Thanksgiving Day games have not been good recently, but I expect different this year. There are three good match ups. TheLions, Packers, Cowboys, Dolphins, Ravens, and 49ers are all respectable teams. This week, divisional races will become more convoluted. Especially the NFC East. No one wants to win, so the Eagles will come and snatch it.
Green Bay vs Detroit- The unstoppable Packers roll into Detroit for Thanksgiving dinner. Aaron Rodgers is a human. Last week vs Tampa Bay he looked frustrated at times, but then he was spectacular when it counted. The Lions looked terrible in the beginning of the game but thanks to three Cam Newton interceptions they came back and won by 14. Detroit's offense is iffy at best. Stafford has to play better for this team to make the playoffs. The Packers will leave Detroit with two dinner plates. Their own and the Lions.
Miami vs Dallas- Do not adjust your television, the Miami Dolphins are a good football team. They play 10 different running backs but they get the job done. Matt Moore is not playing break but he is not turning the football over. The Cowboys were a missed kick away from losing to the Redskins last week. This game will not need snow or Leon Lett for the Dolphins to win. Upset.
San Francisco vs Baltimore- For all you people who do not think the 49ers are for real, we will find out this week. The Ravens are a good football team and will be a good barometer to judge the 49ers. These two teams are a near mirror imago of each other. Great linebacker, great running back, and, decent wide receivers. They both want to run the football and play great defense. This game will be about who executes the best.
Minnesota vs Atlanta- The future of Christian Ponder is still up in the air. At times he look like he may be a franchise quarterback, but other times he looks like he is back at Florida State. No Adrian Peterson. Big problem. The Falcons got a gift with this game, rookie quarterback and no running game. If the Falcons cam keep Jared Allen away from Matt Ryan this will be an easy win.
Carolina vs Indianapolis- Superman has been Clark Kent for the last few weeks. These are the breaks of a rookie NFL quarterback. He started off cooking with Crisco, but hit the rookie wall. I think Cam will get some of momma home cooking this week and rebound for the end of the season. It does not hurt they are playing the Colts this week. There is nothing good happening in Indianapolis right now. Well, Pat Anger is leading the league in tackles.
Tampa Bay vs Tennessee- Tampa Bay was very impressive even with loss to the Packers last week. LeGarrett Blount decided he didn't need any blockers to run to the ball last week. He easily broke 20 tackles in the game. If he runs like that this week the Bucs have a chance to turn their season around. The Titans will be very motivated to win this week because they still have a chance to win the AFC South with Matt Shaub out in Houston. Chris Johnson had what we thought was a breakout game two weeks ago. Then, last week he was under 15 yards. Expect another low output from him.
Arizona vs St Louis- This is a NFC West showdown. Yes I said that with a straight face. Kevin Kolb should be back this week for the Cardinals. Hopefully his time off helps him play better. I expected the Cardinals to have a few more wins at this point in time. Boy are they disappointing this year. The Rams expected to have a couple more wins too, but injuries have been mean to them.
Cleveland vs Cincinnati- I told y'all Cleveland was going to max out at 14 points last week. Where did they end the game?...14. Please listen to the Cleveland radio host go crazy on his Browns. That is 10 minutes audio that will make your day better. The Bengals lost to the top two teams in their division (Ravens, Steelers), but they are still for real. They have a chance to pick up another game of their division leaders and possibly sneak in the playoffs.
Houston vs Jacksonville- I picked Jacksonville last week and they let me down. This week, they play a better team with a question mark at quarterback. I worked out this summer with Matt Leinart and I think he is ready for his opportunity this year. The Texans control their own playoff destiny, and won't fall short. I think Jaguars fans are wondering if Blaine Gabbert is really the answer at quarterback. They are also wondering where is the pro bowl tight end they gave 35 million to this offseason. Maurice Jones-Drew cannot win games on offense alone.
Buffalo vs New York Jets- Am I the one who said the Bills had 9-7 written all over them? I was wrong. Make it 7-9. Now that they have lost their bell cow Fred Jackson, their playoff chances are out of the window. The Jets just came off losing a game everyone expected them to win. New York should rebound this week vs the exploding Bills. The only person who can change the outcome of this game is Mark Sanchez. If he plays terribly, the Jets may lose.
Pittsburgh vs Kansas City- Pittsburgh is a good football team and potential Super bowl team. Even though the Chiefs have added Kyle Orton, this game will be a mere speed bump for the Steelers.
Denver vs San Diego- Do you believe in Tebow yet? John Elway isn't sold long term either. The Broncos defense is fierce and fast right now. Rookie Von Miller is a nightmare off the edge and has been a force against the run and pass. WTH is going on with Phillip Rivers? Seriously, he is awful right now. He leads the league in interceptions and is the main reason for the Chargers struggles. Ryan Matthews gets hurt every game so if Tolbert is out they are down to a guy they didn't expect to get more that 20 carries on the season. I believe in Tebow and definitely do not believe in Rivers (this year).
Washington vs Seattle-The Redskins put Rex Grossman back at quarterback, and guess what happened? They played well and would have beat the Cowboys if Gano could make a FG. They have to make a long trip to the West Coast and home of the 12th man. Seattle has been playing well they last couple weeks and should continue this week.
Chicago vs Oakland- The Bears were looking like the second best team in the NFL. For weeks I have been saying I was waiting for Cutler to lose games and blow the season. Well he is going to indirectly do both now that he is out for the season. The Bears front seven can't play quarterback. Haine will have a chance to prove himself and save the Bears season. Carson Palmer looks like the QB who took the Bengals to the playoffs. Oakland is running the ball well and playing great defense.
New England vs Philadelphia- Philadelphia is likely entering a second game in a row without Vick at quarterback. Can Vince Young win 2 games in a row? Not throwing three picks again he can't. The Patriots do have the last rated pass defense in the league so that should help him out. Expect the Phily defense to press across the board and blitz Brady anytime they line up in empty. That recipe was successful for the Steelers. Another good sign for the Eagles is that the Patriots don't have a real running game so they should be able to pin their ears back and get after Brady some.
New York Giants vs New Orleans- This is a great matchup for Monday Night. This game means so much to both teams. They are both leading their closely contested division. A loss would muddy divisional waters and open up the door for chaos. I still have the Eagles making the playoffs. So that is influencing my pick for this game. New Orleans is getting hot at the right time. Brees and the offense are becoming the high powered team we are used to seeing.