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One thing to be thankful for...a hot picking streak!

Posted: November 27, 2013 - 8:49pm

The Prince of Pick’em has plenty to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Another strong performance (10-4) ATS in week 12 improved our record to 95-69-12 for the season. That’s 58% winners! Loyal Clarion faithful, if you were in Las Vegas you’d be thankful for that. Let’s all participate in a quick mathematical exercise. If a person were to have wagered $100 on every column selection this week, that person would be up approximately $1,700 (remember, you have to pay the juice...) A football fan could buy a whole bunch of Turkey’s with that money!

The NFL has given us further reason to be thankful this upcoming weekend with a number of great games on the schedule. The 9-2 Denver Broncos travel to Kansas City to face the 9-2 Chiefs. Denver defeated Kansas City 27-17 just two weeks ago. The winner of this rematch will have the inside track to home field advantage in the hotly contested AFC. Home field is up for grabs in the NFC as well. While you’re polishing off the leftover turkey and stuffing Monday night the 10-1 Seattle Seahawks will host the 9-2 New Orleans Saints in this week’s finale. A victory for the home team would give Seattle a three-game lead in the NFC with four weeks to play. The Seahawks have won an NFL-best 13 straight home games. If Seattle can get by New Orleans, Seahawks fans will have plenty to be thankful for. I’d like to wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving spent with family and friends. Thanks for reading and good luck with your picks this weekend!

GREEN BAY PACKERS @
Detroit Lions -6

How do you explain the enigmatic Detroit Lions? Two weeks ago the Lions were in control of the NFC North race with an easy slate ahead. Losing at Pittsburgh is excusable. Losing at home to the Tampa Bay Bucs is not. Now the Lions find themselves on their ninth life hosting the Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving Day. The Packers found a spark a week ago in uber quarterback Aaron Rodgers absence. Newly signed Matt Flynn guided the Pack back from late deficit that resulted in an unusual tie with the Minnesota Vikings. This is a game Detroit should control, but clearly the Lions aren’t ready to play the role favorite. I expect the Lions to win a game much closer than it should be. Lions win 30-27

Oakland Raiders @
DALLAS COWBOYS -10

The Raiders have been sneaky competitive all season, even with unknown Matt McGloin at quarterback, but Turkey Day may be too big a spotlight on the youthful Silver and Black. Dallas is 4-1 playing in Jerry World this season. The Cowboys lead the NFC with 34.6 points per game at home. Somebody has to win the NFC East. If the Dallas Cowboys want to be that team they will show it on Thursday. Dallas has the talent, just ask Jerry, he’ll tell you as much. Cowboys win 33-17

Pittsburgh Steelers @
BALTIMORE RAVENS -3

Two old rivals square off in a Thanksgiving Day AFC North elimination game. Both Pittsburgh and Baltimore enter the contest with uninspiring 5-6 records, two games behind the division leading Cincinnati Bengals. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been on fire leading Pittsburgh to three consecutive victories but Big Ben will find sledding a bit tougher on the road against a familiar foe. Home field will be difference in a close affair. Ravens win 24-20

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS @ Cleveland Browns -7

Only a complete idiot would lay seven points backing the Cleveland Browns. That’s not to say the Browns won’t cover. This is the NFL, where any result is possible, but how can you trust Cleveland to cover a touchdown spread? Especially with historically awful passer Brandon Weeden set to start this Sunday. Jacksonville is really bad at football, and if you follow this column you know that siding with Florida teams is risky business, but the Jags have played better of late. Jags win 17-14 (I’m not drunk I promise!)

Tennessee Titans @ INDIANAPOLIS COLTS -4

The 7-4 division leading Indianapolis Colts host the 5-6 Tennessee Titans in a critical AFC South matchup. Incredible stat alert! The Colts have been outscored 93-12 in the first halves of their last four games… That’s astonishing. Incredibly, Indy is 2-2 in those contests. This is the same Colts team that owns victories over Super Bowl contenders Seattle, Denver, and San Francisco this season. We’ll find out who the real Colts are this Sunday. Colts win 24-17

CHICAGO BEARS @
Minnesota Vikings -2

I hope the Chicago Bears feel disrespected. Two point underdogs against the Minnesota Vikings? That’s a Las Vegas slap in the face. I have a stronger arm than Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder. That’s not conducive to winning professional football games. The 6-5 Bears are tied with Detroit atop the NFC North. Chicago can ill afford another setback this week on the heels of a poor performance in St. Louis against the Rams. Bears win 30-20

MIAMI DOLPHINS @
New York Jets -2

Geno Smith’s plane has officially crashed. There are no survivors. The rookie quarterback’s play has left Jets fans yearning for a return to the Mark Sanchez era. Something previously thought impossible by the world’s top scientists. This woefully inadequate Jets team is the one I expected to see at the start of the year. The Miami Dolphins will bully Geno and the Jets to an easy victory. Did you see what I did there? Dolphins win 27-13

Arizona Cardinals @
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES -3

The 7-4 Cardinals fly to Philly to face the 6-5 Eagles is a surprisingly interesting contest. After a sluggish start the Eagles offense has taken flight with backup quarterback Nick Foles under center. Foles has thrown 16 touchdowns and zero interceptions this season while posting a Nintendo-esque 128 QB rating. That’s good. Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer hasn’t been nearly as protective of the football for the upstart Desert Bats. Palmer’s penchant for committing turnovers will cost the Cardinals. Eagles win 31-23

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS @ Carolina Panthers -9

Consider me on the Tampa Bay bandwagon. The upstart Buccaneers have won three straight contests including an impressive road win in Detroit a week ago. Carolina needed a last minute score to edge a reeling Miami Dolphins team. The Panthers play great defense but aren’t as explosive offensively as other contenders. Carolina won’t score enough points to cover a two score spread. Panthers win 23-17

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS @ Houston Texans +9

Houston, we have a gigantic problem! Its official, the 2-9 Houston Texans have thrown in the towel, only to have it intercepted and returned for a touchdown. After nine straight losing efforts, including an embarrassing home loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston is now vying to become the worst team in the NFL. How will Houston fare against an inspired Tom Brady and the New England Patriots fresh off a dramatic victory over the AFC Favorite Denver Broncos? Not well... Patriots win 31-13

Atlanta Falcons @
BUFFALO BILLS -3

Nobody circles the wagons at Ralph Wilson Stadium like the Buffalo Bills! Seriously though, Buffalo has been sneaky good at home this season. Atlanta, like the Houston Texans, entered the season with Super Bowl aspirations. Twelve weeks later the Falcons are battling the Texans for worst in the NFL honors. Incredibly, a win for Buffalo would raise their record to 5-7 for the season, and enter the Bills into the AFC Wild Card conversation. Bills win 27-21

St. Louis Rams @
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS -8

When Rams starting quarterback Sam Bradford was lost for the season to a knee injury nothing was expected from the Rams. Oddly, the Rams have been better with journeyman QB Kellen Clemens taking snaps. Will St. Louis’ recent success continue in San Francisco against the division rival 49ers? The 49ers pasted the Rams in St. Louis earlier this season. The 49ers appear primed for a late season run, they’re at home, and they can’t afford another loss to keep pace in the NFC West division. 49ers win 30-14

Denver Broncos @
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS +6

The infallible Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos authored an epic collapse in New England last Sunday. Denver held a 24-point halftime advantage, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a dramatic comeback by the Patriots. Now the Broncos must defeat the Kansas City Chiefs in BBQ City to stay on track to obtain the top seed in the AFC. Kansas City’s vaunted defense has faltered in the Chiefs last two contests. With pass rushers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston hindered by nagging injuries Kansas City hasn’t been able to generate a significant pass rush without sending extra defenders into the backfield. Give Peyton Manning time in the pocket is not a recipe for success. A hostile home environment will keep Kansas City in the game but Denver will pull out the victory. Broncos win 24-21

Cincinnati Bengals @
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS -2

The Chargers won a huge game in Kansas City last Sunday to remain in the hunt for a Wild Card berth in the AFC Playoffs. The AFC North division leading Bengals need a win this Sunday to stay two games up on the winner of the Thanksgiving Day matchup between Pittsburgh and Baltimore. Quietly, this game has huge playoff implications. When you can side with a desperate home team for less than a field goal you have to like your chances. Chargers win 28-24

New York Giants @
WASHINGTON REDSKINS +1

The New York Giants visit the Washington Redskins in a game that sounds a lot more exciting than it will be in reality. Both sides have played their way out of playoff contention with five weeks to play. Far less than expected from two tradition rich franchises. I’m going to side with the Redskins. I don’t have a football reason for doing so. Native Americans participated in the first Thanksgiving. That works well enough. Redskins win 27-17

New Orleans Saints @
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS -5

Please God let Seattle win, please God let Seattle win, Please God let Seattle win... Seahawks win 35-28

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