NFL Week 12 Preview: Thanksgiving Edition

Every week Andrew, Obaid, Jacob, and Nithin will be previewing four primetime NFL games and giving predictions. Then they will pick their fantasy football sleepers for the game, players who aren’t widely owned but can potentially make a big impact. They will also be predicting the winners of every game under the Pick’em section, and they will keep a record for correct predictions over the weeks.

Lions (6-4) vs Vikings (6-4): Thursday, 11:30 AM on CBS, Ford Field
After starting off hot and winning the first five games of the season, the Vikings then went on a cold streak and lost four straight. Last week, they salvaged some hope for their playoff hopeful season as they beat the Cardinals in Minneapolis. The Lions on the other hand, have had a nail biting season, coming back from fourth quarter deficits to win several times. Their games have been so close that all of them have ended in one possession leads. The achilles heel of the Vikings is hands down the offensive line, which has been plagued by injuries all season. This is a large reason that they only average 293.8 offensive yards per game, last in the NFL. The Lions defense however, has been average at best. They currently average 358.2 yards against per game, 19th best in the league. In the end, I see the Lions winning only because of how poor the Vikings offensive line has been. If Stafford and the offense show up to this one, the Lions will pull off a fourth consecutive Thanksgiving win.

Lions 27 – Vikings 20

Fantasy Sleeper: Adam Thielen (owned in 7.2% of ESPN leagues)
With Stefon Diggs banged up and questionable for the game, Adam Thielen could put up some decent fantasy numbers for the third week in a row. If you’re in desperate need of a receiver, consider Thielen.

Cowboys (9-1) vs Redskins: (6-3-1): Thursday, 3:30 PM on FOX, AT&T Stadium
The Dallas Cowboys, who always play on Thanksgiving, take on NFC East rivals The Washington Redskins. The Cowboys have been the story of the NFL this year, as rookie Quarterback Dak Prescott and rookie Running Back Ezekiel Elliott have led them to the best record in the NFL. The Redskins have also been formidable this year, and they are coming off of a thrashing of the Packers. Both teams have been good this year, but on prime time television, Dallas’ stars will shine bright and show the NFL they are legitimate contenders to win the Super Bowl.

Cowboys 32 – Redskins 24

Sleeper: Pierre Garçon (owned in 45.6% of ESPN leagues)

After steadily improving his play over the past few weeks, Garçon exploded against the Packers, putting in 116 yards and a TD. Although the pass defense of the Packers is lackluster to say the least, Garçon has the potential to continue his play, especially since QB Kirk Cousins has continued to target the Wide Receiver.
Colts (5-5) vs Steelers (5-5): Thursday, 7:30 PM on NBC, Lucas Oil Stadium
This game features two high powered offenses, and two lackluster defenses. On the offensive side, the Steelers have numerous threats that could hurt the Colts defense. Their big 3, Ben Roethlisberger, Le’veon Bell, and Antonio Brown, might have one of their biggest games of the year. The colts defense ranks last in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game and 24th in rushing yards allowed per game. In their last two games, Bell has gained over 200 yards on the grounds and over 100 yards through the air, Brown has caught for nearly 250 yards, and Roethlisberger has thrown for over 280 yards per game. As for the Colts, Andrew Luck has gone through the concussion protocol and it seems unlikely he will play in this game. Expect Frank Gore to get an increase in rushing attempts to compensate for the loss of Luck. This game is going to be high scoring, and I think that gives the edge to the Steelers.
Steelers 35 – Colts 24

Fantasy Sleeper: Scott Tolzien (owned in 0.7 % of ESPN leagues)
Andrew Luck is mostly likely going to be out, so expect Scott Tolzien to make the start and expect him to be fine. With 6 seasons under a belt, Tolzien is a veteran who won’t be scared by the bright lights of this Thanksgiving affair. The Steelers defense hasn’t played well against passing attacks this year, ranking 26th in the NFL in passing yards per game allowed. If your QBs have been struggling all year, then take a look at Tolzien, it couldn’t hurt
Eagles (5-5) vs Packers (4-6): Monday, November 28, 7:30 PM on ESPN, Lincoln Financial Field

Packers have lost four straight, the most recent one was against the Redskins on Sunday Night Football. They are no longer the dominant offense they used to be and their defense is plagued with injuries. After a strong 4-0 start the Eagles and rookie quarterback Carson Wentz have struggled. They are coming off a tough loss against a strong Seahawks team. This Monday night matchup will be a good one as both teams are looking to turn their season around and stay in playoff contention. I would be shocked if the Packers drop a 5th straight and my heart tells me they will pull out a win despite their injuries and recent struggles.
Packers 31- Eagles 20
Fantasy Sleeper: James Starks(owned in 56.8% of ESPN leagues)
Starks has scored a touchdown in each game since he returned from injury. He is the only healthy running back for the Packers besides Christine Michael who was recently picked up and won’t see much of the field. Starks is really strong in the screen game and will pick up yards both on the ground and in the air.
Pick’em picks:

Overall record:
Obaid: 57-38-2
Andrew: 55-40-2
Jacob: 51-44-2
Nithin: 50-45-2

Last week’s record:
Obaid: 10-4
Andrew: 10-4
Jacob: 10-4
Nithin: 10-4

Lions vs Vikings:
Obaid: minnesota-vikings-logo-small
Andrew: detroit-lions-logo-small


Cowboys vs Redskins:
Obaid: logo_mobile


Colts vs Steelers:
Obaid: tiny


Bears vs Titans:
Obaid: titans-logo-128x128


Bills vs Jaguars:
Obaid: buffalo-bills-logo-small


Ravens vs Bengals:
Obaid: cincinnati-bengals-logo-small
Andrew: baltimore-ravens-logo-small-as-smart-object-1


Falcons vs Cardinals:
Obaid: cardinals_50t
Jacob: logo-atlanta-falcons


Browns vs Giants:
Obaid: logo-new-york-giants


Saints vs Rams:
Obaid: saints_logo


Dolphins vs 49ers:
Obaid: miami-dolphins-new-logo-2013


Texans vs Chargers:
Obaid: san-diego-chargers-logo-small
Andrew: houston-texans-logo-small


Buccaneers vs Seahawks:
Obaid: seattle-seahawks-logo-small


Raiders vs Panthers:
Obaid: carolina-panthers-logo-small
Jacob: oakland-raiders-logo-small

Jets vs Patriots:
Obaid: new-england-patriots-logo-small


Broncos vs Chiefs:
Obaid: denver-broncos-logo-small


Eagles vs Packers:
Obaid: green-bay-packers-logo-small
Andrew: philadelphia-eagles-logo-small