Week 12 picks: Thanksgiving Day games

Last week: 9-5
Season: 82-75-3

Houston (-3) at Detroit

Analysis: Though it was also the case
last week, this truly is the Lions season right here. A loss ends any
hope that Detroit makes it back-to-back years in the postseason for
the first time since 1994-95. Detroit has the 10th-ranked overall
defense, and Houston could be in for an offensive letdown after its
historic performance Sunday against Jacksonville. Problem is, the
Lions haven’t won on Thanksgiving since 2003, and the Texans have yet
to lose on the road this year. Still, it could be hard for Houston to
regain the emotion of last week, when they needed almost five full
quarters to escape Jacksonville in a high-flying affair. Usually
teams have trouble matching their offensive firepower a week after a
big performance, and the Lions are desperate. This should be a close
one regardless. Lions.

Washington at Dallas (-3)
Analysis: The
Redskins were nearly flawless last week while the Cowboys escaped
embarrassment against Cleveland. Dallas has seemingly yet to put it
all together in a game, and with this being a rivalry game it should
be close as is always the case in Cowboys games. But the Redskins
could have a hard time regaining the momentum they conjured up last
week against the hapless Eagles, while the Cowboys have an
opportunity to build up a head of steam here. Cowboys.

New England (-7)
at New York Jets

Analysis: Hard to
believe this is only a seven-point spread. The Patriots can be
unstoppable at times, and the Jets can be unavoidable in getting out
of their own way. New England will have to alter their plans a little
bit without Rob Gronkowski, but it shouldn’t slow them much. They are
aware the Jets are not quite a pushover as evidenced by being taken
to overtime by New York in Week 7, but the simple fact is the
Patriots offense presents too many matchup problems for the Jets
defense and Mark Sanchez can’t put enough points on the board to keep
up with New England in a shootout. Unless Tom Brady has an off night
(unlikely) the Patriots should roll. Patriots.

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