Fade Material: NFL Week 12 Predictions

Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow throws against the New York Giants in their NFL football game in Denver November 17, 2011. REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

With two pushes, one loss and one win in Week 11, my season record is now 18-24-2. I’m sure I go undefeated from here on out though, so make not of my selections below.

Browns @ Bengals, 1:00PM ET
This is a trap game for the Bengals. They’re coming off two hard-fought losses to the Steelers and Ravens and have another matchup with Pittsburgh coming up next Sunday. Thus, it’ll be easy for them to overlook a bad Cleveland team that somehow has four wins on the year. The Browns’ offense packs as much punch as a dead raccoon but their defense has kept them in most games this season. Divisional games are usually tight and I think Cleveland catches Cincinnati trying to sleepwalk through what should be an easy victory.

Vikings @ Falcons, 1:00PM ET
The Falcons rarely blow opponents out, which is why so many people think they’re overrated. Thus, I’m reluctant to lay almost 10 points on them this week but this is as good a spot as any. Adrian Peterson is out and Christian Ponder is good for at least two interceptions. Outside of its near collapse last Sunday against the Titans, the Falcons’ defense has been very good for over a month now. I think the Vikings will have trouble generating points and Atlanta will methodically build a big lead. That said, if the Falcons have as much trouble in the red zone this week as they did last Sunday, then the outcome of this game will be closer than it should be.

Bills @ Jets, 1:00PM ET
We know Buffalo won’t score without Fred Jackson because there’s no way Ryan Fitzpatrick will get the best of Rex Ryan’s defense this week. (He certainly didn’t the last time these two teams played, and that was when Jackson was healthy.) That said, I don’t trust Mark Sanchez to finally snap out of it and play with confidence so the under seems like a great play in this one. Buffalo’s defense is brutal and turnovers could be an issue but there’s a good chance that this game is a field-goal fest.

Broncos @ Chargers, 4:15PM ET
Tim Tebow’s ratio of bad quarters to good quarters is about 3:1 right now. He’s unwatchable for three quarters but he turns it on in the fourth and everyone gives him the credit for the win even though the defense has to basically pitch shutouts. Thus, I get why many people aren’t buying into the Broncos as a serious playoff threat. That said, have you seen Philip Rivers play lately? The guy is almost willing his team to defeat. That interception he threw at the end of the Bears game last week looked like a guy who had money riding on the outcome. Denver’s defense is legit and could give Rivers fits if he continues to play as poorly as he has, which is why I love the points here.

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Six-Pack of Observations: Broncos 34, Chargers 23

1. Royal is making his presence felt in other facets of the game
After hauling in 91 receptions for 980 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie last year, Eddie Royal has largely been a bust in his second year. But he proved Monday night that he could contribute in other areas, especially on special teams. He returned a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the first quarter and a 71-yard punt return in the second quarter. As Denver’s offense sputtered in the first half, Royal provided a major spark.

2. The Broncos’ offensive line has been fantastic
Kyle Orton has turned out to be a great fit for Josh McDaniels’ offense, but he owes a lot of his success to his O-line. They’ve protected him like Fort Knox all season and did so again Monday night. Orton had all day to throw and was accurate when his receivers broke free from defenders. The Broncos’ front five continues to be one of the better units in the league.

3. The Chargers’ defense is a mess
One would have thought Ron Rivera would have fixed some of San Diego’s defensive issues during the team’s bye week. But the same problems that the Bolts had heading into the bye were evident again tonight: They couldn’t generate any pressure, they didn’t tackle well and they couldn’t come up with the big stop when they needed it. The Broncos did whatever they wanted offensively in the second half.

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