NFL Week 12 Preview
Texans @ Lions
This was written prior to the start of the Thanksgiving Game
Last week Deshaun Watson played his best game of the season while Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions played their worst game of the season. The Lions need to win the games they’re supposed if they truly want to make a run at the playoffs. Last week, Detroit should’ve beat the Panthers without Teddy Bridgewater and Christian McCaffrey. Last week, the Texans were revived from the dead. Watson is still a top tier quarterback, he just doesn’t have the pieces around him. Will Fuller has proven to be a true number 1 for Houston, but now the Texans are without Randall Cobb and Kenny Stills. Luckily for them, the Lions will be without Kenny Golladay, D’Andre Swift, and Danny Amendola. The Lions looked so bad last week there is no way I could pick them this week. Deshaun Watson is going to ball out on Thanksgiving and eat feast on Thursday Morning!
What to Watch For: Is Matt Patricia on the hot seat?
Player of the Game: Deshaun Watson QB Texans
Final Score: Texans 26 Lions 23
Washington Football Team @ Cowboys
In the NFC East, one win can literally win you this division. Both Washington and Dallas had upset wins in week 11 and have a good shot to win on Thanksgiving. This is going to be a gritty game with turnovers and sloppy football. While it might not be the game everyone wants to watch, it’s important to be thankful that we even have football! Washington has one of the best pass defense in the NFL and it’s going to be hard for Andy Dalton to get going. CeeDee Lamb needs to ball in his hands, if it’s tip passes at the line or fade routes in the end zone, Dallas need 88 with the ball in his hands. Alex Smith should be able to throw the ball downfield on the Cowboys and if Terry McLaurin is playing and healthy, then he will have a big game. I expect McLaurin to bless Trevon Diggs this afternoon and have a big game. This is my upset of the day, it will be gritty but I like Washington to upset the Dallas Cowboys.
What to Watch For: Terry McLaurin’s health
Player of the game: Alex Smith QB WFT
Final Score: WFT 17 Cowboys 13
Chargers @ Bills
This may be the most exciting game of the week. This is Justin Herbert's time to shine. Herbert has been the best rookie all season and is statistically on pace for the best rookie quarterback season in NFL history. He needs to turn those stats into victories in the win column. This is one of his toughest challenges yet. The Buffalo Bills are having a really good season and are going to both pressure Herbert and test Keenan Allen with man coverage against Tre'Davious White. Offensively for the Bills there are a lot of good matchups. I expect the Bills to utilize Josh Allen's running ability and own the time of possession category. The Chargers are going to keep this game close, but I expect the Bills to pull out with a victory.
What to Watch For: Stefon Diggs vs Tre'Davious White
Player of the Game: Josh Allen QB Bills (Running Ability)
Final Score: Chargers 23 Bills 30
Titans @ Colts
This game is going to be awesome. It was played just two weeks ago on Thursday Night Football and the Colts whooped up on the Titans, but this game is different. Indianapolis will be without Deforest Buckner, Bobby Okereke, Denico Autry, and they have a ton of players who are questionable. This means that Derrick Henry is going to have the opportunity to feast. It's unfortunate that the Colts don't have their full team, but COVID-19 has affected a lot of teams this year. One bright spot for Indianapolis has been Julian Blackmon who needs to be in the conversation for defensive rookie of the year. The Colts are going to be really good in the playoffs, but they'll have to fight for seeding after this game is over.
What to Watch For: Will Compton MLB Titans having the green dot
Player of the Game: Derrick Henry RB Titans
Final Score: Titans 27 Colts 17
Panthers @ Vikings
I absolutely love the move the Panthers made by keeping Teddy Bridgewater out. For a second, it looked like the Panthers were going to make him active, but it wasn't worth it. PJ Walker went out and balled last week against the Detroit Lions. Both of these teams are NFC contenders for the 7 seed. I am begging the Vikings offensive coordinator, Gary Kubiak, to get the ball into Justin Jefferson's hands more often. Jefferson is one of the best rookie receivers that I have ever seen and he simply doesn't get enough targets. The Panthers on the other hand have to feed Curtis Samuel. Samuel is a special athlete who can be used anywhere on the field. The Panthers are starting to gain momentum and I expect them to keep the train rolling and beat the Vikings in Minnesota.
What to Watch For: How many targets does Justin Jefferson get?
Player of the Game: Curtis Samuel WR Panthers
Final Score: Panthers 26 Vikings 22
Browns @ Jaguars
There are a lot of great quarterbacks in this league, Mike Glennon is not one of them. The Jaguars need to feed James Robinson if they want any chance at winning this ball game. Robinson is a candidate for rookie of the year and has been special this entire season. His play gets outshined by the struggles of the Jaguars, but he has been one of the best undrafted rookies I have ever seen. The Browns are playing another week without Myles Garrett, but that leaves room for Olivier Vernon to step up. Vernon had three sacks last week and is now playing against one of the worst offenses in the NFL. It's time for Baker Mayfield to start slinging the ball. Mayfield hasn't thrown a touchdown in a month and he needs to in order for the Browns to have a shot at going far in the playoffs. I expect the Browns to win in a blowout.
What to Watch For: Does Baker Mayfield let it rip?
Player of the Game: Nick Chubb RB Browns
Final Score: Browns 27 Jaguars 9
Giants @ Bengals
This is the game has major draft implications and those implications are centered around Oregon LT Penei Sewell. Sewell is the best offensive lineman in the draft and these two teams are the biggest contenders to draft him. With the Bengals losing Joe Burrow for the season, it's going to be hard for them to gain momentum. It's safe to say that Brandon Allen is not THE GUY for Cincinnati and I expect Danny Dimes to feast. The Bengals have talent on their roster, but aren't a good team. I expect the Bengals to win the Sewell bowl, but lose this game.
What to Watch for: Does Daniel Jones have the ability to blow a team out?
Player of the Game: Wayne Gallman RB Giants
Final Score: Giants 27 Bengals 10
Cardinals @ Patriots
Kyler Murray is special. He's played at another level all year and this is his chance to embarrass a Bill Belichick led Patriots team. It might be the only shot in his career at that feat and he needs to take it. Cam Newton is a guy who Murray looked up to growing up. Newton needs to play free. That's when he's at his best. Not when he's trying to be a system quarterback, but when he's playing backyard football. The matchup I'm looking forward to watching is Deandre Hopkins against Stephon Gilmore. Hopkins has proven that he's the best receiver in the NFL this year and to be the best you have to beat the best. I don't expect this to be a blowout, but I do expect the Cardinals to come up with a big win in Foxborough.
What to Watch for: Hopkins vs Gilmore
Player of the Game: Kyler Murray QB Cardinals
Final Score: Cardinals 27 Patriots 20
Dolphins @ Jets
As much as I love Brian Flores, I hate his decision to bench Tua Tagovailoa last week. Even though, the Dolphins were on pace to lose against the Broncos, Tagovailoa needs to have experiences of putting together drives at the end of the game. He shouldn't have to look over his shoulder whenever he's on pace to lose a game. Now he's not even going play because he jammed his throwing thumb in practice. Fitzpatrick starting for Miami would be a big deal for about any other opponent but the Jets. The Jets are one of the worst teams that I have ever seen, but this week they have Sam Darnold coming back. I'm not a Darnold believer, but this could be the game we see if Darnold has it or not. Fitzpatrick should be able to dominate against his former team in MetLife Stadium.
What to Watch For: Does Sam Darnold have the "it" factor?
Player of the Game: Devante Parker WR Dolphins
Final Score: Dolphins 28 Jets 13
Raiders @ Falcons
The Raiders have been one of the toughest teams in the NFL this year. Every game of their's has been close and if they make the playoffs, they will be a hard out. The Raiders are the last team that the Chiefs want to see in January and Derek Carr is having the best season of his career. This week the Raiders have to take a cross country trip and play against a Falcons team that just got molly whopped by the Taysom Hill led Saints. The Falcons are playing without their best player, Julio Jones, and their running back, Todd Gurley. In order to make a playoff run, the Raiders need to beat the teams they're supposed to beat. The Falcons are a team the Raiders are supposed to beat and I expect them to run all over the Falcons in the ATL.
What to Watch For: Will Calvin Ridley have a monster game?
Player of the Game: Josh Jacobs RB Raiders
Final Score: Raiders 28 Falcons 24
Saints @ Broncos
This is going to be an interesting game. The Broncos are going to start Kendall Hinton, a practice squad receiver, at quarterback. Every other quarterback on their roster is considered a close contact COVID-19 risk. I'm a big Taysom Hill hater, but I think he's going to have a monster game. I still believe that Hill is an amazing gadget player, but he can't be an actual starting quarterback in this league. I expect this game to be the best game of Taysom Hill's career. I would love to see Hinton succeed, it would be an amazing story line, but he just simply hasn't had enough time to prepare. I expect a lot of wildcat from the Broncos offense on Sunday, but this could be a blowout in Denver.
What to Watch for: WHO IS KENDALL HINTON?
Player of the Game: Taysom Hill QB Saints
Final Score: Saints 30 Broncos 6
49ers @ Rams
What's that I smell? Is that a team on upset alert? I believe the Rams should be on upset alert against a beaten up 49ers team. The 49ers are getting Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson, Deebo Samuel, and Richard Sherman back this week. Kyle Shanahan has won three straight against Sean McVay and he does an awesome job at game planning against the Rams. The Rams are a little hot, but I expect the 49ers to bring them back down to earth. Nick Mullens needs to play smart football. He needs to get the ball into his playmakers hands. The 49ers are going to keep this game close and surprise the Rams in Los Angeles.
What to Watch for: Can Aaron Donald get to the quarterback?
Player of the Game: Raheem Mostert RB 49ers
Final Score: 49ers 24 Rams 20
Chiefs @ Buccaneers
Everybody thinks this is going to be an amazing game. The story line of Mahomes vs Brady is awesome, but the Chiefs are a far better team. Mahomes is the MVP 11 weeks into the season and the Bucs are going to be looking towards their bye week next week. I expect Mahomes to throw all over this defense and Tyreek Hill to have a multi-touchdown game. The best matchup in this game is Travis Kelce against Lavonte David. Both players are playing at a high level and I expect that matchup to be a blood bath. The Buccaneers can't hang with the Chiefs and I expect the Tampa Bay to be humiliated on FOX's game of the week.
What to Watch for: Can the Bucs put up enough points against the Chiefs?
Player of the Game: Chris Jones DT Chiefs
Final Score: Chiefs 33 Buccaneers 23
Bears @ Packers
Is this Aaron Rodgers MVP game? I think so. After this week, Rodgers is going to be the favorite for MVP because he is going to dominate once again on Sunday Night Football. Every Bears fan has nightmares about Rodgers and once again, they have to face off in primetime. I believe the Packers are contenders this year. However, it's time for the Packers defense to step up. Their defense has been the weakness of their team and last week, the Philip Rivers led Colts put up 34 points against them. I want to see Marquez
Valdes-Scantling comeback and have a monster game. Everybody knows what happened to him last week, but it would be awesome for him to prove all of his haters wrong and win this game for Green Bay. I expect the Packers to have a big time win and get back on track.
What to Watch For: Can the Packers defense step up?
Player of the Game: Marquez Valdez-Scantling WR Packers
Final Score: Bears 17 Packers 34
Seahawks @ Eagles
It seems like forever ago since the Seahawks last beat the Cardinals on Thursday Night Football, and now I expect the Seahawks to beat the Eagles on Monday Night Football. The last time these two teams played, DK Metcalf went off and I think he's going to have another big game. It's time for the Eagles to play Jalen Hurts. Carson Wentz looks awful and Hurts could light a spark for Philly. Russell Wilson is special and on primetime games, he steps up. Chris Carson is coming back for the Seahawks and everything is clicking for Seattle. This game shouldn't even be close. It is time for Jalen Hurts.
What to Watch For: How many snaps does Jalen Hurts get?
Player of the Game: DK Metcalf WR Seahawks
Final Score: Seahawks 33 Eagles 20
Ravens @ Steelers
No team has been screwed over from COVID-19 more than the Pittsburgh Steelers. With that being said, the Steelers are still undefeated and are playing against a practice squad Ravens team. I'm not even sure if this game is going to be played, but the Steelers should be able to whoop up on an RG3 led Ravens team. For Baltimore, it's time that Marquise Brown steps up. He needs to start making plays if the Ravens want a genuine shot at going far in the playoffs. For the Steelers offense, I want to see JuJu Smith-Schuster make some plays. This game may be cancelled/postponed, but if it plays out on Tuesday the Steelers should remain undefeated.
What to Watch For: Can RG3 provide a spark to the Ravens offense?
Player of the Game: JuJu Smith-Schuster WR Steelers
Final Score: Ravens 16 Steelers 26