Buffalo @ Kansas City
Last week the Bills started Nathan Peterman over Tyrod Taylor. It was a tough decision for coach Sean McDermott and the Buffalo front office. Thankfully for them, by halftime on Sunday Peterman had made it clear what the correct decision was. It wasn’t the one they had made, but at least he didn’t waste their time in exhibiting his ineptitude. Now Tyrod Taylor is back as the Bills’ starter, and if he can manage to throw four or less interceptions in the first half against KC he should be able to keep the job. “Easier said than done” said Nathan Peterman when reached for comment. It’s not as if the Chiefs are coming off a great performance either, having lost to the dreary Giants, but they have to like their chances to get back on the rails against a Buffalo team that has given up 135 points over the last three weeks. The only easier way to get back on the rails would be to book a ticket with Amtrak! Let’s just be done with this one.
Tennessee @ Indianapolis
Get your popcorn ready! Then sit down on the couch and start a movie ... or make a necklace ... or enter that local popcorn contest. Basically do anything you can to avoid watching this game. Unless, of course, you’re a Titans fan, in which case this should be a lot of fun for you. Also, pleased to meet you, you’re the second Titans fan I’ve ever come across!
Cleveland @ Cincinnati
It’s Week 12 and the two Ohio teams have combined for four wins. Quick, guess how many of those belong to the Browns ... Did you say zero? Good. If you said anything else you must have been living under a rock for the past couple months; but even still you probably should have been able to guess. Considering the uniform match-up we’ll be seeing a lot of orange in this one. If you’re looking at the Homeland Security chart that would mean the terror threat level is high. But since that doesn’t apply here we’ll us my new NFL Inferiority chart. According to it, orange indicates a high probability of viewers questioning their own sanity. And if you watch this entire game, I have to questions yours as well.
Tampa Bay @ Atlanta
The Bucs enter this game at 4-6 and would need to win out to have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs. Of course, that means they need to win this game, which could prove difficult seeing as how Ryan Fitzpatrick will still be Tampa’s quarterback and I have to wonder if he has a problem getting motivated for games that aren't against teams he used to play for. At this point most of the league are ex-employers of his, so it’s rare to find a match-up in which there’s no shared history, however, this is one. Of course, you could probably convince me that Fitzpatrick started a half-season for the Falcons in 2001. I honestly don’t know how old Fitzpatrick is, all I can tell you is that I no longer remember an NFL without him. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him front row center in the 1948 Chicago Cardinals team photo holding a placard like Jack Torrance in the Shining.
Miami @ New England
One month ago the Dolphins were mysteriously 4-2. No one understood it, but it happened and there was seemingly nothing we could do about it. But that’s not entirely true, we could wait; wait and let their natural lousiness rise to the surface, like a polluted lake. And rise the lousiness has! They’re now 4-6 with a total point differential of -97, which is 3rd worst in the league. To make matters (possibly) worse Jay Cutler may miss this game with a concussion. I wouldn’t be surprised if Cutler started purposefully flunking the concussion protocol in the weeks to come so that he doesn’t have to play football again this season, and subsequently for the rest of his life. Look, I’m not trying to trivialize his injury, or say that he’s faking it, but I doubt he’d be too upset if he never had to make another start again, because, as we all know, Jay Cutler hates football.
Chicago @ Philadelphia
The Eagles are in the driver seat in the NFC and at 9-1 can lay claim to being the best team in the NFL. They’re laying waste to everyone in their path, leaving me to wonder, are they making teams look lousy or playing lousy teams? A cursory glance at the schedule reveals that they’ve only played two teams with a better than .500 record, going 1-1 in those contests. That being said, Philly has routinely blown out lesser opponents, and, due to a quirk in the NFL bylaws, they can only play who is on their schedule. They have consecutive road games at Seattle and LA (Rams) in weeks 13 and 14, so stiffer tests are on the horizon. But this is Week 12, and these are the Bears, so 10-1 it is.
Carolina @ New York Jets
Earlier this week, on the anniversary of his 2008 arrest Cam Newton posted his mug shot to Instagram in an effort to teach or inspire or whatever. To me that’s not what matters here though, what matters is the font Cam Newton uses on Instagram. What the hell is that, wingdings? I looked at it and honestly thought I’d missed another iOS update. Why does everything he does have to be so insufferable? Maybe another arrest would teach him a lesson. Nothing serious that will result in any real jail time, but just harrowing enough to make him reconsider his press conference wardrobe, his press conference behavior, and his choice of social media fonts.
Seattle @ San Francisco
The 49ers have announced that they will continue to start C.J. Beathard at quarterback. It’s a head-scratching maneuver that makes one wonder, “Is this lice? Oh shit, it is! It is lice! Aw man, now I have to get a special shampoo and burn my bed sheets. Also, wait why the hell are the Niners still starting C.J. Beathard?” To be fair to Beat Hard his last start was San Francisco’s first win of the season and his best game as a pro, so maybe there’s something to be said for momentum. Though, momentum advocates would probably also point to the downward trajectory of the Niners’ doomed season and suggest that it might be time to give your new, presumed quarterback of the future a shot at a start. Then again, I’ve never met a momentum advocate. I mean I’m sure I have, but to my recollection it’s never come up in conversation. For this Sunday’s game, one thing I can predict with absolute certitude is a staggering amount of Jimmy Garoppolo sideline cut-aways from Fox. In fact, they may just go with a side-by-side shot every time Beathard drops back.
New Orleans @ Los Angeles Rams
The Rams’ surprisingly high-powered offense has only scored less than 27 points three times this season. Those three occasions just so happen to be their three losses. Coincidence? I think not. It’s a troubling trend that, for their sake, coach Sean McVay has hopefully pointed out to them. To make matters worse for LA, the visiting Saints have surrendered just under 20 points per game this season. I’m just crunching numbers here guys, but this could be bad news for the Rams.
Jacksonville @ Arizona
The Jags come into this game at 7-3, having won 4 in a row. Meanwhile the Cardinals’ season has entered into a downward spiral and they're now 4-6. All signs point to Jacksonville cruising past Arizona in this one, well all signs except for one, the sign that’s big and blinking and says, “Blaine Gabbert Revenge Game!” That’s right, the ex-Jaguars QB is going up against his former mates and I can only imagine he has a bloodthirsty rage to conquer those bastards that let him go years ago. Don’t be surprised when you pop this game on in the fourth quarter and see Gabbert foaming at the mouth on the sidelines with the Cardinals up 20. At the same time, don’t be shocked if he’s foaming at the mouth after a vicious hit with Arizona losing 31-0.
Denver @ Oakland
Foolishly I picked Denver to win last week. The only explanation I can come up with is that I forgot Brock Osweiler was their starting quarterback. And honestly, I’m not certain the Broncos remembered either. They must have finally noticed, because they’ve now inserted Paxton Lynch into the starting role. Will this put an end to Denver’s six game losing streak? I highly doubt it. To be honest I don’t know a ton about Lynch, but here’s what I do know: 1. He has a soul patch 2. Until this week the Broncos felt more comfortable starting Brock Osweiler than him. Neither of these are good, I just can’t decide which is worse. Consequently I can’t pick Denver here.
Green Bay @ Pittsburgh
The Packers are coming off being shutout at home and heading straight into a road match-up against one of the best teams in the league. That would seem to be too much for Green Bay to handle, but let’s see what SNF analyst Cris Collinsworth has to say:
I promise to be vigilant CriColl.
Houston @ Baltimore
Last week the Ravens notched their third shutout win of the season. Shutouts now account for over half of Baltimore’s victories this year (they’re 5-5), meaning if I think they’re going to win, logic would dictate that I should pick them to blank the other team. That’s a lot to ask though when the Ravens are going up against “Touchdown” Tommy Savage, a man who, in fact, has thrown multiple touchdowns this season (full disclosure, I had to look that up to make sure). In reality, the Ravens' D facing the Savage Texans is like an immovable object going up against an immovable object. Which I guess means Houston won’t even snap the ball? How would that even work, just endless delay of game penalties? Might be overthinking this now ...