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NFL Gridiron Guide: Take the Pats on Thanksgiving

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady talks to

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady talks to his team in the huddle during a game against the Jets in Foxborough, Mass. (Oct. 21, 2012) Credit: AP

PATRIOTS (7-3) at JETS (4-6), 8:20 p.m.

Patriots by 7;

O/U: 48 1/2

TV: Ch. 4. Radio: ESPN (98.7).

I've had more fun at Rex Ryan's expense in this column than I care to admit. But I have to say, I like the way Rexy handled things this week when it came to New England. Ryan gave the Patriots plenty of praise (even calling Tom Brady a "machine"), and basically kept his mouth shut, not poking the bear, in this case, the Kings of the AFC East. The Jets played one of their best games of the season in Week 7, but still lost in OT to New England, 29-26. Gang Green dropped two more games after that, before rebounding Sunday in a win at St. Louis. The Jets' inconsistent running game came to life vs. the Rams with the two-headed attack of Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell, who registered his first two TDs of the season. Could this be a sign of things to come? Maybe. Many have spoken to the injury to Pats TE Rob Gronkowski (broken forearm) as a plus for the Jets. New England (NFL-best plus-20 turnover margin) should have TE Aaron Hernandez (ankle) coming back. But Hernandez hasn't played since Week 7 vs. the Jets, and I'm not sure how effective he'll be. However, the Pats are one of the NFL's best road teams this decade: 53-25-3 against the spread (ATS) in their last 81 road games. Plus, the Patriots are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 road games vs. the Jets. I believe the Jets' slim playoff hopes end here.

THE PICK: Patriots


TEXANS (9-1) at LIONS (4-6), 12:30 p.m.

Texans by 3 1/2; O/U: 50 1/2

TV: Ch. 2.

Radio: WFAN (660, 101.9).

This one is a bit of a head-scratcher to me. How can the Lions only be a three-point underdog here? Detroit is on an eight-game losing (and cover) streak on Thanksgiving games. I know Houston is coming off last week's 43-37 OT win over the hapless Jaguars, and its defense has been a bit shaky since losing LB Brian Cushing in Week 5. But the balanced Texans are 7-3 ATS this season, and are 15-5-2 in their last 22 games overall. Detroit (4-6 ATS in '12) is playing for their season here. I just can't pick the Lions (5-11-1 ATS in their last 17 games) going against a team like Houston.

THE PICK: Texans



at COWBOYS (5-5), 4:15 p.m.

Cowboys by 3 1/2; O/U: 48

TV: Ch. 5.

Radio: WFAN (660, 101.9).

The only person who likes Thanksgiving Day more than me is Cowboys QB Tony Romo. And trust me, I love Turkey Day (they don't call me "Three Plates" Boell for nothing). Romo is 5-0 with 14 TDs, 4 INTs, and a 115.4 QB rating on Thanksgiving since 2006 (and is 21-3 in Novembers for his career). But Washington has some good numbers, too: the 'Skins have covered four straight vs. the Cowboys, and are 5-0 ATS in their last five games in Dallas. Plus, Washington is 8-3 ATS in its last 11 NFC East tilts, while Dallas is 2-9 over the same span. The 'Skins keep it close.

THE PICK: Redskins

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