NFL Week 12 - Sunday Preview Part 1

NFL Week 12 - Sunday Preview Part 1

Arizona Cardinals (4-5-1) @ Atlanta Falcons (6-4) - Georgia Dome

There is plenty on the line when the Cardinals visit the Falcons in a pivotal NFC matchup at the Georgia Dome on Sunday. The Cardinals can ill afford another loss having narrowly gone down to Minnesota last week. Despite being one of the pre-season favourites for the Super Bowl, the Cardinals have fallen well below expectations. Some of that falls on Carson Palmer's shoulders who appears on a permanent decline as his numbers continue to go south with just 13 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. The Falcons are coming off a loss in Philadelphia as they look to avoid a repeat of last year's fade where they went from 6-2 to out of the playoffs and 8-8. 

Verdict - Falcons 31 Cardinals 24

I think the Falcons can get another win here as I think their offense is high powered at home. Carson Palmer looks every bit the ageing quarterback right now and I can't see him suddenly finding form for a desperate Cardinals here. Falcons to win a relatively high scoring contest. 

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-8) @ Buffalo Bills (5-5)-  Ralph Wilson Stadium

The Bills look to keep pace with the AFC playoff picture as they host the struggling Jaguars on Sunday. Buffalo gained a crucial 16-12 victory at Cincinnati last week to keep their name in the Wild card race. However they can ill afford another slip up. Buffalo can get to 6-5 for the first time since 2009 with a victory over a team that has now lost five games in a row. The Jaguars have the 7th ranked defence in the NFL, however have only managed 5 turnovers whilst they have given up an alarming 22. 

Verdict - Bills 30 Jaguars 13

This should be a gimme game for Buffalo. The Bills' defence should be able to feast on a Jaguars' team that have already given up 22 turnovers this season. The Jags have been the huge disappointment this year and I can see them struggling to get to even four wins for the year. 

Tennessee Titans (5-6) @ Chicago Bears (2-8) Solider Field

This is a must win game for the Titans if they want to keep their slim playoff chances alive when they visit Solider Field to take on the reeling Bears on Sunday. The Titans have not made the playoffs since 2008 and their cause wasn't helped by a second straight loss to divisional rivals the Colts in Indianapolis last Sunday. It was the eleventh straight loss for Tennessee against Indianapolis and kept them two games behind Division leader Houston. The Bears were improved in their loss last week against the Giants, however are enduring a nightmare season. Matt Barkley is preparing to start his first NFL game in place of the injured Jay Cutler. 

Verdict - Titans 29 Bears 19

Titans get a win here to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Bears have been awful this year and with a rookie quarterback having his first start and with plenty of injuries I can't see them rallying for a win here. 

New York Giants (7-3) @ Cleveland Browns (0-11) - Browns Stadium

The Giants will be confident of a sixth straight victory when they head to Cleveland to take on the winless Browns. The Giants have not made the playoffs since they last won the Super Bowl in 2012. Whilst they were far from convincing last week against theBears, quarterback Eli Manning rallied them back with two third quarter touchdown passes. The Browns appear to be getting further and further away from a win as they have been blown out in their last 3 losses to the Cowboys, Ravens and Steelers. Whilst Hue Jackson still appears to be getting effort from his men, the chances of them winning a game this season appear to be getting slimmer. 

Verdict - Giants 31 Browns 20

The Giants are a team that make their fans sweat and I can see them having to work hard for this victory. They nearly blew a game at home last week against the Bears, however, with so much riding on this game, I can't see anything other than a Saints' victory against the winless Browns. 

San Francisco 49ers (1-10) @ Miami Dolphins (6-4) - New Miami Stadium

Two teams with completely contrasting fortunes meet when the 49ers visit the Dolphins on Sunday. The 49ers have lost nine straight, having not won since the opening day of the season. A 10th straight loss would take them past the 1978 49ers who lost 9 straight games in a record for futility. The Dolphins managed to escape last week with a gutsy 14-10 win against the Rams, having looked horrible on offense for three and a half quarters. Having lost 4 of their opening 5 games this season all looked lost for the Dolphins, however remarkably they have won 5 straight and will finally get their chances of making it 6 on Sunday. 

Verdict - Dolphins 23 49ers 20

I anticipate this game is going to be closer than expected. The 49ers have played quite well in their last two losses against the Cardinals and Patriots, with quarterback Colin Kaepernick starting to regather some form. However with the Dolphins being at home and inspired by their comeback win against the Rams I think they will do enough here to go 7-4 and remain right in the thick of the playoff race. 

Los Angeles Rams (4-6) @ New Orleans Saints (4-6) - Superdome

It's a battle of two teams down to their last chance when the Rams head to New Orleans to take on the Saints on Sunday. Los Angeles blew a 10-0 nothing lead in the 4th quarter in a damaging home loss to the Dolphins last Sunday. Number 1 draft pick Jared Goff made his first NFL start going 17 for 31 for 134 yards in wet and sloppy conditions. The Saints are fresh off a bye after a similarly heartbreaking 25-23 home loss to the Broncos when a blocked field goal cost them the game as the Broncos ran it back for a touchdown. Drew Brees continues to play at a high level with 26 touchdowns to only 18 interceptions, however will have to be at his best against a Rams' side conceding just 18 points per game. 

Verdict - Saints 30 Rams 14

I see the Saints winning this game in dominant fashion at home. They were unlucky to lose to Denver at home last week, but Denver are a superior outfit to the Rams. Drew Brees up against rookie Jared Goff is a mismatch on paper and I think it will appearthat way on the field.