MUST WATCH GAMES
Eagles at Lions/Panthers at Cowboys/Bears at Packers
The first game in the Thanksgiving Tripleheader is the Eagles traveling to Detroit to play the Lions. The Eagles have never lost a Thanksgiving Day game having played on this day 6 times most recently last year in a 33-10 win at Dallas.
The Eagles and Lions have had disappointing seasons with the Eagles coming in with a 4-6 record and recently being thrashed at home by the Buccaneers 45-17 last Sunday. Rumors are circulating that coach Chip Kelly and the team might be headed towards a split at the end of the season. As for the Lions, winning might cure all ills but it might be too late. Even though no teams are on the cusp of elimination from playoff contention this week, the Lions are at 3-7 and winning the NFC North might be a bit of a stretch for them.
The Cowboys win in Miami put them at 3-7 and delayed the inevitable of being effectively eliminated from the playoffs. The Panthers win over Washington moved them one step closer to being one of the first teams in 2015 to clinch a playoff berth. Quarterback Cam Newton has passed for 20 touchdowns and rushed for 6 and should be considered in the race for league MVP.
Dallas is a 1-point favorite in part due to the return of quarterback Tony Romo. If the Cowboys win here, they have a shot at making the playoffs given their final 6 games: at Washington (MNF), at Green Bay, home against the Jets (Saturday night), at Bills, and regular season finale at home against Washington. Despite the lopsided records between the Cowboys and Panthers this should be an entertaining game.
The only reason to watch the Bears at Packers is to see the halftime ceremony where the Packers retire quarterback Bret Favre’s number. Favre is partially responsible for Green Bay’s resurgence as a title contender in the 1990s which resulted in the Packers winning their first NFL championship after a 29-year drought.
Saints at Texans/Buccaneers at Colts/Chargers at Jaguars/Raiders at Titans
Someone has to win the AFC South. The Jaguars have to feel good about their chances to win this division after defeating the Titans in a 19-13 defensive battle in Jacksonville last week. The Chargers are a mess and it appears it is another lost season in San Diego.
The Colts kept their AFC South hopes alive with their win in Atlanta last week. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck will be under center for the Colts for the time being as Andrew Luck recovers from injuries sustained in their win over the Broncos three weeks ago. The Buccaneers are at 5-5 and currently one game behind Atlanta for the last wild card spot. Quarterback Jameis Winston in the win over the Eagles threw for 5 touchdown passes.
The Texans beat the Jets, but as for the Saints: I don’t know what to make of them. They beat the teams they are supposed to lose, and lose to teams they are supposed to beat.
Deadspin had an article up on Tuesday about running back Antonio Andrews saying that playing in Nashville is almost like playing another road game for the Titans.
Maybe if the Titans show up with this pre-game chant, maybe people will remember them.
Vikings at Falcons
Both of these teams are reeling after home losses. The Vikings put up a decent effort at home against the Packers but were unable to stop quarterback Aaron Rodgers from finding receiver James Jones for 6 catches, 109 yards, a touchdown, and a two-point conversion.
And I bet that made Packers fans and fantasy owners of Rodgers and Jones happy.
After a 5-0 start, the Falcons have now lost 4 of their last 5 games. Currently the Falcons occupy the last Wild Card spot, but with Tampa Bay at 5-5 and owning a win over them as well as games against the Panthers in the month of December I do not think this team will extend their season past 3 January 2016.
Steelers at Seahawks
Have you noticed that the NFL has placed a lot of games in the early window and then in the late afternoon window there is only one game?
Take two weeks ago for example. CBS had the doubleheader and most of the country saw the Patriots keep their undefeated season alive against the Giants… unless you lived in Denver where you saw Peyton Manning become the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards and then benched after throwing 4 interceptions in 29-13 loss to the Chiefs.
It has to do with television and who will likely draw the most eyes.
CBS has the doubleheader again and the game that will be shown to most of the country in the late window is the Steelers at Seahawks. Well… unless you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, then you are subjected to the 49ers hosting the Cardinals which will be a snuff film.
The Seahawks have been NFC contenders for the last few seasons while the Steelers are a big draw regardless who they play. Seattle will be without running back Marshawn Lynch as he recovers from an abdominal injury. The Seahawks secondary will have to deal with Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown who is second in receiving yards with 1,141 yards on 79 receptions and 5 touchdowns.
Patriots at Broncos
This was expected to be another Brady-Manning matchup but circumstances have not made that possible. The Broncos will be starting Brock Osweiler while Peyton Manning is on the sideline with a foot injury. Osweiler completed 20 out of 27 passes for 250 touchdowns, 2 touchdowns, and most importantly NO INTERCEPTIONS in the Broncos 17-15 at Chicago last Sunday. For that performance, Osweiler was named AFC player of the week for his performance in his first NFL regular season start. He is expected to start this game against the Patriots and the following Sunday at San Diego.
If Osweiler continues to play well, he might replace Manning as the starter as the Broncos playoff chances could hinge on who is under center going forward.
And now the picks.
Kickoff times are Mountain Time
Sunday afternoon games airing in Denver are noted by (DEN)
Picks are in BOLD
Eagles at Lions, CBS 10:30 AM
Panthers at Cowboys, Fox 2:30 PM
Bears at Packers, NBC 6:30 PM
Bills at Chiefs (DEN)
Chargers at Jaguars
Dolphins at Jets
Raiders at Titans
Rams at Bengals (DEN)
Giants at Washington
Saints at Texans
Buccaneers at Colts
Vikings at Falcons
Steelers at Seahawks (DEN)
Cardinals at 49ers
SUNDAY NIGHT, NBC 6:30 PM
Patriots at Broncos
MONDAY NIGHT, ESPN 6:30 PM
Ravens at Browns