Believe it or not, we are already at the three-quarter mark in the season. The Indianapolis Colts are now coming off of their bye and have very little room for error if they are to have even the slightest opportunity for a shot at the division. They match up with the Tennessee Titans this week for their second go-round after having, and wasting, a second-half lead in their first meeting.
There are still some tests that have to be performed to ensure that Jacoby Brissett will be able to play, but it appears as though he will indeed make it out of the league’s concussion protocol without any unforeseen snags. The Colts defense has been up to the task as of late, but if Brissett doesn’t get on the field the Colts chances virtually go down the drain.
Around the rest of the league there are 7 more divisional matchups which should make Thanksgiving week very entertaining for their respective fanbases. For my money the Detroit Lions hosting the Minnesota Vikings has the most gravitas right now, with the Atlanta Falcons traveling to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers holding the ‘sneaky good game’ potential with the Falcons needing another win to remain competitive within the division.
Among the teams that most desperately need wins in Week 12 – outside of the AFC South – are the Miami Dolphins, Los Angeles Chargers, Oakland Raiders, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals and Green Bay Packers. Virtually all of these teams are in the thick of either their division, or the Wild Card race in their conferences with victory this week possibly holding large implications toward the rest of their seasons.
In terms of the non-divisional matchups this week, the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints looks to be a great battle of ascending teams as they both lead their divisions by a single game and have taken the NFL somewhat by surprise with their improvements from a year ago. You could put the Chargers and Cowboys in that category as well and both look to have great potential even for non-fan viewers.
Among our staff picks, the race is getting considerably tighter with 4 members within a single percentage point of the lead in the group. On behalf of all of our writers and contributors, have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
This week the following contributors voted on each game: Brett Mock, Matt Danely, Josh Hudgens, Stephen Reed, Chris Shepherd, Chris Blystone, Andrew Aziz, Jared Malott and Jake Arthur. Again, our group voted ‘winners’ which are in bold, with the vote counts in parenthesis and unanimous predictions noted by an asterisk (*).
Thus far the staff’s numbers are: Faraz Majid – 68/105 (64.8%) | Brett Mock – 96/149 (64.4%) | Chris Blystone – 86/149 (57.7%) | Matt Danely – 85/149 (57%) | Andrew Aziz – 90/149 (60.4%) | Jake Arthur – 77/121 (63.6%) | Jared Malott – 88/136 (64.7%) | Stephen Reed – 77/137 (56.2%) | Chris Shepherd – 81/136 (59.6%) | Josh Hudgens – 76/119 (63.9%)
Thursday @ 12:30 ET
Vikings (6) @ Lions – Contrarians: Jared Malott, Chris Shepherd, Josh Hudgens
Thursday @ 4:30 ET
Chargers @ Cowboys (6) – Contrarians: Matt Danely, Chris Blystone, Andrew Aziz
Thursday @ 8:30 ET
Giants @ Redskins*
Sunday @ 1:00 ET
Panthers (8) @ Jets – Contrarian: Malott
Bucs @ Falcons*
Bears @ Eagles*
Browns @ Bengals (5) – Contrarians: Danely, Shepherd, Aziz
Titans @ Colts (6) – Contrarians: Stephen Reed, Hudgens
Dolphins @ Patriots*
Bills @ Chiefs*
Sunday @ 4:05 ET
Seahawks (8) @ 49ers – Contrarian: Blystone
Sunday @ 4:25 ET
Saints (6) @ Rams – Contrarians: Jake Arthur, Danely, Blystone
Broncos @ Raiders (8) – Contrarian: Reed
Jaguars (8) @ Cardinals – Contrarian: Aziz
Sunday @ 8:30 ET
Packers @ Steelers*
Monday @ 8:30 ET
Texans @ Ravens (8) – Contrarian: Shepherd