Copestick’s Picks Week 12

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers passes against the Buffalo Bills during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

AP

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers passes against the Buffalo Bills during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers – No one has been hotter than Philip Rivers and his Chargers as of late. Rivers has shaken off his early season struggles, and has his team looking like a serious playoff contender. Although he’s on a short week, Rivers’ hot streak should keep rolling against the Cowboys, who are missing key players and are very inexperienced on the back end.

Dion Lewis, New England Patriots – In a backfield with a lot of mouths to feed, Dion Lewis emerged for the Patriots last week. Lewis had a touchdown, and he saw the majority of snaps among running backs. His ability to catch and run between the tackles will keep him on the field and open up the Patriots’ offense. The Pats’ offense should have no problem beating a mediocre Dolphins team.

Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams – An injury to top wideout Robert Woods has left Sammy Watkins and Cooper Kupp to take over the top role. Kupp and quarterback Jared Goff have had a nice rapport this season, while Watkins, who was acquired days prior to the season, has underwhelmed. The red hot Saints will be without their stud rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore, who left last week’s game with an ankle injury, and after his departure, the Saints defense struggled mightily.

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Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders –  Carr has been a colossal disappointment this season. His matchup against the Broncos isn’t ideal, given his struggles against them throughout his career. Carr will have to throw a lot of passes against a tough Broncos defense, because the last time the two teams played, the Raiders were held to 24 yards rushing on 15 attempts.

Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings – Stefon Diggs is a great player, but this season, he’s been overshadowed by fellow wideout Adam Thielen. The Vikings offense has been putting up points, but the last time they played the Lions, they were held to just seven points, and quarterback Case Keenum was constantly facing pressure. Diggs will likely be shadowed by Pro Bowl defensive back Darius Slay Jr., who has held the likes of Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham to respectable numbers.

Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals – The top ranked defense of the Jacksonville Jaguars versus the horrendous Blaine Gabbert is a lopsided matchup. Fitzgerald will constantly be harassed by Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye, arguably a tandem of top five corners in the NFL. Gabbert will have trouble having time finding Fitzgerald, because former Arizona Cardinal Calais Campbell will be hungry for sacks against his former team.

Play of the WeekDevin Funchess, Carolina Panthers – Following the departure of Kelvin Benjamin, Funchess emphatically showed he can assume the top receiving role for the Panthers. Nearly 100 yards and two touchdowns showed that he can be a legit top receiver in the NFL. The struggling Panthers running game probably won’t get better against a good Jets front seven, but no one in the Jets secondary has the size and stature to match up with the 6’5 Funchess.

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