Week 12 Matchup Predictions
Texans (9-1) @ Lions (4-6): The Texans' scary overtime victory over the Jaguars will prove to be a great experience for the 9-1 ball club. The Texans settled in at home against an inferior opponent and got blindsided, finding themselves down seven points going into the fourth quarter. The Texans now know that you can't take any opponent lightly in the NFL, and head coach Gary Kubiak will have his boys ready to go bright and early on Turkey Day. The Lions are only 2-2 at home this year, and the Texans are 4-0 on the road.
Texans win 30-24.
Redskins (4-6) @ Cowboys (5-5): Robert Griffin III has been one of the most talked about players all season, but on Thursday he'll finally have a chance to show the world what he can do for the entire length of a nationally televised game. I think RG3 will step up and play extremely well in the national spotlight, but the Cowboys also have a quarterback who tends to step up on Thanksgiving. Over the past four years, Tony Romo has averaged 288.7 yards passing and 2.3 touchdowns on the holiday. The Cowboys are 3-0 in those games (Romo missed the Thanksgiving game in 2010). I think this becomes a battle between RG3 and Romo, who will both play well, and Romo simply has more weapons at his disposal.
Cowboys win 31-28.
Patriots (7-3) @ Jets (4-6): We've got a great rivalry game to wrap up our Thanksgiving football, with the Patriots headed to the Meadowlands. You never know what the Jets are going to do on the field these days, as their wins have come by an average of 15.75 points and their losses by 17.0 points. However, it's tough to pick anyone over the Patriots right now, as they're ranked 1st in giveaways and 2nd in takeaways, making them the NFL's best in a key statistic - turnover ratio. I think the Jets' overtime loss to the Patriots earlier this season was just about the best shot they could possibly give Tom Brady and company.
Patriots win 35-20.
Vikings (6-4) @ Bears (7-3): Every time Jay Cutler gets hurt, the Bears' extraordinary flaws on offense surface. Cutler makes up for a porous offensive line and a thin receiving core, but you'll be hard pressed to find many backups in the league who can do the same. Jason Campbell is a fine quarterback - a solid game manager who can win football games in an offense with a good line and running game - but when he's under siege for four quarters, he just doesn't have the ability to get the job done. The Bears' defense was debilitated by their offense repeatedly sending them back on the field after struggling to move the ball against the 49ers on Monday, and that may happen again against the Vikings' 13th ranked defense if Cutler can't go. Cutler did not seem optimistic when last spoken to about his concussion, and my guess is that he doesn't play. Cutler's availability will make all the difference for the Bears.
Vikings win 23-17 if Cutler doesn't play. Bears win 24-20 if Cutler does play.