NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 12

4 months ago Sports Central

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

Buffalo @ Detroit (+9½)

The Bills beat the Browns 31-23 at Ford Field in a game moved from Highmark Stadium after a massive snow storm struck Buffalo over the weekend.

"Some places in the Buffalo area got nearly eight feet of snow," Sean McDermott said. "Some of our older fans can tell you that's about as high as four Lombardi Trophies stacked end to end. In inches, it's just another sore reminder to Bills fans of the 'mid-'90s.'

"But we familiarized ourselves with the Detroit end zone, and we plan on reacquainting ourselves with it on Thanksgiving."

The Lions beat the Giants 31-18 at MetLife Stadium, winning their third consecutive game. Jamaal Williams rushed for 64 yards and 3 touchdowns to power Detroit.

"Our running game was really clicking," Dan Campbell said. "And that's good, because when Jared Goff is making a hand off, it means his hand's off the football.

"We're on a hot streak with three straight wins. And with the biggest game of our year coming up, we've got our fans primed for what they've come to expect from us on Thanksgiving — disappointment.'

"Since we play indoors, there's no chance of snow on Thanksgiving. If anything's gonna take a dump on us, chances are it's not snow, but our fans."

Bills win, 30-24.

NY Giants @ Dallas (-9)

The Lions forced 3 Giants turnovers and left MetLife Stadium with a 31-18 win. New York is 7-3, two games behind the 9-1 Eagles.

"I'm looking forward to matching wits with Mike McCarthy," Brian Daboll said. "I'm pretty confident our wits won't match. Waistlines, maybe. Wits? No.

"It's cool to be a part of Dallas' traditional Thanksgiving Day game. And, speaking of 'tradition,' the Cowboys are well on their way to what has become their traditional early playoff loss."

The Cowboys dominated the Vikings, winning 40-3 at US Bank Stadium. Dallas sacked Kirk Cousins 7 times, and Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott combined for 4 touchdowns.

"We knew our defensive line could get into Cousins' head," Mike McCarthy said, "just as much as his offensive line does. Apparently, 'mental' blocking is the only blocking happening with that offense.

"That was a dominant win for us, and our fans loved it. But not as much as Jerry Jones did. Now, Jerry's saying we're a Super Bowl contender. Jerry's got his big mouth open again, which means he's soon gonna be eating his words. That is, once there's room in his mouth after he removes his foot."

Dallas wins, 27-23.

New England @ Minnesota (-3)

The Patriots beat the Jets 10-3 at windy Gillette Stadium. Marcus Jones' 84-yard punt return with 5 seconds left in the game gave the Pats the stunning win.

"There's not a player on our offense that can cover 84 yards that fast," Bill Belichick said. "Or at all, for that matter.

"We held the Jets to just 2 yards of offense in the second half. You could say we buried them, because just 2 yards will put you 'six feet' under.

"I can't stress enough how great our defense played. To put it in context, our offense played slightly better than the Vikings offense against the Cowboys in a 40-3 loss, but we still won because of our defense."

The Cowboys overwhelmed the Vikings 40-3 in Minneapolis, handing Minnesota only their second loss of the season. The game was over early, as the Cowboys went into the half with a 23-3 lead.

"There are 'three-and-outs,'" Kevin O'Connell said, "of which we had plenty. And then there's the ultimate 'three-and-out,' which is what happens when you score an early field goal and then nothing else."

Patriots win, 23-21.

Tampa Bay @ Cleveland (+3)

The Bucs had a Week 11 bye and head to the Dawg Pound looking to maintain their lead in the NFC South. Tampa is 5-5, a half-game up on the 5-6 Falcons.

"Honestly," Brady said, "I'm used to 'dogs' this year. So, the 'Dawg Pound' doesn't concern me, especially since I've been in the 'dog house' for most of the year, and I've played like 'dog shit' for most of the year."

The Browns lost to the Bills 31-23 at Ford Field in Detroit. Cleveland hung tough throughout the game, thanks to Jacoby Brissette's 324 yards passing and 3 TDs.

"Great game by Jacoby," Kevin Stefanski said. "He was 'feeling it,' and here's what's great about that — Deshaun Watson didn't even ask him to."

Bucs win, 24-19.

Cincinnati @ Tennessee (-1½)

The Titans overpowered the Packers 27-17 at Lambeau Field on Thursday night, led by Derrick Henry's 136 total yards and 2 touchdowns.

"Our offensive coordinator Todd Downing got a DUI early Friday back in Nashville," Mike Vrabel said. "I can't imagine 'driving while impaired,' which would be us trying to move the ball without Derrick.

"We haven't forgotten about the Bengals beating us here in Nashville in last year's playoff. Ryan Tannehill certainly hasn't forgotten. If he deems himself a quarterback as good as Joe Burrow, he needs to 'redeem' himself on Sunday."

The Bengals beat the Steelers 37-30 in Pittsburgh, led by Joe Burrow's 4 touchdown passes. Cincinnati is 6-4, one game behind the Ravens in the AFC North.

"We lost Joe Mixon early to a concussion," Zac Taylor said. "And if you know Joe's history, then you know he totally deserved that concussion.

"But Burrow can carry us if he needs to. When our defense is lacking, Joe can score points for us. When we need a coach on the field, which we often do, because I'm the one on the sideline, Joe can be that coach on the field."

Titans win, 24-21.

Houston @ Miami (-11½)

The Commanders hammered the Texans 23-10 in Houston. Houston was held to 21 yards on the ground, and Davis Mills threw 2 interceptions.

"We strengthened our hold on having the No. 1 pick in the 2023 Draft," Lovie Smith said. "Davis strengthened his hold on being the reason we desperately need that pick."

The Dolphins had a Week 11 bye and lead the AFC East with a 7-3 record.

"An upcoming game with the Texans is a good time to remind everyone that we said 'No' to Deshaun Watson," Mike McDaniel said. "But then again, who hasn't?"

Miami wins, 30-15.

Chicago @ NY Jets (-5½)

The Bears lost 27-24 to the Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Justin Fields posted 238 total yards and 2 touchdowns, but a late Fields interception led to Younghoe Koo's 53-yard game-winning field goal.

"We can't expect Justin to do everything," Matt Eberflus said. "But we're going to ask him anyway.

"Justin injured his shoulder late in the Atlanta game. It's his non-throwing arm, so we're hoping he can still play, because our backup quarterback Trevor Siemian has two non-throwing arms."

The Jets managed just 136 yards of total offense in a 10-3 loss to the Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Zach Wilson completed just 9-of-22 passes for 77 yards.

"Zach's got some growing up to do," Robert Saleh said. "He really needs to learn how to handle NFL defenses. I mean, he's dealing with grown men out there. And I would suggest they're easier to deal with than the grown women with whom he's involved.

"Our offense produced only 2 yards in the entire second half. That's practically going backwards. And speaking of 'backup,' Mike White is our second team quarterback. And Joe Flacco is our third-string QB. But those numbers could change very soon."

Jets win, 31-13.

Atlanta @ Washington (-3½)

The Falcons beat the visiting Bears 27-24, led by Marcus Mariota, who passed for 1 score and ran for another.

"Marcus is more than just a running quarterback," Arthur Smith said. "He's got so much unlocked potential. And I should know, because I've thrown away the key."

The Commanders walloped the Texans 23-10 at NRG Stadium. Washington's defense controlled the game as the Commanders posted their fifth win in their last six games.

"We're one of the hottest teams in the league," Ron Rivera said. "I don't think anyone wants to play us right now. In other words, no one wants a piece of this team, except for criminal investigators.

"Taylor Heinicke has earned his spot as our starter at quarterback. And through it all, he's remained humble. He doesn't think he's particularly special. Why? Because lots of people have made Carson Wentz irrelevant."

Washington wins, 26-23.

Denver @ Carolina (+2½)

The Broncos lost 22-16 in overtime to the Raiders as Davante Adams' 35-yard TD catch handed the Broncos their sixth loss in the last seven games.

"We gave that game away," Nathaniel Hackett said. "Russell Wilson threw the ball away when he should have went down to keep the clock running. I think the problem is this: Russell can't win for losing."

The Panthers lost 13-3 to the Ravens in Baltimore. Baker Mayfield had 2 interceptions, and the Panthers managed only 36 rushing yards.

"Baker's still got it," Steve Wilkes said. "'It' just happens to be the title of 'worst quarterback on the roster.' It's a crown he wears well.

"We're going with Sam Darnold at quarterback. We think he gives us the best chance at winning ... a good draft pick."

Broncos win, 19-12 in the "The Two Defenses That Absolutely Hate Their Offenses Bowl."

Baltimore @ Jacksonville (+4)

The Ravens beat the visiting Panthers 13-3 in a defensive battle at M&T Bank Stadium. Lamar Jackson rushed for a score, and Demarcus Robinson had 9 receptions for 128 yards.

"Lamar wasn't quite at 100%," John Harbaugh said. "He was dealing with a stomach bug. Lamar's explosiveness on the field is inversely proportional to his explosiveness in the bathroom."

The Jaguars had a Week 11 bye and are 3-7 in the AFC South, well behind the 7-3 Titans.

"We really haven't come close to reaching our potential," Doug Pederson said. "In fact, it's like we've been sleepwalking all year. And in this 'non-woke' state of Florida, sleepwalking makes sense.

"We're probably out of the playoff race, but it's never too early to start thinking about next year. We've already got Calvin Ridley joining us next year. Calvin will give us another talented receiver, as well as an in-house bookie."

Ravens win, 23-20.

L.A. Chargers @ Arizona (+3½)

The 49ers smashed the Cardinals 38-10 on Monday night in Mexico City. Arizona managed only a James Conner rush score as Kyler Murray missed the game with a lingering hamstring issue.

"A lot of talk before the game on the Monday Night Football broadcast was about 'going back to school,'" Kliff Kingsbury said. "I think they were talking about Kyler, but maybe I was the subject. I mean, a lot of people tell me I should 'go back to school.' I think what they mean is I should go back to coaching in college.

"We're 4-7, so things are looking pretty bleak. But I choose to look at things through rose-colored glasses, as well as through a Kari Lake filter, so the way I see it, things are good. At least for me, because I'm under contract through 2027. So, pretty soon, I'm guessing, I'll be getting paid for not being the Cards head coach. And that's a win-win situation, which is just two wins fewer than we have right now."

Chargers win, 28-20.

Las Vegas @ Seattle (-3½)

Derek Carr's 35-yard TD pass to Davante Adams gave the Raiders a 22-16 overtime win over the Broncos in Denver. The win snapped a three-game losing streak.

"Davante has been a savior for us," Josh McDaniels said. "Heck, he might be Las Vegas' most admired citizen. He may be the only person here with a key to the city and a Taco Bell in his house.

"I was moved to tears by seeing Derek Carr moved to tears last week. I resent the notion that crying makes you less than a real man. I hear that Raiders legend Kenny Stabler cried often, but only when he down a fifth of whiskey and listened to sad country music."

The Seahawks had a Week 11 bye and are tied with the 49ers for the NFC West lead at 6-4.

"I can't express to you enough how much Geno Smith has meant to this team," Pete Carroll said. "I'm not one to overvalue a quarterback, unless I'm trying to sucker the Broncos into trading for one, but I think Geno is Pro Bowl-caliber."

Seahawks win, 29-23.

L.A. Rams @ Kansas City (-14)

The Rams fell to 3-7 with a 27-20 loss to the Saints in the Superdome. Matthew Stafford left the game in the second half to be evaluated for a concussion.

"When you're a team that's struggling like we are, " Sean McVay said, "you learn a lot about yourself. One thing I've learned is that you can name your punter as the team's MVP.

"The Rams and Chiefs played in 2019 and we came out on top 54-51. I can assure you, there's no way the Chiefs will put up more than that on Sunday. I can also assure you that the Chiefs will put up more than us on Sunday."

Travis Kelce's 17-yard touchdown reception from Patrick Mahomes with 3 seconds left in the game gave the Chiefs a 30-27 win over the Chargers at SoFi Stadium. It was Kelce's third TD of the night, and 11th of the season.

"We ran our two-minute offense to perfection," Mahomes said. "Hopefully, we won't have to use that against the Rams. But if we do, it will consist of three straight kneel downs."

Chiefs win, 31-14.

New Orleans @ San Francisco (-8½)

Andy Dalton passed for 260 yards and 3 touchdowns as the Saints beat the injury-plagued Rams, 27-20.

"Just when it looks like Andy's gonna lose his starting position," Dennis Allen said, "I keep starting him."

Jimmy Garappolo passed for 228 yards and 4 touchdowns as the 49ers steamrolled the Cardinals 38-10 in Mexico City. San Fran is tied atop the NFC West with the Seahawks with a 6-4 record.

"That may have been Jimmy's best game as a 49er," Kyle Shanahan said. "I can say definitively that I trust Jimmy with my offense, but not with my wife."

San Francisco wins, 27-21.

Green Bay @ Philadelphia (-6½)

The Packers lost 27-17 to the visiting Titans on Thursday night. Aaron Rodgers threw 2 TD passes to Christian Watson, but the Packers defense struggled to slow Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill.

"The two touchdowns were nice," Rodgers said, "but I've got to do more for my team. They deserve more from me. My teammates are a lot like poor Mississippians to Brett Favre — I'm concerned about their welfare."

The Eagles bounced back from their Week 10 loss to the Redskins with a comeback 17-16 win over the Colts in Indianapolis. Jalen Hurts' 7-yard TD run with 1:20 left completed the Philly comeback.

"Wins like these build character," Nick Sirianni said. "They also allow me to taunt Colts fans for us barely beating a 4-win team by 1 point."

Eagles win, 27-24.

Pittsburgh @ Indianapolis (-3)

The Colts upset bid over the Eagles fell short in a 17-16 loss. Indy took a 13-3 lead into the fourth quarter, but gave up 14 points in the fourth.

"Just a few weeks ago," Jeff Saturday said, "heads were rolling. Then, when I was hired, eyes were rolling.

"Matt Ryan is playing well after I reinstated him as starter. He's been in this league for 15 years, so a defense like the Steelers does not phase him. He's passed over more qualified defenses in his career. And speaking of 'passing over more qualified,' I'm a head coach."

The Bengals beat the Steelers, 37-30, as Joe Burrow passed for 355 yards and 4 touchdowns. Pittsburgh fell to 3-7 and is tied for last in the AFC North with Cleveland.

"As I'm fond of saying," Mike Tomlin said, "'the standard is the standard. Unfortunately for us, losing has become the standard."

Colts win, 24-19.
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