NFL Thanksgiving Preview: Week 12

We have arrived at the most fun time during the NFL season…the holidays. With the new 17-game schedule, teams are more alive than ever and we’re seeing that translate into more upsets. Get ready to carve up some Turducken because we’ve got three games on tap for Thanksgiving Day.

(-150) Bears at (+130) Lions (+3, o/u 41.5)

It would appear that we are heading for and Andy Dalton vs Tim Boyle showdown to get us underway

The (3-7) Bears have gotta be feeling the sting of their last second loss to the Ravens, as that makes it three close losses in row and they had 4th-quarter leads in two of those. The (0-9-1) Lions still haven’t been able to get a win but they’ve had their chances as of late. Jared Goff is still questionable with his oblique injury and there’s no need to hurry him back, so we may be seeing Tim Boyle under center for Detroit and there are a number of other injuries as well.

Trinity BensonWRKneeLPDNPDNPOut
Matt NelsonTAnkleDNPDNPDNPOut
Halapoulivaati VaitaiGConcussionDNPDNPDNPOut
Michael BrockersDEKnee(-)LPLPQuestionable
Jared GoffQBObliqueLPLPLPQuestionable
Jermar JeffersonRBKnee/AnkleLPLPLPQuestionable

Chicago doesn’t off the hook either as Justin Fields didn’t practice and has been ruled out, so it’s Andy Dalton’s team once again…for now…and there are some other key pieces missing.

Justin FieldsQBRibsDNPDNPDNPOut
Akiem HicksDLAnkleDNPDNPDNPOut
Allen Robinson IIWRHamstringDNPDNPDNPDoubtful
Damien WilliamsRBCalfDNPDNPDNPOut
Eddie JacksonDBHamstringLPLPLPQuestionable
Mario Edwards Jr.DLRibsFPFPLPQuestionable
Tashaun Gipson Sr.DBChestFPFPFPQuestionable
Marquise GoodwinWRShoulderFPFPFPQuestionable

No disrespect to these teams, but this game is a hot mess. It’s not particularly meaningful as both teams will, most likely, miss playoffs. I will have the game on in the background while I clean and do food prep, and it’s still nice to have an early game on Turkey Day. Temper you expectations for this one.

Pick: Bears | ATS: Bears -3 | O/U: Under 41.5

(+270) Raiders at (-340) Cowboys (-7.5, o/u 51.5)

It’s a showdown between two of the NFL’s most-storied franchises

Both the (7-3) Cowboys and the (5-5) Raiders are coming off of tough losses in Week 11 and are looking to rebound against one another. The injury bug bit Dallas pretty hard and they’ve lost two of their last three games are a result. They will still be without Amari Cooper who missed the Chiefs game due to Covid and he’s still in the 10 day inactive window. There’s some question surrounding CeeDee Lamb as well as he suffered a concussion vs KC and hasn’t had much time to clear the league protocols, but he is practicing. We saw what Cooper’s absence did to their offense and they could be in a real pickle without Lamb.

Las Vegas went from 5-2 to 5-5 in a blink, with three straight losses. Injury wise, they are mostly okay with only fullback Alec Inglod and depth lineback Nick Kwiatkowski out for this game. The Raiders have talent, but the litany of off-the-field drama surrounding their organization caught up with them between the chalk lines.

7Dallas Cowboys1029341816816.115723925937528432287.2152287133894.7667765043.612.7
20Las Vegas Raiders1022337336216.012319625437428961697.312822583783.7527567538.410.7
Here’s a look at how their offensive ranks match up

As you can see, the Cowboys’ offense is essentially better everywhere except for turnovers where the Raiders have a slight advantage. The Cowboys have had the better defense too, but it’s not as straight forward.

6Dallas Cowboys1021435566145.8194194225357251914156.7118236103794.454766172232.516.2
24Las Vegas Raiders1026235296815.212821824036222081845.71272951321104.571525212041.710.2
Turnover are the name of game for the Cowboys

The overall yardage stats are about the same for the defenses. I never thought I’d say this but the Raiders are more disciplined on the defensive side, taking significantly fewer penalties. The Boys still have the advantage based on points allowed, turnovers, and scoring percentage.

“America’s Team” has the ability to dictate the pace of this game and we could see a dominant ground attack vs the Raiders’ 4th worst rush defense. Vegas is struggling to score, averaging only 15-ppg over their last, and they will need a lot more than that to handle Dallas. I could still see it being a clos-ish game as both teams could use a big win.

Pick: Cowboys | ATS: Raiders +7.5 | O/U: Under 51.5

(-250) Bills at (+205) Saints (+6, 45.5)

Josh Allen had a signature performance last time he played on Thanksgiving, but it’ll be a first for Trevor Siemian

Just a few weeks ago, both these teams were sitting atop their respective divisions but they head into their Thankgiving primetime matchup both needing wins just to keep pace.

The (6-4) Bills got worked over by the Colts on Sunday and they haven’t had a whole lot of time to diagnose what happened. They just have to shake it off and get their minds right before taking the field. The (5-5) Saints were getting smoked by the Eagles as well, but managed to rally a bit in garbage time so at least they had something to show for it.

The Saints could potentially be missing both running backs on Thanksgiving

The biggest headline for the game is Alvin Kamara being out again for New Orleans, but that’s not the end of their injury concerns. Mark Ingram II is also banged up and they are still dealing with O-line injuries. So, the Saints are banged up right in the heart of their team identity.

Alvin KamaraRBKneeDNPDNPDNPOut
Ryan RamczykTKneeDNPDNPDNPOut
Marcus DavenportDEShoulderDNPDNPDNPOut
Tanoh KpassagnonDEAnkleDNPDNPDNPOut
Mark Ingram IIRBKneeLPDNPLPQuestionable
Terron ArmsteadTKnee/ShoulderLPLPLPQuestionable
With Kamara out, and Ingram questionable, it could be Taysom Hill time

Buffalo’s injury report is clean and they’ll be getting MLB Tremaine Edmunds back, but DT Star Lotulelei is still on the Covid list. So, the interior defensive line is going to have to play much better than they did the previous Sunday.

When I look at these two teams, Buffalo has been the better team on both sides of the ball. However, I know Sean Payton is a crafty coach who exploits weaknesses and the Bills showed a lot of vulnerability last week. I have to think the Bills have the talent advantage and a desperate need to avenge an embarrassing loss. Trevor Siemian has been playing really well despite the losses but I’ll still take the overall ability of Josh Allen, especially with what Jalen Hurts did to NO in the last one.

That spread is a little fat after what I saw last week and it moved a couple points in the Bills favor as well, but the Saints scored 29-points and still lost by 11 in their last one. So, who knows?

Pick: Bills | ATS: Bills -6| O/U: Over 45.5

Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy the games!

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