Week 12 NFL Predictions

Manning V Brady XIV is the marquee match-up of week 12

Another Sunday is upon us, which means another slate of NFL games are on the horizon. Last week saw the last undefeated team in the league, Kansas City, lose that distinction, having been beaten by Denver in the Rocky mountains. In this weeks marquee match-up those same Broncos will take on New England in the fourteenth instalment of Manning V Brady. Here’s my take on that game and all the other NFL action on tap for this weekend.

New York Jets @ Baltimore

The Jets have been a nightmare to predict this season thanks to their incredible inconsistency, leaving me with a tough decision to make as they take on the Ravens this week. Baltimore suffered a tough overtime defeat in Chicago last Sunday during that weather affected game, while the Jets were blown out by the Bills. With neither team in resounding form the fact that Baltimore are at home and have a better quarterback  tilts me in their direction. Jets 17, Ravens 28

Pittsburgh @ Cleveland

Both of these teams enter week 12 at 4-6 and three games out of Cincinnati in first place in the AFC north with their play-off hopes rapidly fading. Coming off a surprising win against the Lions Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers have a bit of momentum coming into this one, and while Cleveland have been steady if not spectacular since Jason Cambell took over at QB it’s difficult seeing them outscoring the Pittsburgh offense if it can replicate last weeks Antonio Brown led outburst. Steelers 23, Browns 14

Tampa Bay @ Detroit

All of a sudden the Lions are under a bit of pressure to win this game following their aforementioned let down against Pittsburgh last week,  and with the Buccaneers on a two game winning streak they’ll be wary of the threat they pose. Mike Glennon has been widely praised for his performances under centre for Tampa Bay, but he’ll have a tough assignment here as the fearsome Detroit defensive front bears down on him. At home it’s hard to look past Detroit in this one, but expect the Buccaneers to put up a fight in the motor city. Buccaneers 20, Lions 30

Minnesota @ Green Bay
 
In normal circumstances the Packers would  be heavy favourites to beat the Vikings at Lambeau field, but with Aaron Rodgers walking wounded and Scott Tolzien struggling in his place Minnesota will be sniffing an upset. However I don’t think the Vikings have enough to genuinely trouble Green Bay, who know shutting down Adrian Peterson and putting the ball in Christian Ponder’s hands will be key. So long as Tolzien doesn’t have too much to do and can just hand the ball of the Eddie Lacy the Packers should pick up the win and head into Thanksgiving with a 6-5 record. Vikings 17, Packers 24

Jacksonville @ Houston

One of these teams was expected to be terrible in 2013, the other not so much. But terrible they are, and absolutely no one should choose to watch this game over any of the other early kick-offs unless they’re being held at gun point. The Texans just appear to be in such a mess, with a quarterback controversy spawned by Gary Kubiak’s decision last week to bench Case Keenum for Matt Shaub mid-game. The Jaguars are a bad, bad team but they know this is a prime opportunity for them to pick up win number two of the season. The Texans are so hapless I can actually see that happening. Jaguars 21, Texans 14

San Diego @ Kansas City

The Chiefs ability to bounce back from their first defeat of the season will be tested here, although their AFC west rivals San Diego have been on a poor run of form lately and lost to Miami 20-16 last week. Going into Arrowhead is a tricky proposition for any visiting team, and although Kansas City were beaten in Denver they gave a good account of themselves and their excellent defensive unit should be able to keep the Chargers stuttering offense in check enough for Alex Smith to lead them back to winning ways. Chargers 13, Chiefs 24

Carolina @ Miami

This is a classic trap game for the Panthers, travelling to play Miami on the road after a statement win over New England on Monday night. With Carolina on a short week and on the road they could come unstuck in South Florida, but with a stellar defense and Cam Newton playing the best football of his career they should, on paper, have enough to deal with those obstacles comfortably. The Dolphins know they need a win to keep pace in the AFC east, but they couldn’t have asked for a more difficult game and the Panthers should reinstate their credentials as a major contender in the NFC despite coming off a short week. Panthers 26, Dolphins 21

Chicago @ St. Louis

The Rams have emerged this season as the ‘ugly sister’ of the NFC west, lagging behind the other three teams in the division as the only team below .500. Chicago on the other hand are tied for the lead in the NFC north even with Jay Cutler struggling with injury, mainly thanks to the emergence of Josh McCown as one of the leagues most reliable backup quarterbacks. St. Louis have a very good defensive front so they should be able to put pressure on McCown, but the Bears solid running game led by Matt Forte gives McCown a useful out. Unfortunately the Rams have been dealing with a quarterback injury of their own, and even though Kellen Clemens hasn’t been as bad as feared he’ll have a tough time putting points up on the Bears vaunted D. Expect a road win with Chicago keeping pace in the play-off race. Bears 24, Rams 16

Indianapolis @ Arizona

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians hosts the team with which he won the NFL coach of the year award last season in a fascinating encounter between two play-off contenders. Arizona may have beat Jacksonville last week but that achievement should be taken with a pinch of salt, and despite Carson Palmer improving with each game I still don’t trust him to out-duel the Colts Andrew Luck. While Luck is without Reggie Wayne he’s good enough to utilise his remaining weapons, but it could be a great game with Arians able to call upon his intimate knowledge of the Cardinals opponents. Colts 31, Cardinals 23

Tennessee @ Oakland

Coming off a mini bye week the Titans will fancy their chances of upending Oakland, who this week anointed Matt McGloin their starter at quarterback. Yes, McGloin was impressive in defeating Houston last week. But he’s an undrafted rookie who struggled to hold onto his job at Penn State. I’m yet to be convinced he can be a steady signal caller in the NFL, and in this battle of 4-6 teams that could be the difference. The Titans raced out to a lead against the Colts two Thursdays ago and despite the fact they couldn’t hold onto it I was impressed with Chris Johnson and their running game. If Johnson can repeat that performance the Titans should have no trouble scoring on Oakland, who recently allowed Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles to put up 49 points against them. Titans 28, Raiders 19

Dallas @ New York Giants

A crucial NFC east battle, a win for New York would make it five in a row and tie them in the standings with the fading Cowboys. Famed for struggling in December, Tony Romo has been unable to keep up his stellar early season pace which is worrying for Jerry Jones’ boys. However the porous Giants defense should be a helpful tonic for Romo, Dez Bryant and co, who have the potential to score heavily in the Meadowlands. Eli Manning is in the midst of his worst professional season and while Dallas don’t have a great defense they have at times shut down teams this season. They’re unlikely to keep New York completely in check, but that shouldn’t matter if the Giants defense holds true to form. Dallas to win, and move into a first place tie with Philly as a result. Cowboys 34, Giants 21

Denver @ New England

Sunday Night Football pits two old enemies, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, against each other at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots know they’ll need to bounce back quickly from last weeks controversial loss at Carolin if they’re to secure a bye in the first round of the play-offs, which is easier said than done against probably the leagues elite team. Manning was able to throw from a clean pocket last week against KC and if he can do the same this week then I’d strongly expect the Broncos to win and move to 10-1. Wes Welker has been cleared to play following his concussion, adding even more spice to this game as he comes up against his former team. If the Patriots are forced to play catchup, which I think they will, the Von Miller led Denver pass rush will be licking their lips at the prospect of flying off the ball towards Tom terrific in the New England pocket. The Pats may be able to keep up for a while, even deep into the game, but I can’t see them overhauling the juggernaut Broncos tonight. I’m predicting a big win for Denver, sending the Patriots to their second consecutive defeat. Broncos 34, Patriots 28

San Fransisco @ Washington

In the battle of struggling dual threat quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick takes the 49ers into FedEx field to take on Robert Griffin III and the Redskins. However though both teams are struggling on offense the 49ers defense gives San Fran a significant advantage, as the likes of Navarro Bowman and Patrick Willis should combine to shut down Alfred Morris and the Redskins running game. Washington were shut out for three quarters in Philly last week and following this tough fixture they could well find themselves cut adrift at the foot of the NFC east. One last point: RG III’s teammates seem to be getting fed up of the sophomore’s attitude, so keep your eyes on the sideline during this one especially if Washington once more find themselves struggling to score points. 49ers 27, Redskins 21

So those are my picks, let me know what you think in the comments or on twitter @fredjstanley. It’s an Eagles bye week so I’ll be able to pay more attention to some of the other games this evening, although the New York-Dallas game will be my main focus due to it’s relevance to the birds in the NFC east standings.

 

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