NFL Week 12 Thanksgiving Day Preview
Minnesota Vikings (6-4) @ Detroit Lions (6-4)
While the turkey is roasting in the oven and the table is decorated with gourds and center pieces, these division rivals will be the first game of Thanksgiving Day. The Minnesota Vikings and the Detroit Lions are tied in for first place in the NFC North. But they appear to be heading in opposite directions, as while the Detroit Lions have won 6 out of their last 7 games, the Vikings have lost 4 out of their last 5 games, winning just week 11 against the Arizona Cardinals.
A win in week 12, will put one of these teams in first and in control of the division, with the other one game behind.
- The Detroit Lions and the Minnesota Vikings will both look to build off wins in Week 11.
- In week 9, the Lions defeated the Vikings 22-16 in overtime.
- Vikings are looking at some trouble in the secondary. Cornerback, Terence Newman (neck) is doubtful, leaving Trae Waynes to fill-in. Safety, Harrison Smith (ankle), and cornerback, Captain Munnerlyn (ankle), are listed as questionable for Thursday’s game. And, safety, Andrew Sendejo has come down with an illness. All in all, this leaves breakout cornerback, Xavier Rhodes, the only healthy member of the Vikings secondary.
- The Vikings defense has the 7th most sacks in the league (26), the second most interceptions (12 with 2 returned for touchdowns), and 9 forced fumbles (1 returned for a touchdown). In week 11, the Vikings sacked Arizona Cardinals quarterback, Carson Palmer, 4 times, and added 2 interceptions.
- The Vikings defense has allowed the 3rd least passing yards per game (206.1) and the 13th least rushing yards per game (100.8).
- The Lions defense has allowed 17th least passing yards per game (253.6) and the 18th least rushing yards per game (104.6).
- Matthew Stafford has 2,651 total passing yards with 18 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, leading to a reasonable 101.2 passer rating.
- The Lions and the Vikings last met on Thanksgiving Day in 1995, with the Lions winning 44-38.
What can we expect in Week 12?
- Cordarrelle Patterson gets a touchdown.
- Matthew Stafford has a rushing touchdown.
The Detroit Lions win.
Washington Redskins (6-3-1) @ Dallas Cowboys (9-1)
On Thursday, it will be the Dallas Cowboys 48th appearance and 8th match-up against the Washington Redskins on Thanksgiving Day.
NFC East division rivals, the Cowboys are currently in 1st place, while the Redskins are in 3rd (behind the New York Giants). As a Giants fan, I’d like to see the Cowboys lose, but that would keep the Redskins and the Giants one game apart (assuming the New York Giants win week 12 against the Cleveland Browns), while a Redskins loss would create a two-game void between second and third.
But, I digress.
The Cowboys have been on a roll, winning 9 straight games, all without “former starting QB” Tony Romo now healthy and warming the Cowboys’ bench. In week 2, The Cowboys edged Washington, 27-23, in a fourth-quarter comeback at FedEx Field. And, the Cowboys are looking for their 10th straight win, but the Redskins are playing well, too. They’ve won their last two games and had an impressive 42-24 victory over the Green Bay Packers in week 11.
Washington Redskins quarterback, Kirk Cousins’, is currently ranked 3rd in passing yards (3091), with 17 touchdowns to 7 interceptions. In week 11, Cousins threw for 375 passing yards and 3 touchdowns.
In comparison, Cowboys rookie phenom quarterback, Dak Prescott, has 17 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions.
In week 11, rookie running back, Rob Kelly, broke out rushing for 137 yards and 3-touchdowns against the Green Bay Packers. And, on defense, linebacker Martrell Spaight had an interception and, in total, held the 12th ranked Packers offense to just 24 points.
Thursday should be a high scoring game, and on paper, the Washington Redskins look good, but the Dallas Cowboys have the top ranked offense according to Football Outsiders, so until they lose…
What can we expect in Week 12?
- Jason Witten has a touchdown.
- Jamison Crowder has a touchdown. (Crowder has had a touchdown in the last 3-games.)
The Dallas Cowboys win.
Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5) @ Indianapolis Colts (5-5)
The Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis Colts have won their last two-games, defeating the AFC South division rival Tennessee Titans in week 11, 24-17, fighting back to .500 and 1-game behind the division leading Houston Texans. Now, for the bad news. Colts quarterback, Andrew Luck, will be sitting on the sidelines Thursday Night due to a concussion. In his place, Scott Tolzien will be under center.
Andrew Luck has been ruled OUT for #PITvsIND.
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) November 23, 2016
The last time Tolzien played he was on the Green Bay Packers in 2015. He had 1 attempt and 1 completion for 4-yards, making his completing rating 100% for the season. Yeah, you can make anything sound good.
Who’s Scott Tolzien?
- Tolzien was a quarterback at the University of Wisconsin, leading the Badgers to the Rose Bowl.
- Tolzien was Aaron Rodgers back-up in Green Bay for 3 seasons.
- Tolzien threw for 339 yards in his first NFL start.
- Tolzien has 1 touchdown and 5 interceptions in his NFL career.
Where’s Matt Hasselbeck when you need him. Oh yeah, the Colts decided that they wanted to go younger and cut the 40-year-old back-up quarterback, who won 4-games in a row and finished 5-3 while Luck was side-lined in the 2015 season. Guess Hasselbeck will be on the sofa with his pants unbuttoned after a big Thanksgiving dinner instead.
With Tolzien under center, running back Frank Gore will have to shoulder most of the workload, leaving most of the remaining offense useless.
Unfortunately for the Colts, the Steelers defense is ranked 9th against the run, allowing 95.7 yards per game.
The Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers have lost 4 out of their last 5 games, winning week 11 against the Cleveland Browns. In week 11, the Steelers defense had a whopping 8 sacks against the Browns, holding them to just 209 yards. And with Scott Tolzien under center and a weak offensive line protecting him, expect the Steelers defense to come at him hard.
With multiple injuries on the Steelers offense, Antonio Brown has been Big Ben’s most trusted target with 77 catches for 907 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns. Since returning from suspension, Le’Veon Bell, has shouldered most of the weight on the ground, particularly after the injury to De’Angelo Williams.
The Colts defense is ranked 31st against the pass, allowing 284.5 yards per game, and 24th against the run, allowing 113.1 yards per game. So it’s pretty clear they’re not stopping anyone.
What can we expect in Week 12?
- The Pittsburgh defense has a touchdown.
- Frank Gore has a touchdown.
The Pittsburgh Steelers win.