NFL Predictions Week 12: Picking Winners of Biggest Divisional Matchups

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistNovember 20, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 21: Jeremy Kerley #11 of the New York Jets runs the ball against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on October 21, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we shold all be thankful that bye weeks are over and for the first time in nearly two months, we have a full slate of NFL action on tap.

There are plenty of intriguing games to watch this week, but none carry as much importance as the handful of divisional matchups the football gods have bestowed upon us—with two of them coming on Thanksgiving itself.

Let's take a look at three divisional matchups you won't want to miss—but probably will—until you've finished stuffing your face with turkey and stuffing and slowly sink into the couch.


Washington Redskins (4-6) at Dallas Cowboys (5-5)

What better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than with some smash mouth NFC East action?

Dallas is coming off a squeaker against the Cleveland Browns while Washington decimated Philadelphia in Week 11, and with both teams still alive for a playoff berth—and the NFC East crown—this one promises to be hotly contested in the "House that Jerry Built."

Washington's dynamic rookie QB Robert Griffin III will go up against a talented Cowboys front seven and one of the best pass defenses in the NFL, while Tony Romo will be throwing against a secondary that allows nearly 290 passing yards per game, 29th in the NFL.

No matter how many times we call the Cowboys dead in the water, they somehow manage to stay alive and pull victories seemingly out of thin air.

I'm not making that mistake again this week.

Dallas 28, Washington 21.


New England Patriots (7-3) at New York Jets (4-6)

With Rob Gronkowski, without Rob Gronkowski, it doesn't really matter, the Patriots are going to crush the Jets on Thanksgiving night.

The only real chance the Jets have of pulling off the upset is for their defense to figure out how to generate a pass rush—and to stop  Tom Brady.

Neither of those things is likely to happen.

Additionally, Mark Sanchez would have to stop his regression as a NFL quarterback and play at a MVP level while the Jets establish a formidable running attack.

Also not likely.

New England wins this one going away, 31-14.


Minnesota Vikings (6-4) at Chicago Bears (7-2)

It's the first of two meetings between the NFC North foes in the next three weeks.

Chicago is coming off their worst outing of the season, and with QB Jay Cutler back under center for this one, they'll be a motivated group to redeem themselves at home against a despised division rival.

While Minnesota has one of the best running games in the league, Christian Ponder's limitations as a QB will cost them in this one. These games are always close, and Week 12's contest won't be any different.

It comes down to winning the turnover battle, and the Bears will come out on top of that—and when the final whistle blows.

Chicago 24, Minnesota 17.