Family, food & football what could be better than that? Our resident capper gives you his NFL picks for each Turkey Day game. Sit back, relax & let’s fatten our wallets along with our bellies.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Detroit Lions
Let’s face it folks. Chip Kelly’s Eagles have been more disappointing than a birthday card without any money inside. The offense was supposed to be a carbon copy of the high-octane, rev your engines offense that he ran at Oregon. Unfortunately you can’t turn a Chevy Volt into a Lamborghini Aventador by wishing real hard. While Sam Bradford has not been the definitive problem plaguing this lackluster offense neither has he been the Holy Grail that Kelly was counting on to lead his team to the Promised Land.
The team has a youthful, aka inexperienced, corps of receivers and an offensive line that has been overwhelmed at times this season. Defensively, the team is deep in the doldrums after last week’s 45-17 shellacking at the hands of the Bucs in which Tampa Bay rushed for a total of 283 yards while their 521 combined yards was second most ever in a regular season game for the franchise. This team is in shambles and there is so little confidence in backup Mark Sanchez, who started for the injured Bradford last week and threw three picks in the process, that Bradford has reportedly showed up to practice and may play.
Regardless which quarterback starts for the Eagles, the Lions should deliver a win for the fan friendlies at Ford Field. Matthew Stafford has more weapons and Calvin Johnson is due for an uptick in production against a weak Philly secondary. Detroit’s defense has been playing very well and they are shooting for their third consecutive victory after a horrendous start. Lions are hot, the Eagles are not.
NFL Pick: Play Detroit +1 (-110) at Heritage
Carolina Panthers vs. Dallas Cowboys
We know which side is the square side don’t we boys and girls? Yes, Joe Q. Public and the gang will be betting Carolina like they’re reading Friday’s newspapers. But doesn’t it make you wonder just a bit why Dallas, who comes into this game with a 2-7 record, is essentially being dealt as a pick’em by the NFL odds makers against one of only two undefeated teams left in the league? Is there really that much parity in the NFL that virtually nothing separates the contenders from the pretenders (if Dallas is even considered a pretender)?
Well Joe Q. Public slide down a chair because I’m drinking with you this evening and will heartily indulge in all the drivel that you will spew about Carolina being at least two touchdowns better than Dallas even if Romo and Bryant are back in uniform. Look, I’ve been around too long to drink the Kool-Aid that the public is eager to indulge regarding this game. I know home field advantage is a huge edge in professional football and that no team is ever as good as it looks on its best day nor as bad as it appears on its worst.
But that being said I think this Carolina defense will be too demanding a test for Romo. They are tied for 2nd in sacks with 31 and will relentlessly pursue Romo whose chief target, Dez Bryant, is almost certainly not fully recovered from his own injury. Cam Newton is realizing his enormous potential this season and I say Superman will rule over that big ol’ Texas star this Thursday.
NFL Pick: Play Carolina PK (-120) at 5Dimes
Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers
If you check the Packers’ stats you will find that –shhhh – they’re not all that impressive offensively this season. I know – Aaron Rodgers - one of the best of all time, right? Well Rodgers no longer has those twin turbos on the edges to throw to and Eddie Lacey has not been his explosive self this season coming out of the backfield due to nagging injuries. The lack of a top tier passing game (ranks 22nd) has allowed opposing defenses to focus on the run more readily. Defensively the Pack has been sound allowing only 19.8 PPG (tied for 8th) but their passing defense ranks 22nd allowing an average of 255 YPG.
Conversely the Bears look like they’re getting better and believe it or not boast a pass defense that ranks 4th in the league. Jay Cutler will drive you mad I know but there’s an unmistakable mojo going on right now as Chicago has won two of their last three contests and could be getting Matt Forte back in uniform for this one while top receiver Alshon Jeffrey’s status is still questionable.
The Packers are no longer formidable as evidenced by their loss to the Lions at Lambeau. I believe the oddsmakers are being too charitable to those bold enough to back the Bears and I intend to take full advantage of that Thanksgiving generosity.
NFL Pick: Play the Bears +10 (-130) at 5Dimes