Chicago @ Detroit
Good news for those of you on the west coast, you can all sleep in! This game kicks off at 9:30am pacific time, so if you’re hungover from pre-Thanksgiving festivities, or simply trying to avoid helping prepare for guests, feel free to hit the snooze button. It’ll probably be more enjoyable to lie there in a semi-conscious twilight, considering how little you’re contributing to your family than actually wake up and watch a brutally injured Lions team host a Bears squad that’s loosely clinging to its playoff life. Detroit would have been in a tough spot having to throw backup QB Jeff Driskel out there against the Bears’ D anyway, but with Driskel questionable, things may go from bad to Blough. That’s David Blough the Lions’ undrafted, third-string, rookie quarterback. None of those adjectives are ones you want to hear before “quarterback.” You have to feel for Blough’s family, who was probably all set to have a nice, normal Thanksgiving until they got a call from David saying he might start on Thursday. Now I imagine the Bloughs are sitting around looking at each other saying, “So do we really have to go spend Thanksgiving in Detroit, just so we can see Khalil Mack murder our son?” While their holiday is likely ruined, yours doesn’t have to be; take my advice and stay in bed.
Buffalo @ Dallas
Ahh yes, a tale as old as time, a song as old as rhyme: the Bills and Cowboys. A rivalry that so permeated the national consciousness in the early-mid 90s that it was a punchline in an episode of Saved by the Bell: The College Years. Since their respective peaks in that decade these franchises have toiled in mediocrity and, at times, downright futility. They both come in to this game with winning records, however, and both have a good shot at making the playoffs. Buffalo, by virtue of their soft schedule and a weak AFC; and Dallas due to their truly abysmal division. The teams in the NFC East have a combined record of 15-29. The Cowboys’ 6-5 mark would only be good for third place in three of the NFL’s eight divisions, but luckily for Dallas it lands them squarely in first in the NFC East. Despite the Bills having the better record I’m going to go with the Cowboys here. I just don’t trust Buffalo’s record based on the teams they’ve beat. Their 8-3 is emptier than the calories of the various pies that you’ll all be shoveling in your gaping maws by the end of this game.
New Orleans @ Atlanta
As we all know, Saints coach Sean Payton was one of the biggest proponents of expanding the instant replay rules to include pass interference after what happened to New Orleans in the NFC championship game last season. Well the SuperDome roof must have been leaking last Sunday, because irony was dripping all over the field when Panthers coach Ron Rivera successfully challenged a PI no-call that set Carolina up with a 1st & Goal late in the game. The Panthers ended up frittering that opportunity away, and when all was said and done the Saints won. Be that as it may, I think I now see exactly where the Saints' season is headed. They’ll get back to the NFC championship game and have a lead late in the 4th quarter, at which point a replay review will award the other team a pass interference call and set them up for the winning score. Sean Payton will then retire to live on an island he purchased for himself to provide him the privacy required for him to get reacquainted with his second love: books. As the helicopter that dropped him off flies away, the wind from the whirring blades will blow his glasses off his face and on to a rock where they’ll shatter.