By Doug Halberstadt
Turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie and professional football — they all go together on Thanksgiving Day. Tomorrow (Thursday, Nov. 22) in addition to the feast of food, there will also be a feast of football. The NFL has three games scheduled for the holiday.
The Lions and the Cowboys are the two teams that traditionally have games. The Patriots and the Jets will join the festivities in the Thursday night game. The Lions will host the Houston Texans and Dallas will test their luck at home against their divisional rival, the Washington Redskins. I think the Redskins, Texans and the Patriots will enjoy celebrating their wins with an extra helping of turkey and all the trimmings. That means the Lions, Cowboys and Jets will have to deal with a case of indigestion.
A full slate of games is on tap for Sunday (Nov. 25). The bye weeks are over, and it’s back to work for everyone. The Bears and the Vikings get things started in Soldier Field. Jay Cutler is expected to be back under center for Chicago following a concussion sustained during the game against the Texans Nov. 11. That should help the Bears’ offense and be the deciding difference in the game. I like the Bears at home.
The Cincinnati Bengals are at home against the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders have only won one of the five games they’ve played away from Oakland this season. I look for their road woes to continue. I’m taking the Bengals.
Another AFC matchup has the Steelers traveling to Cleveland. With or without Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback, I don’t think the Steelers will have any trouble beating the Browns.
Staying in the AFC, the Colts have a home game against the Buffalo Bills. I look for Andrew Luck and his teammates to bounce back from their loss against the Patriots last week. I’m going with the Colts at home.
The Tennessee Titans and the Jacksonville Jaguars will face one another in the Sunshine State. The Jaguars are one of the worst teams in the league and only have one win all season. I don’t see them picking up No. 2 this week. Take the Titans.
The other team that only has one win this year is the Kansas City Chiefs. It won’t get any better for them this week. They have to face one of the hottest quarterbacks in the league. Peyton Manning and his Broncos will hand them their 10th loss.
It’s a well-known fact that the Seattle Seahawks are a better team at home (5-0) than they are on the road (1-4). This week, they have to travel to Miami to play the Dolphins. I think the Seahawks will pick up their second road win of the year this weekend.
Nine wins and one loss is the best record in the league, and it belongs to the Atlanta Falcons. They will be going for win No. 10 this week in Tampa Bay. I think the Falcons will get the job done and be the first team to reach double digits in the win column.
The Baltimore Ravens will make the cross-country trip to San Diego. The Chargers have the home-field advantage, but the Ravens have the better team all-around. I am going with Baltimore to pick up a win on the road.
In the desert, the Arizona Cardinals will host the St. Louis Rams. The Rams have not won a road game all year. They did tie the 49ers in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago. Arizona should be able to defend their home turf and send the Rams back to St. Louis still looking for their first win away from the arch.
The New Orleans Saints have a home game against the 49ers. Despite their 5-5 record, the Saints seemed to have figured things out recently. They have won their last three games in a row. I think they stand a good chance to make it four straight. I am taking the Saints.
The best matchup of the week will not be played until Sunday night. The Green Bay Packers will be on the road to face the New York Giants. These two teams appear headed in opposite directions. The Giants have dropped their last two games, and the Packers have won their last five. The intangible element here is Eli Manning. He always seems to play better when there is something on the line. This is a big game in front of a national television audience. I predict he’ll answer the challenge and lead the G-Men to a win over the Pack.
The Monday night game features the Carolina Panthers in Philadelphia. For a Monday night game, this is a dud. Neither team will see post-season action. They might as well start playing for draft pick position. I’m taking the Eagles, only because they are the home team.
Last week, I was 11-2 heading into the Monday night game. I took the Bears over the 49ers in that one.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the Nov. 21-27, 2012, issue