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Nov. 20, 2012

NFL Week Twelve Predictions

by Jacob Buchholz, Online Sports Editor, Jack Estrin, Online Editor-in-Chief, Michael Gerbasi, Online Sports Editor and Josh Schmidt, Print Sports Editor
It’s Thanksgiving, which means a day filled with football, food and fun and this year’s Thanksgiving football slate is more exciting than ever. The games kick off at 12:30 p.m. with the Texans facing the Lions. Both teams are in the playoff hunt and while the Texans may have the easier path, no one is counting the Lions out yet. As always the Cowboys play on Thanksgiving, but this year’s matchup is with the rival Redskins. The intensity will be especially high as the game could have playoff ramifications in the tight NFC East. Finally, to cap off the night is another rivalry game, this one between the Jets and the Patriots. The smack talk might be curtailed by the short time in between games, but both teams will be expecting a fight.

Courtesy of Getty Images
Standings:
Jacob: 109-51
Jack: 105-55
Michael: 100-60
Josh: 98-62

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Houston Texans at Detroit Lions
Jacob: Texans
Jack: Lions
Michael: Texans
Josh: Texans

Jacob says:
The Texans faced a serious scare last week against Jacksonville, giving up 37 points, approximately one quarter of the points the Jaguars have scored all season long. It was a shock for the Texans’ defense considered by many to be the best in the league. Based on that it would be a fair conclusion that Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson may have their way against Houston. However, the Texans did also score 43 last week thanks to 524 passing yards for Matt Schaub. With Schaub and Foster leading the charge, the Texans can withstand another shootout.
Jack says:
This is simply a must win game for the Lions if they hope to qualify for this year's postseason. Calvin Johnson and the Lions gave the Packers all sorts of trouble last week, but the Packers ultimately edged them out by four points. That being said, Megatron appears to be back, and should dominate the Texans’ secondary this Thanksgiving.
Michael says:
Houston barely escaped last week. After cruising through most of the first half of the season I think this game will give them a nice wake-up call. Expect the Texans' defense to be on point and nasty after being embarrassed by one of the league's worst offenses, as they wreck havoc on the Lions’ offense.
Josh says:
Houston gave their fans a scare last week when they nearly lost to the lowly Jaguars. They escaped that one with a win, and this game won’t be as easy. Detroit had a great chance on Sunday against Green Bay, yet they couldn’t close. Both teams are ranked in the top for both overall offense and overall defense so it’ll be a good game. The difference is Arian Foster and the fact that Houston will be able to hold on to the ball for longer.

Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys
Jacob: Redskins
Jack: Redskins
Michael: Redskins
Josh: Redskins

Jacob says:
It took everything the Cowboys had to hold off the Browns week 11. RG3 and the Redskins will have better luck and take game one of the rivalry.
Jack says:
RG3 is on a mission. Don't expect Dallas to get in the way of the Redskins rolling, and getting their second win in as many weeks.
Michael says:
After the showing that RGIII put on last week, it seems as if it will be hard to not pick him. The Cowboys have not exactly been playing up to their standards and still have their top running back out with injury. Expect the Skins to take care of the Boyz.
Josh says:
The most patriotic of match ups. America’s team versus America’s capital. All this chatter of a playoff run by the Redskins may be pushing it, but this team is for real. Pressure on Tony Romo will equal a win.

New England Patriots at New York Jets
Jacob: Patriots
Jack: Patriots
Michael: Patriots
Josh: Patriots

Jacob says:
Losing Gronkowski will have much more of an impact on fantasy owners than on Robert Kraft. Even without their big tight end the Patriots will roll over New York.
Jack says:
Mark Sanchez is awful. I expect him to have at least triple the amount of interceptions as touchdowns. This one will get ugly.
Michael says:
This will not be a very good game. Even the Gronk-less Patriots can take care of the Sanchez-led Jets. That win against the Rams last week will not be a reoccurrence.
Josh says:
I turned on the Patriots game and they were only winning by a touchdown. When I returned to the game just a bit later, the game was suddenly a blowout and out of reach for Andrew Luck and the Colts. Simply, the Patriots were the Patriots.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacob: Jaguars
Jack: Jaguars
Michael: Titans
Josh: Jaguars

Jacob says:
The Jaguars were badly in need of a spark, and somehow they found that spark in Chad Henne. Although Henne’s four touchdown game was not enough to get the Jaguars a win in Houston, it should be plenty as they go home to face the Titans.
Jack says:
The Chad Henne led offense looked much better than the Blaine Gabbert led offense last week for Jacksonville. The Jaguars will get their second win of the year.
Michael says:
Although the Jags nearly pulled off an upset over Houston last week, their defense was horrible. You cannot win games when you give up around 40 points a game. I expect Chris Johnson to scorch the Jacksonville defense and carry Tennessee to victory.
Josh says:
Chad Henne showed that he’s better than just a Jaguars’ back up last week. No one should expect a repeat of last week, but expect Henne to show that he is a capable starter in the NFL.

Buffalo Bills at Indianapolis Colts
Jacob: Colts
Jack: Colts
Michael: Colts
Josh: Colts

Jacob says:
The Colts still have a lot to work on. That was made very clear by their drubbing against the Patriots last week. However, they do stand at 6-4 and the Bills are certainly not the Patriots.
Jack says:
I expect Andrew Luck to bounce back big time after a deflating loss to the Pats last week. He will absolutely tear up the Buffalo secondary, and will continue to build his case for rookie of the year.
Michael says:
I think the Colts sort of came back to earth with their hefty loss to the Pats last week. Expect the Colts to come out focused and determined this week and to beat the Bills. I think Andrew Luck bounces back and has another good game against that VERY average Buffalo D.
Josh says:
No one would be surprised if the Bills won here. Their running tandem of C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson is one of the best in the league and if they get going the Colts will be run out of the building. But that won’t happen. #Chuckstrong

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns
Jacob: Browns
Jack: Browns
Michael: Steelers
Josh: Steelers

Jacob says:
The Steelers will have to rely on their defense to win them games as Ben Roethlisberger watches from the sidelines but it won’t be enough against the up and coming Browns. They came close against Dallas, this time they will finish.
Jack says:
Without Big Ben, the Steelers will not be able to get anything going on offense against the Browns, who are much better than their 2-8 record suggests. The Cowboys were lucky to beat the Browns last week, and the Browns will learn from their late game collapse. Trent Richardson will lead the way on offense, and the Browns will get win number three.
Michael says:
The addition of Plaxico Burress I think is a huge one for Pittsburgh. Having another explosive target for third string QB Charlie Batch to throw too will significantly help the offense. The Steelers’ D has picked up the slack while missing Polamalu and should be able to stop the Cleveland O.
Josh says:
Yes, even with Byron Leftwich the Steelers can beat the Browns. That’s how bad the Browns are.

Oakland Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals
Jacob: Bengals
Jack: Bengals
Michael: Bengals
Josh: Bengals

Jacob says:
Carson Palmer is visiting his old home but this time he will be taking lessons from a much younger quarterback. Andy Dalton has taken huge strides this season even coming off of a playoff year for the Bengals. Dalton has established himself as a top ten quarterback in the NFL in only his second year.
Jack says:
The Bengals will explode against the Raiders this week, and get above the .500 mark. Expect a lot of scoring in this one.
Michael says:
Carson Palmer has been throwing interceptions like its his job. The Raiders cannot afford to rely on their running game in order to win games. I like Andy Dalton and Cincinnati in this match up.
Josh says:
The Bengals are just so mediocre. Their 10th in passing offense, 20th in rushing offense, 17th in defense. But while none of these numbers pop out to any spectator, they’re better than Oakland.

Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs
Jacob: Broncos
Jack: Broncos
Michael: Broncos
Josh: Broncos

Jacob says:
No question here. The Broncos are looking like a Super Bowl contender, the Chiefs are looking like the first pick in the draft.
Jack says:
Peyton Manning will rip apart the Chiefs’ defense. Expect north of 30 points for Denver.
Michael says:
I think the Broncos are one of the best teams in the NFL. There should not be much question here.
Josh says:
Peyton Manning versus Matt Cassel. One of these teams is chasing the Super Bowl while the other is chasing the number one pick. Need I say more?

Seattle Seahawks at Miami Dolphins
Jacob: Seahawks
Jack: Seahawks
Michael: Seahawks
Josh: Seahawks

Jacob says:
The Dolphins are falling to bits. They looked like they had something going and then all of a sudden they fell into a three game losing streak. Meanwhile the Seahawks have started clicking.
Jack says:
Reggie Bush has been struggling mightily as of late for the Dolphins. For Bush and the Miami running game, a date with the Seahawks will not make things any easier. Expect the Seahawks to shut down the Miami running game, and force rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill into several mistakes.
Michael says:
The Seahawks are looking like they could make the playoffs. Marshawn Lynch is running as well as anyone n the league, Russell Wilson has been fine but most of all the Seattle D has been spectacular. No way Miami puts up enough points to win on the tough Seahawks' defense.
Josh says:
Russell Wilson shall avenge the fact that experts favored Ryan Tannehill over him. Expect a lot of sacks in this game, both defenses are ferocious.

Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jacob: Falcons
Jack: Buccaneers
Michael: Falcons
Josh: Falcons

Jacob says:
It will be a lot closer than people may think but the Falcons will come out on top. The Bucs are on a four game win streak but it has been made up of weak teams and they have not blown any of them away. The Falcons are the better team; sometimes it’s as simple as that.
Jack says:
Josh Freeman has been a pleasant surprise for Tampa Bay. The Falcons were lucky to eke out a win last week against Arizona, a team far inferior to the Bucs. Josh Freeman will hand Matt Ryan's Falcons just their second loss of the year. I'm not saying Matt Ryan will have another five pick game like he did last week, but I'm not saying he won't. Tampa Bay will roll at home.
Michael says:
The Falcons are one of the worst one-loss teams I've seen. They have been playing poorly but have still found a way to pull out the W. This game, I think they focus and Matt Ryan has a better game. Look for Atlanta over Tampa Bay in a close one.
Josh says:
Matt Ryan won’t throw five interceptions again this season. Yet when he did they still won. That should say something about how good the Falcons are.

Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
Jacob: Vikings
Jack: Bears
Michael: Bears
Josh: Bears

Jacob says:
Without Cutler the Bears don’t stand a chance. With him, the odds are in their favor but still not a gimme. The Vikings are tough and they will take advantage of this opportunity to move into a tie with the Bears in the division.
Jack says:
The Bears will come back strong after being blown out Monday night in San Francisco. Even Bears’ quarterback Jason Campbell is not bad enough to keep Chicago from winning this one.
Michael says:
Honestly, it mostly depends on the status of Jay Cutler. If he plays, the game is not close; if he does not, it will be a game. Regardless however, I am taking the Bears because of their D. AP will not run on this defense and Christian Ponder should have troubles as well.
Josh says:
This works well. Adrian Peterson will run the ball and Charles Tillman won’t be able to intercept the ball. Jay Cutler will come back big from his injury

Baltimore Ravens at San Diego Chargers
Jacob: Ravens
Jack: Chargers
Michael: Ravens
Josh: Ravens

Jacob says:
Their offensive output against Pittsburgh was dismal but their defense made all the stops, granted against a backup quarterback. That being said, as far as I can tell Phillip Rivers is no better than a backup quarterback and the Ravens should do just fine.
Jack says:
The Chargers’ offense will be too much for the Ravens to keep up with. Philip Rivers will outduel Joe Flacco, and lead San Diego to their fifth win of the year.
Michael says:
Baltimore will find a way to win this game.
Josh says:
C’mon man. Chargers need to get it together. What’s needed is a new coaching staff, a new defense, a new offense. They just have too much talent to be so underwhelming. Gotta feel bad for San Diego fans.

St. Louis Rams at Arizona Cardinals
Jacob: Cardinals
Jack: Cardinals
Michael: Cardinals
Josh: Rams

Jacob says:
The Rams took a beating at the hands of the Jets last week. The Jets???
Jack says:
The Cardinals will get starting running back Beanie Wells back this week as he returns from injury. After staying with the Falcons last week, the Rams will be small potatoes. I expect the Cardinals to get the big win at home.
Michael says:
Now that Beanie Wells is likely back for Arizona and LaRod Stephens-Howling has been playing at a high level the Cardinals are set. The St. Louis D cannot handle two good running backs let alone one.
Josh says:
Sam Bradford is developing nicely into a quarterback St. Louis can rely on. That’s exactly what the Cardinals need.

San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints
Jacob: Saints
Jack: Saints
Michael: 49ers
Josh: 49ers

Jacob says:
The Saints have won five out of six since beginning the season 0-4. It doesn’t matter whether they face Alex Smith or Colin Kaepernick because they probably won’t be able to stop either. Drew Brees will win them this game.
Jack says:
The Saints are possibly the hottest and most talented team in the league right now. That combination does not bode well for the Alex Smith-less 49ers. The Saints will get the big win at home. Who Dat!
Michael says:
For the Saints, this game is pretty close to a must win. They are at .500 and are looking to make a playoff push. Beating the 49ers would be a great way to prove they deserve to return to the postseason. This will remain a fantasy however; as the 49ers have proven they can play even without Alex Smith. The Saints' defense cannot contain the San Francisco offense even without Alex Smith. The 49ers did it last week against a far superior Bears' D and will do it again against a far inferior Saints' D.
Josh says:
The Saints are rolling, but the 49ers are too tough to let this one slip away.

Green Bay Packers at New York Giants
Jacob: Packers
Jack: Giants
Michael: Packers
Josh: Packers

Jacob says:
The Packers haven’t lost since week five and the Giants haven’t won since week eight. Everything is going for the Packers in this one.
Jack says:
The Giants will halt their slide. The Packers looked quite vulnerable last week against the Lions, and the Giants are coming off their bye week. The Giants will right the ship, and re-emerge as one of the league’s elite. It's about time for New York to start playing like the defending champs again.
Michael says:
The Packers and Giants are two completely different situations right now: the Packers are hot and the Giants are on a slide. Aaron Rodgers and the Pack have won five straight as Rodgers has thrown 17 TD's and only 2 picks over this streak. The Giants are on a slide and are too unpredictable; I like Green Bay.
Josh says:
Aaron Rodgers is back to being Aaron Rodgers. Eli Manning is back to being Peyton Manning’s younger brother. If the Giants lose this one the NFC East race will be incredibly tight with the Redskins (if they win), the Cowboys and the Giants all vying for supremacy.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Carolina Panthers at Philadelphia Eagles
Jacob: Panthers
Jack: Panthers
Michael: Panthers
Josh: Panthers

Jacob says:
The Eagles have lost six in a row and they are starting a rookie, backup quarterback. It doesn’t matter who they play—they aren’t going to win.
Jack says:
The Eagles are a mess. Simple as that.
Michael says:
I believe Cam Newton has enough firepower in his offense to outscore Nick Foles and the Philly offense. The Eagles' offense has not been impressive; the Carolina D should be able to handle them. I'm taking the Panthers.
Josh says:
What a shame of a primetime matchup.



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