Week 13 of the NFL kicks off this Thursday with a plate of Thanksgiving games that are more mouthwatering than any turkey, so lets pick some winners.
CHICAGO BEARS @ DETROIT LIONS - LIONS WIN
In their traditional thanksgiving game in front of a partisan home crowd, the Lions are going to bounce back from two tough defeats against two very good teams by laying a hammering down on a poor Chicago team.
In the last two weeks the Lions have failed to score a single touchdown but they have far too much talent for this to continue for long. Especially against a Bears defense that will likely be without key men Lance Briggs and Kyle Fuller.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES @ DALLAS COWBOYS - EAGLES WIN
As is always the case with the Cowboys, the hype machine is getting out of control. Over the last four weeks they have lost to the Cardinals and a Colt McCoy led Washington. They have beaten the Jaguars, who everybody beats, and narrowly edged out a poor Giants team.
The Eagles are much better than the Cowboys. Philadelphia's defense and special teams will make life tough for the Cowboys offense, and on offense, Eagles' LeSean McCoy will simultaneously eat up the clock and expose the Dallas defense.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS @ SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS - SEAHAWKS WIN
This is a playoff eliminator. Which ever team loses this game is not going to the post season. Playing at home is a huge advantage for the 49ers but it won't be enough for them to overcome the Seahawks.
This will be a tight close game between two teams that are very good on defense but are basically holding elaborate pillow fights on offense. The 49ers offense is particularly woeful. If you were watching NFL Redzone last weekend the minuscule amount of time the Washington @ San Francisco game got was very noticeable. If Colin Kaepernick's offense cannot do it against the NFC East's whipping boys, they aren't going to do it against a Seattle defense that has seemed to be rediscovering its form.
CLEVELAND BROWNS @ BUFFALO BILLS - BILLS WIN
The Buffalo defensive line is fantastic. Between them Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus and Jerry Hughes 35.5 sacks this season. They also have a top 10 run defense.
Against the Browns this will be enough to shutdown the Browns offense and give Buffalo a second win on the bounce.
CINCINNATI BENGALS @ TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS - BENGALS WIN
It would be very Bengals to go to Tampa Bay and throw away all the good work they did against the Texans and the Saints. I'm sure Andy Dalton will do his best to do just that, but A.J. Green is playing far too well to allow this to happen. The Bengals will pick up a win that keeps them right in the mix in the AFC North.
TENNESSEE TITANS @ HOUSTON TEXANS - TEXANS WIN
Can anyone see the NFL's most boring team going to Houston and getting a win against J.J. Watt? Me neither.
WASHINGTON @ INDIANAPOLIS COLTS - COLTS WIN
The big news for this game is that Colt McCoy is replacing RGIII as the quarterback for Washington. Given how bad RGIII has been playing and the way he threw his teammates under the bus after the defeat to Tampa Bay, this is an entirely understandable decision.
However, there is no hiding the fact that it is the move of a team whose season has once again gone into complete meltdown. The Colts meanwhile have Andrew Luck. Is it possible that it was once seriously debated that RGIII was the better prospect than Luck? The Colts will put forty plus points on the board and win comfortably.
OAKLAND RAIDERS @ ST. LOUIS RAMS - RAMS WIN
The Rams were a bad officiating decision from winning in San Diego last week and really throwing the cat amongst the pigeons in the NFC West. Against the Raiders at home not even bad calls will stop them from picking up a win outside of the division.
CAROLINA PANTHERS @ MINNESOTA VIKINGS - PANTHERS WIN
Does anyone want to win the NFC South? Do the Falcons, Panthers, Buccaneers and Saints think the NFC South has cooties? Regardless someone in the NFC South has got to win a game. That someone will be the Panthers.
Aside from Adrian Peterson's ongoing absence and Cordarrelle Patterson's inability to pry himself away from opposition cornerbacks the biggest problem that the Vikings will have this week is playing outdoors with Teddy Bridgewater at QB. Once the Vikings new covered stadium is built this won't be a problem, but for now Bridgewater is fighting a battle with the elements that he isn't going to win.
Refreshed after a bye week Cam Newton is going to carry the Panthers to a potentially crucial win.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS @ PITTSBURGH STEELERS - STEELERS WIN
The Saints are the most overrated and disappointing team in the NFL. If they cannot win at home against the 49ers, Bengals and Ravens they certainly aren't going to on the road against the Steelers.
Coming off a bye week the Steelers offense is going to eviscerate the Bob Ryan defense. Le'Veon Bell will pick up where Justin Forsett left off by rushing for 100 plus yards. Whilst Antonio Brown will further cement his reputation as the best wide receiver in the league by pulling in touchdown after touchdown.
NEW YORK GIANTS @ JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS - JAGUARS WIN
Against the Cowboys, Odell Beckham Junior and Rashad Jennings looked great. They were so good in fact that the poverty of Eli Manning's performance has been overlooked. Beckham's superstar catch was great but the throw was atrocious. Manning also completely failed to spot Beckham wide open downfield for what would have been a surefire touchdown.
Away from home against the Colts last week the Jaguars defense got after Andrew Luck early and often. Luck is a good enough QB that this didn't completely shutdown the Giants offense.
With Manning though it will likely be a different story. When Manning is under pressure he throws lots and lots of picks. The Jacksonville defense will stop the Giants offense from moving the chains and at home this will be enough for them to squeeze out a narrow win.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS @ BALTIMORE RAVENS - RAVENS WIN
The Ravens are coming off a great win over the Saints. The momentum this gave them should not be underestimated. Neither should the fact that they are playing against an out of sorts San Diego in a 1pm kickoff. The Ravens will win this one comfortably.
ARIZONA CARDINALS @ ATLANTA FALCONS - CARDINALS WIN
If Mike Smith had been alive in ancient Troy, the city of Troy would have been fine because the Falcons Head Coach is a man who doesn't accept free gifts.
Free gift number one was the NFC South. Despite being really poor, Atlanta are still very much in contention for the division because the other teams are equally bad. Free gift number two was the London game against the Lions. Taking a huge early lead poor game management from Mike Smith meant Falcons managed to somehow lose. Free gift number three came last weekend when Mike Smith's bizarre use of the clock left the Browns with just enough time to win the game.
The Cardinals will not be offering up any free gifts however. The offense may not be great with Drew Stanton behind center, but it has enough about it score on the Falcons defense. The defense, however, is one of the NFL's best and will likely have a great day against the Falcons offense that has under performed pretty much all season.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS @ GREEN BAY PACKERS - PACKERS WIN
This is a true coin flip game between what are probably the two best teams in the NFL. Were the Packers going to Foxboro then the Patriots would be favorites. The game however is at Lambeau Field.
At home this season Green Bay are averaging 47 points a game. Even if New England's defense is good enough to reduce this amount by 10 points it is hard to see them making up this deficit on offense.
DENVER BRONCOS @ KANSAS CITY CHIEFS - BRONCOS WIN
If the Chiefs play a perfect game they can win this one. Jamaal Charles is capable of powering the offense to long drives and the defense is capable of keeping Peyton Manning. Additionally, Kansas City are at home at Arrowhead which is obviously a huge advantage.
As they showed against the Raiders though, Kansas City don't score enough points to put teams away whilst they are on top. They always leave teams with a chance. In the last three games they have won twice by four points and lost once by four. Against Peyton Manning though keeping things close is rarely good enough. This will be close until late int he third quarter early in the fourth when Denver will score a heap of quick points.
MIAMI DOLPHINS @ NEW YORK JETS - DOLPHINS WIN
Before the rescheduled Monday night debacle against the Bills it was possible to see a scenario where either Rex Ryan could keep his job. After watching the Jets players simply give up against the Buffalo though it is safe to say it is all over.
The Dolphins meanwhile were really impressive in defeat against the Broncos. The defense got after the quarterback. Whilst on the other side of the ball Tannehill and Wallace were really clicking under Bill Lazor's offense. Against the Jets this will be more than enough to bring about victory.
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