NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 12

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

Chicago @ Detroit (+4)

The Lions upset the Panthers 20-19 at Ford Field and improved to 4-6.

"We practiced outdoors for a reason," Matt Patricia said. "I just wanted us to be prepared for the playoffs, because we'll be on the outside looking in.

"Nathan Peterman worked out for us last week. He didn't 'work out' for the Bills, and probably won't for any other NFL team. Maybe he can find a home in Canada, perhaps with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, because Nathan 'blows' and has 'bombed.'"

The Bears beat the Vikings on Sunday night 25-20. Chicago forced three turnovers, returning one for a score, and Mitch Trubisky did damaged through the air and with his feet.

"Mitch Trubisky played great," Matt Nagy said. "He's got legs, and he knows how to use them. As for opposing quarterbacks, our defense puts them under pressure. And for my final ZZ Top reference, watching the Lions/Bears on Thanksgiving at noon is a 'TV Lunch,' not a 'TV Dinner.'

"We have 32 sacks so far this season. The Raiders have just 9. Khalil Mack is such a great player, he's responsible for both of those numbers, and he's responsible for the term 'bull rush' having two very different meanings."

Bears win, 24-16.

Washington @ Dallas (-7½)

The Cowboys beat the Falcons 22-19 in Atlanta, powered by Ezekiel Elliott, who racked up 201 yards from scrimmage and a rushing touchdown. Dallas moved to within a game of the NFC East-leading Redskins.

"When Ezekiel says 'Feed me,'" Jason Garrett says, "he means it. Although they didn't realize it, the Falcons defense was saying 'Force feed me,' so we rammed it down their throat.

"It's an awesome time of the year. Nothing beats Dallas on Thanksgiving, except a better team, or Leon Lett and snow. You can just feel Thanksgiving in the air. How do you know it's Thanksgiving in Dallas? Sean Lee is on injured reserve."

The Redskins lost 23-21 at home to the Texans, a loss compounded by Alex Smith's broken ankle, suffered in the third quarter on a sack.

"We're confident that Colt McCoy can do the job at quarterback. He's got extensive NFL experience. In fact, if I told you our backup quarterback once started for the Cleveland Browns, you would say, 'Well, that could be any of about 35 quarterbacks.'

"We also signed Mark Sanchez for quarterback depth. Mark brings 10 years of experience and is an incredible locker room presence. He's always been a quarterback who has nothing but good things to say about his teammates, especially his offensive linemen. Some O-linemen say he's just a bit too complimentary. In other words, Brandon Moore isn't the only linemen he's brown-nosed."

Dallas wins, 24-14.

Atlanta @ New Orleans (-13)

The Saints demolished the visiting Eagles 45-7 as New Orleans piled up over 500 yards of total offense.

"No fire alarms went off in our locker room," Sean Payton said. "But I hear some fans in Philly have formed a group to demand Doug Pederson's ouster. They call themselves the 'Fire Department.'

"I don't think there's a team out there that can slow down our offense. Now, some may accuse us of running up the score on helpless defenses. To them, I say, 'Tough.' My philosophy is to never let up. Here in New Orleans, I call that giving 'No (French) Quarter.'"

The Falcons comeback bid fell short in a 22-19 loss to the visiting Cowboys at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. At 4-6, Atlanta's best hope is a wildcard bid.

"We realize the odds are astronomical," Matt Ryan said, "but that won't keep us from trying our darnedest. Unfortunately, you can probably just add 'odds' to the list of things we can't beat."

Saints win, 38-28.

Jacksonville @ Buffalo (+3)

The Jaguars unbelievably blew a 16-0 third quarter lead and lost to the Steelers, 19-16.

"We choked," Doug Marrone said. "And our 'Jag reflex' was really put to the test. It's a loss that's tough to swallow. Trust me, I lit in to my team after the game. It was loud. You could say it was full-throat.

"I used to be head coach in Buffalo, but I opted out of my contract at the end of the 2014 season. Much like when Nathan Peterman quarterbacks the Bills, I chose to go in another direction.

"There are whispers that Jalen Ramsey wants out of Jacksonville. Personally, I'm open to shopping him. No one questions Jalen's physical talent, but it's his mouth that is the problem. His mouth is bad; that must be why he bad mouths everyone."

The Bills had a Week 11 bye and are 3-7, tied with the Jets for last in the AFC East.

"Speaking of 'byes,'" Sean McDermott said, "we gave Nathan Peterman a permanent bye when we cut him. Hopefully, he can find work here, there, and everywhere. In any case, I wish him a safe 'journey man.'

"Kelvin Benjamin says he feels like he's reached 'rock bottom' this season. He's certainly can't be referring to his weight. If he's after a fat free agent contract, he better step up his game. There's a big difference in a 'fat contract for a free agent' and a 'contract for a fat free agent.'

Bills win, 17-13.

Cleveland @ Cincinnati (-3)

The Bengals lost 24-21 at Baltimore and dropped to 5-5 after their second straight defeat. Cincy had no answer for the Baltimore rushing game, which exploded for 265 yards, 117 from quarterback Lamar Jackson.

"I'm acting defensive coordinator," Marvin Lewis said, "so I take full responsibility for that display. I should be fired, but only as defensive coordinator, not as head coach. My job is safe. And as long as my job is safe, so are the chances of our potential opponent in the playoffs, should we qualify.

"We hired Hue Jackson as special assistant to the head coach. He's going to help us beat the Browns, because he has intimate knowledge of how to make them lose."

The Browns enjoyed a Week 11 bye after their win over the Falcons in Week 10. Cleveland is 3-6-1, last in the AFC North.

"The organization is interviewing candidates for the head coaching job," Baker Mayfield said, "including interim coach Gregg Williams and, rumor has it, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Many say interviewing Rice's will make history. I totally agree, because we have a history of not only interviewing unqualified candidates for head coach, but hiring them, as well."

Hue Jackson has intimate knowledge of the Browns game plan, but Williams and crew pull a fast one and do the opposite, which, interestingly enough, is what the Browns should have done when Jackson was still head coach.

Browns win, 29-27.

Miami @ Indianapolis (-9½)

The Colts kept their winning streak alive, hammering the visiting Titans 38-10 for their fourth consecutive win. T.Y. Hilton grabbed 9 receptions for 155 yards and 2 touchdowns.

"Now that's something to yell about," Andrew Luck said. "Offensive lineman Quenton Nelson can take the head off a defender, but T.Y. can take the top off of an entire defense. The only thing more doctored than me is the audio of a Quenton Nelson highlight reel.

"I was thrilled to be home for Thanksgiving. There's nothing like an Indianapolis Thanksgiving, especially at the home of Colts owner Jim Irsay. The turkey there is incredible. It's stuffed with $26,000 cash and prescription pain-killers."

The Dolphins emerged from their bye week ready to make a late push for a playoff spot. At 5-5, Miami is certainly not out of it, but will need improved play to make the necessary run.

"I know the odds are long," Adam Gase said, "but we certainly won't give up. This is not a team of quitters. Okay, there maybe just one. I challenged all my players, and that challenge was to challenge Reshad Jones to an 'I Quit' match."

Colts win, 34-21.

New England @ N.Y. Jets (+9½)

The Patriots had a Week 11 bye to access their lopsided 34-10 loss to the Titans. At 7-3, New England is in control if the AFC East.

"The Titans really beat us up," Tom Brady said. "I was so sore, I had to wear two pairs of my TB12 recovery pajamas, while sharing a bed with my fitness witch doctor Alex Guerrero.

"The stories of our demise have been greatly exaggerated. The loss to Tennessee was merely an aberration, because I gave my teammates a 'beration' after the loss."

Patriots win, 33-16.

N.Y. Giants @ Philadelphia (-6)

The Giants beat the Buccaneers 38-35 for their second straight win. New York's defense forced 3 Ryan Fitzpatrick turnovers, while Saquon Barkley collected 152 yards from scrimmage and scored 3 touchdowns.

"Just when we thought the 'Magic' was done with," Eli Manning said, "Dirk Koetter said 'Presto! Change-O' and a new quarterback appeared.

"If we're going to win our next six, we're gonna have go out there crazier than crazed dogs. And if anyone knows how to evoke that behavior, it's Lawrence Taylor. L.T. may be the greatest motivational speaker ever. But the real question is, 'Where did L.T. find his motivation?' My guess is anywhere possible. Every nook, every cranny, and especially, every crack."

The Eagles were destroyed 48-7 in New Orleans and fell to 4-6, and now likely have to win their final six games to make the playoffs and defend their 2017 Super Bowl title.

"Sure," Doug Pederson, "I would characterize that performance as 'shitty,' but we've got two home games coming up at Lincoln Financial Center. Educated Eagles fans would call that 'One in the 'stink,' two in the 'Linc.'

"Last season, we had a fairy tale ending. What we need now is a fairy tale beginning. So here goes: 'Once upon a time, the Eagles won a Super Bowl.' The key word there is 'once.'"

Eagles win, 30-27.

San Francisco @ Tampa Bay (-3½)

Ryan Fitzpatrick tossed 3 interceptions before being yanked for Jameis Winston, who nearly completed a Bucs comeback with 4 touchdown drives in an eventual 38-35 loss.

"The opening coin toss in Tampa Bay is not what you think," Dirk Koetter said. "It's actually me flipping a coin to determine who our starting quarterback is. 'Heads' it's Harvard-educated Fitzpatrick; 'tails' it's perennial ass-clown Winston."

Tampa wins, 31-24.

Seattle @ Carolina (-3½)

The Seahawks beat the Packers 27-24 on Thursday night. Russell Wilson threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Ed Dickson with 5:08 left, and the Seattle defense forced a three-and-out. Seattle's offense ran the clock out to secure the win.

"I live for the moments in life when I can tell someone to 'Sit on it,'" Pete Carroll said. "Those are truly happy days. Especially on game days. Sunday, Monday, happy days. Thursday, happy days."

The Panthers lost 20-19 at Detroit after a two-point conversion attempt to win the game failed.

"Anytime you go for two and fail," Ron Rivera said, "you, as a coach, are totally responsible ... for providing a rambling, unconvincing explanation of why it was the right decision to go for the win.

"But the decision ultimately falls on me. Maybe we should have kicked the extra point and hoped for overtime. But when you give up 52 points and lose by 31, it's difficult to recognize the importance of a single point.

"But we have to forget about what happened in Detroit and focus on the Seahawks. It's like I told Devin Funchess: 'You've got to drop it.' I immediately regretted my choice of words."

Carolina wins, 27-24.

Oakland @ Baltimore (-11)

The Raiders beat the Cardinals 23-21, winning on Daniel Carlson's 35-yard field goal as time expired.

"Daniel will sleep well tonight," Jon Gruden said. "And not because he's going out for drinks with his predecessor and roofie merchant Sebastian Janikowski. Daniel can sleep well knowing he's responsible for 50% of our wins, which may also be the case come early January.

"My goal is to return this organization to glory, like it enjoyed in the 1970's and 1980's, when the Raiders were winning Super Bowls with stickum, steroids, and stretching the rule book. Those are the '3 S's,' but most people could give '3 S's' what this franchise did in the past.

"I just can't wait until we get to Las Vegas in 2020. I can see it now: casinos inside the stadium, and a craps table aptly named the 'Holy Roller.'"

The Ravens snapped a three-game losing streak, beating the Bengals behind the play of Lamar Jackson, who started for the injured Joe Flacco and rushed for 117 yards on 27 rushes.

"Let's face it," John Harbaugh said, "Lamar is a running quarterback. And I see his workload increasing. Lamar may even 'take a run' at Flacco's starting job.

"Marvin Lewis said 'quarterbacks can't run forever.' He's probably right. But coaches can't coach forever. If, somehow, they could, Marvin's playoff record would be '0-forever.'"

Ravens win, 27-14.

Arizona @ L.A. Chargers (-12½)

The Chargers lost a 19-7 third quarter lead and lost to the visiting Broncos 23-22. Los Angeles fell to 7-3.

"You could have heard a pin drop inside StubHub Center," Philip Rivers said. "Unfortunately, that's the sound of our fans cheering.

"Joey Bosa played, and was a factor on defense. His foot looks to be healed. I just thank the heavens there's no Bosa named 'Richard,' because with the Bosa family history of foot injuries, we'd have no choice but to call him 'Limp Dick.'"

Chargers win, 30-15.

Pittsburgh @ Denver (+3½)

The Steelers completed a wild comeback in Jacksonville, stunning the Jaguars 19-16 on Ben Roethlisberger's 1-yard touchdown run with five seconds left.

"The Jaguars like to talk trash," Roethlisberger said. "I like to talk 'recycling,' like how I take their words and use them against them.

"I texted Le'Veon just hours before the deadline to report. He didn't even bother to answer. That's just bad phone etiquette. I even messaged him on Instagram. He 'IGnored' me. It's too bad he's not with us. Le'Veon would love Denver. That Denver thin air coupled with the scent of legal marijuana has to be appealing to him. They don't call it 'Mild High Stadium' for nothing."

The Broncos stunned the Chargers, 23-22, at StubHub Stadium, erasing a 19-7 deficit to improve to 4-6.

"Kudos to all the Denver fans in Los Angeles who came out to support us," Vance Joseph said. "Broncos fans travel very well, often better than the team, as our 2-3 road record would suggest."

Pittsburgh wins, 26-17.

Green Bay @ Minnesota (-3½)

The Packers fell 27-24 on Thursday night at Seattle and are now 4-5-1.

"Mike McCarthy and I don't see eye to eye on a lot of things," Aaron Rodgers said. "Like our insurance companies. I'm a State Farm guy; Mike is Progressive. We also disagree on our play-calling philosophies. I'm progressive; Mike is anything but.

"We probably have to run the table to make the playoffs. I've got it under control, so Packers fans, you can 'R-E-L-A-X.' I've said 'Relax' so much, I'm going to start calling myself 'Aaron Goes to Hollywood (to Play the Rams After We Run the Table and Win Our Wild Card Game).'"

The Bears bullied the Vikings on Sunday night, handing Minnesota a 25-20 loss. At 5-4-1, the Vikes trail the 7-3 Bears in the NFC North.

"The Bears just took control of the division," Mike Zimmer said. "Maybe they did, but we still feel like we're a playoff caliber team. Does that make us the 'Minnesota Wild?' And speaking of hockey, is our NHL counterpart known as the 'Minnesota Checking Crew?'"

Minnesota wins, 30-24.

Tennessee @ Houston (-6½)

The Texans nipped the Redskins 23-21 to claim their seventh consecutive win.

"That's seven wins in a row," DeAndre Hopkins said. "I look at our schedule and I really don't see us losing. That would give us a 13 in a row. If you would have told anyone at the beginning of the season that Houston would have a 13-game winning streak, they would have said, 'That's major league.'"

Titans win, 24-23.

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