It's Thanksgiving in America on Thursday, so that means it's time to look at three NFL games on this November holiday. I'm a Canadian and we have Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October, but I always make it a point to get myself in front of a TV somehow. If you're a NFL junkie like me you just find a way to watch these games even if the Cowboys and Lions aren't great. At least this year both of them are 6-5 with good offensive teams. The added Sunday night game isn't a complete waste of time, either. Let's get to it.
Last week straight up: 8-5-1. Season: 110-65-1 (.629)
All game times are in the Eastern time zone.
Green Bay (5-5-1) at Detroit (6-5) 12:30pm
Remember when the Packers were 5-2? That was four games ago. They haven't won a game since Aaron Rodgers went down and last week they ended up tying the Vikings. Now it looks like Matt Flynn is going to start at QB for them after Scott Tolzien was a failure. They hope Rodgers is back for next week, but that won't help them here as they try to beat the Lions to take the lead in the NFC North. With all of that said, it's hard to know what the Packers will do with Flynn running the show. The best thing they can do is run Eddie Lacy 25-30 times, run as much clock as they can and keep that Lions off the field.
I think the Lions will come out very focused after losing two in a row. They should be able to move the ball against a Packers defense that has given up an average of 26.8 PPG in their last four games. That's a dangerous number when you play a Lions team with Calvin Johnson playing at a high level. I think the Lions need to involve Reggie Bush more than they have because it will open up the passing game more if they can establish the run a bit. I realize he's not a 30 carry per game type of back, but he should be able to do more. Give me Stafford and the Lions to win even though I think the Packers have the run game to keep it a close game. Lions 31-23
Oakland (4-7) at Dallas (6-5) 4:30pm
The Cowboys got a much needed win last week on the road against the Giants. It probably ended the Giants season in terms of playoffs hopes while putting the Cowboys in a tie with the Eagles atop the NFC East. I think it's very possible that the week 17 Dallas/Philly game could be for the division crown, but we still have four weeks to play before we get to that point.
I don't think the Cowboys should have too much trouble with the Raiders. If the game was in Oakland then I would think the Raiders would have a shot, but they're 1-4 on the road with their only win coming against the now hapless Texans. I know that the Cowboys are maddeningly inconsistent, but I can't pick rookie QB Matt McGloin to lead his team to the win. Plus, the Cowboys offense is playing well with Tony Romo having an awesome season and they're a healthy group too. The Raiders could be in for a long day. I like the Cowboys to win rather comfortably. Cowboys 34-17
Pittsburgh (5-6) at Baltimore (5-6) 8:30pm
I like the Steelers in this game largely because of QB play. Ben Roethlisberger has thrown for 1,188 yards with 11 TDs and 3 INTs in his last four games. He was just awarded the Player of the Month for November for leading his team to a 3-1 record and putting them in position to compete for a playoff spot. Both of these teams are in the logjam for the 6th playoff seed in the AFC where six teams are tied with a 5-6 record.
I'm not sure what to expect out of the Ravens offense from week to week. The Ravens are in the bottom half of the league on offense in both passing and rushing. Joe Flacco's 14 TD/14 INT ratio isn't good and Ray Rice is having his worst year as a pro running the ball with just 2.9 yards per carry. I think the Steelers have improved on defense in the past month to the point that the Ravens are going to struggle.
If you look at the history of these two teams they don't have high scoring games very often. I think that trend continues here. I'll take the Steelers as I said, but it will be a field goal game. Steelers 20-17
I'll be back on Friday with the rest of this week's games. Happy Thanksgiving, America.