NFL Week 12 Primer

Brandon JacobsSunday’s Best: Giants (9-1) at Cardinals (7-3), 4:00 PM ET
It might not be the sexiest game of the year, but this is one of the best matchups of the 2008 season. The Giants have been one of the best road teams over the last couple years, and the Cardinals are a completely (better) different team in the comforts of their own home than on the road. Kurt Warner is playing like a league MVP and it’ll be interesting to see how the underrated New York secondary matches up with the explosive Arizona passing game. There haven’t been a lot of opponents have been able to get pressure on Warner this season, but the G-Men have one of the best front sevens in the league. All indications are that Brandon Jacobs will play, which should help New York keep Arizona’s potent offense off the field. Both teams have a commanding lead in their respective divisions, but a win for the Giants could go a long way in eventually securing home field advantage in the postseason.

Upset Watch: Buccaneers (7-3) at Lions (0-10), 1:00 PM ET
I’m sure I’ll get crap for this one, but give me credit for taking a shot with this upset. Outside of getting their ass handed to them by Jacksonville two weeks ago, the Lions have been inching closer and closer to their first victory. Jon Gruden’s offense is effective, but the Buccaneers have had issues once they get into the red zone this year. They settled for three field goals inside the red zone last week against Minnesota, which essentially kept the Vikings in the game. Not that Detroit’s defense will provide much of a challenge, but if the Lions can keep the game close throughout, they might have a shot at a late score. Every year it seems that the Lions manage to win a game they’re not supposed to and I’m calling my shot this weekend – it’ll be Tampa. It helps that the Lions beat the Bucs last season, too, although it’s safe to say that the 2007 Detroit team was a shade better this year’s version.

Philip RiversIntriguing Matchup: Colts (6-4) at Chargers (4-6), 8:15 PM ET
After getting embarrassed by the Titans on Monday Night Football in Week 8, the Colts have won three straight and beaten quality AFC teams like the Patriots and Steelers. Indy has jumped right back into the playoff race and are one of the more dangerous teams in the league. But without Bob Sanders (knee injury) in the lineup, the Colts are a completely different team defensively. And although LaDainian Tomlinson has been quiet this year, he’s still one of the most explosive backs in the league and does anyone believe he can’t still take over a game? The Chargers are always dangerous on national TV because they play with a chip on their shoulder. They’ve also shown improvements defensively under Ron Rivera, who took over for Ted Cotrell at coordinator. Even though San Diego has struggled this year and has stumbled to 4-6, this is going to be a dogfight.

Other Notable Games:
Jets (7-3) at Titans (10-0), 1:00 PM ET
Along with the Giants-Cardinals game, this could easily be the best matchup of the week. Pundits keep waiting for Tennessee to fall, but something tells me it won’t be this week. Brett Favre is susceptible to throwing an interception or two, which doesn’t bode well playing against a very opportunistic Titans’ defense. Some are smelling upset – I say the Titans remain undefeated after this week.

Panthers (8-2) at Falcons (6-4), 4:15 PM ET
The Falcons’ playoff hopes took a hit last week when they lost to Denver, but the Panthers have struggled with inferior opponents as of late. Jake Delhomme has not looked very sharp and Atlanta has been solid at home. This is a huge game for the NFC South.

Eagles (5-4-1) at Ravens (6-4), 1:00 PM ET
A loss for the Eagles and they can kiss their postseason hopes goodbye. The Ravens have a great chance to prove they’re for real after they were clowned by the Giants last week.

Patriots (6-4) at Dolphins (6-4), 1:00 PM ET
This is a massive game for the AFC East, especially with the Jets playing in Tennessee. A win for either one of these teams could mean a share for the AFC East Division lead and don’t forget the Dolphins absolutely crushed the Patriots in Foxboro earlier this season. The fireworks in this game have already started this week with Joey Porter.

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