What does Thanksgiving mean? It means giving thanks for what you have…but it also means a full day of football, and that also means a busy for handicappers. There are three games on tap for Thursday, including two pairs of divisional rivals battling.
Houston Texans @ Detroit Lions
NFL Betting Odds: Texans -3
The Texans are now 8-1, but they had a whale of a time with Jacksonville in a 43-37 overtime win at home and you have to wonder if they were looking ahead to this game, which is fair as the Jaguars are terrible. But they pulled out the win and that’s all you have to do in the NFL. This is the first of three straight road games for Houston, and it’s an important stretch as some still don’t believe in the Texans.
The Lions had every chance to beat Green Bay in Detroit, but ended up falling 24-20 and at 4-6, their postseason hopes are seriously in trouble unless they run the table and get a little help. The NFC North hasn’t been kind to the Lions, who are 0-4 against their division rivals so far.
Houston gets the edge on the betting lines, and they’ve split their two meetings with Detroit, with the home team winning each time. However, the Lions have covered the spread both times and they’ll play with urgency on Thursday to come away with the upset.
Pick: Lions +3
Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys
NFL Betting Odds: Cowboys -3.5
Robert Griffin III was almost perfect in a 31-6 rout of Philadelphia at home to go to 4-6 after their bye, which keeps their NFC East hopes alive as the leading New York Giants are only two games ahead. As long as the ‘Skins can surround RGIII with talent so he doesn’t have to do everything himself, their future is bright, but it remains to be seen whether or not they can do this.
The Cowboys escaped with a 23-20 overtime win over Cleveland at home with a 17-point fourth quarter, and they’re now at 5-5, but they probably should have lost that game. In actuality, the game shouldn’t have been that close, but that is life in Dallas in 2012, where Jason Garrett could lose his job if the ‘Boys fail to make the postseason.
Dallas gets the nod against arguably their biggest rival and they’ve won seven of the last 10 meetings outright, but have covered just twice and they’re one of the worst in the NFL when they’re favored. They’ve also won eight of the last 10 in Dallas against Washington, but have covered just four times. Can anyone trust the Cowboys to win or cover? It’s a risky proposition, and these ‘Skins have a little confidence from the way they played against Philly.
Pick: Redskins +3.5
New England Patriots @ New York Jets
NFL Betting Odds: Patriots -6.5
The 7-3 Patriots walloped Indianapolis 59-24 at home behind another great game from Tom Brady, but the defense also returned two Andrew Luck picks for touchdowns and that is what this defense (particularly the secondary) needs to do to be successful. This game also came at a cost as Rob Gronkowski broke his forearm, and Aaron Hernandez is still shaking off an ankle injury (he could be back on Thursday). It’s a good thing the Pats have a ton of tight ends on their roster, but losing “Gronk” really hurts.
The Jets went to 4-6 by dropping St. Louis 27-13 on the road to snap a three-game skid, as the defense forced three turnovers, Mark Sanchez managed the game well and the running game grinded out yards. Even though it was only the Rams, wins build confidence and that is something that the Jets have been seriously lacking lately.
The NFL betting lines list the Patriots as a 6.5-point favorite. They have won six of the last 10 between two, covering five times (one game ended in a push) and they’ve split their last six road games against the Jets, covering four times. This should be another victory for the Pats, who will take a big step towards another AFC East title.
Pick: Patriots -6.5