John Boell's Gridiron Guide
PACKERS (5-5-1) at LIONS (6-5), 12:30 p.m.Line: Lions by 6; O/U: 50
TV: Ch. 5. Radio: WFAN (660, 101.9).
There are rivalry games, and then there's Packers-Lions. Need proof? Packers OL Josh Sitton told a Milwaukee radio station Tuesday that the Lions and some of their coaches are "a bunch of dirtbags or scumbags," Sitton said. (When you REALLY don't like someone it's tough to make a distinction between dirtbags and scumbags.) Guess there won't be holiday well wishes or cards exchanged between Sitton and any of the Lions. Detroit has dropped two straight games and is 1-4 against the spread (ATS) in its last five games overall. The Lions have also lost nine straight games on Turkey Day. I know the Pack has four straight cover losses since Aaron Rodgers' injury, but QB Matt Flynn should help the Cheeseheads keep things close enough against the volatile Lions.
The pick: Packers
RAIDERS (4-7) at COWBOYS (6-5), 4:30 p.m.
Line: Cowboys by 91/2; O/U: 47.5
TV: Ch. 2. Radio: WFAN (660, 101.9).
At quick glance this seems like an easy game for Dallas, who is tied with the 49ers with an NFL-best 8-3 record ATS. But according to RJ Bell at pregame.com, the underdog has covered 71 percent of Dallas games (41-17 ATS) the last four seasons. Oakland is 3-1-1 ATS on the road this year. Rookie quarterback Matt McGloin has been surprise for the Raiders, who should get a boost if RB Darren McFadden makes his return from injury as expected (though Rashad Jennings has been a beast in his absence). On a short week in a nationally-televised game, I'll take the points.
The pick: Raiders
STEELERS (5-6) at RAVENS (5-6), 8:30 p.m.Line: Ravens by 21/2; O/U: 40.5
TV: Ch. 4. Radio: WFAN (660, 101.9).
A few weeks ago, this usual must-watch game didn't seem so important, did it? But now it looms large for many in the AFC, including the Jets and these combatants. These are two of the six AFC teams with 5-6 records. Six! Both clubs have covered their last three games, respectively. Pittsburgh, 4-1 ATS in its last five games in Baltimore, is 7-3-2 ATS in its last 12 meetings vs. the Ravens. A quick look at the last 10 games between these two shows that eight of those contests have been decided by exactly three points with each team winning four times. Tread softly.
The pick: Steelers