LOS ANGELES — As America celebrates Thanksgiving, there is still in 2020 much to be thankful for. The most challenging year in a long time has brought much pain and suffering to too many people around the globe. Starting this Thursday, Americans try their best to enjoy their loved ones in as normal a setting as possible. Thanksgiving is a holiday of peace. We broke bread together and celebrated a bountiful harvest.
In 2020, America’s cupboards are not bare. We remain the world’s leading innovator in medicine and technology. We as people are a charitable bunch, helping complete strangers across the globe. When a natural disaster hits, we rally each other and even risk our lives to help people we have never met.
We have our differences, but on Thanksgiving, we cherish our right to have those differences.
For leatherheads, there is more than turkey. There is football.
Yes, there is sadness. Nothing lasts forever. John Madden and Pat Summerall no longer are our extended television football family. The Turducken lives on, but the names of the anchors have changed. The Friday after Thanksgiving no longer brings us the Oklahoma-Nebraska game. Barry Switzer and Tom Osborne are long since retired.
Nevertheless, this experiment called America continues to bring good to the world because of the goodness of its people. People come from all over the world to live the American experience replete with all of our rich traditions. So on this Thursday, enjoy some turkey, stuffing, and most importantly for letterheads, football. For those lacking the patience to spend hours cooking and carving an entire turkey, get a Swanson dinner. It can be ready in five minutes. The Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys will be ready to join us for Thanksgiving. The big-screen television is waiting. On this Thanksgiving, to quote Peyton Manning, “God bless you all, and God bless football.”
With that, here is the NFL 2020 Week 12 Preview and Bettor’s Guide, with point spreads provided by DraftKings and all times Eastern.
NFL – Thursday, November 26, 2020, 12:30 p.m.
Houston Texans (-3) at Detroit Lions —
The days when the Lions on Thanksgiving Day were an automatic win are long gone. However, the Texans are not nearly good enough to be a road favorite. When a pair of bad teams play, barring any other factors, take the home team. Upset special, Lions win outright.
NFL – Thursday, November 26, 2020, 4:30 p.m.
Washington Giblet Stuffings at Dallas Cowboys (-3) —
Both teams are terrible, but the Cowboys got a stunning road win at Minnesota last week. On Thanksgiving Day at home with fans, give the Cowboys one more chance to show they are serious at making a season out of this. Cowboys cover.
Miami Dolphins (-7) at New York Jets —
The Dolphins looked terrible last week at a wounded Denver team, but the Jets look terrible every week against everybody. Adam Gase desperately wants to beat his old team, but he was bad coaching the Dolphins and has not gotten any better. The spread is high for a road team and the Jets desperately want to avoid 0-16. Joe Flacco can still throw the ball. Dolphins win but fail to cover.
Arizona Cardinals (-2.5) at New England Patriots ±
The 4-6 Patriots are on the brink after another home loss. Yet the Cardinal’s offense may not be used to cold and bad weather in New England. The Patriots are desperate. Give them one last shot at home before writing them off. Upset special, Patriots win outright.
Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts (-3) —
Both of these teams got quality wins last week, but it was the Colts who went into Tennessee and stunned the Titans a couple of weeks ago. Derrick Henry can pound the rock, but the Colts have a good defense that suffocated Aaron Rodgers in the second half last week. Trust the defense. Colts cover.
Carolina Panthers at Minnesota Vikings (-3.5) —
After winning three straight, the Vikings lost a stunner at home to lowly Dallas last week. Give them a chance to rebound, especially since Dalvin Cook is running well. The Panthers can move the ball, and Joey Slye is a good kicker. This game appears evenly matched. Vikings win but fail to cover.
Browns (-6.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars —
The Browns are for real and the Jaguars are lifeless. The spread is high but the Jaguars are not putting up much of a fight. The Browns play with a chip on their shoulder and Nick Chubb is running hard. The Jaguars could get a garbage touchdown and the Browns do not put up a ton of points. The browns win but fail to cover.
New York Giants (-6) at Cincinnati Bengals —
Losing Joe Burrow is a disaster for the Bengals. Burrow’s backup Ryan Finley was awful last week and Joe Mixon is injured too. However, the Giants are also bereft of talent. Asking them to win by more than a touchdown is too much to ask until Daniel Jones learns to hang on to the ball. The Giants win but fail to cover.
Los Angeles Chargers at Buffalo Bills (-5.5) —
Justin Herbert is playing well, but the Bills have the better team. Josh Allen can harm teams with his arms and legs. The Chargers do not have the defense to stop him despite Melvin Gordon and Joey Bosa both being solid players. The Chargers give up too many points. Bills cover.
Las Vegas Raiders (-3) at Atlanta Falcons —
The Raiders were 30 seconds away from sweeping the defending champions in Kansas City before a gut-wrenching loss. The Falcons had several of those fourth quarter collapses before Dan Quinn was fired. Since then, the 0-5 Falcons have gone 3-2. Derek Carr is playing well and Josh Jacobs is picking up the tough yards. Neither team has much of a defense, so in a shootout trust the team that can run the ball. Raiders cover.
NFL – Sunday, November 29, 2020, 4:00 p.m.
San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams (-7) —
Jared Goff outplayed Tom Brady and the Rams won a big game at Tampa. There will not be a letdown given the mutual hatred that exists between these teams. The 49ers won earlier in the year, so the Rams will be ready. The Rams at full strength and Aaron Donald wreaking havoc is a better bet than the injured 49ers. However, Nick Mullens can play. Rams win but fail to cover.
New Orleans Saints (-6) at Denver Broncos —
Taysom Hill played well enough in his first start in place of injured Drew Brees, but it was the Saints defense that suffocated Atlanta. The Broncos got a quality win over Miami. The Saints have a ton of offensive firepower and one of the most imaginative offensive minds in the game in Sean Payton. Vic Fangio knows defense and his injured team is playing hard for him. However, in an NFL first, the Broncos are playing this game without a quarterback. Jeff Driskel tested positive for COVID. Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles were all in contact with him and are ruled out. The Broncos have nobody. Saints cover.
Kansas City Chiefs (-3.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers —
The Buccaneers lost at home to the Rams and were humiliated at home by New Orleans. Patrick Mahomes is not from this Earth. He won a shootout over the Raiders and has so many weapons. As great as Tom Brady is, he is still a rookie in Bruce Arians’s system. Brady rewrote the history books, but Mahomes is the future. Chiefs win but fail to cover.
NFL – Sunday, November 29, 2020, 8:00 p.m.
Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers (-8.5) —
Aaron Rodgers will be playing angry after blowing a big lead in a road loss at Indianapolis. Chicago has a defense but no offense. Their 5-1 record a few weeks ago is now a mirage. Packers cover.
NFL – Monday, November 30, 2020, 8:20 p.m.
Seattle Seahawks (-5) at Philadelphia Eagles —
The Seahawks got a big win over Arizona last week to main tied atop the NFC West. The Eagles with only three wins still lead the NFC Least. The Seahawks defense is struggling but so is Carson Wentz. While this looks like a mismatch, the spread is too high given Seattle relying on Russell Wilson to do it all. The Seahawks win but fail to cover.
Lead Image: Screen Shot with Free Clip Art from https://thanksgiving-turkey.com/thanksgiving-turkey-clipart-cartoon-images-pictures.html
NFL – Wednesday, December 2, 2020, 3:30 p.m.
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers (-4) —
This game was postponed from Thursday night due to multiple positive COVID tests on the Ravens. Lamar Jackson tested positive. The Ravens are not the same team as they were last year. They were pushed around at home against Kansas City and Tennessee. They are only 6-4 and Pittsburgh is 10-0. Yet the Ravens are desperate and the Steelers have been barely winning some of their games. The Steelers will not overlook the Ravens by any stretch, but a desperate team is a dangerous one against a hated rival. Without Jackson, the Ravens have no chance. Steelers cover.