The week off did Red a world of good as he went 4-2 in Week 11 and has for the moment stopped digging. Red is now 28-30-2 for the season. Good enough for a win in the Electoral College. As a special this week, Red will pick all 3 Thanksgiving Day games and squeeze them into the rubric one way or another.
Sure Bet Pick of the Week – Vikings vanquish Lions. All 10 Lions games so far this season have been decided by a touchdown or less. While that sounds incredible, it is somewhat misleading because by Red’s inexact calculus at least 57.6% of NFL games in any given season are decided by 7 points or less. Which means that the Lions are due for a blowout game one way or another. Given the Lions tendency this season to fall behind and then mount a furious rally to win or make it close, Red should call this one as a close game. But the Lions are too likely to be distraught over Calvin Johnson’s third place finish on Dancing With the Stars Tuesday night to have that incredible rally in them on Thursday. Take the Vikings and 3 points and the over at 42. Minnesota 35 Detroit 10.
Underdog Pick of the Week – Cardinals can Falcons. Red can’t help but think that the Cardinals don’t suck as much as they apparently – well – suck. Falcons are there for the taking, but only if Carson Palmer can stay upright for more than 30 snaps. Arizona 25 Atlanta 23.
Rivalry Game Pick of the Week – Cowboys collapse OTNAs. This one is pretty good as NFL rivalries go. Back in the day there was hardly a more heated divisional rivalry than this one. Sports Illustrated called in the greatest NFL rivalry of all time. Red doesn’t go that far but he does remembers some fairly classic games. For example, Billy Kilmer taking down Roger Staubach in overtime at RFK on a brisk November afternoon in the first NFL game Red ever saw in person. Or the Clint Longley “Mad Bomber” game on Thanksgiving in 1974 might have been the most interesting NFL game Red ever watched as the Boys rallied from a 16-3 deficit behind their unheralded third string quarterback. Or the 1979 season ending game where the winner went to the playoffs and the loser went home and the CBs scored twice in the last 5 minutes to send the OTNAs packing. Or the SCAB game in 1987 where a team of replacements beat the scumbag Cowboy players including Danny White, Randy White, Tony Dorsett and Ed Jones during the strike. And for the record, that was the game after which Red declared that he was no longer a Cowboys fan after 27 years of loyal service. The list goes on. The Cowboys lead the all-time series 67-42-2. However, the Redskins have won the only two playoff games after the 1972 and 1982 seasons. The Boys are just playing too good to lose this one on Thanksgiving – although that would make for another incredible game in the long list of incredible games in this rivalry. Arlington 31 Landover, MD 30.
Texas Franchise Pick of the Week – Chargers catcall Texans. Red has some experience in coming back from a trip to Mexico. Red figures he has visited our sunny southern neighbor somewhere in the vicinity of 35 times and at least 1/3 of the time, didn’t feel quite up to snuff for at least a week afterwards. And that’s only the times he didn’t have ceviche. He has eradicated those episodes from the memory banks. The Texans are coming off a tough loss to the Raiders at Estadio Azteca on Monday night. So combine a short week with an overabundance of tacos, tortillas and tequila and you can fill in the rest. Meanwhile the Chargers are coming to Texas after a week off. The Chargers have found new and imaginative ways to lose games this season blowing a 17 point 4th quarter lead against the Chiefs and fumbling twice in the last 80 seconds against the Colts. That and a missed field goal or two and the Chargers are fighting for the AFC West divisional title – and what a fight that is. The Chargers may be the best 4-6 team in NFL history. The Texans may be the worst 6-4 team in NFL history. They certainly occupy those positions this season. Red weeps as he calls it San Diego 28 Houston 24.
Prime Time Pick of the Week – Stealers over Colts. Will Andrew Luck play or will the nation get to witness the glory that is Scott Tolzien under center. Red hopes that Luck plays, as that underrated QB on Thanksgiving night thing (see Mad Bomber above) sometimes works out in unexpected ways. Red also hopes to be well into diabetic coma by the time this one comes on Thanksgiving night. Let him know how it comes out. Pittsburgh 21 Indianapolis 3.
Shit Bowl Pick of the Week – Eagles Edge Packers. Red can’t resist the chance to put the Packers in this week’s Shit Bowl because the Packers are in fact reallyshitty this season. Of all the underperforming teams in the league, the Packers are the underperformiest. Yeah, that’s not a word. And this isn’t a game that should be the only option for the true football junkie trying to hang on to the Thanksgiving weekend high of maximum football overdose. Red thinks the Packers have packed it in, while the Eagles have to be thinking “We’ve got a chance.” Keep thinking that all the way to the offseason guys. Take one last injection of gravy and stuff that last piece of stale pecan pie in your mouth before tuning in to watch this execrable excrement exhibition. Philadelphia 6 Green Bay 3.