The Detroit Lions have been playing on Thanksgiving since 1934. Although they have tradition on their side, they have not won on this Holiday since 2003 when with Steve Mariucci as head coach, Jason Hanson kicked five field goals in a 22-14 win over the playoff-bound Green Bay Packers. How many years ago was that? On the same weekend, the Ravens defeated the 49ers 44-6 behind two touchdown passes from quarterback…Anthony Wright.
It is safe to say that it has been a long time since a Lion team won on Thanksgiving.
This should be the last week of your league’s regular season. I have heard from many leagues this year and have seen more parity with a higher percentage of teams still fighting for the playoffs. Going into the last week, you have to play the match-ups, go to the waiver wire, gamble, and go “Under The Radar”, to win.
As for a few predictions…
- The Lions get their first Thanksgiving victory since 2003 with an easy win over the Packers.
- The Ravens, now the 7th seed, win Thursday and become the sixth seed. They will make the playoffs and win on the road in the Wild Card round against Marvin Lewis and the Bengals. They will beat them in successive weeks in the same venue, and Dennis Pitta will score a touchdown in each victory.
- Nick Foles and Mike Glennon will take their respective teams to at least the divisional round of the NFC Playoffs by 2015.
Winning Picks For Week Thirteen
Ryan Fitzpatrick— Titans at Colts
When in doubt, go with the guy from Harvard. Fitzpatrick is gunning the ball all over the field and is getting time to survey the field. He has attempted an average of 34 passes a game in his last three. The Colts have allowed a multiple touchdown passing game in three of their last four contests. Case Keenum, Kellen Clemens, and Carson Palmer have had productive fantasy games— so will Fitzpatrick. He will throw for a minimum of two scores and 260 yards.
Rashard Mendenhall— Cardinals at Eagles
This is the most important Cardinals-Eagles game since the 2008 NFC Championship game, and the most important played in Philadelphia between these teams since the 1948 title game. Mendenhall is averaging 15 touches a game in the last two weeks and the Eagles are 28th against the run, allowing 117.8 rushing yards a game. Even with Mendenhall sharing carries, he will provide fantasy value.
Toby Gerhart— Vikings vs. Bears
This is a deep selection, but the Bears are that bad against the run, allowing 145 yards a game— 32nd in the league. They have also given up 14 rushing scores a stat that goes along well with the fact that Gerhart is averaging 11 yards per carry in the last couple of games. The offensive scheme is now allowing Gerhart to play at-least one series each period to give Adrian Peterson rest. That should be enough to score double-digit fantasy points Sunday.
Nate Burleson— Lions vs. Packers
With Burleson healthy, the Lion passing game is at full strength. Matthew Stafford is attempting more than 45 passes a game in his last four games. The Packers have allowed 19 touchdown passes with just four interceptions. There is no reason why Stafford will not keep throwing the ball like he was Warren Moon.
Brian Hartline— Dolphins at Jets
Hartline is averaging five receptions for 65 yards a game in his last few games. While Mike Wallace is making the big money, he drops half the passes thrown his way. Hartline catches all passes thrown his way. The Jets have allowed 20 touchdown passes and have allowed the likes of Marvin Jones, Marquis Goodwin, and Jacoby Jones to find the goal line recently. They allow the second receiver to score— this translates into Hartline putting up some points.
Garrett Graham— Houston vs. Patriots
The Patriots should clobber Houston on Sunday, but Graham should have a solid day. He has averaged 84 yards receiving in his last two games and the Patriots have allowed the tight end to score in the last two games. Greg Olsen and Jacob Tamme have scored touchdowns recently and Graham should continue the trend.