Week 12 is gone and so are the playoff hopes for a few teams. Josh Allen showed Jalen Ramsey whose boss, Baker Mayfield led a Hue-g win in Cincinnati, and the Broncos knocked off Big Ben and the Steelers. This week we have more divisional games and a possible AFC Championship match-up. It’s time for another segment of “On the Record” with Ian and Cameron! Our Game Changer Sports Network football experts Ian and Cameron battle against the top sports broadcasters in an NFL pick-ems competition. Let’s see how the NFL “experts” from around the league did last week:
Dave Richard CBS: 12-3; 119-55-2
Mike Clay ESPN: 12-3; 117-57-2
Elliot Harrison NFL: 10-5; 119-55-2
Nathan Jahnke PFF: 12-3; 119-55-2
Last week Cameron went 10-5 making his yearly record to 110-64-2. Ian went 11-4 last week bringing his yearly record to 117-57-2. Just like that Ian has clawed his way back into contention for the top spot in sports broadcasting. Cameron finds himself in a bit of a hole with just 5 weeks of regular season football left. Crazier things have happened, the comeback starts this week! Since Ian took the W last week, we’ll hear from him first. Let’s see what our GCSN Experts have to say during this week’s segment of “On the Record”:
Thursday Night Football
New Orleans Saints @ Dallas Cowboys
The Saints are marching into Dallas as the NFL’s top team. They lead the league in points per game and are top 5 in both yards per game and turnover ratio. The Cowboys find themselves on a 3-game win streak and their defense has been rolling. In the last 3 games they have intercepted 5 passes and forced 3 fumbles. Thursday night games favor the offense and the Saints have one of the best in the league. It comes down to this, the Saints are the best team in football and I dislike the Cowboys.
My Prediction: The Cowboys want to hold onto their lead in the NFC East, but this Saints team is all around great. Drew Brees takes control of this one and throws for 300+ yards and 3 TD’s.
NO 34 – DAL 27
This game should be a real interesting one; the Saints have been steamrolling everyone they play, but the Cowboys are hot and have found themselves atop of the NFC East. Ezekiel Elliott now leads the league in rushing yards (1074) on 217 attempts, giving him a 4.9 yard per carry average. Leyton VanderEsch, rookie out of Boise State, has proven to be one of the best defensive players from the 2018 draft class. However, for New Orleans, Drew Brees is a very possible MVP candidate and has had arguably his best season to date, thanks in part, to Michael Thomas. The duo has the highest completion percentage in the league.
My Prediction: The Saints are the best team in the NFL and I think they’ll continue to show that. Brees has a 300-yard game, Kamara with two TDs.
NO 37- DAL 20
Sunday Noon Games
Denver Broncos @ Cincinnati Bengals
The Denver Broncos have had a tough schedule this season, but they have stayed in almost every game they’ve played. They’ve beaten the Steelers, Seahawks, and Chargers. They have only lost by one score to the Texans and Chiefs both times they’ve played. With back to back wins against some of the top contenders in the AFC the Broncos are rolling. Phillip Lindsay is averaging 5.8 yards per carry which is tied for 5th in the league. The Bengals have been heading in the opposite direction and are now without star QB Andy Dalton. The Bengals allow the most points and yards per game. This is a game of rise and falls; the Bengals are falling, and the Broncos are rising into playoff contention.
My Prediction: The Broncos continue to roll thanks to another strong performance by their defense and rookie running back Phillip Lindsay. Case Keenum throws 2 TDs and Phillip Lindsay runs one in.
DEN 27 – CIN 20
The Broncos have beaten two of the best teams in the AFC in back-to-back weeks. The Bengals just lost Andy Dalton to a season-ending thumb injury, swaying the decision of this game for many. Bradley Chubb continues to build his resume as a potential DROY. The rookie running back for Denver, Peyton Lindsay, currently is in the top 10 for rushing yards on the year, averaging 5.8 yards per carry, and has six rushing touchdowns. They definitely had a strong draft class.
My Prediction: With Dalton’s injury and with how well Denver is playing, it’s hard to pick against them. Case Keenum throws 3 TDs and 0 interceptions on their way to another win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
DEN 27 – CIN 17
Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers have my number this year. If I pick them to lose, they win, if I pick them to win, they lose. I have only picked 3 Buccaneers games correctly. They have had quite the roller coaster season. Their defense allows the most points scored, and they have the worst turnover ratio in the league at -21. The Panthers are still in the hunt for a wildcard spot despite dropping 3 games in a row. Christian McCaffery has had over 1300 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns this season. Carolina needs a win to get back on track. Can Cam Newton get it done on the road?
My Prediction: My vote is yes, he can. Cam Newton and Christian McCaffery will both have rushing touchdowns. Newton will also have 200+ yards and 2 TDs through the air.
CAR 34 – TB 27
The Panthers have had some real tight and tough losses in the last few weeks. They’ve shown a lot of fight though. Christian McCaffery had 12 receptions last week for over 120 yards- those are WR numbers out of the backfield. He’s unstoppable back there and I hope that they double team him all game when I have to face him in the fantasy football playoffs. For the Bucs, Jameis Winston had a strong showing against the 49ers, throwing for 312 yards and 2 TDs. However, the Panthers’ defense is a bit better than what he faced last week.
My Prediction: Carolina forces another QB swap in this one on their way to a rout of the Bucs.
CAR 34 – TB 10
Chicago Bears @ New York Giants
No Trubisky? No problem. Last week the Bears were able to knock off the Lions despite not having starting QB Mitchell Trubisky. Their defense is one of the best in the league; first in turnovers, first in defensive points scored, and 3rd in points allowed. The Giants have been struggling all season and blew a 16-point lead last week against the Eagles. In my opinion the Bears will play in this years NFC Championship game. The Giants will be missing the playoffs. Again.
My Prediction: The Bears defense will make Eli Manning’s day a long one. Eli will commit 2 turnovers and Saquon Barkley will have one of his worst statistical game to date.
CHI 27 – NYG 17
The Bears have proven week in and week out that their defense should be feared. Matt Stafford is their latest victim, and Eli Manning will be seeing a lot of the ground on Sunday. Their offensive line has allowed 38 sacks this year (1 shy of Eli Manning’s career high) and the Bears have 34 sacks this year. However, despite being sacked more than almost every QB in the league, Eli Manning still is in the top 10 for most passing yards (3093) and completion percentage (69.1%). Saquon Barkley now has 829 rushing yards and 581 receiving yards, giving him the 3rd most yards from scrimmage by a RB this season.
My Prediction: Da Bears roll in the Big Apple and have 7 sacks on their way to a win to continue dominating the NFC.
CHI 26 – NYG 10
Buffalo Bills @ Miami Dolphins
What has happened to the Bills? In recent weeks their offense has come to life. And by that, I mean they have done perfectly adequate. The Bills defense is the only reason they’re able to keep up in these games. Now that Ryan Tannehill is healthy the Dolphins are in good hands. Last week they were able to keep up with the red-hot Colts. Don’t let the Bills last 2 wins fool you. The Jaguars and the Jets are 2 of the worst teams in the weak AFC. I expect the Dolphins to keep their playoff hopes alive this week.
My Prediction: The Dolphins use their run game and experienced defense to win this one. Kenyon Drake scores twice this week and Tannehill hits Kenny Stills on a long TD pass.
MIA 24 – BUF 17
The Dolphins forced two Andrew Luck interceptions within a minute, a fumble and blocked a punt last week… and somehow still lost. How? I have no idea, but as a Colts fan, I had no complaints. The Bills snagged a big win against miserable Jacksonville last week and Josh Allen showed Jalen Ramsey that even “trash” is better than the Jags right now (read the next game analysis for more on this). Buffalo is on a two-game win streak due to the stellar play of their defense. In their last two wins, they’ve forced 2 interceptions in each.
My Prediction: I look for Buffalo to continue averaging two INTs this game as they pick off Ryan Tannehill twice on their way to a 3rd straight win.
BUF 29 – MIA 24
Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars
The Colts are pounding on all cylinders. Andrew Luck has been playing the best football of his career despite throwing 2 interceptions last week against the Dolphins. He has thrown 3 or more touchdowns in 8 straight games. The Jaguars will be starting back-up quarterback Cody Kessler due to the poor play of Blake Bortles. This pick just got that much easier.
My Prediction: I expect Cody Kessler to turn the ball over twice in this game. Andrew Luck has another big day having his 9th game in a row with 3 or more touchdown passes.
IND 31 – JAX 20
Jacksonville is so bad that “trash” Josh Allen handed them a loss last week. They’ve now dropped seven in a row which led to the benching of Blake Bortles and the firing of their OC. Leonard Fournette has been suspended for one game for fighting. None of this is looking good going up against a division rival who currently has a five-game winning streak and the hottest QB in the AFC. In their last 8 games, Andrew Luck has thrown for 2,450 yards and 27 TDs. He also has thrown for at least 3 TDs in each of the last 8 games; the only two other players in NFL history to do so are Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.
My Prediction: The Colts get their 6th straight win and gain ground on the final wild card spot in the AFC behind a 4 TD performance from Luck.
IND 42 – JAX 17
Cleveland Browns @ Houston Texans
At the beginning of the year I went on the record saying: “The Browns this year are guaranteed to win 6 games and could possibly win the division next season.” With 5 games left to play I feel very confident the Browns will get to 6 wins. Last week the Browns offense went OFF! Baker Mayfield threw for a career best 250 yards and 4 touchdowns. The Texans have now won 7 games in a row, and Deshaun Watson has returned to pre-injury form. The Texans defense has been playing well, and JJ Watt has been making it hard on opposing quarterbacks. Houston is currently holding onto a 2-game lead in the division and look to hang onto that this weekend.
My Prediction: The Texans maintain their grasp on the AFC South by beating the Browns at home. Watson throws 2 touchdowns including one to Demaryius Thomas.
HOU 27 – CLE 24
The Browns have played great football since the firing of Hue Jackson. Baker Mayfield is showing why he was the first quarterback drafted and Nick Chubb has continued his dominant play. The Texans are looking like a possible AFC representative in the Super Bowl though; after winning against Tennessee in a dominant fashion on Monday night, they became the first team in NFL history to win 8 straight after dropping their first 3 games. Lamar Miller had the longest touchdown run of the year (which blessed my fantasy team). This should be one of the more fun games to watch this week.
My Prediction: Somehow the Browns end the Texans 8 game streak behind a day where Mayfield wakes up feeling dangerous and completes 80% of his passes.
CLE 30 – HOU 28
Arizona Cardinals @ Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers is running low on motivation. With a bottom tier wide receiver core, Rodgers has still managed to piece together more wins than expected. Rookie running back Aaron Jones has been a beacon of light in this dark time. Jones averages 6 yards per carry and has rushed for 6 touchdowns this season. The Cardinals have been struggling under new head coach Steven Wilks. Rookie quarterback Josh Rosen needs to improve his decision making, he has thrown 11 interceptions and only 10 touchdowns. Rosen will need to play his best game to date if he wants to beat Aaron Rodgers.
My Prediction: The Packers have yet to lose at home this season. Aaron Rodgers throws for 250-yards and 2 touchdowns. Aaron Jones runs for 90+ and a TD.
GB 24 – ARI 17
The Cards got absolutely obliterated by the Chargers last week and took the L from Oakland the week before. They’re really bad. Green Bay isn’t much better, but they have Aaron Rodgers and that’s enough convincing for me.
My Prediction: Rodgers torches the Cards secondary for 350 and 3 TDs on their way to a big win.
GB 35 – ARI 19
Las Angeles Rams @ Detroit Lions
Last week the Lions lost to a back-up quarterback. Matthew Stafford has had an up and down season averaging the 23rd worst QBR with 90.8 and 10 interceptions. The Rams on the other hand are one of the best teams in the league. Matt Patricia has some work to do if he wants to keep up in a very competitive NFC North.
My Prediction: The Rams put the final nail in the coffin of the 2018 Lions season. Gurley explodes out of the bye week with 150 yards from scrimmage and 2 touchdowns.
LAR 27 – DET 20
The Lions almost had ‘em last week against the Bears but came up short. This week, they face a different style of team in the Rams. Jared Goff has played like a possible league MVP this year on the offensive side of the ball, and Aaron Donald has played like a possible league MVP on the defensive side of the ball. Donald has 14.5 sacks this season (most in the league), 3 forced fumbles, 5 games with at least 2 sacks, and has 48 QB pressures. This is bad news for Stafford who has been sacked 32 times this year.
My Prediction: The Rams continue their offensive dominance. Todd Gurley runs for 130 and has two total TDs.
LAR 41 – DET 13
Baltimore Ravens @ Atlanta Falcons
Lamar Jackson is 2-0 as a starter and will get the call again this week. His performance as the starter has been mediocre. Jackson has thrown 3 interceptions and just 1 touchdown as the starter. In his two wins the Ravens have beat Cincinnati and Oakland, not exactly top-tier teams. This week they head to Atlanta to take on the Falcons who have been struggling this season. However, I think the battle between Ryan and Jackson has a clear winner.
My Prediction: Atlanta shows everyone why Flacco is the Ravens starting QB. Matt Ryan throws for 250 years and 3 touchdowns.
ATL 24 – BAL 17
This game should end up being another interesting one. Baltimore currently holds the 6 seed in the AFC playoff picture and has played surprisingly well behind Lamar Jackson. For the Falcons, Matt Ryan now leads the league in passing yards (3,683) has 24 TDs, the second highest completion rate in the NFL (71.4%) and has a passer rating of 110.6. Julio Jones has been on the receiving end of a lot of those yards as he continues to lead the league in receiving yards.
My Prediction: Atlanta gets a much-needed W but it may be too late for them. However, they could be playing spoiler to the Ravens. Julio Jones goes for 150 but no TD.
ATL 27 – BAL 24
Sunday 3:00 Games
New York Jets @ Tennessee Titans
The New York Jets have the 29th ranked offense in the league. Sam Darnold has been disappointing in his rookie campaign averaging 214 yards/game and a QBR of 68.3. The Titans are coming off a tough loss to the Houston Texans but are not out of the playoff hunt yet. I don’t think the Jets offense has what it takes to beat this Titans defense.
My Prediction: The Titans win a relatively low scoring game. Mariota throws for 2 touchdowns and 200 yards.
TEN 20 – NYJ 13
After looking like they could be heading for a playoff run, Tennessee has gotten beat down by two divisional foes. That being said, the Jets are still the Jets. They lost to New England last week and Buffalo the game before. They haven’t forced a turnover in 5 games and last week, Marcus Mariota only failed to complete one pass.
My Prediction: Mariota completes 75% of his passes as the Titans get a much-needed win.
TEN 30 – NYJ 17
Kansas City Chiefs @ Oakland Raiders
Nothing to see here. Except this: the Chiefs have only beat 2 teams above .500 this season making them 2-2 against teams with a winning record. They still get to play the Raiders twice.
My Prediction: Chiefs win handsomely, Kareem Hunt has 2 TDs and the Chiefs defense has 3 turnovers.
KC 30 – OAK 17
Oakland really got the short end of the stick here.
My Prediction: Mahomes for 400 and 5 TDs because Oakland is that bad.
KC 42 – OAK 7
San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks
Nick Mullens has been good, but Russell Wilson has been better. Wilson is on track for his best statistical season yet with a QBR of 112. The Seahawks are the best running team in the league averaging 147 yards per game. Seattle is a tough place to play and Nick Mullens is only playing in his 4th NFL game. Seattle is in the playoff hunt and could take over a wildcard spot with a win this weekend. The 49ers however are coasting into next season.
My Prediction: Seattle needs to keep winning if the want to make the playoffs. Chris Carson runs for 100 yards and a touchdown and Russell Wilson throws 2 touchdowns.
SEA 27 – 20
The Seahawks are legit. Their rushing attack is the best in the league and they have a favorable matchup against the 49ers, who are coming off a brutal loss to the Bucs. The Seahawks have a tough road ahead, so picking up a win against Nick Mullens and the 2-9 49ers is a must. Russell Wilson has only thrown one interception since their bye week (week 7) but has thrown for 12 TDs. These numbers contribute to him having the second highest passer rating in NFL history (this season, he’s at 112.0, 5th best in the league).
My Prediction: The Seahawks run the 49ers out of Seattle with 175 rushing yards.
SEA 30 – SF 13
Minnesota Vikings @ New England Patriots
Oh what could have been… if the Eagles hadn’t violated the Vikings in the NFC Championship last year this could have been the Super Bowl matchup. Too bad. Tom Brady and the Patriots are a tough team to beat at home, in Brady’s career he is 112-19 at home. The Vikings defense hasn’t been nearly as dominate this year, and Tom Brady has a way of making strong secondary’s look silly. The Vikings have struggled at covering tight ends this season allowing 6 to go for over 50 yards. Gronk is one of the best in the league and is licking his chops heading into this game.
My Prediction: Tom Brady hooks up with Gronk for 100+ yards and at least 1 touchdown. Kirk Cousins keeps the game close but blows it on the final drive.
NE 27 – MIN 24
Many would have predicted this to be a possible Super Bowl matchup at the beginning of the season. Minnesota has played solid football lately; their defense has shined again with the emergence of Anthony Harris filling in for Andrew Sendejo as well as their dominant defensive line. However, New England is still the current 2 seed in the AFC for a reason. Despite having a down year statistically, Tom Brady has led his team to an 8-3 record through 12 weeks of the season.
My Prediction: If this game were in MN, I’d go with the Vikings. However, playing in Gillette Stadium gives the edge to New England. Dalvin Cook rushes for 100 but it’s not enough to keep up with the Pats.
NE 27 – MIN 24
Sunday Night Football
Las Angeles Chargers @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Last week Big Ben threw an interception to a defensive lineman on the goal line. At the same time last week Phillip Rivers only threw 1 incomplete pass in a 45-10 dismantling of the Arizona Cardinals. Rivers has thrown half as many interceptions as Ben, but 2 more touchdowns. This is going to be a great game, but it’s a hard one to pick. I have to go with my gut on this one.
My Prediction: My gut says Chargers. Both offenses do big things: Brown and Allen both have 100 yards and a TD.
LAC 31 – PIT 27
This is definitely going to be one of the best games of the week. Two future HOF QBs, both with stud running backs and great receivers to throw to, both with solid defenses, this game will be fun. Last week, Phillip Rivers completed 25 straight passes, an NFL record. Big Ben did not have as successful of a week, throwing an interception within 5 yards of the end zone, costing his team the chance to win that game.
My Prediction: I see Roethlisberger having a comeback week and throwing for 350 yards and 3 TDs this week as they beat the Chargers in a tight one.
PIT 31 – LAC 28 (OT)
Monday Night Football
Washington Redskins @ Philadelphia Eagles
Dallas. Why are you the way you are? The Birds are pretty much done unless they win out, and with games against the Rams and Texans coming up I don’t know if that’s likely. Need to win this game. Please?
My Prediction: The Eagles take advantage of Colt McCoy and the return of many players from the injury report! I expect another big game from Josh Adams and Carson Wentz.
PHI 34 – WAS 20
With a win on Monday night (and assuming the Saints beat the Cowboys), the Eagles are tied for first place in the NFC East. It certainly hasn’t been easy for the Birds, but with Alex Smith being out for the remainder of the year, they got some help. Josh Adams has emerged as the RB1 for Philly and has looked good in their last two contests, scoring a TD in each. For the Redskins, the running game has been a strong point this year. Adrian Peterson has rushed for 758 yards (9th in the league) and has six rushing touchdowns.
My Prediction: The Skins don’t have enough without Alex Smith and the Eagles tie up the Cowboys atop the divison. Wentz throws for 330 and throws TDs to Ertz, Jeffery and Agholor.
PHI 34 – WSH 20
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