Thanksgiving is here, time for excessive consumption of food and football:
Packers vs. Lions
An NFC North battle with first place on the line, even if neither of these teams are good at this moment. The Rodgers replacement QB cycle has gone from can't throw (Wallace) to can't throw with any accuracy (Tolzien) to competent (Flynn).
The Lions have had a golden opportunity to take control of the division with the Packers & Bears faltering over the last month and they have done nothing with it. Even though I still don't feel good about the Packers, I have a feeling that the Lions will commit enough boneheaded mistakes and that Flynn will do enough to make it a happy turkey day.
Packers 24 Lions 20
Raiders vs. Cowboys
The Raiders were seconds away from grabbing the 6 seed in the AFC. The Cowboys actually came through in the clutch as Romo led them to a last second victory. In this game, the main interest is at the Fantasy level. Since Kansas City's defense has stopped helping my team ever since they starting playing good QBs (Manning and Rivers) and they play Denver again on Sunday, I scoured the waiver wire looking for a defense with a favorable match up.
This led me to picking up Dallas' defense for a one week trial basis. Granted, McGlonin has shown signs of competency but the Raiders haven't exactly lit up the scoreboard even against mediocre competition.
Cowboys 35 Raiders 17
Steelers vs. Ravens
What is traditionally a strong match up has been reduced to a battle of two of the six teams in the AFC that are currently sitting at 5-6. These teams are the first two in line to grab the 6 seed in the event that the Titans lose. I'm not sold on either team but my gut says the Steelers extend their winning streak to 4 in this one.
Steelers 28 Ravens 20
Buccaneers vs. Panthers
The Buccaneers deserve credit for playing better lately but at this point they are only playing for pride. The Panthers have won seven in a row as Cam Newton has broken through and been one of the more consistent performers on Zeplen's team. I also got Vincent Jackson starting this week so this is definitely one of the games where the more points scored...the better.
Panthers 38 Buccaneers 27
Jaguars vs. Browns
The Jaguars may be horrible but they deserve credit for putting up a fight and staying away from the 0-16 neighborhood that they seem destined to. I think the Browns are a team that they are capable of beating.
Jaguars 17 Browns 10
Titans vs. Colts
If the playoffs were to start today, this would be one of the AFC Wild Card Match Ups. Part of me doesn't want to pick the Colts as they've gone through a rash of inexplicable losses and even had to dig themselves out of a hole against the Titans. The other part of me doesn't want to pick the Titans because they are starting Ryan Fitzpatrick. That's enough for me to pick the Colts.
Colts 24 Titans 17
Bears vs. Vikings
The Bears (along with the Lions) have failed to take advantage of the NFC North created by Aaron Rodgers' mustache and broken clavicle. On paper, the Bears should win this one easily but this feels like one of those games that they find a way to not win.
Vikings 21 Bears 20
Dolphins vs. Jets
A battle of two teams that are both a colossal train wrecks but inexplicably still have legitimate playoff hopes. Since the Jets have broken their win-loss-win-loss cycle, this can't be used to pick for or against them. Going with the Dolphins since I think Tannehill will have a better game than Geno Smith.
Dolphins 21 Jets 14
Cardinals vs. Eagles
A battle of two teams while playing strongly lately, are on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs. The Cardinals offense has started to come around to complement what was already a strong offense. The Eagles have found a nice groove for now between Nick Foles and Chip Kelly's offense. A case could be made for either team to win but the fact that the Cardinals have a much stronger defense puts them over the top here.
Cardinals 31 Eagles 20
Patriots vs. Texans
Yeah, the Patriots should be careful to not overlook their next opponent after a thrilling comeback victory. But since they're playing the Texas they should be fine even if they don't bring their A game.
Patriots 35 Texans 24
Falcons vs. Bills
Congratulations to the Atlanta Falcons who are the only team to get mathematically eliminated from the Playoffs before thanksgiving. The Bills may be mathematically alive but being the 14th ranked team in the AFC, its only a matter of time before they too are eliminated.
Bills 21 Falcons 10
Rams vs. 49ers
The Rams are a tough team to figure out. They give off the vibe of being a terrible team but have managed to score some nice wins as they begin to utilize Tavon Austin. They have given the 49ers trouble over the last couple of years and just because they beat the Redskins doesn't mean they've figured things out. Things could begin to get dicier for the 49ers going forward.
Rams 31 49ers 17
Broncos vs. Chiefs
The battle for AFC West supremacy here. The Chiefs got off to a nice start (along with their defense) and then their schedule got difficult. Look for a nice bounce back from Peyton Manning in this one.
Broncos 42 Chiefs 21
Bengals vs. Chargers
The Bengals are hoping to sneak into the #3 seed while the Chargers are just trying to sneak in period. Rivers and the Chargers seem poised for a late season surge and the Bengals got them at the wrong time.
Chargers 38 Bengals 24
Giants vs. Redskins
I'm surprised this didn't get flexed out of the NBC game. With Eli Manning going up against RGIII expect to see plenty of sloppy QB play.
Giants 21 Redskins 10
Saints vs. Seahawks
A Monday night match up that is compelling and could be crucial to whether Zeplen's team goes to 7-6 as I have both Pierre Thomas and Jimmy Graham starting. This could be a possible NFC Championship game preview as these teams are currently the top two seeds in the NFC. Going with the Seahawks here mainly due to the home field advantage.
Seahawks 35 Saints 28