Greg Cote

Greg Cote’s Thanksgiving Day NFL picks

The NFL’s Thanksgiving Day tradition kicks off King Sport’s Week 13, the ninth consecutive season it’s been an all-you-can-eat tripleheader. Family, football and food – what could be better! At our house the first game starts as the turkey is just beginning to brown in the oven, the second game is on as we give thanks and eat, and the third game coincides with our attempts to wake Uncle Buddy, who by then is deep-dozing from a day-long conversation with Jack Daniel chased by an overload of Tryptophan. Here’s wishing all of our readers a wonderful Thanksgiving. Now let’s pick a few games, shall we?

BEARS (5-6) at LIONS (7-4)

Line: DET by 7

Cote’s pick: DET 24-20

TV: 12:30 p.m., CBS (airing in South Florida)

This is Thanksgiving Day game No. 75 for traditional host Detroit, and the 33rd Bird Day bow (first since 2004) for Chicago. The division rivals last met on holiday in 1999. What we have are two struggling offenses but only one capable defense, that of the Lions. Bears have fizzled against winning teams, and should be cure for what ails Matthew Stafford, although 7-point spread seems a bit big. Chitown has been outscored 41-0 in its past six first quarters, so upset hopes could hinge on strong start. All six Thanksgiving games the past two years went “over” the betting over/under, with TDs raining like second helpings, but these two sputtering O’s could test that trend.

EAGLES (8-3) at COWBOYS (8-3)

Line: DAL by 3

Cote’s pick: DAL 34-30

TV: 4:30 p.m., Fox (airing in South Florida)

With first place in the NFC East the winner’s prize, this feels like a fireworks festival of a game, one in which the two punters might as well take the day off and see a movie together. Offense should reign as Dallas hosts its 47th Thanksgiving game. This is only Philly’s sixth turn on the holiday stage but the Birds are 5-0 on Bird Day. Make it a venue call as Phils have lost three of past four on road. Also, Tony Romo should stay hot against an Eagles pass defense ranked 30th in the league. Special-teams and turnovers figure to play a significant role. In the mistakes department I don’t exactly trust Romo. But I trust him a heck of a lot more than I trust Mark Sanchez.

SEAHAWKS (7-4) at 49ERS (7-4)

Line: SF by 1

Cote’s pick: SF 20-17

TV: 8:30 p.m., NBC (airing in South Florida)

Our all-NFC tripleheader wraps with arguably the NFL’s most intense, physical rivalry, and a game that will deliver a body blow to the loser’s playoff hopes. This is only San Fran’s sixth Turkey game (first as host) and Seattle’s fifth on the holiday. Seahawks prevailed in last season’s NFC Championship Game, of course, but Niners have won five straight at home in this division series. The league fined Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch $100,000 for not talking to media, now I think the 49ers defense will do to Marshawn’s yardage total what Roger Goodell did to his wallet. This matchup should be brutally delicious. You’ll get bruises just from watching.