Week 12 NFL Predictions: Bold Predictions for Sunday's Action
Bold predictions can be tricky.
They're more than just ridiculous guesses that go against expected norms.
Well, at least they should be.
Here, I'll stay away from absolutely ridiculous and insanely bold predictions and give developments I believe will occur on Sunday that have more than just a gut feeling to back them up.
Stevie Johnson Goes over 100 Yards Receiving
Stevie Johnson is clearly the Buffalo Bills' best receiver.
His uncanny ability to beat press coverage and sneaky smooth routes have made him a proven commodity in the NFL over the last two-and-a-half seasons.
However, he hasn't had a 100-yard receiving game in 2012, and he had only one in 2011.
According to Rotoworld.com, Indianapolis Colts cornerback Vontae Davis is doubtful with a knee injury, which doesn't bode well for a secondary that's been gashed for an average of 307 passing yards over the last three games.
Brian Hartline tallied eight receptions for 107 yards in Week 9, Cecil Shorts had six catches for 105 yards in Week 10 and Rob Gronkowski finished with seven catches, 137 yards and two touchdowns in Week 11.
The Colts' beleaguered secondary has allowed an average QB rating of 99.8 on the year.
Although C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson will be prominently featured in Chan Gailey's offense, expect Johnson to see 10-plus targets and eclipse that 100-yard mark that's alluded him for a long time.
Andy Dalton and Carson Palmer Combine for 700 Passing Yards
This one's easy.
A few reasons.
Carson Palmer averages 304 yards per game through the air. Andy Dalton averages 256. Do the math? Not exactly 700, right?
Well, rather porous secondaries will help the two signal-callers.
The Bengals allow only 228 passing yards per game, but opposing quarterbacks average a 91.1 QB rating against them. As for the Raiders, they've been thrashed over the last three weeks, which means Palmer will be throwing frequently after Oakland falls behind.
There's plenty of receiving talent in this one too.
A.J. Green, Mohamed Sanu, Jermaine Gresham, Denarius Moore, Marcel Reece, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Brandon Myers will all have big afternoons en route to a passing spectacle from Palmer and Dalton.
The Browns Beat the Steelers
Per Aditi Kinkhabwala of the NFL Network, Charlie Batch will start for the Steelers in Week 12.
After losing Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich to injury, picking the Browns to win may not be the boldest prediction of all time, but remember, the Browns have beaten Pittsburgh once since 2003, so it's not exactly a lock.
In their last outing, the Browns took the Dallas Cowboys to the brink, but ultimately lost in overtime.
Trent Richardson has accumulated over 130 yards from scrimmage over the last three games, and the defense has improved after a disappointing start to the season.
With the rookie runner carrying the load, Cleveland gets a huge confidence-building win against their injury-ravaged rival.
The Ravens Sack Philip Rivers at Least Five Times
The San Diego Chargers offensive line is in shambles.
Although Philip Rivers was sacked only four times last week against the Denver Broncos—three coming from Von Miller—he was pressured often and took a lot of hits.
With Terrell Suggs set to play in his fifth game of the season, he should have the rust shaken off and will be able to pin his ears back against left tackle Michael Harris.
Expect Baltimore to throw a variety of blitz packages Rivers' way and reach at least five sacks on the afternoon.
The Buccaneers Beat the Falcons
The Falcons and Buccaneers square off in one of the most intriguing and offensively explosive matchups of Week 12.
Atlanta's weaknesses were exposed against the Arizona Cardinals last week—their offensive line and porous run defense—and Tampa Bay will take full advantage at home.
Doug Martin leads the NFL in yards from scrimmage, and he'll be the offensive focal point against a Falcons defense that surrenders a whopping 5.0 yards per carry.
On the other hand, the Buccaneers allow the fewest yards per carry in the NFL (3.4) and will render the Falcons one-dimensional.
Both teams will score at will, but amidst an ultra-efficient six game stretch in which he has thrown 16 touchdowns to only three interceptions, Josh Freeman will outplay Matt Ryan and lead his team to a shootout victory.