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Week 12 Cheat Sheet: NFL picks and predictions

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Peter Schrager

Peter Schrager is the Senior NFL Writer for FOXSports.com and the national sports correspondent for FOX News Channel's "FOX Report Weekend." He's the co-author of Victor Cruz's New York Times' best-selling memoir "Out of the Blue" and lives in New York. Feel free to e-mail him at peterschrager@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter.

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Week 11 of the NFL season gave us 12 games decided by eight points or less, major upsets in Kansas City and Oakland and some more of that Vince Young/Chris Johnson magic out of the Titans. There were big defensive stands by the Colts and Cowboys, even bigger fantasy days out of T.O. and Wes Welker, and actually a watchable football game played in the state of Michigan. What's in store in Week 12? Let's dig right into the Cheat Sheet and find out: Last week's record: 12-4 Overall record: 109-52 (67 percent)

Thanksgiving

Green Bay at Detroit: Ahh, Thanksgiving. There are three things you can always count on. The food will be delicious, the family will be festive and the Lions will be down two touchdowns by halftime. Aaron Rodgers is 3-0 all-time against Detroit, completing 74 of 106 passes (69.8 percent) for 994 yards, 8 TDs, 1 INT and a 120.6 rating. The mustachioed gunslinger aims for his fourth meeting in a row against the Lions with 300-plus yards and a 110-plus rating. He'll get that and more. The Pick: Packers 34, Lions 7 Oakland at Dallas: Want some proof that America's still a great place to live? The Cowboys have scored two touchdowns in their past eight quarters and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett is making $3 million a year, receiver Roy Williams is raking in roughly $9 million a year and quarterback Tony Romo hauls in about $11 million per season. The Raiders had their monthly upset victory last week. The Bruce Gradkowski Show runs into some trouble in Big D. The Dallas offense, though hardly lights out, shows up for Turkey Day. The pick: Cowboys 27, Raiders 13 New York Giants at Denver: "Hello? Hello? Is anyone in there? Hello, this is Peter Schrager, reporting live from the 2009 Broncos media bandwagon. A month ago, this very train was packed to the brim with media members. You couldn't buy a seat, couldn't get a spot in the overhead baggage space. Now? It's completely empty. I feel like Geraldo in Al Capone's safe. Lonely, barren, and forgotten — this train has left the station." How was that for a news report? The Broncos have won their past three against the Giants in Denver, and Kyle Orton is 18-3 at home as a starter. None of that will matter Thursday. Big Blue gets the win and stays alive in the hunt for the NFC East crown. The Pick: Giants 23, Broncos 17

Sunday's 1 p.m. ET games

Tampa Bay at Atlanta: Coming off two heartbreaking road losses, Matt Ryan returns home to Atlanta, where he's 11-1 as a starter. Matty Ice has never lost to an NFC South opponent in the Georgia Dome, and he won't on Sunday. I'm convinced, the Bucs are not winning anytime soon until Tampa brings back the Creamsicle unis. The Pick: Falcons 27, Buccaneers 17 Miami at Buffalo: A starting quarterback out for the year, a starting running back out for the year and an unsung crew of no-name receivers? No problem. The Dolphins keep on rollin', winning their past three games. The Bills played inspired football in Perry Fewell's first game in Jacksonville, but should come up short on Sunday against the red-hot Dolphins. The Pick: Dolphins 23, Bills 15 Cleveland at Cincinnati: There was a time not so long ago when this game was an evenly matched battle between two horrendous teams. Not anymore. The Browns? They're still terrible. But the Bengals are a legitimate NFL contender. Last week wasn't "same old Bengals," it was just a bump on the road. Cincinnati rights the ship with a convincing win on Sunday. Eric Mangini doesn't smile once, increasing his season total of those to 0. The Pick: Bengals 28, Browns 13 Colts at Texans: Peyton Manning won the MVP award last season with what was considered his best campaign yet. His encore performance? Manning currently leads the AFC in yards, touchdown passes and passer rating. His Colts are a conference-best 10-0. Houston native Joseph Addai has scored a touchdown in his past six games against the Texans. He'll pick up a few more in Indy's 20th consecutive regular-season win on Sunday. The Pick: Colts 34, Texans 20 Carolina at New York Jets: After a Week 2 win over the Patriots, a passionate caller dialed into Mike Francesca's show on WFAN-AM, in New York and said he'd rather have Mark Sanchez than Tom Brady. He wasn't kidding. No smiles, no laughs, no "Just screwin' with ya." What a difference a few months make. The Pick: Panthers 21, Jets 14 Washington at Philadelphia: Jason Campbell is 2-0 all-time as a starter in Philadelphia and tossed for 256 yards last week in Dallas. This is a different Eagles team from years past, though. And it's certainly a different Redskins team. Look for big numbers out of the Eagles' four kids — DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Brent Celek, and LeSean McCoy. The Pick: Eagles 30, Redskins 17 Seattle at St. Louis: Matt Hasselbeck has won his past eight starts against the Rams and threw for three touchdowns the last time the teams met. Justin Forsett had a rough day on the ground last week, but caught 8 balls for 80 yards out of the backfield. However, the Rams have taken the Saints and Cardinals down to the wire in their past two games in the Edward Jones Dome, and with Kyle Boller at the helm — yes, that Kyle Boller — they'll get one on Sunday. The Pick: St. Louis 17, Seattle 10

Sunday's 4 p.m. ET games

Kansas City at San Diego: The Chris Chambers Bowl! OK, that's pretty much all I've got on this one. No one's beating this Chargers team anytime soon. Red hot behind Philip Rivers' golden arm and the suddenly rejuvenated LaDainian Tomlinson, Norv Turner's boys are playing lights-out football. Vincent Jackson needs 212 receiving yards to become the first Chargers wide-out since Tony Martin in '94 and '95 to have consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. Who knows? Maybe he gets all of them on Sunday. The Pick: San Diego 34, Chiefs 20 Jacksonville at San Francisco: Strangely, this game will mark the first time the Jaguars have ever visited the City by the Bay. The Super-Hyphens get the job done, traveling thousands of miles and following their fearless hyphenated leaders Mike Sims-Walker and Maurice Jones-Drew to victory. Mike Singletary was a better NFL linebacker than Jack Del Rio. The latter gets the better of the former, though, on Sunday. The Pick: Jaguars 23, 49ers 17 Chicago at Minnesota: A reader e-mailed me this week to notify me I'd taken the Bears to win in nine of their 10 games this season. What can I say? I was sticking behind my preseason Super Bowl pick. The way the Bears have played the past few weeks, I probably stuck behind them a bit too long. Jay Cutler, I still love ya, brother. But the dream died last Sunday night on Soldier Field. Maybe next year, pal. The Pick: Vikings 34, Bears 17 Arizona at Tennessee: If I'm going to eat a little crow over my Bears Super Bowl prediction, let me at least pat myself on the back over these Titans. Not only have I taken Tennessee to win in each of its past four games, but I hinted at a little post-bye surge and a wild-card run three weeks ago. So, kudos to me. In what might end up being a battle between 2005 Rose Bowl foes Vince Young and Matt Leinart, gimme the red-hot Titans. Love ya, Blue. The Pick: Titans 36, Cardinals 24

Sunday night

Pittsburgh at Baltimore: Including the postseason, the Steelers have beaten the Ravens three straight times. In his past four starts against Baltimore, Ben Roethlisberger is 4-0 with 8 touchdowns and just 1 interception. The guy saves his best for the purple and black. But the Baltimore crowd should be nuts on Sunday night, and though they've had some bad breaks and trouble in the kicking game, I think the Ravens find a way under the lights. This one's for all the Baltimore fans who have spent Sundays in sports bars across America gritting their teeth in frustration. Flacco and the Ravens keep their season alive and find a way at home. They win it on — of all things — Billy Cundiff's game-winning field goal. The Pick: Ravens 24, Steelers 23

Monday night

New England at New Orleans: It's tough picking against the Patriots on Monday night. The Pats have won their past six MNF games and are winners of their past 17 straight regular-season games against the NFC. The latter is the longest streak for any team against the opposing conference dating to the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. But this Saints team is something else, and on that turf, they're not losing this season — regardless of the opponent. Expect a shootout. And when the final whistle blows, it'll be Drew Brees jogging off the field a victor, improving his career record against New England to 3-0. The Pick: New Orleans 36, New England 31

Reader E-mail of the Week

Peter, Big fan of your stuff. Thank you for being so kind to my Lions last week and picking us to win. I won't hold it against you that you predicted the score to be 2-0. You also predicted a big day from Jason Snelling. I started him on my fantasy team and won the week. So, for that, you're the man. I also thought you'd appreciate this: My buddies and I have our 10-year high school reunion on Friday night. My friend Jake is single and, instead of showing up solo to the event, is taking the hot waitress from our local sports bar and telling everyone she's his girlfriend. She's fine with it, as long as he pays for drinks. I'm pretty sure the drinks are free. Pathetic move on his part or a genius plan? — Scott F., Toledo, Ohio Scott, When you say "my friend Jake," do you really mean "Scott F. from Toledo, Ohio"? Either way, I would have been completely down with this move five years ago. You, I mean Jake, could have shown up, shaken some hands, had a few drinks and escaped unscathed from the whole experience. No harm done. Who knows, maybe the waitress enjoys your (Jake's) witty banter and fantasy football knowledge and something truly beautiful blossoms out of the evening. But now, with the advent of Facebook, the world of Twitter and just about everyone knowing everything about everyone from his high school graduating class — regardless of whether he should or not — you, I mean Jake, probably won't get away with such a scheme. They'll be on to you — I mean Jake — the second you — I mean "he" — walks through the door. The better move? Take her to dinner and a movie instead. You — I mean Jake — shouldn't be going to 10-year reunions if you're — I mean he's — worried about what others would think of you — I mean him. And that's regardless of whether the drinks are free. And oh, start Snelling again. He's good for 80 and a touchdown on Sunday. Have fun at the reunion, Scott! Tell the waitress I say hello.
Tagged: Falcons, Bills, Bears, Bengals, Browns, Cowboys, Broncos, Lions, Packers, Titans, Colts, Chiefs, Raiders, Rams, Dolphins, Vikings, Patriots, Saints, Giants, Jets, Eagles, 49ers, Seahawks, Buccaneers, Redskins, Panthers, Jaguars, Ravens, Cardinals, Steelers, Chargers, Texans, Peyton Manning, Chris Chambers, Tom Brady, LaDainian Tomlinson, Drew Brees, Matt Hasselbeck, Roy Williams, Billy Cundiff, Kyle Boller, Tony Romo, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Wes Welker, Aaron Rodgers, Jason Campbell, Vincent Jackson, Kyle Orton, Vince Young, Matt Leinart, Jay Cutler, Joseph Addai, Maurice Jones-Drew, Bruce Gradkowski, Jason Snelling, Brent Celek, Mike Sims-Walker, DeSean Jackson, Matt Ryan, Justin Forsett, Mark Sanchez, Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy

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