NFL Week 12: Whose Playoff Chances Are out the Window?
Thanksgiving Day games have not been good recently, but I expect different this year. There are three good matchups, as the Lions, Packers, Cowboys, Dolphins, Ravens and 49ers are all respectable teams.
This week, divisional races will become more convoluted. Especially the NFC East. No one wants to win, so the Eagles will come and snatch it.
After this week's games I will have the total win/loss record of myself and the B/R "experts." We will see who picks better...a player or a blogger.
Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions
The Lions looked terrible in the beginning of the game, but thanks to three Cam Newton interceptions they came back and won by 14. Detroit's offense is iffy at best. Stafford has to play better for this team to make the playoffs.
The Packers will leave Detroit with two dinner plates—their own and the Lions'.
Miami Dolphins vs. Dallas Cowboys
Do not adjust your television, the Miami Dolphins are a good football team. They play 10 different running backs, but they get the job done. Matt Moore is not playing great, but he is not turning the football over.
The Cowboys were a missed kick away from losing to the Redskins last week. This game will not need snow or Leon Lett for the Dolphins to win. Upset.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Baltimore Ravens
For all you people who do not think the 49ers are for real, we will find out this week. The Ravens are a good football team and will be a good barometer to judge the 49ers.
These two teams are a near mirror image of each other. Great linebacker, great running back and decent wide receivers. They both want to run the football and play great defense. This game will be about who executes the best.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Atlanta Falcons
The future of Christian Ponder is still up in the air. At times he looks like he may be a franchise quarterback, but other times he looks like he is back at Florida State. No Adrian Peterson. Big problem.
Carolina Panther vs. Indianapolis Colts
Superman has been Clark Kent for the last few weeks. These are the breaks of a rookie NFL quarterback. He started off cooking with Crisco but hit the rookie wall. I think Cam will get some of momma's home cooking this week and rebound for the end of the season.
It does not hurt that they are playing the Colts this week. There is nothing good happening in Indianapolis right now. Well, Pat Angerer is leading the league in tackles.
Tampa Bay Bucs vs. Tennessee Titans
Tampa Bay was very impressive even with a loss to the Packers last week. LeGarrette Blount decided he didn't need any blockers to run to the ball last week. He easily broke 20 tackles in the game. If he runs like that this week, the Bucs have a chance to turn their season around.
The Titans will be very motivated to win this week because they still have a chance to win the AFC South with Matt Schaub out in Houston. Chris Johnson had what we thought was a breakout game two weeks ago. Then, last week he was under 15 yards. Expect another low output from him.
Arizona Cardinals vs. St Louis Rams
This is a NFC West showdown. Yes, I said that with a straight face. Kevin Kolb should be back this week for the Cardinals. Hopefully his time off helps him play better.
I expected the Cardinals to have a few more wins at this point in time. Boy, are they disappointing this year.
The Rams expected to have a couple more wins too, but injuries have been mean to them.
Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
I picked Jacksonville last week, and they let me down. This week, they play a better team with a question mark at quarterback. I worked out this summer with Matt Leinart, and I think he is ready for his opportunity this year. The Texans control their own playoff destiny, and won't fall short.
Jaguars fans are wondering if Blaine Gabbert is really the answer at quarterback. They are also wondering where the Pro Bowl tight end they gave $35 million to this offseason is. Maurice Jones-Drew cannot win games on offense alone.
Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals
I told y'all Cleveland was going to max out at 14 points last week. Where did they end the game...14.
Please listen to the Cleveland radio host go crazy on his Browns. That is 10 minutes of audio that will make your day better.
The Bengals have lost to the top two teams in their division (Ravens, Steelers), but they are still for real. They have a chance to pick up another game of their division leaders and possibly sneak in the playoffs.
Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets
Am I the one who said the Bills had 9-7 written all over them? I was wrong. Make it 7-9. Now that they have lost their bell cow Fred Jackson, their playoff chances are out of the window.
The Jets just came off losing a game everyone expected them to win. New York should rebound this week against the exploding Bills.
The only person who can change the outcome of this game is Mark Sanchez. If he plays terribly, the Jets may lose.
Washington Redskins vs. Seattle Seahawks
The Redskins put Rex Grossman back at quarterback, and guess what happened? They played well and would have beaten the Cowboys if Graham Gano could make a field goal.
They have to make a long trip to the West Coast and home of the 12th man. Seattle has been playing well the last couple weeks, and that should continue this week.
Chicago Bears vs. Oakland Raiders
The Bears were looking like the second-best team in the NFL. For weeks I have been saying I was waiting for Cutler to lose games and blow the season. Well, he is going to indirectly do both now that he is out for the season.
The Bears' front seven can't play quarterback. Caleb Hanie will have a chance to prove himself and save the Bears' season.
Meanwhile, Carson Palmer looks like the QB who took the Bengals to the playoffs. Oakland is running the ball well and playing great defense.
New England Patriots vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia is likely entering a second game in a row without Vick at quarterback. Can Vince Young win two games in a row? Not throwing three picks again, he can't.
The Patriots do have the last-rated pass defense in the league, so that should help him out.
Expect the Philly defense to press across the board and blitz Brady anytime they line up in empty. That recipe was successful for the Steelers.
Another good sign for the Eagles is that the Patriots don't have a real running game, so they should be able to pin their ears back and get after Brady some.
Denver Broncos vs. San Diego Chargers
Do you believe in Tebow yet? John Elway isn't sold long term, either.
The Broncos defense is fierce and fast right now. Rookie Von Miller is a nightmare off the edge and has been a force against the run and pass.
WTH is going on with Philip Rivers? Seriously, he is awful right now. He leads the league in interceptions and is the main reason for the Chargers' struggles. Ryan Matthews gets hurt every game, so if Tolbert is out they are down to a guy they didn't expect to get more that 20 carries on the season. I believe in Tebow and definitely do not believe in Rivers (this year).
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Pittsburgh is a good football team and potential Super Bowl team.
Even though the Chiefs have added Kyle Orton, this game will be a mere speed bump for the Steelers.
New York Giants vs. New Orleans Saints
This is a great matchup for Monday Night. This game means so much to both teams. They are both leading their closely-contested division. A loss would muddy divisional waters and open up the door for chaos.
I still have the Eagles making the playoffs, so that is influencing my pick for this game. New Orleans is getting hot at the right time. Brees and the offense are becoming the high-powered team we are used to seeing.