I’m sitting here drinking my coffee and hoping that in a few short hours I can be thankful for the Eagles beating the Cowboys. My fingers are crossed. With so many games on tap for today it almost feels like a Sunday on Thanksgiving Thursday. As much as I hope you’re having a blast with your family, I also hope you’re doing the countdown like I am, and that the games go the way you wish. This week’s games ends with a Monday night tilt between the Dolphins and the Jets, which should be a doozy as well. I’m sure you’ll still be eating leftover turkey by then.
Here are my picks for Week 12…
CHICAGO @ Detroit – Matthew Stafford has just been abysmal of late, and I don’t see a return to Motown as a source of celebration, even though it’s Thanksgiving, and he usually plays well on Thanksgiving. The Bears defense, much maligned, will force him into some bonehead decisions. Bears start off the holiday with a victory. Pick: CHICAGO.
PHILADELPHIA @ Dallas – Why do I feel like the Cowboys are still riding a wave of false praise from that 6-game winning streak earlier this season? They were not dynamic against the Jaguars in London but won because it was the Jaguars, and they were one Giants turnover away from blowing one against their division rival. LeSean McCoy steps up in this one, and the Eagles win on turkey day. Pick: PHILADELPHIA.
SEATTLE @ San Francisco – This season, home field hasn’t been an advantage for the 49ers. Maybe it’s the new stadium, but the offense hasn’t been up to snuff. The defense has kept them in games, but they routinely don’t play their best vs. Seattle. This one will be grueling and I think the Seahawks come away with the advantage, because they have Marshawn Lynch. Pick: SEATTLE.
San Diego @ BALTIMORE – The Ravens are back to pounding the football on offense, and not relying on Joe Flacco’s arm so much. That will stead them well, being able to keep Philip Rivers off the field as much as possible, and the Ravens win one going away at home. Pick: BALTIMORE.
CLEVELAND @ Buffalo – That vaunted Bills run defense hasn’t been as intimidating of late, starting with the Jets game where they let Chris Ivory impose his will. Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West have been a two-headed beast for the Browns and they will be the difference in this one. Pick: CLEVELAND.
Tennessee @ HOUSTON – Fitz is back! Uh, not that I’m all-in on the “other Ryan,” but against Tennessee I don’t think he needs to be extra accurate, especially when he’s got a horse in the backfield like Arian Foster (or Alfred Blue if Foster can’t go again) who will get a lot of touches in this game. That will be the difference in a close one, that and the Houston defense that will force turnovers. Pick: HOUSTON.
Washington @ INDIANAPOLIS – While this one may be closer than most of the experts think, I actually like Colt McCoy as the Washington quarterback. He’s a game manager, and he did look good in that win against the Cowboys a few weeks ago. I like him against a suspect Colts defense that gives up a lot of yardage, but Washington just doesn’t have enough weapons to hang with Andrew Luck. Pick: INDIANAPOLIS.
NY GIANTS @ Jacksonville – Sure, this could be a trap game, as the Giants are as likely to have given up on this season as they are to come through like gangbusters after traveling cross-country for this battle against the lowly Jaguars. But the Giants do have the better team, if barely, and I think they will win this one going away, even if it won’t save their season. Pick: NY GIANTS.
CAROLINA @ Minnesota – To me this game is the very definition of a toss-up between equally weak teams. The Carolina defense isn’t what it used to be, but neither is that Minnesota running game. What may make the difference here is the ability of Cam Newton to get out of trouble, even though even that isn’t what it used to be. I feel better picking his team, though, than the one with the rookie signal caller who is prone to make mistakes. Pick: CAROLINA.
NEW ORLEANS @ Pittsburgh – Drew Brees generally plays worse on the road, and the Steelers usually play better at home. This game is in Pittsburgh, so how in the world can I possibly pick the Saints to win it? Because they’re desperate after losing three in a row at home. Something has to give, and I think it’s the Steelers’ defense. Pick: NEW ORLEANS.
OAKLAND @ St. Louis – The Raiders are back (as I chronicled in Survival of the Fittest) and that St. Louis offense was merely pedestrian last week. I like Latavius Murray to run roughshod over that defense and Oakland to push their modest winning streak to two. Pick: OAKLAND.
CINCINNATI @ Tampa Bay – Andy Dalton is due for a big game, and the perfect recipe for that just dropped into his lap in the form of an all expenses paid trip to Florida to meet the Bucs. Their poor defense, combined with the duo of Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill, as well as a healthy A.J. Green and Mohamed Sanu means that the offense will have a field day. Pick: CINCINNATI.
Arizona @ ATLANTA – The Cardinals haven’t had a losing streak yet this season, but this is where it happens after losing to the Seahawks last week. That defense gives up yards and points to opposing passing games, and if Matt Ryan can get just a little time in the pocket he should be able to exploit them deep with Julio Jones and Roddy White. I think that happens, and Arizona’s passing attack can’t keep up. Falcons in a close one. Pick: ATLANTA.
New England @ GREEN BAY – That Packers offense came back down to earth just a little bit last week and they still won. Against the Patriots they will need to step up on defense, though, and since they’re at home I think they come armed for bear. In the first ever matchup between Rodgers and Brady I think Rodgers has the better day, and that makes the difference (but Jonas Gray will score a touchdown). Pick: GREEN BAY.
DENVER @ Kansas City – Peyton Manning owns the Chiefs. The Chiefs just lost to Oakland. Do I need to say more? Okay. Seriously, home or away, Manning just goes to town on that defense, and I don’t see anything changing here, whether or not Julius Thomas plays. But, for you fantasy football fans, if Thomas doesn’t play I think Wes Welker has a monster game. Shhhh. Pick: DENVER.
MIAMI @ NY Jets – Geno Smith is starting against the Dolphins defense. That is all. Pick: MIAMI.
The Fantasy Ace