Week 12 Review, TNF Preview

Posted: 12/03/2015 by levcohen in Football

For the most part, week 12 confirmed what we already knew. With the exception of Chicago’s win over the Packers, it wasn’t a surprised-filled week. I’ll give my takeaways from the week, but first I want to eliminate the Saints and Dolphins and put the Chiefs back in the race, because, after five straight wins, it’s become clear that I jumped the gun on the Chiefs elimination and that they are a pretty good football team. So I’ve now eliminated 13 teams, which is a sign that we’re getting closer and closer to the playoffs. I don’t anticipate needing to un-eliminate another team, but if I do, it’ll likely have to be the Bears or Buccaneers, who have lingered around after poor starts to the season.

Eliminated teams: Chicago, Tampa Bay, Cleveland, Detroit, San Francisco, Tennessee, Jacksonville, Dallas, Baltimore, San Diego, St. Louis, New Orleans, Miami

  • The Broncos are legitimate Super Bowl contenders again… as long as they continue to start Brock Oswiler at quarterback. They have the best defense in football, and will be even better on the defensive side of the ball when DeMarcus Ware returns from injury. All they need, then, is an offense that can score points at a respectable rate and hold onto the ball, something they weren’t doing with Peyton Manning at quarterback. In the two games that Oswiler has started, both wins, the Broncos have played more under center and consequently are running the ball a lot better, with C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman both tearing up the Bears and Patriots. And while Oswiler isn’t great, he’s good enough to make the Broncos a legitimate threat to knock off Cincinnati and/or New England and win the AFC.
  • It’ll be a shame if the Steelers miss the playoffs. Now sitting at 6-5 and missing the postseason due to a tiebreaker, Pittsburgh has games against Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Denver coming up before relatively easy matchups against Baltimore and Cleveland. They’ll need to win one or two of the next three if they want to have any real shot of making the playoffs, and neutral fans should be rooting for them, because they have the kind of offense that can make any game a shootout. I’d bet that the third seed would much rather be seeing a team like the Jets than Pittsburgh.
  • The Cardinals have really slumped recently and just lost running back Chris Johnson, but I still think they are the second best team in the NFC by a pretty wide margin. After blowing out four teams in the first five weeks, they’ve outscored their last six opponents by a combined 26 points, albeit against much tougher competition. With a fairly tough schedule to close the season, they might end up with four or five losses, but I’ll still believe in their balanced roster come playoffs, as long as they don’t sustain anymore substantial injuries.
  • Who is going to win the NFC East? A Giants win in Washington would have brought the division much more clarity, but it wasn’t to be; New York was stuck on zero points for most of the game before scoring a couple of touchdowns in garbage time. The 5-6 Redskins now lead the division despite being 0-5 on the road, while the 3-8 Cowboys think they still have a chance at winning the division. And guess what? They might be right. That’s how bad the NFC East is.
  • After a 20-10 win in Atlanta, the Vikings look primed to overcome their tough home loss against the Packers and win the NFC North. It might still come down to their week 17 game in Lambeau, but if Minnesota can win three of four against Seattle, Arizona, Chicago, and the Giants, they might not even need to win in week 17. Regardless of whether they win the division or enter the playoffs as a wild card winner, I think the Vikings have a good chance to make some noise in the postseason.

9-7 straight up… 99-63
9-7 against the spread… 79-75-8
7-9 over/under… 78-80-6

Upset picks:
2-2… 20-22

Lock of the Week:
1-0… 9-3

Green Bay Packers (7-4, 6-5) at Detroit Lions (4-7, 4-7):
Spread: Packers favored by 3
Over/under: 47
My prediction: This really comes down to whether or not I trust the Packers. Can I trust the Packers at this point, after four losses in five games? It’s tough, because Green Bay always bounces back, and this could well be the week they bounce back again. Even after three straight wins, I don’t think the Lions are very good; they beat the Packers, the Raiders at home by five, and they obliterated the Eagles, who would lose to a high school team right now. I’m reluctantly going to place my trust in Aaron Rodgers and the Packers again here, because this is a game they should really win. Packers win 26-20.
Packers cover
Under

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