NFL GAMES OF THE WEEK – 2013 – THANKSGIVING EDITION

28Nov13

Once again, we have found ourselves with three games to enjoy on Thanksgiving.  And once again, they fit nicely (sort of) into the three categories.

The Pilgrims would have been proud!

bth_animated-turkey-with-football

 

This week’s Lock of the Week (10-2).

The good news is I don’t have to decide on Tennessee or Kansas City, the only two teams to burn me this season in this category.  The bad news — I’m forced to pick a team that I have absolutely no faith in.

That’s right, the only team that even resembles a lock on Turkey Day is the Dallas Cowboys.

Why am I so hesitant to grant them a spot in this category?  Well, it certainly isn’t because I think they’re a dominant team.  Unfortunately it has to do with their opponent, the Oakland Raiders.

Let’s face it, neither team is that good and on any given day, they are both capable of beating the other team (or giving the game away).

On paper, the Cowboys should walk away with this one.  After all, they have a very good quarterback in Tony Romo, an All-Pro caliber wide receiver in Dez Bryant and a very good supporting cast of running backs and receivers.

The problem is, they are inconsistent as can be.  One week they look like they have their act together, the next week they look like a bad high school team.  They don’t seem to have any discipline and it shows on the sidelines (think we’ll see another Dez meltdown while we’re working on the second round of stuffing and taters?)

On the flip side, the Raiders were not expected to be any good at all this season.  More times than not, they’ve lived up to those expectations.  However, their top running back is coming back this week to join a perennial back up RB that has finally found his way.  This leads to a couple of key questions.

1)      Will the “injury waiting to happen” McFadden get most of the touches or will Jennings remain the go-to guy this week?

2)      If McFadden gets his fair share of touches, will he make it to halftime before he blows another hamstring?

3)      If this RB duo is effective, will that open up the hit-or-miss passing game and allow the Raiders to put up some points?

If the answer to #3 is yes, the Cowboys could be in a lot of trouble.  It’s not like Dallas has a stellar defense.  And the way that selfishness seems to get in the way of teamwork on offense, this could be the final stake in the heart for America’s former team.

And besides, after winning last week, they are due to lose this week!  See what I mean about being hesitant to pick them at all, let alone as a lock?

However, I just can’t bring myself to pick the Raiders on the road on Thanksgiving.  So……I’m taking the Cowboys in a potentially high scoring, high turnover, and sloppy game!

 

This week’s Upset of the Week (6-6).

A couple of weeks ago, this would have been a no-brainer.  The Steelers were competing with the Giants for the biggest disappointment of the season.  They were not able to score and therefore not able to win.

Something has changed over the past several weeks.  Their offense has found life, which has resulted in points and victories.  What was once an 0-4 team is now 5-6 and, with a victory today, could actually find themselves in a wildcard spot.

Meanwhile, the reigning Super Bowl champions came out of the chute looking a little better than the Steelers, but certainly not anything like a team ready to defend their title.  After losing some key players to free agency or retirement, they appeared to be a mere shell of last year’s team.

They seem to have improved a little over the past few weeks, but not at the rate that Steelers have.

These two teams have a history of hating each other, which has resulted in rock-em’ sock-em’ blood bath battles for several years.  Today’s game should not disappoint fans looking for the same thing.

However, Roethlisberger seems to have made a connection with a couple of his receivers lately, primarily Antonio Brown, and their offensive output has increased accordingly.  This has allowed them to not only be competitive, but to grab some W’s along the way.

I don’t see Pittsburgh destroying the Ravens like they did the Browns last week, but I do see them stealing a victory on the road in a mid-scoring black and blue battle to the end!

 

This week’s Game of the Week (6-6).

Well, there’s only one game left, so I guess we’ll plug it in here.  Although I might not have looked for this game to be a game of the week in a full league schedule, it fits nicely for this three-game day.

Granted both teams began the season playing like legitimate contenders for the NFC representative in the big game.  However, injuries have decimated both teams, dropping them back into mediocrity (and allowing Chicago to actually be in the playoff hunt after twelve weeks).

Green Bay still has a slew of talented receivers, but with their fourth starting QB in the past five weeks, don’t look for them to look like a well-oiled machine.

Meanwhile, the Lions began the season with Bush and Megatron running on all cylinders.  As a result, they were a force to be reckoned with.  But like the Packers, injuries have prevented them from being a consistent threat and they, like the Packers, have become a team that no one expects to go very far.

So why is this the Game of the Week (well, Game of the Day)?  Because both teams have the potential of lighting up the scoreboard at any moment.  The loser will fall behind in the divisional race while the winner will have a step up on the other team.  (Not that it will really matter when the playoffs begin!)

Ultimately, I think this one will come down to the home crowd.  Detroit is used to participating in a Thanksgiving Day game.  Granted, they’re not used to winning, having lost eleven games in a row on this day.  And yes, they have lost both of their last two games, including last week’s disastrous loss at home to Tampa Bay.

But let’s not forget, the Packers haven’t won a game since Rogers went down with a shoulder/collarbone/whatever injury.  And since they’re marching out his third replacement this week, I don’t look for their luck to change any time soon.

Both teams will score.  Both teams will turn the ball over.  Both teams will look like wannabes, not contenders.

But only one team will break any and all existing losing streaks.  And that team will be the Detroit Lions.

So there you have it.  Carve it in stone and go enjoy your turducken and football!

Turkey and Football

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