Happy Thanksgiving and good luck in whatever family outing you partake. There are so many things I’m thankful for, and among those, in addition to family, health, and happiness, is those that choose to read our site. It’s a privilege to do something I love, even if it requires checking in on Thanksgiving.
Today’s slate gives us some pretty good games in the afternoon. The night game will probably provide some excellent snoozing action. Let’s get to an abbreviated version of the picks.
Minnesota (-2.5) at Detroit, Thursday at 12:30 ET
The Vikings have only two losses on the year, at Pittsburgh and at home to the same team they played today. Detroit also won two close contests a year ago that proved pivotal to reaching the playoffs. Minnesota’s defense has allowed 20 or more points only twice all year. This game decides whether the Vikings will run away with the division, or it becomes a contest. Matthew Stafford has been playing at a high level, and this should be the centerpiece of the day. Lions +2.5.
LA Chargers (-1.5) at Dallas, Thursday at 4:30 ET
This line opened with the Cowboys favored at home, but has swung by over 4 points. Dallas has not looked good in two games without Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith. Smith is expected to play today, but may not be 100%. The Chargers are 2-5 in close games (continuing what seems like a trend with this franchise) but have gotten to 4 wins in the AFC, which means they are very much in the wildcard mix. A road win for them here is key. With the pass rush duo of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, I think they again make life difficult on Dak. Chargers -1.5.
NY Giants (+7) at Washington, Thursday at 8:30 ET
Has any team squandered as many chances as Washington? This team feels like it should be contending for a playoff spot, but at 4-6 needs major help in the NFC. Last week’s game against New Orleans was the biggest gut punch, but they’ve also been close at Kansas City, to Philadelphia, and against Minnesota.
The Giants got a big upset a week ago, but the offense didn’t do much. The defense played better and I think they do it again, but if this turns into a shootout then it will be one-sided. I have concerns over the Washington offense adapting after the Chris Thompson injury, and playing as a large fave. Giants +7.
1 PM ET
Cleveland (+8.5) at Cincinnati
Don’t trust either of these teams. Browns will cover all game and then allow a go-ahead touchdown and pick-six with 30 seconds left. Bengals -8.5.
Chicago (+13.5) at Philadelphia
Feels like we are about due for an inexplicable game from the Bears +13.5.
Miami (+16.5) at New England
This line is huge, but justified with how bad the Dolphins have been. They are 0-4 since a fraudulent 4-2 start. Patriots -16.5.
Buffalo (+10) at Kansas City
The Kansas City offense isn’t right, but they better get the running game going against Buffalo. Bills +10.
Tampa Bay (+9.5) at Atlanta
Man, are there some big lines on Sunday. This is the 5th above 8 points. This one doesn’t make sense to me unless you think the 2016 Falcons instead of the 2017 Falcons are playing. I know they just got a big road win but still … Bucs +9.5.
Carolina (-5) at NY Jets
The Jets are mad that Greg Olsen will be at this game. Jets +5.
Tennessee (-3) at Indianapolis
The Titans are in control of the AFC Wildcard, but are not a good team. They’ve been outscored by 31 points and it’s not like they’ve played a tough schedule. This one might be the swing game that decides whether they start to choke it away or play in January. Colts +3.
Seattle (-6.5) at San Francisco
Don’t trust the Seahawks laying a road number at this point. 49ers +6.5
New Orleans (+2) at LA Rams
An old NFC West shootout. I think the Dome Patrol gets it done against Jim Everett. Saints -2.
Jacksonville (-5.5) at Arizona
This line may feel large but based on how these two teams have played so far this year, it could be much, much larger. I don’t know if Arizona’s badness is kind of flying under the radar. Jags -5.5.
Denver (+5) at Oakland
Paxton Lynch gets to go against the Raiders defense, in a case of the movable force versus the resistible object. Broncos +5.
Green Bay (+14) at Pittsburgh
This one looked really good on paper a few months ago. You will have more fun staring at a piece of paper. Steelers -14.
Houston (+7) at Baltimore
Baltimore has allowed 27 total points in their five wins, which have come against the following quarterbacks: Andy Dalton, DeShone Kizer, E.J. Manuel, Matt Moore, and Brett Hundley. Enter Tom Savage. Ravens -7.