Jaguars-Titans. Browns-Ravens. Cardinals-49ers. Those are just some of the less-than-stellar matchups NFL fans have had to sit through on Thursday nights this season.
This Thursday, there’s plenty to be thankful about. Lions-Vikings is a battle for first place, Redskins-Cowboys will be a thriller and while Steelers-Colts lost some of its appeal, it still features exciting playmakers.
VIKINGS (6-4) AT LIONS (6-4), 12:30 p.m.
TV: Ch. 2; Radio: WFAN (660, 101.9)
Lions by 2.5; O/U: 41.5
After losing nine straight on Thanksgiving from 2004 to 2012, it’s been nothing but home cookin’ for the Lions, winning by scores of 40-10, 34-17 and 45-14. This division rematch will be a lot closer, but the Lions should cover. Detroit has won four in a row at home while the Vikings have lost three straight on the road. Detroit just won at Minnesota in Week 9. The Vikings snapped a four-game losing streak on Sunday, but it wasn’t because of their offense. Bottom line: It’s hard to see Sam Bradford making enough plays. Roll with Matthew Stafford, who will continue to feast on Thanksgiving.
The pick: Lions
REDSKINS (6-3-1) AT COWBOYS (9-1), 4:30 p.m.
TV: Ch. 5; Radio: WFAN (660, 101.9)
Cowboys by 7; O/U: 51.5
Not only is this the best game of the day, it has the potential to be the Game of the Year. Dallas has won and covered nine in a row, while Washington is 6-1-1 after an 0-2 start. Expect a back-and-forth, high-scoring game with plenty of big plays. This spread, like many across American homes on Thanksgiving, is too big. Dallas should be favored by five points at most. Kirk Cousins has been on fire, and the Redskins’ deep passing game should have success against the Cowboys’ secondary. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott’s magical run started in Week 2 at Washington, but don’t be surprised if the streak ends here. Even if the Redskins lose a close one, they’re the clear pick against the spread. Getting a touchdown in a rivalry game, especially with a solid underdog, is a gift. Gobble up the points.
The pick: Redskins
STEELERS (5-5) AT COLTS (5-5), 8:30 p.m.
TV: Ch. 4; Radio: WFAN (660, 101.9)
Steelers by 9; O/U: 48
The Colts opened as 3-point underdogs, which looked like a good bet. With Andrew Luck out, though, the line has skyrocketed to 9 and it’s hard to back Indy now. Laying this big of a number on the road is not ideal, but how many points will the Colts score with Scott Tolzien at quarterback? More than 14 would be a surprise. The Steelers scored 45 and 51 points against the Colts the last two seasons. Look for Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown to come up big as Pittsburgh has another big offensive game.
The pick: Steelers
BOB GLAUBER: Vikings, Cowboys, Steelers
TOM ROCK: Vikings, Redskins, Steelers
KIMBERLEY A. MARITN: Lions, Redskins, Steelers