, , , , ,

Well 2016 has been an eventful year to say the least, and on this American holiday of Thanksgiving I thought I’d try to find a few things to be thankful for the NFL.

The obvious place to start given the turmoil of this year is the distraction that sport provides. I’ve written before that I don’t see getting away from the world as a bad thing. Sport gives us an escape, whilst at times teaching us things that are useful in life, particularly when participating.

Football is a sport that relies heavily on team work, cooperation, and personal responsibility as if you stop playing within your team’s system then you are going to hurt your team. It’s not a bad reminder that personal responsibility and social solutions are not mutually exclusive, despite what some politicians on both the right and left would say.

The Bengals are having a tough year, and the search for an end to the league’s longest playoff win drought doesn’t look to be stopping this season, but I’m still grateful for the sight of Geno Atkins causing trouble to offences, one of the best colour rush uninforms of the year, and the painful reminder that nothing in the NFL is guaranteed.

For all the NFLUK’s marketing of Jay Ajayi as London’s Jay Ajayi, I’m enjoying Dan having a player to hang his hat on, and whilst I was worried that Adam Gase could struggle despite being an excellent coach given the roster he had been handed, with a chance of making the playoffs and at least being relevant he looks to be turning things round. Although perhaps I should have let Dan play the funeral march in an attempt to revive the Bengals’ season.

It hasn’t happened yet, but I am incredibly thankful that this year’s playoff games won’t be blacked out on Gamepass as it will make the logistics of covering and watching all the games so much easier.

I’m thankful that despite having a terrible season of picking games, I’m on a game behind Dan and on yet another short week I shall turn to tonight’s games, which I am really looking forward to!

Vikings @ Lions (-2.5)

The Vikings are coming off a their first win in five games, as they travel to Detroit to play the Lions in a game that will put one team at the top of the NFC North. The Cardinals are a struggling team right now, but a win is a win as far as the Vikings are concerned. However, we perhaps shouldn’t get carried away as the Vikings had a one hundred yard interception return for a touchdown and a one hundred and four yard kickoff return and still only won by six points. The defence looked more like itself, but still gave up twenty-four points, whilst the offence still looks to be struggling. The Lions meanwhile managed to be behind in the fourth quarter again, this time to the awful Jaguars, but did enough to win the game. There can’t have been too many time that the Lions were playing for the division lead in their tradition Thanksgiving game, but I fancy them to do enough at home against the Vikings.

Gee’s Pick: Lions
Dan’s Pick: Vikings

Washington @ Cowboys (-7.5)

The Cowboys are having a phenomenal season and look to be amongst the elite of the NFC, but Washington are no slouches and so this seems like a surprisingly large line. I would expect the Cowboys to win, and I’m not saying they can’t cover this line, but with Washington’s offence playing as well as it is at the moment, I think they are more likely to cover this line than not, even if they are on the road.

Gee’s Pick: Washington
Dan’s Pick: Washington

Steelers @ Colts (+7.5)

I am nervous about this line as the Colts are at home and the Steelers didn’t exactly blow out the Browns in their last game. However, whilst I might have been tempted had Andrew Luck been fit, the fact that Scott Tolzein is the starting quarterback with Luck in concussion protocol pushes me to pick the Steelers. Their offence could absolutely find its way again as it still has a terrifying array of talent as well as playing in the dome tonight, but the Steelers need to keep the pressure on in the AFC North.

Gee’s Pick: Steelers
Dan’s Pick: Steelers