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NFL Thanksgiving Day Picks: Can Matt Flynn — Or Anyone Else — Save Turkey Day For Football Fans?

By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
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Matt Flynn (Photo Tom Lynn /Getty Images)

Matt Flynn (Photo Tom Lynn /Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) — It’s Thanksgiving, which means it’s time for the three F’s: family, food and football.

That’s exciting! Except, well ….

Green Bay is at Detroit, and Aaron Rodgers won’t play. Nobody likes watching the Packers play without Rodgers.

Dallas is hosting … Oakland. Nobody likes watching the Raiders, period.

Oh but hey, a good old-fashioned AFC North matchup between the Ravens and Steelers! Oh, well, the thing is, the teams are both 5-6 and both sit on the “stinky” side of the “Is this NFL team stinky or not stinky?” chart.

Thanks for ruining Thanksgiving, football.

Now that we’re all sufficiently pumped up for the games, let’s dive right into the picks.

(Home team in caps; Wednesday lines)

Green Bay (+6) over DETROIT
I always feel bad picking against the home team on Thanksgiving, because I’m essentially rooting for 60,000-plus people to dedicate their entire holiday to going to a game, only to leave disappointed and sad. And then I think of the popcorn guy. The guy had to sacrifice his Thanksgiving so that he could sell popcorn. Not I’m picturing a mopey popcorn guy, kicking rocks on his walk home, bummed out that his team let him down once again. That’s no fun, so here’s hoping the Lions can pull off a three-point win, so we can all be happy.

I think that’s the most likely scenario, with it looking like it’ll be Matt Flynn at quarterback instead of Scott Tolzien. And if there’s one absolute about Matt Flynn, it’s that he always throws for 480 yards and six touchdowns every time he starts against the Lions. That’s a fact. You can find it in a book.

In reality, these two teams are evenly matched, and there aren’t many opponents for Detroit that would make you feel very comfortable with a six-point spread. The Lions lost to the Buccaneers last week. Let’s remember that.

Oakland (+9.5) over DALLAS
I joked earlier that the Raiders are no fun to watch, which is only half-true. They’re thoroughly mediocre, with a good rushing attack and solid run defense. The Cowboys have one of the worst defenses in the sport, so mediocre is typically good enough to compete with them.

So there. Sounds like a fun game. Can’t wait. Oh, and Selena Gomez at halftime? Yippee.

Noteworthy: With Matt Flynn and Matthew Stafford squaring off in the early game, and Matt McGloin starting in the afternoon game, that’s a lot of Matts. It’s three, to be exact. This is a seminal Thanksgiving for all Matthews and Matts. Good for Matts.

BALTIMORE (-3) over Pittsburgh
Baltimore seems like such a miserable place to play in the cold weather. The Steelers have played pretty terribly on the road (2-4). The Ravens have been decent at home (4-1).

Don’t sweat this pick too much though, because the last four Steelers-Ravens meetings have been decided by exactly three points. Pittsburgh’s won the last two, and Baltimore won the two before that. The four games played between the two teams from 2009-10 were also decided by exactly three points.

A 20-17 Ravens win, a push and nobody named Matt throwing the ball would be the perfect anticlimax to what should be a breathtaking day of football.

For the rest of the Week 13 NFL picks, click here.

Last week: 6-8
Season: 71-96-8

Read more from Michael by clicking here, or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.

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