• Jake Klausner

NFL Thanksgiving Week 2021

Thanksgiving Recap + Week 12 Preview

Thursday:


I hope everyone enjoyed eating way too much food on Thanksgiving while watching some mediocre football. I'd be lying to you if I said that every game was good. Only one game was worth watching as the late game rolled on, and I was already balls-deep in a food-induced coma. With that said, let's take a look at the scores.

Bears: 16 (4-7), Lions: 14 (0-10-1)

Final Line: CHI -2.5 Jake's Pick: DET



TAKEAWAYS:

  • The first game of Thanksgiving featured two terrible teams, but the better team won. Andy Dalton had himself a solid fun, throwing for 317 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Matt Nagy's job seemed to be in jeopardy as he was expecting to be fired after the game, assuming he lost. Well, the Bears got the win, and Nagy still has a job, for now.

  • I thought the Lions had it all but secured. A T.J. Hockenson touchdown put Detroit up by one with under two minutes left to go. However, Dalton led the Bears down to set up Cairo Santos with the game-winning field goal. Once again, the Lions will have to wait for that elusive first win. Despite QB Jared Goff being able to start, the Lions couldn't get much offense together. Once again, we are left to wonder whether the Lions will win this season.

WHAT'S NEXT:

  • The Bears will head back home next week to take on Kyler Murray and the first-place Cardinals.

  • Next week, the Lions will look to get into the win collum when they take on the stingy Minnesota Vikings.

Raiders: 36 (6-5), Cowboys: 33 (7-4) Final/OT

Final Line: DAL -7.0 Jake's Pick: DAL



TAKEAWAYS:

  • The Raiders got the much-needed win on Thursday to end their three-game losing skid. Daniel Carlson had a career-high five field goals, and QB Derek Carr threw for 371 passing. The big story was the number of penalties from both teams. Both Dallas and Vegas committed a season-high in penalties and yards. While the game itself was entertaining, the excitement got taken away due to the penalties.


  • For the Cowboys, this marks the third-straight year of losing on Thanksgiving. As I mentioned earlier, penalties haunted both teams, but it affected Dallas the most. Dallas came into the game leading the NFL in penalty yards; they committed 14 penalties for a franchise-record 166 yards. If you're a Cowboys fan, you probably wanted to stuff yourself with food to forget the tough loss.

WHAT'S NEXT:

  • The Raiders will be taking on the Washington Football Team next week.

  • The Cowboys head to New Orleans for a TNF matchup with the Saints.

Bills: 31 (7-4), Saints: 6 (5-6)

Final Line: BUF -7.0 Jake's Pick: BUF



TAKEAWAYS:

  • This game may have marked the return for Josh Allen. After struggling for the past few weeks, Allen bounced back and threw for 260 yards and four touchdowns to beat the injury-riddled Saints. The Bills needed this win badly, as they were in danger of falling out of the playoff picture following a loss to the Colts last week. On a sour note, CB Tre'Davious White will miss the remainder of the season after tearing his ACL in the second quarter. Losing White is a tremendous blow to the Bills' secondary.


  • The Saints were playing without key contributors on offense for the third-straight week. RB Alvin Kamara sat out for the third time in a row, as the Saints couldn't get anything going on offense. QB Trevor Siemian hasn't been able to get anything going on offense since the injury to Jameis Winston earlier in the season. Taysom Hill had just come off a foot injury and was unable to play, despite being active for Thursday's game. After Winston's injury, the Saints have lost four straight and are in danger of missing the playoffs.

WHAT'S NEXT:

  • The Bills have a crucial MNF matchup with their divisional rival: the New England Patriots.

  • The Saints have a date with Dak and the Cowboys on TNF.

 

NFL On Sunday


With Thanksgiving in the rearview mirror, we now get set for a whole weekend of football.


Atlanta Falcons (4-6) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-8)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET

TV: CBS Line: ATL -2.0

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:

  • The Atlanta Falcons are heading into this game needing a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. In their last two games, the Falcons have scored a combined three points, going on to lose both games in a lopsided fashion. For the Falcons, the key to victory is getting Kyle Pitts involved in the offense; in the past couple of games, defenses have honed in on Pitts. It gets even more complicated with Calvin Ridley (mental health) missing his fifth consecutive game, and Cordarelle Patterson (ankle) banged up and splitting time with other backs.


  • The Jags also have lots of injuries heading into Sunday's game with the Falcons. Already without D.J. Chark (ankle), the Jags will also be without versatile receiver Jamal Agnew (hip) for the remainder of the season. This season, Agnew has quickly turned into the most explosive player on the Jags' offense. Losing him will be a massive blow to the productivity of the offense. Not only that, but RB James Robinson is not a hundred percent, but he will suit up on Sunday.

PREDICTION:

I expect this to be a low-scoring game, as both offenses will struggle to get the football across midfield. I think the Falcons have the edge on offense because of the presence of Kyle Pitts. If Pitts can find a way to get involved, I think QB Matt Ryan will have a field day against Jacksonville's defense. I like the Falcons to win a close game.

Pick: ATL -2.0


Pittsburgh Steelers (5-4-1) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (6-4)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET

TV: CBS Line: CIN -4.0

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:

  • There are plenty of marquee matchups this weekend, including this one between the Bengals and the Steelers. Both teams need a win to keep pace with the Ravens in the AFC North. The Bengals (6-4), currently sitting in second place in the AFC North, are the better team heading into this game. They are also the healthiest team in the league, and they have already beaten the Steelers once this season by double digits.


  • The Steelers, on the other hand, are riddled with injuries on the defensive side and can't seem to find any consistency on offense. Ben Roethlisberger is getting too old for this shit, and it is starting to show. The Steelers have determination on their side; I believe they are determined to win this week because if they don't, it will be tough for them to make the playoffs, considering how competitive the AFC North is.

PREDICTION:

Despite Mike Tomlin's squad needing a win this weekend on the road, I don't see them getting it done. I think Cincy gets it done at home.

Pick: CIN -4.0

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3) vs. Indianapolis Colts (6-5)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET

TV: FOX Line: TB -3.0



WHAT TO WATCH FOR:

  • In another colossal matchup, Tom Brady heads to Indy to take on the Colts. Once upon a time, Tom Brady and the Colts were rivals while Brady played for the Patriots. Now, Brady (44) is on a new team but looking to continue the dominance over his former adversary. Despite their 7-4 record, the Bucs haven't looked that great this year. A win last week against the Giants ended a two-game losing skid for the Bucs, but they have to get ready for a challenging task against the Colts.


  • Speaking of the Colts, they are sitting outside of the playoff picture, but their recent play says otherwise. Indy has won four out of their last five games, with Jonathan Taylor being the offense's focal point. The second-year running back is making a solid case for the league MVP rushing for over 1100 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns, leading the league. Not to mention, he is coming off a five-touchdown performance last week against the Bills.

PREDICTION:

Taylor could end up being the difference-maker again, as I think the Colts will win a close game at home this week. I haven't even talked about the solid play of Carson Wentz this season, as that's how dominant Taylor has been this season. I think Brady and the Bucs will put up a fight, but I like the Colts to pull off the win and keep their streak going.

Pick: IND +3.0


Carolina Panthers (5-6) vs. Miami Dolphins (4-7)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET

TV: FOX Line: CAR -2.5

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:

  • Last week did not go as planned in Cam Newton's return to Charlotte, losing to the Football Team at home. Despite their losing efforts, having Cam and Christian McCaffrey back in the offense could be a sign of good things to come.

  • Who would've thought the Miami Dolphins would be riding a three-game winning streak this late in the season? They have begun to turn things around after starting the season 1-7, despite taking advantage of some bad teams. Q.B. Tua Tagovailoa has improved drastically over the three-game stretch, as has the Dolphins' defense. Who knows, maybe the Dolphins can sneak their way into the playoffs.

PREDICTION:

Please don't call me crazy, but I'm all-in on Miami the rest of the way. If Tua can continue to play solid football, I like the Dolphins to shock the Panthers this week.

Pick: MIA +2.5

Tennessee Titans (8-3) vs. New England Patriots (7-4)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET

TV: CBS Line: NE -7.0



WHAT TO WATCH FOR:

  • Despite their shocking loss at home against Houston, the Titans still hold the best record in the AFC. However, despite their record, the Titans don't have a valid identity, especially with the running game. The Titans have turned into a one-dimensional offense with Derrek Henry out for the rest of the season. They certainly have their work cut out for them this weekend as they have to take on a Patriots' defense that ranks in the top-five inefficiency.


  • The Patriots come into this game as the hottest team in the league, having won their last five games. QB Mac Jones is putting up a solid case for rookie of the year, and Bill Belichick is the odds-on favorite to win the coach of the year. Oh, I've already mentioned their top-five defense led by Matthew Judon.

PREDICTION:

These are the top-two teams in the AFC for a reason. Both defenses will make some plays, but the fact that this game is in Foxborough gives the edge to the Patriots. Mac Jones will make enough plays on offense, and the Patriots will come away with the victory.

Pick: NE -7.0

Philadelphia Eagles (5-6) vs. New York Giants (3-7)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET

TV: CBS Line: PHI -3.5

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:

  • The Philadelphia Eagles have found their identity on offense with the running game. Jalen Hurts is coming into his own, leading the Eagles to victories in their last two games. I expect the Eagles to run the same game plan against a Giants team that's on the brink of crumbling.


  • The New York Giants are a dumpster fire waiting to happen. Following their loss on Monday, the Giants decided to fire offensive coordinator Jason Garrett and are facing significant concerns at the quarterback position. Is it time for the Giants to bench Daniel Jones? From what I have seen out of him lately, it's not out of the question.

PREDICTION:

Despite it being a divisional matchup, I don't see this game being very close. The Eagles, being the better team, should take care of business on Sunday. I expect Jalen Hurts to go off in this game.

Pick: PHI -3.0

New York Jets (2-8) vs. Houston Texans (2-8)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET

TV: CBS Line: HOU -2.5

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:

  • After missing the last four weeks due to injury, Zach Wilson is back as the starting quarterback of the New York Jets as both Joe Flacco and Mike White are on the COVID list. That shouldn't matter because the Jets are not a good football team.


  • The Texans are coming off the upset of the year after beating the Tennessee Titans last week. Led by Tyrod Taylor's two-touchdown performance, the Texans are starting to play some inspiring football.

PREDICTION:

I don't see many people tuning into this game. As you can tell from my preview of this game, I have no interest in this game. If anything, it will decide who will get the higher draft pick. If I had to pick a winner in this game, I'd go with Houston.

Pick: HOU -2.5


Los Angeles Chargers (6-4) vs. Denver Broncos (5-5)

Sunday 4:05 p.m. ET

TV: CBS Line: LAC -2.5

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:

  • The Chargers have the offense capable of making a run to the Super Bowl, but can their defense hold up? Last week against the Steelers, they squandered a double-digit lead late in the game, but thanks to Justin Herbert's ability to manage the game, the Chargers' offense bailed them out. The Bolts' offense led by Herbert and Austin Eckler is proving to be detrimental to opposing defenses. The Broncos will have their hands full in this one.


  • Denver comes into this game fully rested after their bye, but they can't afford more losses, especially to a divisional opponent. While their defense is continuing their productivity despite not having Von Miller, their offense, led by Teddy Bridgewater, has been wildly inconsistent all season. For the Broncos to win this game, they will need a big game out of their quarterback.


PREDICTION:

I think the Broncos will play some inspiring football, but the Chargers' offense is just too good. I like for Herbert to spread the ball around in another Chargers win.

Pick: LAC -2.5


Los Angeles Rams (7-3) vs. Green Bay Packers (8-3)

Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET

TV: FOX Line: LAR -1.0

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:

  • The LA Rams are amid a two-game skid but are coming off a well-timed bye week. Through the last two games, the Rams have regressed a little bit on offense. Matthew Stafford hasn't looked like the MVP candidate at the beginning of the season, and the emergence of Odell Beckham didn't work in his first game as a Ram. Not to mention, Robert Woods being out for the season is a massive blow to Sean McVay's offense.


  • Aaron Rodgers is a bad man! Despite their loss last week, Rodgers threw for over 300 yards but got injured in the process. Rodgers said he was in much pain following the performance, but he will most likely play this week despite not being fit to practice.

PREDICTION:

I think that the Rams will continue to struggle on offense despite having the rest to prepare. I think Aaron Rodgers will look to rebound from their loss last week, and the defense will make Stafford uncomfortable.

Pick: GB +1.0



Minnesota Vikings (5-5) vs. San Francisco 49ers (5-5)

Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET

TV: FOX Line: SF -3.5

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:

  • Out of the late afternoon matchups, I think this one is the most intriguing. Both teams come into this game with an identical record and explosive offenses.

  • The Vikings may have the most exciting offense in the NFL with one of the best wideouts in the league in Justin Jefferson. QB Kirk Cousins is continuing to spread the ball around on offense, and RB Dalvin Cook is starting to get the ground game going at the right time. If the Vikings continue their productivity on offense, they will be a tough team to stop down the stretch.


  • Like the Vikings, the Niners have played some good football lately, having won three out of their last four. QB Jimmy Garoppolo seems to be back on track, as he finally has George Kittle back in his offense. Not to mention, Deebo Samuel is quickly becoming one of the most explosive players in the league. You can pretty much line him up anywhere, and defenses don't have an answer for him.


PREDICTION:

This game is crucial for both teams, as one more loss for either team could take them out of the playoff race. Not only that, but these two teams match up well on paper. Both teams have explosive offenses and can make stops on defense. Due to this game being at home, I'm going to go with the Niners in this one.

Pick: SF -3.5

Cleveland Browns (6-5) vs. Baltimore Ravens (7-3)

Sunday 8:20 p.m. ET

TV: NBC Line: BAL -3.5



WHAT TO WATCH FOR:

  • It seems as if the Cleveland Browns are in must-win mode each week. With Baker Mayfield (everything) not a hundred percent, the Browns have to rely on their defense to get stops on Lamar Jackson. If guys like Myles Garrett can force Jackson to turn the ball over, Mayfield will get all the help he needs to win them the game.


  • The AFC is wide-open, but the Ravens currently sit as one of the teams to beat. Jackson will be ready for Sunday Night despite missing last week's game due to an illness unrelated to COVID. Even without Jackson, the Ravens were able to squeak out a win so that anything could happen.

PREDICTION:

I expect this game to come down to the wire, like most games on this list. I think Lamar will be the difference in the game, and the Ravens will win the game.

Pick: BAL -3.5

Seattle Seahawks (3-7) vs. Washington Football Team (4-6)

Monday 8:15 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN Line: EVEN

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:

  • At this point in the season, the Seahawks are playing for pride. There's no chance for the Seahawks to make the playoffs even if they win out.


  • On the other hand, the Football Team has been playing well as of late, having beaten two solid football teams in back-to-back weeks. Taylor Heinicke has been playing some great football as of late, and Washington finds themselves in a position to do some damage late in the season.

PREDICTION:

If Taylor Heinicke can continue to spread the ball around, the Football Team will convincingly win this one.

Pick: WAS


Jake Klausner covers all things sports for ThePyrrhic.com. Keep your eyes peeled for NFL Analysis, World Series Recaps, and more from Jake.


Follow him on Twitter @jake_klausner


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