Cowboys and Dolphins will Stay Hot; 49ers and Jaguars will Stay Cold
Fikkle Fame’s NFL Predictions for December 1st-5th, 2016
This is the week that the 0-12 Cleveland Browns will not lose a game. Last week we mistakenly said the bye weeks were over, but this week there still are two teams that have their byes, and one of them is the hapless Browns. The other is the 6-6 Tennessee Titans. We predict the Browns will lose the bye week, too.
Game of Thursday December 1st
Dallas (10-1) at Minnesota (6-5). Cowboys favored by 3 ½. This will be a good test for Dallas, as the Vikings are 4-1 at home. But Minnesota has lost five of six after a 5-0 start, and will have to turn it around immediately if they hope to make the playoffs. That won’t happen this week, although they should give Dallas a run for its money. Cowboys 27 Vikings 25.
Games of Sunday December 4th
Kansas City (8-3) at Atlanta (7-4). Falcons favored by 4. One of the better games this week between the Chiefs, who are a game behind Oakland in the AFC West, and the Falcons, who hold a one game lead over Tampa Bay in the NFC South. Kansas City is 4-2 on the road and is coming off that overtime win Sunday night at Denver, and have won 6 of 7. We think they can pull off the upset. Chiefs 31 Falcons 28.
Detroit (7-4) at New Orleans (5-6). Saints favored by 5. The first place Lions stand a good shot at winning their division for the first time since 1991. But they are just 2-3 on the road, and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is a tough venue for visitors. The Saints are probably a little better than their record indicates, and will win this matchup between two good quarterbacks in Drew Brees and Matthew Stafford. Saints 34 Lions 30.
Los Angeles (4-7) at New England (9-2). Patriots favored by 13. Rams Hall of fame running back Eric Dickerson says that coach Jeff Fisher doesn’t want him on the sidelines. Fisher denies that and says Dickerson is welcome. Maybe he’d be doing Dickerson a favor by telling him not to be there, as Eric’s old team has lost 6 of 7 and is scoring a league worst 15.5 points per game. Patriots 31 Rams 10.
Denver (7-4) at Jacksonville (2-9). Broncos favored by 4 1/2. After that overtime loss to the Chiefs, the Broncos will get back on the winning track against the Jaguars, who are having yet another dismal season. Broncos 31 Jaguars 21.
Houston (6-5) at Green Bay (5-6). Packers favored by 6 1/2. The Packers looked like the Packers we are used to seeing in their 27-13 victory at Philadelphia on Monday Night Football. While Houston has a narrow lead in the AFC South, the Texans are just 1-4 on the road. Green Bay will keep its playoff hopes alive. Packers 28 Texans 20.
Philadelphia (5-6) at Cincinnati (3-7-1). Eagles favored by 1 1/2. After a promising 3-0 start, the Eagles have hit the skids and are just 2-6 in their last eight games. They probably will not improve on last season’s 7-9 record as they still have games remaining against the Redskins, Ravens, Giants, and Cowboys. A lot of observers didn’t expect much this season from the Eagles anyway based on their roster, but a lot was expected of the Bengals, who were 12-4 in 2015 before doing their usual quick exit from the playoffs. Injuries, close losses, and a fairly tough schedule have all contributed to this dismal campaign. Philadelphia is just 1-5 on the road, so we’ll go with the Bengals in a mild upset. Bengals 24 Eagles 20.
Miami (7-4) at Baltimore (6-5). Ravens favored by 3. The Ravens are tied for first in the AFC North, while Miami is two games behind New England in the East. The Dolphins have won six in a row and are contending for a Wild Card playoff berth, but they have a lot of competition and will have to keep winning down the final stretch. A win over the Ravens would give them a tie breaker over Baltimore if it came to that. Dolphins 20 Ravens 17.
San Francisco (1-10) at Chicago (2-9). Bears favored by 1. There’s just no other way to put it: these two teams are lousy this year. The 49ers shutout the Rams 28-0 in the season opener and have lost 10 straight since then. The Bears two victories have been over the Lions and Vikings, both quality opponents, and both at Soldier Field. On that basis, we’ll pick the Bears. Bears 27 49ers 24.
Buffalo (6-5) at Oakland (9-2). Raiders favored by 3. The Bills are another AFC team that is in that crowded pool of Wild Card contenders. They’ll take a step back this week, losing to a Raiders team that has won five in a row and leads the AFC West. Raiders 20 Bills 16.
New York Giants (8-3) at Pittsburgh (6-5). Steelers favored by 6. The Giants have won six in row, but that streak includes the Rams, Bengals, Bears, and Browns, plus one against the rapidly fading Eagles. The streak will come to an end. Steelers 28 Giants 17.
Washington (6-4-1) at Arizona (4-6-1). Cardinals favored by 2 1/2. Washington came up a little short on Thanksgiving at Dallas, but overall, the Redskins are playing well. The Cardinals have lost three of four, with the only victory being a three point win over the 49ers. Redskins 26 Cardinals 21.
Tampa Bay (6-5) at San Diego (5-6). Chargers favored by 3 1/2. The Chargers are hard to predict. They have an offense that put up good numbers, but a defense that allows a lot of points also. They’ve had a hard time beating the better teams they’ve played, but they have the misfortune of playing in the stacked AFC West. Tampa Bay enters December with a shot at not just a Wild Card, but they are only one game behind NFC South leader Atlanta. They’ve won three in a row; the last two were at Kansas City and over the Seahawks in Tampa. The Buccaneers are 4-1 on the road, and will get their fifth road win of the season this week. Buccaneers 31 Chargers 24.
Carolina (4-7) at Seattle (7-3-1). Seahawks favored by 6 1/2. The Panthers made a big third quarter comeback against the Raiders last Sunday, taking a 25-24 lead after having been down 24-7 at halftime. But the Raiders mounted a comeback of their own and won the game 35-32 on a field goal with 1:45 left. Seattle’s offense forgot to show up in the Seahawks 14-5 loss at Tampa Bay. But the Seahawks are 5-0 at home this season, while the Panthers are 1-4 on the road. Seahawks 27 Panthers 17.
Game of Monday December 5th
Indianapolis (5-6) at New York Jets (3-8). Colts favored by 2 1/2. The Jets have lost three in a row, and the Indianapolis lost to the Steelers on Thanksgiving night. But the Colts were without QB Andrew Luck, who is expected to play this week. He makes a big difference. Colts 27 Jets 23.