NFL Week 12 Late Game Previews



Arizona Cardinals (2-8) vs. Los Angeles Chargers (7-3)

Preview

This game features two teams coming off tough losses. Arizona gave the Raiders their second win of the season while the Chargers dropped a close divisional game to the Broncos. Although they are both coming off losses, these teams are on complete opposite ends of the spectrum. The Cardinals are one of the worst teams in the league while Los Angeles is still sitting at 7-3 and in a great position in the playoff picture. With that being said, this game has a chance to get very ugly.


Players to watch

The best matchup to watch in this one will be Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen against All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson. Allen has been impressive this season as Philip Rivers’ go-to receiver, accounting for 776 receiving yards and three touchdowns, but Peterson is still one of the best in the league. If he can lock Allen up, it may make this game a little more interesting. On offense for the Cardinals, they must get running back David Johnson going if they want any chance at producing points. He struggled at the beginning of this season but has picked things up lately, as he is 12th in the league in rushing with 629 yards and six touchdowns on the season.


Keys to the game

Arizona Cardinals

  • Put pressure on Rivers

  • Get Johnson going

  • Eliminate big plays


Los Angeles Chargers

  • Protect Rivers

  • Create turnovers early

  • Stop the run

Injury list

Arizona Cardinals

D.J. Humphries, T - Knee (Out)

Budda Baker, SS - Knee (Questionable)

Robert Nkemdiche, DT - Calf (Questionable)

Rudy Ford, DB - Heel (Out)

Phil Dawson, K - Hip (Questionable)

Chad Williams, WR - Ankle (Out)

Deone Bucannon, OLB - Chest (Out)

Corey Peters, DT - Heel (Questionable)

Olsen Pierre, DT - Ankle (Questionable)

Mike Iupati, OG - Back (Questionable)

Los Angeles Chargers

Trevor Williams, CB - Knee (Questionable)

Melvin Gordon, RB - Hamstring (Questionable)

Brandon Mebane, DT - Not injury related (Questionable)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

Melvin Gordon, RB (LAC)

Keenan Allen, WR (LAC)

Philip Rivers, QB (LAC)

David Johnson, RB (ARI)

Josh Rosen, QB (ARI)

Prediction

This game has a chance to get ugly and it will. The Cardinals don’t have enough weapons on either side of the ball to keep up with the Chargers. I see Rivers having a huge game through the air against this secondary, and running back Melvin Gordon should be able to have a solid day as well. This will be a huge bounceback opportunity for the Chargers, as they will win this one by multiple scores and get their season back on track.


Final Score: Chargers 35, Cardinals 14


Written by: Ryan Lippert


Miami Dolphins (5-5) vs. Indianapolis Colts (5-5)

Preview

The Dolphins and Colts are both fighting for a playoff spot, as they are both in the hunt after each having a unique path to 5-5 records. Miami is coming off the bye, so they will be hoping to take advantage of the late season rest by making a push into the playoff picture. Indianapolis is rolling on a 4-game winning streak right now and will be looking to continue their streak of 5 consecutive games without giving up a sack. The Dolphins need to find more consistency on both sides of the ball, so we will see if they worked on their problems during their off week. The Colts want to continue to prove doubters wrong as they hope to make a surprising playoff berth by continuing their current pace of play.


Players to watch

Ryan Tannehill will be making his return after a lengthy absence, and it will be interesting to see if he has a lot of rust to shake off in his first performance. Frank Gore is making his first return to Indianapolis, so he will be looking to show that he can still play ball against his former team. T.Y. Hilton is coming off his best performance of the season. If his chemistry with Andrew Luck has fully returned, then the Dolphins secondary is going to have their handsful. Kemoko Turay is another bright spot for the Colts 2018 draft class. He has 4 sacks on the year and will be looking to frustrate Tannehill all afternoon.


Keys to the game

Miami Dolphins

  • End the sack streak

  • Protect the ball

  • Establish the run

Indianapolis Colts

  • Don’t fall for trick plays

  • Disrupt Tannehill’s pocket

  • Continue getting out to a fast start on offense

Injury list

Miami Dolphins

Jakeem Grant, WR - Achilles (Out)

Danny Amendola, WR - Hamstring (Questionable)

A.J. Derby, TE - Foot/Knee (Questionable)

Davon Godchaux, DT - Shin (Questionable)

Ja’Wuan James, OT - Knee (Questionable)

Ted Larsen, C/G - Neck (Questionable)

T.J. McDonald, S - Knee (Questionable)


Indianapolis Colts

Ryan Kelly, C - Knee (Out)

Erik Swoope, TE - Knee (Out)

Ryan Hewitt, TE - Ankle (Out)

Mo Alie-Cox, TE - Calf (Questionable)

Top 5 Fantasy Players

T.Y. Hilton, WR (IND)

Andrew Luck, QB (IND)

Kenyan Drake, RB (MIA)

Marlon Mack, RB (IND)

Eric Ebron, TE (IND)

Prediction

Miami’s season has been nothing but inconsistency. Indianapolis is firing on all cylinders and the Dolphins don’t really have the offense to keep up right now. The Colts defense is coming off one of their best games of the year. If they can continue that level of play, then Indy is going to be a difficult team to deal with for the rest of the season. I see the Colts continuing their winning streak and climbing over the .500 mark.


Final Score: Colts 31, Dolphins 21


Written by: Cody Manning


Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2-1) vs. Denver Broncos (4-6)

Preview

The Steelers and Broncos are both coming off very close wins last week. Denver pulled off a huge upset win against the Chargers while Pittsburgh was able to put together an impressive fourth quarter comeback to defeat the Jaguars. With last week’s win, Pittsburgh is on a six-game win streak. On the other side, the Broncos are sitting at 4-6 and looking to get themselves back into the playoff race. While the Steelers will be the favorites to win this one, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a close game as they will be playing in a very tough atmosphere at Mile High Stadium.


Players to watch

A key player to watch for the Steelers will be running back James Conner. He will be looking to improve on what was a very disappointing performance last week against the Jaguars. Luckily for him, he is facing a Denver defense that ranks 27th in the league against the run. Another matchup to watch will be the battle of two All-Pro-caliber players in wide receiver Antonio Brown and Chris Harris Jr. Brown is off to another outstanding season as he leads the league with 11 receiving touchdowns, while Harris Jr. leads the Broncos with two interceptions. The Broncos secondary could use some help from Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, who will look to make things difficult on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.


Keys to the game

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Get Conner going early

  • Capitalize on big play opportunities

  • Finish drives

Denver Broncos

  • Put pressure on Roethlisberger

  • Stop the run

  • Create turnovers


Injury list

Pittsburgh Steelers

Stephon Tuitt, DE - Elbow (Out)

Matt Feiler, T - Pectoral (Questionable)

Marcus Gilbert, T - Knee (Out)


Denver Broncos

Dymonte Thomas, DB - Ankle (Out)

Brandon Marshall, ILB - Knee (Out)

Bradley Roby, CB - Concussion (Questionable)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

Antonio Brown, WR (PIT)

James Conner, RB (PIT)

Ben Roethlisberger, QB (PIT)

Phillip Lindsay, RB (DEN)

Juju Smith-Schuster, WR (PIT)

Prediction

I see this game being very close for at least three quarters. Denver will make some plays in the secondary to keep them in this one. However, they will continue to struggle against the run and Conner will have a huge rebound game. I have Pittsburgh pulling away in the fourth to win this game by two scores and continue their win streak.


Final Score: Steelers 27, Broncos 17


Written by: Ryan Lippert


Green Bay Packers (4-5-1) vs. Minnesota Vikings (5-4-1)

Preview

A 29-29 tie — that’s how this matchup ended at Lambeau Field nine weeks ago. Minnesota’s kicker Daniel Carson missed two game winning field goals in overtime, including a “gimme” 35 yarder. Fast forward to this weekend, and both teams are just looking to remain in the playoff race. The Vikings currently sit in the 6th seed behind the Carolina Panthers, while it’s somewhat of a long shot for Green Bay to make it after suffering a loss in week 11. Another L this Sunday will all but guarantee an end to the Packers’ playoff hopes. Can a desperate Packers team go into Minnesota and make a run at a wild card spot, or will Kirk Cousins and the Viking defense hold strong at home? In these NFC North matchups, it’s almost always a coin flip!


Players to watch

Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams have had a connection all season long, while the same can be said for Kirk Cousins and Adam Thielen. Both were able to find their favorite targets in the endzone in their week 2 matchup, but the Vikings receivers and offense, in general, were electric against a young Packers secondary. The Vikings defense is a whole other beast at home compared to on the road. Minny’s Xavier Rhodes will have his hands full covering Adams, while former 1st round CB Trae Waynes has been exploited throughout the season and is the clear weak point of that defense. The Packers will need their rookie CBs Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson to step up against the league’s best receiving duo. Stefon Diggs just played lights out in the team’s loss to the Bears and torched the Packers for 128 yards and 2 TDs the last time these teams met.


Keys to the game

Green Bay Packers

  • Limit Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs’ impact

  • Exploit the Vikings 32nd ranked pass blocking O-line

  • Get Aaron Jones going & lighten the load for Aaron Rodgers

Minnesota Vikings

  • Attack the Packers secondary

  • Get Dalvin Cook involved

  • Win the time of possession battle

  • Don’t give Rodgers time to throw

Injury list

Green Bay Packers

Randall Cobb, WR - Hamstring (Questionable)

Jimmy Graham, TE - Thumb/Knee (Questionable)

Mike Daniels, DT - Foot (Out)

Tra Carson, RB - Ribs (Questionable)

Nick Perry, OLB - Foot (Out)

Raven Greene, S - Ankle (Out)

Bashaud Breeland, CB - Groin (Questionable)

Kentrell Brice, S - Ankle (Questionable)

Kevin King, CB - Hamstring (Questionable)

Lucas Patrick, OG - Concussion (Questionable)


Minnesota Vikings

Andrew Sendejo, S - Groin (Out)

Chad Beebe, WR - Hamstring (Out)

Andrew Sendejo, S - Groin (Out)

David Morgan, TE - Knee (Out)


Top 5 Fantasy Players

Aaron Rodgers, QB (GB)

Adam Thielen, WR (MIN)

Aaron Jones, RB (GB)

Kirk Cousins, QB (MIN)

Stefon Diggs, WR (MIN)


Prediction

The Packers are currently 0-5 on the road, and just have not looked like the team we are used to seeing when Rodgers is under center. Typically, as long as they have Aaron throwing the ball, they’ve got a chance, but the Vikings, especially at home, will be quite the daunting task. Unless Green Bay can get after Kirk Cousins and limit the big plays in the Vikings passing game, it’s hard to imagine how Rodgers will be able to pull this one off. Minnesota’s defense ranks 4th overall in yards allowed, 6th in sacks, and is tied for 7th in takeaways. With the likes of Linval Joseph, Danielle Hunter, and Everson Griffen rushing the passer, I expect the defensive line to be in Rodgers’ face all day. He’ll of course have a late game surge and potential comeback, but it simply won’t be enough. Cousins will likely turn the ball over due to the constant pressure he’s dealt with all season long but will find a way to get the ball to his weapons enough to pull off the victory.


Final Score: Vikings 31, Green Bay 24


Written by: Jack Bourgeois