There were only two or three upsets or surprises in week 12 of the 2016/17 NFL campaign as most of last week’s predictions came true. The Cleveland Browns remain winless for another week at 0-12 while the Dallas Cowboys won their 10th straight outing to move to 10-1. New England, Miami, Buffalo, Oakland, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and the New York Giants all extended their winning streaks while Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Arizona, the New York Jets, Cincinnati, Houston, Philadelphia and Jacksonville all saw their losing skids prolonged. Week 13 kicks off this Thursday, December 1st as teams still fight for the coveted playoff spots. Check out our weekly predictions below to see how each club will fare in week 13 of the season.
Thursday, December 1st
Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings
The high-flying Cowboys will try to make 11 wins in a row this week over in Minnesota. Dallas downed Washington 31-26 at home on Thanksgiving Day to win their 10th straight and improve to 10-1 on the year. The NFC East leaders are still riding the coattails of rookie quarterback Dak Prescott and first-year running back Ezekiel Elliott while Tony Romo sits on the bench and watches. Prescott averages 257.7 yards each outing and has thrown just two interceptions while nailing 18 touchdown passes. Meanwhile, Elliott has gained 1,502 yards so far. The Vikings are struggling as they were beaten in the last second by Detroit 16-13 on the road last Thursday to fall to 6-5 on the season. They’re now in second place in the NFC North and have dropped two in a row. Dallas averages 407.6 yards per game along with 28.3 points. Minnesota is 1-5 both straight up and ATS in the last six contests. Quarterback Sam Bradford has been consistent though with a 71.3 per cent pass-completion rating and a 98.3 passer rating to go along with his Quarterback rating of 72.9. The Vikings have conceded at least 100 yards on the ground in each of the past six games.
Prediction: Dallas rolls on and wins by 10 points, 33-23.
Sunday, December 4th
Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints
The Lions have won six of their past seven outings after a 1-3 start and at 7-4 they lead the NFC North. The edged the Vikings at home on Thanksgiving Day 16-13 for their third straight victory. Quarterback Mathew Stafford wasn’t at his best as he completed 23 of his 40 pass attempts for 232 yards as well as a touchdown pass. Receivers Golden Tate, Marvin Jones and Anquan Boldin all caught for at least 54 yards in the game. Meanwhile, the Saints exploded offensively against a good defensive side in the Los Angeles Rams with a 49-21 triumph at home. New Orleans is 5-6 on the campaign and third in the NFC South. Quarterback Drew Brees gained 310 yards in the air with rookie wide receiver Michael Thomas catching for 108 of those yards and a pair of touchdowns. Brees tossed four touchdown passes in total while the ground attack had a pair of touchdowns and 209 yards. Four of the Saints’ receivers had at last 50 yards.
Prediction: New Orleans wins by six points, 35-29.
Los Angeles Rams at New England Patriots
The Rams were hammered 49-21 in New Orleans last week to fall to 4-7 on the season with their second straight defeat. They currently occupy third place in the NFC West. It was just the second career start for rookie quarterback Jared Goff and he gained 214 yards with three touchdown passes and an interception. His successful targets were Kenny Britt, Tavon Austin and Lance Kendricks. The Rams ground attack is weak with just 83 yards per outing and 3.3 yards per run. Therefore, Goff and his receivers will be key players. New England won their second straight with a 22-17 road decision against the New York Jets. They lead the AFC East at 9-2 on the year. Quarterback Tom Brady completed 30 of his 50 pass attempts for 286 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Patriots weren’t too effective on the ground with just 91 yards at 4.3 yards a carry and no touchdowns.
Prediction: New England wins by 10 points, 28-10.
San Francisco 49ers at Chicago Bears
San Francisco is in the cellar of the NFC West at 1-10 after losing their 10th consecutive encounter. This time they dropped a 31-24 decision to Miami down in Florida. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick threw three touchdown passes and 296 yards and also ran the ball himself for 113 yards at 11.3 yards each rush. Carlos Hyde is back in the squad so a win over Chicago is possible this weekend especially with Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler out with a shoulder injury and Alshon Jeffrey out with a suspension. The Bears lost 27-21 at home to Tennessee last week to fall to 2-9 on the year and remain in last place in the NFC North. Chicago is 31st in the league in scoring with just 15.7 points per week. Look for Matt Barkley to remain at quarterback with Cutler out. He gained 316 yards last week by going 28 for 54 with three touchdown passes and a pair of interceptions. First-year running back Jordan Howard is averaging 76.6 yards an outing at 5.1 a rush and will be a key player. San Francisco’s defence is the worst in the league when it comes to points allowed.
Prediction: San Francisco wins by seven points, 23-16.
Denver Broncos at Jacksonville Jaguars
Denver came out on the wrong end of a 30-27 decision to Kansas in overtime at home last week. They’re now third place in the AFC West at 7-4. Quarterback Trevor Siemian had a fine outing with three touchdown passes and 368 yards, but it wasn’t enough. Meanwhile, Jacksonville fell to 2-9 on the year with a 28-21 loss to Buffalo up in New York State. The Jaguars remain in the basement of the AFC South with their poor record. Quarterback Blake Bortles had a pair of touchdown passes, but threw for just 126 yards on the game at 4.2 yards each play on average. Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, Chris Ivory and TJ Yeldon are also playing below par this season when compared to last.
Prediction: Denver wins by 14 points, 27-13.
Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens
The Dolphins were 31-24 winners at home against San Francisco last Sunday for their sixth straight win. They’re now 7-4 on the year and in second spot in the AFC East. Running back Jay Ajayi finally cooled off as he rushed for just 45 yards at 2.5 yards a carry, but did run in a touchdown. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill had a good game though with three touchdown passes and 285 yards. He’ll be facing a tough Baltimore defence which is sixth-best in the league when it comes to defending the pass at 224.9 yards against per contest. In addition, the Dolphins may be without receiver DeVante Parker. Baltimore beat Cincinnati 19-14 at home last week and is in a first-place tie in the AFC North with Pittsburgh at 6-5. The Baltimore offence averages 334.1 yards per game with 247.7 coming in the air and 87.8 on the ground. Quarterback Joe Flacco has fine targets in receivers Mike Wallace and Steve Smith with Wallace averaging 72 yards an outing and Smith at 59.5 yards. They’ll need to be at their best since the Ravens’ ground attack is ranked just 28th with only 966 yards on the year.
Prediction: Miami wins by three points, 24-21.
Kansas City Chiefs at Atlanta Falcons
Kansas edged Denver 30-27 in overtime on the road last week to move into second place in the AFC West at 8-3. Quarterback Alex Smith struggled slightly by going just 26 for 44 with a touchdown pass for 220 yards. He came through when needed though with a late touchdown pass and two-point conversion to level the score. Atlanta doubled Arizona 38-19 at home in week 12 to hang onto first place in the NFC South at 7-4. Quarterback Matt Ryan had a 70 per cent completion ratio for the fourth time this campaign while receiver Taylor Gabriel had 75 yards and a pair of touchdowns on four receptions. Kansas City leads the NFL in pickoffs this year so Ryan will need to be on his toes.
Prediction: Kansas wins by six points, 27-21.
Buffalo Bills at Oakland Raiders
The Bills won their second straight to improve to 6-5 with their 28-21 home triumph over Jacksonville last week. Buffalo enters week 13 in third place in the AFC East. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor didn’t have a great game though by throwing just 166 yards with a touchdown pass. However, LeSean McCoy had a good game and is averaging 81.9 yards a game this season with seven touchdowns. In addition, receiver Sammy Watkins was back in the lineup. Oakland remains on top of the AFC West at 9-2 after their fifth consecutive win, which was a close 35-32 home decision over Carolina. Oakland is averaging 390.9 yards per game and 27.9 points per outing, which are both ranked in the top five. Quarterback Derek Carr will need to be wide awake though as Buffalo’s pass rush has recorded 33 sacks so far this season.
Prediction: Oakland wins by 10 points, 31-21.
New York Giants at Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh won their second outing in a row with a 28-7 road win over Indianapolis last Thursday. They’re now 6-5 on the season and in a first-place tie with Baltimore in the AFC North. Meanwhile, the Giants downed the hapless Cleveland Browns 27-13 in Ohio on Sunday. New York is 8-3 on the year and sits in second place in the NFC East. It was their sixth straight victory. Quarterback Eli Manning threw for just 194 yards, but had three touchdown passes. Odell Beckham Jr was a favourite target with six receptions, a pair of touchdowns, and 96 yards. The running game saw Paul Perkins and Rashad Jennings team up for just 84 yards at 3.5 yards on average per rush. Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has thrown 23 touchdowns and seven interceptions and averages 274.5 yards in the air. In addition, Le’Veon Bell averages 142 yards per game with Antonio Brown kicking in with 90.7 yards an outing along with 10 touchdowns on the season.
Prediction: The Steelers win by three points, 27-24.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Diego Chargers
Tampa upset Seattle 14-5 at home last weekend as they picked off quarterback Russell Wilson twice while holding him to just 151 yards in the air. Tampa quarterback Jameis Winston was in fine form with a pair of touchdown passes, and 220 yards while completing 21 of his 28 attempts. Mike Evans caught both TD passes and had 104 yards while Doug Martin ran the ball for 87 yards. Tampa is second in the NFC South now at 6-5. San Diego beat Houston 21-13 in Texas last week, but is still in the basement of the AFC West at 5-6. Quarterback Philip Rivers tossed three touchdown passes and the Chargers concede just 88.6 ground yards per game, which is fourth-lowest in the league.
Prediction: San Diego wins by seven points, 28-21.
Washington Redskins at Arizona Cardinals
Both Washington and Arizona were losers last week as Dallas beat the Redskins 31-26 in Texas on Thursday and the Cardinals were doubled 38-19 in Atlanta. Washington is 6-4-1 on the season and in third spot in the NFC East while Arizona is 4-6-1 and in second in the NFC West after their second straight defeat. Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins has half a dozen touchdowns and 824 yards in his past two outings with no interceptions. Receiver Jordan Reed had 95 yards on 10 catches last week with a pair of touchdowns. Arizona has conceded 378.6 yards per contest on average over their last six encounters. However, quarterback Carson Palmer has been playing well enough along with David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald. In fact, Johnson is one of the best in the league with 1,534 yards under his belt.
Prediction: Washington wins by four points, 32-28.
Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks
Carolina and Seattle both lost last week as well as the Panthers were downed 35-32 in Oakland and the Seahawks dropped a 14-5 decision in Tampa. Carolina’s postseason hopes look dim as they’re 4-7 on the campaign and in last place in the NFC South. Seattle is still leading the NFC West though at 7-3-1. Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton gained 246 yards by going just 14 for29 in passing, but tossed for a pair of touchdowns. The Carolina defence couldn’t handle Raiders’ quarterback Derek Carr as he gained 315 yards and a pair of touchdown passes. In addition, receiver Michael Crabtree had 110 yards for the Raiders. The Seattle defence wasn’t too bad last week, but the offence mustered just five points against Tampa. The rushing game didn’t show up as Quarterback Russell Wilson topped the ground attack with his 80 yards.
Prediction: Seattle wins by three points, 23-20.
Houston Texans at Green Bay Packers
Houston came out on the wrong end of a 21-13 decision at home to San Diego last week. They’re now 6-5 on the season, but are still in first place in the AFC South. Green Bay visited Philadelphia on Monday Night and came away with a 27-13 victory. They’re now on 5-6 the campaign and in still in third place in the NFC North. Houston quarterback Brock Osweiler was picked off three times last week and didn’t throw a touchdown pass. In addition, running back Lamar Miller also had a poor outing by rushing for just 57 yards at three yards a run. The defense couldn’t control the San Diego offense as quarterback Phillip Rivers finished with three touchdown passes and 242 yards by going 22 for 30. Green Bay’s win snapped their four-game losing skid with quarterback Aaron Rodgers throwing for two touchdowns and 313 yards. Receiver Davante Adams caught a pair of touchdown tosses and had 113 yards.
Prediction: Green Bay wins by four points 28-24.
Philadelphia Eagles at Cincinnati Bengals
The Eagles occupy the bottom spot in the NFC East with a record of 5-6 after their 27-13 loss at home to the Green Bay Packers on Monday night. Meanwhile, the Bengals were dropped 19-14 in Baltimore on Sunday and their 3-7-1 record sees them sitting in third place in the AFC North. Philly quarterback Carson Wentz has now gone three of his past four games without throwing a touchdown pass and the running game wasn’t in sync against the Packers. Their top rusher accounted for just 37 yards while Wentz was second in the game with 33 yards. The Bengals will likely be without receiver AJ Green for Sunday’s game due to injury, which means things don’t look good for Cincy.
Prediction: Philadelphia wins by six points, 32-26.
Monday, December 5th
Indianapolis Colts at New York Jets
Yet again, we have a pair of week 12 losers getting together as both Indianapolis and the Jets suffered defeats last week. The Colts were drilled 28-7 by Pittsburgh at home on Thanksgiving Day and it didn’t help that starting quarterback Andrew Luck missed the game with a concussion. However, he’s expected back for the game in New York. The Colts are now 5-6 on the season and in third position in the AFC South. Luck averages 282.7 yards a game this year with 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Meanwhile, receiver Ty Hilton is averaging 85.6 yards a contest while Frank Gore chips in with 79.4 yards each week. The Jets were downed 22-17 at home by New England and are in last place in the AFC East at 3-8, with three consecutive losses. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had a good outing by going 22 for 32 for 286 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Brandon Marshall and Quincy Enuwa combined for 11 receptions, a pair of touchdowns and 176 yards. However, Matt Forte and Bilal Powell teamed up for just 66 yards on the ground at 3.1 yards each rush.
Prediction: Indianapolis wins by six points, 27-21.