Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions, Ford Field, 12:30 PM, FOX (Lions +5.5, O/U: 37.5)
Mitchell Trubisky has had a extremely rough season and has dealt with much criticism of his play (or lack thereof). Last week he stepped up a bit from his own grave and threw for a score and ran for another while also posting his first 250 yard passing game for the first time in 4 weeks. He’s been the handcuff of the offense that has above average offensive talent at most positions. The generational defense that the Bears have, have kept them in nearly every game (7 of their 11 games), as 7 of their 11 game decisions (win or lose), have been within 1 score or less.
The Lions will be without Stafford for the 4th straight game and they will actually turn to 3rd stringer, David Blough, as Jeff Driskel will back him up as he’s been having hamstring issues all week. Not having Kerryon Johnson has been a big loss for this offense, losing Stafford was icing on the cake. The Lions defense can also get at the quarterback with the likes of Devon Kennard and Trey Flowers, who have 6 and 5 sacks respectfully. The rest of the defense has produced 12 sacks but have not had much success in turning over the ball through the air, with just 15 takeaways, 4 by way of interceptions.
Get your Thanksgiving naps in early, for this one, you can afford to miss. Take the Bears to cover in the under, Bears 20-13.
Buffalo Bills @ Dallas Cowboys, AT&T Stadium, 4:30 PM, CBS (Cowboys -6.5, O/U: 47.5)
The Bills caught people by a bit of a surprise as they come into this matchup 8-3 and holding on to 2nd in the AFC East, vying for a playoff spot via a wildcard slot. Sure they’ve played and beat the Dolphins twice but signature games were at home against the Pats, losing by only 6 and beating the Titans on the road (who usually paly tough at home), losing a close one (by a field goal) in Cleveland against their tough defense, and last week at home against a surprisingly resilient Broncos team. Allen could play better but his grit gives this team juice to keep fighting. The tandem of Gore and Singletary has produced over 1,000 yards and 4 TD’s combined on the ground while Allen adds another 350+ yards and 7 additional rushing scores. Jordan Phillips and Shaq Lawson have combined for 11 sacks on a defense that gets after the quarterback a lot (33 team sacks). Tre’Davious White leads the team in picks with 4 but the team only has caused 13 turnovers.
The Cowboys are coming off a tough loss to the Patriots but to hold Brady to just 13 points is a small victory as it greatly frustrated him in the postgame interviews. Dak is having an exceptional year, already over 3,400 yards with 21 TD’s. Zeke has nearing the 1,000 yard mark and could cross it with a solid game today. He also adds 7 scores to the stat sheet while his impressive backup, Tony Pollard, has kept the rushing yards average high in his limited duty (4.67 yards per carry). The 2 headed monster on the outside of the offense Cooper/Gallup, have benefited from Dak’s play as they seem to be racing each other for the first guy to cross 1,000 yards receiving as Cooper has racked up 886 yards and 7 scores while Gallup has tallied 733 yards and 3 scores. Sprinkle in Cobb (581 yards, 3 scores) and you could get pretty damn close to having 3 receivers with 1,000 yards. Their defense also likes to gobble up quarterbacks with their 27.5 sacks with Robert Quinn leading the way with 9.5 on his own. The one caveat is that most of the quarterbacks they’ve faced have been pocket passers whereas Allen likes to move, frequently.
This will be a tough test for the Bills, certainly their toughest road game of the year. Pull up the TV to the table or take your dinner scraps into the den/living room, because this will be one you want to see. Take the Bills to cover in the loss, in the over, Cowboys 27-24.
New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, 8:20 PM, NBC (Falcons +7.5, O/U: 48.5)
Who Dat Nation heads a few hours East for the Thanksgiving finale. Bridgewater kept them viable in the NFC South and Brees has kept that momentum going since his return as he started with 400 yards while throwing 2 TD’s and 2 picks in the first game and a quarter into the second game but has nearly 1,200 yards, with 9 TD’s and just 2 picks since coming back. Kamara has been splitting rushing duties with Murray and they’ve compiled a nice season already, combining for over 1,000 yards and 6 TD’s on the ground. Murray has freed up Kamara to do his thing in the passing game more this season as he’s had 60 catches for 421 yards and a score there as well, as he’s seen his targets tick upwards with Brees back. Michael Thomas is essentially their only receiver worthy of a look every single play and it’s shown on the stat sheet as he’s gained 124 targets, catching 104 of them for 1,242 yards and 6 TD’s. That’s usually a seasons worth for really good receivers and we’re only through week 12. The Defense has been huge this year as well with 30 sacks, lead by Cam Jordan (9.5 of his own) and Marcus Williams who has a team leading 4 picks. The impressive wins have already been racked up against the Texans, Seahawks (in Seattle), Cowboys, Bears (in Chicago) and Panthers and tonight they look to exact revenge from the loss the Falcons gave them just 3 weeks ago.
The Falcons are just 3-8 after coming into this season with playoff aspirations. Coach Dan Quinn was on the hotseat after dropping 6 straight after a 1-1 start but they are 2-1 since the bye week. One can make a case for the tough schedule as they played the likes of the Vikings, Eagles, Texans, Rams and Seahawks outside of their conference, in which they went 1-3 in those games. The turnaround was the bye week and coming out of the Saints game with a win. Matty Ice is nearing 3,000 yards and has 18TD’s to 10 picks. He has still stayed confident through all of this year as he’s completed 67% of his passes. The lack of a running attack has lopsided this offense and has put more pressure on Ryan to do more, which could explain some of the picks. Freeman, a once stud in the backfield, has severely dropped off the last few season as this year he only has 371 yards on 107 carries and still has yet to find the endzone on the ground. Julio Jones (64 catches for 950 yards & 4 TD’s), Calvin Ridley (50 catches for 699 yards & 6 TD’s) and Austin Hooper (56 catches for 608 yards & 6 TD’s) have given Ryan plenty to be thankful for as far as targets go. The defense has been ok at times but very lacking at other times. They have a few good pass rushers in Grady Jarrett (5.5 sacks), Vic Beasley (4 sacks) & Adrian Clayborn (4 sacks) but overall as a defense, their spotty.
Take the Saints to exact revenge and serve up the final loss of the day, in the over, Saints 31-20.
Colin Cowherd’s Blazin’ 5:
- San Francisco at Baltimore – Baltimore (-5.5)
- Washington at Carolina – Carolina (-9.5)
- Oakland at Kansas City – Oakland (+9.5)
- Philadelphia at Miami – Miami (+9.5)
- LA Rams at Arizona – Arizona (+3)