It’s time to get thankful for all the cash you’ve been piling up thanks to your ace betting in 2018, right? If not, then you can at least eat until you fall into a coma watching the three Thanksgiving Day football offerings that the NFL week 12 is serving up.
As usual, the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys play host for your Turkey Day enjoyment. The Lions welcome the Chicago Bears to Ford Field and opened as a five-point favorite back in May, though that line will, in no way, look like that come gametime.
That game is followed by the Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys with the Cowboys a touchdown favorite. Over the first six weeks of the season, the NFC East has been in complete turmoil so there’s a good chance that game could be for the division lead.
Lastly, we have a game that looked much better on paper back in May when these odds were first released. The Atlanta Falcons travel to the bayou to take on the New Orleans Saints. The Saints opened as a -3.5 favorite and, regardless of the Falcons’ record when this game kicks off, I can’t see that changing too much.
Thursday Night Football, Nov. 22
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions
Kickoff: 12:30 p.m. EST
Opening Line: Bears -4, Total 45.4
The Bears have been a nice surprise in the first couple of months of the 2018 season. Hiring new head coach Matt Nagy in the offseason and trading for Khalil Mack has flipped the script on the Bears and not only are they competing for a playoff spot, they could very well win the NFC North.
Nagy has turned Mitchell Trubisky loose and, at least early in the season, the bust talk is gone. Chicago has weapons and can score points. They’ll likely be favored by at least three when this one kicks off.
Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys
Kickoff: 4:30 p.m. EST
Opening Line: Cowboys -7.5, Total 40.5
Jason Garrett and Jay Gruden are both coaching for their jobs this season, so the loser of this game might just find himself home for Christmas in the worst way. On the bright side for both guys, early Philadelphia Eagles stumbles have kept the NFC East door ajar and troubles in Atlanta and Seattle mean the NFC Wild Card race should still be wide open when the pumpkin and sweat potato pie is served.
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints
Kickoff: 8:20 p.m. EST
Opening Line: Falcons -13.5, TOtal 59.6
Of all the lines that can move, I don’t see this one going a tick either way. In spite of the Saints early season success and Drew Brees’ MVP campaign, the Falcons remain dangerous on offense. While New Orleans’ defense continues to improve every week, Atlanta has a way of making even the best units look stupid.
A shootout is entirely likely and if the Falcons want to make a late-season Wild Card push, it has to start here against a team that could be leading the NFC South when the opening whistle sounds.
Sunday Games, Nov. 25
Jacksonville Jaguars at Buffalo Bills
Line: Jaguars -3
Oakland Raiders at Baltimore Ravens
Line: Ravens -11
San Francisco 49ers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Line: Bucs -3.5
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
Line: Eagles -6
Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals
Line: Bengals -3
New England Patriots at New York Jets
Line: Patriots -9.5
Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers
Line: Panthers -3.5
Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts
Line: Colts -9.5
Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Chargers
Line: Chargers -12
Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos
Line: Steelers -3.5
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
Kickoff: 8:20 p.m. EST
Opening Line: Vikings -3.5, Total 48
In spite of all the flex rules in place for Sunday Night at this point, I don’t see this game moving at all, in spite of whatever the Packers and Vikings’ records are at the time. The NFC North, thanks to Mike McCarthy’s coaching and a vicious early schedule for Minnesota should still be in play, so this game could decide who will battle the Bears for supremacy and who will be struggling for a Wild Card berth.
Monday Night Football, Nov. 26
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans
Kickoff: 8:15 p.m. EST
Opening Line: Texans -6, Total 41.5
Speaking of flex games, ESPN really needs to find a way to get into that mix as no one, especially after the first six weeks of the season, is excited to see the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans square off in prime time.
Both these teams have disappointed out the gate and while you could argue, because Bill O’Brien’s coaching track record, it’s not a surprise in Houston, Tennessee’s struggles should be a shock to everyone. There’s just too much offensive talent on that team for them to play they way they do week-to-week. It’s like they’re still being haunted by the ghost of Jeff Fisher when they fired him over a decade ago.
While Titans head coach Mike Vrabel will have at least one more year to prove he has no place in the NFL, O’Brien is heading out the door after this season if he can’t finish better than .500. For the Texans’ sake, let’s hope he doesn’t.
This line will likely sit about the same, as Deshaun Watson remains a dynamic scoring machine. He’s just in desperate need of a coach who knows how to put a gameplan together. On Tennessee’s side, Marucs Mariota is running out of time on his franchise quarterback potential. This should have been a break out year for him and so far, it’s been a disaster. The clock is ticking for the former Heisman Trophy winner.