The Minnesota Vikings are one of the hottest teams in the NFL, winning their last six games. They have gotten exceptional play out of quarterback Case Keenum, while their defense has been steady as usual. This is the second straight year that the Vikings are playing the Lions on Thanksgiving, a team that has given them fits over the past two seasons, winning three straight, including earlier this year in Minnesota. That trend ends hear as the Vikings are getting stronger and the Lions are about to fade.
At 5-5, the Dallas Cowboys are at a crisis point in their season. They have been blown out in their first two games without Ezekiel Elliott. However, bigger problems for Dallas has to center around the injury to Sean Lee on defense. The Cowboys are 0-4 without Lee on the field, allowing an average 33.5 points per game. Look for that trend to continue as the Los Angeles Chargers get big road win on Thanksgiving in Dallas.
No team has been a bigger disappointment than the New York Giants, who head into Thanksgiving with a record of 2-8. The Washington Redskins have their own disappointments, after blowing a 15-point lead late in New Orleans on Sunday. The Redskins also come into this game banged up, losing Chris Thompson and Terrelle Pryor for the remainder of the season. The Giants may be coming off their best game, but at 2-8 playing in a night game on Thanksgiving on short rest it’s hard to see them putting in their A game again.
At 6-4 the Atlanta Falcons may be about ready to take off coming off a strong win in Seattle on Monday Night. The Falcons played their best football last season in December to get in a position for their run to the Super Bowl, they made need to equal that run just to get in the playoffs this year. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers meanwhile at 4-6 remain a major disappointment. They may have won their last two games, but both wins came against teams with inept offenses, meaning Ryan Fitzpatrick has not had to do any heavy lifting that won’t be the case in Atlanta.
Despite being 0-10 the Cleveland Browns could still make the playoffs if they win their final six games and 41 other games break in exactly the right sequence. So, get up off the ground they may kick that ball out of Lucy’s hands just yet. The Cincinnati Bengals have been as dreadful at 4-6. The Bengals undisciplined play could open a door or two for the Browns, but the problem is they don’t seem to know how to take advantage of it. Look for a sloppy ugly game, with the Bengals getting a late cover thanks to a DeShone Kizer turnover.
The Tennessee Titans were exposed last Thursday Night, suffering a 40-17 beatdown at the hands of the Steelers. The Titans still are in the playoff chase at 6-4, but to call them a real Super Bowl contender is ridiculous as they won’t go far if they do get in. The Indianapolis Colts just hope to finish strong and save some jobs as they continue to endure a lost season without their star quarterback Andrew Luck. The Titans need this game if they are to stay in the hunt for the AFC South crown and to show they can bounce back off hard loses.
Since their 5-0 start, the Kansas City Chiefs have lost four of their last five games. However, with the rest of the AFC West struggling it has yet to cost them as they still hold a two-game lead over everyone else. The Buffalo Bills are going back to Tyrod Taylor after the Nathan Peterman experiment turned into a disaster. The problem is the Bills loss was so bad can they even get back on track. The Chiefs are home, where they have always played well and should get back on track, while the Bills wagons have fallen into a ditch.
Oh, the pain oh the pain oh the pain oh the pain oh the pain oh the pain. Its Week 12 the New England Patriots are hitting their stride, the Miami Dolphins continue to slide. oh, the pain oh the pain oh the pain oh the pain. Tom Brady is putting up MVP numbers again, Jay Cutler is struggling to care and in concussion protocol. oh, the pain oh the pain oh the pain oh the pain. oh, the pain oh the pain oh the pain. Matt Moore may get the start but at this point, it matters not, the game is gonna be over after the anthem. oh, the pain oh the pain oh the pain oh the pain.
After struggling most of the season, Cam Newton is looking like the 2015 MVP again, as the Carolina Panthers are on the prowl for a return to the postseason. The New York Jets have played better than most expected, but at 4-6 look like they are about to hit the toughest stretch in the season when their lack of talent will begin to catch up to them. At home this week, the Jets need to avoid Cam Newton getting hot early to have a chance or ask for a wind storm like the Giants got in their win last week. Otherwise, the Panthers should cruise to an easy win.
The Philadelphia Eagles are flying high at 9-1. Fans are already getting ready to make a statue for Carson Wentz who is the odds-on favorite at this point to win NFL MVP. The Eagles are playing well in all facets of the game, but their toughest stretch is yet to come with a three-game road swing following their game against the Chicago Bears. The Bears have shown signs of life recently, but just don’t know how to make that big play to win. The Eagles should have no problem getting a big win in this one before they take a two-week trip to the West Coast.
Before their bye week, most expected that the San Francisco 49ers would announce that Jimmy Garoppolo would get the start against the Seattle Seahawks, but it appears they plan to stick with C.J. Beathard who played well in their win against the Giants. Beathard may start, but it’s hard to imagine Garoppolo not seeing the field at some point, as the hobbled Seahawks are ripe for the taking. The loss of Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor has turned the Seahawks defense from top line to subpar, while Russell Wilson is fighting for survival against with a weak offensive line. This could be a disaster for the Seahawks.
Call the Jacksonville Jaguars the little team that could, as they sit atop the AFC South at 7-3, despite less than stellar play from quarterback Blake Bortles. The Jaguars are winning the old-fashioned way by running the ball and playing with a strong defense. For one member of the Jaguars defense, this week is personal as Calais Campbell is facing his former team. The Arizona Cardinals are down to their third-string quarterback, Blaine Gabbert who used to play for the Jaguars but hardly has the tools to haunt his old team. Look for Jacksonville to bury the Cardinals in desert.
Last week the Los Angeles Rams in a battle of 6-2 teams came up short on the road as the Vikings broke the game open thanks in part to a home-field edge. The Rams may not have the same home-field edge in the LA Coliseum yet, but the New Orleans Saints will suffer the same fate this week. The Saints come into the game after a miracle comeback and have some injuries on defense to deal with pass rusher Alex Okafor out for the season. The Rams offense should take advantage and get the win as the Saints eight-game streak comes to an end.
Two AFC West teams in turmoil meet for survival with the loser being as done as the turkey carcass. Both teams have fired coordinators this week in the desperate need to get back on track with the Oakland Raiders canning Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton Jr. and Mike McCoy being given the axe by the Denver Broncos. The Broncos problems run much deeper than McCoy as even their defense is struggling. They are starting Paxton Lynch at quarterback, but it won’t help as the Raiders get the win at home.
When this matchup was set at the beginning of the season it seemed like the perfect cap for Thanksgiving weekend, as the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers met at Heinz Field. However, without Aaron Rodgers, the Packers are no longer appetizing as Brett Hundley is like going to someone’s house only to find they are serving Tofurkey. The Steelers though are a primed and looking good, they should be able to keep pace at the front of the AFC by delivering another big primetime win.
It’s been an up and down season for the Baltimore Ravens at 5-5. The Houston Texans meanwhile have undergone their own tribulation at 4-6 losing J.J. Watt and Deshaun Watson. The Ravens have shown they can make a late run at the playoffs, while Texans were fortunate to get a win against an equally injury-ravaged Cardinals team last week. The Ravens are healthier and in better position to win this game and they will.