Five Games to Watch in NFL Week Twelve

With Thanksgiving upon the horizon, NFL football will be in full swing earlier than usual this week. Three games will be played on the American national holiday, while Black Friday will also see a matchup. All of these games will be worth watching as huge divisional implications will be on the line.

Here are five games in week twelve that could shake up the playoff picture more than ever:

  1. Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions recently picked up their best record in 61 years after going 8-2 for the first time since 1962. They currently lead the NFC North, and are just one spot behind the Eagles for a guaranteed divisional playoff game. A win over a fellow division member in Green Bay could catapult them to first in the NFC.

These two sides have been playing one another since 1934, while the Lions play on Thanksgiving every year. They are set to open the holiday slate this year, and could defeat the Packers for the fifth time straight. Green Bay leads the all-time series 105-76, but as of recently has struggled against Detroit.

Not only will the Packers be looking for their first win over Detroit since week two of 2021, they sit on the brink of the playoffs. A win will help them move closer to the Vikings who are one spot ahead of them in the division and conference. Green Bay has yet to win twice in a row this season, but knocking off the Lions on a holiday they have become part of could be huge.

The Lions will not be hurt immensely with a loss, but would like to reign over the rest of the conference. A Green Bay loss could send it to last in the division and hurt its playoff chances. Both teams will be looking for a win in an exciting way to kick off Thanksgiving.

  2. Washington Commanders vs. Dallas Cowboys

Just around the time most families will likely be setting their tables for a big meal comes another big game. The Commanders are certainly still in the playoff hunt, but their inconsistency has cost them big time. If the playoffs are what this team is looking for, it cannot lose another game this season. 

Washington has not won six games in a row since 2012 but it can start the climb in a huge way on Thursday. It has yet to face Dallas this season, and could impact its rivals in a big way. If the Commanders wins, Dallas could drop all the way to sixth in the conference, putting it in Jeopardy.

The Cowboys have yet to win three games in a row this season, and could cement this with a victory over the Commanders. The last time these two sides played on Thanksgiving was in 2020, where Washington was successful. Dallas will want to erase that history and add a positive chapter in the books. 

A win for Washington is crucial, as it will keep it in the playoffs. Dallas could move positions extremely, as a win could put it up to second in the conference, while a loss would be detrimental to its playoff chances. It is always an interesting time when these division rivals meet and some iconic games have come out of their Thanksgiving Day meetings.

  3.  San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks

A festive day of gathering with family and eating heaping amounts of food will conclude with a west coast matchup that is sure to excite. Both of these sides currently hold a playoff spot and are the top two teams in their NFC West division. This is also their first of two matchups throughout the year, as they will meet again in just two weeks.

The 49ers have been victorious in these teams’ last three matchups and will be looking for their third win in a row after a bye week. They have yet to lose since that bye week and will want to do everything they can to keep a high playoff position. A win could see them move up to second in the conference, while a loss could see a similar fate as Dallas.

The Seahawks could also drop to a lower playoff spot if they are unable to find a victory on Thanksgiving. Coming off a game which they led up until the final minutes fans should see a furious team on the field. Knocking off the big dog 49ers for the first time since week thirteen of 2021 would be a momentum gainer for sure.

The playoffs ended for Seattle last year after losing to the 49ers, and the sides have not played each other since. Redemption could come in the form of equaling San Francisco’s record and perhaps taking the division lead from its grasp in the future. The 49ers will need a win if they want to eliminate all chances of losing their division lead. This division rivalry will offer an entertaining game on a day of graciousness.

  4.  Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets

With three games on Thanksgiving, Black Friday will also see some NFL action take place right outside the Big Apple. These AFC North competitors will face off for the first time since the final week of last season. In that game, the Dolphins knocked off the Jets to earn the final playoff spot. 

New York’s playoff chances are slim this year but it could climb a large mountain with the momentum gained from a victory. It has lost three games in a row after earning a winning record in week eight and will want to regain some of the hope it once had. Coach Robert Saleh will also want to prove he is a worthy leader for the team, as a poor record could see him get the chopping block.

As for Miami, it has the chance to take the top spot in the AFC with a win. It also own five victories in its last six meetings with the Jets and will want to continue its series dominance. The rest of its schedule also poses some tough opponents such as the Bills, Cowboys, and conference leading Ravens.

With a victory, Miami fans can take some weight off their shoulders when it comes to securing a playoff spot in general. For the Jets, they will want to spoil those hopes of a fellow division rival and perhaps make a playoff rise of their own. The Dolphins lead this all time series 58-56 and a win would put them one step further in controlling a 57 year old rivalry.

  5. Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals

The AFC North always brings physical matchups, but these rivals will be fighting for the spot to stay out of last place in the division. The Bengals will be without quarterback Joe Burrow for the first time this season, as they have already been struggling. Cincinnati will have momentum on its side, as it has defeated Pittsburgh in four of the last five matchups.

The Bengals will need to find momentum for this season soon though if they want to jump back into the playoff picture, as they have lost two games in a row. What better way to do that than sending a fellow rival to the bottom of your division. They remain just one spot out of the playoffs, and a win could see them knocking the Steelers out in the process.

For Pittsburgh, not only will it want to stay in the playoffs but extend its record as well. Coach Mike Tomlin has led the team for 17 years and has yet to achieve a losing record. This incredible feat could be in jeopardy if Pittsburgh faces a loss for the second week in a row.

A win for the Steelers would keep its playoff race alive and extend its chances of not earning a losing record since 2003. If the Bengals win, they will be able to prove that Burrow’s injury is not a crucial one, while also making him proud. The entire AFC North remains tight and both teams still have a shot at making the playoffs, but will need to play tougher than the other to earn a victory.

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