After a cracking week 11 for the site last week taking us to 36 pts profit on the seaosn, I’m back nice and early this week for the Thanksgiving games.
A wonderful quirk of the scheduling this year means that all 6 teams playing on Thursday come in on the back of a loss. Marvellous.
Unfortunately for everyone, tradition dictates that the Lions host a game every thanksgiving so we’re blessed with the mighty 0-9-1 host NFC North “rivals” the 3-7 Bears in the opener.
The dinner game in the states sees the Raiders travel over to Jerrah World to take on the Cowboys as they are also guaranteed a Thanksgiving day slot, they’re competitive at least, which is more than can be said for their opponents.
The day finishes with a 120am kick-off for us in the UK as the best game on paper for the day sees the Bills take on the Saints in NOLA, but even this one has lost a bit of shine with Alvin Kamara ruled out once more.
Bears -2.5 @ Lions: 41.5
The line on this has shortened a point, through the 3 over the last 24 hours. I can only assume that’s on the news that inJared Goff should be starting for the Lions?
Frankly, I couldn’t give a crap who’s starting for the Lions, whether it’s Tim Boyle who threw 13 interceptions and 1 TD in college and added another 2 interceptions in his first professional start against the Browns last week, or whether it’s Goff making a quick return after a week off with an oblique muscle injury which he surely can’t be fully healed from after a rest. It’s not good, Jim.
The one bright spot for the Lions this year has been D’Andre Swift who’s looked great in the Anthony Lynn offense which made Austin Ekeler a star at the Chargers. He had been racking up yards mainly in the receiving game but in recent weeks with terrible QB play he’s been getting loaded up on the ground with 130+ in each of their last 2. Only 6 TDs on the season for him, but on this roster that’s not bad.
Outside of Swift is there anyone worth mentioning? TJ Hockenson is a product of the environment as well, he has shown talent and he’s getting a ton of targets as there’s no-one else there, he scored in the first two games of the season but hasn’t found the endzone since then.
Da Bears got an impromptu upgrade at QB on Sunday as Justin Fields went out with bruised ribs after an innocuous fall. They’d scored a total of zero points when that happened so Andy Dalton stepped in and quickly moved them down the field a couple of times while having players in his face and got them in a position to win the game before his defense fucked it all up. Dalton is the better QB on the roster AT THE MOMENT and gives them a better chance of winning here. I do however admit Fields getting playing time is better for them in the long run.
It makes this game a little tougher to judge, but David Montgomery is back and getting all the carries in the backfield, should have a good game here, while Marquise Goodwin seems to have good games with Dalton under center.
Darnell Mooney has been doing well no matter what trash is lobbing the ball to him, he scored on Sunday after breaking a short pass for a long TD and has been targeted in the endzone, Dalton loved him at the weekend. There’s no real news on Allen Robinson is going to miss out. Either way they’ve not used him this year really.
Cole Kmet and Jimmy Graham should get some looks too as they did when Dalton arrived on the scene on Sunday.
The Bears defense looks like it will be missing Akeem Hicks again which hurts their run defense and Khalil Mack is done for the year. But they’ve only really got to slow one man, they do that and they win going away here.
Obviously as a Bengals fan I like Dalton, and I think he’ll get the job done for the Bears here. It probably won’t be high scoring though, the Bears might hit 25 or so, but I doubt the Lions get past 14.
So Bears cover, under on the total would be my looks here.
Raiders +7.5 @ Cowboys: 51.5
The Raiders started the season well as they usually do, but in fairness, it would be a struggle for any team to overcome what they’ve gone through this season with the Gruden incident and then the horrible Ruggs affair.
Since losing Ruggs they’ve looked terrible, failing to put up more than 16 points in the last 3 games. 4 TDs and 4 INTs for Carr in losses against the Giants, Chiefs and Bengals last week. It was the first time I’ve had to watch a full game of them this year and while they weren’t bad, they just weren’t effective, converting only 1 of 8 3rd down attempts and giving away silly penalties to keep Bengals drives alive.
Bryan Edwards has the physical traits to do well, but he’s been shite, Desean Jackson didn’t have a target at the weekend. Darren Waller is their only way of moving the ball really, he topped 100 yards through the air while they decided to give Kenyan Drakes targets to Josh Jacobs who caught 5 of 7 targets. It’s what fans have wanted for ages as he was an adept pass-catcher coming out of college but Drake has done well too and I’d expect that share to equalise a little.
Third-and-Renfrow went missing at the weekend, he’ll be working on a magical quituple-move to free up some space and gain those precious 4 yards for a first down in this one.
Such was their ineptitude on offense they only had 18 rush attempts at the weekend with Jacobs having half of them. He’s an adequate running back, just won’t do much to blow you away, in fact Drake is probably the more explosive and in a game they will probably be trailing might get more of the ball.
The Cowboys were shite at the weekend against a resurgent Chiefs defense. They did have a mixed up week with unvaccinated Amari Cooper testing positive for Covid meaning he missed the weekend game and this one as part of the NFLs rules. I couldn’t give a crap if he gets vaccinated or not, but his choice does affect his career and his team, and that is the case here.
In fairness he’d been carrying a knock for a while so it could do him good having an enforced couple of weeks off. It meant CeeDee Lamb stepped into the WR1 spot, but he got concussion after banging his head trying to make a TD catch at the end of the first half. It seems like he’s making his way through protocol and they think he’ll be available here which is a big boost. Without him it’s recently returned Michael Gallup having to step up and while he’s good, he’s not a 1.
Behind him Cedric Wilson and Noah Brown will move up the depth-chart. Wilson has a few TDs on the year and has proven a go-to target while Malik Turner scored a couple in garbage time the other week which screwed over fantasy players.
Regardless of who’s at WR for the Cowboys, Dalton Schultz should have a decent role after a season-high 8 targets this week which he turned into 6 for 53 yards. It’s been a while since he found the endzone but the Raiders aren’t great in the middle of the field.
It’s not all roses in the running game either as Zeke was forced to leave at the weekend with a knee/ankle injury and he comes into this one questionable. He is the better running back on the team and gets the goal-line carries, but Tony Pollard has done well in an increased role this year. It would make sense to lesser Zekes snaps and give Pollard more, but even without Zeke in the line-up last year Pollard only had a max of 12 carries. Admittedly it turned into 69 yards and 2 TDs on the ground and he added 6 for 63 through the air. So they’ll be able to move the ball whoever is there.
It looks like Tyron Smith should be back on the OL for the Cowboys and he’ll be needed to slow down Maxxxxxx Crosby who’s been great this year.
I don’t see the Raiders hitting 20 points, the Cowboys should put up 30+, so I’ve got to Take the Cowboys to cover. With the unknowns in the passing game I’d lean under.
I love Tony Pollard o13.5 rec. yards (best price 20/23 on 365) here, he’s gone over that in 5 of their last 6 and if he gets more of the ball as I expect then there will be more chances for him. The only worry would be they shouldn’t need to push, but it’s a low line which I’m fine with.
Bills -6 @ Saints: 45.5
The Bills got waxed at home by the Colts last week as Jonathan Taylor ran all over them with 5 TDs. They were meant to be one of the better defenses, and they may well still win the AFC East but their schedule has been so soft it’s tough to judge them really. They beat the Chiefs, fair play but the rest of the their wins have come against shit. Losing against the Jags just isn’t forgivable.
I will admit I’m a little biased against the Bills, I said in pre-season they’d fall back, so I know this is probably confirmation bias on my part, but they’re just not that good. Josh Allen has the attributes to be great and Stefon Diggs has definitely helped him bump his numbers, and 5 TDs in their last 5 games definitely does that. Emmanuel Sanders looked like a good signing early in the season but has dropped off recently.
Cole Beasley does his work in the slot and usually gets a lot of the ball, with Lattimore probably on Diggs in this one I would expect the underlings to step up so Beasles, Sanders and Gabriel Davis should have better games than they have recently.
The issue with the Bills at the moment is the utter lack of run-game. They fell behind quickly at the weekend but 13 carries isn’t great. Zack Moss did well to start the year with TDs but Devin Singletary has done very little so recent matches has seen Matt Breida getting opportunities, 2 TDs against the Jets and 51 from 5 carries this weekend should earn him more game-time.
Dawson Knox is priced well at 3/1 on Paddypower to find the end-zone in this one. His 6 receptions this week was the most he’s had in a game and included an end-zone shot which he probably should have been stronger with and hauled in.
They’re still rated as the best defense on DVOA, 1st against the pass. So… good luck Trevor Siemian.
The Saints will once again be without Alvin Kamara who’s ruled out again, while Mark Ingram was also not practicing this week and officially questionable with a knee injury. So, there’s that. If he did happen to miss out it would be up to rookie Tony Jones to do some work after a good pre-season but it’s a lot to ask of him. Maybe a little Dwayne Washington and/or Ty Montgomery mixing in as well.
Having Trevor Siemian at QB isn’t exactly a good spot either, he’s been all right, a QBR of 37 on the season isn’t good, his best performance came against the Bucs where he was thrown into the game, he’s not done well as a starter.
He’s not exactly got a lot to throw the ball to either, Adam Trautman had been a favoured target but after his first TD last week he is now on the IR. Tre’Quan Smith led them in targets last week, he and Callaway see the most snaps but Deonte Harris gets a lot of targets when he’s on the field. L’il Jordan Humphrey scored in garbage time last week, he’s a very big price to do the same here. Juwan Johnson probably gets more at TE with the Traut missing out.
Bah, people love Lattimore on defense and until this weekend where the Eagles ran riot against them they had been very good defending the run.
Defending the run isn’t really needed against the Bills, so being 14th against the pass probably isn’t the best thing for them in this matchup.
Got to think the Bills cover, and maybe lean over. Realistically I’ve got nothing on the total.
I like Dawson Knox 3/1 (PP) at the price
Just so it’s surmised down here, I won’t be betting on/recording these;
Bears cover, Unders – Cowboys cover, Unders – Bills cover, Over.