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Thanksgiving offers enticing NFL games

Last week’s record, 11-3; for the season, 101-59. Pick of the Week, 1-0; 9-2.

That’s more like it. Hopefully I’ve survived a mid-season slump and can now return to my winning ways. Although I hit my Pick of the Week, at this point of the season it doesn’t take a genius to pick the Packers against most anyone. However, when it comes to the Giants, I might as well flip a coin.

Along with Thanksgiving on Thursday come three games to entice you palate. The Packers vs. the Lions, Dolphins vs. Dallas and the 49ers vs. the Ravens all have the potential to be excellent games. As a bonus for local fans, you can start your day at 10:30 a.m. at Van Why Field for the annual Thanksgiving Day Bowl game between the Mountaineers from Housatonic and the Gilbert/Northwestern Co-op team.

This week is full of great matchups, so let’s get on with it. Good luck with your picks, have a great Thanksgiving and go GN.

Thursday, Nov. 24
Housatonic at Gilbert/Northwestern — The Mountaineers have taken some lumps recently during the toughest part of their schedule, but rest assured they will come to town ready to rumble. GN, on the other hand, must recover from this past week’s loss that knocked them out of the playoff picture. Both teams like to run the ball, but look for the Jackets to find the end zone more frequently. The bottom line, Gilbert/Northwestern win handily, 30-17.

Green Bay at Detroit — At this point of the season, the Packers are the best team in the NFL. Aaron Rodgers has raised the level of play at quarterback to new heights, while the defense has been excellent. As for the Lions, they’re in the midst of their best season in years, but they have shown a tendency to fall behind early only to stage late-game comebacks in order to win. They can’t afford to do that this week. I think the Packers will come out on top in a real shootout, 37-33.

Miami at Dallas — The Dolphins have won three in a row and cannot be taken lightly. The Cowboys managed to squeeze by the Redskins and are now tied for the division lead with the Giants. I look for the Cowboys to win another tight one, 23-20.

San Francisco at Baltimore – It’s not often that you get two brothers as head coaches playing against each other. I like the 49ers Harbaugh (Jim) better than the Ravens Harbaugh (John), so I’m picking the 49ers on the road to upset the Ravens, 21-17.

Sunday, Nov. 27
Minnesota at Atlanta — The Vikings have even less of an offense with the possible loss of  Adrien Peterson. The Falcons are in the middle of the playoff hunt and I like them as my Pick of the Week, 27-16.

Houston at Jacksonville — The Texans are coming off a bye week, but that’s not necessarily good. The Jags aren’t terrible, but in the end the Texans come on strong and win this one, 34-20.

Tampa at Tennessee — The Bucs seem to have a tough opponent every week, and this week is no different. I like the Titans in this one, especially if Hasselbeck is healthy. Titans win, 23-19.

Arizona at St. Louis — Neither team is headed anywhere this year, so I’ll go with with what I think is the better of the two. Arizona wins on the road, 20-17.

Cleveland at Cincinnati — I’m not too big on the Browns, but the Bengals are playing well even in their loss last week to the Ravens. I like the Bengals in this game, 27-17.

Buffalo at New York Jets — Here are two teams that are both struggling. The question is, who is struggling the most? I think it’s the Bills, so I’m going with the Jets, 24-21.

Carolina at Indianapolis — The season is lost for the Colts, so why ruin a perfect no-win season at this point in time? Here’s hoping that QB Cam Newton has a big game and the Panthers win, 33-19.

Washington at Seattle — Not much to say here except that both teams played well last week. However, the Redskins lost in overtime and I think they’ll lose again this week. I’ll take the Seahawks in this game, 19-13.

Chicago at Oakland — Excellent matchup here. Both teams play tough defense, but with Bears QB Jay Cutler out with finger injury I like the Raiders chances. I’ll stick with Oakland in this game, 24-20.

New England at Philadelphia — Don’t ask me why, but for some reason I think the Eagles can win this game. The Patriots defense is still suspect and that will lead to their downfall. I’ll stick with Philly in this one, 27-24.

Denver at San Diego — At this point in time, both teams are still alive in the AFC West. Tim Tebow continues to find ways to win, especially when I pick against him. With that said, I’ll go with the Chargers to start their annual last season run, 24-23.

Pittsburgh at Kansas City — The Steelers are coming off their bye week and that should help them get healthy, especially Big Ben. KC is without QB Matt Cassel and that spells trouble. I look for the Steelers to start slow but end up strong in a 31-13 victory.

Monday, Nov. 28
New York Giants at New Orleans — It’s impossible for me to pick the Giants in this game, even though they have a tendency to play well against good teams. The Saints are coming off a bye week so they may start slow, but in the end they win this game, 31-27.

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