What a snoozer Saturday of college football. Anyway, week 12 of the NFL started with the NFL’s version of hell freezing over. The Oakland Raiders won a football game for the first time in 369 days. This snapped a 16 game losing streak dating back to last season. Even more shocking was the fact that a team as solid as Kansas City would let themselves lose a game like this. Even though Kansas City had a short week and had to travel, losing to a 0-10 team is inexcusable, especially when you are competing with a team like Denver in the division. I still think they are a real threat, but this is going to be a tough one to forget. The Raiders are terrible, but it looks like they may have found their QB of the future in Derek Carr. He’s started every game and has over 2200 yards, 14 TDs and 9 INTs. For a rookie on a 1-10 team, that is really impressive. As for the rest of the big games this week, I’ll start close to home.
Cincinnati (6-3-1) at Houston (5-5)-Which Bengals team will show up this week? The short answer is I have no idea. If you do, please let me know. I do know that I really liked what I saw from Houston last week in Cleveland. The defense was always solid let by J.J. Watt, but give them some decent QB play like they got last week from new starter Ryan Mallet, and they become really tough to deal with. Also, Cincinnati’s last two trips to this building were blowout playoff losses. Houston gets into the thick of the playoff race with a win here. Hou 24 Cin 20
Cleveland (6-4) at Atlanta (4-6)-Cleveland is 6-4 and in last place in their division and Atlanta is 4-6 and leads theirs, for whatever that is worth. Atlanta is tough at home. They have no defense, but can score with anybody. I’m just not sure Cleveland’s offensive personnel led by QB Brian Hoyer is good enough to exploit Atlanta’s defensive woes. Yes, WR Josh Gordon is back from suspension, but don’t expect him to do much in his first game back. If I’m right about these top 2 results, the AFC north becomes a huge mess. Atl 35 Cle 24
Miami (6-4) at Denver (7-3)-My Broncos are banged up and have no running game right now. Peyton Manning’s favorite target in big spots this year has been Emmanuel Sanders. He’s been dealing with a concussion all week, but should be a go. TE Julius Thomas is likely a no go with a bum ankle. The top 2 RBs Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman are already ruled out. Denver has had all week to prepare for the impact of these injuries, and I don’t expect them to waste Oakland’s favor from Thursday. Miami is going to try to keep Peyton on the sidelines by running the ball, the problem is that run defense is Denver’s strength. Denver will have to grind here, but I’m confident. Den 28 Mia 16
Detroit (7-3) @ New England (8-2)-I’ll finish this week with the shortest preview I’ll ever do. New England knows how to win big games. The Lions know how to lose big games. The Packers take control of the NFC north. NE 34 Det 17
I’ll also take Seattle to send Arizona crashing back to earth and the Giants to upset the Cowboys on Sunday night. Look for a weekend wrap-up and Thanksgiving Day preview Tuesday.