Wednesday, November 21, 2012

NFL Weekly Predictions: Thanksgiving Games

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

Houston @ Detroit (+3)

The Texans were pushed to the limit last week against the Jaguars before prevailing 43-37 in overtime. Matt Schaub passed for 527 yards and 5 touchdowns. The Texans face the 4-6 Lions on Thursday in the Texans first appearance in a Thanksgiving Day game.

"It's amazing that Schaub passed for 527 yards against the Jaguars," Gary Kubiak said. "It's even more amazing that he needed to.

"How does one of the NFL's top-ranked defenses give up 37 points to one of the league's worst offenses? Maybe we got a little cocky. It seems that Wade Phillips isn't the only Texan with an oversized head."

The Lions hope to rebound after last week's narrow 24-20 loss to Green Bay. Inconsistent play from Matthew Stafford again plagued the Lions, and he'll likely be challenged by an aggressive Houston defense.

"It's a day meant to be thankful," Jim Schwartz said. "And I am. I'm thankful that our season isn't more in shambles.

"We haven't won a Thanksgiving Day game since 2003. Stafford and turkey aren't the only 'easy pickings' on Thanksgiving."

The Lions jump on the Texans early, taking a 10-0 first quarter lead. But the rushing of Arian Foster and the calm leadership of Matt Schaub spark a Houston comeback. And the Texans, much like Matt Millen, slowly, methodically, and painfully bury the Lions.

Houston wins, 34-27.

Washington @ Dallas (-3)

The Redskins whipped the Eagles 31-6 last week, as Robert Griffin III was nearly flawless. RG3 was 14-of-15 for 200 yards and 4 touchdowns, posting a perfect 158.3 passer rating on the day.

"I think the Philadelphia defense showed why Griffin was considered a 'can't-miss' prospect," Mike Shanahan said. "

"I'm not sure the Cowboys can stop him. There's only one way to contain Griffin, and that's to put him in a Jason Garrett's offense."

The Cowboys squeaked by against Cleveland with a narrow 23-20 overtime win. At 5-5, Dallas trails the Giants by a single game in the NFC East.

"It wasn't pretty," Tony Romo said, "but it was effective. Here in the 'Big D,' we don't worry about style points. I can't say the same for Jerry Jones. It's Jerry's goal in life not to look bad. No matter how well he's dressed, he still finds a way to do just that."

Do the Cowboys have an answer for Griffin? No, but they do have a question for him: can I have your autograph?

Washington wins, 27-24.

New England @ NY Jets (+7)

The Patriots pummeled the Colts last week in Foxboro 59-24, as the New England defense forced 4 turnovers, including 3 Andrew Luck turnovers. The 6-3 Pats lead the AFC East race by a commanding three-game cushion over the Jets, Bills, and Dolphins.

"Luck has a bright future in this league," Tom Brady said. "He's the sexy pick for the AFC Offensive Rookie Of The Year. And speaking of 'sexy picks,' I was voted one of People magazine's sexiest men. Tim Tebow would kill for a vote of any kind, particularly a vote of confidence.

"Like the Jets, there's a lot of 'finger-pointing' on this Patriot team. Unlike the Jets, we point fingers vertically, not horizontally."

The Jets could shake up the East race with a win on Thanksgiving night in front of a national audience tuning in on NBC. The Jets put a tumultuous week behind them with a solid 27-13 win in St. Louis.

"This could be the start of something big," Rex Ryan said. "Unfortunately, that 'start' could mean the 'beginning' of the end.

"I'm sure Bill Belichick has acquired some recent bootleg videos to assist in his deviant preparations. So have I, but they have nothing to do with football."

Brady will be without Rob Gronkowski, his go-to receiver. Unfortunately, the Jets don't have a go-to anything.

Brady throws for 2 scores, and Sanchez commits 2 costly turnovers.

New England wins, 24-20.

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