Harv currently writes for Abstract Sports, the Sports History Network, and the magazine Gridiron Greats. Harv wrote the published book "Pro Football's Most Passionate Fans" and as a professional writer has had articles published in an array of sports publications.
NFL Week 12 Quick Picks - Happy Thanksgiving
It’s that time of year! Thanksgiving and lots of football. This year we get three games again on Turkey day although it won’t have the same feel as in the past given the COVID-19 world we now find ourselves in. While there are many cities discouraging families from having large gatherings, there will be plenty of football watching.
Once again there are some very important games several of which have playoff implications. Let’s get the picks rolling starting with those Thanksgiving showdowns.
Houston Texans at Detroit Lions
They should just name NFL on Thanksgiving, “Detroit Lions Day.” After all, they have the most appearances with 80 games played. Of those, they have won 37 and lost 41 with two ties thrown in the mix. The next closest team to games played are the Dallas Cowboys who will add another this year. Neither of these two teams has a shot at the playoffs so this is just an opportunity to not be embarrassed or lose on national television with millions watching. Prediction: Lions 30 / Texans 27.
Washington Football Team at Dallas Cowboys
What used to be a classic matchup between two teams that don’t like each other has become a laughable key divisional game. Laughable because the Eagles lead the division with a 3-6 record and as The Washington Football Team and the Dallas Cowboys each have three wins as well, both have a legitimate shot at winning the division. The loser here might have their fate sealed for a division title shot. Prediction: Cowboys 34 / Washington Football Team 24.
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
Because of multiple positive COVID tests among players and personnel in Baltimore, this game has been moved from Thanksgiving to Sunday. Still, Baltimore will be without the Ravens’ J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram. Knowing that, expect Pittsburgh to bring the heat often to Lamar Jackson. Prediction: Steelers 27 / Ravens 17.
Arizona Cardinals at New England Patriots
It’s strange not talking about the Patriots and playoffs this time of year but that is exactly where Bill Belichick’s team stands. There won’t be another division title for New England this year as they will be unseated by Buffalo or Miami. Arizona on the other hand is on the cusp of a wild card spot but can also still win the division title depending on what Seattle and the Rams do. Prediction: Patriots 20 / Cardinals 17.
Carolina Panthers at Minnesota Vikings
It’s unlikely either team can catch a wild card spot so when teams are in this type of position this late in the season that typically means it’s player evaluation time for the following season. Prediction: Vikings 35 / Panthers 21.
Cleveland Browns at Jacksonville Jaguars
It’s been 18 years since the Cleveland Browns were in the playoffs and they have not won a playoff game since 1994. That year Bill Belichick was the head coach and in a weird twist of irony, it was the New England Patriots that Cleveland defeated in the first round of the post-season beating them 20-13 before losing to the Steelers in the divisional playoffs 29-9. In that last playoff appearance in 2002, again it was the Steelers who triumphed this time in a wild shootout won by Pittsburgh 36-33. Now at 7-3, the Browns are on the verge of returning for an extra game or two once the regular season ends. But this could be a trap game for sure. Instead of rookie Jake Luton starting at quarterback, Jacksonville is putting Mike Glennon under center on Sunday. I believe the Jaguars who haven’t won since opening day and have lost night straight are way overdue for a W. Another interesting fact...only four teams remain that have yet to appear in a Super Bowl and these two teams are in that mix. The other two are Houston and Detroit. My guess is that the Browns won't be in the Super Bowl this season and it's obvious neither will Jacksonville. Prediction: Jaguars 24 / Browns 20.
Los Angeles Chargers at Buffalo Bills
The Bills want badly to win their division. The Chargers only shot at the postseason is a wild card. But with only three wins that probably not going to happen. They have nothing to lose making them a dangerous team. That won’t matter to Buffalo who should have no problem disposing of the ‘Bolts. Prediction: Bills 35 / Chargers 17.
Las Vegas Raiders at Atlanta Falcons
The Raiders are kicking themselves for letting the Chiefs off the hook in their last game. I believe Matt Ryan is on his last legs as a Falcon and perhaps a starter in the NFL. The Dirty Birds need to start looking to 2021 and determine whether or not to bring “Matty Ice” back for another season. The Raiders are currently in the seventh spot for a wild card where only the top six go in so this game is vital to them. Prediction: Raiders 32 / Falcons 20.
Miami Dolphins at New York Jets
As the Pittsburgh Steelers could finish 16-0 the Jets might mirror that record in reverse. Only the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions have lost all 16 regular-season games in NFL history but there could easily be the third team in that group come January. Something just tells me in my gut, New York won’t be joining that duo. Prediction: Jets 24 / Dolphins 21.
New York Giants at Cincinnati Bengals
It’s the first game all season for the Bengals that Joe Burrow hasn’t started at quarterback. Now backup Brandon Allen takes over. The Giants have won two in a row and are looking better. Prediction: Giants 31 / Bengals 24.
Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts
The biggest game of the week perhaps even bigger than the Baltimore/Pittsburgh game. This could determine who the AFC South division winner will be. The Colts are playing better by far right now and with their defense, that should be the determining factor. Prediction: Colts 20 / Titans 14.
New Orleans Saints at Denver Broncos
The Broncos have quietly won four games but the Saints want that #1 seed in the NFC. Prediction: Saints 28 / Broncos 13.
San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams
It seems the Rams are beginning to take control in the NFC West even though they are tied with Seattle for first place. They will keep the heat on the Seahawks on this day. Prediction: Rams 41 / 49ers 14.
Kansas City Chiefs at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This certainly has not been the season Tom Brady had wished for. Now he gets to match up with Patrick Mahomes and it’s young vs. old. Young wins. Prediction: Chiefs 33 / Bucs 21.
Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers
This could be the Bears' last stand. Will it be a return of Mitch Trubisky? No matter. Prediction: Packers 34 / Bears 17.
Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles
Eagles fans must be completely exasperated over Philadelphia’s season thus far. How embarrassing to be in first place and hold a 3-6-1 record. Just imagine if the Seahawks win here, and the Giants lose in Cincinnati. That would mean the winner of the Dallas/Washington game is in first place with a 4-7 record. OUCH. What if The Washington Football Team and the Cowboys finish in a tie? Then it gets really ugly in the East. Prediction: Seahawks 25 / Eagles 13.