Avoiding the Red Zone: 2017 Thanksgiving Games

By Dan Urda (@DanUrda)

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Dan’s season record: 23-26-1; Week 11 record: 3-3-1
Sean’s season record: 12-11; Week 11 record: 0-2

Thanksgiving Day football. The one saving grace for what is the most overrated holiday in existence (Editor’s Note: strongly disagree). Due to travel plans, we will not be able to have a podcast up in time for Thursday’s games. While I strongly encourage you to listen on Friday when it is posted, I wanted to give a few thoughts on the games that will take place beforehand.

Minnesota Vikings (-3) at Detroit Lions – Play: Detroit Lions +3

This is the only side I will be taking this Thursday and I like it a lot. Minnesota is coming off a big win against another NFC contender and this is a big letdown spot for them. They may have beaten the Rams, but if nothing else, the Rams defense hits people hard, and expecting the Vikings to recover and be ready to play a road game in four days is a lot to ask. The Lions did not beat the Bears convincingly, but they were able to scrape out the win in a very tough place to play. They find themselves with a 6-4 record, 2 games out of the division lead and 1 game out of the wild card.

This game is absolutely huge for Detroit. With a win, the Lions can pull within one game of the division with a 2-0 record against the Vikings, who still have games in Atlanta and Carolina in the next two weeks. A win puts them in a very good position to make a playoff push and I think they get it.

San Diego Chargers (-1) at Dallas Cowboys

I am staying away from this game. On one hand, you have the Cowboys who have looked as bad as anyone over the last two weeks. The team has been without linebacker Sean Lee and star left tackle Tyron Smith, who has said he hopes to play Thursday, but that is not yet in stone. Aside from the injury excuses, the Cowboys have just looked bad in general. Dez Bryant seems to have lost a step, and as a whole, the offense lacks playmakers with Ezekiel Elliott suspended.

Having said all that, I just can’t bet on the Chargers in this spot. Dallas has a good history of playing inspired football on Turkey Day. San Diego also has a notorious knack for finding ways to lose games they should win. All things considered, I can’t recommend a wager on either side. However, Keenan Allen is on fire right now. If you are an action junkie, take a look at his player props come Thursday.

New York Giants at Washington Redskins (-7.5)

The NFL definitely thought they were treating fans by scheduling a solid night game to cap off their holiday slate. Now, with both teams seemingly out of playoff contention and their rosters decimated by injuries, it more closely resembles a game that would be on the top right corner TV at a sportsbook.

I do think the Redskins have the upper hand here, as two young offensive weapons, wire Josh Doctson and running back Samaje Perine, seem to be in the midst of a breakout stretch; as a whole, the offense looked good against the Saints. But the Giants, as terrible as they are, do have a decent defense and I am just not comfortable asking a team with as many injuries as Washington to cover more than a touchdown. Chris Thompson may not be a player many people outside of DC talk about much, but he did so much for the Washington offense that missing him could cause them to stall out.  No reason to play this game, but if you are on your tenth beer and want some action to keep yourself away from your racist uncle’s rants, then look at Doctson props.

That’s all for right now. Be sure to tune in to the podcast, which should be posted late Friday night, for the rest of our picks.

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