I hope everyone has a wonderful Turkey day and appreciates what they're thankful for! I struggled with my picks last week with a couple picks being just a point off, so I'm going to post my Thanksgiving games picks first before fully hashing out the rest of the week. UPDATE: Quick picks added at the end.
Last week: 5-9
Detroit +6.5 vs. Green Bay: I'm exactly saying this is the week the undefeated world champs fall, but this is probably their toughest challenge. On the road, coming off a short week, and in the early game on Thanksgiving? No thanks, I'm not laying the touchdown spread here. Kevin Smith's triumphant return last week is a great story after he was overworked at UCF, and I hope he keeps it up in this game.
Dallas -6.5 vs. Miami: I keep picking against the Dolphins, and they keep proving me wrong...until now! Even though I'm not a huge believer in the Cowboys' defense, especially after last week's narrow win, I think it'll prove too stout for Matt Moore and Reggie Bush to get anything going. DeMarco Murray finally looked human last week and could struggle again, but Tony Romo can pick up chunks of yards against this defense.
San Francisco +3.5 @ Baltimore: The night's main event, the Harbowl, figures to be a great defensive battle the day before their parents' 50th anniversary. I think it stays close throughout, but a big play coming from Torrey Smith's speed might give the Ravens the edge. I have to go with the Niners, though, because younger brother Jim is the better offensive mind. Between the defenses, it'll be a symbolic passing of the torch from one #52 to another as Patrick Willis succeeds Ray Lewis as the best linebacker of his generation.
Atlanta -9.5 vs. Minnesota: No Adrian Peterson, going against a stout run defense, with a rookie QB on the road. The Falcons blew the cover last week, but I don't like the Vikings' chances this week. Matt Ryan should roll again.
NY Jets -8.5 vs. Buffalo: I hate this game because I don't trust either team. Normally that would mean take the 8.5, but I think Rex Ryan will have his team ready to destroy a banged up Bills team after the extra preparation and having to deal with the Tebow embarrassment on the national stage.
Cincinnati -7.5 vs. Cleveland: I'm not confident in this spread, but I'm counting on the young Bengals to bounce back after two tough losses. The Browns had no business winning last week and were lucky that Jack Del Rio was the opposing coach; I can't believe they have 4 wins.
Tampa Bay +3.5 @ Tennessee: Must-win games for both teams even though neither are really contenders for the playoffs. I could see Chris Johnson having a couple big plays for the Titans, but I believe in Josh Freeman in this one, especially with Mike Williams showing signs of life.
Carolina -3.5 @ Indianapolis: The Panthers' defense is blowing games and could actually give the Colts a chance, but Cam Newton should have no problem scoring either. Carolina's O-line against this pass-rush is concerning, however.
St. Louis -3.5 vs. Arizona: I'll admit I have a tough time getting a feel for this Rams team, but I think the combination of their pass rush and the Cardinals' porous offensive line will rattle whoever is behind center. Maybe Sam Bradford can get on track against Arizona's defense if he can get some protection, too.
Houston -3.5 @ Jacksonville: I really want to take the Jags at home since they played the Texans well in Houston and Matt Leinart is getting his first start of the season, but their defense is banged up. With the bye week to prepare and the strong running game and defense to lean on, I think Leinart can still lead Houston to a nice playoff run.
Oakland -4.5 vs. Chicago: I actually think Caleb Hanie can do a decent enough job for the Bears...just not in his first week as the starter and on the road. Chicago's defense could win this by themselves, but I'm going with the Raiders at home. They better not take Hanie lightly in order to sell-out against Matt Forte and the running game.
Seattle -4.5 vs. Washington: I'm not taking Rex Grossman on the road in one of the toughest places to play against a decent defense. The Redskins defense will keep them in the game, but I think Marshawn Lynch will do enough for the Seahawks to win.
Denver +6.5 @ San Diego: This is the Chargers' season right here, but there's no way I'm going against Tebowmania with the way Philip Rivers is playing. I could definitely see Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil having big days harassing Rivers in the backfield and giving Tebow another opportunity in the fourth quarter.
New England -4.5 @ Philadelphia: Another must-win game here for the Eagles, but I think the injuries are too much for them to overcome a hot Patriots team. Rob Gronkowski is a monster and will be a matchup nightmare for Philly that Tom Brady can exploit.
Pittsburgh -10.5 @ Kansas City: This is a lot to lay on the road, but the Steelers are coming off a bye and are so much more talented and well-coached that I have no doubt this Sunday Night game should have been flexed.
New Orleans -6.5 vs. NY Giants: Now this is a worthy prime time game. The Giants can't afford to lose three in a row with their tough schedule and the Cowboys breathing down their necks, but the Saints are battling playoff positioning themselves. I think New York's pass rush could slow down Drew Brees, but someone on the Saints' defense will step up in crunch time. I have a feeling rookie Cameron Jordan will emerge on the national stage.