This week in: The NFL – Week 13 2012

You didn’t see me throw this challenge flag, right?

For the ninth consecutive season, the Detroit Lines lost their Thanksgiving day home game, this time succumbing 34-31 after overtime against the AFC-leading Houston Texans.  The Lions played a part in their own downfall last Thursday, in particular their coach, Jim Schwartz who threw a challenge flag after Justin Forsett’s third-quarter 81-yard touchdown run.  Detroit had led 24-14 at the time and, while Schwartz was correct in his assertion that Forsett was down early on, the NFL does not allow coaches to challenge scoring  plays, which are automatically reviewable and the throwing of the flag prevented the officials from analysing the replay.  Despite this mistake, the Lions still had the opportunity to win the game in overtime, but a 47-yard field-goal attempt on third down hit the upright and on the next drive, Matt Schaub drove the Texans into Detroit territory to allow kicker Shayne Graham to secure their 10th win of the year.

The other two Thanksgiving Day games were not such close contests: the Redskins led the Cowboys 28-3 at half-time and went on to win 38-31, on the back of a fantastic performance from rookie quarterback, Robert Griffin III, who threw for 304 yards and four touchdowns; while the Patriots scored three TDs in 52 seconds as they racked up 35 points in the second-quarter alone, eventually beating the Jets 49-19.  On Sunday, there were two rematches from the NFC playoffs last January and the outcomes remained the same, as the NY Giants thrashed the Packers, 38-10, and the San Francisco 49ers got the better of the New Orleans Saints, 31-21.  That loss for Green Bay allowed Chicago to move a game clear at the top of the NFC North, after they had beaten divisional rivals Minnesota, 28-10, earlier in the day.

Atlanta extended their lead in the NFC South with a narrow 24-23 win in Tampa Bay, the defeat means that the Buccaneers are now tied for the second NFC wild card berth with Minnesota and Seattle – who gave up 17 fourth quarter points to the Dolphins in their 24-21 loss in Miami.  In the AFC, Baltimore maintained their position in the second seed slot with an unimpressive, but resilient, 16-13 win in San Diego, coming from 10 points behind with under five minutes to play to ultimately win the game in the final 90 seconds of overtime.  Denver recorded their sixth consecutive victory with a 17-9 triumph over the Kansas City Chiefs and the Broncos now have a four game lead in the AFC West, with just five weeks remaining of the regular season.  Peyton Manning may end up facing his old team in the playoffs, as the Indianapolis Colts currently occupy the first wild-card position in the AFC, which they consolidated by beating the Bills, 20-13 in Buffalo last Sunday.  In the other games in Week 12: the Cardinals fell to their seventh consecutive loss, as the Rams triumphed 31-17 in Arizona; the Bengals defeated the Raiders, 34-10, in Cincinnati and tied the Steelers for second in the AFC North, after Pittsburgh fell 20-14 in Cleveland; Jacksonville got their first home win of the season, 24-19, over the Tennessee Titans; and, on Monday night, Carolina heaped more misery on the Eagles with a 30-22 success in Philadelphia.  

The lineup for Week 13 includes the Falcons facing the only team to have beaten them this year, the New Orleans Saints, on Thursday night; the Bears host the Seahawks; Minnesota face the Packers in Green Bay; the 49ers and Rams – who ended their encounter with a tie in San Francisco earlier in the season – play each other again in St. Louis; and the Patriots travel to Miami to take on the Dolphins.  The Ravens luck looks likely to continue as they face the Steelers in Baltimore, with Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger expected to miss the encounter with a shoulder injury that ruled him out of the first meeting of the AFC North rivals in week 11; and also in that division, the Bengals are in San Diego and the Browns play the Raiders in Oakland.  All four NFC East teams face each other this weekend, with the Cowboys hosting the Eagles; and the Giants take on the Redskins, Monday night in Washington.  The other matchups with playoff implications see the Colts travel to Detroit; the Titans host the Texans; and the Broncos have a home contest against the Buccaneers.  Elsewhere, the Jets will try to inflict the Cardinals 8th straight defeat in their meeting at the Meadowlands; the Panthers face the Chiefs in Kansas City; and the Bills entertain the Jaguars.

Predictions

Last week, 12-4; Season, 94-81

Home teams in bold

Falcons -3.5 over Saints

Jaguars +6.5 over Bills

Bears -4.5 over Seahawks

Colts +4.5 over Lions

Packers -9.5 over Vikings

Texans -5.5 over Titans

Panthers -3.5 over Chiefs

Rams +7.5 over 49ers

Patriots -7.5 over Dolphins

Jets -4.5 over Cardinals

Broncos -6.5 over Buccaneers

Browns +0.5 over Raiders

Chargers +1.5 over Bengals

Ravens -6.5 over Steelers

Cowboys -9.5 over Eagles

Redskins +2.5 over Giants

 

 

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