Poupart's picks: Week 12

First and foremost, a Happy Thanksgiving to all. In terms of football, this weekend we have to be thankful for a couple of pretty good matchups, starting Thursday with Denver at Dallas and wrapping up Monday night with Pittsburgh at Indianapoolis. Here are the predictions for this week.

Thursday, November 24

Atlanta (6-4) at Detroit (4-6): The Falcons are coming off back-to-back home losses to Green Bay and Tampa Bay and badly need this game to stay in the NFC South race. The Lions can be tough at home on Turkey Day, but they're a little overmatched in this one. Atlanta, 24-20.

Denver (8-2) at Dallas (7-3): This is a really good matchup, with the red-hot Broncos matching up against a Dallas team playing really good defense. This should be a close, but we're getting the feeling Bill Parcells' troops will come up with the big plays in this one. Dallas, 20-16.

Sunday, November 27

St. Louis (4-6) at Houston (1-9): Losing Marc Bulger is a big blow for the Rams, but they'll be able to get by a really bad Houston team with Jamie Martin at quarterback. St. Louis, 27-20.

Carolina (7-3) at Buffalo (4-6): The Bills are a totally different team at home, which makes them dangerous in this game. But we still have to go with Jake Delhomme and Co. to rebound after a poor offensive performance at Chicago. Carolina, 23-14.

San Diego (6-4) at Washington (5-5): The Chargers put themselves in a tough spot with four close losses earlier, but this a highly explosive offense. Tight end Antonio Gates is a question mark, but the Chargers still should have enough to beat the Skins. San Diego, 27-20.

San Francisco (2-8) at Tennessee (2-8): Wow, great matchup. Tennessee is the least bad of these two teams. Tennessee, 24-13.

Chicago (7-3) at Tampa Bay (7-3): The Bears might be due for a good spanking, but their defense is too good to let that happen. Still, they can only ask their defense to win games so many weeks in a row. Tampa Bay, 14-10.

Baltimore (3-7) at Cincinnati (7-3): The Bengals rebound after losing the showdown against Indianapolis. Cincinnati, 31-14.

New England (6-4) at Kansas City (6-4): The Patriots will win the AFC East, but that doesn't mean they're a great team right now. The Chiefs need this one to stay in the playoff race. Kansas City, 27-24.

Cleveland (4-6) at Minnesota (5-5): Regardless of what they did to the Dolphins, the Browns are not a good team. The Vikings, meanwhile, are on a roll with Brad Johnson at quarterback. Minnesota, 26-17.

Miami (3-7) at Oakland (4-6): The Raiders scored a nice win at Washington last Sunday and it's difficult to envision the Dolphins defense stopping Kerry Collins, LaMont Jordan and Randy Moss with no Zach Thomas and no Junior Seau. Oakland, 33-16.

Jacksonville (7-3) at Arizona (3-7): Is Jacksonville the quietest 7-3 team ever, or what? The Jaguars have taken care of bad teams all season, but we get the feeling they're going to have problems in this one. Arizona, 26-24.

N.Y. Giants (7-3) at Seattle (8-2): A big in the NFC playoff picture, we just like Matt Hasselbeck a little more than Eli Manning and Shaun Alexander a little more than Tiki Barber. Plus, it's at Seattle. Seattle, 24-21.

Green Bay (2-8) at Philadelphia (4-6): An absolute must-win for the Eagles, who played a lot better in the second half last week with Mike McMahon at quarterback. Philly smoked Green Bay last year, so revenge will be a factor. This one will be closer than you might think. Green Bay, 17-16.

New Orleans (2-8) at N.Y. Jets (2-8): Some Sunday night matchup, huh? Let's hear it for the flexible schedule. N.Y. Jets, 11-10.

Monday, November 21

Pittsburgh (7-3) at Indianapolis (10-0): The chic pick seems to be the Steelers, with the rationale being that their physical ground game will be too much for the Colts' still-not-totally-established defense. Yeah, that could happen. But the Pittsburgh defense also will have to deal with Peyton and Co., and we're thinking it just won't be that easy. Indy will lose this season, make no mistake. But it won't happen just yet. Indianapolis, 27-17.

Last week's record: 12-4

Season record: 110-50

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