NFL Thanksgiving Day Preview
Packers (5-5-1) @ Lions (6-5)
Matt Flynn gets his chance one again to start a game that could end up being his only one with the Packers. Sounds familiar, right? One of the richest backup quarterbacks in the league will look to make an up-for-grabs NFC North. Flynn led a comeback last week that wasn’t good enough to win or lose. The Packers and Vikings tied last week at Lambeau. Without Aaron Rodgers, the Packers are an entirely different team. They have yet to win since he broke his left collarbone November 4th against the Bears.
The Lions have looked at times like the best team in this division, but have lost the last two games to teams worse than them in the Steelers and Bucs. Matthew Stafford was awful last week, throwing for four picks last week against the Bucs in a 24-21 loss. The Packers defeated the Lions earlier in the season, which makes this game essentially a must-win for Detroit at home. Calvin Johnson has put up 505 yards receiving in his last three matchups vs the Packers. Expect that trend to continue today as the Lions squeak by Flynn and the Packers to hold onto the NFC North lead.
LIONS BY 3
Raiders (4-7) @ Cowboys (6-5)
The Cowboys gained plenty of momentum after a monumental win against the Giants on the road last week. While they will be riding high back home to Dallas, they can’t look past the Raiders. The Cowboys are tied for the lead in the NFC East with the Eagles and will take on a Raiders team that is just 1-4 on the road this season. All signs point to a blowout win for the Cowboys, but Darren McFadden will be making his return, which could make things interesting. Rookie QB Matt McGloin has showed some promise in his first two starts, having thrown four TDs and one INT with Terrelle Pryor sidelined. Pryor is set to play, but will remain as the backup. The Cowboys defense has struggled all season, but they have been putting up points at will and Tony Romo won’t disappoint in front of his home crowd. This one will be close, but the Cowboys will take the lead in the division with a Turkey Day victory.
COWBOYS BY 7
Steelers (5-6) @ Ravens (5-6)
Expect some of the most physical football all season in Baltimore Thursday night. The Steelers and Ravens will matchup in a pivotal game that could turn out to be a win-or-go-home Thanksgiving special. The AFC Wild Card race is truly wild right now as six teams are tied for the sixth seed at 5-6. The Steelers and Ravens would lose the tiebreaker to the Titans for the final spot if the season ended today. Pittsburgh might be the hottest team in the NFL right now after starting the season 0-4. The Ravens have been up and down all season, but are coming off a dominant win over the Jets that keeps their season alive. The difference in this game essentially comes down to the Ravens being 4-1 at home this season. Their offense is among the worst in the NFL and Ray Rice has had the worst season of his career. The Steelers are 2-4 on the road, despite playing well lately. You can flip a coin on this game, but with the frigid temperatures, and a sold out crowd in Baltimore, I give the Ravens the slight edge to keep their season alive. This could turn out to be one of the all-time great Thanksgiving day games.
RAVENS BY 3