NFL Previews Week 12 – Fab Five Matchups Start to Shape Division Races
By Charles Jay
Ok, here we go!
Miami Dolphins at Denver Broncos, 4:25 PM ET
- BetAnySports NFL Betting Odds: Broncos -7 (-120), Total 48
The Broncos caught a break when Kansas City lost to the Oakland Raiders on Thursday night, so they can take a one-game lead in the AFC West if they win here. Denver has not been at its best lately, as evidenced by the 43-21 beating they took at New England and last week’s 22-7 loss at St. Louis. The Broncos have allowed Peyton Manning to be sacked only 11 times this season, but the Miami pass rush will be coming hard. Injuries are a concern for Denver coming into this game; they could be without two of their top receivers, as Emmanuel Sanders has “concussion-like symptoms” and Julius Thomas has an ankle injury. That would cut down the options for Manning, who suffered two interceptions last week. Ryan Tannehill is hitting 65% of his passes, and the Dolphins pulled one out against Buffalo last week, but they got some help from the officials. They are 30th in the league in red zone offense, and let’s not forget about the fact that Denver’s defense is much better than it was last year. The Rams only had 203 total yards against them last Sunday.
Detroit Lions at New England Patriots, 1 PM ET
- BetAnySports NFL Betting Odds: Patriots -7, Total 48
Last week against Indianapolis, the Patriots, who had been playing without Stevan Ridley in the backfield, steamrolled the Colts’ defense, getting 199 yards on the ground from Jonas Gray. Now they have signed the LeGarrette Blount to add depth, and he already knows the system. But the Lions are #1 in the league in yards allowed per game and yards allowed per drive. Calvin Johnson is back in action, and Matthew Stafford has plenty of weapons at his disposal. Still, Detroit has scored only 54 points in four games as a visiting team. You have to wonder whether they can trade with New England in this one.
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks, 4:05 PM ET
- BetAnySports NFL Betting Odds: Seahawks -7 (-105), Total 41.5
The Cardinals keep rolling along, with the best record in football at 9-1 straight-up. How are they doing this? Well, they have 15 interceptions on the season, and they have obviously cut down mistakes. Drew Stanton, who will take the team the rest of the way at quarterback, had 306 passing yards against the Lions last week. But this team has been outgained on a per-game and per-play basis, and Seattle would appear to have the superior running game, if their 5.5-yard average, compared to Arizona’s 3.1, means anything. Arizona actually defeated the Seahawks the last time they were at CenturyLink Field, scoring a 17-10 victory in holding Seattle to just ten first downs.
Cleveland Browns at Atlanta Falcons, 1 PM ET
- BetAnySports NFL Betting Odds: Falcons -3 (-120), Total 47
All of a sudden, this game means a lot. You see, Atlanta leads the NFC South with a record of 4-6, leaving open the very real possibility that a sub-.500 team is going to win the division. The Falcons are off back-to-back road wins, which is a good sign for them, because they have been notoriously poor as the visitor. Cleveland, despite losing to Houston last week, is still right in the thick of things in the AFC North, sitting just behind Cleveland and Pittsburgh and tied with Baltimore. But they will certainly need something better than Brian Hoyer’s 20 completions in 50 attempts, like he had last week.
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants, 8:30 PM ET
- BetAnySports NFL Betting Odds: Cowboys -3.5 (+100), Total 47.5
What will Eli Manning do for an encore? We say that facetiously, because he threw five interceptions last week as the Giants lost to San Francisco. But the 16-10 score indicates they did some good things to keep them in the game. It’s just that the West Coast offense was designed to cut down on Manning’s mistakes, and things look like they may be starting to unravel. Dallas, after traveling to London to beat Jacksonville by two touchdowns, is coming out of the bye week, which means a well-rested DeMarco Murray, whose 1233 yards leads all others in the NFL by almost 300. The Giants have lost five games in a row. And they were ten-point losers at AT&T Stadium to the Cowboys five weeks ago. When will the nightmare end?
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