Nov. 30, 2017
NFL Week 12 Preview and Predictions
Week 12 Headlines
Return of Revis: Darrelle Revis will make his return to the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs. Revis was inked to a two-year deal that will pay him the league minimum with incentives this season and a $10 million price tag for 2018 that becomes guaranteed with the new league year.
Raiders Fire Defensive Coordinator: The Oakland Raiders have relieved Ken Norton Jr. of his defensive coordinator duties. John Pagano, who joined the Raiders last offseason as assistant head coach/defense, will take over defensive playcalling duties.
Broncos Fire Offensive Coordinator: Hours after the Denver Broncos' sixth consecutive loss, offensive coordinator Mike McCoy was relieved of his duties job.
Fantasy Football Start Em/Sit Em
Starting Quarterbacks: Kirk Cousins, Marcus Mariota, Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger, Tyrod Taylor
Sitting Quarterbacks: Derek Carr, Josh McCown, Eli Manning, Blake Bortles
Starting Running Backs: Carlos Hyde, DeMarco Murray, Latavius Murray, Duke Johnson, Alfred Morris
Sitting Running Backs: Marshawn Lynch, Joe Mixon, Doug Martin, Alex Collins
Starting Receivers: T.Y. Hilton, Mohamed Sanu, Mike Wallace, JuJu Smith-Shuster
Sitting Receivers: Jordy Nelson, Larry Fitzgerald, Amari Cooper, Sammy Watkins
Starting Tight Ends: Evan Engram, Vernon Davis, Kyle Rudolph, Jared Cook
Sitting Tight Ends: Charles Clay, O.J. Howard, Julius Thomas, Austin Hooper
Starting Defenses: Eagles, Ravens, Steelers, Bengals, Patriots
Sitting Defenses: Rams, Bills, Saints, Lions
Vikings vs. Lions: As tradition dictates, the Lions will be hosting a Thanksgiving game once again. This year it’s against one of the hottest team’s in the league. Not only do the Vikings have an elite defense at their disposal, their offense isn’t the liability you’d expect from a team that’s down to its third-string quarterback. In fact, Case Keenum has been more x-factor than expected. So much so that I believe the Vikings should have no issues getting what they want against the Lions defense. Matthew Stafford has his work cut out for him against this defense. The Vikings just shut down the Rams offense. And while I believe the Lions offense won’t be completely shut down, but their production won’t be enough to secure a win. Look for the Vikings to win this game.
Giants vs. Redskins: Coming off of an upset win over Kansas City, the Giants look to do it again against Washington just four days later. To do that, they must get pressure on Kirk Cousins, who has played well despite the injured state of his protection and inconsistency with his receivers. Washington has proved they can move the ball regardless and against anyone. Ask New Orleans. What this will come down to is how well the Giants offense can put points on the board. Honestly, they’re not to be trusted in that regard. So I’m picking Washington to win the game.
Chargers vs. Cowboys: Thanks to the Chiefs falling back to earth and the Bills dysfunction, the Chargers find themselves still in the mix for a playoff spot. With their next two games, the Chargers could get themselves to .500 and make things very interesting. Up first is a Cowboys team in free fall. Dak Prescott’s play has been well below average since the start of Ezekiel Elliot’s suspension. So the obvious answer for Dallas is to get back to what they do best. And that’s ball control on offense with few turnovers. Also, keeping the pressure off of Dak would greatly help. Unfortunately, I don’t believe the Cowboys defense is up to stopping the Chargers offense. Plus, I think Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram will be treating Dak like a Thanksgiving appetizer. The Chargers will win this game.
Browns vs. Bengals: Over the next three weeks, the Browns will face their best chances of winning a game. The Bengals offensive inconsistency gives them a chance, but their defense will likely shut the Browns down. The Chargers have played down to the Browns level over the last few years and gave them their only win last season. And finally, the Packers are a mess without Aaron Rodgers. As for this week, the Browns will likely fall to the Bengals.
Panthers vs. Jets: Coming off of a bye week, the Panthers could easily come out flat against the Jets. They just seem like that type of team and the Jets have scared a few good teams this year. If the Jets can provide Josh McCown with some sort of ground game to alleviate the pressure he’ll get from Carolina’s defense, they may stand a chance. But ultimately this comes down to Cam Newton’s level of play. He can be inconsistent at times, but his playmaking ability gives Carolina the edge. Also, I’m sure he’s loving the fact that Greg Olsen is returning to the lineup. Look for Carolina to win the game.
Titans vs. Colts: It felt as if the Titans were put in their place lace week against the Steelers. Tennessee is a solid team that could possibly make the playoffs. Unfortunately, they likely won’t advance far. They’re the only team with a winning record and a negative point differential. That explains it all. Since they’re facing the Colts, this is a good opportunity to keep pace with the Jags. The Colts will keep it close but ultimately will come up short.
Buccaneers vs. Falcons: To have any chance of making the playoffs, the Bucs will have to win all of their remaining five divisional games. But it’s not that easy. The Falcons are just as desperate but twice as healthy. I expect the Falcons to flourish on both sides of the ball and win the game handily.
Dolphins vs. Patriots: With each passing week, the Patriots look more and more like the same old Patriots. Meaning, their defense is improving to the typical “bend not break” unit that’s vintage New England while Tom Brady orchestrates the offense. Miami has zero chance of winning this game.
Bears vs. Eagles: The one interesting aspect of this game will be the Bears defense going up against the Eagles offense. Chicago has a fantastic front seven but may find it hard to get pressure on Carson Wentz on a consistent basis. That’s especially true with Leonard Floyd out. The Bears offense, on the other hand, is in for a long day. Running the ball against the Eagles defensive front will be tough. Mitchell Trubisky will be relied upon to find success against an Eagles secondary that is slowly improving. This is a mismatch in favor of the Eagles.
Bills vs. Chiefs: That loud mashing sound you here coming from the midwest is the sound of the Chiefs fans crushing the panic button. During the first half of the season, Kansas City was considered the best team in football. Now, everything has gone south for them. The Bills are in a similar situation. One of the surprise teams of the first half, the Bills are now looking like the team many people thought they were all along. Tyrod Taylor regains his starting job after the Bills benching blew up in their face. The Bills should have no issue moving the ball against the Chiefs defense. The real question is if Alex Smith can get back to what he was doing during the first half of the season. Recently, he looks like the same old game manager KC is looking to replace. If he can’t get it together, Kansas City is in jeopardy of squandering their division. As for this game, I don’t trust the Chiefs until they get an identity that sticks. So I’ll pick the Bills to win thanks to their running game and zone defense.
Seahawks vs. 49ers: Seattle’s injuries and the gambling ways of their coach currently have them on the outside looking in on the playoff picture. It’s clear now that the Seahawks have become Russell Wilson or bust. They go as he goes. The Niners, unfortunately, don’t have the weapons to stop Seattle’s offense or exploit their injuries on defense. So expect the Seahawks to win this game.
Broncos vs. Raiders: Jack Del Rio has put everyone on notice. No Raider is safe moving forward. The first casualty of the Raiders underachievement was defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr and more will follow if things don’t shape up. Fortunately for Oakland, the ineptitude of Kansas City has kept their season alive for now. The Broncos have also had their gut check moment. John Elway called them soft and offensive coordinator Mike McCoy was given his walking papers. So the motivated Broncos offense will face the motivated Raiders defense. Since both units are dysfunctional, there’s no telling what to expect. Denver’s defense is still capable of matching up with anyone, but I expect the Raiders to go all out on offense. That may result in some turnovers, but I doubt Paxton Lynch can lead Denver to at least 20 points. So I favor the Raiders in this one.
Saints vs. Rams: The Rams faced their first real test last week against the Vikings and were shut down offensively. Now they’ll have to deal with the hottest team in the NFC. I’m sure the Rams cannot wait to hit the field against a defense not as dominant as Minnesota’s. In fact, the stout Saints defense showed a few holes last week against the Redskins. So not all is lost for the Rams offense since their system is about the same as Washington’s. They should be able to find a way to put up some points. Stopping the Saints offense is another matter entirely. The Saints have one of the most dominant rushing attacks in football. Run defense is the weakness of the L.A. defense. The Rams aren't going to be able to stop Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram all game. If they contain them, the Saints will still have Drew Brees to fall back on. So look for the Saint to win the game.
Jaguars vs. Cardinals: It’s clear that the Jaguars are a quarterback away from doing major things in the league. Jacksonville's defense is really, really special and is capable of winning games by itself. They match up well against a Cardinals defense down to spare parts at many positions. I have a hard time believing the Cardinals will be able to protect Blaine Gabbert. I also find it hard to believe the Cardinals will be able to consistently push the ball downfield against one of the best secondaries in football. The Jaguars should have no trouble winning this one.
Packers vs. Steelers: Without Aaron Rodgers in uniform, the Packers are just a mediocre team. The Steelers are currently one of the best team’s in all of the football and should have no trouble beating Green Bay at home.
Texans vs. Ravens: This game should be physical by default. Neither offense strikes fear into the hearts of their opponents as currently constituted. Houston quarterback Tom Savage was better last week, but Baltimore's defense has been getting healthier and better as well. It's going to be a similar situation on the other side. Baltimore isn't good on offense, and Houston is well-coached defensively. In a low-scoring slog of a game, I give the slight edge to Baltimore.