It's that wonderful time of the year to celebrate the four Fs: family, friends, food and football. While the first three rightfully take on greater significance this week and the latter has been a grind all season, football on Thanksgiving always has a place at the table.
We'll dive deeper into a terrific Turkey Day slate shortly, but speaking of things to be thankful for, a fall weekend also means plenty of action on Sunday and Monday.
Chargers -1.5 at Texans
On Monday Night, it was the officials shortchanging the Texans. This Sunday, it's the schedule makers giving them the shaft.
After playing in almost a mile and a half of altitude in Mexico City, Houston travels home on a short week to face a recharged San Diego team fresh off its bye.
When the vastly more rested team is also the better one, even Bill O'Brien would have a hard time arguing against the Chargers in this spot.
Eagles -4 vs. Packers
There's plenty to like about the Eagles at home on Monday Night, but even more to like about getting in play against the Packers at this price.
Green Bay is about as one-dimensional on offense as any team in the league, showing no commitment whatsoever to the ground game. On defense the Packers are all but out of players, as demonstrated by their four-game losing streak in which they've allowed more than 30 points each week.
The brutal truth is that some players suiting up for the Packers don't belong in the NFL, leaving Aaron Rodgers with less to be thankful for than in years past.
Pick of the Week: Turkey Day Teaser - Vikings +7.5 at Lions, Steelers -2.5 at Colts
The Vikings make for an ideal teaser candidate in the early Thanksgiving game, coming in as a short underdog with an excellent defense that can be teased up through the key numbers of 3 and 7 in what's projected to be one of the lowest-scoring contests of the week. After these teams combined for 22 points through 59 1/2 minutes in Week 9 in Minnesota it's unlikely that anyone builds a significant lead in Detroit, and a one-possession margin of victory for either team holds up the Vikings' end of the bargain.
In the second leg of the Turkey Day teaser, it's all about asking the Steelers to do little more than win outright against an outmanned Colts team starting Scott Tolzien under center in place of Andrew Luck. For all Mike Tomlin's in-game shortcomings, this seems like a fair expectation considering his ability to get Pittsburgh to hit first, hit hard, and hit often when they need a win this badly in order to ultimately punch their ticket back to the playoffs.
Chargers/Texans: While the best of the number is gone after San Diego opened as a short underdog - and backing the Chargers as a favorite therefore calls for a reduced wager amount - the game could quite possibly come down to each team’s final possession. In that scenario, Philip Rivers vs. Brock Osweiler is no contest, making San Diego the play as long as the line essentially boils down to picking the outright winner.
Packers/Eagles: With a team like Green Bay that's used to being a Super Bowl contender year in and year out, getting knocked out of contention before Thanksgiving positions things to fly even farther off the rails down the stretch. For perspective, the Packers' only win in the last month and a half came at home over a Bears team quarterbacked by Matt Barkley, and Chicago led that one in the second half. Facing their third straight road game this week, it could get worse before it gets better for the Cheeseheads.
Vikings/Lions and Steelers/Colts: The line movement has been fast and furious as injury updates and the usual boatloads of money come in for nationally televised Thanksgiving games. At sportsbooks where a 6-point teaser won't move the Vikings and Steelers through both key numbers of 3 and 7, a 6.5-point teaser that does so can still be worth playing for a smaller amount (as long as a Vikings loss by a TD and a Steelers win by a FG will cash). Otherwise there are plenty of teaser fits worth considering on the Sunday card, with the Patriots, Dolphins and Bills fair to place atop the list.
Last Week: 1-2
Picks of the Week: 5-6