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NFC Week 12 Preview

Athletes in Motion
Athletes in Motion
November 25, 2015
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NFC week 12 preview

Sports Analyst Tim CarrollTim is a freelance Sports Reporter with previous work in the Daily Vidette at Illinois State University.

Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 26th, 2015.

Philadelphia Eagles (4-6) at Detroit Lions (3-7)


The Eagles have been such an incredible disappointment this season. DeMarco Murray is either not the right running back for a Chip Kelly type of offense, or he got his paycheck and packed it in. I believe it’s the first option, but I just can’t tell. The blocking hasn’t been that bad in my opinion. And I realize he’s more of a power runner, but still, he’s not exactly slow. They’ll head into Detroit Thursday with a hope of keeping their season alive, but with the Cowboys getting healthy and Washington still in the mix all behind New York, Philly seems like the weakest link at this point. Detroit is playing in a lost season, but may be able to get momentum for next season with a solid second half to close the season out.

Prediction: Detroit 27, Philadelphia 24.

Carolina Panthers (10-0) at Dallas Cowboys (3-7)


It’s a tough break for the Cowboys; just as they get healthy, they have to play the undefeated Panthers. Luckily for them, it’s at home and the Cowboys are feeling very confident after Romo’s showing against the Dolphins. Carolina has been extremely good this season, and Cam Newton is one of the top MVP candidates in the league, but are they truly a 10-0 team because they are that good, or has luck played a role? Luck plays a role in every team’s season, for better or worse, but my point is that they’ll have to lose a game down the stretch they technically shouldn’t, and it could be this game. Tony Romo will have this team supremely confident heading into this game, and Dez Bryant and co. will likely help him put up some points on one of the most talented defenses in the league. Expect a nail-biter.

Prediction: Dallas 28, Carolina 26.

Chicago Bears (4-6) at Green Bay Packers (7-3)


The Packers have finally gotten back into the win column following 3 straight losses, flexing their muscles against NFC North rival (and then division-leading) Minnesota Vikings. Aaron Rodgers got back on track and showed why he is still the toast of this division, and that this division will go through him as long as he’s healthy. The Bears fell to the very same Broncos team that beat up the Packers badly, and Cutler and Co. stayed with them in Osweiler’s first start. But this game will come down to who puts more pressure on the quarterback. The Bears’ defense is good, and Pernell McPhee appears to be the guy the Bears actually thought they were getting, but he’s not enough to throw Rodgers off his game. Even if the score is close, don’t expect many Packer fans sweating the outcome.

Prediction: Green Bay 31, Chicago 20.


Sunday, November 29th, 2015.

New York Giants (5-5) at Washington Redskins (4-6)


This was a game that nobody thought would mean anything before the season, as the consensus was that Washington wouldn’t do much damage in an otherwise scary NFC East. But with all of Dallas’ injury woes and Philly’s disappointment, Washington finds themselves in the thick of the race. They could tie for the division lead with a home victory. And the stats back this up, and Kirk Cousins is very good at home, and awful on the road. Eli Manning may be the one guy that can overcome this however, as being at home or on the road has never really made a difference to him. If JPP and the rest of the Giants front seven can get after Cousins and force him to make his signature mistakes, expect a Giant victory, but if not, anything can happen.

Prediction: New York 31, Washington 23.

Minnesota Vikings (7-3) at Atlanta Falcons (6-4)


The best game of the week (record-wise), the Vikings head into Atlanta as both teams come off a loss, but both teams continue to hang on to wild-card spots in the NFC due to the parity that exists in the middle. Minnesota has been a good sound team all year and has continued to get better before lasts weeks hiccup to Aaron Rodgers and co. The Falcons started off 5-0 and have been just 1-4 since, so they’re desperate at home this week. Julio Jones is an All-World wide receiver, but if the rest of this team doesn’t pick it up around him, they’ll likely be left out of the playoff party, and that would be a near-historic collapse considering the 5-0 start. Defense and offensive line play tend to travel well, so the Vikings should still be near their A-game when the game kicks off, which should scare Atlanta.

Prediction: Minnesota 23, Atlanta 20.

Arizona Cardinals (8-2) at San Francisco 49ers (3-7)


The Cardinals are feeling good following a victory against then 8-1 Cincinnati, flexing the muscles and showing the league that they are a team to be reckoned with. Carson Palmer is near the top of many MVP ballots as well, as he’s on pace for both career highs of 43 TD passes and over 4800 yards passing. The 49ers, on the other hand, are fading, but with a 3-2 home record, are hoping to play the spoiler down the stretch for many of their NFC West rivals. The Cardinals, however are 4-1 on the road and don’t seemed fazed when in someone else’s house, especially if that team has played bad football all season. Expect the Cardinals to take control of this game even if San Francisco competes early.

Prediction: Arizona 34, San Francisco 14.

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4) at Seattle Seahawks (5-5)


The Seahawks are getting to the point where they really need to string wins together here to ensure they are in the playoffs, and the Steelers are in the same place. The biggest difference here may come down to who’s healthy. Marshawn Lynch is likely not playing, but Thomas Rawls continue to roll in his absence. DeAngelo Williams has also played well with LeVeon Bell out. Ben Roethlisberger, however, continues to be a huge injury risk, and if Seattle gets after him, one has to be worried about whether or not Ben will be able to go the whole game. They head into the Seattle where the 12th Man will give them everything they can handle, expect a old-fashioned dogfight in this one in which the toughest team wins.

Prediction: Seattle 20, Pittsburgh 17.

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