Thursday, 28 November 2013

NFL Week 13 Thanksgiving Preview

Thanksgiving means so much to so many Americans.  Apart from a public holiday less than a month before Christmas and one long weekend to do your shopping for the next holiday it also means a chance to sit down with the family, hoover down your food and then retire to the Laz-e-boy and watch three NFL games back to back, beer to beer, turkey leg to pumpkin pie.

This year like last there is three Thanksgiving games featuring the two regular hosts of Detroit and Dallas as well as an almighty Thursday night showdown in the AFC North for the NFL Network.

Green Bay Packers (5-5-1) at Detroit Lions (6-5)
In the first game, the Detroit Lions host their division rival Green Bay Packers in a match for the supremacy of the NFC North where it appears only one team from that division will make the playoffs due to the play of the Carolina Panthers and the West division.
The Lions have so much talent in abundance and yet they have conspired to lose their last two games at Pittsburgh when Stafford had over 300 yards in the first half and yet Calvin Johnson had no receptions in the second half leading to a 10 point loss. Last week they lost at home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a game again they should have won on paper, yet they are a team who lose from winning positions. Not good for momentum and play off pushes.
The Packers will be starting Matt Flynn who led the team well in the tie versus Minnesota on Sunday, Flynn knows the system and has good targets in Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Jarrett Boykin.
Expect a lot of throws in this game although Eddie Lacy could make a differemence in the dome where his asthma problems will not surface, having sat out the fourth quarter and overtime at the weekend.

Prediction: Lions by 4

Oakland Raiders (4-7) at Dallas Cowboys (6-5)
The Cowboys will like their chances of getting to seven wins before the Eagles travel across the country to Arizona on Sunday in a close encounter.
Oakland came close to defeating Tennessee but oddly two missed field goals by Seb Janokowski meant they lost by four instead of winning by two.  Matt McGloin is decent at times and done a good job but the Titans are just as good at defence as are the Cowboys.  Expect Rashad Jennings to have a good day with the run, although the Raiders do not have the same number of wide out weapons that Tony Romo has to call upon - Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Miles Austin.

Prediction: Cowboys by 7

Pittsburgh Steelers (5-6) at Baltimore Ravens (5-6)
The Steelers have done extremely well to get close to .500 having opened the season 0-5, this has been due to the offense being left to Big Ben and the defence slowly resurfacing to past glories.
The Super Bowl champions however have had a god awful year not helped by the lose of veteran defenders to retirement, Denis Pitta lose to injury before the season started and then the ineffective play of both Ray Rice and Joe Flacco. 
Something to remember about this match-up is that this is always close and comes down to a late field goal as it did earlier in the season at Pittsburgh when Shaun Suishman connected with a time expiring field goal for a home victory. This again will be close.

Prediciton: Steelers by 3

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