By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.
It’s Thanksgiving Week, and even during a global pandemic there’s still a lot to be thankful for. Of course, there are the usual things that we too often take for granted, like family, health and living in paradise. But speaking as a sports fan, I am very grateful for this football season. For a while, we all had doubts whether there would be a season (college or pro) at all. I’m also thankful that through 11 weeks of making “Pick6” predictions, I’ve yet to have a losing week. (Hey, that’s something, right?)
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On to this week’s picks:
♦ BALTIMORE @ PITTSBURGH: The Steelers are 10-0 for the first time in franchise history, but still aren’t getting the respect they deserve. In the Super Bowl era, 16 other teams also started their season 10-0. Ten of those teams made it to the Super Bowl, and six brought home the Lombardi Trophy. The general feeling is that, as good as the Steelers are, the road to the Super Bowl still goes through the 9-1 Kansas City Chiefs. The Ravens, meanwhile, have lost two straight and have slipped below Cleveland in the AFC Central. Pick: STEELERS
♦ N.Y. GIANTS @ CINCINNATI: Just how bad is the NFC East? The Giants are 3-7, yet are just a half-game behind the division leader Philadelphia Eagles. The jury’s still out on QB Daniel Jones, but he’s done pretty well considering the lack of talent surrounding him. I probably would have picked the Bengals to eke out the W here, but that was before they lost their two Joes, Burrow and Mixon. Pick: GIANTS
♦ MIAMI @ N.Y. JETS: Easy call, right? Not so fast. The Dolphins’ winning ways hit a bump on the road this past Sunday when they lost to the struggling Denver Broncos. Tua lost his first game as a starter and even got benched in the fourth quarter. It was a loss that shined a light on Miami’s shortcomings, including a lack of depth at receiver and O-line. So even though the Jets have the league’s worst offense (just 268.6 yards per game) and a bottom-tier defense, there’s the possibility that…oh, who are we trying to kid? Pick: DOLPHINS
♦ SAN FRANCISCO @ L.A. RAMS: The Rams have won two straight and are right at the top of the competitive NFC West division, while their longtime rival 49ers continue to struggle with injuries. L.A. has the NFL’s stingiest defense (surrendering 296.6 yards per game) and took it to Tom Brady this past Monday. San Francisco will put up a fight on Sunday. Rookie receiver Brandon Aiyuk has been a bright spot for his team and is the 49ers’ most dynamic receiver since Terrell Owens. Pick: RAMS
♦ KANSAS CITY @ TAMPA BAY: As a Raiders fan, I hate the Chiefs. I really do. Sunday’s game made me hate them even more. Still, I will admit that Patrick Mahomes is a special player, and easily the league MVP at this point of the season. This Sunday, he’ll go up against the GOAT, Tom Brady, in a meeting of Present vs Past. The Chiefs’ suspect defense makes them vulnerable, and the Bucs need to win if they want to keep pace with division leader New Orleans, but I just don’t see Brady & Co. pulling this one out. Pick: CHIEFS
♦ CHICAGO @ GREEN BAY: Chicago is coming off a bye week and should be raring to go this Sunday against their division rival Packers. That’s the good news. The bad news is that this is the same Bears offense that put up a paltry 149 total yards against Minnesota in their last game. That’s scary bad. In fact, Chicago’s offense is the second-worst in the league, above only the Jets. Now there’s the possibility that QB Mitch Trubisky might be reinserted into the starting lineup. Yes, the Bears are doomed. The Packers are at home and will be looking to bounce back from Sunday’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Pick: PACKERS
Last Week: 3-3
Season to Date: 40-26 (.610)
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