Oct 27, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) is stopped by the Green Bay Packers defense during the fourth quarter at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. The Packers defeated the Vikings 44-31. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Every game in the NFL is important, but the later in the season it gets the higher the stakes are. With the standings so close in the NFC North each team (well, minus Minnesota) is in must win mode. Let’s take a look at how Shack and The Hack have week 12 shaking up.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit Lions
Shack: The Lions are coming off of their worst performance of the season and look to make things right with a home game against the Bucs in a game they should win. The Bucs may be coming off of a two game win streak, but the Lions look to finally be 100 percent healthy which is pretty incredible at this point in the season. I think the Lions will come out of the gates with a ton of energy, firing on all cylinders on offense with the return of Nate Burleson. We know the Lions defense has been great against the run this season. If they continue that streak this week and limit Tampa Bay’s wide receiver Vincent Jackson then they should win this game with relative ease.
Prediction: Lions win 35-20
The Hack: This is the game that if the Lions lose, I’ll be the first in line to say “Same Old Lions”. The Lions should handle the Bucs relatively easily and THEN start thinking about their Turkey Day showdown against the Packers. It’s easy to overlook the Bucs and their two game winning streak, and that’s precisely what the same old Lions would do every time before a big showdown the next week. You could count on it like clockwork. This is where this current team has to distance itself from the previous incarnation of the Lions. I expect the 2013 Detroit Lions to put on a good show and put this game out of reach by the fourth quarter.
Prediction: Lions-42 Bucs 17
Chicago Bears at St. Louis Rams
Shack: The Bears are already banged up so coming off a muddy dog fight in overtime probably didn’t help their cause. I like the Rams in this one. They are playing at home, they have a nasty pass rush and Chicago still has questions along their offensive line although they are much improved.
Prediction: Rams win 26-21
The Hack: The Bears have been hanging around longer than I thought they would, considering the retirement of Brian Urlacher, the injuries to Jay Cutler and some others; but they’re always tough and are going to make it tough on the Bradford-less Rams. Robert Quinn is a revelation, but not enough to beat Da Bears.
Prediction: Bears-24 Rams-21
Shack and The Hack’s Games of The Week
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
Shack: It’s really hard to pick against the former super bowl champs when the play at Lambeau Field, but this just isn’t the same team with Aaron Rodgers on the sideline. The Vikings defense stinks, but the playing field is evened up against a third string quarterback and on offense the Vikings still have Adrian Peterson, even if he is much less than 100 percent. With that said, this could really go either way. I’ll pick the Vikings, because they still have ALL-DAY in the backfield.
Prediction: Vikings win 23-20
The Hack: I’ll say this slowly because it’s so funny: The Packers are in the lower half of the division and facing the cellar dwelling Vikings in a game only televised for moose hunters in two states. The Pack will start Scott [ Whatever his name is} and try to hold down the fort until Aaron Rogers returns, while the Vikings should be trying to lose every game they can to secure that high draft pick. Packers find a way to win in the “Who Cares Bowl”. Packers-27 Vikings-17
Record so far this season:
The Hack: 19-6