Kelly: Thanksgiving Day is known for being a holiday deeply rooted in tradition, from the food to the family, from the stories to the history behind it. One of those traditions, at least in my house, includes gathering around the TV for most of the day to watch football.
This year, the NFL has given us an intriguing slate of games, with both Dallas and Detroit – the two Thanksgiving staples – in the hunt for the playoffs and two competitive AFC teams also battling for a spot.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions (Lions -2.5) 12:30 p.m.
The first game of the day gives us an NFC North battle, which could decide the winner of the division. Minnesota looked nearly unstoppable for about the first half of the year before dropping four games straight. Their defense woke up last week against a solid Cardinals team, which could bode well for them heading into Detroit. Still, this one is almost guaranteed to be a close one as the Lions have had 8 of their 10 games decided by less than a touchdown. Matt Stafford has earned a “comeback kid” reputation this year and if this game goes into a shootout, I might have to put the Lions a nose ahead.
Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys (Cowboys -7.5) 4:30 p.m.
Another division rivalry – this line is a little disrespectful to the Redskins and the fact that they’ve gathered back-to-back wins over competitive teams. Still, Dallas has put together an absolutely incredible offense based on two rookies, which seems to be almost unheard of. Everyone says that players need time to develop, but maybe having a solid organization can help speed that process up. Dallas is currently the team to beat in the NFC, hence why Washington is such an underdog.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Indianapolis Colts (Colts +7.5) 8:30 p.m.
Before the poor news about Andrew Luck this week, I was really looking forward this matchup of two powerful offenses. However, with Luck out, the Colts offense looks dramatically different. I still don’t know how the Steelers have managed to lose 5 games with Antonio Brown and Le’veon Bell and Ben Roethlisberger – yes I know Ben and Bell have missed games this year, but still, that level of talent is hard to get in the NFL and I’m expecting big things from them this Thanksgiving.
So while you’re all spending time with family and enjoying some delicious food, take some time out and watch the games – I hope they’ll turn out as enjoyable as I’m thinking they’ll be.