I hope that those of you in America had a wonderful Thanksgiving and the rest of the weekend goes well for you as well. If you're a NFL fan, you should definitely tune in this weekend because there are some awesome games on the schedule with the Broncos/Chiefs and Saints/Seahawks games standing out the most.
Before we get to this week's games, here are some thoughts on the Thursday afternoon games.
Detroit 40 - Green Bay 10: I predicted 31-23 Lions, so I was obviously off a bit although they covered the 6.5 point spread so I'm happy for that. The Packers offense looked terrible all game. They couldn't run the ball with Eddie Lacy and Matt Flynn had one of the worst QB performances of the year. Even with the Lions turning it over four times the Packers were unable to do anything. When you put up 561 yards against only 126 for your opponent it's going to be a blowout more often than not.
Dallas 31 - Oakland 24: I didn't see much of this game, but I was impressed that Dallas came back from a 21-7 lead. If you're a Cowboys fan I'm sure you're happy to see them in first place with a 7-5 record, but they've only beat one team with a winning record: the 6-5 Eagles. I know it's not their fault that other teams on their schedule are bad. I just don't think they can get that far in the playoffs due to the inconsistencies they show on the defensive side of the ball.
Baltimore 22 - Pittsburgh 20: I had it 20-17 Steelers, so I was pretty close in terms of how many points they put up. When these teams play often times it's going to be 3 points or less (earlier matchup this year was 19-16 Pit). The Ravens jumped out to the early lead, which has been a problem for the Steelers all year. They start slow. The comeback was impressive, but their failure to get that two point conversion is going to cost them. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin nearly tripping Jacoby Jones was a crazy moment. What was he doing? He has to know better in that situation.
Last week straight up: 8-5-1. Season: 110-65-1 (.629)
All game times are in the Eastern time zone.
Tennessee (5-6) at Indianapolis (7-4) 1:00 pm
These teams played two weeks ago with the Colts winning 30-27. If the Titans win this game they're just one back of the Colts in first. A loss likely ends their chances at a division title. I like the Colts because I think they're the better team with more consistent QB play and they should come out hungry after getting their asses kicked in Arizona last week. Colts 27-20
Jacksonville (2-9) at Cleveland (4-7) 1:00 pm
They're two bad teams that suck at running the ball and have erratic play at QB. At least the Browns can move the ball with their passing game and the defense is pretty good. They should win this one at home. Browns 23-13
Tampa Bay (3-8) at Carolina (8-3) 1:00 pm
The Bucs have won three in a row after that brutal 0-8 start thanks to rookie QB Mike Glennon bringing some consistency to the QB position for them. This is a tough test, though. That Panthers defense is one of the best in the league and the offense is damn good too. I think they're the better team in every way. I'm happy for Cam Newton and Panthers fans. They deserve a team with a bright future like this one. Panthers 27-10
Chicago (6-5) at Minnesota (2-8-1) 1:00 pm
I'm going with the Vikings with the upset at home. When divisional teams are at home they tend to up their game and the Bears have an atrocious run defense over the last month. That's not a good sign going up against Adrian Peterson, who is obviously as good as any RB in the game. The Bears should be able to score a lot too, so I expect a high scoring back and forth type of game in this one. Vikings 34-31
New England (8-3) at Houston (2-9) 1:00 pm
If this was week one the Texans would likely be favored by 3 points or so. Instead it's Patriots by 8.5 as of Friday. Last week their star WR Andre Johnson said they might be the worst team in the league right now. I think that's an accurate statement. The Patriots offense is as healthy as it has been all year. Tom Brady's looking like one of the best QBs ever once again. It's happening at the perfect time of year for them. Patriots 34-17
Arizona (7-4) at Philadelphia (6-5) 1:00 pm
They're evenly matched teams with the Eagles the better offensive team while the Cards are doing well because of their defense. I know Carson Palmer has had some good games for the Cards as well, but I don't know how consistent he can be. Plus, their run game isn't that great. The Eagles have more balance on offense and they can run the ball with LeSean McCoy. I think they'll be ready coming off their bye. Close game. Eagles 24-20
Miami (5-6) at N.Y. Jets (5-6) 1:00 pm
I'm sure that fans of these teams are frustrated when they watch them because I feel that way just trying to pick their games. Neither one has shown consistency this year. I think the Jets have a good defense and that they can run the ball, but the passing attack is so erratic that it's hard to ever trust them. It's hard to know what the Dolphins will do from week to week. I think a poor running game (26th in the NFL) hurts them because their offense can never get in rhythm. The Jets should win based on their defense. Jets 24-16
Atlanta (2-9) at Buffalo (4-7) 4:05 pm (in Toronto)
This is in Toronto, so weather won't be a factor in the dome. The Falcons are one of the worst teams in football with an awful defense that really can't stop anybody at this point. I expect the Bills to run Jackson & Spiller a lot, win the time of possession battle and roll to the "home" victory here. Bills 31-23
St. Louis (5-6) at San Francisco (7-4) 4:05 pm
I love my Rams and am proud of the team for the way they've played since Sam Bradford went down for the season. I know that with a 5-6 record they're not out of the playoff race, but with three road games against divisional teams and the Saints on the schedule they have a tough road ahead. This is a tough spot because the Niners destroyed them 35-11 earlier this year. I think the Niners know the Rams will want to run the ball and they will crowd the line to make it tough on Zac Stacy. They'll try to make Kellen Clemens beat them. I don't think he can. I'll take the Niners to win a tough, physical game at home after winning the turnover battle. 49ers 27-13
Cincinnati (7-4) at San Diego (5-6) 4:25 pm
It feels like an even type of game with whoever has the last possession coming out on top. Both of them have played many close games with the Chargers winning on their last drive last week and the Bengals have had 3 OT games this year. The Chargers are in a unique spot where they have four of their last five games at home although it's not an easy road with three of those games coming against the Chiefs, Broncos and this week's matchup with the Bengals. In other words, if they are going to make the playoffs they need to go at least 4-1 and get some help. They will earn it if they get in. I'm going with the Bengals. I like that defense and I feel like when the time comes for them to make a stop they will do that. I also think the Chargers will have a tough time slowing down that Dalton to Green combo. Bengals 31-27
Denver (9-2) at Kansas City (9-2) 4:25 pm
This game is a rematch from two weeks ago when the Broncos won 27-17 in Denver. I picked Denver then and I am doing that again this week. The Chiefs are actually 4.5 point underdogs here. I know I write about liking home underdogs a lot especially in divisional games, but I like the Broncos too much coming off their loss last week. The Chiefs are reeling a bit with two straight losses of their own, so it's a question of who will bounce back. I like that Broncos offense to continue to find success although scoring over 30 is unlikely. Give me Peyton Manning and company in a close game on the road. Broncos 26-24
N.Y. Giants (4-7) at Washington (3-8) 8:30 pm
It's an awful game on Sunday night that I don't want to watch. I'm sick of NFC East teams getting too much of the spotlight. I know they're big football markets that bring in viewers, but it would be nice if they had less primetime games. Apparently NBC didn't flex this game out because there was a chance the Giants could make the playoffs. After last week's loss that's unlikely. I'll take the Giants just because they've been more consistent of late while the wheels continue to fall off for Washington. Giants 23-17
New Orleans (9-2) at Seattle (10-1) 8:40 pm
I'm going Seahawks not just because of the home field advantage, but because they are the best team in the NFL. I think there is some cause for concern with some suspensions hurting their defense. The thing is, they have a lot of depth all over that defense. I think they'll be fine. The Saints are one of the best offensive teams in the league. We know that. The question is, how do they match up against a run heavy offense and QB playing at a very high level? The Saints are 3-2 on the road with none of those wins coming by more than 8 points. They are an elite team. It's different outside the Superdome. When it comes to them traveling to Seattle I'm going to take Wilson, Lynch and the now healthy Percy Harvin because I think the Seahawks present too many problems for Saints. It's not a disrespect thing. I think the Saints are the 2nd best team in the NFC. It's just that I feel confident in saying the Seahawks are the best. Seahawks 27-17
That's all for me this week. Enjoy the games and good luck to you.