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NFL Week 12 Tidbits and Predictions

1 of 17

NFL Week 12 Tidbits and Predictions

NFL Week 12 Tidbits and Predictions
Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE

Happy Thanksgiving to my United States friends and readers! I come to you from Toronto so I have already had the pleasure of Thanksgiving family and grub, but now it is your turn. By now I am sure (or I hope anyway) that you know that Rant Sports writers put together weekly NFL tidbits and picks articles. Here is mine...

We know that the NFL has expanded its traditional Thanksgiving schedule from 2 games to 3 games. One thing that has not changed is that the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys will once again host on Thanksgiving.

Week 12 in the NFL has 8 inter-division tilts, and several games with playoff implications.

We have two teams looking to snap 6-game losing streaks (yikes) and two teams looking to snap 7-game losing streaks (yikes II). Five teams enter week 12 en fuego with at least 4-straight wins.

We are at the point of the 2012 schedule where the bye weeks are done so we have a full slate of 16 games. If you are like me then you follow the entire NFL, but in case you would prefer to just skip to your favorite teams game her is the order of this slideshow article...

Page 1 - you are here!...Page 2 - Hou at Det...Page 3 - Wash at Dallas...Page 4 - NE at NYJ...Page 5 - Minny at ChiTown...Page 6 - Oak at Cincy...Page 7 - Pitt at Cleve...Page 8 - Buff at INDY...Page 9 - Den at KC...Page 10 - Sea at Mia...Page 11 - ATL at TB...Page 12 - Tenn at Jax...Page 13 - Balt at SD...Page 14 - SF at NWO...Page 15 - STL at Ari...Page 16 - GB at NYG...Page 17 - Car at Philly

Enjoy the games, and above all enjoy your turkey day with your family and friends!

@craigballard77

CLICK HERE for all of my articles for Rant Sports on the Miami Dolphins, and NFL

2 of 17

Texans at Lions

Texans at Lions
Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

(9-1) Houston Texans at Detroit Lions (4-6)

The Texans are 4-0 on the road, while the Lions are 2-2 at home.

The Lions have their traditional Thanksgiving home game. They are 33-37-2 all-time on turkey day. They enter this game losers of 2-straight games which took a once hopeful 4-4 down to 4-6 and last place in the NFC North. Detroit is all the way down at #12 in the NFC. They have a massive hill to climb, and a loss to drop to 4-7 would surely end their season.

The Texans come into this game having survived a test from the Jaguars last week. They sit at 9-1 which is good for top seed in the AFC. They have a 3-game lead in the AFC South so they do not necessarily have a sense of urgency to get this game, but I would imagine they understand the opportunity to put their best foot forward on turkey day. 10-1 with a Thanksgiving W would have Texans fans on their all-tie high.

This is a game of two QB-to-WR combos that have caught fire. Matt Schaub-to-Andre Johnson has been producing monster results, and Matt Stafford-to-Calvin Johnson has been even better. Texans CB Jonathan Joseph is a game-time decision. Wade Phillips and the Texans D will surely need a productive day from Joseph so we will watch that situation develop very closely.

Ben Tate is likely to return from injury in this game. That should only add to what already promises to be an offensive game. The Lions average 23 points per game (15th in NFL) while the Texans are at 29 points per game (#3 in NFL).

I am concerned about Joseph's status, but the return of Tate plus the already solid play of the Texans O make me like Houston in this game. Add the fact that huge factors in NFL games are 3rd down conversions and turnovers - well major advantages for the Texans in both areas. Texans #1 3rd-down D in the NFL, and +8 for turnover ratio (Lions #14 for 3rd-down D and currently at -7 turnover ratio).

Texans go to 10-1.

@craigballard77

CLICK HERE for all of my articles on the Miami Dolphins & NFL

3 of 17

Redskins at Cowboys

Redskins at Cowboys
Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

(4-6) Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys (5-5)

The Redskins are 2-3 on the road, while the Cowboys are 2-2 at home.

Dallas has won 6 of the last 7 games in this series. They have won 3-straight, but by a total of just 8 combined points.

Tony Romo is 7-6 vs Washington with 16 TDs and 8 INTs. For RG III this will be his first game in his home state.

These 2 teams are the #10 and #11 seeds in the NFC, but the Cowboys have gained ground lately on the division leading Giants. They are currently just 1 game back of the defending champs.

The key to this game is going to be discipline. These are the 2 most penalized teams in football. Whichever team limits their penalties should have a big advantage in this game.

In 2012 the 'Skins have allowed a whopping 700 more yards than the 'Boys. Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker are already done for the season, but they may also be without iron-man London Fletcher and Brandon Meriweather in this Thanksgiving tilt.

The Cowboys run game is likely to continue to struggle as Felix Jones is banged up and DeMarco Murray is likely to miss this game. Offensive lineman Tyron Smith is likely OUT for this game too.

That leaves more emphasis on Romo-to-Dez Bryant. This combo has caught fire and is Dallas' best chance in this game.

The Cowboys are likely going to be called on to score points through the air as we can expect the Redskins run game to eat clock and produce. Washington gets 5.2 yards per carry (#2 in NFL) and they have scored 12 TDs on the ground (also #2 in NFL).

Dallas scores just 7 points per game in the first half so again we see that it is likely that the Redskins can get a lead in this game to the point where the Cowboys will be throwing a lot.

The Cowboys are getting just 20 points per game at home. I think the Redskins running game + a very motivated RG III = Redskins win.

@craigballard77

CLICK HERE for all of my free/daily articles on the Miami Dolphins (& NFL)

4 of 17

Patriots at Jets

Patriots at Jets
David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE

(7-3) New England Patriots at New York Jets (4-6)

The Patriots are 3-2 on the road, while the Jets are 2-3 at home.

New England has won 4 of the past 5 meetings in this series.

The Pats will be without Rob Gronkowski, and may also be without Aaron Hernandez. Luckily for them they still have Tom Brady and he cares not who fills out his offensive roster.

Tom Terrific is 16-5 vs the J-E-T-S JetsJetsJets with 28 TDs and just 10 INTs. Mark Sanchez is 2-5 vs Bill Belichick with 9 TDs and 10 INTs. This season Brady has the video game settings on "rookie" as he is dominating the NFL big-time. How about 21 TDs vs just 3 INTs...wow.

The passing game is not the only area where the Patriots have a chance to dominate in this game. The Pats run game is surprisingly outstanding, and their run-D is also surprisingly outstanding. The Pats get 4.3 yards per carry (#5 in NFL) and they yield just 3.9 yards per carry (#7 in NFL).

The Pats have scored 16 TDs on the ground (tops in NFL).

The Jets rush-D yields 4.4 yards per carry (26th in NFL) and the offense gets just 3.7 yards per carry (#15 in NFL).

The Pats are #30 vs the pass, but do the Jets have a legit passing game these days? Sanchez did burn them for 328 one month ago, but he does not even have that many yards in his last 2 games combined.

The Pats are the highest scoring team in the NFL for the 1st quarter. In this game I think NE will get out to a lead and then do their thing from there.

Pats in a blowout.

@craigballard77

CLICK HERE for all of my Miami Dolphins & NFL articles

5 of 17

Vikings at Bears

Vikings at Bears
John Sullivan-US PRESSWIRE

(6-4) Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears (7-3)

The Vikings are 1-3 on the road, while the Bears are 4-1 at home.

The Bears have won 4-straight games vs the Vikings. These two teams meet twice over the next 3 weeks.

The big thing here is will Jay Cutler play. He feels better, which is huge news for this team as Cutler has a 5-1 record vs the Vikes (his best record vs any team). He has 15 TDs and 6 INTs vs Minny. Jason Campbell has never played vs Minny.

Christian Ponder is 0-2 vs the Bears with 0 TDs and 1 INT. Adrian Peterson has had a lot of success vs the Bears. He averages 103 yards per game vs them. He also has a dozen TDs vs the Bears which is his most vs any team.

The Bears RB Matt Forte has taken one to the house just once in 7 games vs the Vikings.

The Bears 3 losses have come to the 49ers, Packers, and Texans (3 division leaders). Their wins have come against teams with a combined record of 25-44-1.

The key in this game will be can the Vikes keep the Bears D from turning the over. Whether Cutler plays or not the turnovers will decide this game.

I will take the Vikings to win this game. I will take the chance that they do not hurt themselves with turnovers and All Day Adrian Peterson is hot (4-straight 120+ rushing yard games). Minny gets an upset here and the NFC North has at least 2 teams at 7-4 (Will GB be 8-3 or 7-4 also? This division is about to get extremely tight...except of course the Lions).

@craigballard77

All of my free/daily Miami Dolphins & NFL articles are RIGHT HERE

6 of 17

Raiders at Bengals

Raiders at Bengals
Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE

(3-7) Oakland Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals (5-5)

The Raiders are 1-4 on the road, while the Bengals are 2-3 at home.

Carson Palmer has played 117 NFL games (116 of those were as a starter) but he has never played against the Bengals. Palmer went 46-51 in Cincy. Currently only Drew Brees and Matt Ryan average more passing yards per game than Palmer. Wow. Palmer is at 304 yards per game currently.

Only Matt Stafford has throw more passes than Palmer. The offense hopes to get Darren McFadden back for this game. If not then we will see Marcel Reece again for the Raiders. Reece has at least 95 yards from scrimmage the last 3 games, and vs the Saints last weekend he went off for 193 running/receiving yards.

Palmer-to-Denarius Moore was terrible last week, but that combo did have 4TDs in the 5 games prior. The Raiders are really struggling top find ways to score once in the red-zone. They need Palmer-to-Moore to hit for long TD plays.

Cincy QB Andy Dalton is on fire. His Bengals have won 2-straight to get right in the playoff mix. They are currently the #7 seed, and are just 1 game back of the Colts and Steelers to get into the playoffs for a 2nd straight season.

One thing we have seen with Dalton is his production slips when he has already thrown a lot in that particular game. The cure for that is a contributing run game, but Cincy's run game is decent-at-best. BenJarvus Green-Ellis is gaining just 3.5 yards per carry, and has a pair of 21-yard runs on the season as his most explosive plays. Not exactly a HR threat.

We see why the Bengals rely so much on Dalton-to-A.J. Green. Not much of a run game, plus Green is awesome. Green has 64 catches which is more than any other Bengal has even been thrown to in 2012. He is dominant, and should have another big game in this one. This guy has a TD catch in 9-straight games. Wow.

Bengals win this game.

@craigballard77

Rant Sports has your NFL coverage RIGHT HERE

7 of 17

Steelers at Browns

Steelers at Browns
Vincent Pugliese-US PRESSWIRE

(6-4) Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns (2-8)

The Steelers are 2-3 on the road, while the Browns are 2-3 at home.

Pitt has won 4-straight in this series, and are on an amazing 21-2 run vs Cleveland.

Ben Roethlisberger is OUT. Byron Leftwich is OUT. Charlie Batch is IN. The 37 year old Batch is 5-2 in his career when subbing for Big Ben.

Plaxico Burress is back with the Steelers. Plax has 3 TDs in 11 career games vs the Browns.

Trent Richardson is getting 107 rush yards per game over the past 3 games, but this is a Pitt rush-D that has been great vs good RBs more often than not. Recently they have held Ray Rice to 40 yards on 20 carries, Alfred Morris and RG III to 68 yards on 19 carries, and Ahmad Bradshaw to 48 yards on 18 carries. Cleveland will need significantly better numbers than that from T-Rich on Sunday.

Clearly 2-8 is bad, but the Browns have been pretty good at home. That refers to their team in general, but not to Brandon Weeden. At home Weeden has just 3 TDs and a whopping 9 INTs.

WR Josh Gordon had 4 October TDs, but has yet to take one to the house in November. For the Browns to pull this upset they will surely need big plays from Weeden-to-Gordon.

Rashard Mendenhall is back for the Steelers, and their run game is getting 106 yards per game (17th in NFL). Cleveland is only getting 92 yards per game (27th) but Richardson is getting hotter and hotter. I think the Browns will get the job done on the ground, and hit a big play to Gordon for a TD.

Browns pull the upset.

@craigballard77

8 of 17

Bills at Colts

Bills at Colts
David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE

(4-6) Buffalo Bills at Indianapolis Colts (6-4)

The Bills are 2-4 on the road, while the Colts are 4-1 at home.

Mark Anderson likely remains OUT for the Bills, but Chris Kelsay and Fred Jackson are likely IN.

The best thing about the 2012 Bills is the emergence of C.J. Spiller. 24 RBs have more carries than Spiller, but his 6.6 yards per carry is tied with RG III for the best in the NFL. Spiller has 5-straight games of rushing + receiving for 99+ yards. One odd thing is Spiller had 3 TDs in the first 2 weeks, but just 1 TD since then. That is a span of over 2 months with just 1 TD. That is surprising considering he is really good.

It seems that Bills fans believe they are back in the playoff hunt. They are not. The Bills are the #11 seed in the AFC, and after this game that is likely to drop even lower. I guess that is a spoiler alert as to who I like in this game!

Andrew Luck has been awesome at home. He has led the Colts to a 4-1 record at home, and he has 8 TDs and just 2 INTs at home. Ryan Fitzpatrick will require a near perfect game in this one A) to keep up with Luck and the Indy O...and B) in Buffalo's 4 wins he has not thrown an INT.

I would think the Bills best chance in this game is a monster game from Spiller, and a big game from Jairus Byrd. On the season Byrd has 4 INTs, all of which came in Buffalo victories.

Mario Williams is another wild card in this game as he has played better lately.

I love what the Colts have done with Reggie Wayne. He lines up in multiple different spots, and he has a BFF relationship brewing with Luck. These 2 have been very good together. All 3 of Wayne's 2012 TDs have come at home.

Indy has a measly 4 INTs in 2012 (tied with Dallas for worst in NFL). An INT in this game should help them seal the deal. I like the Colts to win this game (Luck simply too much at home for the Bills in this one).

@craigballard77

CLICK HERE for all of my Miami Dolphins and NFL articles.

9 of 17

Broncos at Chiefs

Broncos at Chiefs
Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

(7-3) Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs (1-9)

The Broncos are 3-2 on the road, while the Chiefs are 0-5 at home.

Peyton Manning is 5-1 in his career vs KC with 9 TDs and 5 INTs. Matt Cassel is 3-3 with 9 TDs and just 3 INTs vs Denver.

The Chiefs have tossed 15 INTs which is the most in the NFL.

Willis McGahee is OUT so we will see the likes of Knowshon Moreno, Ronnie Hillman, and Lance Ball share the workload. That could be underwhelming/problematic, but not when Peyton is playing so darn well.

The Broncos have scored in the 30's for 5-straight games (team record). This game has a chance for #6 as Manning has been even better on the road than at home. Peyton leads a pass-O that is currently ranked #5 in the NFL, while the Chiefs pass-D yields 8.3 yards per pass (2nd worst in League).

Denver averages 30 points per game, KC a measly 15.

Denver is the top scoring team for the 2nd half of the game in the NFL, while KC allows the 2nd most points in the first half. This should be a game that has scoring opportunities for Denver all game long.

KC is the worst team in the NFL when it comes to production once in the red-zone. They simply cannot score on pace with the Broncos.

Denver has 35 sacks which is numero uno in the NFL.

Every possible sign/stat in this game points to a Broncos beat-down.

@craigballard77

10 of 17

Seahawks at Dolphins

Seahawks at Dolphins
Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

(6-4) Seattle Seahawks at Miami Dolphins (4-6)

The Seahawks are 1-4 on the road, while the Dolphins are 2-2 at home

This is a game that features a battle of 2 rookie QBs, and a battle of 2 teams going in opposite directions.

Russell Wilson has been terrible on the road. He has 4 TDs and 8 INTs on the road, and has a QB rating of just 65.8 on the road. This Miami secondary has struggled mightily so Wilson should be able to have a rare good road game in this one. His Seahawks have won 2-straight overall and are currently the #6 seed in the NFC.

Ryan Tannehill has been bad at home and away. This game is ion Miami where Tanny has just 3 TDs and 4 INTs. The last time Tannehill played in front of the home crowd he threw 0 TDs and 3 INTs in a 37-3 beat-down at the hands of the Titans.

The run games are going in different directions. Since week 3 Miami is getting just 69 yards per game on the ground (only the Jags have been worse) and just 2.8 yards per carry (worst in NFL). Their rush D is yielding more and more yards and has been on a decline too.

Marshawn Lynch is the type of RB that this d-line usually devours, but they have been unrecognizable lately. The D-tackles Randy Starks and Paul Soliai have each had several games lately where they have graded negatively. They will have their hands full in this one as Seattle C Max Unger is an excellent run-blocker.

For Miami to win this game they will need a good day from DE Jared Odrick. He takes on Breno Giacomini who has struggled this season. On the other side Cam Wake will take on Russell Okung. In 2012 Okung has yet to allow a sack, but he is getting penalized a lot and Wake seems to be held a ton (usually without getting the call).

All aspects of the Dolphins game are regressing (Marcus Thigpen on special teams being the only exception) and the Seahawks need this game to remain in a playoff spot. Seahwaks win.

www.rantsports.com/nfl/author/craigballard/ for all of my Miami Dolphins articles

11 of 17

Falcons at Buccaneers

Falcons at Buccaneers
Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

(9-1) Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-4)

The Falcons are 4-1 on the road, while the Buccs are 3-2 at home.

Matt Ryan is 6-2 vs the Buccs, but his production has been poor. 8 TDs and 9 INTs. Josh Freeman is 1-5 vs the Falcons with 8 TDs and 10 INTs.

Ryan has been bad at home (6 TDs vs 9 INTs) but outstanding on the road (14 TDs and just 3 INTs). Freeman has been great at home with 10 TDs and just 2 INTs.

ATL has won 6 of the last 7 games in this series, but this may be the best TB tea they have faced in a while (certainly the hottest).

Tampa Bay has yielded just 14 sacks in 2012 so Ryan and the passing game should have a chance to produce big-time in this game. TB actually yields the most passing yards in the NFL.

Expect strong QB play on both sides, but the running game is very one-sided. The Falcons get just 3.7 yards per carry, while the Buccs get a whopping 4.7 yards per carry.

The run-D's are very one-sided too. ATL yields a whopping 5.0 yards per carry, while the Buccs are the best run-D in football yielding just 3.4 yards per carry.

Doug Martin is getting 4.5 yards per carry at home, but has just 1 rushing TD in Tampa Bay. For the Buccs to win he will surely require a TD in this game. Against this D I think he produces and the Buccs win.

@craigballard77

Rant Sports has you covered for all of your NFL info.

12 of 17

Titans at Jaguars

Titans at Jaguars
Don McPeak-US PRESSWIRE

(4-6) Tennessee Titans a Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9)

The Titans are 2-3 on the road, while the Jaguars are 0-5 at home.

Blaine Gabbert is OUT (for the season) and Chad Henne is IN. Gabbert was awful and a big contributor to the Jags current 7-game losing streak.

What we have seen when Henne plays is that he targets rookie WR Justin Blackmon a ton. Twice as much as any other player. I would imagine that will be the case again this week. Neither of these teams generate much of a pass-rush so we could see a 2nd-straight big game for Henne-to-Blackmon.

As a Dolphin Henne had 31 TDs and 37 INTs, but in his early days in Jacksonville he has 5 TDs and just 1 INT.

This will be Jake Locker's first tilt vs the Jaguars. He has been solid, but Tennessee butters their bread with their ground game. Chris Johnson is on fire. He has gone for 90+ rush yards in 6 of their last 7 games, and in his career CJ2K averages 89 rush yards per game vs the Jags. Johnson has 4 TDs in 2012, all of which came in the past 4 games. Again, he is on fire.

Johnson is getting 5.7 yards per carry on the road with 3 TDs. He is also getting 5.6 yards per carry in the 2nd half of games.

The Titans will ride Johnson to a victory in this game. 87 people will be in attendance to see it.

@craigballard77

13 of 17

Ravens at Chargers

Ravens at Chargers
Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

(8-2) Baltimore Ravens at San Diego Chargers (4-6)

The Ravens are 3-2 on the road, while the Chargers are 2-2 at home.

The Chargers are in (another) free-fall. They have lost 5 of their last 6 games, and have yielded 30+ points in 4 of those losses.

Philip Rivers has 14 INTs which is the worst in the NFL. He has been sacked 26 times which is 5th worst in NFL. Rivers has had virtually no support from the run game. SD is averaging just 100 rush yards per game (22nd in NFL) and have just 4 rushing TDs.

At home Rivers has 7 TDs and 8 INTs. Ryan Matthews has zero TDs at home (yikes). Malcolm Floyd has just 1 TD at home.

This team has regressed all season in what is surely the final season of the Norv Turner era.

The Ravens come in as the #2 seed in the AFC, just 1 game back of the top seed. They are surely on pace to be off week 1 of the playoffs plus host at least 1 playoff game.

Joe Flacoo has just 3 TDs on the road (4 INTs), and Ray Rice has just 1 TD on the road. Even though the Chargers are struggling we know the Ravens will need better road performances from both of these guys.

The Ravens are a very impressive +12 for turnover ratio, while the Chargers are -3.

SD cannot seem to earn a victory these days, and the Ravens keep doing enough to earn victories. Baltimore wins this game.

@craigballard77

14 of 17

49ers at Saints

49ers at Saints
Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

(7-2-1) San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints (5-5)

The 49ers are 3-1 on the road, while the Saints are 3-2 at home.

Question in this game is will it be Drew Brees vs Alex Smith, or Drew Brees vs Colin Kaepernick? Brees unlikely cares either way as he is 5-0 in his career vs the 49ers, but defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo surely cares.

Smith is 0-3 in his career vs the Saints with 3 TDs and 5 INTs. Frank Gore has played the Saints 4 times, and the Niners lost all 4 of those games. Gore averages 69 yards per game vs New Orleans, and has just 1 career rushing TD vs them.

It is no secret that NWO has struggled on D. They yield 5.1 yards per carry on the ground (2nd worst in NFL). The opposite is true of SF's D. SF yields just 3.7 yards per carry (3rd best in NFL). SF also yields just 6.0 yards per pass which is numero uno in the NFL.

SF enters this game on a great path to have a 2nd-straight season under Jim Harbaugh where they earn one of the 2 top seeds in the NFC. New Orleans enters the game as the #9 seed in the NFC, but their 3-game winning streak has them feeling good about their chance to make a run at qualifying for the playoffs.

This recent good play by the Saints coincides with the return from injury of TE Jimmy Graham and RB Chris Ivory. In this 3-game win streak Graham has made 21 catches on 25 targets, and has 4 TDs.

I would imagine that the Saints will spend more time prepping for Kaepernick than the Bears did (CK was a surprise starter in that game as Smith could not get clearance to return from a concussion). The Saints have done a lot of good work lately, and I will take them to get this home victory.

@craigballard77

15 of 17

Rams at Cardinals

Rams at Cardinals
Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

(3-6) St. Louis Rams at Arizona Cardinals (4-6)

The Rams are 0-3-1 on the road, while the Cardinals are 3-2 at home

Sam Bradford is 2-3 with 4 TDs and 6 INTs vs the Cardinals.

Arizona began the season at 4-0. The Rams beat them 17-3 to end that and begin their current 6-game losing streak. In the losing streak the Cards are getting just 12 points per game.

Arizona has allowed 44 sacks in 2012 which is (by far) the worst in the NFL.

Bradford-to-Danny Amendola is back in full effect since the WR returned from injury 2 weeks ago. Amendola has been thrown to 23 times, and he has 18 catches. He is the clear top priority for the Cards D.

If Kevin Kolb cannot play I would expect Ryan Lindley to get the call.

Games are getting away from Arizona. They have scored the fewest 2nd half points in the NFL.

St. Louis is getting a lot of penalties lately, and road teams with limited talent simply cannot afford that. The Rams also are getting burned for TDs on the ground, but the Cardinals do not have a run game worthy of mentioning.

The Rams are a surprising 2-0-1 in the NFC West, but the Cardinals will give them their 1st division loss in this game.

@craigballard77

16 of 17

Packers at Giants

Packers at Giants
The Star-Ledger-US PRESSWIRE

(7-3) Green Bay Packers at New York Giants (6-4)

The Packers are 3-2 on the road, while the Giants are 3-2 at home.

Eli Manning is 0-3 vs the Pack with 6 TDs and 6 INTs. Aaron Rodgers is on fire and he is 2-0 in his career vs NYG with 8 TDs and 1 measly INT.

The Pack are on a 5-game winning streak, and their pass game has been en fuego (Rodgers 17 TDs and just 2 INTs...wow). The Giants pass game has inexplicably disappeared. Eli has as many TD passes in the last 3 weeks as you or I have, which is to say zero. 4 INTs in that span. Will the real Eli Manning please stand up?!?

Neither team has a great running game, but the NYG have a better rushing attach than the Packers do. The Giants have a dozen rushing TDs (2nd best in NFL) while the Packers have a measly 2 rushing TDs (no team has fewer).

Currently these 2 teams are the NFC's #3 and #4 seed. The Packers have caught the Bears to lead the division, while the Giants are trying to hold on to their once big lead.

I think the difference in this game is red-zone production. The Packers are great in the RZ, while the Giants bare one of the worst teams in the RZ. I could see GB scoring TDs in the RZ, while NYG will settle for FGs.

The Packers will have to maintain their composure/discipline as the Giants are the 2nd least penalized team in the NFL. The Giants are not playing well, but they rarely take costly penalties.

Recent play has me taking the Packers in this game.

@craigballard77

17 of 17

Panthers at Eagles

Panthers at Eagles
Sam Sharpe-US PRESSWIRE

(2-8) Carolina Panthers at Philadelphia Eagles (3-7)

The Panthers are 1-3 on the road, while the Eagles are 2-3.

Mike Vick has 6 TDs and 8 INTs vs Carolina in his career, but he has managed a 7-3 record vs them. He and LeSean McCoy missed practice this week with concussion issues and both are a question-mark to play in this game.

That will mean rookie QB Nick Foles and rookie RB Bryce Brown will have to carry the load for a team trying to snap a 6-game losing streak. Brown has not started a game since he was in high school.

Things are not rosy in the Panthers locker room these days either. The GM has been fired and head coach Ron Rivera had a talk with the owner Jerry Richardson recently and he indicated it looks like his days at the helm are numbered. Carolina is just 8-18 under Rivera.

WR Steve Smith has a measly 1 TD this season, and has zero TDs at home since October 30, 2011. Wow. Would you believe the last time Smith caught a TD in a home victory for the Panthers was December 20, 2009. Nearly 3 years have passed since Smith last sent the crowd into an uproar and the team wound up winning the game too. Wow wow wow. Very surprising stuff considering how good he is.

Philly has just 10 takeaways in 2012 (only 3 teams have fewer) and they have a whopping 24 giveaways (only KC is worse).

Jonathan Stewart is averaging just 57 yards from scrimmage per game, while DeAngelo Williams is contributing just 52.

Cam Newton is being sacked an average of 3 times per game at home, but this Philly pass rush has just 16 sacks this season (only 2 teams have fewer).

It looks like neither coach will survive past this season, but I will take the Panthers to rally around Rivera and get this win.

Thank you for reading my work! Much appreciated.

@craigballard77

CLICK HERE for all of my free/daily NFL and Miami Dolphins articles