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2017 SQ Insiders: Week 12

Austin Taliaferro

Who will win the key divisional matchup between the VIkings and Lions on Thanksgiving Day?

Week 12 is highlighted by the three Thursday games that will be played on Thanksgiving. The day kicks off on a high note with the Vikings traveling to Detroit to take over complete and total control of the NFC North. Our writers, who had a decent Week 11, are split in this game, but have Minnesota winning by a score of 24-23.

The second interesting Thanksgiving game involves the suddenly surging Chargers and the suddenly stalling Cowboys. In another split decision, our insiders predict Los Angeles to pull it out by four points on the road.

Check out the rest of the picks below!

Matchup

Mitch B

Nick C

Adrian N

Minnesota at Detroit
LA Chargers at Dallas
NY Giants at Washington
Tampa Bay at Atlanta
Cleveland at Cincinnati
Tennessee at Indianapolis
Buffalo at Kansas City
Miami at New England
Carolina at NY Jets
Chicago at Philadelphia
Seattle at San Francisco
Denver at Oakland
New Orleans at LA Rams
Jacksonville at Arizona
Green Bay at Pittsburgh
Houston at Baltimore
Total Record

78-5176-5379-50



Matchup

Avg Score

Winner

Why They’ll Win

Why They May Not

Minnesota at Detroit24-23The Vikings are atop the NFC North at 8-2 with career backups at both quarterback and running back. They boast a top ten offense and defense, and are riding an impressive six-game winning streak thanks in large part to the emergence of Adam Thielen as a top receiving threat.The Lions are one of two teams to already beat the Vikings, and they did it on the road in Minnesota. Now, at home, they’ll look to Matthew Stafford and a top five passing offense to lead them to victory on Thanksgiving.
LA Chargers at Dallas26-22The Chargers defense has emerged as an elite squad, despite the loss of Pro Bowl cornerback Jason Verrett in Week 2. Up front, Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram should have big games against a weaker Dallas offensive line and Zeke-less Cowboys backfieldThe Cowboys have officially entered win-now mode as they sit at 5-5 and outside the playoff picture. With offensive tackle Tyron Smith likely coming back, Dak will look to avenge last week’s three-interception game against Philadelphia.
NY Giants at Washington15-25The Giants are beat up in their wide receiving corps; they’ve lost Odell Beckham Jr., and Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard have been in and out of the lineup. The Skins have been better this season at almost every position. They are playing at home in a big primetime game. They essentially need to win out to even have a shot at the playoffs, so they should be dialed in.Everyone knows about the Giants injuries, but the Redskins are similarly hurt and in very key positions. They are beat up all across the offensive line and even if guys don’t sit out, they might not be 100%. They are beat up in the secondary and missing key members of their line backing corps. Finally in back to back weeks they’ve lost running backs Roby Kelley and Chris Thompson for the season. This has all the makings of a letdown game.
Tampa Bay at Atlanta20-30Atlanta has back-to-back wins against quality opponents, and Tampa Bay is far from quality. Matt Ryan has played better ball as of late, and should have his way with the Bucs’ lackluster secondary.The Buccaneers have two straight wins for the first time all year, and may have actually improved without Jameis Winston in the lineup. Defensively, Tampa Bay has recorded four interceptions in the last two weeks. If the unit can force Ryan into a couple of mistakes then a win is well within reach.
Cleveland at Cincinnati14-21Cleveland is 0-10.Gambler’s fallacy - the Browns gotta win at some point.
Tennessee at Indianapolis32-18It’s a wonder that the Colts have managed three wins this season. The have the leagues second worst point differential and they don’t do anything well. Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota has played well this season and should shred the most scored on defense in the league.While the Colts, don’t necessarily do anything well, the Titans do do some things poorly. They are ranked 24th in defensive points per game. If this game turns into a shootout, T.Y. Hilton may prove to be the difference as he is the best weapon of either teams’ passing attack.
Buffalo at Kansas City23-27Kansas City may be sliding, but they are pretty much the same team that started 5-0. They still have elite players on offense, including Alex Smith, Kareem Hunt, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, and are still better than average on defense. Look for a rebound at home against the Bills.Buffalo is facing a Chiefs team that is 1-4 in their last five games and only put up nine points against the 21st-ranked Giants defense. With Peterman out and Tyrod back, they can extend Kansas City’s misery.
Miami at New England16-36The Dolphins have been outscored by 97 points this season. On the other side of the coin, the Patriots have been utterly dominant of late. They’ve held teams to under 20 points in six straight games and are scoring 27 themselves over that span.Fundamentally, the Dolphins are the same team on defense that anchored a Miami playoff run last season. If Suh & Co can pressure Brady they may be able to throw off a Pats offense that has been clicking.
Carolina at NY Jets25-16The Panthers are winners of three straight and are in great position to make the playoffs. The NY Jets give up the 23rd most rushing yards per game, and the Panthers are ranked 7th running the ball.Carolina has struggled all season to throw the football. The Jets need to control the line of scrimmage and make Cam beat them with his arm, which given his supporting cast, may be a difficult task.
Chicago at Philadelphia17-30The Eagles are winners of eight straight, with the last four coming by double digits. In their most recent victory, they showed they could still dominate when Carson Wentz has a quiet game, rushing for over 200 yards while playing dominant defense. With a multitude of ways to win, the lowly Bears will be no match for the NFL’s best team thus far.The best chance for the Bears to win this game is by using their fifth-ranked rushing attack. To neutralize the Philadelphia offense, Chicago will need to eat up clock and keep Wentz and co. on the sidelines. Unfortunately for them, the Eagles boast one of the league’s best run stopping units, giving the Bears a slim chance to pull this one out.
Seattle at San Francisco21-20Despite its irreplaceable losses on defense, Seattle should still be no match for the one-win 49ers. As usual, Russell Wilson is putting up big numbers and will have no problem against San Francisco’s soft defense. The Seahawks are undefeated in the division and will likely remain that way after Sunday.The 49ers won their last game and are rested after their bye week, while the Seahawks will be on a short week after their Monday Night Football appearance in Week 11. San Francisco barely lost its Week 2 meeting with Seattle, so we know the 49ers can keep it close. To win this one, they’ll have to be mistake-free on offense while making life hard for Wilson through their pass rush.
Denver at Oakland14-17Oakland may be ice cold, but Denver is just a bit colder right now. Even without any interceptions this season, the Raiders’ defense has to be salivating at the chance to face Paxton Lynch come Sunday. Facing bad quarterbacks in your own stadium generally leads to success in the NFL, and that rule should hold true in this matchup.Take a wild guess at which team Denver’s last win was against. That’s right, it was Oakland all the way back in Week 4. The Broncos have little reason for optimism these days, but if there’s any team they can feel good against, it’s Oakland. Paxton Lynch will have to take advantage of Oakland’s historically bad defense, but it can be done.
New Orleans at LA Rams31-30After an impressive comeback win against the Redskins, the Saints have established themselves as a legitimate playoff contender, thanks to their much improved running game and defense. Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara continue to punish defenders up front, while Brees has remained one of the best at quarterback.Looking to bounce back from a loss against a tough Vikings team, the Rams will try to reignite their offense against the Saints. If Marshon Lattimore and Kenny Vaccaro are out, Jared Goff can expose a depleted secondary in the passing game.
Jacksonville at Arizona21-15The Jaguars’ defense has been downright dominant all year and has recently displayed the kind of stifling run defense to match its elite pass defense. Offensively, look for Jacksonville to continue riding Leonard Fournette, as the Cardinals just surrendered over 130 yards and two touchdowns to Houston on the ground.The Cardinals have stayed in games recently, but there’s only so much the team can do with Drew Stanton and Blaine Gabbert behind center. Like anyone facing the Jaguars, the key will be stacking the box in hopes of forcing Blake Bortles to throw the ball. Jacksonville will almost certainly cause some turnovers, so Arizona must answer with its own to keep it close.
Green Bay at Pittsburgh17-28Pittsburgh’s defense is second in both points allowed and sacks this year, leading the team to an 8-2 mark even with average QB play from Ben Roethlisberger. Coincidentally, Green Bay was just shut out by a team with a strong defense and poor QB play, and Pittsburgh is far superior in quality comparatively.To date, Green Bay’s only win without Aaron Rodgers was against the Bears and their rookie QB. In order to replicate that success against Pittsburgh, the Packers must play flawless football and force Roethlisberger into the mistakes that have plagued him nearly all season.
Houston at Baltimore18-19Baltimore is coming off an impressive road win against the Packers in which they completely shut out backup quarterback Brett Hundley. Now, the Ravens face another backup quarterback in Tom Savage, giving the defense another opportunity to shine.After a big win against the Cardinals, Houston heads to Baltimore hoping to stay alive in the playoff hunt. DeAndre Hopkins has emerged as the top receiver in 2017 and has the potential to single-handedly carry this team to victory.


Edited by Coleman Gray.

SQuiz
When was the last time the Detroit Lions won the NFC North?
Created 11/22/17
  1. 1993
  2. 199
  3. 2008
  4. 2015

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