Tennessee (-11) over DETROIT: Detroit's stranglehold on one of the Thanksgiving Day spots should be revoked -- year after year, we are all hostages, forced to watch the Lions with no alternatives! This year's opponent is Tennessee, and the Titans -- fresh off their first loss of the season -- have every reason to come out firing against winless Detroit. The Lions did show signs of life last weekend against Tampa, racing out to a surprising 17-0 lead before being outscored, 38-3, the rest of the way. They did not allow an offensive touchdown in the second half but were burned by a punt return for a touchdown and an interception for a touchdown. And that's the point -- the Lions find a way to lose. Kevin Smith, their stellar rookie back, will have a tough day against the Titans, and Detroit QB Daunte Culpepper doesn't have a chance, either. Lay the points and pass the cranberry sauce.
DALLAS (-12) over Seattle: Another dreadful Thanksgiving matchup. Dallas should be embarrassed not to win, never mind cover the number. The Tony Romo-to-Terrell Owens (above) connection was in midseason form last weekend against San Francisco, and the Cowboys are obviously a different team when Romo is playing and healthy. Seattle has little hope of slowing down a Dallas offense that -- when things are clicking -- is relentless and can pound opponents into submission. Seattle allows a whopping 381 yards per game, 259 of which come through the air, and the battered Seahawks offense won't be able to keep up once it falls behind early.
PHILADELPHIA (-3) over Arizona: Are the Eagles as bad as they've looked in the last three weeks? Probably not. After winning three in a row at the end of October, Philly slipped badly and has gone 0-2-1 in its last three. Donovan McNabb was benched during a blowout loss to Baltimore last weekend, and Brian Westbrook is struggling. McNabb returns against the Cardinals, and he'll get some chances to produce: Arizona is allowing 24-plus points per game. The Cardinals are 4-1 at home, with their only loss last weekend to the Giants, but they are 3-3 on the road -- and those three wins came against bottom-feeders San Francisco, St. Louis, and Seattle. The Eagles will probably miss the playoffs, but they will cover the three and save their season for another week.
CINCINNATI (+7) over Baltimore: There's a lot to love about the Ravens, and no one wants to face that defense, but they are a risky play laying so many points on the road. The Bengals hung in against a very good Pittsburgh squad last Thursday (despite the final score) and can do the same against the Ravens if they don't turn the ball over. Baltimore's recent blowout of Philadelphia was the result not of a potent Ravens offense -- quarterback Joe Flacco had only 12 completions -- but of four interceptions by Philly quarterbacks.
Indianapolis (-4) over CLEVELAND: It was painful watching the Browns try to move the ball against a terrible Houston defense, especially with their season on the line. On the other side of the ball you have the hard-charging Colts, winners of four in a row and doing whatever it takes to win. Grab this game early before all the money moves toward the Colts, sending the line through the roof.
MINNESOTA (-3) over Chicago: A battle for supremacy in the NFC North. The last time these teams met, they scored about 175 points (actually, 89) and Gus Frerotte threw about 18 interceptions (actually, four) in a 48-41 Chicago win. Minnesota is the better team, and as long as Frerotte is not giving away possessions, the Vikings will cover.
THE REST: Denver (+8) has the passing game to hang with the JETS, who are laying an inflated number after handing the Titans their first loss of the season ... BUFFALO is on one end of another inflated line; even at home, I don't think the Bills deserve to be favored by a touchdown over anyone, even San Francisco (+7) ... TAMPA BAY won't force New Orleans (+4) into too many turnovers, allowing the Saints to cover a manageable amount of points ... Carolina runs into the same problem against GREEN BAY (-3) that it had last week with Atlanta: a balanced attack ... WASHINGTON (+3) will briefly derail the Giants' fantastic season ... ST. LOUIS is used to getting blown out lately, and that's good news for Miami (-8), which is trying to remain in the AFC playoff picture ... Pittsburgh (+1) will slightly out-everything a NEW ENGLAND squad that doesn't have the depth it once did ... SAN DIEGO (-5) is somehow still alive in the AFC West and will pull away from Atlanta as the game wears on ... There's a saying that instructs you to always take the home team when picking between two bad teams. Well, OAKLAND (-3) and Kansas City are two bad teams ... HOUSTON (-3) gets a rare shot on the Monday night stage to prove it has a future, and it will do so against division rival Jacksonville.
This blogger might want to review your comment before posting it.
This week's OT cover
OT beat writersMaureen Mullen brings you Red Sox information and insights.
Tom Wilcox covers the Patriots.
Scott Souza is all over the Celtics.
Danny Picard is on the ice with the Bruins.
Mike McDonald takes a look at the humorous side of Boston sports