Week 12 of the NFL season is here, and already the injury bug has bitten, as Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo will miss the rest of the season with a fractured clavicle. Also this week, Falcons running back Devonta Freeman will miss the game versus the Minnesota Vikings due to injury. The Manning-Brady rivalry may finally be over, with Brock Osweiler, not Peyton Manning, taking the reigns for Denver against New England as Colts quarterback Andrew Luck also misses this week with a kidney injury. Oh, and Matt Schaub and Buck Allen will start for Baltimore replacing the injured Joe Flacco and Justin Forsett. The Patriots and Panthers are still undefeated. The Cowboys and Ravens appear to be plummeting towards the first overall pick in 2016. Who will make an impact this week? What teams will step towards the playoffs? What teams will step away from the playoffs and towards next season? The regular season is nearing it's close and every game matters. How do we picture this week's games playing out? Here we go:
Minnesota Vikings @ Atlanta Falcons. With no Devonta Freeman, this game gets really interesting. The Falcons are a good team, but so are the Vikings. Minnesota has one of the most underrated defenses in football, and the Falcons are missing one of their top offensive weapons. Those factors help Minnesota win this one on the road. Final score: Vikings 24, Falcons 21.
St. Louis Rams @ Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals look like one of the best teams in football when they're not in a prime time game. Even last week against the Cardinals, they showed some flashes of being a good team. They're good enough to beat St. Louis in Cincy, and will regain playoff form this week. Final score: Bengals 28, Rams 14.
New Orleans Saints @ Houston Texans. The Texans are looking like a decent football team at this point in the season, and are actually in playoff contention. The Saints have found their stride on offense and finally look like an offensive juggernaut. This game will be closer than many will expect, and I think the Texans take this one at home. Final score: Texans 27, Saints 24.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Indianapolis Colts. Will the real Jameis Winston please stand up? Winston had a breakout game last week,but is he for real? The Colts, on the other hand, are riddled with offensive injuries. However, Hasselbeck is doing enough to keep this team competitive. This will be another surprisingly close game. Colts win it at home. final score: Colts 28, Buccaneers 27.
San Diego Chargers @ Jacksonville Jaguars. I want to pick the Chargers to win games this year, I really do. However, this team has some serious issues. The Jaguars, on the other hand, are a healthy and surprisingly talented young team that should be decent in years to come. Jaguars win this one at home. Final score: Jaguars 28, Chargers 21.
Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs. This game is going to be close. The Chiefs are hot right now. The Bills are also playing some good football. Both of these teams are similar this year; lots of injuries with decent defenses. The Bills are slightly healthier though, and could win this one. Final score: Bills 23, Chiefs 21.
Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets. A few weeks ago, the Jets looked like a playoff team. Right now, they appear to be a team in decline. Miami is a team that is still struggling to find an identity, but Lamar Miller is playing great football right now. The Dolphins will win this game and play spoiler against their divisonal rivals in the wildcard race this week. Final score: Dolphins 23, Jets 7.
Oakland Raiders @ Tennessee Titans. The Titans are an improved team this year. However, the Raideirs have improved far more. Oakland still has a chance to grab a wildcard berth this season, and will play hard against the Titans. This game could easily go either way, but Oakland is the more complete team. Raiders win this one. Final score: Raiders 24, Titans 22.
New York Giants @ Washington Redskins. The Redskins are finally finding an identity. The Giants are relying on Eli Manning to keep them in contention. Giants win this week to keep themselves in a position to win the NFC East. Giants win. Final score: Giants 27, Redskins 14.
Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers. After watching Arizona defeat Cincinnati last week, this is one of the easiest picks of the week. Cardinals win. Final score: Cardinals 35, 49ers 14.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Seattle Seahawks. Two teams with recent playoff success face off this week, both clinging to their postseason lives. That being said, Seattle is slightly healthier than the Steelers, and if Lynch doesn't play, Rawls is still a beast. I expect Seattle to win this one at home. Final score: Seahawks 24, Steelers 23.
New England Patriots @ Denver Broncos. This should be a big game. It's a big test for Osweiler, and will help Denver decide whether he is a long term answer at quarterback. The Broncos defense should go a long way as far as helping Osweiler; Buffalo exposed some weaknesses in the New England offense last week, and if Denver can exploit them, the Broncos should win this game. Final score: Broncos 21, Patriots 20.
Baltimore Ravens @ Cleveland Browns. Why is this a Monday Night game? Oh well, at least we get to see Schaub start for Baltimore. Both of these teams have problems, but the entire Baltimore offense is injured. Cleveland wins. Final score: Browns 35, Ravens 14.
--Mike B. (93-69)
Minnesota Vikings @ Atlanta Falcons. Minnesota 24 Atlanta 21
St. Louis Rams @ Cincinnati Bengals. Cincinnati 27 St. Louis 21
Oakland Raiders @ Tennessee Titans. Oakland 34 Tennessee 30
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Indianapolis Colts. Indianapolis 28 Tampa Bay 17
Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs. Kansas City 31 Buffalo 20
Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets. Miami 27 New York Jets 21
New York Giants @ Washington Redskins. Washington 24 New York Giants 21
San Diego Chargers @ Jacksonville Jaguars. San Diego 24 Jacksonville 20
New Orleans Saints @ Houston Texans. New Orleans 35 Houston 30
Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers. Arizona 42 San Francisco 17
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Seattle Seahawks. Pittsburgh 28 Seattle 14
New England Patriots @ Denver Broncos. Denver 24 New England 20
Baltimore Ravens @ Cleveland Browns. Cleveland 21 Baltimore 20
-Jared M. (76-71)
Raiders (4-6) @ Titans (2-8): The Raiders are all over they were set to make a playoff run and then something happened and I can’t figure that out. Jack Del Rio is one of those coaches that I have always been a fan of and hope that he can figure this out. I really like Carr and Amari Cooper plus they have my favorite defensive player of all time in Khalil Mack. Now on the other side the Titans are a decent team with some huge holes. Mariota is a rookie QB and it tends to show, he has games where he is unstoppable and then he has games where he looks confused. I really want the Raiders to win this game just to keep the AFC wildcard interesting. I really think though the Titans are going to pull off the “upset” here in Tennessee. Titans win 35 – 31 over the Raiders.
Bills (5-5) @ Chiefs (5-5): The Bills are all over and I 100% blame Rex Ryan. Rex doesn’t seem to know how to completely put pieces together, I think this guy needs to stick to being a defensive coordinator. Rex can’t seem to figure out how to coach an offense at all let alone a whole team and if I was a Bills fan I would be worried about my teams’ future with Rex at the helm. Tyrod is going to be a great franchise QB if they can get a coach that can actually help this team. The Chiefs has seemed to resurge and found an offense as well as an extremely dominant defense. This team is going to make a charge and could challenge the Broncos if they can get a little bit of help. They are looking dangerous and it might be just in time to make some noise and at least get a wildcard spot in a fairly weak AFC and could be a serious playoff threat if they can stay healthy and keep improving on this defensive force. I am a Bills fan through and through but Chiefs win 17 – 13 over the Bills at Arrowhead.
Buccaneers (5-5) @ Colts (5-5): I am so impressed by Jameis Winston and last week he made my jaw drop to the floor. I mean I love this kid and have since college and I hope he proves all the nay sayers wrong. The Bucs are dying for ASJ to return from injury because that guy alone could make this team instantly so much better than they are. Mike Evans is stellar and a future HOF caliber talent and this team seems to be getting the ground game going again which would be huge for them. The Colts are a joke I know they are “tied” for their division but I seriously do not think they belong here. Luck is an injured overrated QB who doesn’t belong in the top 10 QB discussions. The Colts have one of the worst defensive units in the NFL and no running game. They are a joke, I honestly can’t stand the hype they get and think the media needs a reality check. Buccaneers win 26 – 23 over the Colts.
Giants (5-5) @ Redskins (4-6): The Giants are team that have so many question marks but they still are leading their terrible division. Eli has good games and bad games but I don’t think he gets the respect he deserves because he still can perform when his O-line decides to protect him of course. I really think if they got Victor Cruz back this team would have been a potent offense and would be one of the better ones in the NFL but after missing almost the whole season he finally decided to get surgery and now will officially be out for the whole season. The Redskins are a team bouncing back and forth between good games and bad. I really don’t know what to expect from this team ever and honestly I am not convinced on Kirk Cousins and don’t think I will ever be. I am not sold on Gruden either as a head coach I just think this team has issues that they will need to solve in time but their defense is on the rise. Giants win 31 – 20 over the Redskins.
Saints (4-6) @ Texans (5-5): Oh the Saints another NFL back and forth team. A team with no defense and an offense that can’t seem to consistently move the ball on offense is just a bad combination. There is no excuse though they have the talent with Sean Payton as a coach, Drew Brees at QB, Spiller and Ingram at RB, Cooks and Colston as top WR’s, this team just has no excuses. The Saints need to put things together though because they are just so potent when things are clicking. I think if they don’t put a .500 season or better together they could see the end of Sean Payton soon possibly this season. Now the Texans have saved their terrible start and are starting to look like things are working finally. I think TJ Yates will lead them to a good season if they give him a chance because this kid deserves it more than Brian Hoyer. The defense is stepping up more and more and JJ Watt is still the only guarantee in this entire organization. I really hope DeAndre Hopkins gets the recognition that he deserves because I see him developing to becoming one of the most talented WR’s in the NFL and he is scary good. I really like the Texans here under hardass Bill O’ Brian. Texans win 24 – 21 over the Saints.
Vikings (7-3) @ Falcons (6-4): Oh man did Minnesota get a gift from the Bears on Thursday night, don’t expect Teddy and co. not to take advantage. This Minnesota team is going to try and forget the game they didn’t show up to against the Packers and move on. Teddy needs to start shaking off this sophomore slump during the first three quarters so he doesn’t have to be “Teddy too cool” during comeback attempts. The Vikings still have a solid ground game and their defense is hit or miss as of late. I think if they could get a little bit of help at WR this team could become dangerous fast. On the other side of the field will be the struggling Atlanta Falcons. I don’t know if they shared the same water as the Packers but they are collapsing fast. This team was one of the hottest teams in the NFL and all of a sudden just seemed to have hit a brick wall traveling at 120 MPH. Matty Ice doesn’t look so smooth lately, Roddy White’s age is starting to show, Julio Jones is a single man army honestly with Devonta Freeman out. This team has a spark behind Freeman that it now doesn’t have. The defense is still decent but they did allow a 21 point comeback last week against a 40 year old QB. I have my worries with Atlanta just like I do with the Packers. I am going to have to go with the team that has shown more consistency this week. Vikings win 28 – 20 over the Falcons.
Rams (4-6) @ Bengals (8-2): I wish I knew what happened to these Rams. I love Jeff Fisher and Todd Gurley if they could get a winning season together could make a strong case for MVP not just ROY. I mean this guy single handily carries this team on his shoulders and is only a rookie in the NFL. The QB situation is ugly down there though, trading for Foles was a mistake because Nick Foles as a starting QB was a mistake to begin with. Letting Austin Davis walk wasn’t a smart move because that kid had potential as a QB. I hope maybe soon we can see Sean Manion get a shot at the job if the other two keep screwing around. Fisher needs to do something because they just lost to a Forsett, Steve Smith Sr., Suggs-less Ravens team that has now lost Joe Flacco. The Rams have to do something fast or they will sink like the Titanic. The Bengals on the other hand picked up a loss in a tough really well fought out battle against their former first round pick QB, Carson Palmer. The Bengals need to worry because Dalton is starting to look like little Dalton again not the matured beast he looked like earlier this season. The defense will rebound this week and play solid again, going into Arizona wasn’t going to be easy. The ground game here in Cincy is a lot like it is in Denver Jeremy Hill was viewed by a lot to be like CJ Anderson the answer for a team needing a pure number one but Cincinnati is not getting what they hoped for out of him. I really think there are worries with this Bengals team I didn’t see before and they could be in trouble come playoff time if they don’t address those issues. That being said they are the superior team here and win this one with ease. Bengals win 37 – 23 over the Rams.
Chargers (2-8) @ Jaguars (4-6): Man oh man, the Chargers one of my two scenarios for the Super Bowl, WOW I got that one wrong. This team just like the Ravens can’t seem to stay healthy to save their life. They also have no O-line, no consistent ground game, and Rivers can’t find a way to finish in the red zone. This team has no defense really either to speak of and if you’re a Chargers fan I am sorry but they need a new coach and just need to try for the first pick. The Chargers are like most NFL teams moving away from a single RB and giving multiple backs multiple looks, I get that it’s the new thing but honestly it shouldn’t be so maybe they should give Melvin more touches now at the end of the season since they are out of any hope. If he can get some work in maybe he can develop into who they drafted him to be and shouldn’t give up hope after one season either because a rookie should get more time to develop then the fans and the media seem to be willing to give them. No Keenan Allen is making it harder too for this offense to function he was a go to guy any NFL team would be happy to have. Now the Jaguars are looking pretty average. They have their moments where you look at them and go woah this team has talent starting to show, then there are times where your like oh good ol’ Jacksonville. The Jags are starting to see good things out of Bortles which will get better with the development of an O-line and more of a ground game. The defense still has its weaknesses but they will improve over time as they need to mature and develop together. This game could be a close one but I think the Jaguars who still have hope at a division spot will pull this one out. Jaguars win 23 – 17 over the Chargers.
Dolphins (4-6) @ Jets (5-5): This Dolphins team has the talent to be a plus .500 team I just don’t know why it isn’t showing. Tannehill has been kind of spotty this season and the ground game as expected doesn’t exist. The defense was a solid looking unit that has underwhelmed all of us sadly. This team just needs to put 2 and 2 together and just try to battle against a division rival this week and really play spoiler to the Jets hopes of a wildcard spot. The Jets were a good team moving up in the AFC and then just, I really don’t know it seems they forgot how to do what they were doing. The Jets are trying to find their way again and as I said last week a young WR like Hopkins made Revis look like a 5 year old trying to cover a top level athlete. I think the Jets need to improve their QB and RB situation this coming offseason and if they can manage to do that, they could become a top AFC talent team. Jets win 23 – 20 over the Dolphins.
Cardinals (8-2) @ 49ers (3-7): Can’t lie I thought upset at first, but spoiler alert not this week. The Cardinals offense is so darn lethal it’s ridiculous. Look at last week for example they didn’t lean on Fitz or Brown or Floyd for the difference, they found it in JJ Nelson their 4th string WR. The Cardinals defense is still a bit weaker than I thought they would be, honestly I viewed them as the number one defense in the NFL this season but they aren’t putting it together. That would be the only knock I really have on this team well that and a lack of a true dominant TE but they can live without that. The Cardinals are just one of the top 3 teams in the NFL there is no way around it. The 49ers did get beat up last week against the Seahawks in Seattle but I want to throw it out there that Gabbert did not have a bad game what so ever against the Legion of Boom in Seattle. He put up a 98.2 QB rating last week and should be proud of that especially on the road and with all his haters doubting him. Kaepernick is gone for the rest of the season so the shot is Gabbert’s to have. This team has absolutely no defense, no O-line, and the ground game is a joke, Gabbert will be trying to take one of the worst overall teams in the NFL and beat one of the best in the NFL. I don’t think that will be happening this week. Cardinals win 34 – 17 over the 49ers.
Steelers (6-4) @ Seahawks (5-5): The Steelers are still very well alive and will be looking to keep themselves that way without Le’Veon Bell. Big Ben is going to be what the Steelers will lean on the rest of the way and they better hope his beat up body can hold the pressure. This defense is a bit questionable at times but they have some solid pieces to build around and are strong enough to keep them alive in almost all games. The run game with DeAngelo Williams is still actually good enough to be effective because he seems to have found enough of a resurgence at this point in his career to help carry a load for Ben and the offense. The Seahawks on the other hand are a team just trying to salvage a playoff shot because if they get in they could get hot and be very dangerous. If Russell Wilson can return to the legendary form that he seemed to be finding he could absolutely turn this team around. Lynch is basically worthless to this team now and it seems to be Rawls turn now to be the star RB. Doug Baldwin and Lockett need to be who Russell focuses on to throw to more often and those two spark plugs will get this team going fast. I really think this is the hardest game to call this weekend and I am truly torn between the two. I am going to have to pick though so here is my best attempt on this one haha. Seahawks win 29 – 24 over the Steelers.
Patriots (10-0) @ Broncos (8-2): The Patriots escaped the past two weeks they didn’t win those games by any means, they just escaped. I think the Patriots turn around their offense back on this week and really show up to play here. The defense is something that has just become more and more annoying to me, by that I mean that they don’t have the talent levels but teams just can’t really run against them because they are always playing from behind so the Patriots can strategize to play pass defense. This team with James White finally being utilized could actually explode more on offense even without Julian Edelman. I think if they survive this test they will go 16-0 and secure a place in NFL history…… again. The Broncos won with Osweiller and will look to start their future with him honestly. He is a good QB and could be a franchise QB with a good ground game behind him and a better O-line honestly. I think the better team with the better coach and best QB win this one. Patriots win 32 – 24 over the Broncos.
Ravens (3-7) @ Browns (2-8): I really feel for Joe Flacco because a torn ACL/MCL injury is never pretty as I can tell you it can ruin your career. Thankfully Joe will have the best trainers and doctors to get him through this and at 30 almost 31 years of age he will have to be careful with this injury. The Ravens will not be without Flacco, Smith, Forsett, Suggs, Pitta, Perriman, Elam, and Taliaferro for the rest of the season. They will probably be playing this game without Marlon Brown, Osemele, and Monroe this week to top it off. They just are in so much trouble moving forward. This team will now be trusting Matt Schaub and Buck Allen to lead this team forward but with Joe Haden against Kamar Aiken they will be in terrible trouble. The Browns on the other hand are making mistakes from the coaching position. If you are going to prove a point by moving Johnny football to third even after he looked good in his last game then don’t the reigns back to McCown, give Austin Davis a shot because that kid can play. I think their ground game is kind of a joke and has no bright spots, personally I think Buck Allen is even better than the three RBs Cleveland will be suiting up. I know this is Monday night and I really don’t know if either team will shine in the spotlight and this game is hard to call because I think the Ravens have a difference maker, sadly it’s the man I call the best kicker to touch the NFL field, Justin Tucker. I am actually going with the Ravens here. Ravens win 19 – 13 over the Browns. (Tucker with 4 FG’s).
Vikings @ Falcons - Vikings win, 27-26.
Rams @ Bengals - Bengals win 27-23.
Raiders @ Titans - Raiders win, 17-10.
Bucs @ Colts - Colts win, 19-16.
Bills @ Chiefs - Chiefs win, 28-17.
Dolphins @ Jets - Jets win, 23-17.
Giants @ Redskins - Redskins win, 35-33.
Chargers @ Jaguars - Jaguars win, 23-21.
Saints @ Texans - Texans win, 24-17.
Cardinals @ 49ers - Cardinals win, 45-9.
Steelers @ Seahawks - Seahawks win, 17-13.
Patriots @ Broncos - Patriots win, 30-24.
Ravens @ Browns - Browns win, 24-20.
Sports give us as the human race something to cheer for and support and give hope to all of us.