Give thanks for three awesome matchups
The NFL is bragging about how for the first time since 1935, Thanksgiving Day features three games with all six teams at .500 or better.
Considering how mediocre so many teams are this season, Pro Picks isn’t sure how to take that stat.
Regardless, there are two very significant divisional matchups on Thursday at the traditional holiday sites, Dallas and Detroit. And an important inter-division contest in Indianapolis.
The Colts (5-5) have won two in a row, but the most recent victory was costly, particularly with the Sunday-Thursday timeframe for their game with the Steelers. Andrew Luck entered the concussion protocol on Monday.
The backup quarterback for Indianapolis (No. 17 in AP Pro32) is Scott Tolzien. Not exactly in Luck’s class, you say?
“We’ve got a guy that comes to work every single day and prepares like a starter ever since he’s been in this building,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano says of Tolzien, who’s in his fourth NFL season, has thrown 91 passes (all with Green Bay when Aaron Rodgers was hurt) and has not taken a snap this year.
“He understands and knows this offense and if that’s the case, he’ll go out and play winning football.”
Sorry, we don’t buy it.
Yes, the Steelers (also 5-5, No. 16 in AP Pro32), are no powerhouse this season, especially on defense. But they’ve got more than enough against the Luck-less Colts. … BEST BET: STEELERS, 33-13.
No. 11 Minnesota (plus 2 1/2) at No. 10 Detroit — We have to pick an upset, though we’re lukewarm on this one. … UPSET SPECIAL: VIKINGS, 20-19.
No. 8 Washington (plus 7) at No. 1 Dallas — Redskins should have won first meeting. They will keep this close, but … COWBOYS, 24-21.
No. 6 (tie) New York Giants (minus 7) at No. 32 Cleveland — Time for the Browns to end that 0-fer? Think not. … GIANTS, 27-10.
No. 26 Cincinnati (plus 2 1/2) at No. 15 Baltimore — Bengals have returned to Bungles status, and are banged-up. … RAVENS: 14-13.
No. 23 San Diego (plus 1) at No. 13 (tie) Texans — Texans got raw deal in Mexico City, make up for it at home. … TEXANS, 23-20
No. 27 Los Angeles (plus 7) at No. 25 New Orleans — No way we can pick Jared Goff’s Rams. … SAINTS, 26-10.
No. 20 Tennessee (pick-em) at No. 29 Chicago — Line reflects QB issues in Chicago — among many other issues. … TITANS, 21-12.
No. 2 Seattle (minus 5 1/2) at No. 19 Tampa Bay — An intriguing game, despite the disparity in records. … SEAHAWKS, 20-17.
No. 22 Carolina (plus 4) at No. 4 Oakland — Panthers will play Raiders tough, but won’t get the win. … RAIDERS, 28-27.
No. 6 (tie) Kansas City (plus 3) at No. 5 Denver — Winner here is in great shape for playoff spot. … BRONCOS, 23-21.
No. 3 New England (minus 8) at No. 28 New York Jets — Not getting burned by Patriots as Best Bet again. Still … PATRIOTS, 30-20.
No. 30 Jacksonville (plus 7 1/2) at No. 18 Buffalo — Almost a must win in Bills’ pursuit of elusive postseason berth. … BILLS, 20-16.
No. 21 Arizona (plus 3) at No. 9 Atlanta — Among the many disappointing teams, Cardinals might be biggest flop. … FALCONS, 31-27.
No. 31 San Francisco (plus 7 1/2) at No. 12 Miami — Beginning to believe in gritty Dolphins. … DOLPHINS, 23-10.
No. 24 Green Bay (plus 3 1/2) at No. 13 (tie) Philadelphia — No way we can pick this version of the Packers. … EAGLES, 30-22.
Last Week: Against spread (11-3). Straight up: (11-3)
Season Totals: Against spread (74-78-6). Straight up: (92-66-2)
Best Bet: 5-6 against spread, 7-4 straight up.
Upset special: 5-5-1 against spread, 5-6 straight up