Gerry Dulac's NFL Forecast: Week 12
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Last week: 10-6 (.625)
Season record: 109-67 (.619)
New Orleans Saints (5-6) at Atlanta Falcons (10-1), 8:30 p.m., Thursday
The Skinny: The Saints' chance to make a late-season push to the playoffs got somewhat derailed with last week's loss to the 49ers. But they get another crack at the Falcons after handing them their only loss of the season three weeks ago. Depending on your perspective, the Falcons are either displaying resiliency or showing signs of slipping. Their past three victories have been by a total of 11 points.
Prediction: Falcons, 34-30
Steelers (6-5) at Baltimore Ravens (9-2), 4:25 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: The Ravens have an uncanny knack for finding ways to win games, just ask the Chargers. Conversely, the Steelers have shown a knack for losing to teams they should defeat. And they've never beaten the Ravens without Ben Roethlisberger.
Prediction: Ravens, 23-9
Indianapolis Colts (7-4) at Detroit Lions (4-7), 1 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: Ironic, isn't it, that Bruce Arians has the Colts a game up on the Steelers in the wild-card playoff picture? The Colts still have two games remaining with the Texans, but they also play the Chiefs and Titans. A win here puts them in good stead.
Prediction: Colts, 34-31
New England Patriots (8-3) at Miami Dolphins (5-6), 1 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: The Patriots are averaging a league-best 37 points after scoring 108 in the past two combined. And they helped the total with five scoring returns in the past two games. This should eliminate the Dolphins as a wild-card threat, leaving only the Bengals.
Prediction: Patriots, 34-23
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9) at Buffalo Bills (4-7), 1 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: Are the Jaguars starting to come to life, despite an offense that can't score and a defense that can't prevent points? After taking the Texans to overtime, they followed with a victory against the Titans. Can they make it two in a row? The Bills have lost four of the past five.
Prediction: Bills, 24-23
Seattle Seahawks (6-5) at Chicago Bears (8-3), 1 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: The Bears are a much different team with Jay Cutler at quarterback, which they proved against the Vikings. And the Seahawks are much different team on the road (1-5) than they are at home (5-0).
Prediction: Bears, 24-13
Minnesota Vikings (6-5) at Green Bay Packers (7-4), 1 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: The Packers play four of their final five games against NFC North teams. If they want to stay close to the Bears, they would be advised to fix their problems in the offensive line and avoid performances such as the one against the Giants.
Prediction: Packers, 31-21
Carolina Panthers (3-8) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-10), 1 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: The Chiefs continue to play good teams close -- Ravens, Steelers and now Broncos. But they continue to keep losing. And, in a matchup of quarterbacks, it's tough to like Brady Quinn over Cam Newton.
Prediction: Panthers, 17-13
Arizona Cardinals (4-7) at New York Jets (4-7), 1 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: No team has a longer losing streak than the Cardinals, who have lost seven in a row after their 4-0 start. But the Jets are trying to keep pace. They have lost four of their past five games and have lost by an average of 18.8 points in their seven defeats. Ugh.
Prediction: Jets, 23-16
San Francisco 49ers (8-2-1) at St. Louis Rams (4-6-1), 1 p.m. Sunday
The Skinny: The 49ers lead the league in fewest points allowed (155), but the Rams managed the second-highest total against them in the 24-24 tie in the first meeting. Their newest star is QB Colin Kaepernick, who has averaged 31.5 points in two starts.
Prediction: 49ers, 27-14
Houston Texans (10-1) at Tennessee Titans (4-7), 1 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: The Titans need to hope that the Texans might still be exhausted after playing 10 quarters in five days. However, the Texans are the league's only undefeated road team (5-0) and will set a franchise record for single-season victories with a win.
Prediction: Texans, 24-13
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5) at Denver Broncos (8-3), 4:05 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: Two of the hottest teams in the league: The Bucs had their four-game win streak ended with a one-point loss to the Falcons; the Broncos have won six in a row. Peyton Manning has a mile-high 110.2 passer rating at home.
Prediction: Broncos, 27-24
Cleveland Browns (3-8) at Oakland Raiders (3-8), 4:25 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: The team share at least one achievement in common ??? they both own home victories against the Steelers. Maybe the Browns learned a little something about how to finish off games, a lesson easily enabled when the other team commits eight turnovers.
Prediction: Browns, 26-24
Cincinnati Bengals (6-5) at San Diego Chargers (4-7), 4:15 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: The Bengals have won three in a row to tie the Steelers for second in the division and wild-card race. The Chargers could have helped the Steelers if they prevented a fourth-and-29 conversion against the Ravens. Maybe they will here.
Prediction: Chargers, 20-17
Philadelphia Eagles (3-8) at Dallas Cowboys (5-6), 8:20 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: To borrow an expression from the late Beano Cook -- haven't we suffered enough?? The only thing worse than watching the Eagles on prime-time TV two weeks in a row is getting all the camera shots of Jerry Jones in the owners box.
Prediction: Cowboys, 27-15
New York Giants (7-4) at Washington Redskins (5-6), 8:30 p.m., Monday
The Skinny: It is probably a safe bet that the Redskins won???t let Victor Cruz get deep in the middle of the field in the final minute this time. Of course, if the Giants play as they did in dismantling the Packers, the final minute won't matter in this game.
Prediction: Giants, 27-17
First Published November 28, 2012 2:15 pm