It’s going to be a wondrous Thanksgiving at least for me as I gorge myself on food and football.
It wasn’t quite as good for my picks last week, although I did manage to go 8-6 both against the spread and picking games straight up. While my spread picks have improved over the past few weeks, as I’ve finished above .500 in three of the past five weeks, I’ve also managed to have worse picks on straight picks in two of the past three weeks. There’s really no excuse to not be able to pick games straight up rather easily. I should be getting at least ten of those games right every week.
My year-to-date totals are: 86-90 against the spread, and 111-65 straight up.
Green Bay Packers (5-5-1) at Detroit Lions (6-5)
Thursday, November 26 at 12:30 pm ET on FOX
Line: Lions (-5.5)
The Lions are traditionally bad on Thanksgiving day, as they haven’t won a game since 2003. That is their lone win over their past 13 Thanksgiving day games, happening to come against the Green Bay Packers. But the problem is that they are 1-4 against the Packers on Thanksgiving over those 13 years. So it’s interesting that they are favored, which tells you a lot about the confidence in the Packers, now that Matt Flynn is starting and they are fresh off a tie with the lowly Minnesota Vikings. Matt Flynn has a history of looking competent against the Lions defense, with his famous six-touchdown game at the end of the 2011 season. The key for the Packers is slowing down Megatron, although their pass defense has been atrocious in recent weeks. They also need to get a big day from Eddie Lacy and the boys (doesn’t that sound like a ’50s rock band?) to prevail over the Lions. I don’t see it happening, although I do think these games are traditionally close.
Spread Pick: Packers
Straight Pick: Lions
Oakland Raiders (4-7) at Dallas Cowboys (6-5)
Thursday, November 26 at 4:30 pm ET on CBS
Line: Cowboys (-9.5)
If the Cowboys can slow down the red-hot Rashad Jennings, they stand a good chance to cover in this one. The problem of course is that the Cowboys run defense isn’t very good, particularly without Sean Lee at middle linebacker. I suspect Dez Bryant will be a major mismatch for the Raiders secondary, which I’m counting on to occur early so that Dallas can build an early lead and take Jennings out of the game. The problem is that the Cowboys aren’t known for the fast starts.
Spread Pick: Raiders
Straight Pick: Cowboys
Pittsburgh Steelers (5-6) at Baltimore Ravens (5-6)
Thursday, November 26 at 8:30 pm ET on NFL Network
Line: Ravens (-2.5)
This is a fairly simple pick, of just having the Ravens win because these two teams typically split this series. Baltimore is a better team at home than on the road, and the Steelers are without LaMarr Woodley, which will limit how much pressure they can get on Joe Flacco. But Baltimore’s offense has struggled as of late, and they will have to play defense to contain Pittsburgh’s offense. The Steelers offense has scored 23 points or more in the past four weeks, while the Ravens offense hasn’t scored 23 points in a game since Week 5. But the Ravens defense is better at home, and I think they will be able to get effective pressure on Roethlisberger to limit that Steeler offense.
Spread Pick: Ravens
Straight Pick: Ravens