It's a de facto NFC North title game on Thanksgiving Day in Detroit when the Vikings come to town. Minnesota finally got back on the winning track with a 30-24 win over Arizona last week. Prior to the victory over the Cardinals, the Vikings had lost four straight. Detroit, which sports an identical 6-4 record, beat Jacksonville for its fifth win in six weeks. Detroit has won the past two Thanksgiving Day games and the last time they played the Vikings on Turkey Day (1995), they were 44-38 winners... Detroit 27, Minnesota 24.
Redskins-Cowboys is one of the NFL's oldest and greatest rivalries. The Cowboys are arguably the best team in football sporting a 9-1 record. Rookie Dak Prescott took over at quarterback for the injured Tony Romo in Game 1 and has not lost since. He also has taken the starting job from the 13-year veteran. The Redskins haven’t lost too many games in the past seven weeks, but they’ve lost three of the last four in their series with Dallas… Dallas 28, Washington 21.
The NFL's new Thanksgiving Day tradition, a night game, features the Steelers and Colts. Pittsburgh moved back into a tie with Baltimore in the AFC North with yet another win over Cleveland. It was the Steelers first win in over a month. Now, Pittsburgh will face one of the most inconsistent teams in the league. Which Colts team will show up? If it's the one that beat Tennessee last week, Indianapolis has a shot. If not... Pittsburgh 33, Indianapolis 20.
The Titans are slowly losing their grasp on a potential playoff berth. Tennessee fell to the Colts last week to fall to 5-6. They can keep pace with the rest of those still in contention for a wild card slot in the AFC playoffs by beating Chicago on Sunday. The Bears are suffering through a disaster of a 2-8 season. Chicago led the Giants last week at the half but couldn't finish. They've had a hard time finishing all season... Tennessee 34, Chicago 17.
The Jaguars and head coach Gus Bradley just can't seem to get a break. After winning two games in a row earlier in the season, Jacksonville has lost five straight. The Jags have dropped the last three by 5, 3, and 7 points. Now, they go to a cold climate to face a solid running game and a decent defense in Buffalo. The Bills held Cincinnati to just 12 points last week in a 16-12 win. If Rex Ryan's defense does that again, the Bills will claim their sixth win of the season... Buffalo 23, Jacksonville 14.
The Bengals' season has officially fallen apart with last week's 16-12 loss to Buffalo. Cincinnati is now 3-6-1 and, realistically, out of the playoff picture for the first time in five years. The Ravens could have taken a bold step forward with a win over Dallas but couldn't even come close. Now, the Ravens are once again locked in a battle with Pittsburgh for the AFC North. The Ravens playing at home is an advantage, but Baltimore can't forget that Cincy has won the last five meetings between the two teams... Baltimore 17, Cincinnati 14.
The Falcons get a chance to extend their NFC South lead when they welcome the aching Cardinals to the Georgia Dome. Arizona, 4-5-1, has been inconsistent all season long. They dropped a 30-24 decision to Minnesota, which had lost four in a row, last week. The Falcons have the advantage of a bye week to get their NFL-leading offense ready for the Cardinals. Atlanta has won three of the last four against Arizona and should win a fourth in five... Atlanta 34, Arizona 28.
Will the Browns get a win in Week 12? Probably not. The Browns' ineptitude was alive and well in last week's loss to Pittsburgh. In Week 12, it's the Giants who invade Cleveland and send them to their 12th straight loss. The Giants and first-year head coach Ben McAdoo are on their way to a postseason berth... NY Giants 27, Cleveland 10.
Both the Rams and Saints blew opportunities to win last week. Now, they both will try to stay alive in whatever postseason scenario still remains for either team. The Saints offense can be deadly at times with Drew Brees (NFL's leading passer with 3,277 yards), but the Rams defense is equally good. Los Angeles is a Top 10 defense; the Rams just have trouble scoring (they are dead last in scoring)... New Orleans 24, Los Angeles 23.
Losers of nine straight, the 49ers head to the East Coast to take on the NFL's hottest team, Miami. The Dolphins needed a 14-point fourth quarter to beat the Rams last week to win their fifth straight game. Miami is now in a position to vie for an AFC wild card spot. The 49ers have difficulty scoring and are even worse on defense... Miami 30, San Francisco 17.
The Chargers got an extra week to prepare for their stretch run which starts with a trip to AFC South leader Houston. San Diego has won three of their last five and has the NFL's second-best scoring offense (29.0 ppg). Their task will be difficult against one of the league's better defenses. The Texans are also very good at home. They are 5-0 at NRG Stadium this season... Houston 30, San Diego 29.
The Seahawks (7-2-1) are exactly where they need to be. They have won three straight and RB Thomas Rawls is back. Rawls ran 14 times for 57 yards in last week's win over Philadelphia. The Seattle defense is once again the NFL's best and the offense is quickly catching up. Tampa Bay found a way to upset Kansas City, but the Bucs still have one of the worst defenses in the league... Seattle 29, Tampa Bay 15.
The Panthers held off a New Orleans comeback attempt to notch their fourth win of the season. Carolina's defense has not been a typical Ron Rivera defense this season. The Panthers are beginning to come around having won three of their last four having given up 20 points or less in all four games. The problem this week is that they face a very dangerous Oakland offense. QB Derek Carr and WR Amari Cooper make up one of the NFL's best QB-WR combinations and RB Latavius Murray leads the league's fourth-best rushing offense... Oakland 31, Carolina 27.
A loss to the Seahawks two weeks ago was just an aberration. The Patriots defeated the 49ers last week and now face the hapless Jets in the first of two games this season. The Jets offense is 28th in the league in scoring, but they will go up against a Patriots defense that is one of the better units in the NFL. As long as Tom Brady is the Patriots quarterback, New England is going to put points on the board... New England 38, NY Jets 14.
It's a Thanksgiving Weekend AFC West showdown in Denver. The Chiefs, fresh off a tough loss to Tampa Bay must now take on Denver twice, Atlanta, and Oakland to finish the season. Kansas City had won five straight prior to the loss to the Bucs and the Chiefs have some issues on offense. Winning in Denver is about as hard as it gets, but the last time they faced the Broncos at Sports Authority Field the Chiefs won 29-13. Until they fix their offense though, Kansas City won't be able to beat one of the NFL's best defenses... Denver 24, Kansas City 19.
About the only good thing going for the Eagles this week is that they are playing at home. Philadelphia is 4-0 at Lincoln Financial Field this season. The Packers season has been falling apart ever since RB Eddie Lacy got hurt. Green Bay hasn’t had much production in the running game and it has been killing them. They lost three straight before signing Seattle castoff Christine Michael. The Eagles playing at home makes the difference… Philadelphia 23, Green Bay 20.
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2018 NFL Football Season
Philadelphia @ Detroit
It’s the traditional Thanksgiving Day football feast from Ford Field in Detroit. Can the Lions make it three in a row? After starting the season 1-7, Detroit has won two straight over Green Bay and Oakland. The Eagles come in 4-6, still with a shot at a playoff berth but those shots are dwindling. Two successive losses have done nothing to help and a loss to the Lions may send Philadelphia home come playoff time. Detroit has won two in a row on Thanksgiving Day. Make it three… Detroit 18, Philadelphia 17.
Carolina @ Dallas
One of the NFL’s two remaining unbeaten, the Panthers destroyed Washington a week ago. Dallas welcomed back QB Tony Romo from an injury and beat the Dolphins. It was the Cowboys first win since Romo was injured in Week 3. Carolina is better in every aspect of the game, but it’s Thanksgiving and it’s in Dallas. Perfect time for an upset… Dallas 31, Carolina 28.
Chicago @ Green Bay
The nightcap on Thanksgiving features an NFC North matchup that now has some intrigue. The Packers beat the Vikings last week to end a three-game losing skid. The Bears failed on a two-point conversion that would have tied the game in a 17-15 loss to Denver. That came after two straight wins. Chicago is now 4-6 and still has some life. A win Thursday night would give them some much needed momentum heading into the last quarter of the season. It’s hard to win at Lambeau though… Green Bay 37, Chicago 28.
Pittsburgh @ Seattle
After a week off, the Pittsburgh Steelers travel to Seattle for a late game with the Seahawks. It’s the beginning of what could be a murderous stretch for the Steelers (Seattle, Indy, Cincinnati, Denver). The week off gave QB Ben Rothliesberger even more time to rest up his injured body. The Seahawks have won three of their last four and are tough to beat at CenturyLink Field. The Cardinals did it though and so will Pittsburgh… Pittsburgh 17, Seattle 13.
New England @ Denver
Fans of the NFL wait every year for a game like this. Two of the league’s best will meet in Denver on Sunday night. In the past six meetings between the two teams, the home team has won every time. New dominated in last year’s playoff game, but this time around the Broncos have the league’s best defense. Defense and home field advantage win… Denver 33, New England 30.
St. Louis @ Cincinnati
On the heels of a three-game losing streak, the Rams have to travel to Cincinnati to face one of the league’s best teams. The Bengals have arguably the NFL’s best defense, a strong running game, and a quarterback in Andy Dalton who is having the best year of his young career. St. Louis started Case Keenum at QB last week, a 16-13 loss to Baltimore. Don’t expect it to get any better for the Rams… Cincinnati 34, St. Louis 17.
Baltimore @ Cleveland (Mon.)
It’s an AFC North cellar matchup on Monday night. A Ravens win would move them a full two games ahead of the current cellar dweller, Cleveland. It appears that QB Johnny Manziel will start the remainder of the Browns’ games this season. It won’t matter. They may not win again. Seattle, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati still remain on the schedule… Baltimore 23, Cleveland 19.
Arizona @ San Francisco
The Cardinals appear to be the team to beat in the NFC. They are coming off a huge win, 34-31 over previously unbeaten Cincinnati, last week. What they cannot afford is a letdown. San Francisco (3-7) have pretty much packed it in for this season… Arizona 34, San Francisco 14.
Minnesota @ Atlanta
Two of the league’s bigger surprises this year, Atlanta started the season 6-1 but has lost three in a row and is losing some ground in the race for an NFC Wild Card. The Vikings were sitting atop the NFC North until a loss to Green Bay last week. This should be a battle of Atlanta’s Matt Ryan and the Falcons passing and Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson and the Vikings running game… Atlanta 31, Minnesota 30.
NY Giants @ Washington
Both the Giants and Redskins still have a chance at winning the NFC East. The Giants (5-5) are currently in the lead and win Sunday would give them some control as they head into the season’s home stretch. Neither team can really afford a loss. The second place team in the division is not likely to gain a wild card berth. Here’s to the home team… Washington 27, NY Giants 24.