It’s time for the holidays, which means three games kick off the action on Thursday. I’d say that’s a good enough reason to say Happy Thanksgiving.
Last week I was 7-7 (including the tie) last week. Here’s to a better showing in week 13.
Thanksgiving Day Games
- Green Bay @ Detroit: It’s a battle for first place in the NFC North to kick-off all the holiday action. A Packers win vaults them back into 1st thanks in part to their tie from a week ago. A Lions win gives them a big edge over the rest of the field. Aaron Rodgers is still not back, and it remains to be seen if Matt Flynn or Scott Tolzien gets the call for the Pack, though Flynn is expected to get the nod. So for that reason, give me Matt Stafford to bounce back from a rough performance in week 12. DETROIT WINS
- Oakland @ Dallas: The Raiders have looked a lot better this year, and the Boys have been up and down. But Dallas is used to playing on Thanksgiving, and if ever there was a time for them to live up to their potential, it’s now in a weakening NFC East. The biggest threat to a Cowboy loss is their inability to stop the run a week ago against New York, with Rashad Jennings having a breakout season this year for Oakland. But even if Jennings can put up a lot of yards on the ground, I still see the Boys pulling out the Turkey day win. DALLAS WINS
- Pittsburgh @ Baltimore: Both teams got of to slow starts, but have been coming on strong of late. The AFC North rivals now battle for 2nd place, and a possible wild card berth. The Steelers are on a 3-game win streak, but I think the Ravens defend their home turf and get the run game going again. BALTIMORE WINS
Take a second and tell me which of these games sounds best with a side of turkey?
and now back to my picks.
1PM Sunday Games
- Tennessee @ Indianapolis: Both teams currently have spots in the playoffs. But a Colts loss would mean just 1 game separation in the AFC South. Indy has been getting off to horrible starts of late but the Titans offense hasn’t been great either. I just think the Colts are the better team, and this will be a good test and game to get back on track heading into the playoffs. It will also all but lock up the division crown. INDY WINS
- Jacksonville @ Cleveland: The Jags have played better in the 2nd half of the season, where as the Browns are struggling after a fast start. And it hasn’t gotten any better for Cleveland, who lost a 3rd different starting quarterback to injury last week. That means Brandon Weedon, or their opening day starter is back under center. And I think that makes the difference. The Jags have been pretty good defensively of late but I think the Browns find a way to get their 5th win of the year. CLEVELAND WINS
- Tampa Bay @ Carolina: Two teams on win streaks do battle in Carolina. The Panthers have rebounded in a big way from a 1-3 start, while the Bucs haven’t lost since picking up their 1st win of the season. The division foes may both be hot, but the Panthers have something to fight for, and playing at home, I see win number 8 in their future. CAROLINA WINS
- Chicago @ Minnesota: The Bears defense hasn’t been good since their 3-0 start. The Vikings get very little offense outside of Adrian Peterson these days. Jay Cutler is expected to remain out for this one, but Josh McGown has done a pretty good job. I think the Bears can get back to their take-a-way selves, and rattle Christian Ponder. CHICAGO WINS
- New England @ Houston: The Texans season has been very disappointing, while the Pats just continue to chug along. I don’t see the Texans losing out the rest of the season, but I also can’t see them winning this week, especially with the good feelings New England is coming off after a huge comeback on Sunday Night over the Broncos. NEW ENGLAND WINS
- Arizona @ Philadelphia: Both teams are flying high, and both are in the hunt for a playoff spot. Nick Foles will in fact remain the starter for the Eagles, and for good reason, as he’s one of the biggest reasons for their 3-game win streak. Philly hasn’t been good at home this year. And I think the Cardinals are defense is for real, showing why this team got off to a 4-0 start a year ago. With a real quarterback this team has been good all year. And I think they take another step towards a possible Wild Card berth. ARIZONA WINS
- Miami @ New York Jets: Neither team has been good lately. Geno Smith is starting to hit the rookie wall, and the run game for the Jets hasn’t been consistent. The same can be said for Miami, who continue to struggle after the loss of offensive linemen Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin. I can’t see this being a clean game, but I think the Jets get back on track, at least for a week. NEW YORK WINS
4/4:25PM Sunday Games
- Atlanta @ Buffalo: The Bills are coming off a bye, the Falcons have the worst record in the NFC. It’s crazy to say that, but a Vikings tie dropped them in the 16th spot. Buffalo isn’t too much better off, sitting at the bottom of the AFC East. The Falcons defense was pretty good against a very good Saints team last week, and the Bills aren’t even in the same league as New Orleans. For no other reason than I have liked Atlanta’s roster all year, despite the losses, I think the Falcons finally snap their 5-game skid. ATLANTA WINS
- St. Louis @ San Francisco: This should be fun. Both NFC West teams boast shutdown defenses and good run games. The 49ers have been up-and-down lately, while the Rams are coming off two very good blowout wins. I think this will be more of a defensive struggle, with the Rams finding a way to come out on top. This team gave the Niners fits a year ago, and I think it continues. ST LOUIS WINS
- Cincinnati @ San Diego: The Chargers are coming off a huge win over the Chiefs, further showing the potential of this team. But they have been very inconsistent basically the time Philip Rivers has been there, so it’s hard to trust them. The Bengals have had it easy all season in the AFC North, and are coming off their bye. San Diego has been shut down by lesser defenses, and only took off last week following Kansas City’s defensive injuries. So give me the road team to pounce on the previously mentioned inconsistent Chargers. CINCY WINS
- Denver @ Kansas City: They enter action tied for 1st, with the Broncos holding the edge thanks to a big win two weeks ago. Whoever wins this time around could end up the number 1 seed in the AFC this year. If you asked me who was winning this game based on how the Broncos played last week, I’d say KC. But while the Chiefs played very well on offense, they lost a lot of key pieces on defense, and if they get into another shootout, I can’t see them out-dueling Denver. After a 9-0 start, it’s hard to say they’ll lose a 3rd in a row, but I can’t see Peyton Manning having a 2nd bad performance in a row. DENVER WINS
Sunday Night Football
- New York Giants @ Washington: Both teams are coming off losses, and are just trying to stay out of last place in the East. New York got a lot of good out of their offense a week ago, with Eli Manning committing no turnovers for just the 2nd time this season, and a huge effort on the ground. The defense wasn’t bad either. As for the Redskins, they were not impressive offensively yet again, and the defense wasn’t anything to write home about. So give me the road team to have one of their better games of the year. NEW YORK WINS
Monday Night Football
- New Orleans @ Seattle: One of the better Monday night match-ups of the season. It’s a huge game in terms of who finishes as the number 1 seed in the NFC, with these two teams entering action with the 2 best records in the conference. The Saints are not the same team on the road as they are at home, and having to go to the place with arguably the best home-field advantage in football isn’t going to help that. I thin it’ll be a close game throughout, but give me the Birds at home. SEATTLE WINS
There you have it. Enjoy your long holiday weekend Scoreboard watchers. May the turkey be as juicy as the story-lines that pop up this week in the NFL.