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An Idiot's Guide to Week 12 in the NFL

Thanks to holiday schedules, the Idiot's Guide didn't include the Thanksgiving Day games. For the record, I would have gone 1-2, so we'll count them anyway, with the Lions giving me my only correct pick. I was 9-5 last week, bumping my season record up to 81-66 entering this week.

This guy is the best runner in Seattle. And it's not Marshawn Lynch.
This guy is the best runner in Seattle. And it's not Marshawn Lynch.
Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Note: All times Eastern.

Ten Random Thoughts

Vikings @ Falcons (Sunday, 1:00 p.m.)

Score: 24-13, Vikings

Raise your hands if you thought at the beginning of the season that the Vikings would be in position to take sole possession of the NFC North in week 12. Put your hands down, all seventeen of you. Now, raise your hand if you thought, after the Falcons opened the season 5-0, that they'd be staring down the barrel of a possible 6-5 record seven weeks later. No takers? I didn't think so.

Rams @ Bengals (Sunday, 1:00 p.m.)

Score: 27-16, Bengals

Some people called last wee's loss by the Bengals a moral victory because it showed Andy Dalton wasn't as bad as he looked the week prior. What I saw, though, was more about the team as a whole: despite putting the Cardinals into a hole to start the game, the Bengals failed to finish them off when given multiple chances. That doesn't speak well for them as they have lost two games to the Steelers in two weeks. They do have a favorable schedule, but they also have three remaining division games -- including one against the Steelers. However, with Case "Continuing While Concussed" Keenum leading the Rams, I'm not feeling a third straight loss for the Bengals this week.

Saints @ Texans (Sunday, 1:00 p.m.)

Score: 23-20, Texans

Three weeks into the 2015 season, looking forward to this game on the calendar was like looking forward to having your wisdom teeth extracted without anesthetic. Over the last five weeks, though, these teams are a combined 7-3, and the game is meaningful for both clubs. The Saints could propel themselves into the back end of the NFC wild-card battle with a victory. Meanwhile, the Texans would push above .500 for the first time since week 17 of the 2014 season. Despite what can only be described as quarterback dysfunction, the team is gutting out wins and is 4-1 in its last five games.

Buccaneers @ Colts (Sunday, 1:00 p.m.)

Score: 19-10, Buccaneers

Jameis Winston has a better quarterback efficiency rating (86.5) than Andrew Luck (74.9). It's a good thing for the Colts that backup Matt Hasselbeck is starting this week. But it bears repeating: Winston is having a considerably better season than Andrew Luck. Jameis. Winston. This guy:

Jameis Winston Fumble

Okay, that's unfair. He's not a bad quarterback, especially for a rookie. But if I have an excuse to post that GIF, I'll use it every time.

Chargers @ Jaguars (Sunday, 1:00 p.m.)

Score: 20-17, Jaguars

One of these teams has the league's number-five offense and number-nine defense. One of these teams has two wins. They're both the San Diego Chargers, and both of those stats combine to make people like me curse reality for screwing with our heads. Jacksonville, meanwhile, sports the number-twenty-three offense and number-thirteen defense, has a points differential of -57, and still controls it's own playoff destiny. Again, I ask: which one of you rubes broke the NFL?

Bills @ Chiefs (Sunday, 1:00 p.m.)

Score: 20-13, Bills

The winner of this game could have the inside track on the number-six seed in the AFC. Both are 5-5 entering the game and the matchup looks to be a solid one, but the game is in Kansas City, so the clear edge goes to the Chiefs. Kansas City sports arguably the second- or third- hardest matchup for a visiting team, behind only the Seahawks and maybe the Patriots. But the Bills are better on the road than they are at home this year, so there's that.

Giants @ Redskins (Sunday, 1:00 p.m.)

Score: 31-21, Giants

The saddest fact of week 12? Nope, it's not that Cowboys backup quarterback Matt Cassel scored more points in less time than team MVP Tony Romo on Thursday. It's that the Giants-Redskins game, which features records of 5-5 and 4-6, respectively, is a fight for first place in the NFC East.

Steelers @ Seahawks (Sunday, 4:25 p.m.)

Score: 24-21, Steelers

The Steelers are without Le'Veon Bell's services, of course, but the famed Legion of Boom defense in Seattle is hardly as formidable anyway. That already plays in the Steelers' favor. Then, of course, there is the Ben Roethlisberger to Antonio Brown combination that looks more unstoppable than a train bearing down on a wall of tissue paper. Pittsburgh also holds the series advantage, 9-8. Not playing in their favor? The Steelers are 1-6 in Seattle, where Sunday's game will be played. But the Steelers also have not lost a game in Mountain or Pacific time this season, and are 3-0 against the NFC West in 2015.

Patriots @ Broncos (Sunday, 8:30 p.m.)

Score: 28-20, Patriots

In the off-season, this looked like a marquee game. Then Peyton Manning actually got on the field, and we saw how far he seems to have fallen off, which made this game look a lot less exciting. Then he got hurt ("hurt"?) and Brock Osweiler played...pretty doggone well. Now this game looks exciting, for the intrigue of seeing how Osweiler can hold up against Tom Brady, if nothing else.

Ravens @ Browns (Monday, 8:30 p.m.)

Score: 17-13, Browns

I can't believe I am about to type this, but there is a very distinct possibility the Ravens win the AFC North Race to the Bottom. With quarterback Joe Flacco and running back Justin Forsett now sidelined for the remainder of the season, these two are going to battle to see who gets the better draft position. Not that it matters -- we all know the Browns are probably going to blow the pick, no matter where they fall in the order. Or, for that matter, how many picks they get in the first round. Just look at 2014 for reference.

All the Rest

Dolphins @ Jets (Sunday, 1:00 p.m.)

Score: 19-16, Jets

Raiders @ Titans (Sunday, 1:00 p.m.)

Score: 38-17, Raiders

Cardinals @ 49ers (Sunday, 4:05 p.m.)

Score: 27-7, Cardinals