THANKSGIVING THURSDAY FOOTBALL
Thursday, Nov. 25
NFL Week 12
Chicago Bears (-3.5) at Detroit Lions (+3.5) 41.5 [U]
No mystery here folks….The Bears are a bad football team—the Lions are worse…
On third down the Lions are the second worst team in the NFL, on both offense and defense. Think about that.
They can’t stop anybody on third down…
They can’t convert on third down…
In the Red Zone, only one team is less productive in terms of touchdowns and points scored, and the Lions are scraping the very bottom in Red Zone defense by allowing opponents to score touchdowns 79.3% of the time.
Not to be out-un-done, Da Bears are 31st in YPP and YPG.
Defensively, Chicago is respectable/mediocre and their star linebacker Khalil Mack is on IR.
I saw the Jungle King’s last two games and they fell short, tying the Steelers, then losing by a field goal to Cleveland.
During his tenure in Cincy Andy Dalton, aka “The Red Rifle” had a tendency to shoot his team in the foot at precisely the wrong time—how’s that for incisive analysis?
I’m hoping the Lions win this game---no NFL fans deserve this kind of suffering…excepting, of course Cleveland, Baltimore, and/or Cincinnati…
It’s Thanksgiving…I have much to be thankful for…my team wins a lot of games…
My gut says this is the weeks Detroit fans give thanks…
The Under is a Premium Play.
Da Bears 6
Las Vegas Raiders (+6.5) at Dallas Cowboys (-6.5) 51.5 [U]
Some sixty years ago future HOF executive /GM of the then nascent Dallas Cowboys, Tex Schramm, convinced the league to air a second Thanksgiving day and insisted the Cowboys should be a fixture on the late afternoon game.
Actually, Schramm a brilliant football treasure, tells the story a different way. The league was looking for a way to generate more excitement and the Cowboy's exec volunteered his team because nobody really liked playing on the holiday.
The Cowboys agreed to play during the 1966 season only if they hosted the late afternoon game every Thanksgiving.
Mr. Schramm is in the HOF for a reason.
With a 31-21-1 record the American Gauchos are a fairly safe bet on Turkey Day.
Interestingly, in the last 17 Thanksgivings, then Detroit and Dallas share identical 7-10 records.
Las Vegas looks like a team searching for a leader—and Derek Carr isn’t cutting it. Ever since the Gruden and Ruggs debacles, the Raiders have become anemic on offense, losing five of seven and scoring less than 17 points in those losses.
Las Vegas is hoping to catch Dak and the ‘Boys banged up, without Tyron Smith’s huge blocking talent, and Zeke Elliot nursing a sprained knee.
Dallas bounces back, Covers the Spread at home—Under the Number.
Buffalo Bills (-4.5) at New Orleans Saints (+4.5) 45
If I have to read another, “What’s Wrong with the Bills” article, I’m going to write one myself.
Let that be a warning to you.
It’s another case of the sports hacks in this country failing to see another pattern unfolding in a league specifically designed to:
Force the very few teams who annually compete for a ring to pick and choose where they will be thin or deep on the depth chart. Teams like Baltimore, Green Bay, and the Steelers…
Force successful teams to draft last…
Operate with a salary floor and cap…
…and revenue sharing…
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the Bills, that hasn’t been wrong with the Packers, Seattle, New Orleans, San Fran and Baltimore, Pittsburgh, or any other team—no matter how good they or their fans think they are.
If your team is weak or thin on either side of the line, it will cost you. Look at Green Bay when David Bahktiari is hurt, Dallas without Smith, Pittsburgh starting two rookies and a sophomore—and rookie tight end—on the O-Line, and missing three starters on the D-Line…
Cleveland and Phoenix need LBs…
Dallas needs a more consistent D-Line
The Rams need line backing.
Every Team Needs Somebody, Sometimes…(apologies to Dean Martin)
What’s ailing Buffalo, is the same circumstance surrounding Baltimore and the Arrowheads. When Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, and Josh Allen entered the NFL, the pundits were washing their testicles like they were the second comings of Tom Brady—whose success, BTW, is tainted with repeated cheating.
Mahomes was labeled a “future HOFer” halfway though his first season, Jackson earned a MVP award, and Josh Allen has been labeled fearless and a future--
—Well, you get the idea.
The pattern most of the pundits fail to see is that it might take a year, sometimes two, but teams eventually figure out how to defense everyone—cheaters aside. There are only 32 professional football DCs in the entire known universe. They know what they are doing.
Truly gifted athletes—and really smart coaches—like the three aforementioned QBs find ways to overcome NFL reality, but the pattern is unmistakable.
It’s always fun to see creative coaches like Sean McVay and Sean Payton try and break the pattern by walking their own paths. McVay with his GM and owner have traded virtually their next two drafts to go all in for a ring now. Sean Payton just made Taysom Hill a rich man and seems to be quietly leaning to a permanent “dual QB” configuration with Hill and Jameius Winston splitting time. Payton’s method depends on driving defenses crazy by having to prepare for two different QBs.
Like the great Chuck Noll said, “Whatever it takes.”
Buffalo’s stats say their record should be the best in the AFC—but consider: their six wins have been against four awful teams and a convincing 18-point win against the suddenly struggling Chiefs. They lost to three quality teams and the inexplicable 9-6 mind-fuck meltdown against Jacksonville. That kind of victory profile is no better than Pittsburgh or KC or Tennessee.
In fact, a most unpleasant truth is starting to be told in the AFC—The Patriots might be the best team in the conference.
My book says when two teams are struggling on a short week take the Home Dog every time—it’s the higher value pick.