Happy Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating – The annual Thursday Football extravaganza means a reduced slate of Sunday games, but try these five picks on for size.
All road teams…
(2021 Predictions W-L-D: 29-25-1 53%)
Jets @ Texans (-2.5) – 18:00
In the weekly ‘I can’t believe I’m doing this’ slot, we see a game where the TEXANS are starting off as point favourites.
In my mind there’s a cigarette paper between the two in terms of ineptitude, and in terms of impact players I’d give a slight edge to the Jets.
While they might be getting beat every week, the likes of Elijah Moore, Alijah Vera-Tucker and Michael Carter have been providing bright spots as young talents.
The aforementioned Moore had 141 yards last week catching the ball from Joe Flacco!
I know Tyrod Taylor provides the Texans with an offense that is something other than putrid, but I can’t believe they’ll show anything like a similar performance than what we saw against the Titans.
Sometimes, divisional games just get a little funky. We get the return of Zach Wilson for this one and if there’s any talent in the #2 overall pick, we’ll see it here. Jets with the upset.
Prediction: Jets 24 Texans 21 (Jets +2.5)
Eagles (-3.5) @ Giants – 18:00
Who saw Philly hanging around the playoff picture this long after their awful start?
The jury might still be out on HC Nick Sirianni, but Jalen Hurts is looking like a franchise player more and more each week.
They get to play a Giants team who have a short week after getting blasted by Tampa Bay in Monday Night Football, and without OC Jason Garrett.
He was fired after Big Blue couldn’t find the redzone once on their own; their only non-kicking points came via a fluke interception by Tom Brady.
Don’t look now but the Eagles are putting together a formidable rushing game.
They lead the league in rushing first downs and only the Browns have more total yards.
Unfortunately for the Giants, they rank bottom ten in yards per carry allowed.
In a big game for Philly (they’re only two games behind Dallas in the NFC East) I can see them wearing down the home team, who probably won’t be getting much help from the stands if social media is anything to go by.
Eagles by a score, it could be more.
Prediction: Eagles 30 Giants 23 (Eagles -3.5)
Steelers @ Bengals (-4.5) – 18:00
Are we able to just forget the last 25 years of this division and expect the Bengals to take care of business, in a big game, against their big nemesis? I can’t.
We’ve already seen Cincy drop the ball in big spots, and if there is one quality about Pittsburgh that shouldn’t be overlooked, it’s that they hang around in games.
They’ve lost on the road by more than a score just once this season and that was against a top-three team in the Packers.
It’s no Steel Curtain but there’s a solid defense there for the Black and Yellow when their starters are on the field:
They should have Minkah Fitzpatrick back and could have Joe Haden and TJ Watt too, which would be huge.
If Big Ben can continue to play around his limitations and be careful with the Football (just four picks so far this year) then the Steelers will have a chance.
Even if the game is getting away from them, their ability to play till the end could see a backdoor cover.
I’m going for a last second field goal to win it for someone; as the Bengals are at home I’ll give it to them, but I see the Steelers covering the spread.
Prediction: Steelers 26 Bengals 28 (Steelers +4.5)
Titans @ Patriots (-6.5) – 18:00
It might well have been a large old shock to see the Titans lose their ‘hottest team in Football’ tag in a big way, but are the bookies really going to give them 6.5 points here all of a sudden?
As I’ve said on this column multiple times, good teams that get embarrassed one week usually come back the next with something to prove.
And so it goes here: That loss to the Texans might well have given Tennessee a quick gut check.
Mike Vrabel will have been coaching the hell out of them this week, you know that he’ll be desperate to get a win against the franchise he is so intrinsically linked with.
The Titans are 4-1 against the spread on the road, New England are 2-2 as a home favourite.
There’s hope that AJ Brown will play and it would be big for him to be out there at Gillette Stadium.
He’s a nice match against the Patriots secondary, with Ryan Tannehill looking to ease the burden on a Derrick Henry-less running game.
This is another one where I do think the home team will prevail, but there’s a lot of rope in 6.5 points, with New England yet to blow out a truly good team this season (Note: The Cleveland Browns are not truly good. Stop).
Prediction: Titans 28 Patriots 31 (Titans +6.5)
Vikings @ 49ers (-3) – 21:25
The Vikings are the craziest team around right now and when you look at some of the things going on in 2021, that’s some feat.
They still haven’t been in a game that was decided by more than one score, and their takedown of Green Bay should give them all the confidence in the world.
The 49ers finally averted their home hoodoo by beating the Rams but I’m not fully prepared to say that everything was fixed in that one game. Likewise their win over the lowly Jags.
The Vikings are 4-1 against the spread away from home and a perfect 3-0 as a road underdog. You know this game will be close, all Minnesota games are.
If they can stymie Nick Bosa (ten sacks for the year) then the game is there to be won by Kirk Cousins, who statistically has the most accurate deep ball in the league this year.
I’m taking another upset and the Vikings to firm up a potential wildcard place.
Prediction: Vikings 32 49ers 30 (Vikings +3)
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