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Week 12 NFL: Late Afternoon Games!

We have some key showdowns in the late afternoon games in week 12 that will be capped off with a huge one between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The QB battle with Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady is the marquee matchup this week, but there are also other intriguing story lines...

Late Afternoon Games

Denver Broncos (+850) vs. New Orleans Saints (-1700)... Spread: Saints (-17)

The Broncos may have a bright future with their young core, but they are currently sitting at a 4-6 this season. After going on a 2 game skid, last week they upset the surging Miami Dolphins with a 20-13 victory. The running game for the Broncos finally showed up and it resulted in a big win. RB's Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay totalled for 166 yards and 2 TD's. But, until the Broncos get healthier on defense, it'll be difficult to trust them on a week-to-week basis. Also, all of the Broncos QB's are deemed as high-risk close contacts and are ineligible to play in week 11. With this news coming on Saturday, the replacement QB will have little time to practice with the 1st team and the unfortunate season will continue for the Broncos.

Is Taysom Hill the future of the Saints? Hill, the QB/RB/WR/TE, had his first start in week 11 with the injury to Drew Brees and he started out slow, but managed to salvage his performance with his feet. He rushed for 49 yards and 2 TD's while throwing for 233 yards and 0 TD's. I can see Hill being successful against teams like the Falcons with a poor defense and struggling offense, but it will be a different story if Hill has to play from behind in a game. However, he will have another favourable matchup this week against the Broncos who have an injury riddled defense. Also, the Saints defense has been dominant as of late and are coming off a 24-9 win where they held the Falcons to single digits. With the Broncos QB situation up in the air, the Saints should easily roll through the Broncos in Sunday led by their defense.

Prediction: Saints -17 (-105)

Los Angelas Rams (-240) vs. San Fransisco 49ers (+200)... Spread: Rams (-5)

Despite the crazy amount of injuries on both sides of the ball for the 49ers, they are still 4-6 on the season. However, they are currently on a 3 game skid and are coming off of a 27-13 loss to the New Orleans Saints. The 49ers activated RB's Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson, and CB Richard Sherman off the IR and they are listed as questionable for this game. If these 3 are able to suit up it will be a boost to both sides of the ball as the 49ers are getting healthier. But, if they have any chance in this game, the play of QB Nick Mullens will be the x factor as he's coming off a poor week 11 performance where he threw for 247 yards with 1 TD and 2 INT's. The 49ers offensive line will have the daunting task of blocking DE Aaron Donald this week and they will need to contain him to give Mullens time in the pocket.

The Rams are looking like a legit contender in the NFC and have rattled off 2 straight wins over the Seattle Seahawks and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In week 11, the Rams defeated the Bucs 27-24 in a Sunday night showdown where QB Jared Goff had a busy night throwing for 376 yards with 3 TD's and 2 INT's. The Rams offense relies on their WR's as the duo of Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp came up huge in week 11. Against the Bucs, Woods and Kupp combined for 275 yards and 1 TD. The -5 spread is a tad large for the Rams in this divisional matchup where both teams are familiar with each other. I believe the Rams will win this game at home, but the 49ers will be scrappy and fight until the very end. Let's take the 49ers and the points at +5.

Prediction: 49ers +5 (-110)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+165) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (-190)... Spread: Chiefs (-3.5)

What's up with Tom Brady this season? His transition to the Bucs has been a rocky one as he's been very inconsistent. In week 11, the Bucs lost to the Los Angelas Rams 27-24 in a game where Brady only had 216 yards passing with 2 TD's and 2 dreadful INT's. WR Antonio Brown was the Bucs leading receiver in week 11 with 57 yards receiving on 8 receptions. He's getting more and more involved in the Bucs offense each week and adds to an already stacked WR cores with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. With the inconsistency of the Bucs offense, their defense will have to come up big for them once again in this game to slow down the Chiefs loaded offense. If this game turns into a shootout, I don't like Brady's chances of out performing Mahomes.

On the other side of the field, the 9-1 Chiefs are coming off a tough divisional win over the Las Vegas Raiders 35-31. QB Patrick Mahomes has been dominant once again this season, but he wasn't the main focal point of the offense in week 11. Mahomes still put up 348 yards passing with 2 TD's, but the Chiefs RB's Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Le'Veon Bell combined for 94 yards and 2 TD's on the ground. This is scary for opposing defenses who have to gameplan for all the weapons on the Chiefs offense both in the passing and running game.

The Chiefs achilles heel is their defense who can't seem to keep offenses out of the endzone. I believe this matchup comes down to the Bucs defense and whether or not they can contain the Chiefs offense. Also, I expect Brady to bounce back after last week's lackluster performance. I don't trust the Chiefs defense at all and I think the Bucs could pull off the mini upset at home, so let's hammer the Bucs at +3.5.

Prediction: Bucs +3.5 (-105)