Turkey week in the NFL means it’s time to nestle in next to that fire and turn on some football! The good news is that Week 12 features plenty of playoff implications too.
Before you dive into those turkey leftovers, let’s jump into our five bold predictions.
Blake Bortles and Jacksonville Jaguars lay an egg in the desert
Don’t look now, but Jacksonville is 7-3, well on its way to the playoffs for the first time since 2007. While Bortles has hardly set the world on fire, he’s doing enough to win. His DVOA — which measures a quarterback’s value — is a respectable minus 0.9 — per Football Outsiders. Despite the fact that the Arizona Cardinals are reeling right now — having given up 31 points to Tom Savage and Houston last week — this feels like a sneaky no-show game for the Jags. Oh, and we know Bortles is notoriously awful on the road, having compiled a 6-21 career record.
2. Jared Goff continues to excel versus New Orleans Saints
Goff is a viable MVP candidate in this his second season. Prior to last week’s loss to Minnesota, the 23-year-old quarterback had amassed nine touchdowns and just one pick over the previous four games, all wins. The Saints will make things difficult for him with a steady pass rush, but Goff’s mobility will allow him to extend plays and compile another big day. Remember, he was held out of the end zone for just the second time all season last week (we told you so). That however, will not happen again. Also, remember that through 10 games, Goff is throwing an interception on only 1.3 percent of his passing attempts, per ESPN.com. That’s the fourth-best rate in the NFL. As a rookie, he ranked 29th among 33 quarterbacks with at least 200 attempts.
3. Mark Ingram disappoints against the Los Angeles Rams
The veteran running back has experienced a career revival in 2017, averaging 120.7 yards per scrimmage since New Orleans dealt Adrian Peterson. But the Rams are superb up front and this feels like a better opportunity for Alvin Kamara coming of of the backfield as a pass catcher. Make no mistake: Ingram — well on his way to a second Pro Bowl — is certainly capable of ripping off a big run or two, but don’t expect this to be one of his better days.
4. Jimmy Graham is shut down by the San Francisco 49ers
Graham is finally finding success within the Seahawks offense. In fact, his six touchdowns inside the 10-yard line are best in the league. Don’t forget though, that Graham had just four catches for nine yards through the Seahawks’ first two games. Better yet, he is not especially healthy right now, dealing with ankle issue. And, the 49ers played him very well in Week 2, limiting the tight end to just one catch for one yard. Graham will surely provide more production than that come Sunday, but not too much more.
5. Alshon Jeffery goes for 100 yards and two scores against Chicago Bears
Instead of picking an upset this week (this was an awful prediction) I’m here to tell you that Jeffery — who got off to sluggish start in Philly — will continue his quality play in Week 12. The high profile free agent signee (he inked a one-year $14 million contract) has turned it around for the streaking Eagles, amassing at least 60 yards and a touchdown in three straight games. Meanwhile, the struggling Bears rank 12th in pass defense, but have just four interceptions all year. In other words, MVP frontrunner Carson Wentz — why anyone is surprised at how well he’s played is beyond me — will look to expose the secondary with his towering receiver, especially within the 20s. Expect a huge day from Jeffery in return.
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Follow Jordan Schultz on Twitter @Schultz_Report
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