Friday Five, Week 12

Week 12 of the NFL Season got off to a hot start with a trio of games on Thanksgiving. That still leaves a robust slate for Sunday as there are no teams on a bye week for Thanksgiving. We’re also in the midst of the playoff push in fantasy, and in the NFL. Below are the five games that caught my eye for this Week 12 Sunday slate.

Sunday Early Games:

Cincinnati Bengals (6-4) at Tennessee Titans (7-3)
The Bengals were in the Super Bowl in 2021. Many, myself included, thought they’d be a serious contender again in 2022. While they’ve got a solid record, it’s been more of a struggle. Injuries are also taking a toll and the Bengals are at the point where, if the playoffs started today, they’d be on the cusp. The Titans, meanwhile, have rolled to another strong start and have all but locked up the AFC South. Down the stretch, it’s all about the playoff push and seeding for both these teams. The Bengals need wins and the Titans want wins over quality AFC opponents. This figures to be a good battle.

Chicago Bears (3-8) at New York Jets (6-4)
This is a battle of two teams that are playing above themselves. The Jets are 6-4 and on the cusp of the playoff race. And yet, there are plenty of questions about second-year quarterback Zach Wilson. The former No. 2 overall pick hasn’t looked great and that could be the difference between the playoffs and sitting home in January for the young Jets. The Bears are almost in the opposite circumstance. By record, they are one of the worst teams in the league. And yet, despite the record and a lack of playmakers on offense, Justin Fields has taken a huge step forward in his second year. He’s become a great asset in fantasy and looks like a potential franchise quarterback. Can the red-hot Fields beat the Jets, or will Robert Saleh’s defense save the day again?

Atlanta Falcons (5-6) at Washington Commanders (6-5)
Who knew this battle in Week 12 would be so crucial to the NFC Playoff race. The Falcons have been better than expected, at or near the top of the AFC South all season. At 5-6, they need a win to stay in the race. The Commanders, meanwhile, are in last place in the NFC East, but that’s a testament to how good the division is and not a commentary on the Commanders. They’re on the outside looking in at the playoffs right now, but they’re ever so close, beginning the week a mere half game out. The Commanders are the only team to take down the Eagles so far this season and look like contenders with Taylor Heinicke, who is now the starter for the balance of the season. Can the Commanders get a win and head into a bye week on a hot streak? Or will the Falcons even up their record for their bye week? This one has plenty of drama.

Sunday Late Games:

New Orleans Saints (4-7) at San Francisco 49ers (6-4)
: The Saints are another team with a late bye. While frisky competitors, they’re teetering on the edge of the playoff race, too. If they slip to 4-8, they’ll likely be out of the running even in the NFC South. The 49ers, meanwhile, have a middling record but a lot of talent. The team is on a roll after acquiring Christian McCaffrey and now sits tied atop the NFC West. The 49ers could be a team to reckon with down the stretch but they need to keep winning to improve their seed.

Sunday Night Football:

Green Bay Packers (4-7) at Philadelphia Eagles (9-1)
This is a matchup of two teams on opposite trajectories. The Packers came into the season with the reigning NFL MVP, having won 13 games each of the past three seasons. This season has been nothing short of a struggle. The Packers sit at 4-7, 4.5 games behind the Vikings in the NFC North. This is their last battle before heading into the bye week and they are desperate for a win if they have any chance of climbing back into the playoff race. The Eagles, meanwhile, have been the league’s best team. But a Week 10 loss to Washington followed by a nail-biting victory in Indianapolis have shown their vulnerability. The Eagles will be looking to get back on track and make a statement on Sunday night.

Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.


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