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Insiders predict: NFL week 12 winners

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Jonathan Daniel // Getty Images

Insiders predict: NFL week 12 winners

Week 11 contained some of the crazy moments of the 2019 season—many of them peripheral. There was the helmet swing heard round the world that left multiple players suspended, including Myles Garrett who will miss the rest of the season at a minimum. There was a Colin Kaepernick workout held Saturday, which elicited a wide array of opinions, both political and otherwise. The potential #1 overall selection in the 2020 draft, Tua Tagovailoa, had his season ended after suffering a dislocated hip. And then there was NFL-sanctioned football.

Lamar Jackson looks like the league MVP and the Ravens might be the team to beat in all of football. The Vikings, down by 20 at halftime to the Broncos, pulled off an improbable comeback to remain secure in the NFC’s sixth and final wild card slot. The Patriots, 49ers, and Chiefs were all a bounce or two away from defeat. With only six games remaining in the season and still over half of the teams in the league with a realistic shot at the postseason, we are getting down to the wire. The Panthers, Eagles, and Rams are all on the outside of the NFC playoff picture and all face 8-2 teams: the Saints, Seahawks, and Ravens, respectively. Week 12 offers what might be the best slate of games thus far—here are a few more to keep an eye on:

Colts @ Texans: First place in the AFC South and an inside track to the postseason is at stake in this Thursday night matchup. The Texans will try to avenge a 30-23 loss earlier in the season to the Colts while bouncing back from an embarrassing 41-7 Week 11 loss to the Ravens.

Cowboys @ Patriots: America’s team takes on America’s most consistent team and reigning Super Bowl champs. It’s only fitting this matchup is America’s Game of the Week. New England is poised for another division title while Dallas is fighting to keep Philly off its heels in the NFC East.

Packers @ 49ers: This is a game that will help dictate the top of the NFC playoff picture as well as division races in the NFC North and NFC West. A homecoming for Aaron Rodgers who grew up in Chico, Calif., adoring the likes of Joe Montana and Steve Young. It’s also about a chip on Rodgers’ shoulder after the Niners passed on him back in the 2005 draft. Power will be shifted in the NFC on Sunday night in one of the most important games of the season.

Insiders predicts are based on the team that is favored to win, which is based on consensus betting odds and spread on MSN.com as of Nov. 20, 2019. Team stats were gathered from NFL.com. Check out the live odds at MSN.com.

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Tim Warner // Getty Images

Indianapolis Colts (6-4) @ Houston Texans (6-4)

- Gametime: Thursday, Nov. 21, 8:20 p.m. EST

Sole possession of first place in the AFC South is on the line as these two division rivals meet for the second time this season. The Colts won the first meeting 30-23 in Indianapolis in a game where quarterback Jacoby Brissett threw a career-high four touchdown passes, dismantling the Houston defense. Brissett had a much more modest game last Sunday, throwing just one touchdown and an interception, but the Colts rushing attack was potent and led the way to a 33-13 victory over the Jaguars in another pivotal AFC South battle.

For the Texans, Week 11 was much tougher. In a game advertised as a showdown between two quarterbacks putting together MVP-caliber campaigns, only Lamar Jackson found success while Deshaun Watson was stifled by the Ravens defense for the entirety of the afternoon. He faced relentless pressure and was sacked six times while throwing one interception and racking up just 169 passing yards. Houston was shut out as a team until the fourth quarter when Carlos Hyde ripped off a 41-yard touchdown run. That would hold as the Texans’ only score of the game, as they would go on by a shocking margin, 41-7.

Putting that loss behind them quickly is crucial. Home field advantage on a short week will do them well, but expecting anything other than a knockdown, drag-out fight from the Colts seems unrealistic.

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Rob Carr // Getty Images

Insiders predict: Houston Texans

- Favored to win: Houston Texans
- Spread: -3.5
- Odds: -196

- Indianapolis Colts team stats:
- Offense: 343.8 yards per game (#21 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 202.7 ypg (#28)
--- Rushing offense: 141.1 ypg (#4)
- Defense: 325.6 yards per game (#11 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 228.8 ypg (#11)
--- Rushing defense: 96.8 ypg (#9)

- Houston Texans team stats:
- Offense: 380.2 yards per game (#7 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 239.5 ypg (#14)
--- Rushing offense: 140.7 ypg (#5)
- Defense: 374.4 yards per game (#25 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 272.4 ypg (#29)
--- Rushing defense: 102.0 ypg (#13)

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Brian Blanco // Getty Images

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-7) @ Atlanta Falcons (3-7)

- Gametime: Sunday, Nov. 24, 1 p.m. EST

Poor defense sunk the Falcons season from the onset. They lost seven of their first eight games and seemed completely unable to stop any respectable offenses. Now, with linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich assisting with play-calling duties on defense, the Falcons have won back-to-back division games against the Saints and Panthers by completely shutting down both offenses.

Following a 26-9 win over the Saints in Week 10, the Atlanta defense completely overwhelmed Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen last Sunday, intercepting him four times and sacking him five times en route to a 29-3 victory. Prior to those two wins, it seemed a foregone conclusion that coach Dan Quinn would be fired after this season. Continuing on a hot run for the remaining six games can go a long way in saving Quinn’s job, despite Quinn’s insistence that there have been no discussions of the sort with owner Arthur Blank.

The Buccaneers offense, which currently ranks as the sixth best in the league, presents another great opportunity for the Falcons to limit a more than capable NFC South opponent for the third straight week and continue to make the 2019 season look salvageable.

While the Bucs put up points and high yardage totals, mistakes from Jameis Winston are often the Achilles’ heel for the team and a reason why they share the same disappointing 3-7 record with Atlanta. Winston was intercepted four times on Sunday in a 34-17 home loss to the Saints. Drew Brees also threw three touchdowns against the Bucs 31st-ranked pass defense.

Given the Falcons offensive prowess, and recent ability to harass quarterbacks into turning the ball over, it’s hard to argue against them being favored by more than just the standard three points at home.

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Jacob Kupferman // Getty Images

Insiders predict: Atlanta Falcons

- Favored to win: Atlanta Falcons
- Spread: -4.5
- Odds: -225

- Tampa Bay Buccaneers team stats:
- Offense: 380.4 yards per game (#6 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 285.6 ypg (#4)
--- Rushing offense: 94.8 ypg (#21)
- Defense: 371.8 yards per game (#23 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 290.9 ypg (#31)
--- Rushing defense: 80.9 ypg (#2)

- Atlanta Falcons team stats:
- Offense: 374.8 yards per game (#10 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 300.3 ypg (#3)
--- Rushing offense: 74.5 ypg (#30)
- Defense: 369.3 yards per game (#21 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 261.7 ypg (#26)
--- Rushing defense: 107.6 ypg (#19)

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Brett Carlsen // Getty Images

Denver Broncos (3-7) @ Buffalo Bills (7-3)

- Gametime: Sunday, Nov. 24, 1 p.m. EST

The Broncos appeared to have the Vikings’ number on Sunday, as they put together a dominant first half, completely stifling the Minnesota offense and building a 20-0 lead heading into the locker room. The seven drives the Vikings had in the first half resulted in four straight punts, two straight fumbles, and then another punt before halftime. To say they flipped the script in the second half would be an understatement.

Minnesota had only four possessions in the second half, all of which resulted in touchdowns as they came roaring back to beat Denver 27-23. It was a big missed opportunity for the Broncos, who had a chance to complete the upset at the end despite allowing Minnesota to come back and take the lead, but three straight incompletions on the final three plays of the game in goal-to-go situations saw the Broncos fall to 3-7.

It won’t be easy to rebound from that this week, as they travel east to take on the 7-3 Bills who are fresh off a 37-20 win over the Dolphins. Josh Allen had a banner day, tying a career high with three touchdown passes and then adding 56 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground.

The Bills still boast one of the better defenses in the league, allowing just 304 yards per game, which ranks third behind the Patriots and 49ers. A home game against a Brandon Allen-led offense should mean more defensive greatness from Buffalo, a win and a cover.

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Michael Reaves // Getty Images

Insiders predict: Buffalo Bills

- Favored to win: Buffalo Bills
- Spread: -4
- Odds: -215

- Denver Broncos team stats:
- Offense: 319.7 yards per game (#25 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 206.6 ypg (#25)
--- Rushing offense: 113.1 ypg (#16)
- Defense: 310.8 yards per game (#4 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 210.3 ypg (#5)
--- Rushing defense: 100.5 ypg (#11)

- Buffalo Bills team stats:
- Offense: 345.6 yards per game (#19 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 216.9 ypg (#23)
--- Rushing offense: 128.7 ypg (#8)
- Defense: 304.1 yards per game (#3 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 197.8 ypg (#3)
--- Rushing defense: 106.3 ypg (#18)

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Jonathan Daniel // Getty Images

New York Giants (2-8) @ Chicago Bears (4-6)

- Gametime: Sunday, Nov. 24, 1 p.m. EST

After continued offensive struggles and a hip injury that plagued him late in the game, Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky finally gave way to backup Chase Daniel, who finished out the 17-7 loss to the Rams on Sunday. While some speculated that poor performance is the reason that Daniel replaced Trubisky in the fourth quarter, coach Matt Nagy insisted that his discussion with Trubisky and then his decision to pull him out of the game was based on his hip not feeling right.

Trubisky threw for 190 yards, a touchdown, and an interception before he was taken out. Facing Sean McVay’s sputtering Rams offense, the Bears' defense continued to keep them in the game despite offensive futility, holding Jared Goff to 173 yards without a touchdown and one interception. Los Angeles had a pair of rushing touchdowns and 110 yards as a team despite averaging just 3.2 yards per carry.

Perhaps this week can be a “get right game” for the Chicago offense, as they will face the Giants, who were last seen getting beaten by the Jets 34-27 in Week 10. Quarterback Daniel Jones was effective in the loss, keeping the Giants in a shootout by tossing four touchdowns, but they were shut out in the fourth quarter and squandered a 27-21 lead they held late in the third.

The fact that the Giants haven’t won since late September likely negates any type of favorable outlook they might have entering this game coming off of a bye week. The Chicago defense will likely dictate the game, making the Bears a strong favorite at home despite being toward the bottom of the league in almost every offensive category.

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea // Getty Images

Insiders predict: Chicago Bears

- Favored to win: Chicago Bears
- Spread: -6.5
- Odds: -280

- New York Giants team stats:
- Offense: 322.2 yards per game (#24 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 228.0 ypg (#18)
--- Rushing offense: 94.2 ypg (#23)
- Defense: 381.7 yards per game (#27 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 259.0 ypg (#25)
--- Rushing defense: 122.7 ypg (#23)

- Chicago Bears team stats:
- Offense: 262.7 yards per game (#30 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 182.8 ypg (#30)
--- Rushing offense: 79.9 ypg (#29)
- Defense: 322.9 yards per game (#8 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 227.3 ypg (#10)
--- Rushing defense: 95.6 ypg (#8)

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Justin K. Aller // Getty Images

Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5) @ Cincinnati Bengals (0-10)

- Gametime: Sunday, Nov. 24, 1 p.m. EST

The Cincinnati Bengals remain the only winless team in the NFL and the clear front-runner for the #1 pick in the 2020 NFL draft. The Bengals rank 30th in points per game and dead last in total defense. Victories only hurt the Bengals moving forward, which is welcomed news for a Pittsburgh Steelers team desperate for a victory.

Pittsburgh had its four-game winning streak snapped after a 21-7 loss to the AFC North rival Cleveland Browns. The Steelers, who were very briefly inside the playoff picture, currently trail the Buffalo Bills, the Houston Texans, and the Oakland Raiders as all are vying for one of two wild-card spots. An AFC North title feels out of the question as the 8-2 Baltimore Ravens would need to suffer an improbable collapse, which means a wild card berth is the Steelers only path to the postseason.

An expected victory in Cincinnati will move them closer to that goal—the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans face off on Thursday, meaning one team will take control of the division while the other will fall to 6-5 and presumably tied with Pittsburgh. The Steelers obliterated the Bengals when the two matched up in Week 4, holding Cincy to 175 total yards. Pittsburgh will be without center Maurkice Pouncey who has been suspended for his role in the altercation in the Week 11 brawl with the Browns.

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Jason Miller // Getty Images

Insiders predict: Pittsburgh Steelers

- Favored to win: Pittsburgh Steelers
- Spread: -6.5
- Odds: -304

- Pittsburgh Steelers team stats:
- Offense: 283.5 yards per game (#28 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 202.8 ypg (#27)
--- Rushing offense: 80.7 ypg (#27)
- Defense: 328.3 yards per game (#12 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 223.1 ypg (#9)
--- Rushing defense: 105.2 ypg (#15)

- Cincinnati Bengals team stats:
- Offense: 309.1 yards per game (#27 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 228.5 ypg (#17)
--- Rushing offense: 80.6 ypg (#28)
- Defense: 425.1 yards per game (#32 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 258.1 ypg (#24)
--- Rushing defense: 167.0 ypg (#32)

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Eric Espada // Getty Images

Miami Dolphins (2-8) @ Cleveland Browns (4-6)

- Gametime: Sunday, Nov. 24, 1 p.m. EST

The Cleveland Browns’ 21-7 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers last Thursday night came at a cost, and after a win was secured no less. When a fight broke out with just seconds left in regulation, Browns defensive lineman Myles Garrett was ejected from the game and suspended indefinitely for swinging and hitting Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph in the head with Rudolph’s own helmet. Garrett will miss the remainder of the 2019 season at a minimum. Garrett is the team’s best pass rusher—his 10 sacks this season is double the total of the next closest defender.

The Browns’ playoff hopes are a far cry from realistic, but last week’s victory means they’re still in the mix. The Miami Dolphins are a good team to face if you need a victory despite some of the recent success they’ve found. Miami averages just 13.9 points per game, which ranks only ahead of the Washington Redskins, and are dead last in the league in rushing yards averaging just over 60 per game. Miami’s 37-20 loss to the Buffalo Bills last week ended a two-game winning streak and the limited bright spot the Phins have seen this season. Cleveland can make it three-straight with a victory Sunday.

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Jason Miller // Getty Images

Insiders predict: Cleveland Browns

- Favored to win: Cleveland Browns
- Spread: -10.5
- Odds: -552

- Miami Dolphins team stats:
- Offense: 263.0 yards per game (#29 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 202.7 ypg (#28)
--- Rushing offense: 60.3 ypg (#32)
- Defense: 394.3 yards per game (#29 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 246.0 ypg (#20)
--- Rushing defense: 148.3 ypg (#31)

- Cleveland Browns team stats:
- Offense: 342.9 yards per game (#22 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 221.0 ypg (#21)
--- Rushing offense: 121.9 ypg (#12)
- Defense: 344.0 yards per game (#16 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 216.8 ypg (#6)
--- Rushing defense: 127.2 ypg (#26)

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Chris Graythen // Getty Images

Carolina Panthers (5-5) @ New Orleans Saints (8-2)

- Gametime: Sunday, Nov. 24, 1 p.m. EST

An NFC South matchup with major implications for both teams. The New Orleans Saints have their eyes on the #1 overall seed in the NFC, and with the two teams currently ahead of them in the conference (the Packers and the 49ers) squaring off this week, they have a chance to gain ground. After losing three of four contests, the Panthers are fighting to stay above water in the postseason picture. A loss this week essentially eliminates them from contention.

New Orleans needed to bounce back from an embarrassing 26-9 loss to the Atlanta Falcons Week 10 where Drew Brees and company failed to score a single touchdown. They did just that by way of a 34-17 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If there was any rust remaining after Brees missed five starts with an injured thumb, it certainly appears to be shaken off. The 12-time Pro Bowler threw for three touchdowns and 228 yards in Sunday’s victory. Michael Thomas continues to state his case as the best receiver in all of football: He’s the first player in NFL history with 90-plus catches through the first 10 games of the season. Thomas also leads the league in receiving yards with 1,141.

After stringing together four-consecutive victories with backup quarterback Kyle Allen at the helm, the Panthers are now sputtering. Whether the 29-3 loss to the Falcons Week 11 is more an indication of Atlanta’s resurgence to Carolina’s regression, the result remains the same: the Panthers are in trouble. Allen was intercepted four times and sacked five in the loss.

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Julio Aguilar // Getty Images

Insiders predict: New Orleans Saints

- Favored to win: New Orleans Saints
- Spread: -9.5
- Odds: -452

- Carolina Panthers team stats:
- Offense: 346.6 yards per game (#18 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 220.6 ypg (#22)
--- Rushing offense: 126.0 ypg (#10)
- Defense: 362.0 yards per game (#19 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 233.6 ypg (#14)
--- Rushing defense: 128.4 ypg (#27)

- New Orleans Saints team stats:
- Offense: 364.0 yards per game (#14 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 256.5 ypg (#9)
--- Rushing offense: 107.5 ypg (#17)
- Defense: 318.3 yards per game (#6 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 233.0 ypg (#13)
--- Rushing defense: 85.3 ypg (#3)

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Ezra Shaw // Getty Images

Oakland Raiders (6-4) @ New York Jets (3-7)

- Gametime: Sunday, Nov. 24, 1 p.m. EST

Don’t look now, but the Jets have strung together back-to-back wins while scoring 34 points in victories against both the Giants and Redskins in weeks 10 and 11. Sure, NFC East bottom feeders aren’t exactly the most quality wins, but Sam Darnold’s four touchdown passes to four different receivers against the Washington defense is something to build on for the New York offense.

Perhaps he can find more success against the Oakland defense, which ranks near the bottom of the league against the pass, surrendering an average of 262 yards per game. Of course, the Raiders had no issues stopping the Bengals in Week 11, sacking quarterback Ryan Finley five times and holding him to 115 yards passing while also picking him off once. A 17-10 home victory over the NFL’s only winless team may not be the result the Raiders were hoping for, but extending their win streak to three games and sweeping their three-game homestand was the only thing that mattered as Oakland is currently locked in an AFC West title race with the Chiefs. The Raiders are chasing the Chiefs who improved to 7-4 on the season after beating the Chargers 24-17 in Mexico City on Monday night, despite a subpar performance from Patrick Mahomes II.

Both teams have four losses this season, and Kansas City will be on a bye this week, so a win for the Raiders in this one means a 7-4 record, tied with the Chiefs, setting up a showdown for first place in the AFC West between the two sides in Week 13.

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Daniel Shirey // Getty Images

Insiders predict: Oakland Raiders

- Favored to win: Oakland Raiders
- Spread: -3
- Odds: -156

- Oakland Raiders team stats:
- Offense: 371.7 yards per game (#11 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 243.5 ypg (#13)
--- Rushing offense: 128.2 ypg (#9)
- Defense: 368.1 yards per game (#20 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 262.2 ypg (#27)
--- Rushing defense: 105.9 ypg (#17)

- New York Jets team stats:
- Offense: 248.2 yards per game (#32 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 176.1 ypg (#31)
--- Rushing offense: 72.1 ypg (#31)
- Defense: 332.4 yards per game (#13 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 253.3 ypg (#21)
--- Rushing defense: 79.1 ypg (#1)

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Otto Greule Jr // Getty Images

Seattle Seahawks (8-2) @ Philadelphia Eagles (5-5)

- Gametime: Sunday, Nov. 24, 1 p.m. EST

The Seahawks just enjoyed a late-season bye week, right after they handed the 49ers their first loss of the season back in Week 10. They are rested, a game out of first place in the NFC West, and brimming with confidence while being led by a quarterback who has a case for being this season’s MVP. Russell Wilson is boasting an NFL-best 114.9 quarterback rating and has thrown a league-leading 23 touchdowns, with just two interceptions in his 10 starts.

Wilson is a handful for any defense, and the Eagles will have to hope to limit his explosiveness to help keep the game manageable for an offense that was held to just 255 yards in Week 11 by the Patriots’ dominant defense. Philadelphia’s defense was impressive, though, keeping them in the game by holding Tom Brady and the Patriots to just 17 points and 298 yards of offense of their own.

Injuries have played a big role for the Eagles and offensive tackle Lane Johnson is now added to a list of offensive pieces that could miss this game that includes running back Jordan Howard and wideout Alshon Jeffery. Johnson entered the league’s concussion protocol on Monday, and will be monitored throughout the week.

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Mitchell Leff // Getty Images

Insiders predict: Philadelphia Eagles

- Favored to win: Philadelphia Eagles
- Spread: -1.5
- Odds: -123

- Seattle Seahawks team stats:
- Offense: 389.1 yards per game (#4 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 255.9 ypg (#10)
--- Rushing offense: 133.2 ypg (#6)
- Defense: 372.9 yards per game (#24 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 271.8 ypg (#28)
--- Rushing defense: 101.1 ypg (#12)

- Philadelphia Eagles team stats:
- Offense: 337.8 yards per game (#23 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 215.1 ypg (#24)
--- Rushing offense: 122.7 ypg (#11)
- Defense: 323.5 yards per game (#9 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 237.5 ypg (#17)
--- Rushing defense: 86.0 ypg (#4)

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Gregory Shamus // Getty Images

Detroit Lions (3-6-1) @ Washington Redskins (1-9)

- Gametime: Sunday, Nov. 24, 1 p.m. EST

Jeff Driskel and the Lions put up a good fight against the Cowboys, but could not stop Dak Prescott and the Dallas offense in the end. Driskel, filling in for the injured Matthew Stafford, tossed a pair of touchdowns but was not suited to beat Prescott in a shootout. The Detroit defense did him no favors either, allowing Prescott to rack up 444 passing yards and three touchdown passes in a 35-27 defeat.

Luckily for the Lions, the schedule grants them a bit of favor this week as they will face maybe the league’s worst team in Washington. The only victory for Washington this season was a narrow 17-16 win over the lowly Dolphins, and they have lost four games since, including a 34-17 beatdown on Sunday at the hands of the Jets.

Rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins was beaten up by the Jets defense, which left him literally begging his offensive line for answers. He was sacked six times and finished with a 79.9 quarterback rating while throwing two touchdowns and an interception. Meanwhile, Jets quarterback Sam Darnold had his way with the Washington defense, throwing four touchdowns.

Home field hasn’t meant much this year, as Washington is 0-5 at home. While the Lions’ 3-6-1 record is ugly, they have also played close games all season and are a far more competitive team. Expect Detroit to get back in the win column this weekend.

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Leon Halip // Getty Images

Insiders predict: Detroit Lions

- Favored to win: Detroit Lions
- Spread: -3.5
- Odds: -187

- Detroit Lions team stats:
- Offense: 379.9 yards per game (#8 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 281.2 ypg (#5)
--- Rushing offense: 98.7 ypg (#19)
- Defense: 412.8 yards per game (#30 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 288.6 ypg (#30)
--- Rushing defense: 124.2 ypg (#24)

- Washington Redskins team stats:
- Offense: 255.7 yards per game (#31 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 169.8 ypg (#32)
--- Rushing offense: 85.9 ypg (#26)
- Defense: 369.5 yards per game (#22 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 235.6 ypg (#16)
--- Rushing defense: 133.9 ypg (#28)

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James Gilbert // Getty Images

Jacksonville Jaguars (4-6) @ Tennessee Titans (5-5)

- Gametime: Sunday, Nov. 24, 4:05 p.m. EST

The Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars sit in third and fourth place in the AFC South, respectively, but a division title is still not out of reach for either squad. This matchup for Jacksonville is one of only two divisional games left on the schedule—the Jaguars play Indianapolis Colts Week 17—which means they’ll need some outside help. What they can do, like they did Week 3 when they beat the Titans 20-7, is take care of business this week. Nick Foles returned to the lineup after the team’s key offseason acquisition was injured Week 1 and looked rusty in a 33-13 loss to the Colts. With the success backup quarterback Gardner Minshew II experienced through half a season, it was actually a question whether or not the former Super Bowl MVP should replace him. It’s Foles team the rest of the season, but if they can’t get out of Nashville with a victory, the season is virtually over with.

The Titans are fresh off of a bye and riding a big 35-32 victory over Patrick Mahomes II and the Kansas City Chiefs. The season, which once looked bleak after quarterback Marcus Mariota led the Titans to a 2-4, has been given new life with the help of Ryan Tannehill. The former Dolphins QB took over for Mariota Week 7 and has led Tennessee to three victories in its last four games.

The Titans are looking up at the Houston Texans and the Colts, who are both 6-4, but have two games left with Houston and one left with Indianapolis.

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Wesley Hitt // Getty Images

Insiders predict: Tennessee Titans

- Favored to win: Tennessee Titans
- Spread: -3
- Odds: -185

- Jacksonville Jaguars team stats:
- Offense: 370.2 yards per game (#12 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 250.7 ypg (#12)
--- Rushing offense: 119.5 ypg (#13)
- Defense: 353.9 yards per game (#17 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 219.3 ypg (#8)
--- Rushing defense: 134.6 ypg (#29)

- Tennessee Titans team stats:
- Offense: 319.4 yards per game (#26 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 206.2 ypg (#26)
--- Rushing offense: 113.2 ypg (#15)
- Defense: 358.5 yards per game (#18 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 256.0 ypg (#22)
--- Rushing defense: 102.5 ypg (#14)

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Christian Petersen // Getty Images

Dallas Cowboys (6-4) @ New England Patriots (9-1)

- Gametime: Sunday, Nov. 24, 4:25 p.m. EST

The New England Patriots face their second NFC East foe in as many weeks when they welcome the Dallas Cowboys to Foxborough Sunday. The Pats eked out a 17-10 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles last week to improve to an AFC-best 9-1 record. A 37-20 loss to maybe the NFL’s scariest team, the Baltimore Ravens, is the Pats only blemish this season. They are once again poised to earn an AFC East title.

New England helped Dallas distance itself from Philly in the NFC East as the Cowboys were able to take down the Detroit Lions Week 11 and now hold a one-game lead over the Eagles in the division. No one is talking about quarterback Dak Prescott for MVP considerations, but maybe they should be. Last week the fourth-year pro joined Hall of Famer Joe Montana as one of only two quarterbacks with at least 375 yards and two touchdowns in four of the first 10 games of any season.

Two of America’s most beloved and followed teams on one field is sure to receive high ratings. New England’s only loss came at the hands of Baltimore and their high-powered offense, which technically ranks second behind Dallas’ offense. The Patriots are home favorites, but if the Cowboys can attack New England’s vaunted defense using some of the Ravens’ recipe, this could be a closer contest than oddsmakers are predicting.

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Elsa // Getty Images

Insiders predict: New England Patriots

- Favored to win: New England Patriots
- Spread: -6.5
- Odds: -290

- Dallas Cowboys team stats:
- Offense: 444.6 yards per game (#1 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 312.7 ypg (#1)
--- Rushing offense: 131.9 ypg (#7)
- Defense: 322.1 yards per game (#7 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 216.9 ypg (#7)
--- Rushing defense: 105.2 ypg (#15)

- New England Patriots team stats:
- Offense: 359.9 yards per game (#16 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 268.9 ypg (#7)
--- Rushing offense: 91.0 ypg (#24)
- Defense: 249.9 yards per game (#1 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 152.6 ypg (#2)
--- Rushing defense: 97.3 ypg (#10)

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Dylan Buell // Getty Images

Green Bay Packers (8-2) @ San Francisco 49ers (9-1)

- Gametime: Sunday, Nov. 24, 8:20 p.m. EST

One of the best, most pivotal matchups of the season was appropriately flexed into the prime time Sunday Night Football slot. This could be the game that decides home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs as the winner of this one will hold a crucial tiebreaker and immediately the top spot in the conference.

The 49ers, who looked unstoppable for the better portion of their first 10 games, have finally looked been mortalized. San Francisco’s last three games included two very close victories over the Arizona Cardinals which bookended an overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks. The beginning of an incredibly tough stretch for the Niners starts Week 12. After the 8-2 Green Bay Packers, San Francisco faces the 8-2 Baltimore Ravens, the 8-2 New Orleans Saints, the recently revitalized Atlanta Falcons, last year’s NFC West champion and division rival Los Angeles Rams, and then closes the season against a Seahawks team looking to sweep the season series. Is San Francisco's 9-1 record fools gold? This gauntlet will be the indicator.

One thing we do know is Aaron Rodgers won’t make it easy. The two-time NFL MVP was famously passed on by his hometown 49ers in the 2005 draft. Rodgers hasn’t forgotten. Expect a little extra firepower out of Rodgers playing back in the Bay Area, but he’ll need all the help he can get. The 49ers lead the NFL in pass defense and rank #2 in total defense and points allowed per game.

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Lachlan Cunningham // Getty Images

Insiders predict: San Francisco 49ers

- Favored to win: San Francisco 49ers
- Spread: -3
- Odds: -178

- Green Bay Packers team stats:
- Offense: 356.0 yards per game (#17 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 253.9 ypg (#11)
--- Rushing offense: 102.1 ypg (#18)
- Defense: 384.7 yards per game (#28 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 257.8 ypg (#23)
--- Rushing defense: 126.9 ypg (#25)

- San Francisco 49ers team stats:
- Offense: 386.6 yards per game (#5 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 237.6 ypg (#15)
--- Rushing offense: 149.0 ypg (#2)
- Defense: 253.0 yards per game (#2 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 142.5 ypg (#1)
--- Rushing defense: 110.5 ypg (#20)

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Patrick Smith // Getty Images

Baltimore Ravens (8-2) @ Los Angeles Rams (6-4)

- Gametime: Monday, Nov. 25, 8:15 p.m. EST

The Baltimore Ravens have won six straight games and are playing like the best team in football. Lamar Jackson looks like the MVP front-runner and is currently the betting favorite to win the league’s most coveted award in just his second season. His rushing totals, while unprecedented—788 yards through 10 games is the most by a quarterback in the Super Bowl era—but it wasn’t his running ability that has scouts questioning him as a true QB. Jackson has shown tremendous accuracy and ability to throw the ball downfield this year. He has tallied 2,258 passing yards, 19 passing touchdowns, and has had a perfect passer rating on two separate occasions this year. His four touchdown passes last week en route to a 41-7 victory over the playoff-hopeful Houston Texans proved that he and the Ravens belong in an elevated class in the AFC.

The Los Angeles Rams are an example of how good things can come to a halt quickly in the NFL. While they captured a crucial 17-7 victory over the Chicago Bears last Sunday, last year’s NFC champion is currently on the outside of the current playoff picture and in third place in the NFC West. Jared Goff, after stellar 2017 and 2018 campaigns, has inexplicably regressed in his fourth season. Goff has thrown just one more touchdown than interceptions (11, 10) through 10 games and his 82.1 passer rating ranks among some of the worst in the NFL.

When these teams last played four years ago, Jackson and Goff were both quarterbacking their college teams. The Rams won’t chase down both the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West, so a wild card berth is all they can hope for, but L.A. is almost in must-win territory. The Rams have a top-five run defense but will need to pull out all the stops against Jackson and an offense that leads the league in rushing averaging over 200 yards per game.

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Patrick Smith // Getty Images

Insiders predict: Baltimore Ravens

- Favored to win: Baltimore Ravens
- Spread: -3.5
- Odds: -157

- Baltimore Ravens team stats:
- Offense: 428.6 yards per game (#2 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 224.8 ypg (#20)
--- Rushing offense: 203.8 ypg (#1)
- Defense: 332.9 yards per game (#14 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 238.6 ypg (#18)
--- Rushing defense: 94.3 ypg (#7)

- Los Angeles Rams team stats:
- Offense: 366.5 yards per game (#13 in the league)
--- Passing offense: 268.9 ypg (#7)
--- Rushing offense: 97.6 ypg (#20)
- Defense: 324.6 yards per game (#10 in the league)
--- Passing defense: 235.5 ypg (#15)
--- Rushing defense: 89.1 ypg (#5)

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