Jazz: After our special Thanksgiving edition of the NFL thread, I finally got some good news. I went 3-0, beating Ed’s 2-1 showing thanks to the Eagles’ romp over the Cowboys. That brought me to 41-42 with the bragging rights for today’s thread. Let’s see if I can’t crack that .500 ceiling once and for all.
Ed: So, let’s see if I get this straight. I go 2-1 on Thanksgiving Day, extend my season record to 57-26, Jazz has to write the Sunday thread … and somehow, I lost. Is that what we’re calling it? In all seriousness, congrats to Jazz on the Thanksgiving sweep, and to Mark Sanchez for keeping the football secured. I’m not sure if Jazz fully appreciates the irony of winning the day by betting on Mr. Butt Fumble, but hey …
Jazz: The Saints visit the Steelers this week, (1:00 FOX) and while New Orleans was originally forecast to be Superbowl bound this season, this looks like yet another mountain they can’t climb. Ed’s Steelers are racking up a lot of good stats while the Saints are 27th in the NFL in yards allowed and near the bottom of the barrel in takeaways. Their defense has looked awful. I’m going with Pittsburgh 33-23. The Vikings host the Panthers (1:00 FOX) in what could be a competitive game. Minnesota is 2.5 pt favorite, but they rely on their running game a lot. Carolina has allowed less than 90 yds rushing average over their last four games, so I’ll take the Panthers in a small upset 21-17. The Jets play Monday night (8:30 ESPN) and host their division rival Dolphins. My boys are a seven point underdog, but they’re switching back from Michael Vick to Geno Smith, so that should… oh, the heck with it. Jets win 20-13.
Ed: By coincidence, my fantasy football team has both QBs in the Steelers-Saints game. I’m starting Ben Roethlisberger because the Saints are 23rd against the pass, but they’re also 23rd against the run, too, and they’re worse on the road. Drew Brees has the 3rd-rated passing offense and Pittsburgh’s secondary is full of holes, but most of their injured players will be coming back today, including Troy Polamalu. Steelers over Saints, 37-21. Minnesota has been playing better football of late and giving good teams a tough time. The Panthers are not a good team, so Vikes 21-17 over Carolina. The Jets at home are tougher than the Jets on the road, but that’s not saying much. Dolphins 24-17 in what may be a fun game to watch.
Jazz: Here are four more games for Sunday (All times eastern):
- Browns at Bills (1:00, CBS) – Buffalo comes into this one favored to win by a field goal, but I’m not seeing it. Josh Gordon has been on fire and can deflate the Bill’s run D. Cleveland gets another road win 27-24.
- Giants at Jaguars (1:00, Fox) – Can I fall for yet another Vegas line prediction that the Giants will win, even against the hapless Jacksonville team? As bad as New York has been stinking up the field, yes I can. Giants win it big, 34-12.
- Cardinals at Falcons (4:05, Fox) – We expected a lot more out of the Falcons, but they’ve been nearly as bad as the Jets lately. They only managed 63 rushing yards against the Browns, so Arizona should be able to keep it on the ground and grind out a win 17-10.
- Broncos at Chiefs (8:30 NBC) – This could be the matchup of the week in the late game. Denver has struggled on the road against competitive teams this season and the Chiefs have been strong at home. Denver is the favorite, but I’m going to go with the Chiefs 35-31 in a shootout.
- Browns at Bills (1:00, CBS) – I think Jazz is probably right about this one, but I’ll pick the Bills anyway. They’re getting back to their home field, and the emotional boost will lift them against Cleveland. Let’s say 27-24 Bills, possibly in OT.
- Giants at Jaguars (1:00, Fox) – I blame Mark Sanchez for having to acknowledge this game exists. Since I have Rashad Jennings on my fantasy team, I’ll pick the Giants in a snoozer, 28-20. I also think that this will be one of the big coaching openings for 2015.
- Cardinals at Falcons (4:05, Fox) – Can Arizona keep up their hot streak? They’re 3-2 on the road this year, but they’ll have to do better than that if they want to go all the way. They just lost in Seattle, and next week have Kansas City coming to town, so the Cards have to win today. Arizona 31-23 over Atlanta, who will then take their 32nd-ranked passing defense to face Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay next week. Won’t that be fun?
- Broncos at Chiefs (8:30 NBC) – This may end up a defensive battle. Denver’s defense is 2nd against the run, which is the Chief’s only weapon (4th ranked), as their passing game comes in 31st in the league. KC’s defense is #1 against the pass, negating Peyton Manning’s 2nd-ranked passing game. Denver’s rushing game will have to loosen up the Chief’s pass defense, and KC is only 26th against the run. I’ll pick Denver to win an oddly low-scoring battle, 20-13.