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November 26, 2008
by Jeff Briggs
It’s Thanksgiving week, which in American sports culture has become synonymous with NFL football. In fact, the craving for pro football on Thanksgiving has grown so strong that the NFL has added a third game in recent years. To go along with the traditional Lions and Cowboys games during the day, we’ll be treated to an “all-bird game” between the Cardinals and Eagles. I don’t know if this was the NFL’s plan, to use the fact that both teams have bird names as some sort of turkey/Thanksgiving marketing ploy, but I’ll take the extra football any way it comes.
My plan for Thanksgiving includes light meals throughout the day in order to keep my stomach expanded enough to eat enough food when it comes to big meal time to incapacitate me for at least three hours. Some people like to drink a lot of beers on Thanksgiving as they watch football, and as much as I like beer, that’s a waste of stomach space for me – it’s all food and football on Thursday.
For the picks, I had my best week last week at 11-5. Stupidly, I made my Lock of the Week depend on a team from the AFC West, a mistake I promise to avoid making the rest of the season.
Last week: 11-5
Lock of the week: 7-5
Home team in CAPS
LIONS (+11.5) over Titans
We were so close to 11-0 vs. 0-11, but unfortunately the Jets embarrassed the Titans last weekend. The Titans rushing attack has looked dead the last three weeks, but if they are ever going to revive it, this is the week to do so against the 32nd ranked Lions rush defense. Yet, somehow I see the Lions staying close in this one. In my mind they play well on Thanksgiving, despite the fact that they’ve been beaten by at least 11 points in each of the last four years.
Seahawks (+13) over COWBOYS
This spread is just a little too large for my liking. The Seahawks have put together some close games recently, and although I’m frightened, I’m still not completely sold on the Cowboys being back just yet.
Cardinals (+3) over EAGLES
McNabb and Reid are gonna be booed so hard it’ll basically be an away game for the Eagles. What I said last week about the Eagles having an impressive outing after a string of poor performances, I don’t believe that will happen anymore. This team looks done. But sure, favor them, sounds good to me. LOCK OF THE WEEK.
Broncos (+8) over JETS
The Jets are not the best team in the AFC. Sorry. I do think they’ll win this game, but I also think 8 points is a bigger spread than they deserve.
BILLS (-7) over 49ers
It’s the Chris Berman Bowl! I think he picked these two to meet in every Super Bowl from 1973 thru 2002.
BUCCANEERS (-3.5) over Saints
The Saints need this game to stay in the thick of the playoff hunt, but they just can’t seem to get it done on the road this year, where they are 1-4.
PACKERS (-3) over Panthers
Carolina has a lot going against it this week: This is a must win game for the Packers, and the Panthers struggle on the road. I also don’t trust Jake Delhomme (unless he starts throwing exclusively to Steve Smith).
Giants (-3.5) over REDSKINS
What the Redskins have going for them: they want to revenge the Week 1 embarrassment in New York; they might have an emotional lift from Sean Taylor being inducted into the Ring of Fame before the game; they have a very good record at games I attend. What the Giants have going for them: they are the best team in football.
Dolphins (-8) over RAMS
The Rams have had the pants beaten-off them the last four weeks in a row (in a bad way). On top of that they enter this game without Marc Bulger, and likely without Steven Jackson or Orlando Pace. They score the least points of any team in the league and let up the 2nd most points. If they played the Lions right now, they would lose.
Ravens (-7) over BENGALS
The Ravens will not let the team with arguably the worst offense in the league (last in yards, second-to-last in points) come anywhere close to them. I predict the Ravens defense will outscore the Bengals offense by itself.
Colts (-5) over BROWNS
Derek Anderson is back at the helm for the Browns due to Brady Quinn’s broken finger, but it doesn’t really matter who the QB is here, the results will be the same. The Colts have won four straight against teams better than the Browns and could easily not lose again until the playoffs.
CHARGERS (-5) over Falcons
I have no faith in the Chargers, but somehow still believe they will end up in the playoffs. The Falcons are not quite playoff ready, and will lose games they need to win, like this one.
PATRIOTS (-1) over Steelers
Matt Cassel and the Patriots offense won’t continue to put up the kind of numbers they have the last two weeks against the best defense in football, but they’ll put up enough to win.
Chiefs (+3) over RAIDERS
Tyler Thigpen and crew have been playing well enough that they will break through and get a win sometime, and this is their best chance because the Raiders can’t possibly win two games in a row.
VIKINGS (-3.5) over Bears
Minnesota absolutely must win this game if they want to win the NFC North, as they have the hardest remaining schedule of the three teams fighting it out. I see Adrian Peterson pulling them through this game, single-handedly if need be.
JAGUARS (+3.5) over Texans
Everything about both these teams, and this game, screams mediocre.