In 1962 off the first Championship of the Lombardi era, the Packers looked unbeatable as the crushed all competition heading into a Thanksgiving showdown with the Lions. That day the Lions handed the Packers their only defeat of the season. This year it will be history repeating. The Lions got their offense back on track with the running of Kevin Smith last week. Add a loud fired up crowd making life hard for all Quarterbacks at Ford Field, and you have the pieces in place for a Lions win.
The Dolphins after a 0-7 start have been terrific winning each of their last three games in convincing fashion. The Cowboys are also on a roll and can seize control of the NFC East with a win. Expect the Dolphins to give the Cowboys a tussle, but in the end it will be the Cowboys muscle who wins the game, as Demarcus Ware will have another monster game hunting quarterbacks.
Sometime after supper in many families the real fireworks fly in the annual Turkey Bowl played in backyards throughout the fruited plain. This is wear brother versus brother takes on new meaning. This year it’s the 49ers at 9-1 coached by Jim Harbaugh taking on brother John’s Ravens at 7-3. The 49ers have played at a high level all season, but this is the first primetime show. The Ravens always play their best in primetime and with two strong defenses; expect the ravens to get the win in a bruising battle. At the end Jim will get the last laugh by getting the bigger wishbone.
The Falcons have a winning record, and are in the race for the NFC South, but they have yet to hit their full stride this season. The Vikings should provide an easy win for them, especially if they play without Adrian Peterson. The Falcons have a good offensive balance and should be able to keep the Vikings pass rush honest, especially if Michael Turner gets it going.
The Bengals have gone through the tough part of their schedule and despite playing well they have come up with two straight losses. Now against the Browns they need a win to get back on track. The Browns are just a dreadful team to watch, as their offense has been stuck in neutral all season. Look for the Bengals to win easily as they are able to slice through the Browns defense.
The Colts have been battered all season long without Peyton Manning losing all ten games so far. Last week a bye week gave them a chance to lick their wounds and focus on the rest of the season. The Panthers meanwhile have been showing diminishing returns as QB Cam Newton lately has tried to do too much. One of these mistakes this week will open the door for the Colts to get a win.
The first test for Texans back up Quarterback Matt Leinart is an easy pass as they face the lowly Jaguars. The Texans defense should be able to give fits to Blaine Gabbert who so far has been the most unimpressive of all the rookie Quarterbacks. Add the running of Arian Foster and the Texans should control the pace of play which will be enough for them to double up the Jaguars.
This is a survival game. The winner can still dream about the playoffs while the loser can book that January trip to Cruise of the Caribbean. The Jets have not won since trouncing the Bills three weeks ago, while the Bills have been trounced each of the last three games. The Jets showed how to beat the Bills to the rest of the league, and use that formula again to win a close one at home and stay alive.
When these two teams met three weeks ago it was Patrick Peterson who played the role of hero, winning the game in overtime for the Cardinals with a walk off punt return. Both teams are just playing out the string, but the Rams need to get some pride back. They have yet to win a game in their division and this could be their last chance. I expect a big day by the Rams defense against whoever is under center for the Cardinals to decide this one.
Two teams going in the wrong direction meet with in what is a lifesaver game. The winner can still right the ship, but the loser’s season will all but be over. The Buccaneers played well last week in a loss at Lambeau, while the Titans nearly came back in Atlanta. The Titans need Chris Johnson to show up to have a chance, but against the Buccaneers front seven that may be a tall task, while Bucs QB Josh Freeman should be able to have a strong game against the Titans secondary.
The Bears defense needs to come up big if they are to win in Oakland with back up QB Caleb Hainey. The Raiders defense has been strong all season and is quite capable of creating nightmares for inexperienced quarterbacks. Last week was a big week for the Raiders offense as Michael Bush played well in Darren McFadden’s absence. If they can get that play consistently they will walk away with the AFC West.
The Seahawks have played well the last two weeks beating the Ravens and Rams. No comes another team that starts with R and that means a W for the Seahawks. The Redskins showed signs of life against the Cowboys, but still came up short. Against the 12th man in Seattle it will be more frustration as the Redskins anemic offense will be easily flustered.
The Patriots defense with two solid performances is starting to show signs of improvement after being a weak spot most of the season. The better their defense the harder it is to beat them, as Tom Brady has been strong all year. The Eagles will need a super effort on defense and will need a big performance from either Michael Vick or Vince Young to have a chanced, and that does not look to be in the cards.
It’s a tale of two quarterbacks one has all the tools and talent around him and underwhelms. The other is erratic and has few weapons at his disposal. One team is expected to win the division the other is expected to rebuild, but the winner of this game will be in the race while the loser in last place. After five straight losses the Chargers have to win they can’t keep losing and Tim Tebow can not continue to pull games out of nowhere can he?
Maybe NBC should have flexed this on away. The Chiefs with back up Tyler Palko host the Steelers in primetime. Last week on Monday Night the Chiefs only managed three points against the Patriots with Palko, against the Steelers defense it may be even worse as the Chiefs offense is left with nothing but blanks with both QB Matt Cassel and RB Jamal Charles lost for the season.
Autumn is a season marked by falling leaves and the collapse of the New York Football Giants. The last three years since winning Super Bowl XLII the Giants have seen strong starts evaporate into weak finishes, with the last two costing them a shot at the playoffs. With two straight losses the Giants appear to be circling the drain again. Don’t expect them to win in New Orleans either as the Saints offense is too strong, while the Giants running game to inconsistent to keep the Saints offense off the field.