Thanksgiving week brings a lovely drip-feed of football throughout the back end of the week which will no doubt carry on the momentum from the madness in Week 11; The Saints racked up 48 against Philly, the Chiefs and the Rams hit 105 in total, and 10 of 13 games had margins of 5 points or less. Bring on Week 12!
Detroit come into this one looking for their fifth Thanksgiving win in six years off the back of a 20-19 upset of the Carolina Panthers at home. On the other hand, Chicago bears maintained top spot in the NFC North with a vital 25-20 win over divisional rivals Minnesota Vikings. Both come into this one off a short turnaround and Chicago harbour the gravest injury concerns with Mitchell Trubisky carrying a shoulder problem. Detroit, however, may be without running back Kerryon Johnson, Theo Riddick and LeGarrette Blount. Regardless, Detroit’s key man, Matthew Stafford, remains fit and will look to steer the Lions to their fifth home win against the Bears in six fixtures. He faces the stern task, however, of overcoming the league’s third best defence. To do so, he’ll need to keep the ball away from DT Akiem Hicks, who comes into this off a career-high five tackles for loss last time out, as well as prolific LB Khalil Mack, who also leads the NFL with five forced fumbles. Interestingly, Detroit will take pleasure with their recent record at home in this fixture having won 4 out of the last 5, while Chicago are also 2-6 against the spread in their past 8 visits. Considering Chicago are likely to be without Trubisky in conjunction with Detroit’s run of good form and their recent home record against the Bears, it’s wise to play in favour of the home side.
Who do we think wins? Detroit Lions
Probable margin? 1-6
Washington take on Dallas in the primetime Thanksgiving fixture steeped in history. The Cowboys have faced Washington more times than any other opponent on Thanksgiving and have a dominant 7-1 record in the fixture. On top of that, the Cowboys have strung two wins together and come into this off the back of a dramatic win against Atlanta Falcons, in stark contrast to the Redskins who went down by two points at home last time out against Houston. It looks as though things are on the up for Cowboys and quite the contrary for the Redskins with Dak Prescott producing stellar performances in recent weeks for Dallas while Redskins franchise QB Alex Smith suffered a horrific leg break in Week 11. The only real negative for the Cowboys sits with inspirational LB Shaun Lee on IR after he limped off with hamstring complaints two weeks ago. With Washington losing last week and Dallas upsetting Atlanta at home, the division is now up for grabs and Dallas look the side to take control to tie the divisional lead this Thursday.
Who do we think wins? Dallas Cowboys
Probable margin? 13-18
The Saints come into this one off the back of a 48-7 thrashing of last year’s Super Bowl Champions, while Atlanta fell foul of a late Dallas Cowboys field goal to top off a woeful couple of weeks. The match looks like a walk-over and that’s exactly what it’s going to be. Saints have scored 40+ in 4 of their last 5 games at home and come into this off the back of a 9-game win streak are also ticking along with the 6th best Offence in terms of yards per game and the 9th best on points per game. There should be some points in this one regardless of the result and it will likely be a game dominated by passing offence with the Falcons’ abhorrent ground game. Undoubtedly, Kamara and Ingram will still have a field day on the ground for the Saints, while Drew Brees and Michael Thomas dominate aerially in what looks like a rather ominous match-up for the travelling Falcons. It’s fair to say the Saint’s will be extending their winning run on Friday morning, and likely in emphatic fashion.
Who do we think wins? New Orleans Saints
Probable margin? 25-30
Our final Pick 4 game sees the well-rested Seahawks travel to Carolina on Sunday off the back of a lengthy Thursday-Sunday turnaround. Seattle come into this after a clutch 4th quarter win over the Green Bay Packers while the Panthers have lost their last two games; An embarrassment at Pittsburgh followed field 1-point loss against Detroit on the road. Their home record is exceptional, however, having won 12 straight at the Bank of America Stadium. This one’s a mouth-watering match up of two resurgent quarterbacks, with Russell Wilson coming into this off the back of a magical performance against Green Bay and Cam Newton looking untouchable two-games prior. In addition, the Seahawks lay claim to the best rushing offence in the league and Carolina sit 7th so it should shape up as a hard-hitting affair, while both teams fighting for a playoff spot behind the Saints and Rams in their respective divisions will certainly add fuel to the fire. Finally, historically Seattle have the metal over Carolina having won 3 of the last 4 in Charlotte by 5 points or less. Prepare for a tight one unless Carolina find their offence that blew out Tampa and Baltimore just under a month ago.
Who do we think wins? Carolina Panthers
Probable margin? 7-12