By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.
So what are YOU thankful for? For me, as we continue to navigate the treacherous waters that is the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m grateful for every possible blessing, big or small. And Thanksgiving is the perfect time to reflect on them all. The sports fan in me, of course, is thankful for a four-day weekend full of UH games, NFL football and great rivalries like Ohio State-Michigan and Alabama-Auburn. Enjoy your Thanksgiving, everybody!
On to this week’s picks:
♦ CHICAGO @ DETROIT: XXX. I still don’t get why the Lions get to host a game every Thanksgiving. The tradition started in 1934, and the Lions’ opponent on that Turkey Day was…drumroll, please…the Chicago Bears. The Bears took that game, 19-16, and I’m tempted to predict the same result for tomorrow. In fact, the Bears are 3.5-point favorites. These are two bad teams, but there is a reason Detroit is winless this season (0-9-1). Pick: BEARS
♦ LAS VEGAS @ DALLAS: There is no doubt that the Raiders’ off-the-field drama has affected them on the field. The former AFC West leader has dropped three straight and has looked bad doing it. As a Raiders fan I’m used to seeing mid- and late-season collapses, but this year has been especially painful. Dallas should handily win this one, even without receivers Amari Cooper (COVID) and CeeDee Lamb (concussion. Pick: COWBOYS
♦ BUFFALO @ NEW ORLEANS: What the heck, Bills? It wasn’t too long ago that QB Josh Allen was being hailed as an MVP candidate and the Bills were a Super Bowl favorite. But now they’re looking up at the New England Patriots, who have won five straight and taken the lead in the AFC East. It’s hard to exactly pinpoint what’s led to Buffalo’s downturn, but it’s safe to say the offense needs to be more efficient and the defense must perform better against the run. Speaking of trending in the wrong direction, New Orleans has lost three straight. Pick: BILLS
♦ TAMPA BAY @ INDIANAPOLIS: This should be good. The Bucs are 7-3 and are the defending Super Bowl champs, but the Colts have won three straight games and have the league’s hottest running back in Jonathan Taylor. Taylor is the NFL’s leading RB (1,122 yards; including 473 yards and eight total TDs in his last three games). Tampa is the slight favorite, but it really would be a surprise to see the Colts continue to roll. In fact… Pick: COLTS
♦ TENNESSEE @ NEW ENGLAND: Damn this Bill Belichick guy. He’s doing it again. Winners of five straight, the Pats are doing it with a stingy defense (surrendering just 16.1 points per game, the league’s best). They’re also benefitting from the play of QB Mac Jones, who has to be in consideration for “Offensive Rookie of the Year” honors. Tennessee has proven to still be a formidable team even without Derrick Henry, I’m going with the home team here. Pick: PATRIOTS
♦ L.A. CHARGERS @ DENVER: Here’s a tale of two quarterbacks. For L.A., second-year QB Justin Herbert is coming off his best game on Sunday, becoming the first player in NFL history to pass for 350 yards and rush for 90 yards in the same game. The Broncos’ Teddy Bridgewater, meanwhile, is still trying to down his no-effort play against the Eagles, when he let cornerback Darius Slay race to the end zone after a fumble recovery untouched without even trying to prevent the TD. It was an unfortunate play by Bridgewater, who has been having a pretty decent season. The Chargers are the home team and the better team. Pick: CHARGERS
Last Week: 4-2 | 2021 Record: 34-32 (.515)