BOSTON (CBS) — Remember when NFL games on Thanksgiving day were so weird and novel because it was just so strange to see football on a Thursday?
Now, with a game every Thursday all season long, I just kind of feel like we’re ruining these guys’ Thanksgiving holidays. Nevertheless, I won’t feel too guilty as I sit in my food coma and watch them collide with each other all day long.
This is a short week, so this is also a short intro. Let’s get to the picks.
(Home team in caps; Wednesday lines)
Houston (-3) over DETROIT
What a joke of a line. Thank you, Thanksgiving gods, for starting things off with an easy one.
Look, I know Houston had to struggle for three-plus hours with the awful Jaguars, but in the Texans’ defense, they were barely paying attention. Can you blame them? I wouldn’t have taken the Jaguars seriously, either. And despite the fact that they were sleeping for much of the game, they still managed to climb back from a 14-point fourth quarter hole and eventually win in overtime in a game I’m not entirely convinced wasn’t one big promotion for the RedZone channel.
As for the Lions, well, I wrote two weeks ago that it was time to start picking against them every week. They are 6-12-1 against the spread since their bye last season, and their little four-game winning streak (ATS) this season didn’t fool me.
This might not just be the easiest pick of the day. It may be the easiest pick of the whole week.
Ridiculous Quote From Last Week’s Picks: “Generally, [when you pick a] 16-point favorite, the team has to have a quarterback who didn’t throw zero touchdowns in his previous meeting with that [awful] team, you know?”
Note: That was me picking Jacksonville +15.5 against Houston, which turned out to be correct. My stance that Schaub, who would throw for 500+ yards and five touchdowns last week, was a main reason why the Texans wouldn’t win big, was slightly faulty.
Washington (+3) over DALLAS
If you can predict this one, I will give you a dollar. Despite what the final score said, the Cowboys lost last week to the Browns, who have two wins. And two weeks ago, the Redskins did in fact lose to the Panthers, who had one win at the time.
Neither of these two teams will be playing deep into January, and neither is consistent. The Redskins haven’t won two straight games yet this year, and the Cowboys have done that just once (or zero times if, like me, you count last week as a loss for no other reason than you want to). So there’s no real reason to believe in either team here.
It’s kind of a sin that Robert Griffin has yet to play in a nationally televised game, so I’ll just hope that the rookie can shine on this stage and I’ll take the points.
NEW YORK JETS (+7) over New England
The Patriots have the league’s best offense and are coming off a 59-point game, but this team is going to look a whole lot different for the next month and a half.
Without Rob Gronkowski, who is on the field usually for 95 percent of the team’s offensive snaps, the idea of scoring 50 points is impossible. From here on out, the Patriots are going to find themselves in close games the rest of the way (minus games against Jacksonville and Miami).
And in this case, the Patriots were in a tight game with the Jets just four weeks ago, and that was with Gronkowski. The Patriots really should have lost that game, which they entered as 11-point favorites, but they ended up eking out a three-point win in overtime. With the Jets’ offense clicking last week, and with the Patriots having minimal time to practice with their completely reconstructed offense — not to mention a Chandler Jones injury on defense, too — the Jets are the way to go.
But who are you kidding? You know you’ll be conked out by halftime anyway.
Last week: 8-6