This year, even more than others, it’s important to keep politics away from the Thanksgiving table. And this year, even more than others, it will be a difficult task. Here’s one solution – football! Last week’s 2-2-1 record moved the overall record here to 24-26-5 – here are week 12’s five picks, including the three Thanksgiving games:
Minnesota Vikings +2.5 over Detroit Lions (12:30pmET): An inter-divisional match-up between the top two teams in the NFC North somehow doesn’t include the Green Bay Packers this year. Instead we have the Vikings, who started fast and faded quick, but won last week, and the Detroit Lions, who always somehow seem to just barely win. In their annual Thanksgiving game this year, don’t expect the Lions to continue their recent success. The Vikings defense is well-equipped to capitalize on a mistake-prone Lions offense.
Dallas Cowboys -7 over Washington Redskins (4:30pmET): The Cowboys are the best team in the NFL this year in every facet of the game. The Redskins are solid as well, but the Cowboys defense should be able to slow Kirk Cousins and his revamped offense enough to take the victory by more than a touchdown. This should be a big Zeke Elliott game too.
Pittsburgh Steelers -9 over Indianapolis Colts (8:30pmET): This line was just a few points mere days ago, but has skyrocketed up to nine points after it was rumored Andrew Luck would miss this game for the Colts with concussion symptoms. That shouldn’t stop the Steelers offense from converting on a much needed victory, with their high-powered passing game taking advantage of an extremely week Colts secondary.
Seattle Seahawks -5.5 over Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4pmET): Russell Wilson and the Seahawks have quietly become a major force in the NFC, and shouldn’t have a problem with a Bucs team led by Jameis Winston that often finds ways to mess up a good thing. The Bucs can compete with the Seahawks on offense and defense, and should keep it close for three quarters. But expect the Seahawks to pull away in the end by at least a touchdown.
New England Patriots -8 over New York Jets (8:30pmET): Somehow I’m taking a third road team to win by at least 6 points with the Patriots, but in a game against a longtime divisional rival, this shouldn’t be a hard choice. The Pats have been impressive since Tom Brady returned from suspension, and the running game for the Pats, led by LaGarrette Blount and now Dion Lewis, has exceeded expectations. Against a very weak Jets defense, they shouldn’t have trouble putting up 30+ in front of a national audience.