FIWK the NFL: Thanksgiving needs to step up!

The Thanksgiving games need to not suck this year. Last year, the closest game was Dallas beating Oakland 24-7. The year before that, the closest game was a 25 point Dallas victory. The prior year did have an 8 point victory for Green Bay over Detroit, where the game was never closer than 8 points after halftime. I don't think I'm asking too much for theses games to just not suck. You know what game is not going to suck? Chargers-Colts. Even though the Colts are usually the better team, the Chargers always play Peyton Manning pretty tough. Anything can happen this Sunday night. It's a short week, so you're getting a shorter column.

New England (-6.5) @ Detroit: This was actually my hardest decision of the week. The line opened at -7 and I kept going back and forth between my take the underdogs and the points strategy and the fact that the Patriots are good the the Lions are the Lions. My analogy was an idea Colin Cowherd had about golf. All the modern technology in golf has allowed pros to regularly reach par 5's in two and some traditionalists say that it gives Tiger Woods(circa 2003-2007) and the top golfers an unfair advantage. Cowherd pointed out that it's the complete opposite. Technology actually levels the field. If they went back to wood drivers, the best golfers would be even more dominant. Modern technology allows lesser golfers catch up to Tiger's awesome ability. The more time coaches are allowed to prepare allows lesser coaches to catch up to Bill Belichik. On a short week, Belichik's superiority is even more dominant. I'm taking the Patriots to cover.

New Orleans (-3.5) @ Dallas: The Saints are on a three game stretch of winning by double digits. The Cowboys are on a two game stretch. The Saints finally look like the defending Super Bowl champs and Jason Garret is doing something with the Cowboy's talent. I still think the Saints win, and I would not be surprised if the Saints won big, but I think this game has a chance to be close so I'll take the Cowboys and the points.

Cincinnati @ NY Jets (-9): I don't trust the Jets to cover 9 points. I'm taking the Bengals and the points.

Green Bay @ Atlanta (-2.5): Despite Matt Ryan's amazing success at home (18-3 record at home), I think the Packers are a better team and I like taking the better team when they're the underdog. I'm taking the Packers and the points.

Pittsburgh (-6.5) @ Buffalo: I really want to take the Bills and the points. But Football Outsiders says the Steelers are the much better team. And the Bills don't intercept the ball. And the Steelers demolished the Raiders, who are probably a better team than the Bills. The Steelers are are 7-3, while the Bills are 2-8. But you know what, the Bills have either won or kept it inside three points for five straight games. The Steelers are just as likely to lose or win close than they are to blow a team out. To hell with it! I'm taking the Bills and the points.
Prediction: I still laugh at this commercial.

Carolina @ Cleveland (-11): When I looked at this game yesterday, there was no line, so Yahoo puts it at 0. The Panthers suck and the Browns ...don't exactly suck. It was easy to pick the Browns. At -11 though, I've got to think about this. You know what, I still don't trust Carolina to score a touchdown. I'll take the Browns to cover...boy it feels weird to be taking the Browns -11, but not taking the Steelers -6.5.
Prediction: Peyton Hillis has a good fantasy game.

Jacksonville @ NY Giants (-7): Wow. This line opened at -8.5 and moved to -7 in one day. That's a lot of money on the Jaguars. And you know what, I'm on that side as well. Both teams are 6-4, so even though I am confident the Giants are the better team, I'm taking the Jaguars and the points.

Minnesota @ Washington (-2.5): It was either Cousin Sal or Matthew Berry that made the joke "Dammit, why couldn't they have waited to fire Childress until after they played my team?" It's ok though, Lord Voldemort is still the quarterback. I'm taking the Redskins to cover.
Not so bold prediction: Brett Favre throws an interception.

Tennessee @ Houston (OFF(0)): Not sure why this game is still off...maybe because Rusty Smith is the quarterback or they don't know if it's Rusty Smith or Kerry Collins. The Titans defense is still good. Chris Johnson is on pace for 1,714 total yards (well under 2,000). And the Texans pass defense is REALLY bad. I think the Titans win.

Miami @ Oakland (OFF(0)): I think the Raiders are better than the Tyler Thigpen led Dolphins.

Kansas City (-1) @ Seattle: The Seahawks are better at home. The Chiefs are on the way back to .500. The 5-5 Seahawks are among the best teams in the worst division in the NFL. Three of their five wins have come against the NFC West. Kansas City is undefeated against the NFC West this year. I think the Seahawks are bad and the Chiefs are average. Chiefs cover.

Philadelphia (-3.5) @ Chicago: Eventually the Bears will start playing like a 7-3 team or their record will come down to reflect the way they are playing. The Eagles have looked really good. I mean, REALLY good. Good, maybe great, defense. Vick is accurate as a passer. DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy have all been playing well. And then Vick can still run the ball better than any other QB ever. EVER. The Eagles can stumble down the road if Vick reverts to his inaccurate ways or gets injured running the ball and getting smashed by two defenders. But I say that doesn't happen this week and the Eagles cover.

St. Louis @ Denver (-4): Both teams are below average at best. There should be plenty of fantasy goodness in this game. At least, much more fantasy goodness than actual goodness. I'm taking the Rams and the points.

Baltimore (-7.5) @ Tampa Bay: You know how the Bears are 7-3 and I think they're not good? Apparently that's what everyone else thinks about the Bucs. The Ravens are also a good team, but Tampa Bay will keep this one close. I'm taking the Bucs and the points.

San Diego @ Indianapolis (-3): I always take the Chargers...but this week I'm glad to be getting points.

San Francisco (-1) @ Arizona: It's ok Scott, I think the 49ers are better than the Cardinals. I'm even willing to say that the 49ers will win by at least one point.

I kept this one short so both of you can enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend. MP, you also get to enjoy a shorter column, but seeing as you live in Paris, you don't get to enjoy a Thanksgiving weekend...or do you?


  1. Don't have my picks yet, but the Cleveland-Carolina game... Cleveland laying 11 points?? Wow. I mean, it could happen, but it's tough to give a not-great team a HUGE spread like that. Seems like a total crapshoot to me if they win by 20 or by a very solid 7, you know? I don't trust that one bit.

    I hope the Thanksgiving games are good this year. Looking at that schedule, I am actually mad at Dallas for sucking this year because if they had been good, the NFC rumble between them and New Orleans would have been really fun. Damn you Wade Phillips for making my Thanksgiving more boring! Grr.

  2. PS - that photo is my all time favorite Chargers photo.

  3. Haha - I like how you questioned MP's ability to enjoy Thanksgiving from France-land.

    Here are the picks, so far, for this week:

    Browns -11: I'm all in on the Browns being the best 3-7 team ever. And, the Panthers being bad.

    Niners -1: I'm a homer, but we can't lose to the Cards, right? (Please say I'm right)

  4. I don't know the rest of my official picks, but New England -6.6 will be one of them.

  5. Did you just give yourself an extra -0.1 on that pick?

  6. I did see the typo...but decided to leave it.

  7. I'm taking the Bucs +7.5, San Francisco -1, St. Louis +4, Philly -3.5, Kansas City -1, Washington -2.5, Tennessee +/-0, Jacksonville +7, Cleveland -11.

  8. The panthers have sucked in recent memory because they had one Jake Delhomme at QB. This just in: he still sucks, and I blame him for the Browns not covering this weekend.

    In addition to the picks I mentioned earlier, I took:

    Bears +3.5: I think the Eagles are a slightly better team (and should be favored on a neutral field), but not that much better to be favored in Chi-town.

    Ravens -7.5: I think the Ravens will swallow-alive the Sports Guy's favorite, and win this handily (something like 20-7).

  9. Whoops, I forgot to make comment picks over the T-day weekend, but since I loooved the Panthers at +11 in my first comment, can I please have that? I need a ruling. And please don't send me to MP for adjudication of my appeal.

  10. I got no Thanksgiving Weekend, simply a normal weekend following a normal Thursday that no one here celebrated in any way, shape, or form. Me? I went to two diners, had two burgers + fries, a Dr. Pepper, and an Oreo Milkshake (don't worry, this was spread over two meals). Amerrrrrrrica - Eff Yeah!

    I actually got to watch quite a bit of football on Thursday night here, including most of the Saints-Cowgirls. And, can someone please explain to me the "Jaaaaaaash Freeman" thing??

    And, Aaron, your ability to find high-quality, ASS-KICKING Chargers photos week in and week out continues to amaze me. Job well done. That one of them facing (literally) the Broncos had the voice of John Facenda ringing in my head, including the background bell chorus.

  11. MP, I'll explain the Jaaaash Freeman thing if you please agree that I should get credit for picking Carolina +11 this week

  12. I'll give it to ya Royce. You made a pretty strong argument for Carolina above. That said, I don't agree with your logic one bit, and think you're still wrong (even though you won).

  13. Updated standings:

    Aaron: 44-29-3 (+15)
    Scott: 22-14-2 (+8)
    Royce: 22-18-1 (+4)
    MP: 0-0-0 (even)

    I think MP should make one pick this season.

  14. I went 2-1 with my predictions. Peyton Hillis had 131 yards rushing and 3 TDs...and 63 yards receiving on 6 catches. Possibly the dominant fantasy game of the week. Brett Favre did not throw an interception for the second time this season. I laughed at this commercial.

  15. I'm taking Philly tonight, even though I don't know what the spread is.