Week 11 had two big match-ups between undefeated Kansas City at Denver Broncos, with Denver winning to go atop the AFC West standings and had the Chiefs their first defeat of the season. Denver are now in the driving seat but have two big games in consecutive weeks on the road at New England and then back at Kansas City.
The other game saw two playoff contenders the New England Patriots travel to the Carolina Panthers, the Panthers continued their winning streak to six as they benefited from a flag being picked up in the end zone which denied the Patriots a chance from the one yard line to win the game. Although, Tom Brady would be under centre or in the shotgun, the Panthers did enough to win the game due to their formidable defence and Steve Smith getting the upper hand of the returning Aqib Talib in terms of pushing and shoving.
In other games, the Detroit Lions lost out on the road to Pittsburgh despite Calvin Johnson having two touchdowns in the first half yet did not have a reception in the second half. They lost by 10 in a game they should have bossed, but perhaps two road games were too much for this optimistic side.
The bottom is falling out of the San Francisco 49ers, they suffered their second loss in two games on the road to New Orleans Saints. Again the Saints benefited from a questionable call, but Ahmad Brooks practically clotheslined Drew Brees in the pocket. Garrett Hartley kicked the winning field goal. The Niners lost in New Orleans for the second time in 10 months following their Super Bowl defeat in February. The 49ers are now 6-4, 3.5 games behind the Seahawks with the Arizona Cardinals with the same record. Could San Fran miss out on the playoffs?
Bye weeks this week for Cincinnati, Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Seattle
Week 12 preview
Saints (8-2) at Falcons (2-8)
What a terrible year for the Falcons, so much expectation lost to lack of form and injuries all over the field. The Saints dodged a potential bullet versus the 49ers, and they should have their wicked way with the Falcons poor defence. Something forgotten is how bad Matt Ryan has thrown this year, admittedly he has few weapons, but the ball has not got to them.
Prediction: Saints by 8
Steelers (4-6) at Browns (4-6)
I fancied the Browns to upset the Bengals, and the Steelers upset the Lions in surprising fashion led by Big Ben throwing 400+ yards. Anticipate Pittsburgh to throw but Joe Haden caught more passes than AJ Green (1 catch, 7 yards) last week, and he will be on Antonio Brown who had a huge day on Sunday. A tight contest but defence should will out.
Prediction: Browns by 3
Buccaneers (2-8) at Lions (6-4)
The Lions need to get back into the groove and probably will at home against the winning Bucs who have a gem in Bobby Rainey at running back. The Bucs can throw though and Revis Island v Megatron should be an amazing sight.
Prediction: Lions by 4
Vikings (2-8) at Packers (5-5)
This could be an ugly game, reserve quarterbacks duel it out on the frozen tundra of Lambeau. Eddie Lacy faced a formidable d-line last week, he may have more joy this week. Scott Tolzien looked decent throwing for 300+ yards but 3 interceptions take the gloss of a game they could have won.
Prediction: Packers by 3
Chargers (4-6) at Chiefs (9-1)
The Chiefs begin a huge two game home stand with two divisional rivals. The Chargers just cannot gain consistency in their play week to week - the loss of Alexander and Floyd have hurt and put too much pressure on Ryan Mathew and Danny Woodhead, whilst Philip Rivers continues to frustrate.
Prediction: Chiefs by 6
Bears (6-4) at Rams (4-6)
Is it a blessing or curse to have a bye week after the best performance of your season as happened to the Rams who blasted the Colts in such high fashion. They return to home field against the travelling Bears who have injuries to still contend with and the five hour game in the mud patch last weekend v Baltimore. The Rams might be fresher and the early start will work against Chicago, although Josh McCown has done pretty well replacing Jay Cutler
Prediction: Rams by 4
Panthers (7-3) at Dolphins (5-5)
For all the controversy, there was still the continued growth of Cam Newton at quarterback and of Carolina as a team. They forced a fumble and intercepted Brady, whilst Cam was clean throwing for three touchdowns, a surprise considering the running weapons at their disposal including Cam. The Dolphins kept their season alive and have a shot at the six seed. Only one team out of five or six can get the sixth seed due to the presence of Kansas or Denver at fifth seed. None of those play off chasing sides have a winning record, they all suck. The Dolphins will not be able to defend Tannehill enough.
Prediction: Panthers by 12
Jets (5-5) at Ravens (4-6)
The Ravens can count themselves unfortunate losing in Chicago due to the elements considering they got a season high day out of Ray Rice finally, but Joe Flacco still threw a pick six. The Jets had a God awful day in Buffalo getting blown out with Geno Smith being benched in the fourth quarter following three interceptions. If Baltimore win they are in the playoff hunt again.
Prediction: Ravens by 3
Jaguars (1-9) at Texans (2-8)
Yikes! How can you pick this one seriously and with actual confidence in your selection. Matt Schaub was brought in after Case Keenum caved into the Raiders defence. Bad move, give Keenum the ball and let him lead and learn. Fancy the Texans, but will probably be proven wrong.
Prediction: Texans by 3
Titans (4-6) at Raiders (4-6)
I really really want Tennessee to win this game.
Prediction: Titans by 3
Colts (7-3) at Cardinals (6-4)
If the Arizona Cardinals want to be taken seriously as an NFC wildcard team, this is a game they have to win. Carson Palmer is doing decent along with Andre Ellington behind with L-Fitz and Malcolm Floyd going deep; along with their unheralded defence led by rookie of the year contender Tyrann Mathieu. The Colts will rely again on Andrew Luck, but can that O-line keep him upright.
Prediction: Cardinals by 6
Cowboys (5-5) at Giants (4-6)
The Giants are streaking and will fancy getting to Tony Romo even with Eli Manning still throwing pick sixes, but at least they are in victories recently. The Giants D has awoken from a September slumber and scoring points. Dallas need to get back on the horse and prove they can win this division, that no-one wants to win.
Prediction: Giants by 4
Broncos (9-1) at Patriots (7-3)
The Broncos are scoring for fun, as is Peyton Manning who is on course for 54 touchdowns in the regular season. The record is 50 held by Tom Brady in the 16-0 season. Manning has an awful record at Foxboro, one of the few venues he does not have a winning record in. Belichick will welcome the challenge and do not forget the storyline of Josh McDaniels want to stick it to his former employer. Brady has a near full quota of offensive weapons in his armoury, but this could be as big a shoot out as Denver had with Dallas earlier in the season, but perhaps the Broncos will come unstuck.
Prediction: Patriots by 4
49ers (6-4) at Redskins (3-7)
Interesting to hear Santana Moss' comments in regards to RG3 saying the quarterback should take some blame in regards to the team's performances this season. RG3 is not a pocket passer, the two touchdowns he threw came on the run or out of the pocket. If that is the case why not run more, yet he will not put his knee in jeopardy. Expect pressure from the Niners to make RG3 move and not much joy for Alfred Morris. The Niners need the win more, and will do so accordingly.
Prediction: 49ers by 7
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