NFL Predictions: Week Twelve

Doug Rush@Doug_RushSenior Analyst INovember 25, 2009

GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 22: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers passes the football against the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field on November 22, 2009 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the 49ers 30-24. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
Scott Boehm/Getty Images

It's Week Twelve of the NFL season, and it's also Thanksgiving week.

In the past years, there has always been two games on this holiday, which usually were just the Lions at home against their opponent and the Cowboys and their opponent, which is fine because it is tradition, but lately, those games haven't been as great, so the league added a third game at night on the NFL Network, which generally has been a better game of the day.

So if you are at your family's house and you don't like your relatives, or if you do and are looking for something to do aside from eating turkey and turkey sandwiches, there is football all Thanksgiving day long.

Last week in Week Eleven, I had a great week going 14-2 with the only losses coming from the Steelers and Bengals. Overall in the 2009 season, I am 114-45 and looking to continue the good record.

Thursday Thanksgiving Football: Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions

These two teams have met in the past on Thanksgiving, two years ago in fact. Brett Favre and Jon Kitna were the respective quarterbacks for those teams.

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Now it's Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford starting for their teams and looking to continue the tradition.

However, Stafford got hurt last week and his status for the game is unknown, so Daunte Culpepper or Drew Stanton might be playing on this night.

But it doesn't matter, because the Packers are on a roll and possibly could be a playoff team. Rodgers has the Packers headed in the right direction with multiple 300-plus yard games.

With a banged up team, the Lions might not be able to stand up to the Packers and this one could be over quickly.

Final Score: Packers 37, Lions 20

Thursday Thanksgiving Football: Oakland Raiders @ Dallas Cowboys

Be careful with this game, because it might not be as lopsided as it looks.

The Raiders finally benched JaMarcus Russell for Bruce Gradkowski and they won their last game and will look to make it two in a row with a quarterback that seems to care about playing and winning, something Russell never showed.

The Cowboys are coming in this game extremely banged up. Tony Romo's got a bad back and Jason Witten has a bad foot and both are listed as questionable, although most expect Romo to play, but not so much with Witten.

Over their last two games, Dallas has only scored a total of 14 points and nearly lost their last game. If they only score seven points again, they might not get away with another win.

Dallas usually plays well on Turkey Day and they should be able to pull a win off.

Final Score: Cowboys 24, Raiders 14

Thursday Thanksgiving Football: New York Giants @ Denver Broncos

This one will be on the NFL Network, but for most in the New York/New Jersey area like I am, if you don't have that channel, it will be played on WPIX-11, so it will be on TV locally.

The Broncos have lost four in a row and are sliding bad. They are also fighting among each other and Brandon Marshall seems to be going back to his selfish and destructive ways, fighting with teammates and blaming others for losing when he isn't getting the ball.

The Giants ended their losing streak with a huge win last week and are looking to get back into the playoff race. Denver is having trouble stopping everyone, so this may be a game where Brandon Jacobs can run over players and with Ahmad Bradshaw likely out, Danny Ware will get some playing time.

This will also be Eli Manning's first game on Thanksgiving. Manning should have no problems getting the Giants to win on the road despite the short week.

Final Score: Giants 30, Broncos 13

Carolina Panthers @ New York Jets

It seems so long ago when the Jets were 3-0 and Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez were living large.

Now at 4-6, it's not the case anymore. Ryan's been humbled some in his rookie season as head coach, but Sanchez has not, he still thinks he's the USC god back in California. If he keeps throwing all those interceptions, he might find himself on the bench real soon.

The Panthers have been up and down all 2009 season.

They get so close to getting to .500 and then they will lose a game and stay under .500, which must be frustrating for John Fox.

You would think the Jets would have the advantage being at home against a losing team, but they lost games to the Jaguars, Bills and Dolphins at home, so the Jets aren't guaranteed to win.

This one I think will come down to a late field goal, and I don't trust the Jets anymore.

Final Score: Panthers 24, Jets 21

Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans

If you're a betting person, never, ever bet against Peyton Manning, because he finds ways to win.

Just like last week when the Colts somehow managed to win and get to 10-0 in another close game.

But the tough games on the road don't stop for the Colts, as they take on an opponent from the AFC South division.

The Texans lost their last home game on Monday night with a missed field goal and was devastating to take. Houston will be looking to get over that loss and come out strong against their division foes.

Houston always plays the Colts well, as they did earlier in the season. But like I said before, never pick against the Colts, and neither will I again this week.

Final Score: Colts 28, Texans 20

Washington Redskins @ Philadelphia Eagles

The Redskins are trying everything they can to win games, and came close against the Cowboys, but fell short.

Washington has a good defense, which has kept them in a lot of games, but their offense is dreadful. With Clinton Portis out again and with Chris Cooley done for the season, it gets worse for Washington in 2009.

The Eagles snapped their two game losing streak and got back on track. DeSean Jackson is becoming a dangerous weapon downfield for the Eagles and it almost seems like he is un-coverable because of his speed.

Most shouldn't count on Brian Westbrook playing in this game due to his severe concussions. Some don't even expect Westbrook back in 2009, which would be a shame.

Washington has yet to win a game on the road, and nobody expects them to win this week either.

Final Score: Eagles 27, Redskins 9

Seattle Seahawks @ St. Louis Rams

I'm not going to lie to you guys, this game is not exactly a great one. Both teams stink.

The only problem is, Seattle isn't supposed to be this bad. They have Matt Hasselbeck healthy, but even he can only do so much.

The running game isn't great. The passing game is mediocre. The defense has been bad.

But, they are playing a 1-9 team who is even worse.

St. Louis will be without Marc Bulger, who has several injuries. But even with him Bulger has been awful in 2009.

If you're not a diehard fan of either team, I wouldn't suggest watching. But Seattle is a little better and should be able to win this game.

Final Score: Seahawks 20, Rams 7

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta Falcons

This is a battle between NFC South rivals, but it won't have the same intensity like it has in the past.

Tampa is 1-9 and they keep on trying to get better. They think they found their quarterback in rookie Josh Freeman, but he's taking his rookie pains in a tough season.

The Falcons suffered a tough loss last week and dropped to 5-5 in the NFC playoff race, despite sending the game into overtime.

Atlanta is a better team at home and needs to get back on track with a win. With or without Michael Turner, the Falcons still have weapons to use.

This one might be on Matt Ryan, and he should be able to win against Tampa this week.

Final Score: Falcons 31, Buccaneers 13

Cleveland Browns @ Cincinnati Bengals

This is the second meeting of the Ohio battle.

Cleveland came so close to their second win, but because they are the Browns, found a way to lose another game despite scoring over 30 points.

Brady Quinn played much better last week, so maybe he's not a total bust.

The Bengals lost to the Raiders last week. Not good. They need this division matchup to win all six games of the AFC North division match games.

Cedric Benson was out last week and is listed as questionable, but Bernard Scott has done a great job in Benson's place.

Cleveland sucks and Cincinnati is possibly playoff bound. Guess who wins here?

Final Score: Bengals 30, Browns 10

Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills

Whoever said the Dolphins were dead in 2009 might be wrong, because at 5-5, they have a shot to make something of their season.

They lost Ronnie Brown for the season, but Ricky Williams is showing he's got plenty left for Miami.

Chad Henne is improving each week and showing everyone he deserves to be the starter. However, with Miami's Wildcat formation, expect Pat White to play because of Brown's injury.

Buffalo finally got the ball to Terrell Owens last week, as he almost had 200 yards receiving, and yet, the Bills lost.

Buffalo is not the team they once were that dominated the AFC 10-15 years ago. Even Bill Cowher turned down an offer to interview for their coaching vacancy.

Final Score: Dolphins 24, Bills 16

Jacksonville Jaguars @ San Francisco 49ers

This game means a lot more for the Jaguars than it does for the 49ers, because a win for Jacksonville and they find themselves right in the mix for the AFC playoff race.

After an up and down season, the Jaguars are winning, and they've put their faith solely in Maurice Jones-Drew, who has carried this team in 2009.

Jones-Drew has been nothing short of MVP-like in 2009 and has been the reason why the Jaguars are winning and at 6-4 right now.

The 49ers are still trying to find an identity, but they are at least making their games competitive, especially with Michael Crabtree active and playing very well.

With Crabtree, it has given Alex Smith a second chance to be the leader of this team, along with another target to throw to aside from Vernon Davis.

But, Jacksonville needs this game more and are riding a three game winning streak to continue their chase for postseason football.

Final Score: Jaguars 28, 49ers 21

Kansas City Chiefs @ San Diego Chargers

The Chiefs somehow managed to knock off the defending champion Steelers at home in overtime, which is a huge accomplishment for a team that hasn't been great in 2009.

But that was at home, and they're back on the road, where they aren't a great football team.

Even worse, they are playing the Chargers, who are on a five game winning streak and are getting back to playing solid football.

LaDanian Tomlinson has become a big part of the offense again and showing the league that he isn't washed up, and since the Chiefs can't stop the run, LT might have another decent game.

The Chargers have control of the AFC West and are at home. San Diego should have no problems winning this game.

Final Score: Chargers 34, Chiefs 17

Arizona Cardinals @ Tennessee Titans

Because of the Titans playing better football, it makes this game a decent contest to watch.

Arizona is starting to become a more complete team after being only known as a passing team in 2008.

They are running the football more with Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower and the defense is stepping up and playing much better.

So with those two factors added in with the powerful offense of Arizona, that makes them scary to stop. The only question is, does Kurt Warner play with the concussion or does Matt Leinart get a start?

Tennessee has won four in a row and they can thank that on the magnificent play of Chris Johnson, who is leading the league in rushing yards.

Vince Young is playing well too and deserving of a second chance as a starter.

As much as Tennessee has played well, Arizona's offense might be too much for the Titans defense to stop.

Final Score: Cardinals 38, Titans 24

Chicago Bears @ Minnesota Vikings

So, Jay Cutler was supposed to be the savior for the Bears in 2009, right?

Only problem is Cutler is throwing way too many interceptions in games and costing them chances to win.

On the other side, the Vikings have been one of the best teams in 2009 and one of the most complete teams.

Their offense lead by Brett Favre has been solid, but their defense lead by Jared Allen is the best in the NFL.

Lately, Cutler's confidence has been lacking each week. With a defense like Minnesota that swarms the quarterback, Cutler will be in for a long day in the Metrodome.

Minnesota is so much better than Chicago and should have no problems going to 10-1.

Final Score: Vikings 34, Bears 16

Sunday Night Football: Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens

This is a re-match of the AFC Championship game and another meeting of the AFC North rivals.

In 2008, the Steelers won both regular season games and the AFC Title game on their road to winning the Super Bowl.

The Steelers have been very banged up. Troy Polamalu is questionable with an injured knee. Pittsburgh's defense needs Polamalu back if they want to end their two game slide. Ben Roethlisberger also suffered a concussion last week, but is expected to play.

The Ravens once started out 3-0, but are 2-5 over their last several games and don't look like the same AFC powerhouse on defense that used to scare teams because they have lost too many games in 2009.

With Roethlisberger, the Steelers should be able to pull off a victory in Baltimore, but it won't be easy and could come down to a late score.

Final Score: Steelers 27, Ravens 24

Monday Night Football: New England Patriots @ New Orleans Saints

This very well may be the best game on the schedule. If you like offensive games with a lot of points, this game is for you. If you like defense, don't expect it here, because this one will light up the boards.

The Patriots have been playing much better football and have gotten the passing game going with Tom Brady. With Wes Welker healthy and combine him with Randy Moss, Brady is back to being his old self.

The Saints are 10-0 and steam-rolling through the NFC. They have blown out teams and they have also shown they can come back from being down in games, a good quality of a playoff team.

Drew Brees has done a great job in making his wide receivers have tremendous seasons in 2009, especially Marques Colston, maybe the most underrated top receiver in the NFL.

In the past, the Patriots defense could stop New Orleans. Not anymore. They give up too many points, which in the end favors Brees and company. But this one will be worth watching and enjoying.

Final Score: Saints 42, Patriots 35

That does it for the schedule and picks for Week Twelve of the NFL season.

Everyone, from my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy your holiday and time with your family and loved ones. Also, for those who do Black Friday shopping, be safe over the weekend and during that crazy time.

See you back this weekend for more exciting NFL football games that start on the holiday.


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