By Doug Halberstadt
The NFL has wisely scheduled three games for Thanksgiving Day this year. As long as I can recall, Detroit and Dallas have always played during the day on Thanksgiving. Detroit is hosting Green Bay, and Dallas is at home against Oakland. I like both of the home teams in those match-ups.
This year, the league has added a night game to the holiday line-up. Tomorrow night (Thursday, Nov. 28), the Baltimore Ravens will host the Pittsburgh Steelers. Much like Detroit and Dallas, I think the home cooking will serve the Ravens best and allow them to knock off the Steelers.
There’s a full slate of games scheduled to open up the month of December on Sunday. The Carolina Panthers will be looking to pick up their eighth win in a row when Tampa Bay comes into Charlotte. I think the Panthers will be successful in making it eight straight.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have to travel to Cleveland this week. The Browns will be looking to bounce back from a home loss last week to the Steelers. The Jags are hoping to pick up their third-straight win. I’m going with the Browns.
Indianapolis has a home game against Tennessee. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has had a couple of poor performances recently and wasn’t able to bring home a win against the Cardinals last week. He will be much more comfortable this week back at home. I like the Colts at Lucas Oil Field.
The Broncos will be trying to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs for the second time in three weeks. Last time, they beat them in Denver. This time, they’ll face the Chiefs on their home turf. I don’t think it’ll make much of a difference. If I’m correct, this will be the third loss in a row for Kansas City after they dropped their game against the Chargers last week.
I’ll be in Minneapolis to catch the Bears taking on the Vikings. Neither team won last week. The Bears were embarrassed by the Rams, and the Vikings tied with the Packers. I surely hope my trip won’t be in vain. I fully expect to see a Bears’ victory.
The Dolphins expect to see a victory as well. They’re up against the Jets in New York. Both teams are 5-6 and coming off losses. Even though the Jets have the home-field advantage, I’m taking Miami.
Both the Eagles and the Cardinals have decent win streaks going. Arizona has won four in a row, and Philadelphia has won their last three. The Eagles were on a bye last week and are well rested. I think they’ll take full advantage of being well rested and at home, and they will stop the Cardinals’ streak at four.
The Falcons are also on a streak — a bad one. They’ve lost five of their last five. I look for that streak to continue this week when they’re in Buffalo.
The San Francisco 49ers will host the Rams. St. Louis ran all over the Bears’ defense last week. I don’t think we’ll see a repeat of that ground-and-pound that worked so well against Chicago. I’m taking San Fran.
New England always seems to peak when the calendar hits December. I don’t think it’ll be any different this year. They play the Texans in Houston. That’s really bad news for the Texans. The Patriots will hand them their 10th-straight loss.
San Diego is back home after a big come-from-behind win over the Chiefs last week. I look for them to build on that momentum. They should be able to ride that wave this week against the visiting Bengals. I’m taking the Chargers to make it back-to-back wins.
The New York Giants go on the road to face the Washington Redskins in an NFC rivalry. Neither team has lived up to expectations this season. For no other reason than a gut instinct, I’m picking the Giants.
In the tradition of saving the best for last, the Monday night game has the New Orleans Saints visiting the Seattle Seahawks. These are two of the best teams in the NFL. The Saints are 9-2, and Seattle is 10-1 and undefeated in Seattle this season. The Saints have won three in a row. Seattle is riding a six-game win streak. This has the makings of a real offensive shoot-out. I’m taking the Seahawks in a high-scoring thrill ride.
Last week, I suffered another rough one. I was 5-7-1 with only the Monday night game to be played at press time. I took the 49ers over the Redskins in that game.
From the Nov. 27-Dec. 3, 2013, issue