Unless you’re a turkey or someone who gets nervous by drunken relatives, Thanksgiving is your favourite time of year as an NFL fan.
There’s many elements that make it unique – the oversized poultry; the cranberry sauce; the stuffing that contains countless essences of things you won’t question; quality family time with those close to you; fond reflection on life’s positives; lying on the couch after overindulgence on all of the above – and perhaps even more important than the sum of all of the above – three NFL games on a Thursday.
Some things you need to be thankful for more than others – that’s all I’m saying.
Chicago Bears (-3.5) @ Detroit Lions: -110
Thursday 28th November 12:30PM
I had the (dis)pleasure of being in Soldier Field for the meeting of the Chicago Bears and the New York Giants last week.
My close observations were that scheme helps Mitchell Trubisky more than his own talent, but that means his production depends totally on Matt Nagy’s implemented gameplan in any given week, which obviously sees his ability seemingly fluctuate between world beater and world eater.
Two things help them here, though. Tarik Cohen will be productive against a predominantly man coverage team in Detroit. Trubisky does not need to make big-time throws to Cohen as he’s a running back, and they’ll be scheming him into space.
But they’re also aided by Matt Stafford’s back – Jeff Driskel, at best, will be lining out for Detroit. Given their offence, it’s not feasible for them to run the ball, which is where the Bears are weakest.
Bo Scarborough looks a good pickup, but the brunt of expectation will fall on the quarterback position and if third down isn’t short, Khalil Mack will wreck this game in an instant.
Back the Bears, here.
Buffalo Bills (+6.5) @ Dallas Cowboys: -104
Thursday 28th November 4:30PM
After Jerry Jones’ dig at Jason Garrett last week, one of two things are going to happen and neither of them are good for Cowboys.
Either Garrett goes out of his comfort zone and starts attacking aggressively, a mentality of which his playbook has very few complementary go-to options for his quarterback – or the entire unit is turning on their head coach and refuse to play to their best.
Buffalo come into this game as big underdogs for some reason – but that’s a tag that has always favoured them. Nobody expected them to make playoffs when they did and this unit is both far better-coach and led by a considerably-better quarterback.
To get a touchdown here is criminal.
Bet on the Bills at -104 with CanPlay.
New Orleans Saints (-7.0) @ Atlanta Falcons: -102
Thursday 28th November 8:20PM
This is a tougher call simply because of the conditions.
Forget the fact that Atlanta blew New Orleans away in their last meeting – that’s just ammunition for a superior unit – but a team being forced to travel to a divisional opponent on a short week is problematic.
You have less time to go over film and you’re getting caught up in the Thanksgiving buzz. I’m sure when Drew Brees and co sit down for dinner, they won’t be thanking the NFL scheduling department.
However, there’s enough in this unit to exert their dominance here. A touchdown is steep, but I feel far more confident in a team that need to top a division than a side who have a #1 overall pick-shaped carrot dangling in front of them.
Back the Saints with CanPlay.