Warpaint Illustrated Week 12 Predictions

Last week I went 14-2 with my predictions and come into this weekend's games up (2-0) after the Thanksgiving games. This weekend is a big challenge because I can see eight games going either way.

While most of the media thinks the Baltimore/New England game is the featured match-up, I have my eye on Monday Night Football. Brett Favre is about to make more history, this time against St Louis. Read on.

SAN DIEGO@KANSAS CITY
Prediction: Chiefs 31-30
The Chiefs should have a good day in the air against a Chargers defense that's 27th against the run. I like Trent Green, Tony G. and Eddie Kennison to have big days.

The Chargers feature a solid air attack and a running game that is just now starting to thrive. LaDainian Tomlinson is relatively healthy for the stretch run and he should put up monster numbers rushing and receiving. Drew Brees to TE Antonio Gates is every bit as good as Green to Gonzalez.

Despite the fact that Priest Holmes is out again, I still like the Chiefs to win in a shootout at Arrowhead. By the way, stay away from both defenses.

Do you remember 12/23/01 - Tony Richardson scores from one yard out with: 48 seconds left to lift the Chiefs to a 20-17 win over the Chargers.

Game Notes: Kansas City has won seven of the last nine meetings and eight straight against SD at Arrowhead. Former KC coach Marty Schottenheimer has lost three of four games to the Chiefs since taking over the Chargers.

PHILADELPHIA@NY GIANTS
Prediction: Eagles 27-10
Philadelphia hopes to wrap up a fourth consecutive NFC East title and become the first team this season to clinch a playoff spot. It should happen Sunday at Giants stadium. Statistically, the Eagles defense is middle of the pack, but they should come up big against Eli Manning. The only play for New York is RB Tiki Barber. For the Eagles, McNabb and T.O. hooked up for three touchdowns in the season opener against the Giants and they might very well do it two more times on Sunday. RB Brian Westbrook and the Philadelphia defense are also good plays.

Game Notes: Since the NFL went to a 16-game schedule in 1978, the only teams to win a division crown after 11 games were the 1985 Chicago Bears and 1997 San Francisco 49ers. The Giants have lost three in a row and four of five. Eli, Peyton and Archie Manning all threw their first touchdown pass from 6 yards out.

JACKSONVILLE@MINNESOTA
Prediction: Jaguars 27-24 (OT) *Upset Special
Jags quarterback Byron Leftwich returns for the Jags and Randy Moss should see 25 snaps for the Vikings. I like Jacksonville in this game because RB Fred Taylor can run roughshod over the Vikings defense. That will allow the Jaguars to control the clock. Minnesota can score quickly and they probably will a couple of times. Culpepper, Moss and Nate Burleson are must-starts for fantasy players. TE Jermaine Wiggins has been a red-zone weapon with Moss out. Bench both defenses.

Game Notes: Head coaches Jack Del Rio (Jax) and Mike Tice (MIN) were Vikings teammates from 1992-93, 1995. Both meetings between the two franchises have been blowouts. Minnesota won 50-10 in 1998. The Jaguars crushed the Vikings 33-3 in 2001.

CLEVELAND@CINCINNATI
Prediction: Bengals 17-16
With Jeff Garcia injured, Kelly Holcomb gets the starting nod at QB for Cleveland. It seems as though the Browns players don't want to play for Head Coach Butch Davis and it will be tough to take the Browns to win in any more games this season. Fantasy players may want to start Cleveland's defense in select match-up's like this one. I like the Bengals to win with Carson Palmer hitting Chad Johnson for a touchdown. C.J. may not put up big yards against Cleveland but he's scored a TD in the past four vs. the Browns. I'm not sure what to make of Cincinnati RB Rudi Johnson and neither do the Bengals. Rudi will be a free agent after the season and rookie Chris Perry might start taking a few of his carries.

Game Notes:The Browns have won five of six in this series. The Bengals are tied with Seattle for the most takeaways with 25. ***Carson Palmer left Thursday's practice with back spasms but is expected to play.

WASHINGTON @PITTSBURGH
Prediction: Steelers 20-9
Despite the fact that Steelers QB Ben Roethlesberger will be without his favorite target WR Plaxico Burress, the rookie still has Hines Ward to throw to. Duce Staley returns at RB with Jerome Bettis back to goal-line situations after three straight 100 yard games. Fantasy players should stay away from all Redskins but the defense, which is still ranked 2nd in the NFL. The Steelers top-ranked "D" will make noise as Washington starts Patrick Ramsay at quarterback.

Game Notes: Pittsburgh leads the NFL with 31 sacks in nine games. The Redskins offensive line is no longer "The Hogs". They now call themselves "The Dirt-bags."

TENNESSEE@HOUSTON
Prediction: Tennessee 27-24
Steve McNair is back and he loves to face the Texans. He had five TD passes against them last season. McNair and WR Derrick Mason are good plays. Check the injury report on RB Chris Brown. If Brown plays, he'll have a good day. For the Texans, QB David Carr is cold with just one TD and three INT in his last three games. That hurts WR Andre Johnson. RB Dominick Davis and WR Jabber Gaffney are sleeper plays.

Game Notes: Texans total defense is 30th in NFL. Houston WR Andre Johnson leads the NFL with 15 receptions of 20 yards or more.

TAMPA BAY@CAROLINA
Prediction: Bucs 26-20
The Buccaneers started the season (0-4) and have bounced back to an NFC respectable (4-6) record including a victory over the Chiefs. The Panthers give up yards through the air so Brian Griese will have another good week. Rookie WR Michael Clayton is a good play. For Carolina, QB Jake Delhomme as thrown 9 TD passes to WR Muhsin Muhammed. They'll connect again this week.

Game Notes: WR Michael Clayton leads NFL rookies with 52 catches & 751 yards. The Panthers defense has given up 20 points over the last 6 quarters while forcing nine turnovers and recording eight sacks. Panthers DE Julius Peppers has six sacks in the last three games.

BALTIMORE@NEW ENGLAND
Prediction: Patriots 23-13
Despite Ravens QB Kyle Boller's good play as of late, he won't have Jamal Lewis running behind him again. Stay away from all Ravens offensive players. I do think Baltimore's defense/special teams will score. For New England, WR Deion Branch is back and that gives Tom Brady yet another weapon. Put Brady down for a touchdown pass in 14 straight games. Pats Kicker Adam Vinatieri leads the NFL in points with 102 and is again a must-start.

Game Notes: Ravens QB Kyle Boller hasn't thrown an interception in his last 118 attempts. The Ravens are 7-0 this season when they get at least one interception.

NEW ORLEANS@ATLANTA
Prediction: Falcons 30-27
Michael Vick, Warrick Dunn and Alge Crumpler should have a field day against a Saints defense ranked last in rush and pass defense. The Falcons are excellent against the run, so WR Joe Horn is the play for New Orleans. Horn has four 100y receiving games against Atlanta. QB Aaron Brooks will do alright too.

Game Notes: Jim Mora Jr. served as New Orleans defensive backs coach from 1992-96 and is the son of former Saints coach Jim Mora. Jim Haslett also worked under Mora Sr. and alongside Mora Jr. as Saints as Def. Coordinator and LB coach.

BUFFALO@SEATTLE
Prediction: Seahawks 27-20
Seattle RB Shaun Alexander leads the NFL in rushing with 1,151 yards and is 2nd with 10 rushing touchdowns behind the Chiefs Priest Holmes. He is always a must-start, even though Buffalo is 6th against the run. I think Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck will play, and he plays well at home. WR Darrell Jackson should step up despite injury. Koren Robinson is suspended and Jerry Rice and Bobby Ingram aren't reliable. Buffalo has won three of four. QB Drew Bledsoe has thrown 7 INT and 0 TD in his last two road games. STAY AWAY! The play here is Willis McGahee. TE Mark Campbell had 3 TD last week, but I wouldn't start him unless you're out of options at the position.

Game Notes: Drew Bledsoe is from Walla Walla, WA and attended Washington State University. After 133 games in the NFL, Bills safety Lawyer Milloy has played against every team in the league except the one he grew up watching. That would be the Seahawks. Milloy is from Tacoma, WA.

MIAMI@SAN FRANSISCO

Prediction: Who Cares!
5,000 people actually show up to this game. The Dolphins win. This game is pitiful. Start both defenses.

Game Notes: Both teams are 1-9. Miami plays its 2nd road game in row at least 2,600 miles from Miami.

NY JETS@ARIZONA
Prediction: Jets 17-16
QB Shaun King has found his favorite target, WR Larry Fitzgerald. But Fitzgerald is too inconsistent and I can't see anyone but kicker Neil Rackers putting up decent fantasy numbers. The Jets are awaiting QB Chad Pennington's return. Quincy Carter will struggle against an underrated secondary and RB Curtis Martin is the only play. Both defenses are excellent options.

Game Notes: The Jets say Chad Pennington could return to action December 5th against Houston. Arizona WR Anquan Boldin has the most catches after 20 games in NFL history (121).

OAKLAND@DENVER
Prediction: Broncos 38-13
I am all over this game! Jake Plummer eats the Raiders alive (check game notes) and will thrive Sunday night. WR's Ashlie Lelie and Rod Smith are good plays. RB Rueben Droughns rushes for a lot of yards but has just two rushing touchdowns this season.

Game Notes: Denver's Jake Plummer has compiled a passer rating of 135.2 with six touchdowns and two interceptions in his career against Oakland. Raiders owner Al Davis has fired all three coaches who have lost 10 games in a season: Joe Bugel (1997), Bill Callahan (2003) and Tom Flores (1987). Oakland is (3-7) this season. Watch out Norv Turner.

ST. LOUIS@GREEN BAY
Prediction: Packers 31-28 Brett Favre will start his 200th consecutive game and aims to throw a touchdown pass in his 36th straight game. RB Ahman Green is questionable (ribs), but Favre will still step up on MNF. WR's Donald Driver and Javon Walker will benefit. For the Rams, I like QB Marc Bulger and WR's Tory Holt and Isaac Bruce.

Game Notes: During Brett Favre's 199 consecutive games started, he's completed passes to 36 different players, thrown 363 touchdowns, and owns a 131-68 record. By the way, the Chicago Bears have started 18 different QB's since Favre began his streak.


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