We witnessed some big moments in week 12. We saw the ugly defensive matchup between the Eagles and Seahawks, the recurring dominance of the 49ers and Ravens, and Derrick Henry continue to remind us all to quit sleeping on him. I brought my pick em record up to 117-58 on the season. This week in the Thanksgiving games and the chance to get a post game turkey leg. Lots of team hungry for a playoff spot, some trying to fight for first round bye and even home field advantage, and some trying for the first overall draft pick. That being said, let’s jump right in to this week’s matchups.
BEARS (5-6) @ LIONS (3-7-1)
This is a matchup of teams that can pretty much start looking forward to next year. The Lions have had injury troubles and could never seem to find an answer. They looked good a while back, but now just look like a hollow shell that just kind of gave up. They have lost 7 of their last 8 and are ranked 29th in total defense. They’re ranked 27th in sacks, which is a key component in stopping Trubisky. If Trubisky has time he’s a decent QB and can manage the game well. The Lions are also down Stafford again so the usually solid offense cant be counted on much either. With Chicago having the 4th ranked defense, but the 29th ranked offense, this will be a defensive game seeing the Bears come out on top of our first Thanksgiving day matchup
PREDICTION: BEARS 16 LIONS 10
BILLS (8-3) @ COWBOYS (6-5)
This game will be a better game to watch than the defensive bore we just covered before this. The Bills have a top 5 rushing attack and the 3rd ranked defense as they have proven one of the biggest surprises this season. Allen and company have done pretty well thus far in the season. I can’t not mention though that 7 of their 8 opponents beaten have 4 wins or less. They have a true test this week against the Cowboys and their number 1 offense before taking on red hot Baltimore in Buffalo. This is their chance to prove themselves against a solid playoff team. The Cowboys will be looking to shrug off a tough loss to the Pats and even some coach firing rumors. The Cowboys have the top offense in the league and even the 6th ranked defense in the league. Will they be able to get back on track and show why they’re the favorite to win the NFC East? Or will they crumble under the distractions and drama? I say they overcome the drama and easily handle the Bills on Thanksgiving day.
PREDICTION: COWBOYS 27 BILLS 13
SAINTS (9-2) @ FALCONS (3-8)
This is the matchup to watch on Thanksgiving. The Saints have the 3rd best odds of winning the Super Bowl and Michael Thomas is now pushing into the MVP race. The Saints have a team that ranks top 15 in both offense and defense this season. They have Drew Brees back and he’s looked pretty solid this season. They’ve beaten some solid teams, including the Cowboys, Texans, and Seahawks. However, their most recent loss, with Brees under center, was a blowout at the hands of the Falcons. This Falcons team is so terribly inconsistent. They’re decent on offense but very poor rushing the ball and on defense. They just can’t seem to bring Ryan the backfield or defense he deserves. The talents of Ryan, Jones, and Ridley are being wasted on a team that can’t seem to break .500. This game will be competitive but I see the Saints keeping pace with SF in the NFC race for a first round bye.
PREDICTION: SAINTS 34 FALCONS 24
49ERS (10-1) @ RAVENS (9-2)
This is undoubtedly the game that everyone has their eye on. The 49ers have been beating up on the NFC and proving that they’re for real. They’ve boasted the top ranked defense and a top 10 offense. They have few flaws in their team and even have tallied the most sacks in the league up to this point. The one area where they seem to struggle a bit, however, is their rush defense. They rank 19th in that area and are only facing an offense thats on pace to shatter the record for most team rushing yards in a season. The Ravens have come in every single week and proven doubters wrong. The comments that Lamar is simply a running back have turned into MVP chants as he finds himself as the current favorite for the award. Theyre averaging 40 points over their last 5 games. Those games were only against the defending NFC champs, the defending Super Bowl champs, the Wilson lead Seahawks, and the Texans. They have put up the top scoring offense thus far and have been a top 3 defense since its addition of Marcus Peters in week 7 and some additional key pieces since then also. This is going to be an exciting game and will be fun to watch. I still see this as a 2 score game in favor of the Ravens.
PREDICTION: RAVENS 34 49ERS 23
REDSKINS (2-9) @ PANTHERS (5-6)
This game is going to be just what you would expect. The Redskins have become the butt of all the jokes this season. Haskins can’t even beg his O-line to help him as they find themselves ranked dead last on offense. This team hasnt put up more than 20 points since week 2. Theyre only hope this season has been that they can use defense to let Haskins at least manage the game and squeak out a win. I just can’t their defense, that ranks 22nd against the rush, slow down McCaffrey. The Panthers have a RB involved in MVP talks and is a powerhouse running and catching. The Panthers are an average team ranking 19th on both sides of the ball, but they have moments where they shine and those moments usually involve McCaffrey or DJ Moore. Still, that should be more than enough to secure a comfortable win.
PREDICTION: PANTHERS 30 REDSKINS 13
JETS (4-7) @ BENGALS (0-11)
This game is very unpredictable. Normally when we see the Bengals playing anyone, its safe to chalk up a win for their opponent. However, the Jets have had some bad games against some mediocre teams this season. They havent been as promising as some thought they could be and Darnold has been all over the place. However, they do rank at the top in run defense and have averaged 34 points in their last 3 games. They come in against a team that has yet to get a win, has the worst rush defense by far, have just been all-around awful this season. If they can’t bring back Green, this team can only be staring down another harsh loss against a team they just cant matchup up against.
PREDICTION: JETS 26 BENGALS 10
TITANS (6-5) @ COLTS (6-5)
This should be another good game to watch. We see two division rivals fighting to keep play off hopes alive. They’ll both be battling to save their season and fighting to prevent being labeled a disappointment again. The Colts had looked pretty promising, boasting the 3rd best run game thus far and were sitting ahead of the Texans for the first half of the season in the AFC South. Having lost 3 of their last 4, theyre hoping to climb back into the saddle and regain some of that momentum against a surging Titans team. The Titans have won 4 of their last 5 and Henry has put up 410 rushing yards and 5 TDs in the last 3 games. Indy boasts a top 10 rushing defense and Brissett will find his rhythm again this week. I going Colts in this one but it’ll be close.
PREDICTION: COLTS 23 TITANS 20
EAGLES (5-6) @ DOLPHINS (2-9)
This game is another game that should be no surprise to anyone. The Eagles offense has looked anything but solid and consistent this year. They’ve had massive amounts of dropped passes and Wentz has seen his fair share of pressure this season. They just cant seem to get things rolling in the passing game. The defensive side of the ball for them has been a different story. Last week’s game against Seattle couldve been a huge blowout had it not been for Philly’s stingy defense. They can surely stifle Fitzpatrick if they can stifle MVP candidate Russell Wilson. Miami was a laughing stock to start the season, but following a pair of wins and Cincy taking on that role lately, theyve been mediocre more or less. They have struggled to find any form of consistency on either side of the ball, and playing a stout Eagles defense and an offense expecting to get some key pieces back, is not the week to expect them to either.
PREDICTION: EAGLES 30 DOLPHINS 10
PACKERS (8-3) @ GIANTS (2-9)
This game is going to be a bit of a surprise. The Giants can put up some decent numbers despite only being ranked 25th in overall offense. The records are miled apart but rankings-wise they’re roughly the same. Rodgers might have an affinity for not turning the ball over, but he hasnt been the same game breaker he has been in past seasons. The Packers have been more mediocre this season than in years past and I think that may begin to catch up with them. The Giants have the surprisingly reliant Daniel Jones and the surprisingly lack-luster Saquan Barkley. Barkley hasn’t been the same this season and that has a lot to do with injuries. I think this is the game we see him have a solid outing and the Giants will surprise the Packers with an upset at home.
PREDICTION: GIANTS 31 PACKERS 26
BROWNS (5-6) @ STEELERS (6-5)
This game is the second game of a series that saw one of the most horrible incidents in NFL history. The drama was swirling following Garrett bringing Rudolphs helmet down on his head and Garrett accusing Rudolph of calling him a racial slur. This game is swirling with drama and will be a tense game full of animosity and desperation. Both teams really need a win and both teams are missing some star power. The Steelers have a strong defense that ranks in the top 10, but their offense is 28th overall. Cleveland is about middle of the pack on both sides of the ball and looks to build off a win against Miami. Look for Landry, Chubb, and Mayfield to expose the Steelers and punish their lack luster offense.
PREDICTION: BROWNS 23 STEELERS 17
BUCS (4-7) @ JAGS (4-7)
This game will feature some fairly solid offenses going at it. The Jaguars had taken the league by storm at the beginning of the season with Minshew-Mania. The man behind the mustache was making magic happen and getting wins under his belt. Since the return of Foles, the offense has been relatively lack-luster and underwhelming. DJ Chark and Leonard Fournette are having very solid seasons and could possibly be enough to stay ahead of this high speed Bucs offense. The Bucs are the same team this year that they are most years. They’re high powered offense that throws a plethora of interceptions and fumbles regularly, counter balances their streaky and mediocre pass defense. Godwin and Evans are both putting together Pro Bowl caliber seasons and will look to find holes in this Jaguars secondary. I see the Jags putting together enough stops and putting enough points up to squeak by.
PREDICTION: JAGS 34 BUCS 30
RAMS (6-5) @ CARDS (3-7-1)
This is a recovery game for the Rams. The Rams are coming off an ugly game against the Ravens and are going to be desperately fighting to keep their playoff hopes alive. They are the defending NFC champs, but they just havent been able to piece the ground game together this year. They rank just 24th on the list and the absence of Anderson to help Gurley shoulder the load seems to be taking a toll. Luckily for them they’re playing a Cardinals team that is 31st in total defense and is dead last in passing offense. Look for Goff to find his rhythm and keep pace enough to beat Murray and the Cards by a comfortable margin.
PREDICTION: RAMS 20 CARDS 10
RAIDERS (6-5) @ CHIEFS (7-4)
This is a big game as well as the two teams are battling for the AFC West crown. The Chiefs have been the favorite all season having the reigning MVP and gunslinging phenom Mahommes and a plethora of offensive weapons around him. They’re the 3rd ranked offense and they do the most damage through the air. When Mahommes and company get on a roll theyre impossible to stop and nearly impossible to keep pace with. Then theres the surprise Raiders. They started slow, but came to life recently as they’ve won 3 of their last 4. They’re not as prolific as Mahommes and the Chiefs offense, but when Gruden and his staff get creative and get Carr and Jacobs moving, they’re nothing to scoff at. They’re very capable of getting ahead in a hurry and staying there. I actually look for them to surprise the Chiefs in this one and create a bit of AFC West drama.
PREDICTION: RAIDERS 27 CHIEFS 23
CHARGERS (4-7) @ BRONCOS (3-8)
Another AFC West matchup on the card this week and it’s not necessarily a big one. Don’t think that means it’ll be boring, it just doesn’t carry much weight as both teams aren’t entrenched in the playoff hunt. The Chargers have just not found any footing this season with their rushing attack. They rank 26th in rush offense and theyre also prone to turnovers as have the 6th most giveaways in the league. They have a multitude of offensive talent, they just cant seem to get everything to mesh. The Broncos dont have the same fortunes. They fare well against the pass on defense, ranking 5th, but they dont pass well on offense ranking just 29th. They took a chance on Flacco and it hasnt paid off at all. They’ve had to turn to Brandon Allen in Flaccos absence, and it hasn’t been much better for them. It’ll be close as the Broncos defensive strength against the pass counteracts LA’s offensive passing strength. I just give the Chargers the slight edge in a tough fought game for both teams.
PREDICTION: CHARGERS 17 BRONCOS 12
PATRIOTS (10-1) @ TEXANS (7-4)
This is another matchup I’m looking forward to. The Patriots are the front runners in the AFC. They have had a historic defense this season and have been doing things on that side of the ball that no other team has done. They’re 2nd in overall defense and have only allowed 10.6 points per game. The defense has overshadowed the average offense. The ageless wonder that is Tom Brady just doesnt look like the same dangerous GOAT we’re used to. This offense looks vulnerable and more or less non-threatening. The Texans have looked like they can hang with the best, aside from the Ravens that is. They are the flip flop of the Patriots. They have a mediocre defense and a strong offense. Watson is an MVP candidate and he has solid talent around him, including the most sure handed receiver in the game. This game will come down to whether or not Watson can find the same weaknesses and holes in the Pats defense that Jackson and the Ravens did. I honestly think they can just not as powerfully. I think they squeak by with an upset in this one.
PREDICTION: TEXANS 24 PATS 23
VIKINGS (8-3) @ SEAHAWKS (9-2)
The Monday night matchup is another great matchup. We have two teams fighting to win their divisions and will both be looking to this game as the key to accomplishing that goal. The Vikings have been riding their awoken passing attack and the reinvigorated Dalvin Cook. The passing attack has done well following the first half struggles and Cook ranks 3rd in rushing yards and is 2nd in TDs. The Seahawks are riding a 4 game winning streak. Russ is having an MVP caliber season, only trailing Lamar Jackson in the MVP odds. The team has found gems in Lockett and Metcalf, and Carson has become a stud as well. This team is very solid and is a tough matchup for anybody. This game comes down to defense. The Seahawks defense isnt as strong as Minnesota’s, especially against the pass. Unlucky for them this Vikings offense has a multitude of receiving weapons. This is a shootout going to the away team.
PREDICTION: VIKINGS 38 SEAHAWKS 34
That wraps up our pick em this week. The first long blog in a long time and it felt good. Lets hope we can kick things off with some success. I hope you enjoyed the post and most importantly I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving and watch plenty of football while stuffing yourselves to the fullest with great food. Please share with all the fellow sports fans in your lives and please leave some comments. Thank you!