Thanksgiving Day - Thursday, November 23
Happy Thanksgiving! To all of our readers, we hope you enjoy a day full of time with family, yummy food and great football games!
Minnesota (8-2) -2.5 @ DETROIT (6-4)
The Detroit Lions have played on Thanksgiving Day 77 times, by far the most of any franchise. Starting in 1934, the Lions have played on every Thanksgiving except for a break from 1939-1944. In those 77 games, the Lions have a record of 37-38-2.
On the other hand, Minnesota has played 7 times on Thanksgiving Day with a record of 5-2. Who beat the Vikings on those two occasions? The Detroit Lions in 1995 and 2016. The Vikings won the two previous Thanksgiving Day meetings with the Lions and the series stands at 2-2.
But overall, Minnesota has dominated its division rival since entering the league. Minnesota leads the series 71-39-2.
That being said, the Lions have won the last three meetings between the teams including a 14-7 win earlier this season.
So what happens this year? Minnesota is 8-2, leading the NFC North by 2 games and coming of a great win against the Rams. Detroit is 6-4, two games back of Minnesota and on the fringe of the playoffs. Last week, Detroit squeaked out a win in Chicago after Connor Barth missed a game tying field goal as time expired with one of the worst kicks ever seen in the NFL. Detroit needs this win more than Minnesota right now, but the Vikings won’t let the Lions get them a 4th time in a row.
Minnesota’s offense is firing on all cylinders. Case Keenum is playing great trying to hold onto the starting position now that Bridgewater is healthy again. We expect this to keep up this week. Minnesota’s defensive line is also playing well and should put major pressure on Stafford. If Minnesota gets an early lead, the defense should be able to clamp down and hold on for the win.
Sorry Lions fans. At least it’s not as bad as it was in 2008.
PICK: Minnesota -2.5
LA Chargers (4-6) -0.5 @ DALLAS (5-5)
Second on the list of Thanksgiving appearances is Dallas with 49, all at home. Los Angeles has only played on Thanksgiving Day 4 times, all as San Diego and all within a span of 1963 – 1969 and all close games where they scored between 20 and 24 points. This is interesting, but means nothing for the game this year.
The Cowboys are struggling. Before Sunday night’s game vs. the Eagles, the advance line had Cowboys -4 on Thanksgiving. After that game, the line quickly move to Charger -0.5. That’s a huge move make the Chargers a short road favorite. Cowboys are still without Zeke Elliott (suspension) and Sean Lee (injury). Left tackle Tyron Smith is listed as questionable but is unlikely to play and this is the most significant absence of the three:
8 games with Tyron Smith: Dak sacked 10 times
2 games without Tyron Smith: Dak sacked 12 times
If Smith is again out, the Chargers D line should give Dak major problems. With 30 sacks on the season, the Chargers are 3rd in the league and Joey Bossa and Melvin Ingram both are in the top 7 in sacks. The Chargers D also ranks 4th in interceptions. Should be a tough afternoon for Dak Prescott and the Cowboys offense if Smith is indeed out for this game.
The Chargers look like the best team in the AFC West and they are currently 4-6 and two games back of the Chiefs. Based on the current play in this division, it looks like the first team to 8 wins will win the division. Four of the Chargers losses this season were by 3 points or less including tough losses to Philadelphia and Jacksonville, two of the best teams in the league this year. With a few breaks or made field goals, the Chargers could be sitting at 7-3.
On short rest, we always lean towards the better team and right now that is the Chargers so we’re giving the half point.
PICK: LA Chargers -0.5
WASHINGTON (4-6) -7.5 vs. NY Giants (2-8)
Washington blew a 15-point 4th quarter led in New Orleans last week. The Redskins never trailed in the game but couldn’t hold on for the final 3 minutes of the game. New Orleans rallied for two TD’s and a 2-pt conversion to tie the game and then won in OT. That’s a tough loss for the Redskins and one that will be hard to recover from on short rest.
The Giants beat KC at home. The second win of the season for the Giants, both coming against AFC West teams as double digit underdogs. Have the Giants turned a corner in this dreadful season? We think so. Especially given the news that Eli Manning gave the team a fiery inspirational speech before last week’s game. Wait, this guy?
Washington has been ravaged by injury. This week they added 4 more players (Chris Thompson, Terrelle Pryor, starting center Spencer Long and starting left guard Shawn Lauvao) to the injured reserve list making it a total of 15 players on IR this year. Losing their center is key as that is an injury that sharps (pro-bettors) rate as one of the hardest positions to replace. Adding insult to injury, the Redskins will also be without their back-up center for this game. We like the Giants resurgent defensive line against this beat-up interior.
The Giants should be able to move the ball as the new corps of wide receivers is finally getting acclimated to the offense. The Giants should be able to move the ball on the ground with Darkwa opening the passing game for Lewis and Engram. Last week the Giants’ offensive line did not allow a sack. Yes, you read that correctly. No sacks. If they can repeat that performance this week, it should limit Eli’s rushed passes at the ground or to defensive backs.
This is a bad line posted by Vegas. Not only does it leave open the backdoor cover, it downplays the significance of the injuries the Redskins face. Typically, we’d be giving MeUndies some free promotion with the Backdoor Cover of the week, but we think the Giants win this one outright.
PICK: NY Giants +7.5