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HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

…and Welcome to the Fanosis Thanksgiving edition of Spreads and Predictions. 

Still two undefeated teams in the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers. The bye weeks are all out of the way and we have the first full week of NFL teams since week 3, including three games on Thanksgiving day! Favorites edged out last week (winning 6 of 11 games), while every underdog that covered the spread also won their game outright. If you’re in a “daily” fantasy league like on FanDuel, DraftKings or on the NFL.com website playing the free weekly “Perfect Challenge” for a cool million and you get lucky enough to win something, rest assured you have definitely deserved it this season. 

So onward to some FOOD, FAMILY, and FOOTBALL! Does it get any better? …Feel free to decline answering if your family is as crazy as mine. Anyway, let’s get this party started, shall we? 

Trying something a little different this week; I’ve had to handicap early so it was done without prior knowledge of the spreads, which were inserted afterwards.

THANKSGIVING DAY GAMES

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES @ DETROIT LIONS

The Line: Lions -2.5

The Game: Thursday, 9:30AM PT, FOX

The Skinny: Sam Bradford may or may not play as he was “limited” in practice and is a game day decision so keep that in mind. Overall, Philadelphia is a better team but banged up. Detroit has shown signs of life recently, possibly enough for this should the Eagles go with Sanchez. Stafford and Megatron should be able to connect a few good times in the secondary of the Eagles. The Lions will benefit being at home, and then there is a matter of if the rumors of some players quitting on coach Chip Kelly. Chaos is afoot and the spread is a tad low because of that and the uncertainty at QB position, though Sanchez starting signals a turnover alert. The game opened at Eagles -1, then shifted…Perhaps, not enough.  Lions Win, 27-17

CAROLINA PANTHERS @ DALLAS COWBOYS

The Line: PICK’EM

The Game: Thursday, 1:30PM PT, CBS

The Skinny: This just may be the game of the week…on a Thursday, can you believe it? No secret that Tony Romo’s back and making a difference instantly, but he better see that he doesn’t get injured in this game facing the tough Panther D. I wish I can say that Cam Newton will have to work for points in this one, but doesn’t he always? This is a true test for Romo as he will need to put up continuous points to have a chance. Low score favors the Big Cats, but don’t be too surprised if the Cowboys get a shocker win. Panthers Win, 23-20 

CHICAGO BEARS @ GREEN BAY PACKERS

The Line: Packers -8.5

The Game: Thursday, 5:30PM PT, NBC

The Skinny: Is Aaron Rodgers back? Is Eddie Lacy back? Two really good questions, and if the answer is “yes” to both, the Packers have this game in their hands. However, these may not be the same Bears the Packers beat earlier in the season. Chicago has improved in the area of fluidity, and now they get Matt Forte back. But they may lack in the air game if Jeffrey doesn’t play again this week. With him, the game could be pretty close. The Packers have a better defense and it gets sacks. The Bears will put up a fight but the mentally-strong QB in the clutch could be key. Home field advantage helps, too.  Packers Win, 29-23 

OAKLAND RAIDERS @ TENNESSEE TITANS

The Line: Raiders -2

The Game: Sunday, 10:00AM PT, CBS

The Skinny: Tennessee is looking to avoid equally the longest streak of losing consecutive home games (11) in league history, but it will be tough. They’re a bit banged up and Mariota was sacked four times last week. While the Raiders aren’t much in the way of pass rushing, they certainly have passing on offense and should be able to come out on top. This may not be a low-scoring game if the Titans can step up at the receiver spot and if their porous O-line can provide lanes for the running backs.  Raiders Win, 31-27

BUFFALO BILLS @ KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

The Line: Chiefs -6

The Game: Sunday, 10:00AM PT, CBS

The Skinny: The Bills (5-5) and the Chiefs (5-5) are both looking to be in the playoffs and at this point, both have a pretty chance. Both are playing great defense lately; the Bills from from holding Tom Brady and the Pats to a mere 20 points, the most they’ve giving up in the past four games, and the Chiefs holding their last six opponents to under 20 points, including the two they lost. They’ve won four in a row and have a chance to come back with five victories after five straight losses. Only the 1970 Bengals made the playoffs after starting the season 1-5. Offensively, they appear to have the edge, but if Buffalo duplicates play of the Patriot game, it will be a great defensive battle. Sit your fantasy players in this one. Chiefs Win, 19-14

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS @ INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

The Line: Colts -2.5

The Game: Sunday, 10:00AM PT, FOX

The Skinny: Two more 5-and-5 teams fighting for a playoff spot. The Colts appear to have played slightly better competition lately and Matt Hasselbeck has played well in Andrew Luck’s unluckiness. You can say the same about Jameis Winston lately though, right? The Bucs are trying to win four of their last five games, and the Colts need to capitalize on the easiest of schedules down the stretch. A tough ‘on-paper’ call because both teams can be off from one week to the next.  Colts Win, 24-20

NEW YORK GIANTS @ WASHINGTON REDSKINS

The Line: Redskins -2.5

The Game: Sunday, 10:00AM PT, FOX

The Skinny: This figures to be the air show of the week so get your popcorn and fantasy players ready. The Giants are lousy on defense so look for Kirk Cousins to ‘LIKE THAT’ early and often. They had a chance to heal a bit in their bye while other division foes got routed. Eli Manning has the highest QBR (106.2) in November of any other quarterback so Beckham Jr. should explode again. Kirk Cousins has thrown 9 touchdown passes and 0 INTs with a 122.6 passer rating in the four-game home win streak. They sit a game back in second-place in the division at 4-6, the Giants atop at 5-5. Both need to win to hold off a reborn Dallas team. Coincidentally, both have given up a whopping 253 points to opponents, but it’s Cousins that is likely to bounce back this week after two embarrassing outings. Redskins Win, 34-31

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS @ HOUSTON TEXANS

The Line: Texans -3

The Game: Sunday, 10:00AM PT, FOX

The Skinny: The Saints score points on occasion while they give up points on every occasion. The team has not held anyone to under 20 points all season…That’s anyone! That’s like handing the Texans 20 points before stepping onto the field. Houston receiver Hopkins is a must-start in fantasy start, and the if the Saints do not contain J.J. Watt, it’s over rather early. Brees will need to scramble for his life. This is never good, and may lead to key errors. This game may give large hints in the first half how the second will be. Texans Win, 27-20

MINNESOTA VIKINGS @ ATLANTA FALCONS

The Line: Falcons -1

The Game: Sunday, 10:00AM PT, FOX

The Skinny: Strange game. Minnesota (7-3) seems slightly less than their record, while Atlanta (6-4) doesn’t seem good at all. The Falcons are hurting on defense and this is all Adrian Peterson needs to know. Teddy Bridgewater is a capable QB and prone to make minimal mistakes. With a defense that is playing better, this is all you need to know to determine who you should choose, but if you need more, Falcons running back Devonta Freeman is concussed and Coleman fills in. Vikings Win, 26-18

ST. LOUIS RAMS @ CINCINNATI BENGALS

The Line: Bengals -8.5

The Game: Sunday, 10:00AM PT, FOX

The Skinny: This game has a chance to get interesting. If the Rams true D shows up it could become a game to watch. If Case Keenum shows significant improvement (and if he has no lingering bell-ringing in his head after the concussion that nobody saw but unpaid observers), and if Robert Quinn is near 100%, the Rams can pull one of their amazing upsets…but I wouldn’t count on those great big IFs. Keenum appeared unable to throw a deep ball last week, and they still look rather predictable offensively. Bengals Win, 27-17

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS @ JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

The Line: Jaguars -4

The Game: Sunday, 10:00AM PT, CBS

The Skinny: The Jaguars beat the Titans last week and I wasn’t very impressed with it as both teams looked a bit on the sad side. The Chargers have not looked like world-beaters either but may have played a bit better. I like Philip Rivers here to bounce back, being the the best of the two QBs in this game, but he will need help from his defensive unit. Jacksonville has some weapons to work with. Chargers Win, 24-23

MIAMI DOLPHINS @ NEW YORK JETS

The Line: Jets -3.5

The Game: Sunday, 10:00AM PT, CBS

The Skinny: New York sports the best offense and defense of the two here and should come out victorious. Miami will play hard, and are capable of a surprise or two, but in the end they won’t be able to put up enough points. The Jets beat them in their first match-up by 13 points but I expect this game to be a bit closer as ex-coach Philbin was head guy back then. Jets Win, 20-13

ARIZONA CARDINALS @ SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

The Line: Cardinals -10

The Game: Sunday, 1:05PM PT, FOX

The Skinny: Arizona beat the 49ers by 40 points earlier in week 3 and I don’t see why they can’t get fairly close to matching that yet again. San Francisco lost by 16 and 21 to Seattle and St. Louis respectively, two teams with good defense and mediocre at best offense. The Red Birds are at least good on both sides of the ball, but being the highest-scoring team in the NFL, “great” fits their scoring ability. Cardinals Win 34-17

PITTSBURGH STEELERS @ SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

The Line: Seahawks -4

The Game: Sunday, 1:25PM PT, CBS

The Skinny: Looks like another major match-up of powerhouses that rivals the Seattle-Arizona billing, but Seattle may have more luck against the high-octane Steelers than they had with the Cardinals. Ben Roethlisberger should be that much more healthy off a bye. Thomas Rawls starts for Beastmode, and all things considered, that could be a plus for the Seahawks in the passing game. A must-see affair that the Steelers should take in the end.  Steelers Win, 29-27

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS @ DENVER BRONCOS

The Line: Patriots -3

The Game: Sunday, 5:30PM PT, NBC

The Skinny: Certainly not the match-up the schedule-makers had in mind, but worth the look as back-up QB Brock Osweiler may just be capable of going “weapons hot” with what he has to work with, and a defense that leads the league. Tom Brady is losing his weapons but remains Tom Brady as usual. Still, I have to think Denver watched the Patriots-Bills meeting and learned a thing or two about what to do. A great chess match scheduled in the Mile High despite the lesser hype. Denver Wins, 20-17 

BALTIMORE RAVENS @ CLEVELAND BROWNS

The Line: Browns -3

The Game: Monday, 5:30PM PT, ESPN

The Skinny: I pegged these two teams as being almost equal on paper, but that was before the injuries the Ravens sustained last week against the Rams. Johnny Manziel blew it yet again and is now benched back to third-string behind second-string Austin Davis, who was on the practice squad at one time this season. The Browns should have little trouble on a night that you should probably offer up to the little woman for future brownie points, especially after all the holiday football you’ve watched by then. Browns Win, 30-13 

No More Byes in 2015

Last week vs. the spread (disclaimer games excluded): W6 – L8 (Season total: W60 – L55)

MY FANTASY FOOTBALL STARTERS (STANDARD-LEAGUE POSITION):

QB – Carson Palmer, Arizona / Kirk Cousins, Washington

RB – Adrian Peterson, Minnesota / Thomas Rawls, Seattle

WR – Odell Beckham Jr, New York (Giants) / Calvin Johnson, Detroit

TE – Gary Barnidge, Cleveland / Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati

K – Josh Brown, New York (Giants) / Chandler Catanzaro, Arizona

Def – Arizona Cardinals / Cincinnati Bengals

That’s a wrap! Thanks, and good luck, Mr. Betting Mann! 

 

About Author

Tony Lopez

Tony Lopez is a die-hard Rams fan and Rams representing writer at Fanosis, as well as an avid fantasy football player that has won championships at Yahoo, ESPN, NFL(dot)com and FOX. An ex-employment specialist at Goodwill of Southern California's main headquarters, he has work with prison programs and has L.A. certified training to aid people with disabilities. He is also a poet and ghostwriter.