NFL Week 12 Picks
Thanksgiving is the favorite holiday of millions of Americans. And football is a big part of that tradition. The NFL will offer a Turkey Day tripleheader to give fans and gamblers something to be thankful for.
Unfortunately, there is a Thanksgiving Day tradition that many football followers can do without. The woeful Detroit Lions, the worst franchise in the NFL, still get the early game on Turkey Day. Once upon a time, the NFL had a hard time finding franchises that would volunteer to host Thanksgiving Day games. But the Ford Family that owns the Lions, to this very day, stepped to the forefront and took the date. It proved to be a farsighted decision for the Lions franchise. Detroit has never played in a Super Bowl. But they do hold the distinction of being known as the Thanksgiving Day team.
This year the Lions have some optimism to sell with first round draft pick Aidan Hutchinson out of the University of Michigan. Additionally, wide receiver Jameson Williams of the Alabama Crimson Tide gives the Lions a much-needed offensive weapon.
This year the Lions will host the Buffalo Bills, touted as an AFC championship favorite.
The Dallas Cowboys are another set-in-stone Thanksgiving Day host. Not as much complaining comes with the Cowboys hosting the late afternoon Turkey Day game. Love them or hate them, America’s Team always comes with a storyline and is often a playoff contender. That is certainly expected to be the case for this year. The Cowboys will host their NFC East Division rival New York Giants.
The Thanksgiving nightcap features the New England Patriots at the perpetually overrated and underachieving Minnesota Vikings.
New England had a nice comeback season in 2021, making the playoffs with rookie quarterback Mac Jones. Meanwhile, Minnesota has never become the Super Bowl team it touted itself to be after acquiring quarterback Kirk Cousins in 2018. Minnesota will be playing for rookie head coach Kevin O’Connell. For the past two years, O’Connell was the offensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Rams.
A game that will catch attention will be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Cleveland Browns in the early window.
The Browns were headed into training camp with former Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson atop the depth chart. Former starter Baker Mayfield was demoted to backup behind Watson. One year ago, Mayfield was the hero that was celebrated for taking the Cleveland Browns to the AFC playoffs and earning a wild card win at the Pittsburgh Steelers. But in 2021, the Browns and Mayfield took a step back.
By the time Thanksgiving weekend hits, Watson will either be the Browns' answer at quarterback or on the bench behind Mayfield. That is, if Mayfield is even a member of the team when this game is played.
The Sunday afternoon late window features some strong matchups. The Los Angeles Chargers are at the Arizona Cardinals in an interconference matchup of top playoff contenders.
A powerhouse matchup will occur at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, with the Chiefs hosting the Los Angeles Rams. Nobody would be surprised if the Chiefs and Rams clash in the Super Bowl next February.
NBC Sunday Night Football has a ratings winner with the Green Bay Packers at the Philadelphia Eagles.
ESPN Monday Night Football wraps up the Thanksgiving football feast with a strong offering of the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Indianapolis Colts.
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