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Week 12 Picks, Part I

Thanksgiving Day Picks
Anyone Thankful for the NFL Network?

All this hubbub about one of today's games being available only on NFL Network. Everyone acting like it's something new. I wrote briefly about it last Thanksgiving when the only game featuring a pair of winning teams (7-3 Denver at 6-4 Kansas City) was broadcast only on NFL Network. The other games were 4-6 Miami at 2-8 Detroit and 3-7 Tampa Bay at 6-4 Dallas. No one seemed too upset, as I remember.

Today, the only game featuring two winning teams, another important divisional matchup like last year, is available to everyone before they've fallen into their carbohydrate comas. The game available to few is between non-conference opponents, the team with a winning record suffering from several injuries, the losing team one of the worst in the league. And after everyone has enjoyed several hours of family, friends, food and football, who is really that distraught to miss that game?

Really, there's a game in about five weeks in which history could be made, a game that should feature two playoff teams, that is scheduled to be broadcast only on NFL Network. Local fans will get to see it, because featuring a local team it will also be broadcast on a local channel. But alas for the fans of the local team who live elsewhere. Well, maybe the league will figure out something by then.

I'll have Sunday's and Monday's picks in a couple days. Here are today's picks:

Thursday, Nov. 22
Green Bay Packers (9-1) at Detroit Lions (6-4), 12:30 p.m.
Ready to start the day off right! People shaking hands and hugging. Break out the spirits. Laugh and socialize. Then it's time for football. Nine-and-one at six-and-four. It should be a tremendous game. At least, in the words of Ernest Hemmingway, "it's pretty to think so." Of course, people don't talk that way anymore, the same that people think today is "Turkey Day" and tomorrow is nothing but "Black Friday." Hey, you never know. Maybe it will end up being a shootout to the last minute. After all, both offenses are in the top 10 in passing (Green Bay, 2nd; Detroit, 7th), and the passing defenses are both in the bottom half (Green Bay, 19th, Detroit, 30th). Were they playing in Wisconsin, there would be no doubt of the outcome. In Detroit, there's just a little. Detroit's defense is no match for Green Bay's offense, and Geen Bay's D should be able to keep Detroit at .. um .. bay.
Prediction: Packers, 34-20.

New York Jets (2-8) at Dallas Cowboys (9-1), 4:15 p.m.
No more. It's all too much. And another NFL game? Starting to fall into coma. Actually, I'm referring to the Jets. Do you really need another piece of pie? Do we really need to "analyze" this game?
Prediction: Cowboys, 42-13.

Indianapolis Colts (8-2) at Atlanta Falcons (3-7), 8:15 p.m.
Like you're about to touch that turkey sandwich. You can't even look at it. Nor can you watch the game if you don't have NFL Network. But really. That turkey sandwich? This game? Who really cares at this point?
Prediction: Colts, 27-14.

Last week: 10 - 6 (62.5 percent).
Season: 108 - 60 (64.3 percent). Starting to falter a little. I did the same thing last year. After an 8-8 week, I was 94-66 (58.8 percent). You'd think the second half of the season would be easier to pick when you know so much more about the teams than you did in the first few weeks. Meh. It matters not today. Happy Thanksgiving, one and all.