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2021 NFL Week 12 Recap

By Hank Blaine

In the NFL, Thanksgiving week always seems to produce unexpected results. NFL Week 12 this year was no exception. Something rare happened on Thanksgiving Thursday. Then on Sunday, three AFC contenders fell back to the pack while in the NFC, one of the preseason favorites to win the conference turned into a mediocre group. Keep reading for the top storylines from a huge NFL Week 12.

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2021 NFL Week 12 Recap

READ MORE: 2021 NFL Week 13 Preview, Odds and Picks

All 3 home teams lose on NFL Thanksgiving Thursday

Detroit has been a Thanksgiving dud for a while. But both Dallas and New Orleans often perform well on Turkey Day. Not this season. All three home teams fell. Not only did they fall, but a deeper look reveals that with the exception of the Saints, they fell to teams they probably should have beaten.

The biggest failing had to have happened in Arlington where the Dallas Cowboys didn’t come close to covering as a -7 favorite in a 33 to 36 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. The Cowboys have now lost 2 straight and 3-of-4.

The Saints should have played better in their 31-6 loss to Buffalo. But without Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram, New Orleans had no way of keeping up with the Bills. Before dumping on Dallas to beat the Saints on Thursday night, make sure Kamara and Ingram will again sit.

Detroit’s loss made sense. Still, the Lions blew the game, again, by allowing Cairo Santos to hit a game winning field goal for Chicago as time expired. Like the Lions, the Bears are having a bad season. So Detroit blew a big chance to notch their first win.

Tennessee, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh both lose

Three AFC contenders have fallen back to the pack. The Titans fell to the Patriots, the Ravens beat the Cleveland Browns, and the Bengals completed the sweep against the Steelers. The Titans and Browns are the two most disappointing teams. Tennessee hung with New England for a half before Mac Brown and the Pats decimated Ryan Tannheill and his teammates in the second.

At the end, the Pats won their sixth straight with a terrific 36-13 victory. Once again, Cleveland could get nothing going on offense in their 16-13 loss to the AFC North rival Ravens.

Cincinnati got their offense going big time in the 41-10 beating they handed the Steelers. The Patriots, Bills, and Ravens, along with Kansas City who had a bye in Week 12, have emerged from the loaded AFC.

Right now, the Steelers, Browns, and Titans aren’t good teams. That’s a problem because only 5 weeks remain in the regular season.

Tampa Bay rallies to beat the Colts

Because Tennessee lost, the Indianapolis Colts still have a shot to win the AFC South even though Indy blew a chance to upset the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Colts had a 10-point lead heading into the second half. Tampa outscored Indianapolis 24-7 in the third and fourth quarters, proving they’re the best team in the NFL.

Green Bay adds another loss to the Rams’ record

It’s tough not to rank Tampa first. If we do that, we can’t send Green Bay lower than second. Kansas City beat the Packers, but Aaron Rodgers didn’t play in that game. Rodgers played on Sunday even though he didn’t practice earlier in the week. All Aaron did was throw for 307 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Packers and Bucs have pulled away from the other NFC contenders. The Rams must work hard to grab a wildcard much less catch the Cardinals in the NFC West.

49ers boost winning streak to 3

One of the reasons the Rams could miss the playoffs is because the 49ers have won 4-of-5. San Francisco is now 6-5 and a game behind the Rams for a wildcard. The 49ers and Rams play in NFL Week 17. The winner could be in line for a wildcard spot. Right now, it’s impossible to back LAR to win that game considering Los Angeles doesn’t do anything well.

The main problem is an offensive line that can’t open running lines and can’t protect Matthew Stafford. Until the Rams fix their line issues, they’ll have trouble beating any team in the league.

Washington moves into a wildcard playoff spot

The other wildcard team in the NFC is the surprising Washington Football Team. It took the WFT’s defense a while to get it together.

Since gelling, the D has played fantastic. D.C. won their third straight on Monday night in an impressive 17-15 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. Washington quarteback Taylor Heinicke has become a solid signal-caller while Antonio Gibson is one of the most effective running backs in the NFL.

The WFT’s playoff hopes rest on the defense. If the D continues to shine, Washington can win out and take the NFC East because they play the Eagles and Cowboys twice, and are at the Raiders, a team they should beat.

If you’re looking for the ultimate underdog Super Bowl play, consider Ron Rivera’s squad. Teams that rush the ball well, play great defense, and have solid quarterback play often find success in the NFL’s postseason.

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