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NFL Week 12 Predictions

Sports Staff |
November 22, 2012 | 1:46 p.m. PST

Happy Thanksgiving, readers! On this day we are thankful for football, family, and three more game picks than usual! You're welcome, America.

Matt Schaub had a monster game last week. Can he repeat his performance? (Wikimedia Commons)
Matt Schaub had a monster game last week. Can he repeat his performance? (Wikimedia Commons)
Houston Texans @ Detroit Lions

Jeremy Bergman: Texans 38, Lions 21

Evan Budrovich: Texans 24, Lions 10

Aaron Fischman: Texans 31, Lions 23

Jacob Freedman: Texans over Lions

Max Meyer: Texans 24, Lions 21

Law Murray: Lions 28, Texans 24

Matthew Tufts: Texans 24, Lions 23

Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys

Bergman: Redskins 20, Cowboys 13

Budrovich: Redskins 17, Cowboys 14

Fischman: Redskins 24, Cowboys 20

Freedman: Cowboys over Redskins

Meyer: Cowboys 27, Redskins 20

Murray: Cowboys 24, Redskins 16

Tufts: Cowboys 27, Redskins 17

New England Patriots @ New York Jets

Bergman: Patriots 28, Jets 20

Budrovich: Patriots 27, Jets 17

Fischman: Jets 27, Patriots 24

Freedman: Patriots over Jets

Meyer: Patriots 38, Jets 13

Murray: Jets 27, Patriots 21

Tufts: Patriots 38, Jets 14

Christian Ponder will struggle to move the ball against the Bears' defense. (Wikimedia Commons)
Christian Ponder will struggle to move the ball against the Bears' defense. (Wikimedia Commons)
Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears

Bergman: Vikings 14, Bears 12

Cutty, come back! Bears fans are praying for the speediest of recoveries for their sullen and arrogant leader, Jay Cutler, because they are sure as heck not going to move the ball on offense with inept journeyman Jason Campbell at the point. Adrian Peterson is going to run as his nickname dictates, all day, on the Bears defense that will be so worn down by their extended time on the field that a collapse late in the game is assured. Hanie 2012!

Budrovich: Vikings 21, Bears 13

With Jay Cutler out again for the Bears, the Vikings will be able to rely on their running game and strong defense to pull out the victory. Christian Ponder will expose the Bears' defense for the second straight week. All that being said, expect a strong fight from two teams fighting for the final wildcard spot.  

Fischman: Bears 23, Vikings 20

Cutler’s return won’t save the Bears’ struggling offense, but the defense will bounce back after a miserable showing against the 49ers Monday night. Adrian Peterson will have another outstanding game, but the Bears will win the turnover battle and thus, the game.

Freedman: Vikings 17, Bears 9

Jay Cutler's status is still unsure, but after last week's thrashing at the hands of the 49ers, the Bears have to hope that the Jason Campbell era is over. Adrian Peterson is baffling injury experts with his triumphant return from injury (1128 YDs and 7 TDs), while Matt Forte has just 102 rushing yards against two top defenses in his past two games. The Bears' defense is elite, but the offense without Cutler has proven to be nothing short of awful. 

Meyer: Bears 24, Vikings 17

With Jay Cutler back, the Bears will have a bounceback game after dismal showings the past two weeks in prime-time games. Expect the Bears defense to get a couple turnovers against a shaky Christian Ponder. 

Murray: Bears 21, Vikings 17

Bears QB Jay Cutler is expected to return after letting his backup take body shots up in NoCal, and he torched the Vikings in Chicago last year (267 yards, 2 TDs, only sacked once).  Add WR Brandon Marshall to that, and the Bears should put up enough points to withstand whatever hellfire Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has for them.  I expect the Bears defense to play aggressive against Peterson, as Vikings QB Christian Ponder may be without WR Percy Harvin again.

Tufts: Bears 28, Vikings 17

Chicago has a short break to come back from a tough loss to the 49ers. Their formidable defense let them down against San Francisco, but expect them to come back strong and shut down the Vikings offense on Thanksgiving. If Jay Cutler plays, this game won't even be close.

Matt Ryan and the Falcons try to rebound from a rough two weeks. (Football Schedule/Creative Commons)
Matt Ryan and the Falcons try to rebound from a rough two weeks. (Football Schedule/Creative Commons)
Atlanta Falcons @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bergman: Falcons 30, Buccaneers 27

Greg Schiano has this Bucs team moving in the right direction and he's catching the Falcons at their most vulnerable this season. Tampa Bay's offense has hit its stride as Josh Freeman has finally progressed back to his 2010 level of play and has targeted and found Vincent Jackson early and often. All that being said, the Bucs defense has me worried in this matchup; without a skilled secondary, Tampa Bay is going to have a rough go of it against Matt Ryan, Roddy White and Julio Jones.

Budrovich: Buccaneers 23, Falcons 21 

The Falcons have been walking the tight rope all season and will finally meet their match in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. No team has more momentum than the Bucs, who have Muscle Hamster, Vincent Jackson and Josh Freeman clicking on all cylinders. The Falcons will keep it close, per usual, but will be taken apart late by Freeman's Bucs. 

Fischman: Buccaneers 30, Falcons 27

This game should be an offensive shootout. Before the year, I didn’t expect to be saying this, but Tampa Bay has the more balanced offense. Also, Julio Jones is banged up.

Freedman: Buccaneers 21, Falcons 20

The Falcons are the Notre Dame of the NFL this season, posting win after win against inferior opponents. Only one of the Falcons' nine wins has come over a team with a winning record. The Buc(k) stops here. The Falcons' 28th-ranked run defense will get lighten up by emerging superstar Doug Martin. The Bucs' last-ranked pass defense is the perfect panacea for Matt Ryan the week after throwing five interceptions, but the Buccaneers have won four in a row and will continue their momentum on Sunday.

Meyer: Falcons 31, Buccaneers 24

There's no hotter team than the Bucs, but Matt Ryan should have a great game this week after his five-interception performance last game. This is a very important game for the Falcons considering that the Bucs and Saints are creeping up in the division. Expect them to play with an urgency they haven't had to yet in this game.

Murray: Falcons 28, Buccaneers 27

Well, we know the Falcons won't be running the ball much.  Falcons QB Matt Ryan (5 INTs and a WIN against Cardinals) has had only one stretch where he threw INTs in consecutive games, and that was in 2009.  Ryan still put up 300+ against the Cardinals, and the Buccaneers allow more than 320 passing yards a game. Ryan's going to have to keep putting points up, because the Buccaneers' big-play offense is no joke.  Cornerbacks will be abused in Tampa on Sunday.  The Falcons are expected to get SLB Sean Weatherspoon back in time to help slow rookie RB Doug Martin.

Tufts: Falcons 31, Buccaneers 17

The Buccaneers are looking to take their win streak to five games against one of the best teams in the league. Atlanta has struggled recently, but look for them to bounce back against a very weak Tampa Bay pass-defense.

Joe Flacco played poorly against the Steelers last week. (Creative Commons)
Joe Flacco played poorly against the Steelers last week. (Creative Commons)
Baltimore Ravens @ San Diego Chargers

Bergman: Ravens 24, Chargers 17

Yes, the Ravens didn't score an offensive touchdown at Pittsburgh. Yes, the Baltimore offense gave up a long touchdown scamper to Byron Leftwich, an old overweight backup quarterback. And yes, to quell all fears from Raven fans that their team is underachieving, Baltimore gets the play the team epitome of underachieving, the San Diego Chargers. 


Budrovich: Ravens 19, Chargers 12

The Ravens will grind out a slugfest victory over the struggling Chargers. San Diego has lost four of five, and has struggled to find any consistency in their play. Philip Rivers will make key mistakes against the, recently reinstated, Ed Reed-led defense. 

Fischman: Chargers 27, Ravens 20

Turnovers could easily kill the San Diego Super Chargers. The Ravens are in the bottom-third of the league in yards allowed, but they always seem to force critical turnovers. With that said, San Diego’s season is likely over with a loss. The Chargers will be hungry for the win.

Freedman: Ravens 24, Chargers 17

San Diego is favored at -1 for this game. Wait, what? I'll leave the betting to Max, but even though the Ravens offense has stalled against respectable defenses, I expect Philip Rivers to have another miserable day at the office. Plus Ed Reed is back with a vengeance after getting his suspension repealed. That should count for something too.

Meyer: Ravens 27, Chargers 18

I don't trust Philip Rivers or Norv Turner. I'm not the biggest fan of the Ravens' performance this season either, but I will avoid picking the Chargers and their downward spiral at any cost. Ravens should get a couple of turnovers and win this game comfortably.

Murray: Ravens 26, Chargers 24

Last year, the Ravens went into SoCal and got mollywopped by a Chargers team in the midst of their annual late-season surge.  It was the Ravens' worst loss of the season.  The Chargers need a spark, but it's going to be awfully hard to get the Ravens off their game.  No AFC team has a current winning streak longer than one game against the Ravens.  The Ravens need to shore up the pass pro (they allowed seven sacks, four to OLB Antwan Barnes last year) and take advantage of potential mistakes by a Chargers offense missing starters on the offensive line.

Tufts: Ravens 23, Chargers 20

Baltimore is coming off of a big statement win versus the Steelers and is looking to ride that momentum past a struggling San Diego team. Look for the Chargers' problems to continue as the Ravens try to assert themselves as a top AFC contender.

After a great start against Chicago, Colin Kaepernick will get another shot this week. (Creative Commons)
After a great start against Chicago, Colin Kaepernick will get another shot this week. (Creative Commons)
San Francisco 49ers @ New Orleans Saints

Bergman: 49ers 23, Saints 21

So, Colin Kaepernick is starting? Awkward. Alex Smith doesn't think so, claiming he's fine with the move as long the team wins. Well, I'm sure Smith, Jim Harbaugh, and NinerNation will have a change of face after Kaepernick blows his second NFL start leading to an impressive Saints first half. In comes Alex Smith, who leads a Smith-like comeback, and turns the city of San Francisco right-side up again. 

Budrovich: 49ers 27, Saints 17

Regardless of who plays quarterback, the Niners have the pieces on defense and special teams to take down the hot New Orleans Saints. Call me crazy, but the Saints are still a very beatable team who struggle to stop the run. With Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter rolling into town, the Saints stand no chance. Drew Brees will not play perfectly enough to give the Saints the win. 

Fischman: 49ers 30, Saints 24

Very good offense (New Orleans) against the best defense in the NFL (49ers). But most importantly, I really, really, really don’t like the Saints’ defense.  

Freedman: Saints 27, 49ers 23

It looks like Colin Kaepernick could pull a "Lou Gehrig," taking over the starting job even after the player he replaced, Alex Smith, returns from injury. Drew Brees isn't going to lose his job anytime soon, leading the NFL with 28 touchdowns for a Saints squad that has won five of its' last six after starting 0-4. Chris Ivory and Mark Ingram are looking like NFL running backs as well, giving the Saints enough balance to put up points against the vaunted 49ers defense and keep their surprising run going.

Meyer: 49ers 28, Saints 24

Colin Kaepernick gets the start after a very impressive game against the Bears. The Saints defense is a lot easier to throw against than the Bears. Expect another nice game from Kaepernick, as the 49ers continue to prove why they could be the best team in the NFC.

Murray: 49ers 30, Saints 28 

The 49ers haven't won in New Orleans since 2001, when the 49ers and Saints were division rivals.  Enter QB Colin Kaepernick.  49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh is channeling his inner-Belichick by unleashing his own project-blend of Tom Brady and Andrew Luck on a Saints defense that has allowed 400+ yards in every game this season.   Alex Smith played the game (and 4th quarter) of his career against the Saints in last year's playoffs, so Kaepernick's going to have to show out again on the national stage.  Finding rejuvenated TE Vernon Davis (180 yards and two TDs against Saints) will be key.  The Saints can ill afford to struggle with turnovers again (they had five in January against 49ers).

Tufts: 49ers 24, Saints 20

Regardless of who starts for San Francisco, their offense has been clicking. The Saints have been hot of late, but their poor pass-defense will be their downfall against the 49ers.

Aaron Rodgers is hot, and he hopes to ice the Giants Sunday night. (avinashkunnath/Creative Commons)
Aaron Rodgers is hot, and he hopes to ice the Giants Sunday night. (avinashkunnath/Creative Commons)
Green Bay Packers @ New York Giants

Bergman: Packers 35, Giants 34

This will be a classic, reminiscent of last year's matchup between these same two teams in the same venue. The Pack are out for revenge after the Giants surprisingly eliminated them from the playoffs last year, and they're the hottest team in football. The Giants, on the other hand, are cold as ice, having lost two in a row. To be fair, the G-Men are coming off of a bye and they always play up to their opponents' skill level. This game will go down to the wire, but I expect Green Bay to avenge their defeat behind a flawless performance by Aaron Rodgers. 

Budrovich: Packers 31, Giants 27

The hottest team in football will continue their winning ways. Aaron Rodgers just keeps plugging in new pieces and they are flourishing. Expect Randall Cobb to out salsa Victor Cruz this week, as the Packers will pull out a thriller, redeeming their loss from last year's playoffs. 

Fischman: Packers 24, Giants 20

Over the last four years Eli Manning has been very effective in the games directly after bye weeks. And he and the Giants will have to be sharp to defeat the Packers Sunday night. Manning has thrown just two total touchdowns, however, in New York’s last five games. The Packers have been much more careful with the ball. 

Freedman: Packers 34, Giants 24

Remember the usually-vaunted Giants defense? It's gone. In its' place, a 26th-ranked pass defense that has allowed 17 passing touchdowns in 2012. Thanksgiving dinner will be in the rearview mirror, but Aaron Rodgers will be licking his chops. The Giants have lost their last two and are mystically bad at home in the Meadowlands, so give me the surging Packers who don't want to fall out of the lead they just regained in the NFC North.

Meyer: Giants 35, Packers 31

The Giants seem to have the Packers number over recent seasons. With the Giants coming off a bye and having two weeks to prepare for Aaron Rodgers, expect another victory for the Giants. Plus, this is one of those games where no one expect the Giants to win, but they always do. 

Murray: Giants 27, Packers 24 

The Giants had two weeks to think about this one, and they're on a two game losing streak.  They only have a one game lead on the Cowboys. If the Giants prepared appropriately, they'll see a Packers offense that is even more one-dimensional than the one they saw in the postseason. Green Bay barely escaped Detroit, as QB Aaron Rodgers was sacked thrice while RB James Starks averaged less than three yards a carry.  The Giants need to take care of the football, eat clock with the run game, and get the Packers uncomfortable with WRs Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz.

Tufts: Packers 27, Giants 24

The Packers and Giants are both trying to prove themselves as Super Bowl contenders in the NFC. Green Bay has been hot of late, while the Giants have been struggling. The momentum will be the difference and carry the Packers over New York.

Season Standings

Jacob Freedman 37-19

Max Meyer 37-19

Matthew Tufts 37-19

Evan Budrovich 36-20

Aaron Fischman 34-22

Jeremy Bergman 33-23

Law Murray 26-19



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