There weren’t too many surprises in week 11 of the 2016/17 NFL campaign. The Cleveland Browns remain winless at 0-11 while the Dallas Cowboys won their ninth straight game to move to 9-1. The Monday Night game was played down in Mexico for the first time in 12 years with Oakland beating Houston. Week 12 is upon us this Thursday, November 24th which happens to be Thanksgiving Day in America, so football will be on the menu at most households as teams still fight for the coveted playoff spots. Check out our weekly predictions below to see how each club will fare in week 12 of the season.
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Thursday, November 24th
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions
Thanksgiving Day kicks off with a huge NFC North showdown with Minnesota visiting Detroit. Both teams are tied for first place in the division with 6-4 records. The Vikings snapped their four-game losing skid last Sunday when they downed Arizona 30-24 at home while the Lions took care of Jacksonville 26-19 at home. Minnesota was boosted by its defence and special teams as they recorded a pair of pickoffs as well as a return touchdown. They’ll be facing a streaking Detroit club which has won five of its past six outings. This includes a 22-16 win in overtime in Minnesota just a couple of weeks ago on Nov. 6th.
Prediction: Detroit wins a close two-point affair, 19-17.
Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys are still the hottest team in the league with nine straight wins after downing the Baltimore Ravens at home 27-17 on Sunday. Dallas still sits atop the NFC East Division at 9-1 with the New York Jets behind them at 7-3 and will face Washington in a big divisional clash this week. Cowboys’ rookie quarterback Dak Prescott was in fine form again last week with three touchdown passes, 301 yards in the air, and completing 27 of his 36 attempts. Rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott set a new franchise rushing record for first-year players as he chipped in with 97 yards on 25 carries. He now has 1,102 on the year to lead the league. Meanwhile, Washington thumped the Green Bay Packers 42-24 at home on Sunday. The Redskins own third place in the division with a 6-3-1 record and have won two in a row. The Cowboys’ winning streak was launched back in week 2 when they downed the Redskins 27-23 at home. Dallas ran for 102 yards in that game along with three touchdowns. The Cowboys run for an average of 156.7 yards per game this year while Washington concedes an average of 112.1 rushing yards.
Prediction: The Cowboys take a five-point decision, 28-23
Pittsburgh Steelers at Indianapolis Colts
Predictably, Pittsburgh’s four-game losing streak came to an end last Sunday when they downed the inept Browns 24-9 in Cleveland. The win improved the Steelers’ record to 5-5 and they now share first place in the AFC North Division with Baltimore. They’ll be taking on a Colts team which won its second straight last week when they beat Tennessee 24-17 at home. Indianapolis now sits in second place in the AFC South at 5-5 on the year. Le’Veon Bell had a good game for Pittsburgh as he scored a touchdown and ran for 146 yards on his 28 carries. He may be a key player against the Colts since Indianapolis allows 113.1 yards against per game, which is ranked 22nd in the league.
Prediction: The Steelers win by just three points, 31-28.
Sunday, November 27th<7h2>
Tennessee Titans at Chicago Bears
Tennessee came out on the wrong end of a 24-17 decision to the Colts in Indianapolis last week even though they were still pretty dangerous down in the red zone. Quarterback Marcus Mariota has now nailed down 31 touchdowns passes in his 23 starts throughout his career and has yet to be intercepted. He went 25 for 38 last week for a pair of touchdowns and 290 yards. Running back DeMarco Murray chipped in with 70 yards on his 21 carries and the Titans are now 5-6 on the year and third in the AFC South. Chicago dropped a 22-16 decision to the New York Giants and are in the basement of the NFC North at 2-8. The Bears have a decent defence which is better than average when it comes to yards allowed per game as well as against the pass and run, but the team has trouble scoring. Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler gained 252 yards in the air along with a touchdown pass and an interception and was sacked four times. He’ll be facing a Titans’ pass rush which is one of the best in the league this year.
Prediction: Tennessee wins by seven points, 24-17.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Buffalo Bills
Jacksonville fell 26-19 in Detroit last week for their fifth consecutive defeat. They’re now 2-8 on the season and occupy the cellar of the AFC South. Quarterback Blake Bortles struggled as he gained 202 yards in the air by completing 22 of his 35 pass attempts. He had a pair of touchdown passes, but was also picked off twice. He’ll be up against a tough Buffalo pass rush which has 31 sacks so far this season, tied for best in the league. The Bills upended Cincinnati 16-11 on the road last week to improve to 5-5 on the season and take up third place in the AFC East. The bad news for the Bills is that LeSean McCoy and Robert Woods were injured in the game and are questionable against Jacksonville.
Prediction: The Bills win by nine points, 24-15.
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens
The Bengals were tamed 16-11 at home by Buffalo last week to fall to 3-6-1 on the season and now sit in third position in the AFC North. Reaching the playoffs will be a tough task now, especially with A.J. Green tearing his hamstring against the Bills. Cincinnati faces their division leaders Baltimore this week in a must-win situation. Baltimore enters the weekend after losing 27-17 to the red hot Dallas Cowboys down in Texas. They’re 5-5 on the season and share the AFC North lead with Pittsburgh. Baltimore will find it easier playing the Bengals without Green in their opponent’s lineup and the Ravens’ defence is already ranked the fifth-best when it comes to points against. They’re also effective at defending both the aerial and ground attack.
Prediction: The Ravens win by six points, 27-21.
Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons
This game will feature the league’s top passing defence against one of the NFL’s best passing offences. Arizona was beaten 30-24 at Minnesota last week and is now in second place in the NFC West at 4-5-1. Meanwhile, Atlanta took week 11 off with their bye. They’re 6-4 on the season and lead the NFC South. Arizona is the best in the league when it comes to defending the pass as they concede 190.1 yards against on average per week. They’ll be facing the second-best aerial team in the league though as Atlanta passes for 309 yards per outing. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out and if the Falcons may attempt to run with the ball a little more than usual. They currently rush for 103.1 yards on average while Arizona allows 97.2 yards on the ground.
Prediction: Atlanta wins by seven points, 28-21.
New York Giants at Cleveland Browns
Cleveland will be trying once again to win their first game of the 2016/17 campaign when they host the Giants. The Browns were downed 24-9 at home by Pittsburgh last week to fall to 0-11 on the season and solidify their spot in the basement of the AFC North. Cleveland hasn’t had much luck covering the spread this year either as they’re 2-9 in that department. The Giants are hot though with five straight wins to their name following their 22-16 triumph at home over Chicago last week. The Giants are 7-3 on the campaign and in second spot in the NFC East. Cleveland concedes 29.5 points against per game on average along with 409.5 yards per week.
Prediction: The Giants win by 13 points, 31-18.
Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints
The Los Angeles Rams took it on the chin 14-10 at home to the Miami Dolphins last week. They struggle for points and are worst in the league in that area with just 14.9 points per game on average. They’re 4-6 on the season and in third place in the NFC West. Quarterback Jared Goff struggled in his first NFL start against Miami and it’s hoped he’ll be better in New Orleans. That’s a distinct possibility, since The Saints’ defence is ranked 30th as it allows 28.6 points against per game and ranks 27th when it comes to yards against at 382.8. The Saints fell to 4-6 on the season after losing 23-20 to Carolina on the road last Thursday. New Orleans enters the weekend in a third-place tie with the Panthers in the NFC South.
Prediction: The Saints win by just three points, 21-18.
San Francisco 49ers at Miami Dolphins
San Francisco lost another game last weekend, which was their ninth defeat in a row, as they fell 30-17 at home to the New England Patriots. The 49ers are now 1-9 on the year and firmly entrenched in last place in the NFC West. There was some light at the end of the tunnel though as San Francisco ran for 122 yards against the Patriots and will be facing a Miami team which is third-worst in the league when it comes to defending the rush. But on the flip side, San Francisco’s run defence is the worst in the league as it allows 179.5 yards against per game. Meanwhile, Miami was 14-10 winners out on the west coast against the Los Angeles Rams last week and has now won five straight outings. The Dolphins are 6-4 on the year and in second place in the AFC East.
Prediction: The Dolphins win by seven points, 31-24.
Seattle Seahawks at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Seattle’s defence had a good game in their 26-15 home victory over Philadelphia last week as it picked off rookie quarterback Carson Wentz twice and allowed just 308 yards against in total. Seattle’s record improved to 7-2-1 on the season and they lead the NFC West. Seattle will be facing another first-round quarterback in Tampa’s Jameis Winston. The Buccaneers’ QB led his team to a 19-17 road triumph over Kansas City last week with a touchdown pass and 331 yards in the air. Tampa is now 5-5 on the year and in second place in the NFC South. Seattle enters the game ninth in the league in interceptions and co-leaders in sacks.
Prediction: The Seahawks win by eight points, 30-22.
New England Patriots at New York Jets
The Patriots took care of San Francisco 30-17 out on the west coast last week to climb to 8-2 on the season and remain on top of the AFC East. Quarterback Tom Brady went 24 for 40 in passing for 280 yards with two touchdown tosses. The backfield helped out as well by rushing for 171 yards. The schedule is kind to New England again this week as they meet the Jets. New York is 3-7 on the year and in last place in the AFC East after taking week 11 off with a bye. The Jets are still undecided on who to play at quarterback as it’s a tossup between Ryan Fitzpatrick and Bryce Petty. Either way, the Jets will be facing a tough defence which gives up only 18 points per game on average.
Prediction: New England wins by 11 points, 31-20.
Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos
The Chiefs five-game winning run was halted last week when Tampa Bay beat them 19-17 in Kansas. Kansas’ record fell to 7-3 on the year and they’re now tied for second place in the AFC West with Denver, which makes this a huge divisional showdown on Sunday. Cornerback Marcus Peters missed the contest against Tampa and the Bucs took advantage as Mike Evans caught 13 passes for 105 yards. The Broncos will be rested since they had a bye last week. The Broncos’ passing game is mediocre and that’s good news for Kansas if Peters is still on the shelf. Denver’s last game was a 25-23 victory against New Orleans.
Prediction: The Broncos win by six points, 27-21.
Carolina Panthers at Oakland Raiders
The Panthers managed to beat the New Orleans Saints 23-20 at home last week and the win saw their record improve to 4-6 on the year. However, they’re still technically in the basement of the NFC South as they’re tied with New Orleans. Meanwhile, the Raiders record stands at 8-3 after their come-from-behind 27-20 win against the Houston Texans in Mexico City last Monday night. They lead the tight and tough AFC West Division and Oakland has now won four straight contests.
Prediction: The Raiders win by seven points, 28-21.
San Diego Chargers at Houston Texans
The San Diego Chargers had a rest last week as they sat out with a bye. They enter the weekend with a 4-6 record on the season which sees them occupy last place in the AFC West Division. Meanwhile, Houston took on the Oakland Raiders down in Mexico City on Monday night and came away on the wrong end of a 27-20 decision after allowing Oakland to outscore them 14-3 in the final quarter on a couple of late touchdowns. The Texans are now 6-4 on the year, but are still managing to sit in first place in the AFC South. The loss to Oakland snapped their three-game winning streak.
Prediction: Houston wins by six points, 31-25
Monday, November 28th
Green Bay Packers at Philadelphia Eagles
The Packers continue to struggle as they were hammered 42-24 in Washington last week to fall to 4-6 on the year and into third place in the NFC North. Green Bay has now lost four straight outings and has allowed 38.3 points against per game over that stretch. Meanwhile, the Eagles were grounded in Seattle last weekend to the tune of 26-15. Rookie quarterback Carson Wentz had a rough day as he was picked off twice. The loss saw Philly fall to the cellar of the AFC East at 5-5. The Eagles’ rushing game is pretty good as it’s ranked seventh in the NFL at 118 yards per game, so the Packers’ defence will need to be sharp.
Prediction: The Eagles win by four points, 31-27.