It is a time to be thankful.
Personally, I’m thankful for my family, my friends, my career, and my hobbies. I’m thankful to Gavin for giving me this opportunity and I’m thankful to you readers, whoever you may be, for reading my column every week. It’s a labor of love, a work in progress, and I hope to continue it on far into the future.
I hope that you are able to spend some time with your loved ones, take a well-deserved break, and enjoy Thanksgiving this year. I also hope you don’t mind the truncated introduction – it’s a short week for me. Thanks again for reading, and I hope you are as excited as I am for a weekend of overeating and great football, both on the pro and college levels.
Let’s Get to Our Game Summaries and Picks!
VIKINGS at LIONS
The winner of this game will, for at least a week, stand atop the NFC North. If you made that note before the season, people would have called you crazy, but here we are – no Packers, and the Lions have a legitimate shot at being the best team in that division. I think that Minnesota is doing well, too, and they picked up some confidence against the Cardinals last week. However, Detroit has won 5 of their last 6 games and is at home. This is going to be a great game, and I’m going to pick the Lions.
REDSKINS at COWBOYS – GAME OF THE WEEK
Turkey Day Edition: I am sincerely looking forward to this game. The Redskins have only lost one of their last 8 games, but the Cowboys are on that near-historic 9-game winning streak and look unstoppable. They both have great offenses led by quarterbacks with something to prove. To be honest with you, though, the Cowboys have the better running game and better offensive line. These teams have been through a lot since they met back in week two. I’m going to say here that the Cowboys will win.
STEELERS at COLTS
I was really looking forward to this game until Andrew Luck went into the concussion protocol. With Scott Tolzien at quarterback for the Colts, this game may not be close… but then again, it’s the NFL so you never know. I’ll still pick the Steelers here.
RAMS at SAINTS
Jared Goff vs. Drew Brees. Yeah, I’ll take the Saints, who aren’t too far out of contention in the NFC South.
TITANS at BEARS
The Bears may be the “unluckiest” team in the NFL – lots of talent, lots of injuries. Considering the Jaguars were able to beat the Bears, I don’t think the Titans will have a problem, especially with letting DeMarco Murray run all over them. I pick the Titans here.
CARDINALS at FALCONS
Which bird mascot ya got? The Cardinals aren’t looking at the top of their game right now, but the Falcons are looking pretty good despite losing to the Eagles, and coming off of their bye week. If you ask me here, I think that Matt Ryan and the Falcons will win this one.
GIANTS at BROWNS
Oh man. The poor Browns don’t even have any more winnable games, do they? The Giants should roll all over them. How about the Giants, huh? They are having major issues running the ball but a five-game win streak is impressive. It will be six at around 4:30 on Sunday afternoon.
CHARGERS at TEXANS
You don’t need a laser pointer to go through all the ways the Texans are bad. However, they do seem to hang with teams until the end of the games they play, which is progress. I think the Chargers will win here.
JAGUARS at BILLS
As a fan, the Jaguars depress me. I know that there is going to be change at the end of the season but the fact that we have to get there is a bit of a slog. They look competent through most of the game but are boneheaded at the end, plucking loss from the jaws of winning. They need a change at HC, QB, and RB, among other places. The Bills may make it to 9-7 this year but I doubt they are making the playoffs with the West being so strong. However, I think Rex Ryan will have another year… and Tyrod Taylor too, for that matter. The Bills will win this game.
BENGALS at RAVENS
It’s a semi-compelling matchup of AFC North rivals! Except the AFC West has pretty much guaranteed that the Wild Cards will be locked up by some combination of Denver, KC, and Oakland so the only way this game is kind of interesting is if the Steelers drop a few more games. So the Bengals should win here, because even though the Ravens look kind of competent, they aren’t that good.
49ERS at DOLPHINS
Miami is starting to look good. But hey, remember back in ’99 when the Jaguars sent both Marino and Johnson into retirement with a 62-7 playoff beatdown? Good times. The Dolphins will win here because the 49ers are a west coast dumpster fire.
SEAHAWKS at BUCS
The Seahawks should have no trouble with Tampa Bay. The Bucs are not too far out of first place in the NFC South but the Seahawks are entering their “oh hey, the season is over halfway over, we need to be dominant” phase and looking great. Seahawks for the win.
PATRIOTS at JETS
The Patriots can, should, and will win this. Don’t have much to say other than that.
PANTHERS at RAIDERS
The “West Coast hangover” will give the Panthers trouble, along with the fact that they kind of stink this year. The Raiders are finding ways to win games, instead of finding ways to lose them (like the Jaguars do). Right now I have more confidence in the Raiders than the Panthers, so I will go with them.
CHIEFS at BRONCOS – GAME OF THE WEEK
Part two, The Wrath of Khan: This is going to be an awesome matchup that will be a treat for those of us staying up on Sunday night in denial of the work week ahead after a holiday weekend. The Chiefs have looked great the last few games, and the Broncos are looking dominant as well. Who will win? I’m not quite sure but the winner will be in the thick of the chase for the AFC West winner spot and a possible playoff bye. With the home crowd and the national platform, though, I’m picking the Broncos.
PACKERS at EAGLES
The Packers look lost and have gotten thumped by AFC South teams in the last couple of weeks. Injuries have not been kind to them but whatever it is, they’ll be taking some time off in January. The Eagles still look great in my opinion and they are far ahead of where they should be with a first-year head coach and quarterback. That all said, the Eagles will be at home and I think that will give them an advantage in this game.