Gregg Rosenthal went 6-8 on his predictions for Week 11 of the 2020 NFL season, bringing his total record to 98-61-1. How will he fare in Week 12? His picks are below.
THURSDAY, NOV. 26
Houston Texans 27, Detroit Lions 20
Feel free to call Deshaun Watson one of the NFL’s top five quarterbacks at the Thanksgiving table, especially when he’s coming off one of his best career games against a Patriots defense with similar coverage tendencies to these Lions. The questionable status of two key Lions — Jenga piece Kenny Golladay and explosive runner D’Andre Swift — impacts the score prediction here, but I love the Texans to win either way, improving their record to 4-1 against teams that currently have a losing record.
Washington Football Team 24, Dallas Cowboys 21
Alex Smith vs. Andy Dalton in what is annually the most-watched time slot of the NFL season feels like taking a portal back to the innocent days of 2015. While the Dallas defense has greatly improved over the last month, Smith is playing better than I imagined possible for a plucky Washington outfit and is ready to spread some holiday cheer.
SUNDAY, NOV. 29
Arizona Cardinals 27, New England Patriots 24
After facing Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson this season, Bill Belichick is probably ready to end his tour of the Quarterback Revolution. It’s clear that no amount of scheming is going to make the Patriots’ front seven talented enough to hang with players like Kyler Murray, especially when the opposing QB’s backed by a dynamic running game. Cam Newton is playing well enough to stay close in games, but not well enough to survive a defense ranked 25th in EPA and dead last in DVOA.
Carolina Panthers 28, Minnesota Vikings 27
These teams are evenly matched, with efficient offenses doing their best to cover up holes defensively (especially rushing the passer). The status of Teddy Bridgewater and Christian McCaffrey makes a difference here, but I like that Carolina’s coaching staff puts Teddy Two Gloves in more advantageous situations than Kirk Cousins by throwing more on early downs. In this Thanksgiving week, Teddy winning in Minnesota makes me sentimental.
Indianapolis Colts 30, Tennessee Titans 27
Philip Rivers is playing well, fitting passes into tight windows to a growing group of receivers, while the Colts’ running game has suddenly come alive. These developments are not unrelated. Beating the same team twice in three games is a tall order, but I remain convinced that Indianapolis is quietly the tougher team up front on both sides of the ball than the Big, Bad Titans.
Buffalo Bills 31, Los Angeles Chargers 30
The Chargers, Steelers and Chiefs remain the only three teams to avoid a two-score loss this season. That figures to remain true for the Bolts this week against a Bills outfit still allergic to putting together a complete game on both sides of the ball. The return of Joey Bosa last week and possibly Austin Ekeler this week gives Los Angeles hope in what should be another narrow loss to a quality opponent.
Los Angeles Rams 27, San Francisco 49ers 23
This score comes from my football-addicted 5-year-old son, Walker, who says, “The Rams beat the Bucs, who are better than the 49ers.” It’s hard to argue with that logic, although the possible return of Deebo Samuel and Raheem Mostert to a Niners offense that always gives the Rams problems figures to make this another Shanahan-McVay showdown that winds up closer than expected.
Kansas City Chiefs 30, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 28
I am hesitant to bury the Bucs because their defense is still so good and provides a challenge Patrick Mahomes hasn’t faced all season. I am hesitant to pick the Bucs because their offense asks Tom Brady to do the things he’s least comfortable doing (holding the ball, taking hits, throwing deep) while providing too few of the things that he likes, such as a running back with two working hands. The Chiefs are 18-1 in their last 19 games. I’ve picked against them twice in that span and even that feels disrespectful. Nothing makes me feel dumber than watching Patrick Mahomes break the quarterback position when I foolishly thought it might not happen.
Green Bay Packers 23, Chicago Bears 17
Aaron Rodgers is unlikely to see as many wide-open receivers as usual against this sound, well-coached Bears defense. Aaron Jones’ mini-slump may even continue. But there’s little reason to think the Bears’ skill position players — including the quarterback — will be put in a position to make any of it matter. I’m thankful this is Chicago’s last prime-time game.
MONDAY, NOV. 30
Seattle Seahawks 30, Philadelphia Eagles 19
The Seahawks’ defense has been good enough in three of their last four games, with Carlos Dunlap adding some necessary pass-rush boost. Good enough is all this unit needs to be! In Philadelphia, the ‘Hawks face an offense that ends slumps. The Eagles’ run-first approach plays to Seattle’s strengths, and Carson Wentz — even with shackles on — just keeps making mistakes.