Family get-togethers, turkey, mashed potato, pumpkin pie – and of course top-quality American football! For NFL fans across the United States, Thanksgiving is the best holiday of the year with excitement on the field guaranteed from midday through to prime-time in the evening. America’s number one sport serves up a three-course menu with plenty of intriguing story lines this Thursday.
For starters it’s NFC North rivals Green Bay and Detroit getting it on from 12:30 Eastern. The Packers (5-5), inked in by many as a hot preseason Super Bowl tip, have struggled in recent weeks without injured quarterback Aaron Rodgers, completely opening up the division’s title race. A home win for the Lions (6-5) would take them a big step towards sealing what would their first division triumph since 1993!
This year’s main course sees Dallas host Oakland in another game that could prove important in deciding the destination of a division title. The Cowboys moved into pole position in the NFC East after beating the resurgent Giants on the road last weekend and start a strong favourite to underline their ambitions against a 4-7 Raiders team that no longer harbors hopes of being around in the playoffs.
One team that blew its chances of a division title by losing its first four games is Pittsburgh, but a recent upturn in form has lifted the gloom from the record Super Bowl champion and suddenly put a playoff Wild Card within sight. Thanksgiving’s dessert serves up one of the fiercest rivalries in the NFL when Ben Roethlisberger and Co. pay a visit to Baltimore. Both the Steelers and the Ravens have identical 5-6 records and both need to win to bolster their playoff hopes – how about that to wash down a fine football feast?
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Packers 3.2 Lions 1.38
Raiders 4.65 Cowboys 1.21
Steelers 2.3 Ravens 1.67
CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on American sports, especially NFL football and NBA basketball.