Will Flacco be an average Joe this week? Charles Rex Arbogast/AP/Press Association Images

The Redzone: So many teams, so few playoff spots

There’s a lot on the line as the NFL enters week 12.

New York Jets @ Baltimore Ravens (-4)

THE NEW YORK Jets have been the most predictable team in the NFL this year, becoming the first franchise to alternate wins and losses through the first ten games. Think about that for a minute. After ten games, the Jets haven’t had a single winning or losing streak. That’s incredible.

Last week, the Jets were horrible against the Buffalo Bills, giving up a chance to cement a wild card spot in the AFC. Now, at 5-5, they have no fewer than seven teams lurking within a game of the sixth playoff spot, one of whom is the Baltimore Ravens.

The defending Super Bowl Champions fell victim to the weather and Joe Flacco’s averageness against the Chicago Bears last week.  A year after Flacco signed his new $120m contract with the Ravens, he ranks 26th with a passer rating of 75.3 and last week completed just 17 passes for 162 yards, a touchdown a two picks including, crucially, one returned for a score.

Verdict: Every time the Jets have been expected to win this year, they’ve lost and vice versa. Jets by 3.

Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants (-1)

If anyone has had a stranger season than the Jets, it’s the New York Football Giants. After starting the season 0-6, Eli Manning and company have bounced back with four straight wins against the likes of Josh Freeman, Matt Barkley, Scott Tolzien and an injured Terrelle Pryor.

The last time these two met, in week one, Dallas picked Manning off no fewer than four times and, yet, only came away with a five point victory as the Giants still managed to pass for over 400 yards despite all the interceptions.

The Cowboy’s defence is a mess at the moment, surrendering 625 yards and 40 first downs against the Saints last time out. Whether or not the bye week will have been enough for them to regroup remains to be seen but the NFC East is still there for the taking by all four teams.

Verdict: These two sides are on vastly different trajectories and you can’t help but feel the Giants are putting together one of those seasons. New York by 3.

Denver Broncos (-1) @ New England Patriots

It tells you just how many people are riding the Broncos bandwagon that this match-up will be the first time in eight years the New England Patriots will start a home game as underdogs. The Pats will come in still fuming over the ridiculous non-call that denied them a chance to beat the Carolina Panthers on Monday Night.

The Patriots have won three straight against the Broncos but while the last encounter was decided by New England’s run game, the Broncos defence is ranked fourth on the ground this season and won’t be as generous as they were last October.

Sadly, it looks like Wes Welker will miss the chance to seek revenge against his old coach and quarterback after suffering concussion in Denver’s win over the previously undefeated Chiefs last weekend.

Verdict: That 28th ranked pass defence of the Broncos will cost them the Super Bowl this year, and this game. Patriots by 5.

And the rest*

New Orleans Saints (-9.5) @ Atlanta Falcons
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cleveland Browns (-1)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Detroit Lions (-10)
Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers (-4.5)
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans (-11.5)
San Diego Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs (-4.5)
Carolina Panthers (-4.5) @ Miami Dolphins
Chicago Bears (evs) @ St Louis Rams (evs)
Indianapolis Colts @ Arizona Cardinals (-1)
Tennessee Titans (evs) @ Oakland Raiders (evs)
San Francisco 49ers (-5) @ Washington

*Teams in bold are picked to beat the spread, not necessarily win the game.

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