The NFL on Thanksgiving has become as much a part of the holiday as the turkey itself. Hopefully, these Week 13 Thanksgiving NFL picks will add a little gravy to your day.
Week 13 Thanksgiving NFL picks
Chicago Bears (-3.5, 38 over/under) at Detroit Lions, Thursday at 12:30 p.m. ET (FOX)
The best thing about Bears vs. Lions is it should give you a three-hour window to spend some time with your family rather than getting yelled at for watching football on Thanksgiving – because this one won’t be pretty.
Undrafted rookie quarterback David Blough could get the start for Lions in place of backup Jeff Driskel, as Driskel is dealing with a hamstring injury. The Lions are already down to Driskel due to starter Matt Stafford being sidelined with broken bones in his back. Stafford last played Nov. 3.
Things have gotten so grim at quarterback for the Lions that they were blocked by the XFL when attempting to sign Josh Johnson – whom Detroit had already cut earlier this season.
Driskel has lost all three starts since taking over at quarterback, with the Lions losing seven of their last eight overall.
The Lions last covered a point spread Oct. 15.
Meanwhile, the Bears are dealing with some uncertainty at quarterback of their own.
Mitchell Tribusky is no longer dealing with a hip issue, although his grasp on the starting job remains flimsy with each passing week. The Bears want and need Trubisky to take control of the quarterback position, but that hasn’t been the case.
If Trubisky fails to move the Bears offense once again on Thanksgiving, backup quarterback Chase Daniel could very realistically see some action.
The biggest difference between the two teams Thursday is at least the Bears have a defense to fall back on.
Chicago owns one of the best defenses in the NFL, which could make for a long day for either Driskel or Blough.
Now that the line has crawled up to Bears -3.5, Chicago isn’t nearly as enticing, but it’s hard to have much confidence in the Lions given their situation at quarterback.
Pick: Bears -3.5
Buffalo Bills at Dallas Cowboys (-6.5, 47 over/under), Thursday at 4:30 p.m. ET (CBS)
This game should tell us a lot about where these two teams stand.
The pressure is on in Dallas. Last Sunday’s self-inflicted loss to the New England Patriots has owner Jerry Jones as unhappy as he’s been in recent memory.
There’s no shame in losing to the Patriots on the road. But given the talent this team has, you can’t let opportunities like that slip away. And that’s likely the root of Jones’ frustration, he expects and demands more from them.
If the Cowboys don’t bounce back here – at home on Thanksgiving Day in front of a national audience, no less – head coach Jason Garrett might as well skip the turkey and start updating his resume.
As for the Bills, while Buffalo owns an 8-3 record, they haven’t played anyone. The Bills have beaten just one team currently over .500 – a win over the 6-5 Tennessee Titans that came in Week 5. However, the Bills will certainly have a chance to prove they are for real over the next few weeks. Games against the Ravens and Patriots follow Thursday in Dallas.
Unfortunately for the Bills, this just seems like a bad spot for them for no other reason than the Cowboys are in must-win mode.
How can the Cowboys not come out swinging after ownership has essentially put them on notice?
At -6.5, the Cowboys are the play. If this line creeps back up to -7 or higher, the Bills might deserve some consideration when making your Thanksgiving NFL picks.
Pick: Cowboys -6.5
New Orleans Saints (-7, 48.5 over/under) at Atlanta Falcons, Thursday at 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)
Much like the Cowboys, this should be a game where the Saints break out.
The Saints escaped with a win Sunday at home against the Carolina Panthers and got blown out at home Nov. 10 against these same Falcons.
Penalties have been killing the Saints, so the good news is what ails them should be correctable.
New Orleans has been penalized 31 times for 268 yards in just their last three games alone – including 12 penalties for 123 yards in the close call over Carolina.
The Falcons could be without All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones (shoulder) and Pro Bowl tight end Austin Hooper (knee). Both did not participate in practice Tuesday. The loss of Jones and Hooper might be too much to overcome for quarterback Matt Ryan – especially when playing a high-powered offense like the Saints.
One of the keys to victory when the Falcons beat the Saints a few weeks ago was Atlanta’s ability to get after the quarterback. The Falcons sacked Drew Brees six times on the day – accounting for one-third of their entire sack total on the season (18).
Yes, the Saints will be without starting left tackle Terron Armstead and left guard Andrus Peat on Thursday, but the Falcons still must demonstrate that surge in sacks was more than just a fluke.
Pick: Saints -7
Record: NFL picks against the spread
Last week: 3-4
This season: 30-31-1