The Raiders have been simply awful the last few weeks, culminating with a home loss to the Browns last week. The Broncos meanwhile have been one of the strongest teams, winning seven straight. The Raiders defense has been shredded all season and Peyton Manning will add to the pain with a Thursday Night win.
Both of these teams are below .500 and on the very fringe of playoff contention, needing to run the table to have any chance. The Bills have played well at home, while the Rams have been terrible on the road. This one is an easy choice for that reason, as dome teams in Buffalo never fare well in December any way. Look for C.J. Spiller to lead the way to a Buffalo charge.
The Cowboys can not afford to keep falling behind early in games, last week they were lucky to beat a pathetic Eagle team at home. The Bengals meanwhile are red hot and can smell the playoffs, though they have plenty of work to do as it will take at least ten wins in the AFC. The Cowboys injury riddled defense will have a tough time containing the Bengals, and this will be the difference as the Cowboys playoff hopes begin to fade.
This is the sominex game of the week. Though impossible to match the awfulness of the Jets-Cardinals disaster this one will be nearly as unwatchable. The Chiefs are coming off an emotional win after the murder/suicide committed by Jovan Belcher. The Browns meanwhile, have played well lately especially on defense. Look for them to get a rare third straight win by shutting down the Chiefs anemic offense, while Trent Richardson paces the offense.
Earlier in the season the Panthers nearly caught the Falcons napping, as they needed a late Matt Bryant Field Goal to stay perfect at the Georgia Dome. At 11-1, the Falcons have the NFC South clinched, but they still need to pursue home field, while the Panthers are just playing out the string. Simply put the Panthers will look different next season as there will likely be a coaching change as they try to figure out what went wrong. They won’t figure it out this week as the Falcons win by ten.
With their inspirational charge for Chuck Pagano, the Colts have been the feel good story of the 2012 NFL season. Last week, rookie Quarterback Andrew Luck showed the poise of a veteran driving the Colts 75 yards with no timeouts for the winning score in Detroit. The Titans meanwhile have been flat all season, changes are likely to be coming to Nashville too as they are rolled over by the Colts who can smell the playoffs.
The Jets were extremely lucky to win last week, as they edged the Cardinals 7-6 thanks to the efforts of Greg McElroy who relieved an awful Mark Sanchez. However, despite his continued pathetic play the Jets continue to baby Sanchez, giving him the start in Jacksonville. Fans in Everbank Field wish the could see Tim Tebow, Jets fans wish they could see more McElroy, while the Jaguars love, love, love Sanchez getting the start because this will help them get a win at home.
For the second time in three weeks, the Bears and Vikings are meeting up with each side needing a win. Two weeks ago at Soldier Field the Bears jumped out to a big lead and did not look back. This is the Bears only win in the last three games, and playing without Brian Urlacher on the road things will only get harder. The loss a Urlacher will make stopping Adrian Peterson even harder as the Vikings keep their playoff hopes alive, as the Bears slip out of first place.
Last week the Steelers got an emotional win on the road against the Ravens with third string QB Charlie Batch. Like last week, the Steelers will take a wait and see approach with Ben Roethlisberger. However, they will not need Big Ben, as the Chargers have flat lined. There will be no late season reprieve for Norv Turner this year as the 4th and 29 play took the last bit of life from this underachieving bunch, which has exposed QB Phillip Rivers as the most overrated in the league.
Despite losses in their last two games, the Buccaneers still have a shot at the playoffs, though another one this week will likely finish them off. Fortunately they have the Eagles flying into town and should have no problem getting back on track. At times the Eagles looked ready to win in Dallas, but continued turnover problems and a lackluster effort on defense doomed them again. Expect more of the same for the Eagles as their losing streak hit nine.
With a big win last week on Monday Night against the Giants, the Redskins are suddenly in the thick of the race for the NFC East. The Ravens meanwhile are banged up on defense and coming off a frustrating loss to the Steelers. This maybe the most interesting beltway battle since the Ravens were born as both teams are relevant. However, with the strength of Robert Griffin III it is hard to imagine the Ravens who will likely be without Terrell Suggs being able to able to stop him as the Redskins improve to 7-6 with a four straight win.
Woe is them, the team that faces the 49ers after a loss, especially a game in which they should have won easily last week in St. Louis. The Dolphins defense did a solid job keeping their team in the game against the Patriots. The 49ers defense will come out hungry and will make the Dolphins pay at Candlestick as they enter another December without the oft injured Jake Long. It’s tough enough to travel cross country and win, this looks to be mission impossible for Miami.
The last few times the Giants have faced the Saints they have been embarrassed, including a game last season in which they allowed a season high 49 points. Coming off a loss last Monday and with three losses in their last four games the Giants have their backs to the wall. That is when they are at their best. Saints QB Drew Brees had his Touchdown streak snapped last week, as he has badly struggled in the last two games. I see his struggles continuing as the Giants get a big win at the Meadowlands.
All the Seahawks need to do is hold on to the football, make no mistakes just hold on to the ball and they will get an easy win at home. The Cardinals offense is in a word awful-horrendous-terrible-pathetic. With the 12th man breathing down John Skelton’s neck it is hard to imagine the Cardinals will score in this game unless it is from their defense. The Seahawks themselves will likely score on defense as that kid in the commercial with Cam Newton is a better quarterback than anyone on the Cardinals.
Is there a team that is more jinxed than the Lions, who followed a bizarre overtime loss on Thanksgiving by blowing a 12 point lead late in the fourth quarter as Andre Luck and the Colts scored the winning Touchdown in Detroit as time expired. After three straight frustrating home losses the Lions at 4-8 embark on the road, and this time they won’t need to wait until the end of the game to lose as the Packers should be able to dominate the game from start to finish with first place in reach.
A Monday Night Game, that truly is worthy of being called the game of the week, as arguably the two best teams in the NFL meet in Foxboro with the Texans facing the Patriots. The Pats offense is firing on all cylinders lately while the Texans come in 11-1 and have been the best team all season. This one will be tough for the Texans on the road, but they have the one element that is needed to beat the Patriots, a strong pass rush. J.J. Watt will make his case for MVP with this one as the Texans cement themselves as the team to beat.