for coach Chuck Pagano, who is battling cancer. The Bills are 4-6 and their playoff hopes are hanging by a thread. The Colts were blown out by New England last week, and there are concerns about how this will affect the young team. The Bills are inconsistent at best. Tough one to call. Indianapolis wins.
Tennessee at Jacksonville
The Titans need this win to keep their playoff hopes alive. At 4-6, Tennessee will need wins and help, if they are to make it to the postseason dance. The Jaguars lost a narrow decision to Houston last week, and have issues at quarterback. Chad Henne will get the start for the 1-9 Jags, after a strong performance against the Texans. Going on a gut feeling here. Upset special No. 3. Jacksonville wins.
Denver at Kansas City
The Broncos are flying high, sitting atop of the NFC West with a 7-3 record. The Chiefs are 1-9, and are quite possibly the worst team in the NFL. If this game is close, an investigation is required. Denver wins.
Seattle at Miami
The Seahawks are 6-4, and are entertaining thought of a playoff spot. The Dolphins are 4-6, and are desperate for a win. Miami has lost 3 straight, and have averaged just 13 points in those three games. The Seahawks do struggle on the road, but they do have a strong defence, and that will put them over the top in this one. Seattle wins.
Baltimore at San Diego
Despite some key injuries, the Ravens are pulling away in the AFC North, sporting an 8-2 record. The Chargers are 4-6 and Norv Turner is feeling the heat in San Diego, and I’m not talking about the weather. I can see the Chargers completely fading out of the picture after this game. Baltimore wins.
St Louis at Arizona
Ugh! Ugliest game of the week. The Rams are winless in their last 5 games, including an awful loss to the New York Jets last week. The Cardinals have lost 6 straight, and are looking to stop the slide. Ryan Lindley will get the start at quarterback for Arizona, which means they are very desperate. Thing is, if the Rams lost to the Jets, who can they beat? Arizona wins.
San Francisco at New Orleans
This could be a beauty. The 49ers are coming off a very impressive win over Chicago, led by rookie quarterback Colin Kaepernick. It is also worth mentioning that defensive end Aldon Smith had 5.5 quarterback sacks against the Bears, which did help the 49ers as well. The Saints have won 5 out of their last 6 games, and are back in the playoff hunt. This is a rematch of last year’s classic playoff encounter, and this has all the makings of another classic. Very tough to call. San Francisco wins.
Green Bay at New York Giants
Another playoff rematch. The Packers want revenge after losing to the Giants, in the divisional playoff round last year. Green Bay is 7-3 and share the lead in the NFC North. The Giants are in first place in the NFC East, but have lost their last two games. Green Bay has been playing great football recently, but for some reason, they seem to have difficulty with the Giants. Yes, the Giants aren’t playing well, but I have a feeling they’ll step up on Sunday. New York Giants win.
Carolina at Philadelphia
This has potential to be the worst Monday Night game in history. The Panthers are 2-8 after losing a heartbreaker to Tampa Bay last week. The Eagles are 3-7 and will be without Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy due to injuries. Carolina just needs some confidence. The Eagles need to fire Andy Reid. Carolina wins.
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