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Columns - Magazine

Survivor Guide: Week 12

by Mark Miller
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

*Team listed in BOLD is my pick to win the game

 

Strong Play:

 

NY Giants (@ Cleveland) – Giants defensive back Landon Collins sealed the Giants seventh win of the season with an interception on the Bears’ final drive in the 4th quarter. The Giants defense started out sluggish in Week 11 against Chicago by allowing the Bears to tally 196 yards on their first three drives, resulting in two touchdowns and a field goal. The defense did a much better job in the second half, forcing the Bears into five three-and-outs while giving up just a total of 88 yards in the second half. New York’s defense is going to be key in their road game against the winless Browns this weekend. The Giants sacked Jay Cutler four times last Sunday and hit him an additional six times. The Browns’ offensive line, which is one of the worst in football, came under attack by Terrell Pryor and Joe Thomas following their game against Pittsburgh, and has allowed a total of 38 sacks on the season, worst in the NFL.  I expect Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon to get to Josh McCown multiple times while pressuring him all game. McCown struggled last week when he came in to replace Cody Kessler after Kessler was knocked out of the game. McCown completed just 52% of his throws and threw for just 118 yards. Cleveland running backs Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson couldn’t get anything going on the ground and rushed just 10 times for a total of 20 yards. Their struggles will carry over against the Giants who allow just 3.6 yards per carry on the season. Offensively for New York, they will let Eli Manning air it out against the 31st worst ranked pass defense in the league. Odell Beckham Jr. only had five catches for 46 yards against Chicago and I expect a huge boost in his numbers and he is a great candidate to top 100 yards this week. This is the last week I’d recommend the Giants this high because their schedule for the rest of the season is brutal. If New York is still available to you, you should definitely take them this week.

 

Next 3 Games:
NY Giants: @Pittsburgh, vs. Dallas, vs. Detroit
Cleveland: BYE, vs. Cincinnati, @Buffalo

 

New England (@ NY Jets) – The Patriots offense got off to a slow start against the wretched 49ers defense last week, posting just 13 points in the first half. Tom Brady only threw for 102 yards in the first half, but you could attribute the slow start to the heavy rain that was falling Sunday afternoon. The Pats’ defense didn’t play great in the first half either and allowed Colin Kaepernick to throw for 116 yards and gave up 55 yards on the ground to Carlos Hyde. The secondary was also beat on a couple big plays that turned into 10 points for San Francisco. The Patriots defense tightened up in the second half and forced the 49ers to punt on five of their six possessions while holding Kaepernick to just 90 passing yards and limited Hyde to 31 rushing yards on just eight carries. New England is on the road again this week to take on their rival, the New York Jets. The Jets are coming off a bye and have announced that Ryan Fitzpatrick will take back the starting job from Bryce Petty. I’m not sure that starting Fitzpatrick is a great idea this week because he is 2-7 with 18 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in his lifetime against the Patriots. Maybe Todd Bowles is looking at his numbers from last year when he passed for 295 and 296 yards, respectively, with five total touchdowns in two games against the Pats. But last season was an anomaly and was by far Fitzpatrick’s best season of his career. Fitzpatrick has been awful this season, completing just 56.4% of his passes and has 13 interceptions so far in 2016. I expect Fitzpatrick to revert back to being the player he was in his first seven games against the Patriots in which he was sacked 16 times and threw 17 interceptions. The Patriots defense hasn’t been great, but they will shut down the Jets’ anemic offense on Sunday. Offensively, Tom Brady will pass all over the Jets’ secondary and should throw for 300+ yards. They may try to run the ball with LeGarrette Blount and Dion Lewis, but they will have problems finding running lanes against the Jets’ defensive line, so it will be on the Pats’ passing game to beat the Jets. If Rob Gronkowski is able to suit up then the Patriots could rival the Giants as the best play in Survivor Pools this week.

 

Next 3 Games:
New England: vs. Los Angeles, vs. Baltimore, @Denver
NY Jets: vs. Indianapolis, @San Francisco, vs. Miami

 

Decent Play:

 

Seattle (@ Tampa Bay) – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers came away with a big win against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 11 to put them just one game behind the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC South. Jameis Winston played great and threw for over 300 yards for a second straight game, finishing with 331 passing yards and 22 rushing yards. Seattle should slow down the Bucs’ passing game and could shadow Mike Evans with Richard Sherman. Seattle’s defense will force the Bucs to beat them on the ground with Doug Martin who has struggled since returning from his injury two weeks ago. Since his return, Martin has run the ball 40 times for a total of 96 yards (2.4 ypc). Although Seattle’s run defense hasn’t played great over the last five games, allowing an average of 122.2 rushing yards per game, I do expect them to bottle up Martin throughout the game this week. Seattle’s offense has been rolling the last three weeks and Russell Wilson is the biggest reason for their turnaround on the offensive side of the ball.  Over the last three weeks, Wilson has averaged 301 passing yards per game, has completed 67% of his passes (63-94) and has thrown six touchdowns and not a single interception. He also has one rushing touchdowns as well as a receiving touchdown last week. Seattle received some bad news on rookie running back C.J. Prosise who is expected to be sidelined for approximately eight weeks due to a fractured scapula. That means Thomas Rawls regains No. 1 duties in the backfield. When Rawls took over last week against the Eagles, he appeared to be healthy and was running full throttle. Rawls finished the afternoon with 57 yards on 14 carries (4.1 ypc) along with three receptions for 31 yards. Rawls should enjoy his day running against the Buccaneers because they have allowed opposing teams to rush for at least 122 yards in six of their 10 games this season. Tampa Bay held the Chiefs to just 82 rushing yards last week, but Kansas City only handed the ball off to Spencer Ware just 17 times in the game whereas I expect Rawls will carry the ball over 20 times this game. Seattle has to travel across the country to play this game on the East Coast, but I’m not concerned because it is a 4pm game so they should adjust just fine. Additionally, Tampa Bay has proven that they play much better on the road (4-1) than they do at home (1-4).

 

Next 3 Games:
Seattle: vs. Carolina, @Green Bay, vs. Los Angeles
Tampa Bay: @San Diego, vs. New Orleans, @Dallas

 

Pittsburgh (@ Indianapolis) – News has come out that Andrew Luck suffered a concussion and is now in concussion protocol. With the short week due to their prime-time game on Thanksgiving night, there is a good chance that Luck may not play on Thursday. If he’s unable to go, then Scott Tolzien will get the start and that will be a major downgrade for the Colts offense. The 29-year-old quarterback has only thrown one pass since 2013. Getting first-team reps for a couple of practices will only go so far, so I expect that he will be shaking off a lot of rust (and nerves) early on in the game. If Tolzien does get the start, look for the Colts’ game plan to revolve around Frank Gore carrying the football over 20 times in this game. Pittsburgh’s offense will be run through Le’Veon Bell for a second straight week. Bell tortured Cleveland’s defense last week for a total for 201 yards and one touchdown. The Colts defense did a nice job limiting DeMarco Murray to 70 rushing yards a week ago, but I don’t believe they’ll be able to do the same to Bell this week. I also expect that Roethlisberger will air it out more this week against the 30th ranked pass defense and Antonio Brown will have over 100 receiving yards, which will put him over 1,000 on the season. I’m ranking Pittsburgh this high right now because I don’t expect Luck to play. You should monitor Luck’s status, and if he is able to play, I still believe the Steelers win the game but I would put them in the Risky tier.

 

Next 3 Games:
Pittsburgh: vs. NY Giants, @Buffalo, @Cincinnati
Indianapolis: @NY Jets, vs. Houston, @Minnesota

 

New Orleans (vs. Los Angeles) – The New Orleans Saints have followed up their two-game winning streak with a two-game losing streak and are now two games behind the Falcons in the NFC South. The Saints dug themselves into a 23-3 hole against the Panthers on Thursday night but made a valiant effort to get back into the game. Unfortunately, they fell short and couldn’t pull out the come-from-behind win. The Saints offense was stagnant for the first three quarters and finally came alive in the 4th. The Rams rank 6th in the NFL in pass defense, but that stat is a little deceiving because of the opponents they have faced which includes the 49ers (started Blaine Gabbert), Seahawks (when Wilson was struggling), Bill, Panthers, Jets and Dolphins. The Rams have played poorly against the Lions, Cardinals and Buccaneers, and I think this will be one of those games again because they will be facing one of the better offenses in the league. Jared Goff made his pro debut last week at home against the Dolphins and the best thing you can say about Goff’s debut is that he didn’t turn the ball over. Goff completed 17 of his 31 passes for 134 yards, averaging just 4.3 yards per pass. He gets to face the Saints defense, which should mean more opportunities to throw the ball in this game and he should have a lot more success doing so. The Rams will begin the game by handing the ball off to Todd Gurley. New Orleans’ run defense has played well this year, allowing 3.9 yards per carry and have held opposing teams to under 100 rushing yards in three of their last four games so they will focus on stopping Gurley. New Orleans’ offense has put up at least 20 points in all but one game this season and even scored 25 points against Seattle and 21 against Denver. I expect that the Saints will score at least 20 points in this game, which will be enough to come away with a win in Week 12.

 

Next 3 Games:
Los Angeles: @New England, vs. Atlanta, @Seattle
New Orleans: vs. Detroit, @Tampa Bay, @Arizona

 

Baltimore (vs. Cincinnati) – No other team had a worse week than the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 11. In one game, the Bengals watched A.J. Green get carted off the field with a hamstring injury, and on Sunday night it was revealed that Giovanni Bernard tore his ACL. Bernard is obviously finished for the year, but early reports are that Green may return before the end of the 2016 season. Still, that doesn’t help the injury-ravaged Bengals this week. Rookie wideout Tyler Boyd filled in nicely once Green left the game and caught six passes for 54 yards and one touchdown. He and Brandon LaFell will need to step up this week for Andy Dalton in order for the Bengals to have any chance of winning. The issue I have is that they are facing the seventh-ranked pass defense, which doesn’t bode well for them. Granted, the Ravens were just embarrassed against the Cowboys and allowed Dak Prescott to throw for 301 yards, but they were without their top defensive back, Jimmy Smith. If Smith is able to return, they will be able to shut down the Bengals’ passing attack. Jeremy Hill will see an uptick in carries this week, but he will be bottled up by the Ravens’ top-ranked run defense that just held Ezekiel Elliot to 3.9 yards per carry last week. The Bengals defense has allowed the Cowboys, Browns and Bills to run for 180+ yards this season. I believe Terrence West and Kenneth Dixon will split carries again this week but will set the tone for the Baltimore offense and may find the end zone this week. Baltimore’s offense does make me nervous, but because their defense has played well this year and the Bengals are missing two of their best offensive players, I think the Ravens are decent play this week.

 

Next 3 Games:
Cincinnati: vs. Philadelphia, @Cleveland, vs. Pittsburgh
Baltimore: vs. Miami, @New England, vs. Philadelphia

 

Risky Play:

 

Denver (vs. Kansas City) – Kansas City laid an egg against the Buccaneers in Week 11 and fell to 7-3 on the season and are now tied in the standings with their Week 12 opponent, the Denver Broncos. Both Kansas City and Denver are currently the 5th and 6th seeds, respectively, in the AFC, but are only one game ahead of the Dolphins, so this is a very important game for both team’s playoff hopes. Alex Smith played well against Tampa Bay, but threw a crucial interception in the end zone in the 4th quarter. If they want to have a shot at beating Denver this week, he is going to have to play mistake-free football. Spencer Ware was only handed the ball 17 times in the game but he wasn’t very productive and couldn’t get anything going. If they can establish the run against Denver’s run defense that has allowed 4.4 yards per carry as well as 122 rushing yards in six of their 10 games, then Kansas City should be able to keep this game close. Denver’s offense has struggled this season and is only averaging 324.7 yards per game which ranks 27th in the NFL. One way to beat Kansas City is by running the football. They will need Devontae Booker to get things going on the ground, which should open up the passing game for Trevor Siemian. I expect a balanced attack by Denver and they will ultimately wear down Kansas City’s defense. I believe this will be a low-scoring game with both offenses struggling most of the game to get anything going and struggling to put points on the board. This is not a game I’d highly recommend taking Denver, especially due to the fact that they are playing Jacksonville next week, which is a more favorable matchup.

 

Next 3 Games:
Kansas City: @Atlanta, vs. Oakland, vs. Tennessee
Denver: @Jacksonville, @Tennessee, vs. New England

 

Miami (vs. San Francisco) – The Miami Dolphins extended their current winning streak to five straight games after defeating the L.A. Rams on the road by the score of 14-10. It wasn’t a pretty game for Miami offensively as they only generated 88 yards of offense though the first three and half quarters. They really turned it on in the final six minutes though, compiling 152 yards and two touchdowns to come from behind to beat the Rams. The first half of football was arguably the worst 30 minutes of football played this year because neither team could move the ball and the fans were treated to 11 punts in the first half. Miami hosts another inept offense this weekend in the San Francisco 49ers. San Francisco fell to 1-9 on the season following their 30-17 loss to the Patriots in Week 11. San Francisco actually played pretty well in the first half and held Tom Brady to just 102 passing yards and limited the Patriots to just 13 points, although they were definitely helped out by the weather conditions. The 49ers were probably feeling good about themselves heading into the half but then Tom Brady came alive and the 49ers couldn’t stop the pass in the second half. Adding insult to injury, 49ers safety Eric Reid tore his bicep and is finished for the year, which is a huge blow to the 49ers defense. I don’t expect Ryan Tannehill to have a huge game statistically, but Jay Ajayi on the other hand could try to amass 200 yards for the third time this season. I don’t think it is out of the question because the 49ers have allowed opposing teams to rush for 194, 313, 249 and 248 yards on four different occasions this year. If Ajayi is going to gain 200 rushing yards again this year, this will be the game that he does it. Miami’s defense has played well this season and ranks 8th in passing yards per game at 224.5. Colin Kaepernick has at times shown flashes of his strong throwing arm, but too often he has been very inaccurate and is averaging just 228.8 passing yards per game and has completed just 53.1% of his passes on the year. Miami may hold Kaepernick to under 200 yards this weekend and should force a couple of turnovers. I don’t think Miami is a lock this week, and I am a little concerned that this could be a trap game with Miami looking towards their game next week in Baltimore, but with San Francisco having to travel across the country for a 1pm game at Hard Rock Stadium, I do think Miami will extend their winning streak to six in a row.

 

Next 3 Games:
Miami: @Baltimore, vs. Arizona, @NY Jets
San Francisco: @Chicago, vs. NY Jets, @Atlanta

 

Tennessee (@ Chicago) – The Chicago Bears are a complete mess right now and continue to receive bad news about their players. First, linebacker Jerrell Freeman has been hit with a four-game suspension for violating the league’s PED policy which comes a week after Alshon Jeffery was suspended for the same reason. Now it is reported that Jay Cutler injured his shoulder during the team’s Week 11 loss to the New York Giants and the feeling is that he tore his labrum and could be done for the season. If Cutler is unable to go, which I expect, Matt Barkley will assume starting duties for the Bears. Unlike Chicago, Tennessee still has playoff aspirations despite losing to the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday. The Titans’ offensive line played very poorly and surrendered five sacks in the game. Even though quarterback Marcus Mariota was under pressure for a majority of the game, Mariota played very well and finished the day 25 for 38 with 290 yards, two touchdowns and not a single interception. Mariota now has 19 touchdowns and just three interceptions over the last seven games. Mariota will continue to have success this week against the Bears, but DeMarco Murray will bounce back and have a strong game this week. Tennessee’s pass defense has been their weakness this year, but they should keep this decimated Bears offense in check for most of the game. Their focus will be on stopping Jordan Howard and not allowing him to break off big runs in the game. The Bears are in shambles right now with nothing left to play for whereas the Titans will be focused and prepared to not overlook this team and I expect that they will get back to .500 on the season this week.

 

Next 3 Games:
Tennessee: BYE, vs. Denver, @Kansas City
Chicago: vs. San Francisco, @Detroit, vs. Green Bay

 

Avoid:

 

Oakland (vs. Carolina) – Raise your hand if you thought that after the first 11 weeks of the season that the Oakland Raiders would be the #1 seed (by virtue of tiebreaker)? Yeah, neither did I. I thought the Raiders would be in playoff contention, but I didn’t think they’d be 8-2 to start the year. The Raiders defense played decently against Houston, but they were also helped out by some generous calls by the refs on Monday night. The Raiders allowed Lamar Miller to run for 104 yards but their pass rush did a nice job against Houston’s offensive line resulting in Khalil Mack recording a big sack at the end of the first half and Bruce Irvin getting to Brock Osweiler in the 4th quarter which kept Houston out of field goal range. I expect the same exact defensive intensity against Carolina this weekend. Where I’m worried for Oakland is the fact that I don’t think they’ll have an answer for Kelvin Benjamin or Greg Olsen this week. Oakland has allowed opposing tight ends to score five touchdowns on the year so Olsen may find himself scoring six points this week. I do think Oakland will move the ball without any problems against Carolina who are expected to be without Luke Kuechly. Kuechly suffered a concussion and was carted off the field against the Saints on Thursday so I expect that he will miss this game. Latavius Murray didn’t run the ball well against Houston, but he and Jalen Richard played huge roles in the passing game combining for 109 yards on eight receptions. Derek Carr just took what the Houston defense gave him and he won’t hesitate to do the same this week if the opportunity presents itself. Michael Crabtree dropped three passes against Houston, but he will make sure to catch those balls that come his way this weekend. I also expect Cooper to be more involved in the passing game this week, propelling them to the win. I like the Raiders’ chances of extending their winning streak to five this week at home against Carolina.

 

Next 3 Games:
Carolina: @Seattle, vs. San Diego, @Washington
Oakland: vs. Buffalo, @Kansas City, @San Diego

 

Dallas (vs. Washington) – As you are getting ready to eat your turkey on Thursday, you’ll get to enjoy arguably the best football game taking place at 4pm EST between Dallas and Washington. Dallas will be looking to extend their winning streak to 10 straight games, but in order to do so, they will be involved in a battle from start to finish just like their previous game against Washington in Week 2. In that game, Dak Prescott threw for 292 yards and connected with Dez Bryant seven times for 102 yards. I am expecting Josh Norman to possibly shadow Bryant this week which could open things up for Cole Beasley. Ezekiel Elliot only ran the ball 21 times for 83 yards, but I anticipate he’ll carry the ball at least 25 times in this game. Kirk Cousins picked apart Dallas’ defense for 364 yards, but too many times Washington couldn’t sustain drives and had to settle for field goals or were forced to punt the football. Cousins was also picked off in the end zone in the 4th quarter while down 23-20 which ultimately cost them the game. I don’t expect Cousins, who is playing extremely well of late, to make the same mistake this week and I expect that they will turn some of those field goals into touchdowns. What makes me nervous about Washington is the fact that they played the night game on Sunday and have the quick turnaround for a road game during the day on Thursday. Washington has had some success in Dallas, winning three of their last four in Dallas, but are just 5-11 against Dallas over the last eight years. It should be another hard-fought battle between these two teams on Thursday which is why I recommend avoiding both teams this week.

 

Next 3 Games:
Washington: @Arizona, @Philadelphia, vs. Carolina
Dallas: @Minnesota, @NY Giants, vs. Tampa Bay

 

Buffalo (vs. Jacksonville) – The Jaguars’ losing streak was extended to five in a row after blowing a 4th quarter lead against the Lions in Week 11. Blake Bortles can’t shoulder all the blame because some of his receivers failed to hold onto the football. Nevertheless Bortles threw two interceptions, one of which was taken back for a touchdown. The Jaguars defense played well and held Detroit runners to just 14 yards on 21 carries and contained the Lions’ passing game for most of the game. The Jaguars defense has now held opposing teams to 277 total yards or less over the last three weeks. I think they will be able to shut down the Bills’ passing game this week, but the key will be whether or not LeSean McCoy will play. McCoy is the Bills offense, but he dislocated his thumb in Week 11 and he is questionable to play this week. If McCoy can play, then he gives the Bills a legitimate threat on offense. If he’s unable to go, the Jaguars will shut down Mike Gillislee. Even if McCoy plays, I believe that this will be a low-scoring game and the defenses for both teams will be the deciding factor by creating turnovers and setting up their offenses with good field position. If you are forced to take one of these teams this week, I’d recommend Buffalo because Bortles is definitely more likely to implode and possibly throw a pick-six for a third straight game. 

 

Next 3 Games:
Jacksonville: vs. Denver, vs. Minnesota, @Houston
Buffalo: @Oakland, vs. Pittsburgh, vs. Cleveland

 

Minnesota (@ Detroit) – The Lions and Vikings will kick things off in Detroit on Thanksgiving with their game at 12:30pm EST. The Vikings broke their four-game losing streak against Arizona in Week 11 and did so with a great defensive effort. Prior to that game, the Vikings defense wasn’t as dominant as they had been during their five-game winning streak to open the season. But they played very well against Arizona and held Carson Palmer to 198 passing yards and picked him off twice, including once in the end zone. The Vikings had Palmer under pressure the entire game and sacked him four times on the day and hit him an additional 15 times. This is exactly how the Vikings need to play against Detroit on Thursday. Minnesota and Detroit faced off in Week 9 and Golden Tate scored the game-winning touchdown in overtime for the Lions. I think this game will be a tight battle from the opening kick until the final whistle, with a chance to end up in overtime again. This is an important game for both of these teams as they battle for the division title.

 

Next 3 Games:
Minnesota: vs. Dallas, @Jacksonville, vs. Indianapolis
Detroit: @New Orleans, vs. Chicago, @NY Giants

 

Atlanta (vs. Arizona) – Sitting at 4-5-1 on the season, the prospects of making the playoffs are slowly slipping away from the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals offense got off to a fast start in the first half of the game against the Vikings in Week 11, but most of their offense was generated on the ground by running back, David Johnson. Carson Palmer was inaccurate for most of the afternoon, which has been the case for a number of games this season. He threw a very bad interception in Minnesota’s end zone which was taken back 100 yards for a Vikings touchdown. That turned out to be a 14 point swing and cost them the game. Arizona’s defense played well and kept the Cardinals in the game, and they’ll need that to be the case again this week against the Falcons. Atlanta is coming off bye which came at a great time following their 24-15 loss to the Eagles. The loss to the Eagles was the first time they were held to under 23 points on the season. They are going to have to work to score 20+ points this week in Arizona, but ultimately I think Matt Ryan will lead the Falcons offense on a couple of touchdown drives. Arizona will continue to pound the ground with Johnson and will try to control the clock to keep the ball out of Ryan’s hands. If they are successful at doing so, they can pull out the win. Unfortunately I’m not confident that Arizona’s offense will be able to keep pace with Atlanta and I think Atlanta will return to their winning ways starting this week.

 

Next 3 Games:
Arizona: vs. Washington, @Miami, vs. New Orleans
Atlanta: vs. Kansas City, @Los Angeles, vs. San Francisco

 

Houston (vs. San Diego) – Houston lost a tough game against the Oakland Raiders on Monday night and are looking to bounce back and stay in control of the AFC South. Houston was hosed on a potential touchdown reception by DeAndre Hopkins, but the ref blew his whistle and said Hopkins stepped out of bounds. Replay showed that Hopkins remained in bounds the entire time, but the play was not reviewable. Houston can point fingers at head coach Bill O’Brien for play calling and poor use or challenges, but there’s nothing the Texans can do to change the outcome and they just need to move on and focus on the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers are coming off a bye and have lost two out of their last four games. Over the last four games, the Chargers have given up a total of 131 points. Houston’s Lamar Miller proved that he was completely healthy against the Raiders and ran for 104 yards and one touchdown. He should get about 25 carries against the Chargers defense that allows an average of 103 rushing yards per game. Will Fuller returned to the field after missing the game against Jacksonville. I think that Brock Osweiler will look in his direction and target Fuller seven-eight times on Sunday. San Diego’s Melvin Gordon has been a nice surprise this year, but I think Houston will shut down their running game. If San Diego can’t get the running game going, I don’t think they’ll be able to pull out the win. If Rivers can refrain from throwing four picks like he did against Miami two weeks, he will keep them within one score, giving the Chargers a chance to win. I just don’t think either team is worth taking this week in your Survivor Pool.

 

Next 3 Games:
San Diego: vs. Tampa Bay, @Carolina, vs. Oakland
Houston: @Green Bay, @Indianapolis, vs. Jacksonville

 

Bold Prediction:

 

Philadelphia (vs. Green Bay) – The Green Bay Packers have lost five in a row and six of their last seven while Philly hasn’t had much success of late either and have lost five out of their last seven games. Both team’s playoff hopes are on the line with Green Bay two games behind the Lions and Vikings in the NFC North and Philadelphia 1.5 games behind Washington for the 6th and final playoff spot. Philadelphia’s defense didn’t come to play against Seattle last week and allowed Russell Wilson to throw for 272 yards. Carson Wentz only completed 23 of his 45 passes against Seattle, and is now averaging just 222 yards over the last six games, along with four touchdowns and six interceptions. Wentz could be a prime candidate to breakout against the Packers and their injury-riddled defense. Green Bay’s defense has allowed 961 total yards over the last two weeks, 305 of which have come on the ground. I don’t think Ryan Matthews and Wendell Smallwood will generate that many yards on the ground, but Smallwood could be a factor in the passing game for Wentz. Aaron Rodgers played well against Washington on Sunday night, completing 26 of his 41 passes for 351 yards and three touchdowns. The biggest issue for Green Bay, other than their defense, is their lack of a running game. If Philadelphia’s eighth-ranked defense can focus on stopping Green Bay in the air, they will beat the Packers at home. Still, it’s going to come down to Wentz making plays, sustaining drives, and putting six points on the board, which I believe he will do.

 

Next 3 Games:
Green Bay: vs. Houston, vs. Seattle, @Chicago
Philadelphia: @Cincinnati, vs. Washington, @Baltimore

 

Week 12 Survivor Pool Rankings:

 

1.    New York Giants
2.    New England Patriots
3.    Seattle Seahawks
4.    Pittsburgh Steelers
5.    New Orleans Saints
6.    Baltimore Ravens
7.    Denver Broncos
8.    Miami Dolphins
9.    Tennessee Titans
10.    Philadelphia Eagles
11.    Oakland Raiders
12.    Dallas Cowboys
13.    Buffalo Bills
14.    Minnesota Vikings
15.    Atlanta Falcons
16.    Houston Texans

Mark Miller
Mark Miller writes the Survivor Picks column for Rotoworld. He can be found on Twitter.