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So after a feast of Thanksgiving football where I started the week 3-0 we turn to the weekend’s games and the rest of week twelve.

Early Games:

There are a few tasty contests this week, and I could have gone in a couple of directions in the early slate, but I have settled on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers taking on the Colts in Indianapolis as the pick of the games. The Colts had a rough 0-3 start to the season before ripping off six wins and two overtime losses to drag themselves into the playoff hunt, but this week will be real test. I will be interested to see if Jonathan Taylor can maintain his incredible sequence of rushing games against the Buccaneers’ front seven. As for the Bucs, they got over their two-game wobble with a solid win last week against the Giants but it feels like we’re not going to really learn anything about them until the playoffs, although this should be an interesting test.

Points from the rest:

  • The Steelers visit to the Bengals will be a physical affair, and as happy as I was to see the Bengals get a good win against the Raiders last week, the score flattered, and I have a feeling the game will be closer than this line suggests.
  • The Dolphins have won three straight and welcome a Panthers team who are still integrating Cam Newton after signing him a couple of weeks ago to rescue their season. Newton has sparked the Panthers in a couple of moments, but questions remain about his accuracy throwing the ball so this will be an interesting test.
  • The Titans will be hoping that last week’s loss against the Texans was just one of those weeks as the injuries keep piling up but facing a Belichick defence will be a real test of what Ryan Tannehill can do to raise the level of those around him on offence.
  • The Eagles have now won three of their last four having found an identity on offence with running the ball. I will be interested to see what Freddie Kitchens can do with the Giants offence as he got his head coaching shot with the Browns after stepping up mid-season after a firing. However, it does feel like the Giants are a long way from a meaningful game at this point of the season.
  • The Falcons will be hoping to get over their horrible loss last week against the Jaguars, but they are also rock bottom of the DVOA rankings with all three phases of the game ranked in the thirties.
  • The Jets on the road at the Vikings sees two franchises where the coaches and players are only playing for their NFL careers, which is always a sad state of affairs.

Steelers @ Bengals (-4.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Steelers
Dan’s Pick:      Bengals

Buccaneers @ Colts (+2.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Buccaneers
Dan’s Pick:      Buccaneers

Panthers @ Dolphins (+1.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Panthers
Dan’s Pick:      Panthers

Titans @ Patriots (-5.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Patriots
Dan’s Pick:      Patriots

Eagles @ Giants (+3.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Eagles
Dan’s Pick:      Eagles

Falcons @ Jaguars (+1.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Jaguars
Dan’s Pick:      Falcons

Jets @ Texans (-2.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Texans
Dan’s Pick:      Texans

Late Games:

The Rams coming off a bye will have spent the last two week working on how to operate without receiver Robert Woods and trying to integrate the newly acquired Odell Beckham who has a different set of skills. The Rams lost two straight going into the bye but on offence you would have faith that Sean McVay and his staff will get things figured out eventually. However, they are trying to get back to winning ways against a strong Packers team whose defence has been good enough to win with and whose offence is still top five by DVOA despite injuries. That said, the Packers lost their backup left tackle last week and with David Bakhtiari getting a scope on his reconstructed knee we shall have to see if the offensive line can hold up until Bakhtiari can play.

Points on the Rest:

  • After a strong start the Chargers have been up and down in recent weeks and so I am not entirely sure how they will do against a Broncos team who should be able to scheme up the type of defence the Chargers have struggled against in recent weeks.
  • The Vikings and 49ers are both trying to fight their way into the wildcard hunt, and neither can really afford a loss this week.

Chargers @ Broncos (+2.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Broncos
Dan’s Pick:      Chargers

Rams @ Packers (-1.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Rams
Dan’s Pick:      Packers

Vikings @ 49ers (-2.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Vikings
Dan’s Pick:      Vikings

Sunday Night Football:

Browns @ Ravens (-4.5)

The AFC North Sunday night matchup will be a bruising affair, but the dirty secret is that no one in the division ranks that highly by DVOA and the Ravens known for their defensive identity are currently ranked twenty-seventh on that side of the ball. It does seem more likely that the Browns will lose this one than win, but this is a lot of points to give a team you are only ranked two place higher than by overall DVOA.

Gee’s Pick:      Browns
Dan’s Pick:      Ravens

Monday Night Football

Seahawks @ Washington (-1.5) 

Neither of these teams are where you might have expected them to be coming into the season. The Washington Football Team have struggled all year, particularly on defence where everyone was excited about how good they could be and yet are currently ranked thirty-first by DVOA. The Seahawks are having their worst season under Pete Carroll, with little chance of stopping themselves having a losing season for the first time since 2011. I don’t know how quarterback Russell Wilson will play this week, but he has struggled since returning from his finger injury and it is hard to have much confidence in what will happen in this one.

Gee’s Pick:      Seahawks
Dan’s Pick:      Washington

DVOA is Football Outsiders statistic for measure a team’s success on every play versus the league average and you can read more about it and other football topics at https://footballoutsiders.com.