Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone has a great day and everyone gets to enjoy time with the family and time watching football. What’s thanksgiving without it? Now obviously, there are only three games today. Right now, I am just predicting the thanksgiving day games and then I’ll come back and get the rest done for Sunday.
UPDATE 11/24: The rest of the Week 12 Predictions are complete. Last week I went 11-3. I messed up the Thursday night game between Miami and Buffalo. I thought QB Ryan Tannehill would play better. I also gave too much credit to the Eagles and rookie QB Nick Foles and I missed on the Jets beating the Rams in St. Louis. It is what it is. There are no teams on a bye this week.
Thursday, 11/22 – 12:30 pm ET
Houston Texans 9-1 @ Detroit Lions 4-6
Prediction: Detroit Lions
I know. This is quite the upset prediction, but hear me out. Detroit lost against Green Bay last week, but played well enough to win the game. Houston won in a surprising shootout to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The game is in Detroit and after years of losing the Turkey day games, you know the crowd will be electric. Don’t get me wrong, this should be close, but I think Detroit just gets enough momentum to pull out the win.
Thursday, 11/22 – 4:25 pm ET
Washington Redskins 4-6 @ Dallas Cowboys 5-5
Prediction: Washington Redskins
This is a bit of a toss up for me. Washington is a team maximizing their talent and Dallas is a team wasting talent to this point in the season. Dallas has the talent to win this game convincingly, but they never perform up to their ability. Plus, the game is in Dallas, which normally means Dallas should get the advantage. Forget it. Dallas has been awful in the new Cowboys stadium and against a team excited to be in the spotlight, that could be their downfall.
Thursday, 11/22 – 8:20 pm ET
New England Patriots 7-3 @ New York Jets 4-6
Prediction: New England Patriots
This is my won pick, which isn’t technically an upset. That’s because I think QB Tom Brady will play very, very well despite the loss of TE Rob Gronkowski to a broken forearm. New York’s offense looked better last week in St. Louis, but New England is a different beast, While the teams above have the ability to surprise struggling teams, I don’t think the Jets can pull off an upset against their superior AFC East rival.
Sunday, 11/25 – 1:00 pm ET
Tennessee Titans 4-6 @ Jacksonville Jaguars 1-9
Prediction: Jacksonville Jaguars
This has suddenly become an interesting game. Sure, it’s two teams who have played poorly. Tennessee is inconsistently competitive and Jacksonville is just… well… bad. If Jacksonville gets another incredible performance from QB Chad Henne – who has demonstrated, in spurts, an ability to lead a competent offense – Jacksonville has a very real chance of putting up points on Tennessee’s defense. Tennessee, on the other hand, has RB Chris Johnson, who suddenly has returned to form, at least statistically. I’m going to go with Jacksonville though. I think they may have found something with the whole “throw the ball to 1st-round draft pick, WR Justin Blackmon” thing.
Buffalo Bills 4-6 @ Indianapolis Colts 6-4
Prediction: Indianapolis Colts
I’m taking Indianapolis. QB Andrew Luck is coming off a rough outing in New England, but that won’t matter here. Luck has responded well to adversity this season and, more importantly, he has led the Colts to a 4-1 home record beating Green Bay, Minnesota, Miami and Cleveland. That’s the most important factor in this game. Well that and the fact that Buffalo’s defense is 26th in the league in total defense. The Colts offense is ranked 5th in the league gaining an average of 393.4 yards per game.
Pittsburgh Steelers 6-4 @ Cleveland Browns 2-8
Prediction: Cleveland Browns
Bare with me. Pittsburgh is starting QB Charlie Batch who has been around forever, after all he is actually 37 years old, and Pittsburgh is coming off a tough loss at home to the Baltimore Ravens. Even with those factors, I don’t know many who honestly think Cleveland has a chance. Cleveland essentially gave Dallas the game last week, but played well enough to win. Also consider how division rivals normally play each other much closer, especially the second time around, and that Cleveland, even when QB Ben Roethlisberger has played in years’ past, has played the Steelers very close. The key is Browns RB Trent Richardson, who is playing well as of late.
Oakland Raiders 3-7 @ Cincinnati Bengals 5-5
Prediction: Cincinnati Bengals
I’m picking Cincy, they have momentum after two consecutive wins and they play at home against former Bengal QB, Carson Palmer. Everything about this says Cincy wins. If we follow trends though, they will fall apart and lose late. For my purposes, I can’t overlook how good the Bengals have looked lately. The offense is clicking in the last couple weeks and the defense is finally hitting their stride and playing much better. I expect a couple Palmer picks and a Cincinnati win.
Denver Broncos 7-3 @ Kansas City Chiefs 1-9
Prediction: Denver Broncos
Denver is going to win this game. QB Peyton Manning doesn’t let teams surprise him and Kansas City has given up. Denver in a convincing win.
Seattle Seahawks 6-4 @ Miami Dolphins 4-6
Prediction: Seattle Seahawks
If you have read these before, you know that I love Seattle at home. They are dominant. This game is in Miami though so look for this game to be a little closer. I still think Seattle wins because of their defense. The Seahawks defense should be able to force a couple turnovers on Miami QB Ryan Tannehill. Seattle’s offense is good enough to effectively move the ball on Miami’s defense. Seattle has enough to win this one.
Atlanta Falcons 9-1 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6-4
Prediction: Atlanta Falcons
I would not be at all surprised to see Tampa Bay win this game, but I’m picking Atlanta here. The Falcons are coming off a win against the Arizona Cardinals where QB Matt Ryan threw five interceptions. While some may think that is a problem, Ryan is still a great quarterback who should be able to take advantage of Tampa’s 32nd-ranked pass defense. Tampa Bay will keep the game competitive for sure, but I think the Falcons high-powered offense gets back on track and pulls off the win.
Minnesota Vikings 6-4 @ Chicago Bears 7-3
Prediction: Chicago Bears
I like Chicago here. They get QB Jay Cutler back from a concussion just in time for this huge divisional game against the Vikings. Minnesota has been surprising this season, in large part, because of their strong run game, competent passing game and a defense, which many think have overachieved. Chicago should be able to move the ball on the Vikings though and Vikings QB Christian Ponder hasn’t shown enough for me to feel good about him playing the vaunted Bear defense, which has struggled in the last two games – both losses. Cutler should be enough to move the Bears offense and get the win.
Sunday, 11/25 – 4:05 pm ET
Baltimore Ravens 8-2 @ San Diego Chargers 4-6
Prediction: San Diego Chargers
Baltimore is the better, more talented team, but they are playing on the road. Ravens QB, Joe Flacco is 5-0 at home, but only 3-2 on the road. At home, his stats are: 115/175, 1,612 passing yards, 10 touchdowns – 3 interceptions and a QB rating of 108.3. On the road: 91/168, 719, 1 touchdown – 4 interceptions and a QB rating of 62.7 (QB rating excluding last week’s win at Pittsburgh). Flacco is pedestrian on the road and a long trip to San Diego could continue to expose that. San Diego has been disappointing this season, but they have enough talent to pull of the upset.
Sunday, 11/25 – 4:25 pm ET
St. Louis Rams 3-6-1 @ Arizona Cardinals 4-6
Prediction: St. Louis Rams
Arizona is on a six-game losing streak and I think that continues against the Rams. The Cardinals have terrible quarterback play and their offensive line isn’t helping anything. The Rams will be able to pressure QB Ryan Lindley and the Rams offense should be able to move the ball on the Cardinals defense.
San Francisco 49ers 7-2-1 @ New Orleans Saints 5-5
Prediction: New Orleans Saints
San Francisco is a very, very good team, but I’m going with New Orleans. The 49ers are coming off a huge, dominant win over the Bears last week and New Orleans is coming off a convincing win over the Raiders. For this game, I think the Saints will be able to move the ball on the 49ers great defense, because who really stops QB Drew Brees? The Saints defense has also looked a lot better in the past couple weeks, especially at home. I’m taking the upset.
Sunday, 11/25 – 8:20 pm ET
Green Bay Packers 7-3 @ New York Giants 6-4
Prediction: Green Bay Packers
I like Green Bay and QB Aaron Rodgers against the Giants. New York is coming off a much needed bye week, but Green Bay is no gimme game. I think the Packers offense puts together a great game and the Giants offense makes just enough mistakes to keep them out of it.
Monday, 11/26 – 8:30 pm ET
Carolina Panthers 2-8 @ Philadelphia Eagles 3-7
Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles
The main thing here is how Philly is missing both QB Michael Vick and RB LeSean McCoy to concussion injuries. So that means the Eagles start QB Nick Foles and RB Bryce Brown. Foles started last week and showed little in the loss. Brown is making his first start, but he has talent. He was more highly rated than Browns RB Trent Richardson coming out of high school. It could be fun to watch these two rookies. The Panthers had a win in the bag last week before self-destructing against the Buccaneers. I’ll give this game of bad, underachieving teams to Philly in large part because of the home field advantage.