Predicting the MVP for Each Week 12 NFL Game
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Week 12 has already gotten off to a bang with three great games on Thanksgiving Day.
The Houston Texans escaped in a controversial game versus the Detroit Lions. Robert Griffin III continued his remarkable rookie season with a wild win over the Dallas Cowboys. And the New England Patriots proved they are the cream of the AFC East with a big win over the New York Jets.
As the NFL playoff picture begins to take shape, this weekend's games will go a long way in determining seeding and tiebreakers. With the bye weeks over and six weeks left to play, the competition will only become fiercer as teams vie for the postseason.
Here are MVP predictions for the remaining Week 12 games. Note: The MVP must come from the winning team.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Chicago Bears: Matt Forte
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In nine games this season, Matt Forte has only topped the century mark for rushing twice. The former Tulane star only has three rushing touchdowns on the season. In the three losses the Bears have, Forte’s longest run in each game was eight yards.
The Vikings actually have a solid run defense, ranking 14th in the NFL and allowing 3.9 yards per carry. But Forte has faced the Vikings seven previous times in his career and averages just over 89 yards per game.
Look for Forte to get back on track after being bottled up the past two games. Forte will help the Bears win the game with a touchdown and over 100 yards on the ground.
Oakland Raiders vs. Cincinnati Bengals: A.J. Green
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A.J. Green is a scoring machine. The wideout has scored at least one touchdown in every game this season except for the Week 1 matchup versus the Baltimore Ravens. The Raiders have allowed 20 passing scores on the season.
Quarterback Andy Dalton should have all day to find Green downfield. The Raiders are the worst in the NFL at getting to the quarterback, with only 11 sacks on the season.
Green will get two scores and have over 150 yards receiving as the Bengals win an easy game at home versus the Raiders.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns: Charlie Batch
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Charlie Batch may be one of the older quarterbacks in the NFL at 37 years of age, but the one-time Detroit Lions starter is a true professional.
As a member of the Steelers for a decade, Batch has seen a lot of players come and go. But Batch is smart and tough, and he is a winner.
The Browns have the 22nd-ranked passing defense in the NFL and give up 23.4 points per game. Batch will not throw for 300 yards and three scores, but the Eastern Michigan quarterback will run the Steelers offense efficiently enough to win.
Look for Batch to throw for over 200 yards and a touchdown in a hard-fought game on the road. The Steelers offensive players will rally around Batch and play extra hard for him.
Buffalo Bills vs. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck
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Andrew Luck is having a fine rookie season and has the Colts fighting for a playoff spot, but he needs to stay away from turnovers and work to be better with his accuracy. In the Colts' losses this season, Luck has a 54 percent completion rate or lower and at least one interception.
The good thing for Luck this week is that he is facing a Bills defense that gives up 29.9 points per game and allows 7.4 yards per pass completion. Luck will be able to take advantage of a secondary that will be without starting cornerback Aaron Williams.
Luck will top the 300-yard passing mark versus the Bills and will throw for at least two scores. Do not be surprised if Luck adds a rushing touchdown as the Colts get another big win at home.
Denver Broncos vs. Kansas City Chiefs: Ronnie Hillman
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With starting running back Willis McGahee on injured reserve, Ronnie Hillman is the logical choice to be the starting running back versus the Chiefs. Hillman is a fast player who brings a different dynamic to the Broncos' potent offense.
The Chiefs are 25th in the NFL in rush defense and allow their opponents 129.2 yards per game on the ground. The Chiefs have also allowed 14 runs of over 20 yards. With Hillman’s speed, look for the Broncos to get the new starter to the edge and pick up big chucks of yardage.
Hillman may not rush for over 100 yards, but the youngest player in the NFL will find the end zone at least once and will give his team balance in a dominant win.
Seattle Seahawks vs. Miami Dolphins: Russell Wilson
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If the Seahawks want to make the playoffs, they have to prove they can win on the road consistently. The Seahawks have won all their home contests this season but have only won one game on the road.
The Dolphins will be a solid test for Wilson and Co., but the rookie quarterback from Wisconsin should lead his team to a victory.
The Dolphins have 27 sacks on the season, but with Russell Wilson’s ability to get outside the pocket and extend plays, look for a 300-yard-plus passing day from the former Badger.
The Dolphins are 27th in the NFL in passing defense, so Wilson should be able to find his wide receivers open downfield and help get the Seahawks their second win of the season on the road.
Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Doug Martin
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In the tough NFC South division, this game could hold the cards to a playoff berth.
While the Falcons have had a few struggles recently, the Buccaneers have won four straight. Those wins have come on the shoulders of Doug Martin and Josh Freeman.
The rookie from Boise State already has 1,000 yards on the season and is averaging 100 yards per game rushing. The Falcons defense gives up five yards per carry and 130.5 yards per game, and they are ranked 26th against the run this season.
Look for Martin to top the 150-yard mark on the ground and find the end zone at least once. The Buccaneers will keep their winning streak intact as they win a huge divisional game at home.
Tennessee Titans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: Cecil Shorts
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The Jaguars just put quarterback Blaine Gabbert on injured reserve this week, so the Chad Henne era begins in Jacksonville.
Some Jaguars fans would say the Cecil Shorts era began in Week 1. Shorts has been a breakout star for the Jaguars this season and is on pace for 1,000-plus yards receiving.
The Titans have one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL and give up 31.1 points per game. Tennessee has given up 32 passing plays of over 20 yards.
Since Shorts is averaging over 20 yards per catch, look for Henne to find him deep a couple times this game. Shorts will get his third 100-yard receiving game of the year and should find the end zone at least once.
Baltimore Ravens vs. San Diego Chargers: Joe Flacco
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The Chargers defense against the pass is below average. Though Joe Flacco only has three games where he has thrown for over 300 yards, the former Delaware Blue Hen will get No. 4 on Sunday.
The Chargers give up seven yards per completion and have allowed 19 touchdowns through the air this season. If Flacco can play turnover-free football, the Ravens should be able to hand the Chargers the loss.
Look for Flacco to stay consistent and accurate. In the Ravens wins, Flacco has a 63.7 percent completion rate. In the Ravens' two losses, Flacco is 50.6 percent, according to ESPN.
St. Louis Rams vs. Arizona Cardinals: Robert Quinn
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In an ugly matchup with two NFC West teams that are both struggling, defense will rule the day. Both offenses are not very good, and the Cardinals are starting rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley.
The Cardinals have allowed a league-leading 44 sacks, and Robert Quinn is one of the top sack specialist in the NFL (tied for eighth in the NFL with 8.5 sacks on the year). In the Week 5 matchup versus the Cardinals, Quinn had three sacks.
Versus rookie left tackle Nate Potter, look for Quinn to have another multiple-sack day and help the Rams get their fourth victory of the year.
San Francisco 49ers vs. New Orleans Saints: Drew Brees
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The 49ers boast one of the NFL’s best defenses and will be a huge test for Drew Brees.
The Saints quarterback has not thrown for 300 yards in any of the last four games, but in that same time frame has thrown 10 touchdowns.
The Saints are playing at home, and Brees always plays well in the Superdome; he is 12-2 the last two seasons in New Orleans.
Look for Brees to throw for multiple touchdowns and over 275 yards as the Saints get a major NFC win at home.
Green Bay Packers vs. New York Giants: Aaron Rodgers
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Aaron Rodgers already has thrown for 27 touchdowns this season. On the Packers' five-game win streak, Rodgers has thrown for 17 touchdowns.
The Giants have the 25th-ranked pass defense and have given up 39 passes of over 20 yards. Rodgers will take advantage of the Giants secondary with wide receivers Jordy Nelson and James Jones.
Look for Rodgers to throw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns as the Packers beat the Giants on the road and keep their winning streak alive.
Carolina Panthers vs. Philadelphia Eagles: Cam Newton
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Cam Newton has not completed 60 percent of his passes in the last six games, but against a struggling Eagles secondary, look for Newton to have one of his best games of the year.
The Eagles defense was picked apart last week by the Redskins, and if Newton can play efficient football, the Panthers have the offensive weapons to beat the Eagles.
Look for Newton to throw for over 250 yards but complete over 60 percent of his passes. Newton will throw for at least two touchdowns as the Panthers get a much-needed win.