Predictions for every Week 12 game, including the Green Bay Packers’ Sunday night meeting with the Minnesota Vikings.
The Packers bounced back from a 4-6 start two years ago. Can they do the same from 4-5-1 this season?
To do so, it must begin with their first road win of the season.
Green Bay (4-5-1) at Minnesota (5-4-1)
The Packers had great opportunities to put the game away against the Rams, Patriots and Seahawks, but lost all three. This team has forgotten how to win on the road.
Like Green Bay, Minnesota has fallen short of expectations so far this season, capped off by a disappointing loss at Chicago last week. The Vikings have lost two of their past three, with an ugly victory against the Lions in between two defeats.
Minnesota’s offensive line has struggled, which is good news for a Green Bay defense that has posted 34 sacks on the year, third-most in the NFL.
Despite that, the Packers’ road struggles are concerning. The offense has been unable to put together a complete performance. They continue to miss opportunities, and they now enter a tough matchup against a strong Vikings defense.
Even when in a position to win, the Packers have too often failed to do so. The same was true in Week 2 against the Vikings. Despite leading 23-14 with just over seven minutes remaining, the Packers were lucky to get a tie.
On the road, I don’t see this Packers team putting together the complete performance they will need to. It will be another frustrating loss, and potentially a season-ending one.
Chicago (7-3) at Detroit (4-6) – Thanksgiving
Right now it’s uncertain whether Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky will play after injuring his shoulder against the Vikings. While it’s a short week, I’m going to assume he is healthy and plays. And if Trubisky is ready to go, I think the Bears will keep rolling with another win.
Washington (6-4) at Dallas (5-5) – Thanksgiving
Alex Smith‘s season-ending injury puts Washington in a difficult spot. The Cowboys have won two in a row and will continue their push for the playoffs.
Atlanta (4-6) at New Orleans (9-1) – Thanksgiving
Atlanta’s defense is giving up 284 passing yards a game, fourth-most in the NFL. The Saints have arguably the league’s best offense and have won nine games in a row. This could be another one-sided victory for New Orleans.
Pick: New Orleans
Cleveland (3-6-1) at Cincinnati (5-5)
Will this be the get-right game the Bengals need? After losing four of their last five, they need a win. While the Browns are coming off the bye, I’m going with the Bengals to win at home.
San Francisco (2-8) at Tampa Bay (3-7)
While the Buccaneers have been disappointing after a good start to the season, their offense still has a lot of talent. At home they get the win this week.
Pick: Tampa Bay
Jacksonville (3-7) at Buffalo (3-7)
The Jaguars have been one of the biggest disappointments in the league this season. It’s easy to forget they started 2-0, which included a victory against New England. They are 1-7 in the eight games since, but I think they’ll find a way to win this one against a struggling Bills team.
Oakland (2-8) at Baltimore (5-5)
The Ravens got a much-needed divisional win last week, and in the words of Mike McCarthy, they’ll “stack success” with another win in Week 12.
Seattle (5-5) at Carolina (6-4)
Like the Packers, the Panthers are a much different team at home (5-0) than on the road (1-4). After losing their past two games, Carolina gets back on track with an important victory over Seattle.
New England (7-3) at NY Jets (3-7)
Both teams have had two weeks to prepare for this game, but I only see one winner. Spoiler: it’s not the Jets.
Pick: New England
NY Giants (3-7) at Philadelphia (4-6)
All of a sudden the Giants have won two in a row. But I don’t see their winning run continuing this week. Despite the Eagles’ disappointing opening 10 games, they just about keep their season alive with a big win here.
Arizona (2-8) at LA Chargers (7-3)
The LA Chargers’ six-game winning run ended at home to Denver last week, but they will get back on track at home to the Cardinals.
Pick: LA Chargers
Miami (5-5) at Indianapolis (5-5)
Andrew Luck is playing great and the Colts suddenly look like playoff contenders. Make it a fifth win in a row this week.
Pittsburgh (7-2-1) at Denver (4-6)
The Steelers were dominant in Week 10, but played poorly for much of Week 11. But they won both games and have now won six straight. That’s a great sign. This team knows how to win even when they’re not playing well.
Tennessee (5-5) at Houston (7-3)
And we can’t talk about winning runs without mentioning the Texans, who let’s not forget started the season 0-3, but are now currently the AFC’s fourth seed and in contention for a first-round bye in the playoffs. They’ll win an eighth straight on Monday Night Football.
Last week: 8-5