Pigskin Pick ‘Em: Plentiful reasons to be thankful, even amid poor season

A slew of near misses in the NFL’s 12th week has dropped our season total to 75-93 against the spread. With only five weeks left in the regular season we’re playing for pride as we head into Thanksgiving weekend. This is my favorite week of the year. Turkey day is wonderful for all the best reasons, most importantly the food coma. The week is jam packed with college basketball tournaments, NFL games, college football and more. If you’re into sports and food, it’s hard to name a week better than this one.

I want to take a moment to name some things I am thankful for starting with my wonderful daughter, Kalea. She started preschool this fall and is doing so well. I am so proud of her. To the Soldotna High School basketball team, who will be eating healthy and proportionally this weekend to stay in shape for our first practices of the season, your dedication is appreciated. Russell Wilson, you have made Sundays enjoyable for the past eight years and you have blessed us all with a sparkling 13-3 career record against the San Francisco 49ers. To family and friends for keeping things fun, thank you!

BEARS @ Lions +4

I really want to side with Detroit at home on Turkey Day. Losing this game would be a very “Bearsy” thing to do, but the Lions are trotting out an undrafted rookie passer, getting his first career start. Without injured starter, Matt Stafford, the Lions have dropped four consecutive games. They were competitive with second-stringer Jeff Driskel, but it’s hard to back the next guy up, now that Driskel is out, when you’ve never heard of him before. Bears win 19-6

BILLS @ Cowboys -6

Buffalo has one of the top defenses in the NFL and their brand of football is conducive to low scoring contests. It’s a game the home team should cover, but the Fighting Jerry’s find themselves in turmoil after Jones’ criticism of Jason Garrett and the coaching staff last Sunday. This just feels like a game the Cowboys will struggle to get rolling in. Cowboys win 17-13

Saints @ FALCONS +7

Atlanta is impossible to figure out. The Falcons stunk all season and then, unbelievably, beat the Saints 26-9 in New Orleans a few weeks ago. They followed that up with a dominating victory over the Carolina Panthers and as soon as you jump back on the Atlanta Falcons bandwagon, the Tampa Bay Bucs blow them out last Sunday. Roll the dice. Saints win a close one 30-28

JETS @ Bengals +3.5

The Bungles are Bungling up this season in impressive fashion. Cincinnati has a two-game lead in the race for next year’s top pick which makes them a little dangerous. They don’t have to lose on purpose this week. Jets win 27-21

TITANS @ Colts -2.5

This game feels like a coin flip. The Colts won the first matchup in Tennessee 19-17, but the Titans have won four of their last five contests with new starter Ryan Tannehill throwing the passes. The Colts have dropped three of five, including a pivotal AFC South contest last Sunday in Houston. The winner of this game stays alive in the divisional race, the loser’s turkey is cooked. Titans win 23-20

EAGLES @ Dolphins +10

After a couple weeks of inspired play, the Dolphins have turned back into canned tuna. The Eagles? I don’t know what to expect after last Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks. Once promising passer Carson Wentz was pathetic, truly awful, must be benched immediately bad. Which Wentz shows up this weekend? Eagles win 31-14

PACKERS @ Giants +6.5

It’s a little scary siding with the visiting side when the line is as funky as this one. Somehow, a fan favorite, 8-3 Packers team, is laying less than a touchdown against the 2-9 New York Giants? That doesn’t make a ton of sense and Vegas isn’t known for setting bad lines. To quote Admiral Ackbar, “it’s a trap!” Packers win 28-17

Browns @ STEELERS +2

What’s the over/under for penalties assessed in this game? Will anyone else be concussed by a player wielding a helmet like it’s a battle axe? How many good but way overused Baker Mayfield commercials will we have to suffer through? Steelers win 24-21

Redskins @ PANTHERS -10

Zero people care about this game. Back to Star Wars. The new series “The Mandalorian” is incredibly fun. It feels a bit like the western classic “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”, only it’s set in outer space and has Baby Yoda, which alone makes it one of the great television dramas of all time. Panthers win 30-13

BUCS @ JAGS +1

I can’t side with a Jags team that benched Gardner Minshew and his miraculous mustache. The Bucs offense is great at scoring points, but they also excel at throwing passes to the wrong team. If Tampa takes care of the football, this is game they should win. Bucs win 28-20

49ers @ RAVENS -6

San Francisco might have the best defense in the NFL. Baltimore has Lamar Jackson. Advantage Ravens. This is the best game on Sunday. Can the 49ers defense find a way to slow down the speedy Jackson? Something no team seems to be able to achieve. Jimmy Garoppolo turnovers will be the difference in this contest. Ravens win 28-17

Rams @ CARDINALS +3

The Cardinals have quietly had one of the best offenses in football this season after a slow start to the year. I think this could be a statement game for Arizona’s rookie QB Kyler Murray and the team. The City Goats stink. Jared Goff is the most overpaid passer in football, Todd Gurley has one leg, the prodigal franchise has been proven a fraud. Cardinals win 34-23

CHARGERS @ Broncos -2.5

Does anyone know who is throwing passes for the Donkeys? One of the most enjoyable subplots in the NFL is Broncos legend and Hall-of-Fame quarterback John Elway’s inability to replace himself. How can someone so good at passing, be so bad at scouting passers?! Chargers win 24-16

Raiders @ CHIEFS -10

I was getting on the Raiders bandwagon, singing Chucky’s praises, and then last week happened. How did last week happen? Following three straight wins, the Raiders appeared poised to give Kansas City a run in the AFC West, then they lost 34-3 to a mediocre New York Jets team. The NFL is easy to predict! Chiefs win 31-17

PATRIOTS @ Texans -3

Hard to ever bet against the Patriots when they’re laying less than a touchdown. Tom Brady is finally showing signs of aging and the Patriots don’t appear to be the same juggernaut they were in September. The defense is still great, and Belichick is still calling the shots. That’s enough for me. Patriots win 20-14

Vikings @ SEAHAWKS -3

Turkey week wraps up with another great matchup in Seattle. If the Ravens take care of the 49ers in Baltimore and the Seahawks hold serve at home, Seattle will suddenly be at the top of the NFC West. That seemed impossible just a few weeks ago. Pete Carroll has a 27-5-1 career record in primetime games. Seahawks win 27-20

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