NFL Week 12 Predictions and Storylines

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Honolulu transplant from Nashville, Tennessee. Teaching high school English during the day, coaching Track & Field in the afternoon, then drinking enough to do it all over again.

Too competitive for an amateur, too amateur to be competitive.

Week 12 is proof that the NFL hates us and will force us to watch the NFC East in as many primetime slots as possible. They want us to be miserable, but they also know that we eat it up every time. Such is the life of a football fan I suppose. Last week my predictions managed 8-6, bringing my total to 55-30. Upsets are a part of life and they make the game so exciting every single Sunday. They also make or break my gambling account every week. Here’s a little help for yours with my NFL Week 12 predictions.

Texans (3-7) @ Lions (4-6)
Spread: Texans -2.5
Prediction: Texans 24-14

No Kenny Golladay, Okudah, Kenny Stills, or Randall Cobb. DeAndre Swift is questionable. At least we still have Watson and Stafford. The Lions were completely shut out last week but the Texans awful defense should give them plenty of opportunities to score. The Lions have their own porous defense, though, so hopefully Watson makes magic happen with Fuller and Cooks. We’ll be watching some mediocre football, but I’ll be drunk when we’re doing it. 

Washington (3-7) @ Cowboys (3-7)
Spread: Cowboys -3
Prediction: Washing 20-17

This low key has some potential for drama. I love Scary Terry and the Cowboys looked better with the ginger at QB. The Washington defense is significantly better, especially in DVOA, than the Cowboys junior varsity unit, and I think the Football Team will give Zeke and Dalton fits. Washington smacked Dallas the last time they met and this will be a fairly repeat performance, even on the road. There has been no home field advantage for teams on Thursday football this year, so that’s not playing into my prediction at all. Give me the better defense this time around.

Getty Images

Ravens (6-4) @ Steelers (10-0)
Spread: Steelers -4
Prediction: Steelers 22-20

I feel bad for the Steelers, but man there is a lot of whining and complaining. People have complained more about less, though. This doesn’t really benefit the Ravens, it just means it won’t be a primetime game unfortunately. The Ravens offense is maddeningly inconsistent and the receivers are dropping everything thrown their way. The Steelers, meanwhile, are squeaking by against bad teams, mainly off the strength of their defense. The Ravens defense is not up to the task and while I think there’s a strong chance they hand them the first loss, I also don’t think it happens.

Raiders (6-4) @ Falcons (3-7)
Spread: Raiders -3
Prediction: Raiders 33-21

Who is this at QB for the Raiders? I know it’s not Derek Carr because the Carr I know has never played this well. And he’s throwing passes to Philly’s favorite wide receiver, Nelson Agholor, who has revitalized his career with a competent offense. The Raiders are a top 10 offense in DVOA and Gruden has mostly modernized his team after looking like a laughing stock a few years ago. The poor Falcons just get off on letting down their fanbase, and Calvin Ridley might not be on the field again. There might be some homefield advantage here but I think the Raiders light up the scoreboard.

Chargers (3-7) @ Bills (7-3)
Spread: Bills -5.5
Prediction: Bills 30-23

One day Justin Herbert will have a coach and team that he truly deserves, hopefully not throwing screen passes 23% of the time. Until then, the Chargers will make questionable decisions and continue to waste Keenan Allen’s talent during his prime. The Bills are doing the opposite, maximizing Josh Allen’s skill set with Stefon Diggs absolutely crushing it this year. The Bills are a slightly better football team but run much more effectively. Bills Mafia is going to be insufferable when they win the division this year, so I’ll log off twitter for a few days when it happens until they lose in the first round of the playoffs.

Giants (3-7) @ Bengals (2-7-1)
Spread: Giants -4.5
Prediction: Giants 26-14

Fs in the chat for Joe Burrow. A promising rookie season was cut short and the football fans are the biggest losers in this – besides Burrow himself of course. The Giants are far from a good football team, but they’re on a 2 game win streak and not looking too bad while they do it. Daniel Jones has moved past tripping over gravity and is coughing up the ball far less than earlier in the season. The first game for Ryan Finley probably won’t go that well, but to be honest, who really knows. Giants win anyways.

Titans (7-3) @ Colts (7-3)
Spread: Colts -3.5
Prediction: Colts 30-26

Man oh man the Titans got looked like the NFC east on Thursday night. They looked like the Colts offense had covid and everyone was scared to touch them. The Titans looked like a combination of the Eagles’ backups to the backup offensive line, the Cowboys’ rotating QBs, the hands of the Ravens’ WRs, and the explosiveness of Eddie Lacy during summer camp. (Didn’t expect to see any more Eddie Lacy references again, did you?) The Colts looked like legitimate Super Bowl contenders in that game and Nyheim Hines made out like Jameis Winston running with crab legs. I’ll stop with the analogies. The Titans will look better but the Colts are a more complete football team. They also have the nerdiest / coolest kicker ever.

Browns (7-3) @ Jaguars (1-9)
Spread: Browns -7
Prediction: Browns 34-24

The Browns finally get out of Cleveland and make it to some decent weather for the first time in weeks. This should mean more scoring opportunities and maybe a rejuvenated team. The Jaguars are competitive, though, and if they aren’t careful they might mess around and win a few games. Jags fans should be pissed. Thankfully they benched the rookie Luton for Mike “The Neck” Glennon to ensure a loss this weekend. 

Panthers (4-7) @ Vikings (4-6)
Spread: Vikings -4.5
Prediction: Vikings 28-24

The Panthers are still without Christian McCaffrey. Fantasy owners are pissed but fans of the team have a lot to look forward to. The Panthers have been highly competitive against quality opponents, including Kansas City and New Orleans, with the exception of their embarrassing loss to the Buccaneers. They even came back from that massive misstep by shutting out the Detroit Lions. The Vikings are on their own tear lately, but lost to the Cowboys in Week 11. I don’t think they pull off the same kind of comeback performance like the Panthers, but I do expect Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook to do some damage against a decent Carolina defense.

Cardinals (6-4) @ Patriots (4-6)
Spread: Cardinals -2.5
Prediction: Cardinals 34-24

The Cardinals have a few early inexcusable losses and recent last-minute heartbreaks, but I think they right the ship this week against a weak New England team. Kyler Murray should see lots of opportunities to run against one of the worst defenses at stopping it with Kenyan Drake and Chase Edmunds splitting carries to the frustration of fantasy managers everywhere. New England fans, spoiled by years of dominance, should actually hope to tank a little more in the hopes of better draft positioning. It won’t happen, but reality is catching up them- this team has a lot of holes to fill and Belichick knows this. Cardinals win big.

Winslow Townson / USA Today Sports

Dolphins (6-4) @ Jets (0-10)
Spread: Dolphins -7
Prediction: Dolphins 26-17

So is Tua injured or benched? It seems a little wild to me that you would bench your starting rookie QB for one poor half of a game. I also can’t believe that coach Brian Flores isn’t getting more heat for not giving the young guy a chance to learn and grow. Flores needs to decide if his team is in win-now mode or not, because you don’t make a QB change like that unless you feel like you have a chance to make a playoff run. If this team crashes and burns, it’s because of some serious mismanagement and coaching. Oh, by the way they’re playing the Jets who are the first team officially eliminated from playoff contention, winless, and running the first offense in a long time. They’ve been more competitive lately, but it’s still the Jets. Dolphins win and cover.

Saints (8-2) @ Broncos (4-6)
Spread: Saints -5.5
Prediction: Saints 24-16

Taysom Hill played well enough to cruise past the Falcons and that’s all that really matters. The Broncos have a better defense though, so it’ll be interesting to see how a decent team deals with Hill after a full game to breakdown. The Saints might actually be the team to beat in the NFC, despite the doubts around Brees and the QB position as a whole. Did somebody say championship ticket? This is probably the least talked about 8-2 team in recent memory but that won’t continue to be the case as they get this win and inch closer to double digit wins. 

49ers (4-6) @ Rams (7-3)
Spread: Rams -7.5
Prediction: Rams 20-14

The Rams might have the best defense in the league, especially with the depleted 49ers suffering from injuries across the board. Super Bowl Loser hangover is a real curse, and the 9ers will be lucky to get to .500 by season’s end. Goff is playing well and has some underrated receiving weapons, particularly Cooper Kupp, even if the results have been a little inconsistent. The Rams put up a dud against the Dolphins, scored 23 against the poor Seahawks defense, then scored 27 against a strong Buccaneers team. It’s a bit maddening on the outside, but 7-3 with a win against Seattle is good enough for the division lead. The 9ers are already forgotten about in the crowded NFC West, but they will probably pull a few surprises out before the end of the year, this just isn’t one of them.

Chiefs (9-1) @ Buccaneers (7-4)
Spread: Chiefs -3
Prediction: Chiefs 35-30

This should be a fun matchup, and it’s one that some people might be considering a Super Bowl preview. While I’m not on that boat, the Chiefs have a human steroid in Patrick Mahomes bending space and time to throw the football. Tampa Bay has a QB whose age is starting to show in his deep balls. Bruce Arians might need to reconsider how big that biscuit is, because Brady is still one of the best QBs in the game, but him and Belichick were just a match made in Heaven. Mahomes and Reid are arguably another version of that, looking like a young dynasty every week. Their only weakness is their defense, which plays hyper aggressively while not being as efficient at stopping opponents. Chiefs still get the win here.

USA Today Sports

Bears (5-5) @ Packers (7-3)
Spread: Packers -7.5
Prediction: Packers  27-17

The Packers are a really good team, but in retrospect they don’t have a lot of quality wins. The only team they’ve beaten that’s over .500 is the New Orleans Saints in Week 3. After that, they’ve mostly played and defeated 4-6 teams like the Lions, 49ers, and Vikings, while barely beating the 1-9 Jaguars. I’m skeptical of them in a bad way, but I love Davante Adams and Aaron Rodgers. The Bears meanwhile are the frauds everyone knew they were at the beginning of the year. They’re on a 4 game losing streak but only once has a team scored 30 points in any of their matchups this year- the Bears themselves against the Falcons in Week 3. The Saints are the only team to push the scoring total over the 46 o/u and the Packers have a worse defense and maybe better offense. Bears still lose.

Seahawks (7-3) @ Eagles (3-6-1)
Spread: Seahawks -5
Prediction: Seahawks 25-18

The Eagles make me sad. Not in a way that I feel so much pity for them I cry. I mean that watching them make bad personnel decisions and subsequently play bad football hurts me on a personal level. I have friends that are Eagles fans. They don’t deserve this even if the rest of the fan base might. The Seahawks make me sad for similar reasons, but not to the same degree. It took years for Pete Carrol to finally let Russ cook, and it’s only when the defense is a shell of its former glory. Yikes. Someone tell Mr. Unlimited he might need to learn how to play defense too if he wants to win the Super Bowl again. They can (and will) beat the Eagles, but they’re capable of losing any game if the defense doesn’t improve.

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Episode 77