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Turkey Day Appetizers
Thanksgiving is looming large, with only one week of NFL games left before we hit that magical weekday football fest. Calm down though, as we mention, there is still a full card of pro football action between now and the Thursday 3-pack on November 22nd.
So this week we are focusing on a head’s up for the games that go five days before the Thanksgiving Day lineup, kinda like our version of “Turkey Day Appies”.
Watching mid-week games is a treat for fans across the football world and the coverage of these matchups is comparable to the Sunday and Monday Nighters. That said, for the players it is tough getting ready on such a short week. Coaches understand how the abnormal schedule is likely to disrupt player’s routines and accept it, but this season an appeal was made to the league that earned all six Thanksgiving Day participants the right to a home game in Week 11.
It has created a favorable situation this year for all six teams and looking at the matchups in Week 11, compared to the actual Turkey Day games themselves, there is solid potential for some side and total plays as teams look to gain momentum for what will be a difficult week ahead.
The first two teams to look at are the New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys. In the past seven years these clubs have met once and the Jets have made just one trip to Dallas in 35 years. They have never met in the playoffs, either, and while it should have been the Giants booking a flight to Cowtown this weekend, by the time anyone noticed the mistake it was too late. It is a non-conference game with no rivalry and it allows for both teams to be squarely focused on their Week 11 matchup.
Dallas is hosting Washington this week and it is the first divisional home game for the Boys since Week 1. Look for a very focused effort from Dallas as they look to stay perfect against the division.
The Jets get Pittsburgh and that is by no means going to be an easy test, but Pittsburgh is coming off three straight divisional wins and the Steelers have a Monday Night contest on-deck. Pittsburgh is 0-2 SU/ATS on the road this year against non-divisional opponents and laying this kind of spread could be trouble.
The situation is very similar for the Indianapolis Colts and Atlanta Falcons. The Colts franchise, including when they were in Baltimore, is 12-1 straight-up against the Falcons all-time. Meanwhile, they catch a Chiefs team this week that they met last year in the playoffs, and KC is coming off a divisional game vs. Denver. Indy’s game at San Diego ended on a very sour note and it was one of Manning’s worst ever performances. The number is big, but expect Indy to be primed for this contest.
Atlanta is seeing a Bucs team coming off a bye that was publicly moaning about the team’s condition going into the break. If Atlanta can get an early jump on the Bucs, the Falcons have the defense to prevent Tampa from a comeback and even if the Bucs do get back in the game, covering as a road fav has not been a strong suit for them (1-5-1 ATS).
The Green Bay and Detroit game is different since it is a divisional showdown that for the first time in several years actually means something to both teams. This might be a better time to point out that the three visitors from last year’s Turkey Day games were 3-0 to the "Over" in the week prior to Thanksgiving and the three host cities were 0-3 to the "Under." That points at a potential play on Green Bay and Carolina to go high and for the Lions and New York Giants staying low.
There’s some info to help get you primed for the big day. Oh, and one more piece of advice for anyone that plans on treating the Thanksgiving football festivities like a camping trip, where nachos are considered a food group and beer is best served with breakfast. You might want to consider booking Friday off work, too. For one thing, it will give you a full day to recover, clean up the house and re-stock for Sunday. But better than that, think of the additional time you can put toward handicapping the college card!
Have a great week.
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