NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 12 (Pt. 2)

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

Arizona @ Atlanta (-4)

The Falcons lead the NFC South with a 6-4 record and are rested after a Week 11 bye.

"I hear there was a laser show in Mexico City on Monday night," Matt Ryan said, "and several officials were blinded. What? That's not exactly how it went down? Anyway, I don't like light in my face either, especially the limelight. I'm a pretty quiet guy, I don't have much of a social media presence, and I'm white. You might as well call me 'Vanilla Matty Ice.'"

The Cardinals lost 30-24 at Minnesota, despite a big day from David Johnson, who amassed 160 total yards and scored 2 touchdowns. The loss dropped the Cards to 4-5-1, and their playoff hopes are fading fast.

"There's no doubt David is carrying this team," Bruce Arians said. "And this team is quite a burden. That's why Johnson is known as the 'Big Package.'

"David's got a special pair of shoes for this game, and the fans in Atlanta should be honored that, just for a day, he's 'White Shoes Johnson.'"

Atlanta wins, 26-24.

Cincinnati @ Baltimore (-4½)

The Ravens lost a 27-17 decision at Dallas and fell to 5-5, which is still good enough for a tie atop the AFC North with the Steelers.

"It looks like the division will ultimately come down to a battle between the Ravens and Steelers," John Harbaugh said. "One team's season will end on the last day of the regular season, while the others will end on the first day of the playoffs.

"Steve Smith became the 14th players with 1,000 receptions. Steve is 37-years-old and still going strong. Not only does he make history, he makes history his bitch.

"Ray Lewis was critical of Joe Flacco's passion for the game. He said Joe was not passionate about 'what he do.' I think there's only one conclusion we can draw from this: Ray murdered the English language."

The Bengals lost 16-12 at Buffalo and are now 3-6-1. It was a particularly devastating loss, as A.J. Green injured his hamstring early in the first quarter and will miss considerable time.

"That's not good news for a team struggling to generate offense," Marvin Lewis said. "He could possibly be gone for the year. So, we need someone to step up. Otherwise, I may be asked to step down. We're optimistic that A.J. will be ready for the playoffs. I'm just not sure we will.

"As for Sunday's game in Baltimore, this is a must-win game for us, and for me. If we lose, we can kiss our playoff chances goodbye. However, I can belly up to the bar and drown my sorrows by asking the bartender for the hot new beverage, 'two fingers of Vontaze Burfict.'"

Baltimore wins, 23-20.

Jacksonville @ Buffalo (-7½)

The Bills beat the Bengals in a 16-12 defensive struggle at Paul Brown Stadium. With the victory, Buffalo improved to 5-5 and remains very much alive in what is sure to be a competitive race for the AFC's two wildcard playoff spots.

"Our playoff chances come down to how we perform in these last few games," Rex Ryan said. "For us, it's about a 'six-game season,' or what's known as a full Sammy Watkins season.'

"LeSean McCoy injured his thumb is last Sunday's game, but he had successful surgery and is ready to go. LeSean would like me to pass along a message to all Buffalo fans: he's got two fingers up for you all. But don't fret, it's just his thumbs."

The Jaguars hung tough at Detroit before losing 26-19 to the Lions. Jacksonville has lost five in a row and is now 2-8.

"Believe it or not," Gus Bradley said, "I see a positive in a five-game losing streak and a 2-8 record. What's the positive? We were 2-3 at one point.

"I'm confident we will rebound, especially if we play basketball, which we should, because averaging 2.2 turnovers per game in basketball is awesome."

Buffalo wins, 22-20.

Tennessee @ Chicago (+3½)

The Bears led 16-9 at the half at MetLife Stadium but were held scoreless in the second half in an eventual 22-16 loss. Chicago is 0-6 on the road this year and fell to 2-8, last in the NFC North.

"We really missed Alshon Jeffery's deep ball threat," John Fox said. "This is our second game without Alshon. He still can't believe he's been suspended. Alshon still wonders how the NFL tests for PEDs. I told, him, well, 'They take 'P's' from 'D's,' then test it.

"Jay Cutler injured his shoulder and is likely done for the season. In his seven seasons in Chicago, Jay's record as a starter was 52-52. I think that just goes to show that Jay's shortcomings stick out like a sore thumb."

The Titans faced a 21-0 deficit to the Colts and never could recover, losing 24-17. It was Tennessee's second loss to Indianapolis this season.

"We dug ourselves a hole," Marcus Mariota said, "and the Colts buried us.

"But I'm sure we'll bounce back. Our offense is too good not to. Not only am I having my finest year as a pro, but DeMarco Murray is proving he's still got it. He's second in the NFL in rushing yards, and is a great receiver, as well. We call him '666,' because he's 'De Marc O' the Beast.'"

Titans win, 26-12.

New York Giants @ Cleveland (+7)

The Giants beat Jay Cutler and the Bears 22-16 at MetLife Stadium as Eli Manning passed for 2 touchdowns. The G-Men improved to 7-3 and trail the division-leading Cowboys by two games in the NFC East.

"This team reminds me a lot of Ben McAdoo's mustache," Manning said. "In other words, it's looks like it's straight out of the 1980s. Giants teams of the '80s were defined by solid defenses and balanced offenses. Back in the '80s, Lawrence Taylor was terrorizing opposing offenses and ranting about 'white powder.' In fact, L.T. put the 'D' in 'white powder.' When you remove the 'D' from 'white powder,' you get what people are ranting about today.

"Neither of my touchdowns went to Odell Beckham, Jr. In the past, that may have upset Odell, but he's become much better at controlling his emotions. We've learned on this team that any talk of a 'short fuse' is a detriment."

The Browns lost 24-9 to the Steelers and are now 0-11 on the season. Pittsburgh roughed up Cody Kessler and Josh McCown with eight sacks and 14 quarterback hits.

"We were officially eliminated from playoff contention with the loss," Hue Jackson said. "That news was delivered to us by our good friend Captain Obvious. Not to be confused with 'Captain Oblivious,' who apparently helms our front office and traded away the No. 2 pick in the 2016 draft. We could have had Carson Wentz. Instead, we drafted Cody Kessler in the third round."

L.T. makes a surprise appearance before the game in the Giants locker room, where he urges the team to "go out there like a bunch of crazed dogs, because it is the Dawg Pound, after all." Taylor then leaves abruptly, while muttering something about "heading out to Lake Erie to score some lake effect 'snow.'"

The Giants record five sacks and force 4 turnovers, and Manning throws for 2 touchdowns.

New York wins, 28-13.

San Diego @ Houston (even)

The Chargers emerge from their week 11 bye with a 4-6, well behind their other three AFC West counterparts in the standings. To have any chance of making the playoffs, San Diego likely must win all its remaining six games.

"Nothing is impossible," Philip Rivers said. "Conversely, 'nothing' is possible, because we could lose all six games. But we'll do anything to try to win out, and that includes giving our workhorse back Melvin Gordon the nickname 'Table,' so we can 'run the Table.'

"We're making a road trip to Houston. That means we're leaving San Diego. But just temporarily. Hopefully, I can outgun Brock Osweiler. Osweiler stands 6'8." That means he can see over any defense. Unfortunately, any defense can see right through him."

The Texans left Mexico City with a controversial 27-20 loss to the Raiders. Several calls went against Houston, including a long touchdown score by DeAndre Hopkins that was nullified by official error. Houston was also hurt by a few errant spots by officials.

"We were warned not to leave our hotel," Bill O'Brien said, "out of fear that we were in danger of being robbed. I guess they were right.

"I'm an advocate for full-time officials in the league. In other words, I'm for better 'placement' of officials, and better 'placement' by officials."

Houston wins, 27-24.

San Francisco @ Miami (-7½)

The Dolphins pushed their winning streak to five games with a 14-10 comeback win over the home-standing Rams. Ryan Tannehill threw 2 fourth quarter touchdown passes to erase a 10-0 deficit.

"That's right," Adam Gase said. "In our last five games, we're undefeated. In my mind, we've matched the accomplishment of the 1972 Dolphins, because they were undefeated in their last five games as well."

The 49ers lost to the visiting Patriots 30-17 as Tom Brady threw 4 touchdowns in his Bay Area homecoming. Colin Kaepernick threw 2 TDs in a losing effort as the 49ers dropped to 1-9.

"Unfortunately," Chip Kelly said, "Colin's play has been overshadowed by his protest. But is his message reaching that much of an audience? I doubt it. Maybe if your name is Ray, you understand what Colin is doing. Let's face it, Colin's purpose is all about 'Rays' Awareness.'"

Miami wins, 26-14.

Los Angeles @ New Orleans (-7)

In rookie Jared Goff's debut, the Rams lost 14-10 to the Dolphins. Goff was 17-of-31 for 134 yards.

"I thought Jared looked good considering it was his first game," Jeff Fisher said. "Jared has all the 'tools,' the biggest being his head coach."

The Saints lost 23-20 to the Panthers last Thursday and fell to 4-6, two games behind the Falcons.

"I thought our defense kept us in the game," Sean Payton said. "Trust me, saying that about our defense feels as unnatural as Willie Snead's hair. I'll give someone $1,000 if they can tell me what Willie's natural hair color is. See that, I just put a bounty on his head.

"If we're going to make a playoff run, we've got to be better in the kicking game. Our kicking game has done it all this year. It's cost us three points, it's cost us two points, it's cost us one point, and it's cost us games."

Saints win, 27-16.

Seattle @ Tampa Bay (+6)

The Buccaneers upset the Chiefs 19-17 at Arrowhead Stadium last week.

"Jameis Winston may not be the most accurate passer," Dirk Koetter said, "but he's not afraid to throw any pass. Sure, he has 10 interceptions, but he also has 20 touchdowns. So, just like in life, when Jameis makes a mistake, he doesn't always pay for it."

The Seahawks beat the Eagles 26-15 as Russell Wilson passed for 272 yards and a touchdown, and added a 15-yard TD reception on a pass from Doug Baldwin.

"When Russell lets his mouth do the talking," Pete Carroll said, "he says very little. When he lets his arm and legs do the talking, he says a lot.

"I've never played a game in a stadium with a pirate ship parked in one end zone. I have left buried treasure in order to entice a recruit to come to USC. It wasn't buried under the ground, per se, it was buried 'under a table.'"

The Seahawks shake off a slow start and eliminate an early 9-0 deficit with a 21 point spurt in five minutes of the second quarter.

Seattle wins, 30-27.

Kansas City @ Denver (-3)

The Chiefs lost for the first time at home, falling 19-17 to the Buccaneers. Alex Smith passed for a touchdown and rushed for another, but threw a crucial interception in the end zone late.

"That's one Alex wishes he could have back," Andy Reid said. "Normally, Alex doesn't make risky throws. We teach him to avoid danger, and believe me, there's no danger of his passes going more than six yards down the field.

"Alex will learn from this. He stays mentally sharp with a regimen of meditation. 'Deep thought' is the only way he can go deep. Sometimes, Alex's spiritual journey travels further than some of his passes."

The Broncos are 7-3 on the year and 4-1 at home. After a bye week, the Denver defense will have Aqib Talib and Derek Wolfe back in the lineup.

"That will put our defense at full strength," Wade Phillips said. "If this team is to make a Super Bowl run, it will have to be on the coattails of the defense. And they know that. Before every game, I fill the chalkboard in the locker room with keys to our success. My defense really responds positively to this, because, after seeing our offense struggle often this year, they know the importance of 'putting points on the board.'"

Broncos win, 22-17.

Carolina @ Oakland (-4)

The Panthers beat the Saints 23-20 last Thursday night to improve to 4-6. Cam Newton completed only 14 of 33 passes, but his 40-yard scoring strike to Ted Ginn gave Carolina a 20-3 late in the first half.

"I'm not what one would call a 'touch' passer," Newton said. "Unless you consider a 'touch passer' a quarterback who complains every time he's touched.

"But let's face it, I get abused regularly and officials, for whatever reason, don't throw their flags. But here in Oakland, I don't need to worry about roughing. Instead, I need to be on the lookout for 'roofing.' I'm not sure if Sebastian Janikowski has ever scored a touchdown, but he definitely leads the league in 'spikes.' Holder Marquette King may be the bravest person in Oakland, because he's constantly turning his back to Janikowski."

The Raiders used a fourth quarter comeback to down the Texans 27-20 on Monday night in Mexico City. David Carr passed for 295 yards and 3 touchdowns as Oakland improved to 8-2.

"I don't think the players were really affected by the altitude," Carr said. "I can't say the same for the officials.

"We're alone at the top of the AFC West. If we stay there, there's a good chance we could me the Patriots in the playoffs. That would be a rematch of the 2001 AFC divisional game, or the 'Tuck Rule' game. I knows it's hypocritical of me to say this after what transpired in Mexico City, but in the 'Tuck Rule' game, the Raiders got 'officially screwed.'"

Panthers win, 28-26.

New England @ NY Jets (+8)

Tom Brady passed for 4 touchdowns in the Patriots 30-17 win over the 49ers in Santa Clara.

"I was born in the Bay Area," Brady said, "so this was a homecoming of sorts for me. I had a lot of friends and relatives watching from the stands. I was a huge 49ers fan growing up. I respect what Colin Kaepernick is doing, but I wish he would stand for the national anthem. Heck, I'll make a deal with him: if he'll put his hand on his heart, I'll put mine on a bible.

"And speaking of 'a lot of people watching,' we're playing the Jets, and I'm sure 'Spygate' will be a topic of discussion. There are a lot of misconceptions about that whole affair in which we supposedly secretly videotaped a Jets practice. Was it narrated by Allen Iverson? No, that's one of those misconceptions. Was it filmed by Abraham Zapruder? No, another misconception."

Ryan Fitzpatrick is back as the starter at quarterback for the Jets.

"In the choice between Fitzpatrick and Bryce Petty," Todd Bowles said, "my money is on Fitzpatrick. Actually, it's not my money, it's the organization's money."

Patriots win, 28-14.

Green Bay @ Philadelphia (-3)

While there were bright spots, rookie Carson Wentz struggled against the Seahawks defense in Seattle in Philly's 26-15 loss. Wentz was sacked twice and threw 2 interceptions.

"That was Carson's first experience versus the 'Legion Of Boom,'" Doug Pederson said. "Now, the Green Bay defense in no way compares to that of Seattle, so if Carson can't do better against the Packers, he will experience the 'Legion of Boos.'

"Monday Night Football in Philadelphia means drinking time. There's a sports bar in town called 'Ebriated,' and any Eagles fan worth a damn who doesn't have a ticket should be in 'Ebriated.'"

The Packers defense surrendered 515 yards of total offense in Green Bay's 42-24 loss at Washington last week. Green Bay has now lost four in a row after a 4-2 start.

"They're forecasting a low of 35 for Monday night," Aaron Rodgers said. "That's not the temperature, it's the points our defense will give up.

"You may have noticed that Mike McCarthy is growing a beard. It's certainly not a playoff beard. I think Mike realizes his job is in jeopardy, so when he shaves that beard off, he can show up to work and say, 'In case you wanted a 'new face' in the head coaching position, here it is.'"

Can the Packers avoid a fifth consecutive loss? If they can't, then no one will be saying "cheese" when they take a "playoff picture."

Rodgers throws for 3 touchdowns, and the Packers defense comes up with a crucial late turnover to seal the win.

Green Bay wins, 27-24.

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