Thanksgiving Day football is a time honored tradition in the NFL, and this year will be no different. Usual suspects the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys are getting ready to host their annual home games, with the Buffalo Bills and New York Giants getting set to pay them a visit, respectively. The Thursday night game will feature the New England Patriots traveling to take on the Minnesota Vikings, who are coming off their second loss of the season. DraftKings Sportsbook has two of the largest point spreads of Week 12 slated for Thursday, as both the Buffalo Bills and the Dallas Cowboys open as 9-point favorites, but these contests could end up being more competitive than some are predicting… so let’s make some picks!
Buffalo Bills @ Detroit Lions — 9:30 AM — CBS — O/U 53.5
The Buffalo Bills started out slow last weekend, but they came on strong to end the first half and never looked back, eventually beating the Cleveland Browns 31-23. This victory prevented them from losing 3 straight regular season games, which would have been a first for Josh Allen in his NFL career. The Detroit Lions, on the other hand, are coming off their third consecutive win following a 1-6 start to the season; their resurgent rushing attack has certainly played a factor, as they have scored 6 rushing touchdowns and averaged well over 100 yards during their winning streak. Still, I am taking the Bills in this one; they have a top 3 rushing defense by DVOA, and a top 10 defense in weighted DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. Allen is still carrying an injury designation due to his elbow sprain, but the Bills are going to win this one, just maybe not by 9 points.
The Pick: Over 53.5, Bills win straight up, but Detroit covers the spread
New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys — 1:30 PM — FOX — O/U 44.5
The Dallas Cowboys thumped the Vikings last week, as their defense made life miserable for Kirk Cousins. Dallas has one of the most complete rosters in the NFL right now, but the New York Giants have surprised everybody this year on the strength of a rejuvenated Saquon Barkley and a Daniel Jones who is proving to be a viable dual threat. These teams met in Week 3, with the Cowboys handing the Giants their first loss of the season, and this was when Cooper Rush was filling in for an injured Dak Prescott. The Cowboys do have some vulnerabilities in the run game, but they managed to keep Dalvin Cook from being a huge factor last week, as they were already up by 20 at half and kept the Vikings in passing situations; Saquon Barkley may in fact find some room to run if the Giants can keep this one competitive. All this being said… my gut is telling me that this is a blowout, and the Cowboys will complete a season sweep of the Giants, and they will do so handily.
The Pick: Under 44.5 points, Cowboys win straight up and cover the spread
New England Patriots @ Minnesota Vikings — 5:20 PM — NBC — O/U 42
The 8-2 Vikings open as home favorites, but this game features the slimmest margin of the three; Minnesota is only projected to win by 3-ponts against a 6-4 New England Patriots team that is on a 3-game winning streak. Color me unimpressed, but the Vikings have been the benefactors of circumstance this season, as only 3 of their eight wins have been over teams who currently have a winning record — Miami Dolphins, Washington Commanders, and the Buffalo Bills. In these games, they faced Teddy Bridgewater, Taylor Heinicke, and an ailing Josh Allen. They are coming off a blowout loss to the Cowboys, and while I don’t expect a repeat of that, they are moving on from facing Dallas — who holds Football Outsiders’ second ranked defense in DVOA — to the Patriots, who are ranked first. I think that the Vikings will be motivated to get back on track, but the Patriotsultimately pull out an upset in this one.
The Pick: Over 42 points, Patriots win straight up and cover the spread
Playoff implications: The Detroit Lions are playing better, but they are still looking up at the Vikings in the NFC North and are very much outside the playoff picture at the moment. The Vikings, Cowboys, and Giants, however, are currently projected as the 2, 4, and 5 seeds, respectively. Obviously, we would like to see the Vikings lose to a non-conference opponent, but picking the Giants — Cowboys tilt might be a little bit more complex than it looks on paper, given that both teams currently stand ahead of Seattle (partially thanks to the 49ers trouncing of Arizona on Monday, which knocked the ‘Hawks out of 1st in the NFC West). I say hope for a Giants win, since Seattle holds the tie breaker over them head-to-head, and I think the Cowboys are a much more threatening match up for the Seahawks, should these teams meet in the playoffs.
Our Tallysight picks below!