It’s almost Thanksgiving. It’s also week 12 in the National Football League and two teams (Jacksonville at 1-9 and Oakland at 1-10) have all but eliminated themselves from any and all postseason hopes. There are still divisions to be won as well as playoff spots. When the dust and dander finally does settle, there will be four divison winners and two wild card teams fighting to either keep the Lombardi Trophy (if you’re Seattle) or getting their own Lombardi. The weather outside… somewhat frightful. The football… pretty good, even if you’re a last place team with no chance of making it to the post-season party.

The standings are close as NFL teams begin their playoff push. Through the first 11 weeks, there are 21 teams either in or within one game of a playoff spot.

CATCHING ON: Denver wide receiver Demaryius Thomas extended his streak of 100+ yard receiving games to seven on Sunday with seven receptions for 103 yards against St. Louis.

Thomas’ streak of seven consecutive 100-yard receiving games is tied with Charley Hennigan and Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Irvin for the second-longest such streak in NFL history (Calvin Johnson, 8 in 2012).

The players with the most consecutive 100-yard receiving games all-time:

PLAYER, TEAM (YEAR, CONSECUTIVE 100-YARD RECEIVING GAMES)
Calvin Johnson, Detroit (2012, 8)
Demaryius Thomas, Denver (2014, 7)*
Michael Irvin, Dallas (1995, 7)
Charley Hennigan, Houston (1961, 7)
Many tied with 6
* Active streak

100 POINTS: Indianapolis kicker Adam Vinatieri scored eight points (two FGs; two PATs) against New England on Sunday Night Football.

Vinatieri has 100 points this season and became the only player in NFL history to score 100+ points in 17 different seasons, breaking a tie with Jason Elam.

The most seasons with 100 or more points scored in NFL history:

PLAYER – MOST SEASONS WITH 100+ POINTS
Adam Vinatieri – 17*
Jason Elam – 16
Gary Anderson – 14
Morten Andersen – 14
* Active

What else went on last week? Funny you should ask…

Arizona defeated Detroit 14-6 and improved to 9-1 on the season, the best record in the NFL. The Cardinals are 9-1 for the second time in franchise history joining the 1948 Chicago Cardinals.

The Cardinals are 6-0 at home this season, the first time since 1970 the team has won its first six home games to start a season.

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed 22 of 36 passes (61.1 percent) for 341 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 120.3 passer rating in the Packers’ 53-20 win over Philadelphia.

Rodgers has thrown 322 consecutive passes at home without an interception, the longest streak in NFL history.

He has thrown 29 consecutive touchdowns at home without an interception, the longest streak in NFL history.

The Packers, who scored 30 points in the first half, are the first team in NFL history to score at least 28 points in the first half of four consecutive home games.

Tampa Bay rookie wide receiver Mike Evans had seven catches for 209 yards and two touchdowns in the Buccaneers’ 27-7 win at Washington. At 21 years, 87 days old, Evans is the youngest player in NFL history with a 200-yard receiving game.

The performance marked Evans’ third consecutive game with at least seven catches, 100 receiving yards and a touchdown catch. He is the first rookie in NFL history to accomplish the feat.

Houston defensive end J.J. Watt had five tackles, one sack, a forced fumbled, a fumble recovery and a touchdown catch in the Texans’ 23-7 win at Cleveland. Watt is the second player in NFL history with two touchdown catches, an interception-return touchdown and a fumble-return touchdown in a season, joining Philadelphia’s Jay Arnold in 1938. He is the only NFL player to register a sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery and touchdown reception in the same game since sacks became an official statistic in 1982.

Running back Alfred Blue rushed for 156 yards, which is tied for the most ever by a Texans rookie (Steve Slaton, 156 yards vs. Indianapolis on November 16, 2008) and set a single-game club record for carries (36), surpassing the previous mark set by teammate Arian Foster (33 attempts in two different games).

Cincinnati rookie running back Jeremy Hill rushed for 152 yards on 27 carries (5.6 average) in the Bengals’ 27-10 win at New Orleans. Hill, who rushed for 154 yards in Week 9 against Jacksonville, is the second rookie in franchise history with two 150-yard rushing games, joining Paul Robinson (1968).

San Francisco rookie linebacker Chris Borlan had 12 tackles and two interceptions in the 49ers’ 16-10 win at the New York Giants. Borland is the first rookie linebacker in franchise history with two interceptions in a game.

He also joins Ken Norton, Jr. (October 22, 1995) as the only 49ers linebackers with two interceptions in a game over the past 40 years.

Denver wide receiver Demaryius Thomas had seven catches for 103 yards in the Broncos’ loss at St. Louis. Thomas now has at least 100 receiving yards in seven consecutive games, tied for the second-longest streak in NFL history with Charley Hennigan (1961) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Irvin (1995). Calvin Johnson holds the NFL record with eight consecutive 100-yard receiving games in 2012.

“These games are like one-game playoffs,” says 49ers safety Antoine Bethea about playing late in the season. “At the end of the day, we have to continue to control what we can control.”

Leading the way are the Arizona Cardinals, who own the best record in the NFL at 9-1. The Cardinals are 9-1 for only the second time in franchise history (1948). And for the first time since the end of the 1948 regular season, the Cardinals have sole possession of the league’s top record at least 10 games into a season.

“We’re 9-1 but nothing’s won and nothing’s lost yet,” Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians told the Arizona Republic. “We could lose it all in the next four or five weeks. We could win it all in the next four or five weeks. But we can only win one at a time.”

Week 12 kicked off on Thursday night when Oakland broke their 10-game losing streak by beating Kansas City 24-20 in an AFC West contest. There will be two games on Monday night and one came as the result of Mother Nature. The New York Jets-Buffalo game that was scheduled for Sunday in Orchard Park has been moved to Detroit at 7 p.m. Eastern. The game will be televised only in the New York City and Buffalo areas. The action in week 12 concludes in the Big Easy when New Orleans hosts the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night.

Byes this week are Pittsburgh and Carolina. Baltimore and the New York Jets return to action this week, as do Dallas and Jacksonville, who are recovering from jet lag after their trip to London. With a little less than a week to go, here’s week 12’s picks.

Cleveland (6-4) at Atlanta (4-6), 1 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 705) Georgia Dome. A pair of first place teams with mirror records meet in Atlanta as the first-place Falcons host Cleveland in the Big Peach.

The Browns trailed Houston 14-7 at the half and then were blown out by the Texans 9-0 in the second half to fall 23-7. Cleveland’s only score in the contest came on a 32 yard TD pass to WR Andrew Hawkins from Byran Hoyer to tie the contest up. Houston would score their last 16 points of the game unchallenged, including three Randy Bullock field goals, to seal the Browns’ fate. Houston rookie RB Alfred Blue ran for 156 yards, subbing for Arian Foster (hamstring), while the Texans held Cleveland to 58 yards rushing. Cleveland was 3-15 on third down conversions in the 16-point loss at home (0-2 on fourth down), while possessing the ball for 26:07, while the Texans were 7-18 and 1-1 on third and fourth down tries, keeping the ball for 33:53.

Atlanta let a 16-10 lead in Charlotte get away from them before they rallied to take it back for keeps on a 44 yard field goal by Matt Bryant with 2:08 left to play and then blocked a 63 yard field goal try by Graham Gano that would have given the Panthers the win, coming out on top 19-17. Despite being outrushed by Carolina 106-86, Atlanta did manage to sack Cam Newton twice and pick him off twice in the contest. Falcons QB Matt Ryan threw for 268 yards and a TD pass to WR Roddy White for the victorious Falcons, who won their second road game in a row and their second NFC South game in a row. Atlanta on third down tries were 5-15 and held the ball for 31:58, while Carolina, who lost their fifth game in a row, was 3-13 and kept the ball for 28:02. The last time that Atlanta won consecutive road games was in the 2012 when they won four in a row before losing in New Orleans.

Cleveland leads the series 10-3 and the Browns have outscored Atlanta 304-191. The last meeting between the clubs was in 2010 in Cleveland, with the Falcons taking a 20-10 along the shores of Lake Erie, while the Browns’ last win in the series came in the Big Peach in 2006 by a final of 17-13. Atlanta’s favored by 3 and the over/under is 47 1/2. This one might not be a great game to watch but it’ll be a pretty good one. Falcons keep their win streak going and cover the 3 in the Big Peach.

Jacksonville (1-9) at Indianapolis (6-4), 1 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 708) Lucas Oil Stadium. A floundering Jacksonville Jaguar team travels to the Hoosier State to face a Indy team coming off a loss to New England last Sunday night.

Jacksonville comes off the bye week after their 31-17 loss to Dallas in London. The Jaguars trailed 24-7 at the half and could never really get on track, although they did manage to outscore the Cowboys in the second half by a 10-7 margin. Jacksonville was held to 71 yards rushing, while Dallas tallied 151 (with RB DeMarco Murray accounting for 100 of those yards) and sack rookie QB Blake Bortels four times on the other side of the Big Pond. The contest also marked the return of Tony Romo, who threw three TDs in the contest, two to WR Dez Bryant and one to TE Jason Witten, without an interception. Dallas was 4-13 on third down tries, while keeping the ball for 31:32, while the Jaguars were 4-14 and 2-4 on fourth down, holding the ball for 28:28.

The Colts trailed throughout their Sunday night contest with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, dropping a 42-20 decision. The Colts trailed 14-10 at the half before they would eventually fall further behind to New England, who would outscore them in the second half 28-10. Indy was outrushed by the Pats 244-19 in the loss, although Luck did outpace Brady in passing yardage 303-257 and picked the Pats signal caller off twice. Indy was 5-13 and 1-3 on third and fourth down tries, while keeping the ball for 25:39. New England was 9-12 on third down tries and held the ball for 34:21.

Indy leads the series with Jacksonville 18-8, have outscored the Colts 647-505 and have won the last three meetings, including a series sweep last year (Jacksonville’s last win over the Colts came in 2012, when they took a 22-17 win in Indy).

In the first meeting in week four in Jacksonville, the Colts erased a 3-0 first quarter deficit and outscored the Jaguars 37-0 in the final 45 minutes of play to win 45-3, with all of their scoring going uncontested. The Colts outrushed Jacksonville 154-40 and sacked Blaine Gabbert four times, picking him off three times. Although he was sacked twice, Luck managed to throw for 260 yards and a pair of TDs in the contest. Indy in the Sunshine State went 6-13 on third down conversions, holding the ball for 36:38, while the Jaguars were 2-11 and 0-1 on third and fourth down tries, keeping the ball for 23:22.

The Colts put Jacksonville and their fans out of their misery in week 17 as they took a 30-10 win in the Hoosier State. Indy led 20-3 at half and the Colts were never threatened, outscoing Jacksonville in the final 30 minutes of play 10-7. Jacksonville in the second meeting was again held to under 100 yards rushing (43), while Indy rushed for a mere 80 in the week 17 finale. Chad Henne, taking over for Gabbert, was sacked three times and picked off once, while throwing for 331, outpacing Luck, who threw for 282. The Colts were much improved on third down conversions in the second contest, going 8-16 (1-1 on fourth down) and they would hold the ball for 33:40 to Jacksonville’s 26:20 (the Jaguars were 3-14 and 3-5 on third and fourth down tries).

Indianapolis won by 24 in the first meeting in Jacksonville, easily covering the 8 point spread and both teams covered the 42 1/2 over/under by combining to score 48 points. The Colts covered the spread again in the season finale, winning by 20 (they were favored by 11 1/2 but both clubs combined for only 40, missing the 45 1/2 over/under. The Colts are favored by 13 1/2 and the over/under’s 50 1/2. Jacksonville’s bad but they’re not 13 1/2 bad. Still, you might want to avoid this one (unless you’re a fan of either team) and watch that “Bar Rescue” marathon on Spike. Colts may not cover the 13 1/2 but they bounce back from the loss to New England and wins at home.

Tampa Bay (2-8) at Chicago (4-6), 1 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 710) Soldier Field. A pair of last place teams meet in the Windy City as Tampa Bay (4th in the NFC South) face the Monsters of the Midway (4th in the NFC North) at Soldier Field.

Both teams broke long losing streaks last week. Tampa Bay led 13-7 at the half against Washington and then proceeded to shutout the Redskins in the second half to take a 27-7 win. Even though the Bucs were held to 48 yards rushing (Washington tallied 155), they did manage to sack Robert Griffin III six times in the win in Landover. In forcing three turnover in the 20 point win. Tampa Bay went 3-10 on third down tries and held the ball for 25:49, while the ‘Skins kept the ball for 34:11 and went 4-13 and 1-1 on third and fourth down conversions.

Chicago sent Bears fans home happy in the Windy City last Sunday after their 21-13 win over the Vikings last Sunday at Soldier Field. Chicago led 14-10 at the half and held off a late Vikings drive that would have tied the contest up and sent it to overtime. Matt Forte ran for 117 of Chicago’s 138 yards (the Vikings were held to 96 yards) and Jay Cutler threw for a pair of TDs with a pair of interceptions. Da Bears were 10-17 and 2-3 on third and fourth down conversions in the contest with a 22 degree wind chill and kept the ball for 38:38, while Minnesota held the pigskin for 21:22 and went 2-11 and 2-2 on third and fourth down tries.

Da Bears lead da series 36-18 and have outscored Tampa Bay 1,167-853. Chicago’s last win in the series over Tampa Bay did not come on North American soil; instead, it came in London in 2011, when they beat Tampa Bay 24-18. Tampa Bay’s last win? Came in the Windy City in 2008, when they needed overtime to take a 27-24 win. Chicago’s favored by 6 and the over/under is 46. Both teams aren’t that bad. At the same time, they’re not that good. Da Bears are da lesser evil here in the Windy City and they’ll take this one, even though it’ll be closer than the 6.

Green Bay (7-3) at Minnesota (4-6), 1 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 711) TCF Bank Stadium. They meet again and this time, it’s in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Green Bay travels to the Twin Cities to face Minnesota in their temorary digs on campus.

The Packers broke the 50-point barrier for the second week in a row, taking Philadelphia and Mark Sanchez to task last Sunday at Lambeau 53-20. Green Bay led 30-6 at the half and the Packers were never threatened, outscoring the Eagles 23-14 in the final 30 minutes of play. Green Bay barely outrushed Philly 110-109 but Aaron Rodgers threw for three TDs with no picks. Rodgers has now thrown 29 consecutive TD passes on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field without being intercepted and the 59 points that Green Bay scored were the most Philadelphia has allowed since 1972. In forcing four turnovers, the Packers were 8-14 on third down conversions, holding the ball for 32:42, while the Eagles, who saw Mark Sanchez get sacked three times, went 5-15 and 2-3 on third and fourth down tries and held the ball for 27:18.

They met in week five and Green Bay took the Purple Gang to the woodshed to take a 42-10 win on a Thursday night at Lambeau. They meet again and this time, it’s in Minneapolis at the Vikings’ temporary home at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities TCF Stadium. In that first meeting, Eddie Lacy ran for 105 of Green Bay’s 156, while the Vikings ran for 111. Aaron Rodgers threw three TDs in the win, while the Packers defense sacked Christian Ponder six times and picked him off twice. Green Bay on third down tries in the lopsided Thursday night win went 4-11 and held the ball for 27:51, while the Vikings did manage to win the time of possession ball, keeping the ball for 32:09 and went 5-15 and 1-2 on third and fourth down tries.

Green Bay covered the 9 point spread, winning by 32 and both clubs easily covered the 48 1/2 over/under with 52 points. The Packers are favored by 9 again and this time, the over/under’s also 48 1/2. Some things never change. Second verse, same as the first. Packers prevail in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, even though they might not cover the 9.

Detroit (7-3) at New England (8-2), 1 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 712) Gillette Stadium. Matthew Stafford vs. Tom Brady. Two of the best QBs in the NFL meet in Foxboro Sunday afternoon as a pair of first place teams meet in western Massachusetts.

The Lions and Patriots will meet in a game between teams with a .700+ winning percentage. New England is second in the league averaging 32.3 points per game while Detroit is allowing just 15.6 points per game, the fewest in the NFL.

In addition to allowing a league-low 156 points, Detroit owns the NFL’s best defense in total yards allowed (290.3 per game) and rushing yards allowed (68.8 per game). Offensively, wide receiver Golden Tate leads the NFC with 68 receptions (950 yards) and last week, quarterback Matthew Stafford reached 20,000 (20,136) passing yards in his 71st game, the fastest player in NFL history to reach the mark.

“Every week is big,” Lions head coach Jim Caldwell told the Detroit Free Press. “They’re all big games. They’re all tough. They’re all difficult. What we’ve got to do is get ourselves a little bit better, improve and find a way to win.”

New England won its sixth game in a row with a 42-20 victory at Indianapolis. Running back Jonas Gray rushed for 199 yards and four touchdowns in just his fourth career NFL game. Gray, who had not previously scored an NFL touchdown, became the first player since Herb Henderson of the 1921 Evansville Crimson Giants to score his first four career rushing touchdowns in a single game.

“The guys did a good job up front,” says Gray about his offensive line. “When the guys are doing well like that up front, they play a huge part of my success.”

The Lions, tied with Green Bay in the NFC North, trailed 14-6 at the half in Glendale against Arizona and the score stayed that way as Arizona would take the win in the desert. Neither club managed to break the 100-yard barrier (Detroit had 98, Arizona had 46) and Stafford was sacked four times and threw an interception, while Drew Stanton, taking over for Carson Palmer (knee) threw a pair of TDs to WR Michael Floyd. Stanton outpassed Stafford 306-183 in the win, while the Desert Angry Birds forced the one turnover in the win. Detroit went 5-15 on third down tries (0-1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:17 (the Desert Angry Birds kept the ball for 30:43 and went 8-14 on third down)

The Pats led from start to finish in their 42-20 win over Indianapolis last Sunday night, leading 14-10 at the half and then outscoring the Colts in the second half 28-10. New England held Indy to 19 yards rushing, while New England’s James Gray ran for 199 of his team’s 244 yards in the contest. New England was 9-12, despite turning the ball over twice, while keeping the ball for 34:21 to Indy’s 25:39 (the Colts were 5-13 and 1-3 on third and fourth down conversions).

New England leads the series 6-4, while the Lions have outscored New England 214-205. The Pats have won the last three meetings with Detroit, including a 45-24 win in the Motor City in 2010. Detroit’s last win over the Pats came in 2000, also in the Motor City, coming away with a 34-9 decision. New England’s favored by 7 and the over/under is 48. Both numbers make a lot of sense and with two pretty decent QBs in Foxboro, plus both teams are in first place in their respective divisions. New England may not cover the 7 but they do come away with the win at home.

Tennessee (2-8) at Philadelphia (7-3), 1 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 709) Lincoln Financial Field. It’s an intra-divisional affair in the City of Brotherly Love as the Eagles look to bounce back from last week’s loss in Green Bay as they host the Tennessee Titans in Philly.

The Titans led Pittsburgh 17-13 at the half Monday night in the Music City before the Steelers rallied in the second half to take a 27-24 win. Tennessee was outscored by the Steelers 14-7 and despite sacking Ben Roethlisberger five times, rushed for only 49 yards, while Steelers RB LeVeon Bell lit up the stat sheet like a Christmas tree, rushing for 204 of his team’s 206 yards in the contest. The Steelers in the Monday night affair went 7-13 on third down tries and kept the ball for 39:49, while the Titans were a somewhat dismal 3-8 and held the ball for 20:11.

The Eagles fell to 7-3 and tied with Dallas for first in the NFC East after they were manhandled by Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers 53-20 at chilly Lambeau Field. Philly trailed 30-6 at the half and never really recovered, as they were outscored in the second half 23-14 and were outrushed 110-109 (Eagles RB LeSean McCoy led all rushers with 89 yards), turning the ball over four times. Philly was 5-15 and 2-3 on third and fourth down tries in the frigid Wiscosin air (kickoff at gametime was 28 degrees with a 17 wind chill) and kept the ball for 27:18, while the Packers were 8-14 on third down tries and held the ball for 32:42.

Philly leads the series 6-4 and have outscored the Titans 214-196, which includes contests that the teams played when the Titans were in Houston and known as the Oilers. The Titans have won the last four contests, taking a 37-19 win over the Eagles in 2010 in the Music City, while the Eagles’ last win over the Titans/Oilers came in 1994 in the city of Brotherly Love by a final of 21-6. The Eagles are favored by 11 1/2 and the over/under is 48. Both teams aren’t bad. The Eagles are in the playoff hunt in the NFC, while Tennessee is trying to keep their heads above water in the AFC South. Eagles may not cover the 11 1/2 but they win in the Linc in the City of Brotherly Love.

Cincinnati (6-3-1) at Houston (5-5), 1 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 707) NRG/Reliant Stadium. A pair of hot teams meet in the Lone Star State when Cincinnati takes on Houston at NRG/Reliant Stadium.

The Texans return home after they traveled to Cleveland and came away with a 23-7 win along the shores of Lake Erie. After Cleveland tied the contest up on a 32 yard TD pass to WR Andrew Hawkins from Byran Hoyer to tie the contest up. Houston would score their last 16 points of the game unchallenged, including three Randy Bullock field goals, to seal the Browns’ fate. Houston rookie RB Alfred Blue ran for 156 yards, subbing for Arian Foster (hamstring), while the Texans held Cleveland to 58 yards rushing. Cleveland was 3-15 on third down conversions in the 16-point loss at home (0-2 on fourth down), while possessing the ball for 26:07, while the Texans, who forced a pair of Cleveland turnovers, were 7-18 and 1-1 on third and fourth down tries, keeping the ball for 33:53.

The Texans evened their record at 5-5 with a 23-7 win at Cleveland. Defensive end J.J. Watt continued his impressive play by recording a sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a two-yard touchdown reception. He is the only player to do so in a single game since the sack became an official statistic in 1982. Watt is the second player in NFL history with two touchdown catches, an interception-return touchdown and a fumble-return touchdown in a single season (Jay Arnold, Philadelphia, 1938).

“This was a great win for our team,” Texans head coach Bill O’Brien told the Houston Chronicle, KRPC-TV and KHOU-TV about knocking off Cleveland. “But we have to go back to work because we’ve got a really good Cincinnati team coming in.”

The Bengals moved back into first place in the AFC North last week with a commanding 27-10 victory at New Orleans. Quarterback Andy Dalton threw three touchdown passes and had a 143.9 passer rating while rookie running back Jeremy Hill rushed for 152 yards. Hill, who rushed for 154 yards in a Week 9 win over Jacksonville, is one of only seven rookies in NFL history to have at least two 150-yard rushing games in a calendar month. The Bengals held New Orleans to 85 yards rushing in the win in the Big Easy, while rushing for 186 yards in the win. Both clubs did well on third down tries last week, with the Bengals going 9-13, while the Saints were 8-13 and 0-1 in the only fourth down try in the contest. The Saints did win the time of possession battle, keeping the ball for 30:46 to Cincy’s 29:14.

“This was a big win for us,” Dalton told the Cincinnati Enquirer about the victory in New Orleans. “It’s good to bounce back and get a big win on the road.”

The series between Houston and Cincy is even at 3-3 and the Bengals lead in scoring 130-123. Houston has won the last three regular season meetings, taking a 20-19 win in the Buckeye State in 2011, while the Bengals, who won the first three contests, last beat the Texans in 2005 in the Queen City by a 16-10 final.

The Texans are favored by 1 1/2 and the over/under’s 43 1/2. Both numbers make a lot of sense. These two teams could meet in the post-season for the second time in three years. Cincy takes the win in the Lone Star State and covers the 1 1/2.

Arizona (9-1) at Seattle (6-4), 4:05 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 714) CenturyLink Field. It’s an NFC West showdown in the Pacific Northwest as Arizona travels to Seattle to take on the defending Super Bowl champions at Century Link Field.

The 9-1 Cardinals will travel to Seattle to face the defending Super Bowl champions. Arizona is one of only two teams to defeat the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field over the past three seasons.

Quarterback Drew Stanton threw two first-quarter touchdown passes to Michael Floyd and the Cardinals’ defense held the Lions out of the end zone in Arizona’s 14-6 Week 11 win. Stanton is now 3-1 this season as the Cardinals’ starting quarterback and Floyd is one of three players in franchise history with two first-quarter touchdown catches in a game.
“Drew’s 3-1 as a starter,” Arizona head coach Bruce Arians told the Arizona Republic. “He’s a solid player and we’ve got some huge challenges ahead of us. The schedule is going to get really, really tough the rest of the way in.”
The Seahawks have won 21 of their past 23 games at home in the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks, including the playoffs and quarterback Russell Wilson has a 101.4 passer rating in those contests. Seattle leads the NFL in rushing, averaging 174.2 yards per game and Marshawn Lynch has a league-best nine rushing touchdowns.

“For us, we’re just looking for the next opportunity,” says Wilson, who will look to get his team back on track after a Week 11 loss at Kansas City. “We have to have that high confidence we normally have and continue to have that swagger that we always play with,” he told KIRO-TV and KING-TV.

Arizona enters the contest, surving a 14-6 contest with Detroit in Glendale last Sunday. The Desert Angry Birds led by that 14-6 score at the half and the two teams went scoreless in the final 30 minutes of play. Rushing was not on the agenda for either club and neither the Lions (98) or Cards (46) managed to break the 100-yard barrier and Arizona’s two TDs came as QB Drew Stanton and WR Michael Floyd connected on a pair of TDs. Arizona ruled the roost on third down conversions in Glendale, as the Desert Angry Birds went 8-14 and kept the ball for 30:43. Detroit went 5-15 and 0-1 on third and fourth down conversions, holding the ball for 29:17.

The defending Super Bowl champs trailed throughout their contest with Kansas City last Sunday afternoon in Arrowhead but still managed to be competitive, despite losing 24-20 to the Chiefs. Marshawn Lynch remained in “Beast Mode,” rushing for 124 yards and QB Russell Wilson threw for a pair of TDs and 178 yards. Seattle had two chances to take the lead in the final quarter but falied to convert in both attempts. The Seahawks were 5-12 and 0-3 on third and fourth down tries in the loss and kept the ball for 35:57, while the Chiefs, led by RB Jamaal Charles’ 159 yards and a pair of TDs, went 2-6 and held the ball for 24:03.

The Desert Angry Birds hold a 16-14 lead in the series (which includes contests that were played when the Cardinals were in St. Louis) and Seattle has outscored Arizona 744-597. The two teams split the series in 2013 but both won in the other team’s stadium.

The first meeting was in the desert in week seven in Glendale and the Seahawks led 17-10 at the half before pulling away to win 34-22, outscoring Arizona 17-12 in the second half. Seattle outrushed Arizona 135-70 and the Seahawks sacked Carson Palmer seven times and picked him off twice, while Wilson threw for 3 TDs. The Seahawks were 7-12 and 0-1 on third and fourth down tries and kept the ball for 27:40, while Arizona was 5-15 and 1-2 in the same catagories, holding the ball for 32:20. The Desert Angry Birds would get their revenge in week 16, taking a 17-10 win in the Pacific Northwest. Arizona broke a 3-3 tie at the break and outscored Seattle 14-7 in the second half. Arizona outrushed Seattle in the second meeting 139-103 and Palmer outpassed Wilson 178-109 (wilson was sacked four times, Palmer was picked off four times) to take the win. Third down tries in the second meeting? Nothing to write home about (Arizona was 6-19, while Seattle was 2-13) and the clock was the ally of Arizona at 37:24 to Seattle’s 22:36.

In the week seven contest, Seattle won by 12 (they were favored by 6 1/2) and both teams easily surpassed the 40 over/under with 56 points. In the week 16 contest in the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks, the Desert Angry Birds won by seven (Seattle was favored by 10 1/2) and both teams managed to score only 27 points, falling short of the 44 1/2 over/under. This time, the defending Super Bowl champs are 6 1/2 point favorites and the over/under is 41 1/2. With first place in the NFC West on the line, it’s almost fitting that this one is “Drill Worthy.” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?)

After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 55 and dates a 40-year old ex-Marine, who’s now a football coach at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”

This contest could decide the NFC West. They do meet again in the desert in week 16 but they have this date in front of them. Seahawks may not cover the 6 1/2 but they win at home in the land of grunge, salmon and Starbucks.

St. Louis (4-6) at San Diego (6-4), 4:05 p.m. (FOX and DirecTV 713) Qualcomm Stadium. A pair of intraleague Western divison teams meet in San Diego as the Rams travel westward to take on San Diego in sunny California.

St. Louis held Denver in check at Edward Jones last Sunday, holding the Broncos to seven first half points and shut them down the rest of the way in their 22-7 win. The Rams held Denver to 28 yards rushing (St. Louis ran for 131, with rookie RB Tre Mason accounting for 113) and picked off Peyton Manning twice in the great indoors. St. Louis was 6-17 on third down conversions, keeping the ball out of Manning’s hands for 35:50, while Denver was 4-12 and 0-3 on third and fourth down conversions, holding the ball for 24:10.

The Chargers remain on the West Coast after they continued the Raiders’ woes, sending them to their 10th loss of the year with their 13-6 win at Qualcomm. The Bolts led at the half 10-3 at the break and played Oakland even in the second half. Oakland was outrushed 120-71 and San Diego sacked rookie QB David Carr twice in the contest, while Philip Rivers connected for the only TD of the contest, a

The Rams lead the series 6-4. which includes contests when they were in Los Angeles and have barely outscored the Chargers 266-263. St. Louis’ last win over San Diego came in 2010 in St. Louis by a 20-17 final while San Diego’s last win in the brief series came in 2006 in San Diego, a 38-24 decision.

San Diego’s favored by 6 and the contest carries a 44 over/under. The Rams are better than their 4-6 mark but the Chargers are at home, trying to catch Kansas City and Denver in the somewhat crazy AFC West. Chargers cover the 6 and take the win at Qualcomm.

Washington (3-7) at San Francisco (6-4), 4:25 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 715) Levis Stadium. Washington travels to Santa Clara to face San Francisco in hopes of getting back on track.

Washington turned the ball over three times in their 27-7 loss at home to Tampa Bay last Sunday. Even though they outrushed Tampa Bay 155-48, Redskins QB Robert Griffin III found himself being sacked six times. Washington on the afternoon was 4-13 and 1-1 on third and fourth down tries, keeping the ball for 34:11, while the Buccaneers were 3-10 and held the pigskin for 25:49.

Meanwhile, the 49ers escaped New Jersey with a 16-10 win over the New York Giants in the Meadowlands. San Francisco led 9-7 at the half before they took the lead for keeps when QB Colin Kaepernick and RB/WR Michael Crabtree connected on a 48-yard TD pass with 11:38 left in the third quarter. The Niners outrushed New York at Met Life Stadium 148-65 and picked off Eli Manning five times in the win in upstate New Jersey and went 6-14 and 0-1 on third and fourth down tries, holding the ball for 34:59, while the Giants on third and fourth downs were 6-15 and 0-3 and kept the ball for 25:01.

San Francisco leads the series 16-9-1, have outscored the Redskins 638-501 and have won the last three meetings, including a 27-6 win last year in Landover. In the week 12 contest at FedEx Field, San Francisco led 13-6 at halftime and then shutout Washington in the second half. Even though San Francisco was held to 76 yards on the ground while Washington ran for 100, the 49ers did manage to sack Robert Griffin III four times, while Kaepernick and Anquan Bolden connected for two of his three TD passes. San Francisco was 4-14 on third down conversions (1-2 on fourth down tries) and held the ball for 31:26, while the Redskins were 4-15 and 0-2 on third and fourth down tries, keeping the ball for 28:34.

In the week 12 Monday night contest in Landover, the 49ers were favored by 5 1/2 and won by 21, covering the spread. Neither club reached the 47 over/under, scoring only 33 points. San Fran’s favored by 8 1/2 and the over/under’s 44. Washington’s been slipping of late and fans in DC are saying “HELL, IT’S THE REDSKINS” instead of “Hail to the Redskins.” They’ll be screaming the former this week. 49ers might not cover the 8 1/2 but they win at home.

Miami (6-4) at Denver (7-3), 4:25 p.m. (CBS and DirecTV 716) Sports Authority Field. Miami travels to the Rocky Mountains to take on an Denver team that is looking to keep pace with Kansas City in the AFC West.

Miami rallied from a 6-3 deficit halftime at home in the Sunshine State and came out on top 22-9. Miami in the second half scored their 19 points in the second half unchallenged, while holding the Bills to 54 yards rushing (Miami ran for 125) and sacked Kyle Orton twice, while Ryan Tannehill, despite being sacked five times, threw for a pair of TDs for the win. The Dolphins were 4-9 on third down conversions and won the time of possession battle with the Bills, keeping the ball for 32:22, while the Bills were 6-15 and 0-2 on third and fourth down tries, keeping the ball for 27:38.

Denver trailed St. Louis 13-7 at halftime before things went downhill as the Rams shut them out in the second half to take a 22-7 win. Denver was held to 28 yards rushing, while allowing rookie RB Tre Mason to run for 113 yards (St. Louis tallied 131) in the win and forced a pair of Manning interceptions. Denver went 4-12 on third down tries (0-3 on fourth down conversions) and held the ball for 24:10, while St. Louis went 6-17 and kept the ball for 35:50.

Miami leads the series 11-4-1 and have outscored the Broncos 367-278. The last time these two teams met was in 2011 in Miami, when the Broncos needed overtime to take a 18-15 win. Miami’s last win in the series came in 2008 in Denver by a 26-17 count. Denver’s favored by 7 and the over/under is 49. Tannehill vs. Manning. A pair of QBs that could be in Canton one day means that this could be closer than the 7. Miami will give Denver and the Peytonicus fits but Denver gets back on track in the Mile High City and takes the win, covering the 7.

Dallas (7-3) at New York Giants (3-7) 8:30 p.m. (NBC) MetLife Stadium. Manning vs. Romo. They meet again and this time, it’s in Eli’s house. Dallas heads up to the Meadowlands to take a struggling New York Giants team, sitting in last place in the NFC East behind Washington.

The Cowboys enter Week 12 tied with Philadelphia for first place in the NFC East. Running back De Marco Murray leads the NFL with 1,233 rushing yards and is the only player in NFL history with at least 100 rushing yards in nine of his team’s first 10 games to begin a season. The Cowboys are now setting up for a late-season run to the playoffs.

“It’s so week-to-week in how you play and how you have to go do it,” says Dallas tight end Jason Witten. “We’ve put ourselves in good position. Now we’ve just got to go do it.” Dallas comes off the bye week after they took Jacksonville to the woodshed in London, coming away with a 31-17 win across the Big Pond. Dallas outrushed Jacksonville 151-71 (with DeMarco Murray accounting for 100 of those yards) and Romo coming off a back injury by throwing three TD passes, two to WR Dez Bryant and one to Witten. The Cowboys in merry old England was 4-13 on third down tries and held the ball for 31:32, while Jacksonville was 4-14 and 2-4 on third and fourth down conversions, keeping the pigskin at Wembley for 28:28.

The Giants will look to knock off their division rivals and try and stay alive in the NFC playoff hunt. Rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. has 21 catches for 357 yards in his past three games. In the month of November, Beckham’s 357 receiving yards are the second-most in the NFL by any player.

“Every week, it’s a new challenge,” says Giants running back Rashad Jennings. “This is a division game and they’re a team that’s playing well. We are excited for this next challenge.” Big Blue was outrushed by the 49ers in their 16-10 loss 148-65 and Manning was picked off five times. New York on third and fourth down tries were 6-15 and 0-3 respectively and held the ball for 25:01, while the 49ers were 6-14 on third down tries, 0-1 on fourth and kept the ball for 34:59.

They met in Arlington in week seven and Dallas came away with a 31-21 win at AT&T Stadium. Dallas broke a 14-14 tie at the half and outscored Big Blue 17-7 in the last 30 minutes of play and Murray ran for 128 of his team’s 156 yards in the contest (New York ran for 104). Both Manning and Romo threw three TD passes in the contest, in which New York pulled to within seven when Beckham caught a 5 yard TD pass from Manning. Dallas was 9-14 on third down conversions in the Lone Star State and kept the ball for 33:49, while the Giants were 5-13 and 1-1 on third and fourth down tries, holding the ball for 26:11.

In the first contest, Dallas won by 10 (the Cowboys were favored by 6) and the two teams combined to score 51 points, covering the 48 over/under. This time, Dallas is favored by only 3 and the over/under 47 1/2. Dallas might be on the road but the Giants are struggling. Cowboys take advantage and cover the 3 on Sunday night.

New York Jets (2-8) at Buffalo (5-5), 7 p.m. Monday (CBS in New York City and Buffalo only) Ford Field. A pair of AFC East cellar-dwellers were supposed to meet in upstate New York for the second time this season as the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were scheduled travel to upstate New York to face the Bills with one small detail.

The operative word here is WERE.

What could cause this contest problems, you ask?

Mother Nature.

It appears that someone forgot to tell the Bills to circle the wagons as Mother Nature clobbered upstate with more than 100 feet of snow in the area. Roads would wind up being closed and the NFL was looking to find a new site and date for the game to be played. The date for the makeup was determined by the league to be Monday and the site would be Ford Field, in Detroit, where they had hosted a makeup game a few years ago when the Vikings had to leave the Metrodome after their roof collapsed. The Vikings would wind up playing their last two home games outside at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

Mother Nature aside for the moment.

The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! had a bye last week after their 20-13 win over the Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger in the Meadowlands. GangGreen led 17-3 at the half and then held off a late Steeler rally in the contest that saw them break their eight-game losing streak. Although Michael Vick was sacked four times, he did manage to throw a pair of TDs and no interceptions. GangGreen outrushed Pittsburgh 150-36 and forced four Pittsburgh turnovers in the win in upstate New Jersey. New York was 6-15 on third down conversions two weeks ago and held the ball for 30:33, while the Steelers were 6-11 and 0-1 on third and fourth down conversions, holding the ball for 29:27.

Buffalo let a 6-3 lead in Miami get away from them last Thursday night as the Dolphins would advance and win by a 22-9 final. Miami would proceed to score their last 19 points in the contest unchallenged in the Sunshine State, dropping the Bills to the .500 mark. Miami outrushed Buffalo 125-54 and Kyle Orton was sacked twice, while the Bills sacked Ryan Tannehill five times. Buffalo was 6-15 and 0-2 on third and fourth down tries, possessing the ball for 27:38, while Miami last Thursday night was 4-9 on third down tries and kept the ball for 32:22.

They met in New Jersey in week six and the Bills added to the Jets’ woes, taking a 43-23 win at Met Life Stadium. GangGreen did manage to outrush Buffalo 175-67 but Michael Vick and Geno Smith combined to throw four interceptions in the contest. Vick, who was the starter before Smith came in, was sacked four times, as was Bills QB Kyle Orton (Orton threw four TDs in the game and accounted for 238 yards for the Bills). In the first meeting in New Jersey, neither team did anything to write home about on third down tries as Buffalo was 3-12 and held the ball for 27:43, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were a little better on third down, going 9-19 (1-1 on fourth) and held the ball for 32:17.

In the first contest, the Bills won by 20, covering the 3 point spread (GangGreen was favored) and both teams managed to surpass the 41 by scoring 66 points. This time, the Bills are favored by 4 1/2 and the over/under is 39. There’s a chance that the two teams could reach the over/under by halftime and given the fact that these two are rivals, it could be a lot closer. Bills win, despite the fact they’re not in upstate New York and cover the 4 1/2.

Baltimore (6-4) at New Orleans (4-6), 8:30 p.m. Monday (ESPN) Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Joe Flacco vs. Drew Brees. Crabcakes vs. Gumbo. A pair of QBs with Super Bowl rings meet in the Big Easy to close out week 12.  The Ravens, who had a bye in Week 11, are right in the thick of the race in the competitive AFC North. Quarterback Joe Flacco has won four of his past five starts on Monday Night Football and has won five in a row against the NFC.

“Every win is important,” Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith told the Baltimore Sun. “In our division, there are a bunch of talented teams. It’s going to be interesting down the stretch. Hopefully, we come out on top.”

Baltimore scored their 21 points unchallenged in their 21-7 win over Tennessee two weeks ago. The Ravens trailed 7-0 in Charm City and never trailed after that. Tennesee was outrushed by the Ravens 151-67 and Titans QB Zack Mettenberger was sacked five times and Ravens RB Justin Forsett ran for 112 yards and a pair of TDs. The Ravens on third and fourth down tries were 4-13 and 1-1 and kept the ball for 30:47, while Tennessee was 4-12 and possessed the ball for 29:13.

The Saints, in second place in the NFC South behind Atlanta, will try to stop a rare losing streak at home. New Orleans enters Week 12 tied for first place in the NFC South. Brees has won nine of his past 10 starts on Monday Night Football with a 118.6 passer rating. Running back Mark Ingram has stabilized the ground game and leads the NFL in rushing since Week 8 with 459 yards.

“I feel good about our chances and the opportunity that we have,” Brees told the Times-Picayune, the Mobile Register, WKRG-TV, WALA-TV and WPMI-TV about the team’s playoff chances. “We’re learning a lot about how to win. Failure can be the best teacher at times.”

Baltimore leads the series 4-1, has outscored New Orleans 138-101 and has won the last two contests, including a 30-24 win in Charm City in 2010. New Orleans’ only win in the series came in the third meeting in 2002 by a 37-25 final in Charm City.

New Orleans is favored by 4 and the over/under in the Big Easy is 50. On Monday nights (in case you’re wondering), the Ravens are even at 9-9, while the Saints are 17-18. Both clubs are in the playoff hunt and both want to catch the teams that are ahead of them in their respective divisions. Baltimore’s 3-0 against the NFC South, while the Saints are looking to not lose three in a row at home. Crabcakes beats gumbo but it’ll be closer than the 4. Ravens sweep the NFC South in the Big Easy and close out week 12 with the win.

Advertisements