Previewing NFL Week 12

The weekend started with the Texans bouncing back from the one-sided loss to Baltimore to beat the Colts Thursday night and take over first place in the AFC South. It was the first of four national TV games this weekend.

The late Sunday game featuring the Cowboys at the Patriots will be the only game on Fox in that time slot and will be shown nationally. The only other game in that time slot – the Jaguars at the Titans – will be on CBS.

And then there is the Sunday night game pitting the Packers at the 49ers and the Monday night game featuring the Ravens at the Rams. It will be a pre-holiday treat for the fans, who will get three national games on Thanksgiving.

So that is six national TV games in five days.

Game of the Week

The Packers go to the West Coast face the 49ers in an important game for both teams. The 49ers are only one game ahead of the Seahawks, who play at Philadelphia. The Packers are only a half-game ahead of the Vikings, who have a bye. The Packers, 49ers, Seahawks and Packers all figure to make the playoffs, but two will settle for wild card spots.

Game of the Weak

The 3-6-1 Lions go to Washington to face the 1-9 Redskins, who won’t have much of a home field edge because the Washington fans are voting with their feet on the Dan Snyder regime and staying home. The Lions will be missing Matthew Stafford for the third straight game so Washington rookie Dwayne Haskins has a chance to get a victory when he duels Jeff Driscoll

What to look for this weekend

–The spotlight will be on Tom Brady when the Patriots host the Cowboys. He is not only on the injury report as questionable with an elbow injury (he is likely to play) but he is showing signs of finally aging. Even he said the defense and special teams are carrying the team and appeared depressed after the win over the Eagles during a post-game press conference that didn’t even last two minutes. The Patriots had to rely on a trick play on a touchdown pass by Julian Edelman to beat the Eagles. How will he play against the Cowboys?

–Atlanta, which has won two consecutive games after a 1-7 start, goes for its third in a row against Tampa Bay. Owner Arthur Blank’s decision not to fire Dan Quinn during the bye week now looks like a good move. But Quinn still may not save his job at the end of the year.

–The Eagles lost to the Patriots last week and now take on Seattle at home. A victory and a Cowboy loss to the Patriots would tie the Eagles with the Cowboys at 6-5 for first place in the NFC East. The two teams are not only fighting for the division lead but a playoff spot. The second-place finisher won’t get a wild card spot. The Seattle-Philadelphia game was flexed out of prime time, an indication of how disappointing the Eagles have been.

–How many spectacular plays will Lamar Jackson make against the Rams in prime time? A loss would drop the Rams to 6-5 and would mean they won’t return to the playoffs, much less the Super Bowl.

–Mason Rudolph should thank Myles Garrett for hitting him with his helmet. It obscured the fact he played a terrible game with four picks and raised doubts that he will be the quarterback of the future for the Steelers. He tries to rebound against the winless Bengals.

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