Durden and I both went 10-4-2 last week so these games are my last chance to gain some ground before his flight gets in tomorrow and I have to pay up the current 7 In-N-Out cheeseburger deficit.
Happy Thanksgiving to all 4 of my avid readers/fans and enjoy the games.
onto the picks...
Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions +3.5
Mazzone: Growing up I learned the “never bet against the Lions on Thanksgiving” mantra. I never quite understood it, as it felt like they were always terrible (turns out from 1982-2000 they were 12-7 on Thanksgiving despite finishing .500 or worse 12 times during that same timeframe).
Regardless of how bad they were, or how good the team they were playing against was, it was always fun to see friends and family (heck I probably even did it a couple times) pick against them and shake my head and say “Come on, everyone knows you NEVER bet against the Lions on Thanksgiving,” then we’d all sit down and watch Barry Sanders have a field day, or Scott Mitchell throw for a team-record 410 yards (1995 44-38 win over Minnesota). Even when they lost, it was usually interesting, with only one of the aforementioned seven losses being by more than 7 points.
But, that being said, I’ve been told you’re also not supposed to bet against Brett Favre (especially this season) and besides, the Lions have just ONE win in their last six games on Thanksgiving…
wait for it…
wait for it…
waaaaaaaaaait for it….
that win was November 27th, 2002
Detroit Lions 22 – Green Bay Packers 14.
Pick: NEVER BET AGAINST THE LIONS ON THANKSGIVING +3.5...when they play the packers
Durden: Brett Favre has suggested that the Packers' success this season could prompt him to return next season. "If last season gave me hope, if I felt optimistic after our Chicago game last year at 8-8 and not making the playoffs, sure, I obviously have to feel a little bit better -- especially individually," Favre said.
Regardless of what he says between now and their inevitable loss in the playoffs, we should all know better and fully anticipate another off-season of ‘will-he-or-won’t-he’ BS. In the meantime, I’m already pulling for the Cowboys to beat them next week after they beat Detroit tomorrow.
Pick: Packers -3.5
New York Jets @ Dallas Cowboys -14.5
Mazzone: My favorite Cowboys Thanksgiving games were 2003 (Jay Fiedler and Chris Chambers lit them up) and of course the 1993 game which I’ll leave to Wikipedia to recap:
On Thanksgiving Day in 1993, during a rare snow and sleet storm in Dallas, the Cowboys were leading the Miami Dolphins 14-13 with mere seconds remaining in the game. The Dolphins attempted a 41-yard field goal to take the lead but the kick was blocked. While most of his teammates began celebrating, Lett attempted to recover the ball but slipped on the ice as he attempted to pick the football up, and Miami recovered the "muff" on the Dallas one yard line. There was no need to pick up the ball as the Cowboys would have automatically received possession and could have simply run out the clock. By touching the ball and then failing to hold onto it, Lett enabled the Dolphins to take possession and then try another field goal. This second attempt was successful and the Dolphins won the game 16-14.
Ah, the good ol’ days, anyway, the Jets suck and in no way will they put together back to back successful performances.
Pick: Dallas -14.5
Durden: Anyone else get a kick out of Randy Moss continuing to upstage “the other #81” last week? Were it not for Moss and the Patriots, you have to imagine TO would be getting a lot more attention than he’s currently getting, and I’m sure the Cowboys’ record is of little consolation to him. I thought about taking the Jets here after a shocking win over the Steelers, but I know I’d regret it after the Cowboys go up 7 on their first possession. Therefore, sign me up for Dallas, and sign Terrell up for the biggest piece of turducken – or whatever it is they’re awarding nowadays.
Pick: Cowboys -14.5
Indianapolis Colts @ Atlanta Falcons -12
Mazzone: If a football game is played on the NFL network but nobody’s cable carrier shows it, does it actually count? My guess is that if Joey Harrington wins, probably not.
Last week, one of the guys I play fantasy football with actually asked me if he should start Schaub vs. New Orleans or Peyton Manning at home vs. the Chiefs. I tried to talk him into Schaub for a bit, but in the end he settled on Peyton as the safer play. To be honest, it was tough to disagree with him, all things considered, but it was his team and not mine, so I had no problem pushing for Schaub against a Saints pass defense I tore apart (just like every QB they’ve played against) in the weekly pick ‘em. I never would have imagined it would turn out as lopsided as it did in favor of Schaub. Just five minutes ago, I got the following instant messages from the same person.
“manning or schaub…my feelings on the two have also reversed [from last week], now i almost feel schaubber is the safe play in a certain shootout vs cleveland. while manning is the thanksgiving home run play vs a potentially imploding birds team”
Has it really come to this for Peyton and the Colts? Sadly, it has, and if I can’t trust the injury depleted Colts to cover a large spread at home against the Chiefs then I don’t feel comfortable with them covering a double digit spread on the road against anyone.
Pick: Falcons +12
Durden: While the Colts’ injury woes are being widely acknowledged, it appears to me that most are choosing to focus on the lack of receiving options, as opposed to the hits the offensive line has taken. This is especially so for Patriot fans, who are giddy that Peyton is having to play with only one reliable receiving option. However, I’d just like to remind the Manning bashers that Brady has never had to deal with a poor offensive line, let alone one so decimated by injuries.
As for this game, it’s not so much that I’m confident in the Colts, because I’m not. I just don’t see how the Falcons can keep this game close, especially if Indy features Addai. Atlanta cut DT Grady Jackson earlier this season, and now they’ve lost two additional defensive tackles this week for the season, with Rod Coleman being the more significant loss. I expect the Colts to put together a solid performance and regroup after this recent tough stretch, in anticipation of their big game next week vs Jacksonville.
Pick: Colts -12
With that, TPS will likely be taking the rest of the week off aside from the picks for Sunday's games. My views on the Mets options on the mound will have to wait 'til early next week as both my brother (Kurse of Keith fame) and Durden will be in town the rest of the week leading up to a trip to Qualcomm for Chargers/Ravens.
Once again, enjoy the holiday and check back later this week for the rest of our picks.