Poupart's Picks: Week 12

Here are the fearless predictions for Week 12 of the 2006 NFL season, courtesy of Dolphin Digest Associate Editor Alain Poupart.

Thursday, Nov. 23

Miami (4-6) at Detroit (2-8) — The Dolphins get a great opportunity to continue their run against a reeling Lions team coming off a loss at lowly Arizona. Kevin Jones isn't playing, which should make Miami's job even easier. But the Lions could have one big game in store in their showcase game of the year. This one could be tricky. Prediction: Detroit, 24-17.

Tampa Bay (3-7) at Dallas (6-4) — As with the first matchup, this isn't exactly a great Thanksgiving Day matchup. Coming off their big victory over the Colts, the Cowboys should roll in this one. Prediction: Dallas, 27-10.

Denver (7-3) at Kansas City (6-4) — The best game of the day lands on the NFL Network, which means several million cable viewers won't get to see it. It's a shame, too. The teams played a 9-6 game early in the season, but that was Damon Huard's first start at quarterback for the Chiefs. We're thinking the Broncos defense will have a little tougher time in this one, especially with Larry Johnson on a roll. It will be close, though. Prediction: Kansas City, 20-17.

Sunday, Nov. 26

New Orleans (6-4) at Atlanta (5-5) — The Saints have lost two in a row because their defense hasn't stopped anybody, but their offense hasn't slowed down. It will be a tough break, though, if rookie WR Marques Colston can't play. The Falcons, meanwhile, are on the verge of falling out of the playoff race. Atlanta was embarrassed at the Superdome earlier this season and will get revenge here. Prediction: Atlanta, 27-24.

Pittsburgh (4-6) at Baltimore (8-2) — The Steelers have kept their playoff hopes alive the last two weeks with a couple of close wins over New Orleans and Cleveland, but winning at Baltimore will be tough. The key here will be whether Ben Roethlisberger can avoid the costly interception because points should be at a premium. Prediction: Pittsburgh, 13-10.

Jacksonville (6-4) at Buffalo (4-6) — The Bills pulled out a great victory at Houston last Sunday, while the Jaguars were very, very impressive in their Monday night victory over the Giants. Marcus Stroud is back on defense for the Jags, and that makes a huge difference even after the loss of safety Donovin Darius. Prediction: Jacksonville, 19-14.

Cincinnati (5-5) at Cleveland (3-7) — Don't look now, but it looks like the Bengals offense is back on track, with Chad Johnson coming off huge back-to-back games. The Browns always seem to play close games before finding a way to lose. Same thing here. Prediction: Cincinnati, 28-23.

Arizona (2-8) at Minnesota (4-6) — The Vikings have been in a free fall since starting 4-2, and their offense has been the problem. The cure comes to town this weekend. Prediction: Minnesota, 23-16.

Houston (3-7) at N.Y. Jets (5-5) — The Texans have played much better football lately, but they're coming off a devastating last-minute loss to Buffalo. The Jets, meanwhile, were shut out at home by the Bears. Chad Pennington rebounds in this one. Prediction: N.Y. Jets, 24-21.

San Francisco (5-5) at St. Louis (4-6) — Speaking of free falls, the Rams have lost five in a row since starting 4-1 and a big reason is their defense still is giving up a lot of yards but no longer coming up with turnovers. This game features a nice matchup between two really good young running backs, Frank Gore and Steven Jackson. The Rams end their skid. St. Louis, 24-23.

Carolina (6-4) at Washington (3-7) — Other than the Panthers having to play on the road after a Monday night game, there's no reason to like the Redskins in this one. And that alone isn't nearly enough. Panthers keep rolling. Prediction: Carolina, 24-14.

Oakland (2-8) at San Diego (8-2) — The Chargers have to be careful about a letdown after their big Sunday night victory at Denver, particularly because the Raiders actually have been playing good defense lately. But it's still difficult to see an upset here. Prediction, San Diego, 28-14.

Chicago (9-1) at New England (7-3) — The best game of the weekend. The Bears are by far the best team in the NFC, but the NFC isn't nearly as good as the AFC and that will be proven here as Tom Brady leads the Pats to victory. Prediction: New England, 21-16.

N.Y. Giants (6-4) at Tennessee (3-7) — The Giants were rolling at 6-2 before losing to Chicago and Jacksonville the last two weeks, and suddenly there are major concerns about Eli Manning. But the Titans defense isn't nearly good enough to stop both Manning and Tiki Barber, so the Giants get back on track. Prediction: N.Y. Giants, 31-20.

Philadelphia (5-5) at Indianapolis (9-1) — This was a nice matchup for NBC before Donovan McNabb tore his ACL and before the Colts lost at Dallas. Now, it's a rather ho-hum game, where the Colts have way too much offense for the Jeff Garcia-led Eagles. Prediction: Indianapolis, 31-17.

Monday, Nov. 27

Green Bay (4-6) at Seattle (6-4) — Mike Holmgren welcomes to town his former team, but even though Brett Favre is expected to play, this still looks like a mismatch with Matt Hasselbeck expected to return for the Seahawks. Prediction: Seattle, 33-16.

Last week's record: 9-7

Season record: 99-61


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