Week 13 kicks off on Thanksgiving with 3 games. The games are:
Bears vs Lions 11:30am CT
Bills vs Cowboys 3:30pm CT
Saints vs Falcons 7:20pm CT
The Bears (5-6) and Lions (3-7) kick off Thanksgiving football in Week 13 after they played just 3 weeks ago. The Bears won 20-13 in a game which was close throughout the 4th quarter. After last year’s fantastic season, the Bears have significantly cooled off, despite consistent strong play by the defense. The Bears still have one of the best scoring defense’s in the NFL but the offense has had many struggles. Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky was selected to the pro bowl last season but has thrown just 10 touchdowns this season. Additionally, Trubisky has thrown 6 interceptions and has the 2nd worst QBR rating in the NFL at 35.9. Despite his poor performances, against the lions, Trubisky completed 70% of his passes and threw 3 touchdowns. Trubisky had a QBR of 44.4 in that game which is a season high for him.
The Lions have had many injuries and have been put in a tough position. Quarterback Matthew Stafford was listed as questionable for last week’s game but the team has talked about possibly sitting Stafford for the rest of the year due to injury. 4th year QB, Jeff Driskel, stepped in for the injured Stafford. Driskel totaled 685 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions in 3 games with an average QBR of 47.8. I thought Driskel looked good but unfortunately, it was announced on Wednesday that he will be the backup on against the Bears due to a hamstring injury. The Lions will now start rookie QB, David Blough. Blough went undrafted and signed with the Browns after the draft. After being cut by the Browns, he signed with the Lions and he is now the starter. In a pre-draft interview, Blough was compared to Drew Brees because of their similar size (Brees: 6”0. 209lbs Blough: 6”0, 205lbs). Additionally, Blough said he thinks he can have the “same impact as a first-round pick”. Blough is yet to play in an NFL game and it will be interesting to see what he does.
Bears Running Back David Montgomery is primed for a breakout game with Trubisky struggling and the Lions average run defense. My prediction: Bears 27-12 Lions
The most intriguing matchup of the day is between the Dallas Cowboys (6-5) and Buffalo Bills (8-3). Americas team, the Dallas Cowboys, have had a pretty decent season on both sides of the ball. The roster is full of talent and many have began questioning the coaching job of head coach Jason Garret…even GM Jerry Jones. Cowboys QB, Dak Prescott, currently leads the NFL in passing yards. Prescott has played very well in large part due to the increase in offensive weapons from last season. The Cowboys also have one of the leagues best running backs in Ezekiel Elliot. Elliot currently has 7 touchdowns and 919 yards rushing yards. The Cowboys and Bills have not played since 2015, making this game even more interesting.
Heading into the season, the Bills were not thought of as playoff contenders by many people. Now, the Bills are in prime position to get the first AFC wildcard spot in the playoffs. At 8 wins, a loss on Thursday would not be detrimental to the Bills, their season would not be in jeopardy. The Bills have gotten themselves in such a good position by simply beating the teams they should and taking care of business. The Bills have created an identity in which the offense puts up some points but the game is won on defense. Tre'Davious White and Micah Hyde make up one of the best secondaries in the NFL making it hard for opposing teams to pass against the Bills. I think the Bills have the ability to make a run in the playoffs, assuming they get there.
The Cowboys high-power offense against the Bills stubborn defense will make for a great game.
My prediction: Cowboys 24-20 Bills
The Final Thanksgiving matchup is Falcons (3-8) vs Saints (9-2). The Falcons’ first half of the season was horrific and many things went wrong. I still believe the Falcons have one of the most talented rosters in the league, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Julio Jones is the most talented receiver in the NFL and second year WR, Calvin Ridley, has complimented him nicely. I see no reason why the Falcons could not win out, even if they don’t make the playoffs. The defense has also begun to play better deeper into the season. The linebackers have begun to emerge and the Falcons defense has shown how they made it to the Superbowl just two years ago.
The Saints have been one of the most impressive teams so far this season. QB, Drew Brees, suffered a thumb injury in the middle of the season but the Saints still played great with backup, Teddy Bridgewater. The Saints have an interesting running attack with one of the most talented running backs in the NFL in Alvin Kamara. What makes it so interesting is that the Saints also have Latavius Murray who is more of a hard-nosed power back. The Saints also have Michael Thomas who leads the NFL in receiving with 104 receptions for 1,242 yards.
Before the season, Falcons vs Saints would look like a great match up but the Falcons have greatly struggled this season. My prediction: Saints 32-17 Falcons.
Thanksgiving is one of the best football days of the year but these games aren’t necessarily the greatest. Week 13 also brings us a crucial divisional game for the Titans against the Colts. A preview on the Titans vs Colts game will come in the following days.