Organized Sports is a recurring sports column named for a seminal DC avant-hardcore song by the equally stupid and brilliant (to me, “equally stupid and brilliant” pretty much just means “brilliant”) band Void. Take from that what you will.
Here on this Thanksgiving week, I’m thankful for three games of Thursday football, and I’m thankful for my fairly decent week of picks last week. What I’m also thankful for is the vast array of football cliches (hey, that sort of rhymed!), which I will use to write this week’s picks.
(Note: All point spreads listed here are the lines at the time bets were made. Be sure to consult your very legitimate and legal sports book [cough] before making a bet of your own; lines move constantly due to the action on particular games. Also, gambling is illegal in many states. And watch out for those offshore betting sites, lest you end up like an online poker professional. Okay? Okay. Onward and upward.)
Last Week’s Record: 8-5-1
My Record So Far: 79-89-8
Thanksgiving Day Games (11/28 12:30 & 4:30PM ET)
Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions -5.5
The Green Bay Packers will be starting Matt Flynn at THE QUARTERBACK POSITION, and he and Matthew Stafford with be THROWING THE BALL ALL OVER THE FIELD. This game will be a SHOOTOUT, a veritable TRACK MEET.
My Pick: Packers +5.5
Oakland Raiders at Dallas Cowboys -9.5
With Terrelle Pryor still hurt, they’ll be starting Matt McGloin, a POCKET PASSER who should have some success against the battered Dallas Cowboys defense. Tony Romo, who has trouble in BIG MOMENTS, will only lose this game if he has to COME UP BIG IN THE CLUTCH.
My Pick: Raiders +9.5
Thursday Night Game (11/28 8:30PM ET)
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens -3
In previous years, a Steelers-Ravens matchup would have been a THROWBACK GAME, with ROAD GRADERS playing SMASHMOUTH football. Now, though, both teams have kind of mediocre defenses and rely mostly on a long bomb passing attack. Man, this game is GETTING SOFT.
My Pick: Steelers +3
Sunday Early Games (12/1PM ET)
Jacksonville Jaguars at Cleveland Browns -7
This matchup of two teams who are already pretty much out of it for the season should be jockeying for draft position, but the PLAYERS HAVE TOO MUCH PRIDE, and they’re PLAYING FOR THEIR JOBS, if not with these teams, than with others for next year.
My Pick: Jaguars +7
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers -8.5
The Carolina Panthers front seven is among the best in football. There’s no way the Buccaneers will be GOING NORTH AND SOUTH against them, but even though they are still just a two-win team, they’ll be BRINGING THEIR LUNCHPAILS for a hard-fought game.
My Pick: Buccaneers +8.5
Chicago Bears -1.5 at Minnesota Vikings
Ah, the old NORRIS DIVISION matchup. Adrian Peterson goes NORTH AND SOUTH, running BETWEEN THE TACKLES. The Bears really need this one—it’s a MUST WIN GAME keeping PLAYOFF HOPES ALIVE.
My Pick: Bears +1.5
Denver Broncos -3.5 at Kansas City Chiefs
Peyton Manning is the ultimate FIELD GENERAL, diagnosing the defense at the line of scrimmage. The Chiefs will be without two of their best pass rushers, and with their pedestrian offense will have no chance. WHO HAVE THEY BEATEN?
My Pick: Broncos -3.5
Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts -4.5
Andrew Luck is a TOWERING PRESENCE IN THE POCKET. Coming off of a couple of disappointing losses, this is a real BOUNCEBACK game for them.
My Pick: Colts -4.5
Miami Dolphins at New York Jets -1.5
After a couple of road losses, the Jets need to RIGHT THE SHIP at home. The Dolphins are still dealing with the fallout of LOCKER ROOM CANCER. This won’t be a pretty one to watch.
My Pick: Dolphins +1.5
Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles -3.5
Two opposing philosophies square off in this matchup, with the high-powered no-huddle offense of the Philadelphia Eagles going against the STIFLING defense of the Arizona Cardinals.
My Pick: Cardinals +3.5
Sunday Late Games (12/1 4:05/4:25PM ET)
Atlanta Falcons at Buffalo Bills -3.5
Not much to say about the Falcons this year. Decimated by injuries, they have underperformed even with that excuse. Now we have to ask the question: is Matt Ryan really AN ELITE QUARTERBACK?
My Pick: Bills -3.5
St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers -7.5
The key for the Rams will be getting out from under the stifling defense of the 49ers by FINDING Tavon Austin IN SPACE. All quarterback Kellen Clemens needs to do is MANAGE THE GAME.
My Pick: Rams +7.5
Cincinnati Bengals at San Diego Chargers -1
Andy Dalton truly needs to TAKE THE NEXT STEP, needs to MAKE THE LEAP, to make the Bengals a true contender. Philip Rivers may have returned to the RANKS OF THE ELITE this year.
My Pick: Chargers -1
New England Patriots -7.5 at Houston Texans
The HOODIE and FIELD GENERAL Tom Brady came up with a great comeback win against the Broncos last week. This week, they can take it easy against the DYSFUNCTIONAL Texans.
My Pick: Patriots -7.5
Sunday Night Game (12/1 8:25PM ET)
New York Giants at Washington Redskins -2.5
Robert Griffin III may not truly BE A LEADER for this Redskins team. In THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE you need a LEADER AT THE QUARTERBACK POSITION.
My Pick: Giants +2.5
Monday Night Football (12/2 8:30PM ET)
New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks -6
The TWELFTH MAN is on the Seahawks’ side in this one, but Drew Brees can SLING IT AROUND, making for what should be a great Monday night battle to end the week.
My Pick: Saints +6
Check back next week for more STRONG TAKES.