The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Sports

November 21, 2012

Pro picks: Home teams to play gracious host on Thanksgiving

NEW YORK — Happy Thanksgiving. Welcome to our home. Feel free to take a victory with you when you leave.

That’s how Pro Picks sees Thursday’s three holiday games: all wins for the visitors.

Nice hosts, those Lions, Cowboys and Jets.

Houston heads into Ford Field as a 3-point favorite, and after the Texans barely squeezed past Jacksonville last weekend, they will be firmly focused on the Lions.

“We were trying hard the whole game,” defensive end J.J. Watt said of the 43-37 overtime win. “We just weren’t having much success. You keep trying things and trying things and eventually, something starts to work.”

Not much works for the Lions when they play a better team. Houston, ranked No. 1 in the AP Pro 32, is a much better team than Detroit (No. 19, AP Pro 32).

TEXANS, 35-26

No. 18 Washington (plus 4) at No. 16 Dallas

The NFL’s other Texas team plays just as much up-and-down football as the Lions do. Dallas is weak running the ball, Washington quite strong in that area, particularly with creative rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III complementing another outstanding first-year player, Alfred Morris.

Whichever team controls the ball and the clock in this renewal of a bitter rivalry that has featured some memorable Thanksgiving meetings – Clint Longley, anyone? – should take charge. That will be the Redskins.

REDSKINS, 24-20

No. 7 New England (minus 7) at No. 21 New York Jets

Anyone who believes the Jets revived their season with a win in St. Louis – even if it was, by far, their best performance in a month – will come away severely disappointed Thursday night. Another intense rivalry in which the guest will rudely treat the home team.

PATRIOTS, 33-16

No. 30 Oakland (plus 7 1/2) at No. 17 Cincinnati

Bengals have schedule that could see them grab a wild-card spot.

BEST BET: BENGALS, 33-17

No. 26 St. Louis (plus 3) at No. 25 Arizona

Unless the Cardinals coax Kurt Warner out of retirement this week ...

UPSET SPECIAL: RAMS, 17-10

No. 5 Green Bay (plus 2 1/2) at 9 New York Giants

Time for Giants to turn around their season, albeit barely.

GIANTS, 28-27

No. 3 Atlanta (pick ‘em) at No. 12 Tampa Bay

Bucs are scaring everyone with their offense. They will scare, but not beat, Falcons.

FALCONS, 30-27

No. 6 Baltimore (minus 2) at No. 20 San Diego

Confidence-boosting win over Steelers helps keep Ravens rolling.

RAVENS, 28-20

No. 4 Denver (minus 10) at No. 32 Kansas City

It’s ugly in KC, and about to get much more so.

BRONCOS, 31-10

No. 10 Seattle (minus 3) at No. 24 Miami

If Seahawks truly are contenders, they can’t falter here.

SEAHAWKS, 22-17

No. 22 Buffalo (plus 3) at No. 15 Indianapolis

Don’t be fooled by Bills’ win over Miami or Colts’ collapse in Foxborough.

COLTS, 30-24

No. 23 Tennessee (minus 3) at No. 31 Jacksonville

Titans favored on road shows how shaky things are in Jacksonville. A hunch:

JAGUARS, 20-17

No. 14 Minnesota (OFF) at No. 8 Chicago

Jared Allen can’t wait to face that sieve of a Bears offensive line.

VIKINGS, 17-16

No. 2 San Francisco (OFF) at No. 12 New Orleans

Imagine if Niners can play like they did last Monday night against Saints’ so-so defense.

49ERS, 27-21

No. 11 Pittsburgh (OFF) at No. 29 Cleveland

Steelers might run the ball 60 times.

STEELERS, 13-9

No. 28 Carolina (OFF) at No. 27 Philadelphia, Monday night

Eagles are more of a mess than Panthers.

PANTHERS, 14-13

–––

2012 RECORD:

Against spread: 5-6-2 (65-88-5). Straight up: 12-2 (97-62-1)

Best Bet: 5-4-2 against spread, 9-2 straight up.

Upset special: 7-4 against spread, 5-6 straight up.

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