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NFL Week 12 Preview: Patriots and Panthers face tests to stay perfect

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Week 11 is in the books as predictions, largely, got back on track following Week 10. It's Thanksgiving weekend and there are some huge divisional games.

Now let's get to it with the biggest games:

New York Giants @ Washington

The Giants are 5-5 and atop the NFC East while Washington sit on 4-6 with Big Blue winning their match-up earlier this season and aiming for a sixth straight rivalry win.


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Throw in a week off, and key players returning to health, like Prince Amukamara, and the G-Men could bury Washington with their air attack as Eli has currently thrown for 2,700 yards, 21 touchdowns and just six interceptions this season.

It's not as if their running game will do anything - the committee doesn't work! Washington however, is still licking its wounds from a hammering at the hands of the Panthers.

Their running game, somehow, is even worse than New York's with more fumbles than touchdowns this season and gained an unbelievable 10 yards from 11 carries in total by three backs.

New York is a talented team, there's no doubting that, but if they could finish off a game and manage a clock, they could be out of sight in the NFC East with three more wins.

Winner: Giants

Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers

Green Bay broke their losing streak last week when most predicted another loss (except yours truly) against the Vikings.

The Packers are now tied with the Vikes on 7-3 after their defensive line manhandled the sophomore QB with six sacks.

Pack's offence fired too, as Eddie Lacy looked fit after a week off and Aaron Rodgers threw some insane but hardly surprising passes.

The Bears had a chance to beat up on Brock Osweiler in his first start and for John Fox to get revenge on his old team, but no. Chicago's running was shutdown and Jay Cutler returned from hibernation with a pick and a fumble in the most important game against the team that traded him in 2008.

Combine Green Bay's defence from last week, and a firing offence, this could be a big score following a season-changing win. Perfect Thursday Night Football...if you're a Green Bay fan.

Winner: Packers

New England Patriots @ Denver Broncos

Brock Osweiler may be in for a reality this week when he faces an entirely different animal to the Bears in the form of Bill Belichick's defence.

Osweiler will be starting for the Broncos for at least two more weeks with Peyton out with a foot injury and he got the team playing with speed last week.

Robbed of the last Brady vs. Manning, probably, the Pats have got injuries left, right and centre and come against a relentless pass defence.
Remember, the Pats barely got past the Giants who have a poor pass defence and this week, Brady could see his perfect record come to an end.

This is the perfect game to crash out watching after stuffing yourself with Turkey. Enjoy!

Winner: This is ripe for an upset but Brady should out perform Osweiler

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Indianapolis Colts

Both teams on 5-5, the Bucs are on a role and smoked the Eagles with Jameis Winston throwing five TDs without an interception.

Winston can win in a tight game or a blow out with his rookie record last week and while the Bucs look good but they come up against an unbeaten QB - technically.

Matt Hasselbeck just wins with the Colts but if the Tampa Bay from last week shows up, his record is over. Hasselbeck doesn't look pretty when he throws but his experience could count for a lot in with this Colts team.

Winston doesn't seem phased by playing on the road, winning three of five games away this season, and could do so again in Indy against a Colts defence ranked 28th against the pass.

Winner: Bucs - just

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Seattle Seahawks

The seemingly indestructible Big Ben Roethlisberger faces the Seahawks on the road who are without Marshawn Lynch.

This is the coin flip match-up of the week in a must-win, the first of many, for Seattle with questions over their offensive line, who their number one receiver is, their QB who is becoming a "celebrity quarterback".
Win and the 'Hawks are heating up, lose and they could be out of the Wild Card hunt.

Winner: Toss a coin but I'm thinking Steelers

The rest of the games:

Philadelphia Eagles @ Detroit Lions

The up-and-down Eagles travel to a Lions team on a two-game winning streak - no, I didn't see that coming either - and could quite easily be the victim in another Lions win.

But quite possibly, Philly could win the game with Mark Sanchez...actually, no. Here's hoping for another butt-fumble.

Winner: Lions

Carolina Panthers @ Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys won last against the inconsistent Dolphins and, unsurprisingly, the return of Romo got a lot of credit for that.

It doesn't mean the Cowboys are going to surge up the division, despite their distant chances and the opinion of Michael Irwin that they are the best team in the NFC East.

Carolina should come through this with the work of Super Cam and their weapons on offence.

Winner: Panthers

New Orleans Saints @ Houston Texans

The Texans scored a win against the Jets last week with DeAndre Hopkins with an insane catch and torching Revis Island. Hopkins could be elite if he had a quality quarterback.

Houston were a mess but have now won four of their last five and have a top defence - not an easy proposition for Drew Brees away from the Superdome or a Saints team that just fired its defensive coordinator.

Winner: Texans

St. Louis Rams @ Cincinnati Bengals

A mess at QB and an ineffective offensive line can't make up for Gurley, Austin and a hard-hitting defence and the fact that they will likely miss out in the Wild Card hunt.

Firstly, this game isn't under lights so the Bengals have an advantage but add in a home field and this should be a return to winning ways for the Red Rifle.

Winner: Bengals 

Minnesota Vikings @ Atlanta Falcons

The Vikings will look to rebound from last week's loss and Teddy Bridgewater, despite the beating he took, kept getting up and threw some good passes to show he could be one of the next elite QBs.

Atlanta are on the slide - badly - and their 5-0 start could have been a cover-up even though this Falcons team has plenty of talent.

Winner: close but Falcons will stop the slide - a field goal could be the difference

Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs

Rex Ryan came as close as he ever might to beating Bill and the Patriots last week and he now faces a huge task against the Chiefs' defence that blew the Chargers away last week.

The Bills will push Kansas close but on home turf and a consistent passing game, the Chiefs should squeeze by.

Winner: Chiefs who record a fifth straight win

Oakland Raiders @ Tennessee Titans

The Raiders are on a losing streak and the Titans could be a top team in a few years with Mariota who is the real deal.

Oakland is struggling as first round pick, Amari Cooper, looks as though he is hitting the rookie wall with just one catch and dropped passes.

Winner: I just have a feeling the Titans will take this one

San Diego Chargers @ Jacksonville Jaguars

The worst team in the NFL with a six-game losing streak, the Chargers are a complete mess and, despite Rivers under centre, are staring at the top pick in the draft and their head coach fired at the end of the year.

The Jags, though, are looking at the play-offs. The Jags in the play-offs?! Despite my eyes burning from their game against the Titans last week thanks to the uniforms, Bortles was on form and led his team to the win.

Winner: Jaguars. And a three-game winning streak! Three wins. In a row. Wow!

Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets

This could be a close one in New York, the inconsistent Dolphins against a Jets team that has gone from 4-1 to 5-5.

The Jets' defence couldn't function against the Texans while the Dolphins' offence ran out of gas.

Winner: A coin toss is needed for this, a field goal could decide it in New York's favour

Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers

Arizona versus the 49ers? Please.

Winner: Arizona

Baltimore Ravens @ Cleveland Browns

No Joe Flacco or Justin Forsett and a messy Ravens against the reinstalled number one QB Josh McCown following Johnny Manziel's demotion for bye week partying.

This will be very close with Jimmy Clausen coming in for the Ravens under centre against - yet again - a screwed-up Cleveland who will hit the reset button in 2016, also again, with a new HC, GM and QB .

Winner: No idea and no one cares, but fall the out from the Browns QB fiasco (again) may see Baltimore squeeze by.

Carolina Panthers
Dallas Cowboys
New England Patriots

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