Now that the Bears shocked the Packers, the Lions destroyed the Eagles, the Panthers remained perfect and Thanksgiving Day madness is done, here are some other games to watch in NFL Week 12.
Cowboys 17 vs. Panthers 30
Ha. I’m not picking the Cowboys.
Actual Score: Cowboys 14 Panthers 33
Bears 27 vs. Packers 33
Oh, the Bears. Everyone’s punching bag when things get bad.
The Packers are getting things back on track after beating the Vikings in convincing fashion, and Aaron Rodgers is still a top-2 quarterback in this league.
Some things just never change.
Actual Score: Bears 17 Packers 13
Bills 16 vs. Chiefs 13 (Game of the Week)
This is a sneaky good game for two reasons.
The Bills might put something together in the last six weeks of the season to finish 9-7 and make the playoffs. They have not beat a quality team yet, but with six contests against teams with .500 records or worse, they could make a run at the playoffs.
The Chiefs have a chance to right their early season wrongs and make a run at a wild card spot. The AFC West division is not as tough as it used to be in the past. They could possibly run the table for the rest of the season.
I think the combination of Alex Smith’s conservatism and the Bills’ defensive line should create headaches for Andy Reid.
Rams 7 vs. Bengals 23
Andy Dalton and the pesky Bengals will assume the position amongst the AFC hierarchy by taking advantage of a weak quarterback conundrum in St. Louis.
Although the Bengals have lost two straight, talent exists in Cincinnati.
Note: The Bengals are in serious trouble after Dec. 6. They need a win against the Rams this week and the Browns next week.
Saints 27 vs. Texans 30 (Game of the Week)
Rob Ryan is gone, but does that fix this defense?
Brian Hoyer is no Tom Brady, but he will be against the Saints’ defense. The Saints gave up a combined 81 points to Marcus Mariota and Kirk Cousins. Seriously? I’m not vouching for Ryan and his shortcomings, but a coaching change does not fix all of your problems.
Ask the Lions.
Chargers 40 vs. Jaguars 24
Something has got to give this game.
The Chargers are out of the playoff race and should be looking forward to next year. Philip Rivers is having a great year as he always does statistically. His team, however, is not having much success. The NFL Draft cannot come any sooner for the residents in San Diego.
The Jaguars sit one game behind the AFC-leading Colts, but do they have enough talent to push through in this division with the surging Texans?
This game will come down to effort and who wants it more.
Buccaneers 21 vs. Colts 24
In hindsight, Matt Hasselbeck should have a pretty easy game going up against a defense that’s giving up 235 yards per game through the air. (Courtesy: NFL.com)
Jameis Winston had the game of his young career against a weak Eagles’ defense. Winston should not have the same success, but I would not be surprised as he will have to throw a lot to make up for the deficit that his defense will most likely put him in.
Dolphins 13 vs. Jets 17
In this AFC East divisional game, both teams have a shot at grabbing a wild card spot in a wide-open AFC.
Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins’ offense put up just 14 points against the Cowboys. He will have to get it going and improve the 54.2 completion percentage he finished with in that contest.
Too bad the Jets’ defense is stiffer than the bad boys from Dallas.
Vikings 14 vs. Falcons 13
Oh how the mighty have fallen.
The Falcons started off the year 4-1. They have lost three straight to the Buccaneers, 49ers and the Colts. The streak will not stop here when they host the Vikings, who will look to redeem the loss against the Packers just a week prior.
Teddy Bridgewater needs to get it going at some point. Bridgewater may not have the receiving core of Roddy White and Julio Jones, but he will have to make do.
Giants 24 vs. Redskins 27
This division has become a joke. The Redskins with no RGIII, giving up 25 points per game and the 29th ranked quarterback, sit in second place for the division lead. Pitiful.
The Giants better win this one.
I would not be surprised if they found a way to lose.
Raiders 20 vs. Titans 10
This is a game that I have circled because both teams are fighting for one thing: respect.
Somehow, the Titans are mathematically still able to win their division with just a few weeks left. Marcus Mariota will have to get something going as he has been in a slump over the past few weeks. He is only a rookie, so, there is time for him to pull it together. He should not have to be the savior this early in his career.
The Raiders are not going to make the playoffs in all likelihood, but they have made substantial steps in the right direction this year. 8-8 is not out of the question for them, but it will start with them getting a victory in this contest.
Note: Marcus Mariota has not thrown for a touchdown since Nov. 8 when he threw four against the Saints. Ouch.
Cardinals 30 vs. 49ers 9
The 49ers are in limbo right now after Blaine Gabbert had a decent game in Seattle and Colin Kaepernick was listed on their injury report. The 49ers right now do not have an identity. They’re not physical enough as a defense or offense. They are not going to beat you over the top with Torrey Smith or Anquan Boldin. Carlos Hyde can’t do it all himself.
The Cardinals should handle the 49ers rather easily. This could be a blowout if everything goes Arizona’s way.
Steelers 20 vs. Seahawks 17 (Game of the Week)
Ben “Big Ben” Roethlisberger has had success when he is able to stay on the field. He threw for nearly 400 yards against the Cleveland Browns on Nov. 15, but he will have to bring an even better A-game against the Seahawks.
Those birds are giving up the second-least yards through the air this season at a 207 a clip, though they have not been through the greatest quarterbacks. Russell Wilson will have to find a way to move this offense as Marshawn Lynch will be out another week after undergoing hernia surgery, according to NFL.com. This one seems like it will be close, but no one knows for sure with these two unpredictable teams.
NOTE: Jimmy Graham will have to get it going. He has caught only three passes in each of his past two games.
Patriots 27 vs. Broncos 23
Brock Osweiler had a nice coming out party, throwing for 250 yards and two touchdowns against the Chicago Bears. Sadly, they are not the Patriots.
The Patriots have given up just 14 passing touchdowns to nine interceptions. It should not be a long day for Osweiler, but he probably will not have as much success as he did against the Bears.
Monday Night Football: Ravens 23 vs. Browns 20
Johnny Manziel gets the curtain call after throwing for 372 yards against the Steelers in a loss. Although Cleveland did not put many points on the board, the Browns showed a different identity on offense with Johnny Football under center.
Now, you replace him? I understand that you have to show discipline for his actions, but c’mon. What do you have to lose by starting him? MORE games?
NEWSFLASH: Cleveland is not making the playoffs, anyways. Give the kid a chance.
This game should be a close one with the Ravens’ defense being an average squad, going up against a below-average Cleveland offense.