Gerry Dulac's NFL Forecast: Week 12

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Last week: 12-2 (.857)

Season record: 99-61 (.618)

Houston Texans (9-1) at Detroit Lions (4-6), 12:30 p.m., Thursday

The Skinny: The Texans are the only team in the league that hasn't lost a road game this season (4-0). They appear to be in control of the No. 1 playoff seed in the AFC, unless they go and do something goofy, like, uh, lose to the Lions.

Prediction: Texans, 27-24

Washington Redskins (4-6) at Dallas Cowboys (5-5), 4:15 p.m., Thursday

The Skinny: It would have been vintage Dallas if, after a good victory against the division-rival Eagles, they turned around and lost to the Browns. It certainly appeared they were going to do just that until they rallied from a 13-0 deficit in the second half.

Prediction: Cowboys, 31-27

New England Patriots (7-3) at New York Jets (4-6), 8:20 p.m., Thursday

The Skinny: The Patriots have won four in a row and padded their league-best points-per-game total after scoring 59 points -- most in the NFL -- against the Colts. Of course, it helps the total when you get three scoring returns. This is the last hurrah for the Jets.

Prediction: Patriots, 24-20

Steelers (6-4) at Cleveland Browns (2-8), 1 p.m., Sunday

The Skinny: History will show the Steelers have won 16 of the past 17 meetings with the Browns. It will also show they haven't lost back-to-back games since Week 13 of the 2009 season. And recent history will show the defense has allowed just three offensive TDs in the past four games.

Prediction: Steelers, 20-13

Minnesota Vikings (6-4) at Chicago Bears (7-3), 1 p.m., Sunday

The Skinny: To illiustrate the sorry state of backup quarterbacks in the NFL, the Bears paid $3 million to acquire Jason Campbell this season in case Jay Cutler got hurt. They didn't want to get stuck with another Caleb Henie situation like 2011. Guess what?

Prediction: Vikings, 17-13

Oakland Raiders (3-7) at Cincinnati Bengals (5-5), 1 p.m., Sunday

The Skinny: Carson Palmer returns to Cincinnati to face the team that drafted him No. 1 overall in 2003. He has 365 yards passing in the past three games. The Bengals have won two in a row by thumping the teams whom the Steelers struggled with a week earlier.

Prediction: Bengals, 34-17

Buffalo Bills (4-6) at Indianapolis Colts (6-4), 1 p.m., Sunday

The Skinny: Not even the Bills, who have allowed the second-most points in the league (299), allowed 59 points in a game this season. Of course, the Colts had three scoring returns against them in their 35-point loss to the Patriots. Their Luck will change.

Prediction: Colts, 33-23

Tennessee Titans (4-6) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9), 1 p.m., Sunday

The Skinny: Just when you thought the Jaguars were the worst team in the NFL, they go and do something crazy like almost beat the Texans in overtime. Would anybody be crazy enough then to pick the Jaguars over the Titans?

Prediction: Jaguars, 24-23

Denver Broncos (7-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-9), 1 p.m., Sunday

The Skinny: The Broncos have won five in a row and have not exactly sneaked away with victories. They have stormed to the finish, scoring 121 points in the fourth quarter, tied for most in the league. That means the Chiefs, who do not start fast, better start fast.

Prediction: Broncos, 27-13

Seattle Seahawks (6-4) at Miami Dolphins (4-6), 1 p.m., Sunday

The Skinny: The difference between the surprising Seahawks and the once-surprising Dolphins is that the Seahawks have won two in a row and the Dolphins have lost three in a row. But, 1 p.m., Sunday games on the east coast are brutal are teams traveling from the west coast.

Prediction: Dolphins, 23-16

Atlanta Falcons (9-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-4), 1 p.m., Sunday

The Skinny: The highest scoring team in the past six weeks? Surprisingly, it's the Buccaneers, who have scored a league-high 205 points in that span and won their past four games. They could make the NFC South a bit more interesting by beating the Falcons.

Prediction: Buccaneers, 28-27

Baltimore Ravens (8-2) at San Diego Chargers (4-6), 4:05 p.m., Sunday

The Skinny: Maybe the Ravens will get caught between a victory against the Steelers and looking ahead to a rematch in Baltimore with their division rival. Maybe the Chargers will finally play like the team ... ahhh, forget it.

Prediction: Ravens, 24-16

St. Louis Rams (3-6-1) at Arizona Cardinals (4-6), 4:25 p.m., Sunday

The Skinny: Only the Chiefs and Jaguars have lost more consecutive games than the Cardinals, who have soiled their 4-0 start by losing six in a row. That streak began with a loss to the Rams, which, coincidentally, is the last time the Rams won a game.

Prediction: Cardinals, 20-16

San Francisco 49ers (7-2-1) at New Orleans Saints (5-5), 4:15 p.m., Sunday

The Skinny: After a 1-4 start, the Saints have bounced back to win four of their past five games. How far they have come back will be measured against the 49ers, who fast, aggressive defense has allowed a league-low 134 points.

Prediction: 49ers, 20-17

Green Bay Packers (7-3) at New York Giants (6-4), 8:20 p.m., Sunday

The Skinny: The Giants needed a bye week after back-to-back losses to the Steelers and Bengals to correct some of their problems on offense. The Packers, who have won five in a row, have corrected their issues. But these are the kind of big games the Giants seem to win.

Prediction: Giants, 28-24

Carolina Panthers (2-8) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-7), 8:30 p.m., Monday

The Skinny: "How I Met Your Mother" and "Mike and Molly" on CBS. "Dancing With the Stars" on ABC. "The Voice" on NBC. "Bones" and "Mob Doctor" on Fox. No need to thank me.

Prediction: Eagles, 15-12 mobilehome - dulacspicks

Gerry Dulac: gdulac@post-gazette.com


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