NFL: Week 12 Predictions 2011-2012

A Look Back at Week 11

This past week was filled with some surprising wins coming out of the Big Apple and some key injuries to big name players. Thursday Night Football provided us with another great game as Tim Tebow performed admirably under the big lights where everyone was watching. While Tebow may not be great at one thing, when the lights shine the brightest he certainly comes out and plays hard. The Giants fell on Sunday Night to a hungry Eagles team that for once this season played with some fire. Vince Young started at quarterback for the Eagles due to a rib injury that Michael Vick sustained against the Cardinals in week nine, and despite the fact that Young started off poorly he certainly finished strong. The Giants have now lost two games in a row leaving the NFC East wide open.

Others may have not believed in Smith but Harbaugh and the Niners have.
Others may have not believed in Smith but Harbaugh and the Niners have.

Alex Smith = Comeback Player of the Year

Before this season most people thought the Niners were a team in flux that still had a bright future. Most people thought that what they liked above all else was a competent quarterback. Alex Smith has put all of those thoughts to rest with a career year that has him up for consideration as a pro bowl level quarterback in the NFC. He currently has the fifth highest QB Rating in the NFC and is tied in the NFL with throwing the least amount of interceptions in the league. Even more impressive is the fact that Smith has had success with wide receievers being shuffled in and out of the lineup due to injuries. Josh Morgan, Michael Crabtree, and Braylon Edwards have all missed games this season and yet Smith and the Niners have played through it all to have one of the best seasons in recent memory in San Francisco.

Who is your Comeback Player of the Year?

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Tebow Time is the 4th Quarter
Tebow Time is the 4th Quarter

Tebow Magic

As I said before, he may not be one of the most talented quarterbacks in the league but his record is speaking for itself. Also granted, Tebow has not played the cream of the crop either. The college style offense will pay dividends only for so long until the Broncos play a team that are sound in their fundamentals. Most would assume the Jets would have been able to bottle up the Broncos running game but the game was lost due to Eric Smith, a slow safety, losing contain on Tebow. A team with a faster defense will make things much more difficult for Tebow. All this being said, Tebow still manages to make the team better with him in the lineup. It is very clear as you see future hall of famers like Brian Dawkins and Champ Bailey coming up to Tebow on the sidelines congratuling him or getting behind him after a bad play. Everyone on the Broncos rallies behind Tebow, and ultimately that's what you want to see.

Would you want Tim Tebow as your team's starting quarterback?

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Riley Cooper's impressive start may pave for the way to DeSean Jackson's exit from Philly
Riley Cooper's impressive start may pave for the way to DeSean Jackson's exit from Philly

"Dream Team"

Vince Young received a good deal of criticism for calling the Eagles the "Dream Team" and yet despite not playing a live NFL game in quite some time he played very well against one of the top defenses in the NFL on Sunday Night Football. The Eagles are also 3-1 now when LeSean McCoy carries the ball over twenty times in a game, and that trend continued last night. McCoy, in the games that the Eagles have lost, he has carried the ball on average thirteen times. In order for the Eagles to keep up the winning ways, they need to maintain the balance of running McCoy twenty times which keeps the defenses off balance making things easier on Vick or Young in the pocket. The Eagles would also do well in playing Riley Cooper more often, against great defenses the Eagles speedy wide receivers tend to be phased out as they can be thrown off their routes by press coverage. Riley Cooper due to his size showed that he has ability to play in the NFL, and with success. Cooper provides the Eagles with a solid redzone target, which they have lacked for a long time.

Do the Eagles let Desean Jackson walk at the end of the year?

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Power Rankings

Rank
Team
Comments
1.
Green Bay Packers (10-0)
Will they run the table and finish 16-0? Probably not, but they certainly are looking like the best team in the NFL thanks to Aaron Rodgers.
2.
San Francisco 49ers (9-1)
Frank Gore's injury could hurt them moving forward, but they are a shoe-in for the playoffs. They can afford to rest Gore if need be.
3.
New Orleans Saints (7-3)
The Saints have a power house of an offense just like the Packers, but the defense needs to play better.
4.
Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3)
The Steelers benefited from having a bye week as it allows their banged up linebackers to heal.
5.
Baltimore Ravens (7-3)
The divisional game against the Bengals got a little scary, but the pass rush led by Suggs and Ngata clinced a key victory in the end for the Ravens.
6.
New England Patriots (7-3)
Despite having a suspect defense, they still have Tom Brady
7.
Detroit Lions (7-3)
The Lions have their share of problems, but the passing game is keeping their playoff hopes afloat.
8.
Chicago Bears (7-3)
The Bears will struggle here on out due to the injury to Cutler.
9.
Dallas Cowboys (6-4)
Romo surprisingly has one of the top five QB ratings in the NFL
10.
Houston Texans (7-3)
The Texans are in the driver's seat to win the division for the first time in their history.
11.
New York Giants (6-4)
Giants were looking pretty at the top of the division but have suffered two loses back to back. The Giants will be hard pressed to win in the next two weeks against New Orleans and Green Bay
12.
Cincinnati Bengals (6-4)
Despite the injuries to both AJ Green and Carlos Dunlap, the Bengals proved on Sunday that they are a force in the AFC.
13.
Atlanta Falcons (6-4)
Roddy White should be the vocal point of the offense, if you need anymore evidence look at this past week.
14.
Oakland Raiders (6-4)
Surprisingly, your looking at my favorite to win the AFC West
15.
Tennessee Titans (5-5)
If it were not for injuries, they would still be competing with the Texans for the division.
16.
New York Jets (5-5)
Penalties, turnovers, sloppy play have been killing the Jets chances this season.
17.
Denver Broncos (5-5)
Tebow has the Broncos playing hard
18.
Buffalo Bills (5-5)
The wheels have begun to fall off of the Bills' bandwagon.
19.
San Diego Chargers (4-6)
Philip Rivers is struggling more than any other quarterback in the NFL
20.
Philadelphia Eagles (4-6)
The Eagles throughout their struggles still have a chance at the playoffs...somehow
21.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-6)
Bucs started well on the year but have been on a bad losing streak ever since.
22.
Seattle Seahawks (4-6)
The bright spot of the Seahawks: the defense.
23.
Jacksonville Jaguars (3-7)
Gabbert has struggled in his rookie campaign
24.
Kansas City Chiefs (4-6)
Cassel's injury has killed the Chiefs slim playoff chances.
25.
Arizona Cardinals (3-7)
Quarterback play is still an issue in Arizona
26.
Washington Redskins (3-7)
The Skins have given up on the year
27.
Minnesota Vikings (2-8)
The Vikings are the best of the worst
28.
Cleveland Browns (4-6)
Browns have a decent team, but struggle to have an identity on offense.
29.
Miami Dolphins (3-7)
I smell a upset coming this Thanksgiving
30.
St. Louis Rams (3-7)
It has been a disappointing season, but the team will get better
31.
Carolina Panthers (2-8)
Cam Newton gives the Panthers hope going forward
32.
Indianapolis Colts (0-10)
It's amazing how much Peyton has meant to the franchise, even more amazing is the trade rumors surrounding him

Predictions

Green Bay Packers (10-0) at Detroit Lions (7-3)

My Pick: Packers

The Lions have the pieces to be able to top the undefeated Packers, but the defense gave up 35 points to a lesser offense in the Panthers. That statement says enough. Aaron Rodgers has been having an amazing season and may have a hard time with the Lions defensive line, but if he is able to set his feet then the game is over. Ndamukong Suh and the d-line needs to be able to create pressure without having linebackers assist on a blitz so that the Lions can have more people back in coverage. Either way, it'll be a fun game to watch as you sit on the couch for thanksgiving.

Who Wins?

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Miami Dolphins (3-7) at Dallas Cowboys (6-4)

My Pick: (UPSET) Dolphins

The Dolphins have been playing very well the last few weeks and look to continue that this week against the Cowboys who have also been playing great. Romo has quietly had a few good year, granted I'm judging him in a statistical manner, he still has one of the best QB Ratings in the NFL. The Cowboys have stuck to the running game since the embarrassing loss they suffered to the Eagles and DeMarco Murray has not disappointed. The Dolphins have a good run defense and should be able to keep him in check while the Dolphins also have the pieces that can give the Cowboys defense trouble.

Who Wins

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San Francisco 49ers (9-1) at Baltimore Ravens (7-3)

My Pick: Ravens

The Ravens play better and are much more effiecent when they play in Baltimore, which will benefit them on Thanksgiving. The emergence lately of Torrey Smith is a welcome sign to Joe Flacco as now it allows the Ravens to throw further than ten yards down the field. The injury to Ray Lewis could hurt the Ravens against the running game of the Niners, but Frank Gore is also injured but could play. Alex Smith and the 49ers offense have the team that can give the Ravens defense issues, but I see the homefield advantage being to big of a difference here.

Who Wins?

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Houston Texans (7-3) at Jacksonville Jaguars (3-7)

My Pick: Texans

This could be a potential upset due to the injury of Matt Schaub leading to Matt Leinhart's first start in quite some time. Leinhart luckily will not have to go out and win the game for the Texans as most of their success as of late has come from Arian Foster and Ben Tate. The two running backs have had a fantastic year to date and even though their quarterback and Andre Johnson have missed significant time, the Texans are looking like the new AFC South champions.

Who Wins?

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Buffalo Bills (5-5) at New York Jets (5-5)

My Pick: Jets

These two teams both looked at times like they could win the AFC East, but have been too inconsistent on the year. The Jets have had a very streaky kind of season filled with ups and downs, the Bills started off hot and have cooled off since then. The Jets have shot themselves in the foot with stupid penalties, turnovers and just poor play as of late. Sanchez should not be the guy pointed at for their struggles, but his play also does not help. The defense as a whole needs to play better, and against an equally struggling Bills team, I expect just that.

Cleveland Browns (4-6) at Cincinnati Bengals (6-4)

My Pick: Bengals

The Bengals showed that they are for real, even through losses against their rivals in the past two weeks. Even without star receiver A.J Green, the Bengals were able to almost make the comeback against the Baltimore Ravens last week under the inspired play of rookie Andy Dalton. Dalton has shown that he also belongs in the league and that he and his team are a force to be reckoned with. Coming off of two tough losses within the division, I have a hard time seeing they drop three in a row.

Who Wins?

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Minnesota Vikings (2-8) at Atlanta Falcons (6-4)

My Pick: Falcons

The Falcons play extremely well at home in their dome, the Vikings struggle anywhere. The Vikings may also be down their star, Adrian Peterson, as he suffered an injury last week. Without Peterson, the Vikings will turn to running back Toby Gerhart. I'm sure the Falcons are scared of him...(sarcasm). Christian Ponder will have to make some plays in order for the Vikings to have a fighting chance against the Falcons who are in the midst of a fight for one of the playoff spots in the NFC.

Who Wins?

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Brandon Lloyd has helped the Rams offense
Brandon Lloyd has helped the Rams offense

Arizona Cardinals (3-7) at St. Louis Rams (2-8)

My Pick: Rams

The Rams have been playing better as of late and the Cardinals have still been up and down. John Skelton played well against the Eagles two weeks ago, only to be benched last week due to his poor play and that in a nutshell has been the story of the Cardinals season. They have never been able to establish anything on the offensive side. Patrick Peterson has been a bright spot for them in a dissapointing season, and the Rams have started to play better through all of their injuries. The Rams also have home field advantage for this NFC West battle.

Who Wins?

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Carolina Panthers (2-8) at Indianapolis Colts (0-10)

My Pick: Panthers

Cam Newton has raised the level of play in Carolina but the downfall of the Panthers has been on the defensive side of the ball. Opposing teams have been able to run circles around them even more so since the injuries to Jon Beason and Thomas Davis. The Panthers have been playing better on offense than the Colts have, so they have the clear advantage here as the Colts continue to struggle to win a game.

Who Wins?

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-6) at Tennessee Titans (5-5)

My Pick: Titans

The Buccaneers have been on quite the losing streak as they have lost four games in a row. They started off the season well and had some impressive wins within the division to hold the lead in the South, but since then they have struggled to find ways to win games. The Titans have had injuries after injuries and yet they have found ways to win. Losing Matt Hasselbeck will hurt them in the long run, but Jake Locker showed last week that he can still make plays with his strong arm.


Who Wins?

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Chicago Bears (7-3) at Oakland Raiders (6-4)

My Pick: Bears

The Bears have been playing their best ball since acquiring Jay Cutler from the Broncos and as fate would have it, Cutler suffered a freak injury. Losing Cutler could significantly hurt the Bears playoff chances but luckily Matt Forte is their running back. Forte has been one of the best backs in the NFL, and will likely get an increased amount of touches due to the injury to Cutler. The Bears can also get by in the final six weeks with Caleb Hanie, as he has shown that he can play in high pressure situations. He came in mid way through the game against the Packers in the NFC Championship game last year and played admirably. The Raiders have to like what they have seen from Carson Palmer as he seems to be grasping the offense quickly, but the Raiders do not match up well with the Bears defense. The Raiders' speedy receivers can easily be jammed off the line throwing off the timing between Palmer and all of his receivers.

Who Wins?

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Washington Redskins (3-7) at Seattle Seahawks (4-6)

My Pick: Seahawks

Injuries, and inconsistent play from the quarterback position have plagued both of these teams. Luckily, both teams have something that they can hold their hat on and that is their defense. The Redskins defense as of the last few weeks have been struggling, most likely because they are constantly on the field. Star linebacker Brian Orakpo's comments about how when opposing teams play them that they know they are going to win, certainly can be a distraction. The Seahawks have enough on offense and have played teams tough in Seattle, thus they get the win on Sunday.

Who Wins?

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Denver Broncos (5-5) at San Diego Chargers (4-6)

My Pick: Chargers

They have to win eventually, right? They have a talented team, right? (Heavy sigh) Philip Rivers is a great quarterback, but playing on the level of a quarterback that belongs on the Washington Redskins. That has to change eventually and what better venue then in a AFC West battle against his rival Broncos. If Rivers can put it together, and limit his turnovers the Chargers have enough to get back in to the AFC West race. Tim Tebow will try to pull some magic like he did last week, but the Chargers have a decent enough of a defense to contain him.

Who Wins?

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New England Patriots (7-3) at Philadelphia Eagles (4-6)

My Pick: Eagles

This could go either way, but if the Eagles play anything like they did last Sunday night then they should be in good shape. From the sounds of things, Vince Young will be the starter once again, and that may just be the best thing for the team. Michael Vick is the best quarterback on the team, but his confidence is shot right now. He takes it upon himself to do too much on the offensive side of the ball and in return he has not played well. Young, suprisingly played to the strengths of the Eagles offense by getting the ball out quickly to the talented skill position players of the Eagles. The defense of the Eagles will have a hard time stopping Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, but the Eagles will need to get pressure on Tom Brady. Jason Babin, Cullen Jenkins and Trent Cole have excelled in the wide nine technique and should be able to get to Brady, but either way, this game is likely to be a high scoring affair.

Who Wins?

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Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (4-6)

My Pick: Steelers

The Chiefs have recently acquired Kyle Orton through waivers, which will help them at least be competitive among the other AFC West teams but they have suffered to many injuries as a whole to keep up. The Steelers are coming off of a much needed bye week that allowed their injured linebackers to rest up, it is still not clear if they will play, but there is a chance. Either way, the Steelers have been playing at a high level and look to continue that trend on Sunday night.

Who Wins?

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New York Giants (6-4) at New Orleans Saints (7-3)

My Pick: Saints

The inevitable second half down fall of the New York Giants started last week and will continue from here on out, to make matters worse they have to play Dree Brees and his high powered offense on Monday night. The Saints are currently the second highest scoring team in the NFL, only behind the Packers, and provide plenty of match up problems for the Giants defense. Jimmy Graham for instance has emerged as one of the best receiving tight ends in the NFL as he leads all tight ends in yards and he will certainly be an issue for the suspect linebacking group of the Giants.

Who Wins?

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