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Efe Obada of the Carolina Panthers sacks Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford during the second half at Bank of America Stadium on Nov. 22, 2020 in Charlotte, North Carolina.Grant Halverson/Getty Images

What are we to make of the Thanksgiving Day schedule?

First off, we get a rare meeting of the Texans and Lions, which wouldn’t draw any headlines had it been played on another day. Sorry, but 3-7 Houston facing 4-6 Detroit just doesn’t whet the appetite.

Next up is Washington at Dallas, a true epic matchup – decades ago. But wait, this is a battle for first place in the NFC East. Sure, we know both teams are 3-7, probably are headed for 10 losses. But it’s for first place.

Sorry, better off heading to the dinner table.

As for the nightcap, well, that’s special – and it has been moved to Sunday. Baltimore at Pittsburgh presents Pro Picks’ favourite NFL rivalry. These games are always intense, slam-bang affairs in the trenches, with plenty of skill to boot.

But the Ravens have had COVID-19 issues on a short week, so the holiday dessert will be served on the weekend.

Of course, we’d watch this game whenever it is played, unlike the other two holiday contests.

Knockout pool: After a dismal week in which we missed on best bet, upset special and here with the Vikings, for what it’s worth, Pro Picks tries CLEVELAND.


No. 24 New York Giants (minus 6) at No. 30 Cincinnati

Losing Joe Burrow for the season hurts the Bengals in so many ways. The Giants prosper ...

Best bet: GIANTS, 23-10

No. 13 Arizona (minus 2) at No. 18 New England

A tough week to find a confidence-building upset. We’ll go with the pedestrian Patriots.

Upset special: PATRIOTS, 21-20

No. 19 San Francisco (plus 7) at No. 5 Los Angeles Rams

We thought about this as our best bet, but this rivalry is bitter and usually means close games. Or not.

RAMS, 26-15

No. 16 Chicago (plus 7 1/2) at No. 6 (tie) Green Bay

We thought about this as our best bet, too, but this rivalry is bitter and usually means close games. Or not.

PACKERS, 25-10

No. 23 Houston (minus 2 1/2) at No. 29 Detroit, Thursday

Pass the indigestion, please.

TEXANS, 24-20

No. 28 Washington (plus 3) at No. 25 Dallas, Thursday

At least this is not the worst NFL presentation on Thanksgiving.

COWBOYS, 26-16

No. 11 Baltimore (plus 4 1/2) at No. 1 Pittsburgh

Many have pointed to this as the unbeaten Steelers’ strongest chance to lose. Not with what the Ravens are going through right now.


No. 15 Miami (minus 7) at No. 32 New York Jets

Tua, Fitz or Ace Ventura at quarterback, we’ll go with the Dolphins against the winless Jets.


No. 22 Los Angeles Chargers (plus 5 1/2) at No. 5 Buffalo

This line seems particularly low, even if the Chargers are coming off a victory. The Bills aren’t the Jets, of course.

BILLS, 30-20

No. 6 (tie) Seattle (minus 5) at No. 25 (tie) Philadelphia, Monday night

Never mind what we said about the Eagles having control of the NFC Least.


No. 11 (tie) Las Vegas (minus 3) at No. 27 Atlanta

Could this be a letdown game for the Raiders? Guessing not.

RAIDERS, 30-21

No. 2 Kansas City (minus 3 1/2) at No. 10 Tampa Bay

The week’s feature game, and one of the most intriguing all year with Mahomes taking on Brady.

CHIEFS, 30-27

No. 9 Tennessee (plus 4 1/2) at No. 6 (tie) Indianapolis

The winner of this AFC South matchup can pave its path to the playoffs.

COLTS, 23-21

No. 3 New Orleans (minus 6) at No. 21 Denver

The Saints have won seven in a row, while the Broncos have been up and down for the past seven – and beyond.

SAINTS, 27-24

No. 14 Cleveland (minus 6 1/2) at No. 31 Jacksonville

Cleveland handles the bad teams, even if it often looks ugly (see Houston, Philadelphia and Dallas wins).

BROWNS, 33-16

No. 20 Carolina (plus 4 1/2) at No. 17 Minnesota

Minnesota really stuck itself with those Vikings horns last week.

VIKINGS, 28-20



Last week: Straight up: 7-7. Against spread: 5-6

Season: Straight up: 105-55-1. Against spread: 80-69-4

Best bet: Straight up: 9-2. Against spread: 7-4

Upset special: Straight up: 4-7. Against spread: 4-5-2

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