FOX Sports South walks the plank of potential embarrassment by chronicling seven bold predictions for NFL Week 12 -- an ambitious gallery that could be way off the mark come Monday night. There's no fear of failure here, though. Just hunch-based educated guesses. (Photos: Eric Hartline/Chris Humpheys/Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports)
Break On Through
BOLD PREDICTION #1: Julio Jones will bust the longest touchdown drought of his career (seven games) -- by scoring twice against the Browns ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) Through 10 outings, Jones (67 catches, 912 yards, three TDs) has tallied eight-plus targets 10 times. 2) Scoring foibles aside, Jones remains on track to break his single-season marks for receptions (79), targets (128) and receiving yards (1,198). 3) Of his last 10 games against non-conference foes (AFC), Jones has notched 95 yards receiving and/or one TD seven times. 4) This marks Jones' first on-field meeting with the Browns -- the franchise that, technically speaking, passed on the high-end pick in the 2011 NFL Draft ... to accommodate Atlanta's bold leap from 27th to 6th in Round 1.
'Boom' Comes The Dynamite
BOLD PREDICTION #2: Unheralded Colts tailback Dan Herron (above) will tally his first-ever pro TD Sunday ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) No one cheers for injuries, but with Ahmad Bradshaw (broken leg) sidelined indefinitely, 'Boom' Herron has a golden opportunity to meet the end-zone challenge. 2) Trent Richardson (594 total yards, two TDs), a durable RB1 for Indy, doesn't have the capacity for home-run carries. The explosive Herron could fill that void. 3) Herron, who caught 30 total balls as a sophomore/junior at Ohio State (2009-10), could be a sneaky-good fixture in the passing game. Colts QB Andrew Luck has averaged 43.2 pass attempts through 10 games. 4) The Jaguars have the NFL's 26th-ranked rush defense, allowing 126 ground yards per outing. 5) The Colts currently rank 3rd in overall scoring (31 points per game).
BOLD PREDICTION #3: Redskins QB Robert Griffin III won't finish the game on Sunday ... REASONS TO BE SKEPTICAL: 1) Since his return to the lineup, Griffin has tossed more INTs (three) than TDs (two). 2) Of Griffin's last 17 starts, Washington owns a wretched 4-13 record. 3) The 49ers (the Redskins' Week 12 foe) currently rank 4th in turnover margin (plus-10). 4) In a road victory last week, and with Aldon Smith on the field, San Francisco collected two sacks and five interceptions against the Giants. 5) The indirect, yet public bickering between Griffin and head coach Jay Gruden (above) -- during the week -- was hard to watch. In fact, have you ever seen an NFL coach point out so many specific flaws with his own quarterback ... during a season? This messy situation could get ugly Sunday, in a blowout setting.
BOLD PREDICTION #4: Every favored team will win this week -- for the first time in 2014 ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) Week 12 has a weird vibe to it, as if every home club -- save the Giants (vs. Cowboys), Raiders (vs. Chiefs), Vikings (vs. Packers) -- should swiftly take care of business. That includes Ryan Mallett (right) and the Texans against the Bengals. 2) Atlanta (vs. Cleveland) and New Orleans (vs. Baltimore) may only be field-goal-or-less favorites ... but that's still enough to ensure victory. 3) That home hubris carries over to Jay Cutler (middle) and the Bears ... who'll get a cold-weather crack at former teammate Josh McCown (Bucs). 4) Bolts QB Philip Rivers (left -- sore knee) needs to step up in a must-have game against the upset-minded Rams. (Photos: Kirby Lee/Mike Dinovo/Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)
A Time To Thrill
BOLD PREDICTION #5: Peyton Manning will be the first QB to pass for 300 yards against the Dolphins this season ... BACKSTORY: At first blush, this hardly seems like a bold prediction, given Manning's Hall of Fame credentials and numerous NFL passing records. However, of his 13 career outings vs, Miami, Peyton has crossed the 300-yard passing threshold only twice. Plus, the Broncos have a number of playmakers hurting this week; and Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes (right) has been amazing this season. REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) Of his last seven games, Demaryius Thomas (seven straight 100-yard efforts) has tallied five TDs, six outings of double-digit targets and seven occasions of seven-plus receptions. 2) Peyton holds averages of 319 yards passing/3.4 TDs at home this year. (Photos: Chris Humphreys/Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
BOLD PREDICTION #6: The Eagles will collect two defense/special-teams TDs against the Titans ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) Philly currently ranks 1st in defensive touchdowns (four), 1st in kick-return TDs (three), 2nd in sacks (33) and 3rd in fumble recoveries (14). 2) Tailback Darren Sproles (537 total yards, 4 TDs) also has two punt-return scores for Philly. 3) Titans QB Zach Mettenberger has tossed an interception in all four appearances this year. 4) The youthful Titans actually start a rookie at QB (Mettenberger), tailback (Bishop Sankey) and left tackle (Taylor Lewan). That doesn't bode well against Philly's attack-style, opportunistic defense, led by Trent Cole (above). 5) For the season, Tennessee has a takeaway ratio of minus-2.
Lighting Up The Scoreboard
BOLD PREDICTION #7: Lions-Patriots will be the weekend's highest-scoring game ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) The Patriots, who rank 2nd in scoring (32.3 PPG), are absurdly averaging 40.5 points in their last six games -- all victories. 2) Quarterback Tom Brady (right) has averaged 313 yards passing and 3.6 TDs since Week 6. 3) Pats tailback Jonas Gray ran roughshod over the Colts last week, rolling for 199 yards and four rushing TDs. 4) Of his last 11 November games, Detroit wideout Calvin Johnson has collected 100 yards and/or one TD 10 times. 5) The Lions' Matthew Stafford (left) recently became the youngest QB to eclipse 20,000 yards passing. 6) Preliminary weather reports have Foxboro, Mass. at 47 degrees come kickoff. (Photos: Bruce Kluchohn/Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports)