[Preview] NFL Week 12 (Thursday): NFC division leaders at the Thanksgiving party

Three games and three division leaders in the NFC (Chicago, Washington and New Orleans) out on this somewhat special Thanksgiving day.

A somewhat special Thursday this week since the United States celebrate Thanksgiving. And as is the tradition beyondAtlantic : for Thanksgiving, it’s football. As for a “Mini-Sunday”, we will be able to enjoy a match from 6 p.m., then one at 10 p.m. before ending with a meeting in the middle of the night.

For the 2018 edition, the NFL honored the NFC with 6 teams from this conference. Each of the matches will also allow the leaders of the divisions of this conference to evolve. They will each face one of their division rivals. Only the leader of the NFC West (The Rams) is not present. Three high-stakes games therefore worth a look.

Kick-off Thursday at 6.30 p.m.
Detroit Lions (4-6) – Chicago Bears (7-3)

Lions facing bears. As tradition dictates, Detroit receives a match on this Thursday of Thanksgiving. This will be the first of three, the one from the beginning of the evening in France. And it is neither more nor less than the leader of the NFC North who makes the short trip in the Michigan : Chicago. Thanks to the great victory over the Vikings during the Sunday Night Football, the Bears have indeed dug the hole in the division. They are now 3 games ahead of Detroit and Green Bay, as well as two on Minnesota. A superb performance which allows them to be the third team in NFC (behind the Rams and the Saints) et especially to catch a glimpse of the playoffs. There are still a few victories for the men of Matt Large to make sure we see the postseason, but it seems to be off to a good start.

This Thursday’s match is important since it would at least allow us to permanently eliminate Detroit for whom the hopes of making the playoffs are already slim. Yet the Lions continue to fight. Their victory last week over the Panthers sent a message: they are not going to let go of the end of the season. Chicago is warned and will have the complicated task. Especially that Mitch Tubes will not be able to play this game. For the third time in his career Chase Daniels will start a match NFL. We suspect that Chicago should rely heavily on his ground game with Pull Cohen and Jordan Howard that should have a lot of work. Especially that Bears already have the 10th ground attack in the country (122,9 yards/match).

On the other side of the balloon, Matthew Stafford will have to do without Kerryon Johnson and Marvin Lewis. Above all, he will have to face a « front seven » on fire right now. Of Khalil Mack To Akiem Hicks Passing by Leonard Floyd and Roquan Smith, the Bears made live a nightmare to Kirk Cousins last week. We know that protecting the quarterback is not necessarily a strength among Lions. Ça looks bad for them. In this domain, Matt Patricia hopes that his players will deliver the same performance as against Panthers last Sunday with only one sack allowed. Finally, it is important to note that these two franchises have already met only two weeks ago. It was in week 10 and Chicago had come to the end of Detroit in just 3 quarters. They had scored 34 points in 45 minutes, for a final score clearly to their advantage (34-22).

The keys to the match: Will Detroit’s offensive line manage to contain the Bears’ defensive monsters?

The prognosis: Chicago takes a fifth consecutive victory and consolidates its place at the top of the NFC North.

Kick-off Thursday at 10:30 p.m.
Dallas Cowboys (5-5) – Washington Redskins (6-4)

Another match and another tradition: a match at Dallas during this feast day. For this second meeting on Thursday, the situation is rather similar. The Cowboys, just like Lions, welcome the leader of their division, in this case the NFC East, who will move without his starting quarterback. Indeed, we always have in mind the terrible wound ofAlex Smith last week against Texans. The quarterback is obviously « out » for the rest of the season. Washington suddenly finds himself in a delicate position. While they had managed to settle at the top of this division, the Redskins will have to defend their position with a replacement quarterback at their head: Colt McCoy. Last week the pitcher was not ridiculous (6/12, 54 yards, 1 TD) including a touchdown from his first pass. But he will have to be better if he wants to win his team.

Especially now Dallas is the most dangerous team for the players of Jay Gruden. The Cowboys have returned to a balanced balance sheet and are becoming pressing behind the Redskins since they are only one game away. They still believe in the playoffs and have the perfect opportunity to come back to the top of the division. Jason Garrett and his men had also lost the first confrontation between these two teams this year. Indeed, Redskins and Cowboys have already met in week 7. Washington He had then won by a short head.

The players of the federal capital had especially made reign their law on the ground. On the one hand, Adrian Peterson had passed very close to 100 yards (99 yards) while, on the other side, the defense had contained Ezekiel Elliott at just 33 yards, his worst game of the season. If they want to win, the Redskins will have to repeat this feat, they who cash less than 100 yards per game on the ground this season (95,7 yards/match, 6e de la NFL).

The keys to the match: Ground play will be paramount on both sides of the pitch in this match.

The prognosis: Too complicated to win without its starting quarterback against a team in full confidence, victory for Dallas.

Kick-off Thursday night to Friday at 2:20 a.m.
New Orleans Saints (9-1) – Atlanta Falcons (4-6)

This time, the leader of the division receives this match. The Saints indeed welcome in Louisiana the Falcons for this match which will be in « prime time » to the E.united states. For a week now, we’ve only been talking about this match between the Rams and the Chiefs, selling the exceptional qualities of these two franchises. But let’s not forget that the best team in the NFL, it is certainly New Orleans. The Saints are on 9 consecutive victories. They haven’t lost since the season opener on September 9. In this series of victories, we note in particular the victory in week 3 against the Falcons exactly. In an extremely spectacular match, the Saints had won 43-37, but the Falcons had caused them problems. This match ended in overtime.

Chances are we’ll see a lot of points again on Thursday night. On the one hand, there is probably the best attack of the NFL conducted by Drew Brees, Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara and others. It is in any case the most prolific in terms of points (37.8 per game). On the other, there is a quarterback on fire. Matt Ryan delivers one of the best seasons of his career with already 3,306 yards (3rd in the NFL), 22 TDs (8e) and only 4 INTs. In any case, if the Falcons want to hope for something in Louisiana, the MVP 2016 will have to release a great game. We have now known for a few weeks that it is almost impossible to stop the attack on Sean Payton, then the opposing offensive squad must be able to keep pace. We had seen him at ” first leg “, that ofAtlanta is capable of it.

Be careful, all the same, Falcons will face a defense a little different from the one that had moved in Georgia. First, because there is an additional element. In the meantime, Eli Apple has since arrived New York and he’s been very good since that trade. It is one of the reasons why this defense has increased its level of play. For example, the Saints allowed opposing quarterbacks an average rating of 112.2 during the first 7 weeks. A figure now down to 84.9 since week 8. Matt Ryan is warned. But for its part also certain things have changed. The launcher finally manages to connect with his favorite receiver, July jones, to register touchdowns. The number 11, very good since the start of the season, could not catch a ball in the end-zone before finally registering three touchdowns in three weeks. One per game. The duel between Eli Apple and July jones will also be exciting to watch.

The keys to the match: The Falcons attack must keep pace with Drew Brees and his family.

The prognosis: The Saints are almost unplayable at the moment. New Orleans victory.

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