Steve Believes: Week 12, 2018 NFL Season

  • Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions. Week 12 of Steve Believes starts early, as this matchup marks the beginning of the Thanksgiving Day triple-header and the overall Week 12 slate. The Bears are coming off an impressive win against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football, but could be without quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (shoulder) for this one. As for the Lions, they were a near successful two-point conversion away from being 3-7. But fortunately for them, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton’s aforementioned missed two-point pass that was intended for Jarius Wright, and Zach Zenner’s subsequent onside kick recovery has them at 4-6 instead of 3-7. The Bears are the better team, but the absence of Trubisky and the short week both have me leaning towards to a Lions upset.
  • Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys. The Redskins enter this game minus their starting quarterback as well. But this injury is more serious, as Alex Smith’s leg injury is both season-ending and potentially career-ending. Colt McCoy takes over for him for the rest of this season. As for the Cowboys, they got a big buzzer-beating win on the road against the Atlanta Falcons to follow up their Week 10 win in primetime against the Philadelphia Eagles. AT&T Stadium has been a house of horrors for the Redskins, as they are 2-7 all-time in that stadium. Make it 2-8.
  • Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints. After a three-game winning streak to get back to .500, the Falcons got upset by the Cleveland Browns and then got beat at the buzzer by the Cowboys. As for the Saints, they are the hottest team in football with a nine-game winning streak, with their latest win being a 48-7 beatdown of the Eagles. This is a must-win game for the Falcons, but they will be just the latest team to get defeated by this locomotive called the Saints.
  • Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Buffalo Bills. The Jaguars are a far cry from the team that beat the New England Patriots back in Week 2, as they have lost six in a row following a 3-1 start. As for the Bills, they are surprisingly 3-7, as they were expected to be among one of the worst teams in the league this season. This game features two teams who are hard to figure out on a week-to-week basis. But since I’m professionally obligated to pick a winner, I’ll pick the Jaguars because they could very well run the table to at least get a Wild Card spot.
  • Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals. Just when the Browns looked to be the same old Browns, well Nick Chubb happened, as the rookie running back powered his team to a Week 10 upset of the Falcons. As for the Bengals, the Killer B’s of being blown out, blown leads and bad run defense have happened in four of their past five games to the tune of a 1-4 record in that span. The bad run defense has allowed three 100-yard rushers in the past two games and now has Chubb to deal with. Look for Chubb to add to Cincinnati’s inability to stop the run and look for the Browns to finally snap their 25-game road losing streak.
  • New England Patriots vs. New York Jets. Both of these limped into their respective bye weeks, as they each scored just 10 points in blowout losses. The Patriots were badly exposed against the Tennessee Titans, while the Jets lost a head scratcher against the Bills. History says pick the Patriots this week. But the Jets want to finish 2018 strong. That will start this week and in a big way with an upset of the Patriots.
  • New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles. Both of these teams had their bye weeks in Week 9, but are going in totally opposite directions, with the Giants 2-0 since the bye, while the Eagles are 0-2 in that same span. However, there will be no 3 in either column, because I expect the Eagles to bounce back this week.
  • San Francisco 49ers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The two teams that the Giants beat in consecutive weeks square off in a matchup of mostly ineptitude. And of course, this is another game that I’m professionally obligated to pick. So with that being said, I’ll take the 49ers since they are coming off a bye and will be fresh heading into this one.
  • Seattle Seahawks vs. Carolina Panthers. This game features two teams that both need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. Plus, this game also marks the eighth meeting between Russell Wilson and Cam Newton since the former was a rookie back in 2012. Wilson is 5-2 head-to-head against Newton. However, it’ll be 5-3, because I see the Panthers answering the bell following back-to-back losses against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Lions.
  • Oakland Raiders vs. Baltimore Ravens. The Raiders got in the win column for the second time this season, as they beat the Arizona Cardinals at the buzzer last week. As for the Ravens, they got back to .500 thanks to Lamar Jackson and Gus Edwards each rushing for 100 yards or more against the Bengals. Look for the Ravens to pose that type of problem against a porous Raiders run defense and look for them to get back over .500 again.
  • Arizona Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Chargers. I just covered the last outcome for the Cardinals one pick ago. As for the Chargers, they too lost at the buzzer, as Brandon McManus kicked a game-ending 34-yard field goal. The Chargers won’t catch the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West, but they won’t lose a second consecutive game at home this week.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Denver Broncos. After being left for dead to start the season, the Steelers have been one of the hottest teams, as they have won six in a row. As for the Broncos, they pulled off an upset last week on the road against the Chargers. The Broncos are 3-1 against the Steelers in the Von Miller era. Make it 4-1, as the Steelers won’t luck out this time around.
  • Miami Dolphins vs. Indianapolis Colts. The Dolphins are yet another tough team to figure out, as they are a maddening 5-5 right now. As for the Colts, they have a chance to get over .500 for the first time since Week 12 of the 2015 NFL season. The Dolphins are coming off a bye, but I can’t see myself picking against the Colts in this one.
  • Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings. The last time these two teams met, the game ended in a 29-29 tie, much to the chagrin of myself and many others. Had the Packers won that game, they would have the unique feat of being undefeated at home and winless on the road. Had the Vikings won that game, they’d be a game behind Chicago instead of a game and a half behind them. The Vikings christened U.S. Bank Stadium with a win against the Packers in 2016 and pretty much ended Aaron Rodgers’ season there last year. Will the third time be a charm for the Packers? Well given how abysmal the Packers have been on the road this season and given how formidable the Vikings are at home, I’m going to say no.
  • Tennessee Titans vs. Houston Texans. After handing the Patriots one of their worst losses in recent memory, the Titans were throttled on the road against the Colts. As for the Texans, they got lucky the past two games, as both the Broncos and Redskins missed game-ending field goals against them. The Texans return to the friendly confines of NRG Stadium, where they have won three in a row this season, along with putting up 57 against the Titans in that stadium last season. They won’t get 57 against the Titans this time around, but they will make it four in a row this season at NRG Stadium.