With three games to be played on Thursday, a dozen on Sunday, and one on Monday (actually, since it’s Cardinals-49ers it’s not really an NFL game), we’ve decided to break up our picks into two separate columns.
For now, we’ll present our picks for the trio of Thanksgiving games. (UPDATE: Here are the rest of the Week 12 picks.) After edging Rosenthal by one this past weekend, he’s leading me by only one.
Last week, I was 11-5 and Rosenthal was 10-6. For the year, he’s 103-57 and I’m 102-58.Patriots at Lions
Florio’s take: The 2-8 Lions host the 8-2 Patriots. Once upon a time, the Lions always were tough to beat at home on Thanksgiving. Matt Millen’s influence helped end that. Bill Belichick’s genius will help continue it.
Florio’s pick: Patriots 41, Lions 21.
Rosenthal’s take: It’s tough to blow the Lions out, especially at home. They are 2-2 at Ford Field this year, with three point losses to the Eagles and Jets. That bodes well for a rare Lions Thanksgiving game that keeps our interest into the fourth quarter. Luckily for New England, the Lions don’t have the running game (or run defense) to close games out.
Rosenthal’s pick: Patriots 27, Lions 20.
Saints at Cowboys
Florio’s take: Before the season, it appeared that the NFL was throwing its captive audience a wishbone on Thanksgiving, scheduling something other than a Cowboys home game against a mediocre opponent. As it turned out, the Cowboys ended up being the mediocre opponent. But the Cowboys have turned things around of late, and this will be the biggest test of the Jason Garrett regime. Though it’s possible that someone has merely spiked the cranberry salad, I’ve got a feeling that the Cowboys can get it done.
Florio’s pick: Cowboys 28, Saints 21.
Rosenthal’s take: All Jason Garrett needed to turn the Cowboys season around was back-to-back weeks in which an undrafted rookie cornerback (Bryan McCann) scored a touchdown of 97 yards or more. The luck will run out on Thanksgiving against an improved Saints defense that can slow down Dez Bryant and Miles Austin. It’s time for Dallas’ poor pass defense to show up again.
Rosenthal’s pick: Saints 34, Cowboys 21.
Bengals at Jets
Florio’s take: Last year, the Jets beat the Bengals when they weren’t trying to win, six days before beating the Bengals when they were trying to win. This time around, the Thanksgiving night game is the closest Cincy will get to a significant game for a long time, and they’ll bring everything they have. Look for it to almost be enough.
Florio’s pick: Jets 27, Bengals 23.
Rosenthal’s take: The 2-8 Bengals had one weapon this season: their secondary. Then Sunday happened. They lost two cornerbacks, two safeties, and what pride they had left in a 35-0 second-half whitewash against Buffalo. The Bengals didn’t match up well with the Jets when Cincinnati was a playoff team. They really don’t now with Mark Sanchez playing much better.
Rosenthal’s pick: Jets 30, Bengals 17.