Thanksgiving slate features five winning football teams
By ROB MAADDI
AP Pro Football Writer
Thanksgiving will be filled with food and winning football teams.
The three-game slate for Thursday turned out better than anyone could’ve hoped when the schedule was announced. Five of the six teams playing are currently sitting in playoff spots.
The early game that traditionally features the Lions (4-6) is more interesting now that Detroit has won three straight games. The visiting Buffalo Bills (7-3) are among the NFL’s best teams and already won a game in the same stadium after a blizzard forced them out of western New York last week.
Just in time for dinner or dessert, the Dallas Cowboys (7-3) host the New York Giants (7-3) in a battle for second place in the NFC East. The Giants were expected to be jockeying for draft positioning at this point of the season.
Instead, they aim to get back on the winning track after losing to the Lions. The Cowboys are coming off a dominant 40-3 win in Minnesota.
Speaking of the Vikings, they’ll look to rebound from that disappointing loss to Dallas in the nightcap against the New England Patriots (6-4).
Minnesota (8-2) has been outscored 64-10 in its two losses.
Pro Picks has fared far better predicting Sunday games than Thursday contests this season, but perhaps three games are luckier than one.
Buffalo (minus 9 1/2) at Detroit
Josh Allen and the Bills face a different crowd in Detroit this week. The Lions have allowed 19 points per game during a three-game winning streak.
New York Giants (plus 9 1/2) at Dallas
The Cowboys are 1-10 against the spread in the past 11 games on Thanksgiving, but the Giants are dealing with several injuries.
New England (plus 2 1/2) at Minnesota
Kirk Cousins is 0-2 against Bill Belichick. The Patriots can’t score.
Baltimore (minus 4) at Jacksonville
Struggling to beat the Panthers got the Ravens’ attention.
BEST BET: RAVENS, 24-17
Cincinnati (minus 2 1/2) at Tennessee
The AFC South-leading Titans get no respect in a playoff rematch against the team that ended their 2021 season.
UPSET SPECIAL: TITANS, 24-23
Denver (minus 2 1/2) at Carolina
It’s Sam Darnold’s turn to start for the Panthers. At least he didn’t cost Carolina Russell Wilson’s price.
Atlanta (plus 4) at Washington
Taylor Heinicke is 4-1 as the starter, the defense is leading the way and the Commanders are rolling. The Falcons remain only one game behind the Buccaneers in the NFC South.
Tampa Bay (minus 3 1/2) at Cleveland
Tom Brady and the Buccaneers return from a bye. Jacoby Brissett starts his last game before Deshaun Watson’s return.
Houston (plus 13) at Miami
Fresh off a bye, the Dolphins get another one against a one-win team.
Chicago (plus 4 1/2) at New York Jets
Justin Fields has an opportunity to make the Jets regret taking Zach Wilson ahead of him in last year’s draft even more.
Las Vegas (plus 3 1/2) at Seattle
The Raiders try to build off a comeback win at Denver.
Los Angeles Chargers (minus 4) at Arizona
The right opponent for the Chargers to get back on the winning track after losing two in a row.
Los Angeles Rams (plus 14 1/2) at Kansas City
The defending Super Bowl champions are a mess. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs look like the best team in the NFL.
New Orleans (plus 9 1/2) at San Francisco
Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers are rolling.
Green Bay (plus 7) at Philadelphia
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are desperate to save their season.
Pittsburgh (plus 2 1/2) at Indianapolis
The Colts would’ve defeated the Eagles if they didn’t make costly penalties.
Last Week: Straight up: 10-4. Against spread: 7-6-1.
Season: Straight up: 96-68. Against spread: 85-75-4.
Thursday Night: Straight up: 6-5. Against spread: 4-7.
Monday Night: Straight up: 6-6. Against spread: 5-7.
Best Bet: Straight up: 7-4. Against spread: 7-4.
Upset Special: Straight up: 4-7. Against spread: 5-5-1.
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