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Welcome to the blog of The Killer Nacho, known to most mortals as Timothy J. Sharpe, a Computer Science graduate of Messiah College and currently a Systems Analyst for Sunoco Logistics. Within this tome of pages, one will find my innermost thoughts about various things concerning things that I enjoy. These subjects include, but are not limited to, roleplaying, gaming, American Football (the NFL), things to do with computers, philosophy, movies that are awesome, TV shows that are awesome, my own writings and creative works, and dangerous Mexican snacks.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

NFL 2012 Week 13 Power Rankings and Predictions

Overall, a good week for me in the NFL. My Dolphins won, all my fantasy teams won, and I took another step forward in these Predictions, beating both Billy and the AFS. Let's see how last week shuffled up the Power Rankings, shall we?

Biggest Winner: San Francisco 49ers, Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins (+3)
Biggest Loser: Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Jets (-4)

1. Houston Texans (10-1, +1): I'm starting to worry about this team, putting up two near-misses in a row, the latest being an overtime win on Thanksgiving in which Detroit was robbed the game by their head coach. Still, I can't think of any other team to put here at #1, every team has looked vulnerable this year, and the Texans probably the least.

2. San Francisco 49ers (8-2-1, +3): Two defensive touchdowns against Drew Brees helped the 49ers prevail over the Saints, 31-21. Colin Kaepernick continues to impress, but one really has to feel bad for Alex Smith, who was unfairly benched. Still, this is the NFL. You have to give props to Jim Harbaugh for putting in a guy he thinks will give his team the best chance to win.

3. New England Patriots (8-3, +2): The Patriots are playing really well down the stretch, as they always do. They have all but clinched the AFC East after a 49-19 Thanksgiving romp of the Jets. Not only is Tom Brady playing well, but their defense scored a couple touchdowns, too. I would not be shocked at all to see the Patriots repeat as AFC champion.

4. New York Giants (7-4, +2): Coming off their bye and two straight losses, the Giants responded against the Packers, showing everyone once again how good the Giants are when doubted. No one thought they'd be able to pull off a 38-10 blowout, however. The Giants are good enough to play with anyone, which means a repeat is entirely possible.

5. Atlanta Falcons (10-1, -1): The Falcons once again found a way to win on Sunday, but they are probably the least dominating 10-1 team I've ever seen - and they have had a relatively easy schedule to boot. Don't get me wrong, I still think the Falcons are a Top 5 team, but part of me is beginning to wonder if they'll be one and done in the playoffs, again.

6. Green Bay Packers (7-4, -3): The wheels fell off the Packers hype train with their embarrassing 38-10 loss on Sunday night against the Giants. There is no doubt in my mind that the Packers will be able to rebound from this defeat, but the Giants showed that the Pack have significant holes on both their offense and defense that the Packers need to address.

7. Chicago Bears (8-3, +0): Jay Cutler coming back really helps this team, as he is one of the most underrated Quarterbacks in football. What also helps is forcing turnover after turnover on defense. Some local channels following the Vikings-Bears game switched over at halftime because the blowout was so brutal.

8. Denver Broncos (8-3, +0): The Broncos showed why you can't afford to sleep on any division game in the NFL, as it looked like the Chiefs were close to an upset on Sunday. I say close because Peyton Manning is obviously still Peyton Manning and helped the Broncos overcome what would've been a humiliating defeat. Still, the near miss keeps the Broncos from moving up on these rankings, at least for this week.

9. Baltimore Ravens (9-2, +0): Speaking of near misses... Then again, I don't think there would be any doubt that the Ravens would find a way to win this game, nor that the Chargers would find a way to lose it. Ray Rice's 28 yard catch on 4th and 28 pretty much put the nail in the coffin of everyone's mind. The Ravens would go on to win the game in overtime, a game they were down 13-3 going into the 4th quarter.

10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5, +1): For the life of me, I couldn't decide which team to put here. I eventually decided to put the Bucs in despite a near loss to the rival Falcons on Sunday. The Buccaneers are playing strong football and are one of the leading contenders of an NFC wildcard birth, in my mind.

11. Seattle Seahawks (6-5, -1): It's hard for a west-coast time to travel to the east-coast for a 1 PM game in the NFL, so I won't count their 24-21 loss to the Dolphins much against them. Further, the Seahawks most likely would've won the game had it not been for Earl Thomas committing a stupid penalty turning an redzone interception into a touchdown for the Dolphins.

12. New Orleans Saints (5-6, +1): Even with the loss last week to the 49ers, the Saints are playing much better since Joe Vitt returned to his head coaching duties. The Saints should continue to put up good football from here on out, and may even be able to compete for an NFC wildcard spot.

13. Indianapolis Colts (7-4, +1): Make any excuses you want, but the Colts are now 7-4 with a rookie Quarterback after going 2-14 the year before. This is a monster turnaround, and the Colts now have a pretty good lead in the AFC wildcard race. Their schedule gets a bit tougher down the stretch, it will be interesting to see if the Colts can hang on.

14. Cincinnati Bengals (6-5, +3): At 6-5, the Bengals are very much in the hunt for an AFC wildcard. With the Steelers' problems at Quarterback, this could open the door for the Bengals to take the wildcard spot the Steelers are currently occupying. The Bengals have played impressive football the last three weeks, the latest victory being a 38-10 blowout over the Raiders.

15. Minnesota Vikings (6-5, +0): The Vikings did the best they could without Percy Harvin against the Bears... I really have to wonder how much they wish they were in the AFC right now. Unfortunately for them, the Vikings are quickly becoming burried in a crowded NFC wildcard picture. Realistically, I would say they have to win out if they want a shot. They face another hard game traveling to Lambeau to play the Packers in Week 13.

 16. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5, -4): Charlie Batch looked quite aged in his performance against the Browns, this team is really missing Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers offense simply looks inept without him. At 6-5, the Steelers still would make the playoffs as a wildcard if the season ended today, but realistically, they have to play much better for the final five games to make it in.

17. Washington Redskins (5-6, +2): In my mind, Robert Griffin III has proved to me he's (for now) the best rookie Quarterback in the NFL. Another flawless game against a legitimate defense, Griffin led the Redskins to a huge halftime lead over the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, a lead they were able to ride out to get a much-needed win. At 5-6, their playoff chances still seem slim at this point but they may have a chance if they can win out.

18. Detroit Lions (4-7, +2): To think the Lions could've beaten the #1 Texans on Thanksgiving if it wasn't for head coach Jim Schwartz giving (no pun intended) the Texans a free touchdown due to throwing the challenge flag on a play that would've already been reviewed. Its a stupid rule, but an even stupider decision by the man responsible for keeping the team calm.

19. San Diego Chargers (4-7, -3): Was there any doubt that the Chargers would find a way to lose that game? Even while leading in the 4th quarter, forcing the Ravens into a 4th and 28 position at the end of the game, Ray Rice catches a two yard pass only to follow up with a twenty-six yard scamper filled with poor tackling and angles taken by Chargers defenders. Norv Turner's done.

20. Dallas Cowboys (5-6, -2): The Cowboys are now collectively sucking, as shown on Thanksgiving. The only bright spot was Dez Bryant's performance (except for his fumble early in the game), he's quickly becoming an elite NFL wide receiver. But with the defense starting to falter due to some key injuries, the Cowboys are done this year. And if Jason Garrett can't gather up some false hope, he may be gone as well.

21. St. Louis Rams (4-6-1, +2): Watching the Rams is completely different this year under Jeff Fisher than it has been any other time in recent memory. This is a team that for the most part is playing very good football. With Danny Amendola likely coming back completely healthy for next week, the Rams could find a way to get some upsets near the end of the year, spoiling some dreams. They get a home game against the 49ers, who they tied with earlier in the year, for Week 13.

22. Buffalo Bills (4-7, +0): Is it just me or have the Bills completely under-utilized C.J. Spiller, arguably their best player? Spiller is arguably the most explosive back in football, averaging 6.7 yards per carry but has a mere and puzzling 123 carries on the season, much of which when Fred Jackson was down to injury. He's also been an effective receiver, catching 32 passes for 332 yards, and five total touchdowns. Get this man the ball, Chan Gailey!

23Miami Dolphins (5-6, +3): It was nice to see the Dolphins return to solid football, and against a good opponent like the Seahawks, to boot. While the Dolphins offense struggled early, they were eventually able to get to the ground and pound, which later opened the air a bit for Ryan Tannehill to make some good throws to lead the Dolphins to a comeback 24-21 win over Seattle. Being 5-6 in the AFC, the Dolphins are in the hunt but I wouldn't hold my breath for them to make a big "splash", at least this year.

24. Tennessee Titans (4-7, +0): The Titans may have lost, but they are still clearly playing better football now than they were earlier in the year. Jake Locker looks to be the real deal for the Titans, as their offense is looking much more consistent and balanced. Chris Johnson and Kenny Britt are starting to look like their former selves, too. Defensively, they're clearly playing better than the defense that was on pace to finish with the most allowed points in a season.

25. New York Jets (4-7, -4): I'm not even sure anymore if Rex Ryan can keep his job going into next season. The Jets have been a circus this year, and a 49-19 Thanksgiving loss to the Patriots only makes that worse. Long-time superfan Fireman Ed, even went as far as to announce his retirement following the loss. Apparently he was getting harassed by other Jets fans for his questionable support of Mark Sanchez. Still, when Fireman Ed gives up on the Jets, you know they're in trouble.

26Carolina Panthers (3-8, +2): At least the Panthers can hang their hats on the fact that they are better than the Eagles... well okay, we know that's not saying much. But Panthers fans still have to feel good about seeing Cam Newton return to his 2011 form, even if it was just for one game. He tossed two touchdowns against the Eagles, running for two more, all the while protecting the ball for the entire game.

27. Cleveland Browns (3-8, +2): Granted, it was without Ben Roethlisberger, but Browns fans have to feel good about severely hurting the Steelers in the wildcard race with their 20-14 win at Pittsburgh last week. The Browns defense has played well all season, forcing turnovers from 3rd-string Charlie Batch on Sunday. The Browns offense didn't play extremely well but found ways to score enough points to win.

28. Arizona Cardinals (4-7, -3): The Cardinals dropped to seven straight losses on Sunday, after starting 4-0. I'd say that the offensive line is the cause, but I say that every week so let's talk about rookie Ryan Lindley, who started in place of John Skelton last week. He was intercepted four times, getting no time to throw on any play. That's all there is to say on that... on a side note, though, he becomes the sixth rookie Quarterback to start a game this year. Is that some sort of record?

29. Philadelphia Eagles (3-8, -2): With the Eagles dropping to their 8th win, the ultimatum is complete, Andy Reid will be gone. I really feel bad for the guy, though. The Eagles have been competitive for pretty much every other year since this guy has been head coach, and this season couldn't have come at a worse time considering the loss of his son. I have no doubt he'll be back coaching if he wants to be.

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9, +1): Chad Henne, with his second straight good game, has exposed just how bad Blaine Gabbert is. I like Henne, being a Dolphins fan, always liked the guy. I think he'll lead the Jaguars to a decent second half of the season. Sadly, he'll probably get the same treatment Matt Moore did last year with the Dolphins... the Jaguars will probably draft a 1st round Quarterback... with the Chiefs probably getting Geno Smith, Matt Barkley seems to be the favorite to land in a Jaguars uniform next year.

31. Oakland Raiders (3-8, -1): The Raiders are really struggling without Darren McFadden, their best playmaker. Carson Palmer continues to show why he can't be considered a franchise Quarterback at this point in his career. The Raiders have a first round pick this year, the first time in several years. Don't be surprised if they spend it on a signal caller.

32. Kansas City Chiefs (1-10, +0): The Chiefs surprisingly came to play against Denver, but predictably lost the game anyway. With the Jaguars winning, though, the Chiefs are a few losses away from clinching Geno Smith in next year's draft. Speaking of current Chiefs Quarterbacks, Brady Quinn didn't look half bad... he didn't turn the ball over. Of course, he didn't score any points, either...

Predictions for Next Week

TKN's last week accuracy: 11-5 (68.75%)
Billy's last week accuracy: 8-8 (50.00%)
AFS's* last week accuracy: 8-8 (50.00%)

TKN's Overall 2012 accuracy: 112-64 (63.63%)
Billy's Overall 2012 accuracy: 100-76 (56.81%)
AFS's* Overall 2012 accuracy: 113-63 (64.20%)
*American Football Simulator averages of 2,000 simulations.

As I said earlier, I made up some major ground in Week 12, going 11-5 while the AFS and Billy struggled in last week's predictions, both going 8-8. This puts me only 1 game behind the AFS. I'm looking to complete the comeback this week!

Drew Brees threw two pick sixes last week.
New Orleans Saints (5-6) @ Atlanta Falcons (10-1)
TheKillerNacho: As with the last matchup, the Saints are going to come in and play the Falcons hard. This time, however, the Falcons get the homefield advantage on a short week. I think that will give the edge to the Falcons to win this game.
New Orleans 27, Atlanta 30

New Orleans 26, Atlanta 34

American  Football Simulator:
New Orleans 25, Atlanta 27

Seattle Seahawks (6-5) @ Chicago Bears (8-3)
TheKillerNacho: This is another tough road game for the Seahawks, a team that often struggles on the road. The Bears defense is great at forcing turnovers, and will give rookie Russell Wilson a hard time. I think he'll struggle like we saw him struggle against the 49ers earlier in the season.
Seattle 17, Chicago 21

Seattle 22, Chicago 24

American  Football Simulator:
Seattle 20, Chicago 24

Houston Texans (10-1) @ Tennessee Titans (4-7)
TheKillerNacho: I wouldn't be surprised to see the Texans struggle for a third time in a row, but this is a matchup the Texans ought to win. Then again, its a division game against a tough to predict Titans team...
Houston 29, Tennessee 21

Houston 21, Tennessee 10

American Football Simulator:
Houston 27, Tennessee 24

Coming off a good game, Tannehill takes on NE for the first time.
New England Patriots (8-3) @ Miami Dolphins (5-6)
TheKillerNacho: Sadly, I don't see the Dolphins being able to compete with the Patriots. The Patriots are simply the better team. The only glimmer of hope is that the Dolphins always seem to play the Patriots close. I just hope for a good game from Ryan Tannehill and to remain competitive... unlike the Jets.
New England 28, Miami 23

New England 28, Miami 25

American Football Simulator:
New England 25, Miami 20

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9) @ Buffalo Bills (4-7)
TheKillerNacho: I expect Chad Henne to play well against his former division rival, the Buffalo Bills but ultimately I think if the Bills start to utilize C.J. Spiller, the banged up Jacksonville defense will be hard-pressed to stop him. I'll go with Buffalo at home.
Jacksonville 24, Buffalo 26

Jacksonville 20, Buffalo 23

American Football Simulator:
Jacksonville 22, Buffalo 26

Indianapolis Colts (7-4) @ Detroit Lions (4-7)
TheKillerNacho: This will be a harder game for Andrew Luck and the Colts than one would think... the 4-7 Lions have played some good football in the last few games and would be 5-6 if it wasn't for Jim Schwartz's screw up on Thanksgiving. At home, I actually like the Lions to upset the Colts.
Indianapolis 24, Detroit 27

Indianapolis 24, Detroit 27

American Football Simulator:
Indianapolis 21, Detroit 25

Carolina Panthers (3-8) @ Kansas City Chiefs (1-10)
TheKillerNacho: Both teams have been awful this year but Cam Newton showed that he can still be a big play-maker last week against the Eagles. I think he'll ride this momentum and put together a second straight good performance against the pitiful Chiefs.
Carolina 28, Kansas City 16

Carolina 20, Kansas City 10

American Football Simulator:
Carolina 24, Kansas City 23

The Vikings hope to get Percy Harvin back for this key matchup.
Minnesota Vikings (6-5) @ Green Bay Packers (7-4)
TheKillerNacho: This is a very important game in the NFC North, and the NFC in general. The Packers need to win this game to keep up with the Bears in the division. Meanwhile, the Vikings can make up significant wildcard ground if they can beat the Packers here. I think the Packers will likely rebound at home but the Vikings could come out and score an upset.
Minnesota 20, Green Bay 27

Minnesota 24, Green Bay 31

American Football Simulator:
Minnesota 21, Green Bay 27

San Francisco 49ers (8-2-1) @ St. Louis Rams (4-6-1)
TheKillerNacho: Last time these two teams faced, it ended in a surprising tie. This time, the 49ers have Colin Kaepernick but the Rams are at home. Like the last time, I'm going to pick the 49ers... but this has "trap game" written all over it.
San Francisco 24, St. Louis 17

San Francisco 35, St. Louis 17

American Football Simulator:
San Francisco 25, St. Louis 21

Arizona Cardinals (4-7) @ New York Jets (4-7)
TheKillerNacho: Both of these teams suck this year, but the Jets are at home facing a team with the worst offensive line at football, nothing at Quarterback, and have lost seven straight games. The Jets should win here but it will be a defensive struggle that will come down to the wire.
Arizona 13, New York J 15

Arizona 21, New York J 14

American Football Simulator:
Arizona 20, New York J 25

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5) @ Denver Broncos (8-3)
TheKillerNacho: While I like the Bucs a lot, one has to go with Peyton Manning at home. The Broncos are overall the better team and have one of the best homefield advantages at Mile High.
Tampa Bay 20, Denver 27

Tampa Bay 35, Denver 41

American Football Simulator:
Tampa Bay 22, Denver 25

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5) @ Baltimore Ravens (9-2)
TheKillerNacho: The Ravens should pretty easily dispatch the Charlie Batch-led Steelers. Nothing else to really say, here.
Pittsburgh 14, Baltimore 20

Pittsburgh 17, Baltimore 21

American Football Simulator:
Pittsburgh 21, Baltimore 24

The Chargers find new ways to lose every week.
Cincinnati Bengals (6-5) @ San Diego Chargers (4-7)
TheKillerNacho: The Bengals are hot, and the Chargers are well, not. The Chargers will find a way to lose this game. I wouldn't be surprised if was another Bengals blowout, either.
Cincinnati 26, San Diego 23

Cincinnati 27, San Diego 16

American Football Simulator:
Cincinnati 22, San Diego 24

Cleveland Browns (3-8) @ Oakland Raiders (3-8)
TheKillerNacho: The Raiders are struggling a lot while the Browns are playing hard football. At 3-8, I don't have a lot of confidence in either of these teams but I do believe Trent Richardson should be able to run all over the Raiders front seven. I'll go Browns.
Cleveland 21, Oakland 20

Cleveland 30, Oakland 20

American Football Simulator:
Cleveland 20, Oakland 22

Philadelphia Eagles (3-8) @ Dallas Cowboys (5-6)
TheKillerNacho: Sigh... do we really need to see the Eagles in a prime-time game again? And against the Cowboys, no less? The Cowboys should get a pretty easy victory here but I'm not sure I'm going to watch Sunday night football this week...
Philadelphia 20, Dallas 30

Philadelphia 20, Dallas 38

American Football Simulator:
Philadelphia 24, Dallas 28

New York Giants (7-4) @ Washington Redskins (5-6)
TheKillerNacho: This should be a good one. Robert Griffin III in prime-time facing the future champs, fighting to hang on to their last playoff hopes. If they win, the Redskins will not only gain ground in the wildcard race but would only be one game behind in the division! As a trap game for the Giants, I'll go Redskins here...
New York G 24, Washington 28

New York G 27, Washington 31

American Football Simulator:
New York G 24, Washington 23

Question of the Week

Two weeks ago, I asked "Which of the three Thanksgiving "F"s do you look forward to the most?" between Food, Family, or Football? Obviously all good answers, but Football won the poll with 50% of the vote. Food came in second with 37% with only 12% voting for Friends and Family... I guess my readers don't care for their family, very much!

As I kept saying, the NFC playoff race is really hot and close this year. This week's question is, "Of all the 6-5 and 5-6 NFC teams, which team is most likely to earn a wildcard playoff birth?" between the Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, or the New Orleans Saints? Mathematically, according to PlayoffStatus.com, Seattle has the best chance... but I really like Tampa Bay. They'll probably lose this week against the Broncos but I think they have a decent chance to win out.

Vote on the right-hand side of my blog!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

NFL 2012 Week 12 Power Rankings and Predictions

Back from my Walt Disney World vacation, I'm back to doing these normal weekly power rankings & predictions. I only posted predictions last week, so lets see how the last two weeks shakes up these power rankings.

Biggest Winner: Tennessee Titans (+6)
Biggest Loser: Miami Dolphins (-10)

1. Houston Texans (9-1, +1): Despite their near-embarrassment against Jacksonville in Week 11, Houston moves to #1 after two wins in Week 11 and 12. With an exception of two games this season, the Houston Texans have looked completely dominant this season. Obviously they'll need to address some of their defensive issues that allowed the lowly Jaguars to put up 37 points, however.

2. San Francisco 49ers (7-2-1, +3): After a hilarious tie in Week 10, the 49ers showed in Week 11 that they can be a serious force. Colin Kaepernick absolutely dominated the Bears defense in his first career start, throwing two touchdown passes. On the other side of the ball, the 49ers dominated the line of scrimmage, limiting Jason Campbell to just over 100 yards passing.

3. Green Bay Packers (7-3, +3): The Pack is back, as they now lead the NFC North again after a poor start to the season. Aaron Rodgers had a good game against Detroit, playing just well enough to win. Meanwhile, the Packers defense is starting to come together. They stopped Detroit easily and even got a defensive touchdown in Week 11.

4. Atlanta Falcons (9-1, -3): In just two weeks, the Falcons fall from #1 to #4, for me. The first reason was the fact they dropped their first game of the year in Week 10 to the Saints. Then in Week 11, the Falcons were lucky to win with Matt Ryan throwing FIVE interceptions. If it weren't for Arizona's offense being equally inept, this would be an 8-2 team right now. At least the Falcons defense is playing very well this year, still.

5. New England Patriots (7-3, +2): After two straight wins, the Patriots have once again secured their spot as #1 team in the AFC East. The Patriots defense is the major difference-maker this year. They flat out confused Colts rookie Quarterback Andrew Luck in Week 11, picking him off three times in their 59-24 blowout. Meanwhile, the Patriots offense looks to be one of the league's best... again.

6. New York Giants (6-4, -2): The one million dollar question is what is wrong with the New York Giants? They have looked awful in recent weeks. Their last game was a blowout loss to Cincinnati in Week 10. The good news for Giants fans is that Tom Coughlin usually has this team playing better at this time of year - I think he'll be able to fix the issues the Giants have been facing. But if he doesn't, the NFC East is wide open for either the Redskins or Cowboys to snipe the division away from them.

7. Chicago Bears (7-3, -4): Bears fans are fearing that what happened last year when Jay Cutler went out is happening again... While its hard to blame Jason Campbell for his poor performance due to lack of time due to a woeful offensive line performance, there's no doubt that they would've stood a better chance at scoring points with Cutler. The Bears hope Cutler is ready to go - and soon - or this season may mirror their 2011 campaign.

8. Denver Broncos (7-3, +1): After finishing the season sweep of the Chargers in Week 11, the Broncos are sitting pretty at the top of a poor AFC West division. Their playoff spot is more secure than virtually any other team in the NFL. Of course, its not just because they play in a poor division... The Broncos are talented enough to make a big championship push with Peyton Manning at the helm.

9. Baltimore Ravens (8-2, +2): The Ravens are doing a great job at overcoming their injuries and finding ways to win. I give a lot of credit to John Harbaugh here. Their campaign this year reminds me of the Giants' campaign last year when they were plagued with injuries. It would be foolish to count the Ravens out here... their defense can still play at an elite level and they have a strong running game with Ray Rice.

10. Seattle Seahawks (6-4, +0): Seattle is a dangerous football team, a team that appears to be capable of playing and upsetting anybody. They beat the Patriots and Packers this year (although admittedly they had some help against the Packers from the replacement refs). One of the biggest things I want to see with this team is if they are capable of playing on the road as well as they do at home... they have an interesting test this week, traveling to Miami for a 1 PM game.

11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-4, +1): The Bucs win over the Panthers in Week 11 was entertaining and close. The Bucs overcame an 8-point deficit late in the fourth quarter, aided by WR Vincent Jackson scoring a touchdown, followed by a two-point conversion. The Bucs would eventually go on to win the game in overtime. The Bucs are a team that could make a strong run for an NFC wildcard.

 12. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4, -4): The Steelers are in trouble. First, Big Ben goes out in Week 10. Then, in Week 11, his backup, Byron Leftwich, was also injured and will be out for several weeks. The only healthy Quarterback on the Steelers roster right now is the old Charlie Batch. Batch has been a fine backup in the NFL for several years, but has shown signs of serious decline since then. We'll see if the Steelers can overcome their poor offensive situation against the Browns in Week 12.

13. New Orleans Saints (5-5, +2): There is arguably no hotter team in the NFL right now than the New Orleans Saints. With Joe Vitt back as the head coach, the Saints have took a complete 180 from their 0-4 start, to be 5-5 going into Week 12. In week 10, they handed the Falcons their first loss of the year, then won big at Oakland in Week 11. The question is, has this surge come too late? The Saints play a very good 49ers team in Week 12.

14. Indianapolis Colts (6-4, +4): Colts fans have to be pleased with how quickly Andrew Luck is developing for them. Of course, there will always be roadblocks. Even after a huge loss to the Patriots, the Colts are 6-4, which is good enough in the AFC to be in serious competition for an AFC wildcard birth. Playoffstatus.com, a website I gave a shout-out to last year, gives the Colts a 57% chance to make the playoffs. Quite impressive considering they're coming off a 2-14 season.

15. Minnesota Vikings (6-4, +2): Despite being 6-4, the Vikings are only third in the NFC North. To make matters worse, they're involved in an extremely close wildcard race. Assuming the Bears or Packers take the 5th seed, the Vikings are one of five teams (the Cowboys, Seahawks, Buccaneers, Vikings, & Saints) trying to compete for the 6th seed. At this point, I don't think the Vikings are good enough to push one of those teams out.

16. San Diego Chargers (4-6, -3): The Chargers completely ruined their historic strong start. Being 3.5 games behind Denver in the AFC West, the Chargers dreams of winning the division are all but gone. Their only glimmer of fortune is the fact that the AFC is extremely week this season. If they can find a spark, they may find themselves competing for a wildcard spot. But it has to start against the Ravens in Week 12.

17. Cincinnati Bengals (5-5, +4): The Bengals are back on the right track after two straight blowouts, first against the former champion Giants, and then against the Chiefs. As I've mentioned, the AFC wildcard race is wide open due to the poor state of the conference. If they can continue to win, I could easily see them taking the Steelers' or Colts' wildcard spot. They get another easy opponent in Week 12 against the Raiders.

18. Dallas Cowboys (5-5, +1): It took overtime against the Browns, but two straight wins has the Cowboys right back in the thick of things in the NFC East. They're one game behind the Giants. Their best chance to get a playoff birth is actually to win the division due to the NFC wildcard race being packed with good teams trying to make it in. If the Giants keep faltering and if the Cowboys can keep their win streak going, they could look to snipe the division away from the Giants.

19. Washington Redskins (4-6, +4): It appears that Shanahan's comments lit a fire under this team, as they absolutely dominated Philadelphia in Week 11, 31-6. Robert Griffin III had a perfect passer rating against what was considered to be a stingy Philadelphia defense. Meanwhile, the Redskins abused backup rookie Quarterback Nick Foles, not allowing him to score any touchdowns. The Redskins are two games behind the Giants in the NFC East but have an opportunity to increase their chances with a game against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving.

20. Detroit Lions (4-6, -6): With two straight losses, Detroit has put themselves in a huge hole that they'll likely not be able to climb out of. Their luck doesn't get any better in Week 12, when they host the Texans on Thanksgiving. Even if they win, a crowded division and conference likely means the Lions are all but done.

21. New York Jets (4-6, +1): A win against the Rams keeps the Jets in the AFC wildcard race. The Jets got back to the ground and pound against the Rams, successfully running the football and controlling the clock, which in turn helped their defense. While the Jets still struggle to do the simplest things at times, they have the potential to play very well and defeat good teams. They get a tough Thanksgiving matchup against New England, however.

22. Buffalo Bills (4-6, +3): The Bills absolutely dominated Miami in all phases of the game in their Thursday night victory. As far as the playoffs go, the Bills are in the same boat as the Jets, having a shot at competing for a wildcard birth. With Mario Williams finally emerging as a playmaker and Shawn Merriman looking like he's finally healthy, the Bills defense has looked much better. They contained Reggie Bush to just 20 yards on 10 carries in Week 11.

23. St. Louis Rams (3-6-1, +1): The Rams baffled many fans and experts forcing a tie against the rival 49ers in Week 10. Of course, they weren't able to build on that "success" against the Jets in Week 11, losing the game 27-13, while Danny Amendola got injured again. The good news is that Amendola's injury didn't look serious this time, as he returned to the game at halftime.

24. Tennessee Titans (4-6, +6): I have no idea where that surge of competence came from during their 37-3 slaughter of the Miami Dolphins in Week 10. Jake Locker looked great coming back from injury and provided a huge spark for the Titans passing attack, allowing Chris Johnson to go off for some big gains. Meanwhile, a Titans defense that was on pace to allow the most points in NFL history during a season completely shut down the Dolphins.

25. Arizona Cardinals (4-6, +2): At least we know the Cardinals defense still wants to win games. They picked off Matt Ryan five times, but due to their historically bad offensive line still lost the game 23-19. Talk about complete offensive ineptitude. The Cardinals now have a 6-game losing streak, after starting the season 4-0. This could be remembered as one of the largest collapses in NFL history.

26Miami Dolphins (4-6, -10): How did the Dolphins decline so fast, so quickly? After what was considered a strong start to the year, the Dolphins lost 37-3 against a team that was on pace to giving up the most points in a season and then lost against the Bills 19-14, while not being able to run the ball against a team on pace to give up the most yards per carry during a season. The Dolphins defense is still playing decent, but the Dolphins offense makes scoring points look so hard.

27. Philadelphia Eagles (3-7, -7): Remember when the Eagles owner said "8-8 isn't good enough" for Andy Reid? Well, the Eagles are just one loss away from that ultimatum... and it appears that the players have given up on Andy Reid, evidenced by a 31-6 pounding against the Redskins. The only reason Reid hasn't been fired yet is due to the respect the organization has for him... but he'll be fired at some point before next year, for sure. At least the Eagles get to face an equally disappointing team in the Panthers on Monday night.

28Carolina Panthers (2-8, -2): The Panthers were so close to upsetting the Buccaneers in Week 11 but ultimately laid down when the game was on the line, allowing the Buccaneers to score a touchdown, a two point conversion, and an overtime touchdown to win the game 27-21. With the exceptions high for Carolina going into 2012, Ron Rivera's seat is getting very hot. He may help cool it down some if he can beat the Eagles on Monday night, however.

29. Cleveland Browns (2-8, +0): The Browns have been playing opponents hard this year, but can never seem to finish out games. That's exactly what happened on Sunday. They had a late game surge, tying the game 20-20 but eventually lost in overtime 23-20 to the Cowboys. Brandon Weeden has looked better as the season progresses but that won't stop the new GM from cleaning house for 2013.

30. Oakland Raiders (3-7, -2): The Raiders are bad, plain and simple. Offensively they are decent but a poor offensive line keeps their best playmaker, Darren McFadden, from making a big impact. Defensively, they are a cupcake team, showcased by giving up 38 points to the Saints in Week 11. Things won't get easier when they face another team with a lot of momentum, the Bengals.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9, +0): Chad Henne surprisingly created a spark for the Jacksonville offense, as he threw 4 touchdown passes against what was previously thought of to be the best defense in football, leading the Jaguars to 37 total points. Justin Blackmon was all of a sudden a huge playmaker, leading the Jaguars to name Henne the starter for Week 12. This move pretty much means the Jaguars will be cutting their losses with the Gabbert experiment.

32. Kansas City Chiefs (1-9, +0): Words cannot describe how bad this team is playing right now. They are beyond awful in every phase of the game. It doesn't matter who starts at Quarterback because the Chiefs will be targeting Geno Smith or Matt Barkley early in next year's draft. For the Chiefs, they just hope that they don't accidentally win a game and let the Jaguars take the coveted #1 selection.

Predictions for Next Week

TKN's last week accuracy: 12-2 (85.71%)
Billy's last week accuracy: 10-4 (71.43%)
AFS's* last week accuracy: 8-6 (57.14%)

TKN's Overall 2012 accuracy: 101-59 (63.13%)
Billy's Overall 2012 accuracy: 92-68 (57.50%)
AFS's* Overall 2012 accuracy: 105-55 (65.63%)
*American Football Simulator averages of 2,000 simulations.

It was nice to finally make some big ground against the AFS in Week 11, as I went for 12-2 while the AFS went only 8-6. This puts me only four games behind the AFS going into Week 12.

The Texans need to address their defensive concerns from W11.
Houston Texans (9-1) @ Detroit Lions (4-6)
TheKillerNacho: The Texans should show that their defensive performance last week was a fluke on Thanksgiving. The Lions aren't playing well right now, and the Texans will be looking for some turnovers from Matthew Stafford.
Houston 30, Detroit 21

Houston 27, Detroit 23

American  Football Simulator:
Houston 27, Detroit 24

Washington Redskins (4-6) @ Dallas Cowboys (5-5)
TheKillerNacho: This should be a close matchup, probably the best of the three Thanksgiving games. Its a tough game to pick but I think the Redskins will ride their momentum from their beatdown of the Eagles to a Thankgiving victory here.
Washington 24, Dallas 23

Washington 33, Dallas 28

American  Football Simulator:
Washington 24, Dallas 25

New England Patriots (7-3) @ New York Jets (4-6)
TheKillerNacho: The Patriots have to be the clear favorite here but the Jets will come in playing hard for a Thanksgiving upset. Unfortunately for them, the Patriots are better in all three phases.
New England 28, New York J 20

New England 44, New York J 30

American Football Simulator:
New England 24, New York J 21

Tennessee Titans (4-6) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9)
TheKillerNacho: We saw both of these teams had an uncharacteristic surge the last time we saw them. Of the two, however, I'd say the Titans have the greater chance at being legitimate. I'll take Jake Locker over Chad Henne.
Tennessee 23, Jacksonville 20

Tennessee 24, Jacksonville 19

American Football Simulator:
Tennessee 24, Jacksonville 23

Buffalo Bills (4-6) @ Indianapolis Colts (6-4)
TheKillerNacho: The Colts play well at home and I think Andrew Luck will have a rebound game against the Bills here. For the Bills to win, they'll need to show up with the defensive competence they had against Miami in Week 11.
Buffalo 23, Indianapolis 27

Buffalo 20, Indianapolis 29

American Football Simulator:
Buffalo 25, Indianapolis 22

The Steelers are down to their 3rd-string QB, Charlie Batch.
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4) @ Cleveland Browns (2-8)
TheKillerNacho: The Steelers are without their two top Quarterbacks, but should be able to squeak out a win against the rival Browns. Still, its a potential trap game for the Steelers as the Browns have played their opponents hard this season.
Pittsburgh 20, Cleveland 19

Pittsburgh 22, Cleveland 12

American Football Simulator:
Pittsburgh 23, Cleveland 18

Oakland Raiders (3-7) @ Cincinnati Bengals (5-5)
TheKillerNacho: The Bengals are the clear favorites here. Their struggles to run the ball this season shouldn't be a factor since the Raiders have struggled stopping the run. In addition, A.J. Greene is having a phenomenal season and should also step up big against a poor Raiders defense. The playoffs are on the line for the Bengals, while the Raiders have nothing really to play for.
Oakland 17, Cincinnati 23

Oakland 14, Cincinnati 23

American Football Simulator:
Oakland 22, Cincinnati 21

Denver Broncos (7-3) @ Kansas City Chiefs (1-9)
TheKillerNacho: Is there any doubt that Peyton Manning will handily defeat the worst team in football?
Denver 30, Kansas City 6

Denver 49, Kansas City 13

American Football Simulator:
Denver 23, Kansas City 20

Seattle Seahawks (6-4) @ Miami Dolphins (4-6)
TheKillerNacho: This is a major test game for both teams. For the Dolphins, can they respond after two highly disappointing losses? For the Seahawks, they want to prove they can be just as good on the road as they are at home. While its hard to pick my Dolphins right now, this is the perfect recipe for an upset... I'll go with the Fins.
Seattle 23, Miami 24

Seattle 17, Miami 7

American Football Simulator:
Seattle 22, Miami 21

Matt Ryan can't afford to throw five picks against TB.
Atlanta Falcons (9-1) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-4)
TheKillerNacho: I'm going to take the upset here. The Falcons offense looked awful against the Cardinals, and the Tampa Bay secondary has proven that they are fairly good. If they can force a couple turnovers from Matt Ryan, the Tampa Bay offense should be able to score enough points to upset the Falcons.
Atlanta 24, Tampa Bay 26

Atlanta 27, Tampa Bay 35

American Football Simulator:
Atlanta 27, Tampa Bay 24

Minnesota Vikings (6-4) @ Chicago Bears (7-3)
TheKillerNacho: If Jay Cutler can't go, Jason Campbell should improve now that he's not facing the 49ers at San Francisco but this will still be a tough game. I think the Bears defense will step up and stop Christian Ponder though, giving the Bears a slight win. If Cutler plays, I think it only leans more for the Bears.
Minnesota 22, Chicago 23

Minnesota 21, Chicago 31

American Football Simulator:
Minnesota 21, Chicago 24

Baltimore Ravens (8-2) @ San Diego Chargers (4-6)
TheKillerNacho: Baltimore has been finding ways to win, and it should continue against a struggling San Diego Chargers team. Although with their backs against the wall, the Chargers may strike and are capable of upsetting.
Baltimore 26, San Diego 23

Baltimore 28, San Diego 24

American Football Simulator:
Baltimore 27, San Diego 26

St. Louis Rams (3-6-1) @ Arizona Cardinals (4-6)
TheKillerNacho: The Rams are playing better football at the moment, but the Cardinals defense should give some serious problems for Sam Bradford and the Rams, especially if Danny Amendola isn't good to go. For that reason I think the Cardinals will snap their 6-game losing streak here at home.
St. Louis 20, Arizona 22

St. Louis 21, Arizona 25

American Football Simulator:
St. Louis 24, Arizona 23

Could this be the start of the Kaepernick era in SF?
San Francisco 49ers (7-2-1) @ New Orleans Saints (5-5)
TheKillerNacho: This game could seriously go either way... The Saints are playing good enough football to compete with anyone right now, especially at home. But the 49ers are the better team and showed they could be even better with Colin Kaepernick at the helm. I think Kaepernick should have another good game against the Saints defense and with the 49ers defense giving some problems to Drew Brees, it should be enough to win it. But I could easily be wrong here.
San Francisco 28, New Orleans 27

San Francisco 31, New Orleans 42

American Football Simulator:
San Francisco 26, New Orleans 24

Green Bay Packers (7-3) @ New York Giants (6-4)

TheKillerNacho: The Giants are coming off their bye, and should come out hungry after their embarrassment against the Bengals. But the Packers equally want to win this game to continue to secure their dominance over the NFC North. I'm going with the Packers. Having said that, the Giants will most likely win because they always win when everyone thinks they're going to lose (and vice-versa).
Green Bay 30, New York G 27

Green Bay 45, New York G 28

American Football Simulator:
Green Bay 25, New York G 23

Carolina Panthers (2-8) @ Philadelphia Eagles (3-7)

TheKillerNacho: What a pointless Monday night matchup. Sadly, this is another hard game to predict... If the Eagles actually show up, they'd be the favorites but I think they've given up on Andy Reid.With Foles looking poor, I think Carolina should take this.
Carolina 27, Philadelphia 23

Carolina 20, Philadelphia 24

American Football Simulator:
Carolina 26, Philadelphia 27

Question of the Week

Two weeks ago, I asked "Which rookie in the NFL will win Rookie of the Year?" between Andrew Luck (IND), Robert Griffin III (WAS), Doug Martin (TB), or Trent Richardson (CLE)? As I suspected, the rookie Quarterbacks ran away with the poll. Andrew Luck was first with 40%, while Robert Griffin came in a close second with 30%. Doug Martin won out of the two Runningbacks with 20%, with only 10% for Trent Richardson.

This week, I'm going to renew my usual Thanksgiving poll... "Which of the three Thanksgiving "F"s do you look forward to the most?" between Food, Family, or Football? While I love Football, I have to go with either Food or Family this Thanksgiving... one, the games don't look that great. And two, I recently got engaged to my lovely fiance, Katelyn Brown... so it should be nice to relax with her this holiday season.

Vote on the right-hand side of my blog!!