Previewing NFL Week 12

There are no byes this holiday weekend so all 32 teams will be playing starting with the Thanksgiving Day tripleheader.

There will be five games on national TV this weekend with four on broadcast TV and the Monday night game on ESPN as usual.

But the feature game will be the Fox doubleheader game Sunday with Kansas City hosting the disappointing Rams. It pits last year’s champions against the team favored to win this year.

The Chiefs are 8-2 and are one game ahead of four 7-3 teams so the Chiefs can’t afford to coast if they want the top seed even though they have a three game lead in their division.

The Rams are 3-7 and probably out of the playoff picture but would love to upset the Chiefs. This will be the doubleheader game on Fox shown to much of the country. The networks want to showcase Patrick Mahomes as much as they can.

On Thanksgiving Day, there will be the usual three games – the first two in Detroit and Dallas – while Minnesota hosts New England in the third one in prime time.

None of the games will be on Prime with the Detroit game on CBS, the Dallas game on Fox and the Minnesota game on NBC. The NFL wants the largest possible audience for the holiday so Prime gets the short straw. 

Three of the four AFC teams at 7-3 are likely to win. Miami figures to beat Houston, the Bills are expected to beat the Lions and the Ravens are the choice over Indianapolis.

But 7-3 Tennessee has a tough game with the 6-4 Bengals. Tennessee has a three game lead in its division while the 6-4 Bengals, a game behind the Ravens, need a victory. The Titans-Bengals will be the feature early game on CBS.

There are two 6-4 AFC teams — New England and the Jets – besides the Bengals. The Patriots will be underdogs against the Vikings while the Jets play the Bears. The Patriots and the Bengals are currently the sixth and seventh seeds in the AFC playoff picture while the Jets are on the bubble with the 5-5 Chargers, who figure to beat Arizona. The Jets no longer look like a playoff team.

In the NFC, the Eagles have the top seed at 9-1 and figure to beat Green Bay in the Sunday night game. Minnesota at 8-2 figures to stay on their heels by beating New England on Thanksgiving Day. And the winner of the Dallas-Giants game with both at 7-3 will stay in race for top seed.

The NFC South and West are wide open. Tampa Bay at 5-5 plays at Cleveland while 5-6 Atlanta is at Washington.

In the West, San Francisco and Seattle are tied at 6-4. San Francisco hosts New Orleans and Seattle hosts the Raiders.

The short version is the Chiefs have the inside track on the top seed in the AFC and Philadelphia and Dallas have the best shots in the NFC although Minnesota has an outside shot.

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