Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions (-2.5, 45.5)
WHY THE EAGLES WILL COVER
Brandon Gowton writes for Bleeding Green Nation. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter @BleedingGreen.
I can’t lie: it’s hard to feel great about the Philadelphia Eagles team. They’ve lost in pathetic fashion to the Dolphins and Buccaneers over the past two weeks. If there’s any hope left, maybe it’s that the Lions are somehow worse and the Eagles are the more desperate team. There’s a lot of pressure on Chip Kelly to get this win and keep the season alive. While the Lions’ season is pretty much over, Philadelphia is still somehow only one game out of first place in the NFC East. The Eagles played well on a short week on Thanksgiving last season when they defeated the Cowboys in Dallas. Maybe they’ll be able to get hot on Turkey Day for the second year in a row.
WHY THE LIONS WILL COVER
Jeremy Reisman is the managing editor of Pride of Detroit. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter @PrideOfDetroit.
The Detroit Lions will cover the spread on Thanksgiving because their defense has finally found its footing. Two weeks ago, the Lions held Aaron Rodgers to his third-lowest passer rating of the year, while holding the Packers to just three points through three quarters. They followed up their performance by completely stopping the red hot Derek Carr. Detroit’s defense has been led by their number one cornerback Darius Slay, who has allowed just 15 yards receiving in three games. In addition to their pass defense, the Lions have been dominant at stopping the run, allowing just 97 rushing yards over two games at 2.5 yards per carry.
Carolina Panthers at Dallas Cowboys (-1.5, 45.5)
WHY THE PANTHERS WILL COVER
Bill Voth writes for Black & Blue Review. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter @BlackBlueReview.
With Tony Romo back, the Cowboys are capable of handing the Panthers their first loss of the season. Before Romo starts feeling too comfortable, Carolina has to shut down Dallas’ ground game. If they don’t, Romo could start picking the Panthers apart with play-action. At the end of the day, as good as the Cowboys’ offensive line can be, Darren McFadden is still Darren McFadden. The Panthers will limit him quickly, and with Cam Newton playing as well as anyone in the league, Carolina should be able to celebrate the holiday with another win.
WHY THE COWBOYS WILL COVER
K.D. Drummond is a senior columnist for CowboysHQ. He can be followed on Twitter @KDDrummondNFL.
The Cowboys will cover if they are able to maintain defensive integrity. Carolina’s offense seems to be based on read option and play action, meaning that Sean Lee and Rolando McClain will be keys at the linebacker position. The defensive ends (Lawrence, Hardy, Mincey, Gregory) will have to remain disciplined in setting the edge. If so, the defensive performance of the last 5 games (held four opponents to 14 points or less from their offenses) will be able to corral Cam Newton and his less than desirable targets. On offense, Romo seemed to get into a groove as the rust wore off, so expect Dallas to test everyone short of Josh Norman.
Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers (-8.5, 45)
WHY THE BEARS WILL COVER
Jeff Hughes is a writer for Da Bears Blog. You can follow them on Twitter @dabearsblog.
Everything with the Chicago Bears this season has been injury-dependent and we probably won’t know the statuses of Alshon Jeffery, Matt Forte, Antrel Rolle and Pernell McPhee until 90 minutes before kickoff. (No big deal, it’s only 3 of their 5 best players). But the Bears have two essential elements when it comes to covering a big number: (a) arguably the best late-game quarterback in the league this season and (b) a suddenly serviceable defense that limits the point damage even on long drives. The point differentials of games which Jay Cutler started and finished this year? -8, +2, +1, -3, -3, +3, +24, -2.
WHY THE PACKERS WILL COVER
Jason B. Hirschhorn covers the Green Bay Packers for Acme Packing Company. He also serves as an NFL writer for SB Nation and Sports on Earth and is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Follow him on Twitter @by_JBH.
The Packers’ post-bye slide has forced many to re-evaluate the team, and not unjustifiably. However, the fact remains that few quarterbacks have as dominant a track record against divisional opponents as Aaron Rodgers. Against the Bears in particular, Rodgers owns a 17:4 touchdown-to-interception ratio and has completed nearly 70 percent of his passes. As a result of that dominance, Rodgers’ teams have only failed to cover three times in the 16 games he faced Chicago (counting playoffs). While the Bears defense has played better of late, the unit still has trouble in the secondary. Look for Rodgers to exploit those weaknesses on Thanksgiving.
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