Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! This week is a special time for giving thanks, and what I’m thankful for is…THANKSGIVING FOOTBALL! There are THREE GAMES on Thanksgiving Day so you can ignore those individuals that you wished hadn’t shown up to your place. If your spending Thanksgiving somewhere else, just make sure you have a fully charged phone, a portable antenna, your Chromecast, a Roku…WHATEVER you need to make sure that when everyone else is talking about how their kids are doing at school or who’s just got engaged, YOU can focus on what’s important…NFL football.
I usually only have one game to breakdown for Thursday Night Football, so I feel blessed. However, since this Thursday there will be a lot to digest and a lot to write about, I’m going to try and condense it more than that can of cranberry…sauce? Cranberry “jelly”? Whatever that canned cranberry stuff is. Go and grab yourself some of those deviled eggs (don’t worry, there’s never enough anyway), and get ready to read about the second-best Thursday during the football season. The best Thursday in the football season being opening night of course, but you knew that. Let’s GOOOOO!
Green Bay Packers at the Detroit Lions
Green Bay Packers (4-6):
The Packers have the consistency of my mother’s Thanksgiving gravy…it’s thin. They are currently 4-6 and coming off a win against the L.A. Chargers by a score of 23-20, but they’re 2-5 in their last seven games! Jordan Love was a HUGE question mark coming into this season, and ten games into his first season as a starter, he continues to have more questions than the Riddler. Love has thrown sixteen TDs and ten interceptions with a QBR of 47.3 (22nd in the NFL), and a Passer Rating of 83.8 (23rd), completing only 59.7% of his passes (30th). Rookie Wide Receiver Jayden Reed is his leading receiver with 463 yards on the year, which puts him 46th in the NFL, but he is listed as Questionable for the game. AJ Dillon is Green Bays leading rusher with 405 yards (33rd in the NFL), is averaging 3.5 yards per game, and is ALSO Questionable for this game. Dillon isn’t the “starting RB” though; that would be Aaron Jones, who now has an MCL sprain and will likely be out for this game.
Defensively it doesn’t get much better for the Packers. Linebacker Preston Smith leads the team in sacks with five (tied for 41st), while Safety, Rudy Ford leads the team in interceptions with two. Ford is also listed as Questionable for Thanksgiving. The Packers defense has more holes than the Swiss cheese headgear that fans wear on their heads. They rank 17th in yards allowed per game, 28th in rushing yards given up per game, and seventh in passing yards allowed per game but that’s only because opposing offenses are too busy running all over them. They are surprisingly tenth in points allowed per game, but they don’t end up scoring a lot either, and there’s no sense in beating a dead cheese-head.
Detroit Lions (8-2):
Playing on Thanksgiving Day is the Lions’ rolls ‘n butter. Mmm, warm buttered rolls. Jared Goff is thankful that he’s not on the Rams anymore with the supporting cast that he has in Detroit. Their dual-threat backfield consists of David Montgomery who has 577 rushing yards (15th in the NFL), and Jahmyr Gibbs with 512 rushing yards (22nd). They are ranked 5th overall for rushing yards per game. Amon-Ra St. Brown is the Lions leading receiver with 898 receiving yards (5th in the NFL), followed by Rookie Tight End, Sam LaPorta with 492 receiving yards. They also rank 4th in the NFL for passing yards per game. Detroit’s offense is sixth in points scored per game, second in yards gained per game, and Goff ranks in the Top 10 in QBR, Passer Rating, and pass completion percentage. They have more fire power than your dad’s leaf blower!
Defensively, the Lions are keeping other teams in check, which is something you won’t be able to do with your overly political uncle at the dinner table this Thanksgiving. They rank ninth in yards given up per game, and fifth in rushing yards allowed per game. Due to the Lions typically getting out to a decent lead quickly, their pass defense has been under attack more frequently giving up 223.5 yards per game, which is 16th in the league. Defensive End, Aidan Hutchinson leads the team in sacks with 5.5, followed closely by DT, Alim McNeill, who has five sacks. Cornerback, Jerry Jacobs leads the team with three interceptions, which is tied for 6th in the league, but the Lions have a turnover differential of -2, and give up 22.9 points per game (22nd in the NFL).
This bird has already been cooked! The Packers have the fifth WORST rushing defense in the league, and they won’t be able to stop the Lions on the ground. I can’t image what the atmosphere is going to be like in Detroit as their Lions haven’t been this good since the 1960s! In the first meeting between these two teams at Lambeau in Week 4, the Lions beat the Packers 34 to 20…and that’s when the Packers were actually winning a few games. My score prediction for this game is not much different than the first match-up. Lions win, 33-17.
Washington Commanders at the Dallas Cowboys
Washington Commanders (4-7):
It’s a good thing that this game is slotted as the second game of the day. After everyone is done eating turnkey, they can go and sit on the couch or their favorite recliner and pass out, and not miss a thing. Seriously, if the turkey doesn’t knock you out, the boredom from this game will. I’m going to start with the highlight of the Commanders; Sam Howell is number one in the NFL in passing yards with 3,038. That’s it. It’s all tofu turkey from here. Howell is 14th in completion percentage, 19th in Passer Rating, and 21st in QBR. Sam has thrown 18 TDs and 12 INTs. Oh, wait! I found something else that the Commanders are best at…TAKING SACKS! Howell has been sacked an NFL high, 51 times. Running Back, Brian Robinson Jr has 558 rushing yards on the year (18th) averaging four yards per carry with five TDs. Wide Receiver Terry McLaurin is leading the team in receptions (56) and has 644 yards receiving yards (26th in the NFL), and two TDs.
Defensively, it can’t possibly get much worse for Washington. Maybe they should consider going back to the “Redskins”. They are DEAD LAST (as dead as your turkey, hopefully) in points allowed per game (27.7) and in turnover differential at -8. The Commanders are 30th in passing yards given up per game, 29th in yards allowed per game, and 21st in rushing yards given up per game. Defensive Tackle Josh Allen leads the team in sacks with five (tied for 29th in the NFL), followed by DE, Casey Toohill, who has five, and Cornerback Kendall Fuller leads the team with two interceptions. Hopefully they aren’t going up against one of the NFL’s best offenses…oh, (cow)boy.
Dallas Cowboys (7-3):
Do you like salt? I hope so, because you’ll have to take everything with the Cowboys statistically with a grain of salt. The teams that Dallas has played so far this year have a combined record of 39-64 (.379 winning percentage), which is the EASIEST in the NFL. The Cowboys have inflated numbers and should be 10-0, but let’s give them some credit; they’re still in playoff contention. Dak Prescott is second in the league in QBR and pass completion, and he’s fourth in Passer Rating. Dak has 19 TDs, six picks, and is ninth in the NFL with 2,604 yards. In his backfield there’s Tony Pollard, who has 590 rushing yards (14th) with an average of four yards per carry and three touchdowns. Dak’s favorite Wide Receiver is CeeDee Lamb with 74 receptions (6th), for 1,013 yards (3rd) and five receiving touchdowns (T13).
You might have heard of a few of the Cowboy’s defensive players. Notably, linebacker, Micah Parsons who leads the team with ten sacks (7th in the NFL), and cornerback, DeRon Bland, who has six interceptions (tied for first in the NFL), and a league best four pick sixes. Bland has more TDs than their leading rusher! The Dallas D is ranked 2nd in yards allowed per game, and rushing yards given up per game. They’re also ranked fifth in points allowed per game, and they’re 15th in rushing yards allowed per game. The Cowboys are also tied for fifth in turnover differential at +6.
This isn’t tough, folks. It’s not like a Griswold turkey. These teams haven’t faced each other this year, which means this will be the first butt-whoop’n of two on the year in favor of the Cowboys. Washington’s offense simply can not keep up with Dallas, and everything that the Cowboys are good at, the Commanders stink at. There’s a reason why the Line is at 11 points in favor of the Cowboys. I’ll take Dallas by a score of 34-20.
San Francisco 49ers at the Seattle Seahawks
San Francisco 49ers (7-3):
Finally, we get to the best game of the day! Hopefully, you’ve had a full nap, the relatives are gone, and you can enjoy a drink in some peace and quiet and watch an MVP caliber QB in Brock Purdy. Brock has thrown 18 TDs and only five interceptions, while throwing for 2,662 yards (6th in the NFL). Purdy leads the league in Pass Completion (70.2%), QBR (77), and Passer Rating (115.1). Keep in mind that this is his first full year as a starter, and he injured his throwing arm at the end of last season. In the 49ers backfield is arguably the best Running Back in the game, Christian McCaffrey, who leads the league in rushing yards (825) and has nine rushing TDs on the year (tied for third). Brandon Aiyuk is leading the 9ers in receiving yards with 831 (10th in the league) and 4 TDs, followed closely by Tight End, George Kittle, who has 648 receiving yards and 5 TDs.
Linebacker, Fred Warner is leading the San Fran defense in total tackles with 90, and tied with Safety, Talanoa Hufanga (currently on IR) for interceptions with three. Warner also leads the team in forced fumbles with three. Newly acquired Defensive End, Chase Young is leading the way in sacks with 6.5 (tied for 18th in the NFL), and you can’t forget about LB, Nick Bosa, who has 5.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery on the year. Overall, the 49ers defense is ranked as one of the best, leading the NFL in points allowed per game with 15.7, and are third in running yards given up per game with 81.4. Total yards allowed per game they are ranked 5th with only 302.8 yards per game.
Seattle Seahawks (6-4)
Despite their winning record, the Seahawks are actually playing no better than average to below average football. Geno Smith (who is Questionable this week) is 12th in passing yards with 2,404, but ranks 17th in QBR, 18th in Passer Rating, and 20th in pass completion percentage. Smith has thrown twelve TDs this year, and seven interceptions. Running Back, Kenneth Walker III (who is also listed as Questionable) has rushed for 613 yards (11th) and six touchdowns (tied for eighth), averaging 4.1 yards per carry. They have a “dynamic duo” at Wide Receiver though. DK Metcalf (who is also listed as Questionsable), is leading the team in receiving yards with 646 (25th in the NFL) and three TDs, followed closely by WR, Tyler Lockett, who has 545 receiving yards (35th) and four TDs. As a whole, the Seattle offense is 13th in the NFL in passing yards per game (230.8), and 16th in points scored per game (21.6). For as good as Walker’s numbers are, the Seahawks are way down the list at 25th in the league in rushing yards per game with only 96.6.
On the defensive side of the ball, there are a few shout-outs to note. Linebacker, Bobby Wagner has 105 total tackles on the year, which is good for 5th in the NFL, and has 2.5 sacks. Fellow linebacker Jordyn Brooks isn’t too far behind with 83 tackles, 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Yet another Seattle LB, Boye Mafe is leading the team in sacks with seven, and has one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. Despite having a solid linebacking core, the Seahawks are 19th in rushing yards allowed, as well as points allowed per game. They’re 23rd in overall yards allowed per game with a +3-turnover differential.
It’s hard to not pick the team with an MVP candidate (if not two; Purdy and McCaffrey) on offense, and one of the better defenses in the league. On top of that, like a dollop of whipped cream on your pumpkin pie, the 49ers also have the second-best turnover differential in the NFL at +10, and lead the league in getting interceptions with 14. Too many Seahawks are hurt, and they just came off a disappointing loss to the 4-6 Rams. The 49ers are favored by seven, and that’s what I’m going to say as well. 49er 27, Seahawks 20.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone and as always, thanks for the “read”!