GREG COTE’S NFL THANKSGIVING DAY PICKS
Thanksgiving: An annual American tradition that started in 1621. Thanksgiving Day football: An annual NFL tradition that started in 1934. And, to refute a long-standing rumor, although it does seem he’s been around long enough, no, Tom Brady was not at either event.
Tripleheaders leaving you as stuffed with games as you are with turkey began in 2006, so this is the 12th Bird Day with three games. At my house the turkey goes in the oven as the first game kicks off, we’re sitting down to dinner as the second begins, and by the time the third game starts, we’re all snoring from the combined effects of Tryptophan and Old Granddad.
Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!
VIKINGS (8-2) at LIONS (6-4)
LINE: MIN by 3.
COTE’S PICK: DET 24-20.
TV: 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Fox.
Upset! This is the big NFC North duel that Detroit needs more, and the Lions — traditional hosts playing in their record 78th Thanksgiving game — have fallen in love with the holiday again. Motown has won four straight on this day, and by a combined 135-54. Matthew Stafford is 13-2 on TDs/picks in his past five Thanksgiving starts, and has beaten Vikings in five of past seven meetings overall. Minnesota is really good, but Lions will rise like biscuits in the oven with a big home performance.
CHARGERS (4-6) at COWBOYS (5-5)
COTE’S PICK: DAL 27-23.
TV: 4:30 p.m. Thursday, CBS.
Dallas hosts on Bird Day for 40th consecutive year while Chargers (who’ll wear powder-blue throwback unis) make first appearance since 1969. Line opened with Bolts 2 1/2-point road faves before money swung to make it pick-’em game. Cowboys are depleted with RB Ezekiel Elliott suspended and LT Tyron Smith and LB Sean Lee injured, and LAC sackers led by Joey Bosa will be big challenge for Dak Prescott’s struggling line. Still, look for home-’Boys to shake off consecutive bad losses.
GIANTS (2-8) at REDSKINS (4-6)
LINE: WAS by 7 1/2.
COTE’S PICK: WAS 30-17.
TV: 8:30 p.m., NBC.
Washington is a first-time Thanksgiving Day host and NYG hasn’t done this since 2009. Both team’s seasons have been littered with injuries making this a shell of the matchup it once looked to be. Giants found a pulse and beat Chiefs last week and have won five of past seven in this division series, so don’t discount the Biggies’ upset shot. But don’t bet on it, either. Look for more Thanksgiving home cooking as Kirk Cousins owns the day.