Thanksgiving NFL Pick’em
This season, I’ll be providing my picks every week for you, our readers. Last year, I was Gridiron’s top NFL Pick’em guru on Tallysight, going 167-99-1 (63%). We’re hoping to have even more success this year! Each week, I’ll give you my picks for the game, and a short write-up centered around the key reason why I’m making the pick that I am. You can also click over to see all our Free NFL picks for the week with more than a dozen Gridiron Experts picking each game.
And we’re off!
Houston (-3) @ Detroit | O/U 51.5
In this Thanksgiving affair, we’ll see the Texans travel to Detroit for the Lions’ annual Turkey Day contest. Houston has won 2 of their last 3, including last week’s victory over the Patriots. With that said, they’ve lost 3 tight games this season to teams in the AFC playoff hunt (Titans by 6, Browns by 3, Steelers by 7). This team is much better than they look on paper, and Romeo Crennel seems to have his boys figuring things out. QB Deshaun Watson is undoubtedly the centerpiece of this offensive attack, as he sports 2,883 passing yards and a 20:5 TD to INT ratio on the season, adding 2 rushing scores for good measure. Watson will yet again be without RB David Johnson who sits on IR. Duke Johnson has been pedestrian in relief so far. The Texans WR corps has been pretty solid top to bottom with Will Fuller V healthy and leading the way with 708 yards and 6 TD so far this season. Brandin Cooks has also been effective from time to time, accumulating 634 yards and 3 scores himself. For Detroit, Matthew Stafford hopes to have his rookie RB, D’Andre Swift back in the fold for this contest. Swift seems likely to play, should he clear the league’s concussion protocol. Unfortunately, the Detroit offense has only averaged 18.8 points per game over their last 5 games. They’ll need to be much more efficient offensively. This offense revolves around WR Kenny Golladay who has been out of the lineup with a hip injury as of late. Golladay seems unlikely to play, so that’ll put the onus back on WR Marvin Jones Jr. to produce. All things considered, I don’t feel that Detroit’s 28th ranked scoring defense will be able to contain Watson, Fuller & Co. on Thursday. I see the Texans stealing this one as road favorites.
Texans 29-25. (Picks: Houston ML / Houston -3 / Over 51.5)
Washington @ Dallas (-3) | O/U 46
In a shocking turn of events, these 2 NFC East teams are coming off of a win in Week 11. Washington knocked off the Bengals 20-9 at home while the Cowboys won a thriller at Minnesota. With the Vikings surging as of late, it made the win all the more impressive for America’s Team. Andy Dalton played his best game of the season, logging 3 TD and spreading the ball out masterfully. CeeDee Lamb sported a highlight-reel catch, while Amari Cooper caught 6 of 7 targets for 81 yards. Ezekiel Elliott turned 21 totes into 103 scoreless yards, while Tony Pollard took a 42-yard carry to the end zone to spark the rushing attack. Alex Smith was a bit less impressive but did throw a touchdown in his victory over the Bengals. Antonio Gibson was effective, logging 94 yards on only 16 carries and adding a score in the process. Terry McLaurin was workmanlike as always, and the defense played their part. Washington’s weakness this year has been their offense. If they want a chance in this game, they’ll need to get Gibson and McLaurin going early and often against this exploitable Dallas pass defense. The Dallas defense has yielded 318 points so far this year, the worst mark in the league. Washington, on the other hand, has only let up 227 points — good for 9th in the league. I think that the Football Team will dial up the pressure on Dalton in this game and see it coming down to the wire. All that said, Dallas has been playing good football the last two weeks. If Elliott can get going early, I see Dallas outscoring the Football Team in this affair.
Cowboys 28-22. (Picks: Dallas ML / Dallas -3 / Over 46)
Baltimore @ Pittsburgh (-5.5) | O/U 44.5 (GAME MOVED TO SUNDAY)
In the marquee matchup on Thursday evening, Baltimore will face their division rival (and undefeated) Pittsburgh Steelers. Baltimore has hit a bump in the road, losing 3 of their last 4 games, while the Steelers have won 10 straight to start the season. Pittsburgh is excelling on both sides of the ball, ranking 4th in points scored per game and 1st in points allowed. Baltimore on the other hand has sputtered offensively, compared to their elite scoring rate last season. They rank 12th in the league in points scored per game, compared to 3rd in points allowed. Pittsburgh’s pass rush has been unbelievable, logging a league-leading 38 sacks so far this season and they also lead the league in interceptions with 15. Many expect a defensive struggle in this affair, but it should be noted that Calais Campbell missed Baltimore’s practice yesterday and is legitimately questionable for the contest. Campbell’s absence would be huge and would allow Pittsburgh to pound the rock with James Conner. When Conner won’t be toting the ball, Ben Roethlisberger will have a plethora of options to target with the ever-reliable JuJu Smith-Schuster, target-monster Diontae Johnson, and rookie TD-machine Chase Claypool in the mix as well. All 3 WRs have at least 535 receiving yards and 4 TDs, while Eric Ebron has added 4 TDs from the Tight End position. Lamar Jackson will lead the Ravens’ offensive attack which is heavily run-focused. Jackson has been a shell of his MVP-caliber self so far this season and might be without a few key components in his offense. JK Dobbins and Mark Ingram are currently on the COVID list; so, the Ravens will turn to Gus Edwards to lead the backfield with Jackson on Sunday. Jackson will also turn to TE Mark Andrews and WR Marquise Brown to mix things up. Brown was ineffective against the awful Titans secondary last weekend, so he’ll need to improve come Sunday to give the Ravens a chance. With all that said, I feel that the Ravens were at a disadvantage at full-strength. Now, potentially without Campbell, Dobbins, and Ingram, I just don’t see how this offense scores enough points to beat the best defense (and team) in the NFL.
Steelers 27-20. (Picks: Steelers ML / Steelers -5.5 / Over 44.5)
SUNDAY QUICK PICKS
- Los Angeles Chargers @ Bills (-5.5) – BUF Straight Up, LAC +5.5
- Cleveland (-6.5) @ Jacksonville – CLE Straight Up, CLE -6.5
- Tennessee @ Indianapolis (-3.5) – TEN Straight Up, TEN +3.5
- New York Giants (-5.5) @ Cincinnati – NYG Straight Up, NYG – 5.5
- Miami (-7) @ New York Jets – MIA Straight Up, MIA -7
- Las Vegas (-3) @ Atlanta – LVR Straight Up, LVR -3
- Carolina @ Minnesota (-4) – MIN Straight Up, CAR +4
- Arizona (-2.5) @ New England – ARI Straight Up, ARI -2.5
- San Francisco @ Los Angeles Rams (-7) – LAR Straight Up, LAR -7
- New Orleans (-6) @ Denver – NO Straight Up, NO -6
- Kansas City (-3.5) @ Tampa Bay – KC Straight Up, TB +3.5
- Chicago @ Green Bay (-9) – GB Straight Up, CHI +9
- Seattle (-5.5) @ Philadelphia – SEA Straight Up, SEA -5.5
Enjoy the games! Until next week…