NFL Week 12: Best Games to Watch

Oct 13, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) and inside linebacker Todd Davis (51) look across the line during the first quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s a look at the top five games for fans to look forward to heading into Sunday for NFL Week 12.

From a key showdown between AFC West rivals to two of the league’s most high-powered offenses on paper, there’s plenty to discuss heading into Sunday’s action in NFL Week 12.

Thanks to the surprise emergence of the Oakland Raiders, the Sunday night showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos becomes even more meaningful as the last thing either team wants to do is continue falling behind in the division. Both teams may be in good position for the playoffs at the moment with a 7-3 record, but anything could happen over the final six games, which is why this game between the Chiefs and Broncos is very important.

As for the Raiders, it will be interesting to see how they handle the pressure of being the team to beat in the AFC when face off against the defending NFC champions in the Carolina Panthers. Even if this season hasn’t gone according to plan for the Panthers, this team is still capable of making a late push for a playoff spot, no matter what team is standing in their way.

Starting off with the Green Bay Packers traveling to the City of Brotherly Love to take on the Philadelphia Eagles, here’s a look at the top games for NFL Week 12.

Nov 20, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) throws the ball during pre game warm ups prior to the Packers

5. Packers vs. Eagles

In the first month of the regular season, this matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles seemed to have the potential of turning into a showdown in the NFC playoff battle. Instead, this game features two teams dealing with plenty of struggles that are both fighting for their postseason lives.

For a team that is usually one of the top to beat in the league, this has been a stranger season for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers as they enter Week 12 losing five of their last six games, including four in a row. Not only has Rodgers struggled to stay consistent on offense, but Green Bay is allowing their opponents to average 38.3 points per game during their four game losing streak.

When looking at how these two teams compare on paper, it’s easy to assume the Packers should have their way against the Eagles on Monday Night Football, but that may not be the case. As bad as Philadelphia has looked at times throughout the 2016 season, it should be noted this team has dominated their opponents at home with an impressive 4-0 record.

If the Eagles defense can manage to contain offenses such as the Pittsburgh Steelers and Atlanta Falcons, why can’t they do the same against the Packers?

Nov 20, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith (89) runs after a catch in the fourth quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

4. Bengals vs. Ravens

As hard as it is to believe, the Cincinnati Bengals have won their last five meetings with the Baltimore Ravens, but that streak will be on the line when these two AFC North rivalries square off on Sunday. While the Ravens have made a strong case for being the team to beat in the division, this season has been nothing short of a disaster for the Bengals as the argument can be made Marvin Lewis is fighting for his job more than ever.

Luckily for Baltimore, they will have one less problem to worry about on Sunday as A.J. Green will be watching from the sidelines after suffering a serious hamstring injury last weekend against the Buffalo Bills. When looking at how much the offense has already struggled this season, it will be interesting to see how the Bengals adjust without Green in the passing game as they will face one of the league’s top defenses in the Ravens.

If the last few weeks is any indication of what to expect, Cincinnati could be in trouble as Baltimore fans will certainly provide a hostile environment. Not to mention the Ravens should be extra motivated to win since the Pittsburgh Steelers already won their Week 12 game against the Indianapolis Colts on Thanksgiving Day.

Nov 21, 2016; Mexico City, MEX; Oakland Raiders coach Jack Del Rio reacts during a NFL International Series game against the Houston Texans at Estadio Azteca. The Raiders defeated the Texans 27-20. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

3. Panthers vs. Raiders

If the regular season ended right now, the Oakland Raiders would hold on to the No. 1 seed in the AFC, which nobody expected to see happen at the beginning of the season. The potential was always there for the Raiders when looking at the level of talent on offense, but being on top of the AFC West with an 8-2 record heading into Week 12 seemed unimaginable.

Derek Carr has been one of the main reasons behind the team’s impressive record as the third-year quarterback has made a strong case to be in the MVP conversation. Not only does Oakland have an advantage of playing at home this weekend, but they face a Carolina Panthers defense that is nowhere close to the dominant level from a year ago.

Even if the Panthers have won three of their last four games, Sunday’s game against the red-hot Raiders will be their toughest challenge yet and it certainly doesn’t help they have to travel across the country. Oakland realizes they control their own fate when it comes to staying on top of the division. Expect them to come out firing on offense when they host the defending NFC Champions in Week 12.

Oct 16, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Atlanta Falcons tight end Levine Toilolo (80) celebrates his touchdown reception against the Seattle Seahawks with wide receiver Julio Jones (11) and quarterback Matt Ryan (2) during the third quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

2. Cardinals vs. Falcons

What happens when two of the leagues loaded with offensive talent square off against one another in Week 12? Despite the disappointing season of the Arizona Cardinals, one can only imagine the amount of points that could be scored when they face the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

After falling just short of reaching the Super Bowl last season, the Cardinals were considered one of the early favorites to represent the NFC in Houston once February rolls around. But that’s obviously going to be more difficult with a 4-5-1 record heading into Sunday. Not to mention the Seattle Seahawks continue to make a strong case for being one of the top teams to beat in the NFC as they currently have a comfortable three-game lead in the division.

Meanwhile, the Falcons had an extra week to think about their tough loss on the road to the Philadelphia Eagles back in Week 10 as they should be well rested for the Cardinals. With only a one-game lead in the NFC South, Atlanta realizes the importance of avoiding another second-half collapse like last year, meaning they will do whatever it takes to make sure they get back on the winning track against Arizona.

On another note, it should be fun to watch two of the league’s greatest wide receivers in Julio Jones and Larry Fitzgerald playing on the same football field.

Nov 20, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) scores a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

1. Chiefs vs. Broncos

Originally, this was expected to be another epic showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos in a battle for the AFC West lead. While both teams are still in good shape when it comes to fighting for a playoff spot in the AFC, neither team expected to be trailing the Oakland Raiders by one game at this point in the season.

All of a sudden, this game becomes even more important between these AFC West rivals as the last thing the Chiefs or Broncos want to do is put them in position to possibly trail the Raiders by two games in the division. From a football perspective, fans could not have asked for a better way to end a Sunday filled with football as Kansas City and Denver will square off in the primetime game.

Despite their 7-3 record, it’s no secret the Chiefs haven’t looked like a serious contender in the AFC when taking a closer look at some of the games they barely pulled off wins in. As for the Broncos, the defense has been solid, but Trevor Siemian needs to figure out a way to elevate his game as it’s tough to feel sorry for the quarterback’s struggles when seeing the type of weapons he has to work with in the passing game.

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