Am I just jacked and pumped, or is this one of the best NFL Thanksgiving Days in recent memory?
The Lions have a legitimate shot of knocking off the Texans, which might put the Patriots one step closer to a playoff bye.
Redskins-Cowboys is always a treat, but thrust Robert Griffin III into the mix, and you have Fox ratings gold.
After all that, we have Patriots-Jets, coming off one of the most entertaining, nerve-racking, confounding games these two teams have played in recent memory.
That, as they say, is one rad troika of games.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving. Go, Stang.
This week’s picks
John Boell, Newsday: Patriots. “I’ve had more fun at Rex Ryan’s expense in this column than I care to admit. But I have to say, I like the way Rexy handled things this week when it came to New England. Ryan gave the Patriots plenty of praise (even calling Tom Brady a “machine”), and basically kept his mouth shut, not poking the bear, in this case, the Kings of the AFC East. The Jets played one of their best games of the season in Week 7, but still lost in OT to New England, 29-26. Gang Green dropped two more games after that, before rebounding Sunday in a win at St. Louis. The Jets’ inconsistent running game came to life vs. the Rams with the two-headed attack of Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell, who registered his first two TDs of the season. Could this be a sign of things to come? Maybe. Many have spoken to the injury to Pats TE Rob Gronkowski (broken forearm) as a plus for the Jets. New England (NFL-best plus-20 turnover margin) should have TE Aaron Hernandez (ankle) coming back. But Hernandez hasn’t played since Week 7 vs. the Jets, and I’m not sure how effective he’ll be. However, the Pats are one of the NFL’s best road teams this decade: 53-25-3 against the spread (ATS) in their last 81 road games. Plus, the Patriots are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 road games vs. the Jets. I believe the Jets’ slim playoff hopes end here.”
Peter King, Sports Illustrated: Patriots 33, Jets 20. “I went 13-1 picking games last week. The only game I missed was the Jets winning in St. Louis. I don’t believe I’ll be wrong again this week, particularly with tight end Aaron Hernandez likely returning from injury to make the sort of impact Rob Gronkowski won’t. Hard to feel sorry for a team when it lines up a star (Hernandez) and a long-time solid starter (Visanthe Shiancoe) at tight end.”
ESPN.com staff: Patriots across the board.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports.com: Patriots 30, Jets 17. “The Jets are playing for their season here, but the question is whether they are good enough to beat the Patriots, even at home. I don’t think they are. The Patriots will be without Rob Gronkowski, but as long as Tom Brady is throwing it around they will be fine. Patriots put a real damper on the Jets playoff chances.”
CBS Sports.com staff:Seven out of eight pick the Pats.
Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk.com: Patriots 38, Jets 24. “A possible classic is in the offing, the first-ever nationally-broadcast Thanksgiving night NFL game on a major network. The fact that the Jets won on Sunday makes it more interesting. The fact that the Pats have been pounding teams lately makes it potentially less interesting — except to see which players get hurt on the PAT team in the fourth quarter.”
Michael David Smith, ProFootballTalk.com: Patriots 17, Jets 10. “I give Rex Ryan a lot of credit for having his team playing hard in the face of adversity last week, and I think Rex will put together a good game plan to stop a Gronkowski-less Patriots offense. But the problems with the Jets’ own offense are real, and not getting any better. The Patriots will win a low-scoring game.”
Greg Cote, Miami Herald: Patriots 27, Jets 17. “Tom Brady last week put up his fifth career 50-point game. Only Len Dawson (six) has had more. Injured TE Rob Gronkowski is a huge loss for Pats, yes, but Brady still has plenty left to outscore a modest NYJ offense. Also think a New England defense leading the AFC in takeaways (27) will remind Mark Sanchez he’s mistake -prone. Only concern here is that intangibles favor the Planes in this prime-timer. Rex Ryan lost to Patriots in OT in October and has lost 9 of 12 at home to Bill Belichick. Rex’d sell his soul to win this, but the presumption he has a soul left to sell is too big a risk. Talent trumps want. [Cote Family Timeline: As this game kicks off my eyelids will feel like lead curtains lowered to indiscernible slits after the turkey’s Trytophan kicks in along with one too many reacquaintances with Mr. Miller].”
USA Today staff: Patriots all the way.
Yahoo! sports: Pats. No Jets.
Peter Schrager, FoxSports.com: Patriots 38, Jets 20. “Watching the all-22 film this week of their 59-24 win over the Colts last Sunday, I’m pretty sure the 2012 Patriots are New England’s best team since the 18-1 squad of 2007. The Jets’ home crowd will be nice and loose — in a Brad Keselowski kind of way — on Thursday. Expect the boo birds to come out in full force if this one gets out of hand early. The Pats D is significantly better now than it was when these two teams played in October. They made red-hot Andrew Luck look average last week. What will they do to Mark Sanchez?”
Globe staff: Greg Bedard picks the Jets against the spread (Patriots a 7-point favorite). Shalise Manza Young, Chris Gasper, Jim McBride and Scott Thurston take the Patriots.
It says here: Patriots 31, Jets 21: How cool would it be if Belichick busted out the Wishbone just to mess with Rex Ryan?