Thanksgiving marks the only, government-official day where it’s acceptable to consume double your weight in food while watching football all day.
The NFL is generous enough to take away from some of its Sunday flair and give us an extra two Thursday games for Thanksgiving.
Unfortunately, this year’s slate is a bit of a dud — Eagles vs. Lions is the closest game of the day, in terms of season records, and neither team has more than four wins in ten tries. The Cowboys and Panthers, meanwhile, are a full seven games apart in the standings!
This makes the food the official highlight of the day, so before we get to this week’s pick, a quick ranking of popular Thanksgiving foods:
- Mashed potatoes — Simple, basic, but nobody complains about mashed potatoes. They’re the second-biggest staple of the traditional Thanksgiving meal, and they get the job done.
- Pie — I will not debate which pies are best, but if you’re a picky pie-eater, there are so many options that surely, you’ll find something you like.
- Ham — A quick Google search tells me ham is popular on Thanksgiving. I don’t eat ham on Thanksgiving, but I can confirm ham is both salty and tasty, so you’re doing a better job than me if you have ham on Thanksgiving.
- Stuffing — The more experimental the stuffing combinations, the better.
- Gravy — The centrepiece of the traditional Thanksgiving meal is so bland that we dump this stuff on it to make it taste better. Pretty vital part of the meal.
- Salad — Hard to mess up salad. Amongst the thickness of the Thanksgiving meal, salad is like water.
- Corn bread — Done right, corn bread is sweet and soft, and if you take issue with bread, I imagine eating with you is difficult.
- Turkey — It kind of feels like a chore to eat turkey. It’s the centrepiece of the Thanksgiving meal, the face of the franchise, simply because it’s so big and can feed numerous people. Eating turkey on Thanksgiving feels like a hurdle to enjoy the other foods.
- Green bean casserole — Whatever.
- Sweet potatoes with marshmallows — Ruining sweet potatoes by dumping sugar puffs on them is a crime against the Pilgrims.
Now to our picks!
[Note: with usual NFL-picker, BI Sports writer Emmett Knowlton out of office, this is my week to take the wheel]
Philadelphia Eagles @ Detroit Lions (-1.5)
The Eagles don’t know who their quarterback is yet, and both choices are uninspiring. The Martha Ford magic continues!
The pick: Lions -1.5
Carolina Panthers (PK) @ Dallas Cowboys
This is Greg Hardy’s first time facing his former team. The Cowboys are healthy-ish again, but the Panthers’ secondary takes care of the Cowboys’ offence, and the Panthers’ streak continues.
The pick: Panthers
Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers (-9)
Jay Cutler at Lambeau Field: 0-4, 51% completion percentage, three touchdowns, 12 interceptions. He’s been good this year, but…
The pick: Packers -9
New Orleans Saints @ Houston Texans (-3)
It was only three weeks ago that the Texans made the Dolphins look like the second coming of the Patriots when they trailed 41-0 at halftime. The Saints are coming off their bye week and ready for a fresh start on defence.
The pick: Saints +3
Minnesota Vikings @ Atlanta Falcons (-1)
The Falcons have lost four of their last five and may have a limited Devonta Freeman, if they have him at all after suffering a concussion in Week 11.
The pick: Vikings +1
St. Louis Rams @ Cincinnati Bengals (-9)
Hard to put faith in a team that didn’t notice their quarterback stumbling on the field after suffering a concussion.
The pick: Bengals -9
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Indianapolis Colts (-3)
Matt Hasselbeck hasn’t lost yet this season! The Bucs and bubble-wrapped Jameis Winston end that this week.
The pick: Bucs +3
New York Giants (-2.5) @ Washington Redskins
For the last four weeks, Kirk Cousins has followed up poor showings with big games. This Giants team feels ripe for a Kirk Cousins “You like that?!” game.
The pick: Washington +2.5
Oakland Raiders (-1.5) @ Tennessee Titans
The Raiders have the fifth-best passing attack; the Titans have the eighth-best passing defence. It seems Amari Cooper has hit the rookie wall, as he hasn’t broken 100 yards in four weeks.
The pick: Raiders -1.5
Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs (-5.5)
We’re on the Chiefs wagon after they have beaten opponents by 130-39 over the last four weeks.
The pick: Chiefs -5.5
Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets (-3.5)
The Jets’ five wins this season haven’t come against any teams that are currently above .500, and Darrelle Revis might not play.
The pick: Dolphins +3.5
San Diego Chargers @ Jacksonville Jaguars (-4)
The Jags continue adding drama to the AFC South!
The pick: Jaguars -4
Arizona Cardinals (-10.5) @ San Francisco 49ers
Are the 49ers on sim mode yet?
The pick: Cardinals -10.5
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Seattle Seahawks (-4)
A rested Steelers offence is a bigger problem for the Seahawks than Russell Wilson’s celebrity.
The pick: Steelers +4
New England Patriots (-3) @ Denver Broncos
At altitude, against the best pass defence in the NFL, with a very limited receiving corps. Denver might be the ones to end the Patriots streak. Bold pick!
The pick: Denver +3
Baltimore Ravens @ Cleveland Browns (-2.5)
The disastrous Ravens season now hinges on Matt Schaub and Jimmy Clausen.
The pick: Browns -2.5
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