Detroit Lions v Houston Texans – Live ESPN 6.30am Friday
Thanksgiving in the USA is all about turkeys and football. The Detroit Lions always play on Turkey day – just one of those traditions – and this year they host the high flying Houston Texans. The Texans won a shoot out at home against the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars last week, where their much vaunted defence, had a day off. The Lions will be fired up after losing to a touchdown at the end of the game to Green Bay last week after it looked like it was theirs to have. Quarterback Matthew Stafford is not having the stellar season expected after last season, and this will prove to be yet another tough test
Chicago Bears v Minnesota Vikings
The Bears went to San Francisco and laid a proverbial egg against San Francisco. Physically out muscled they were no match against a first start for backup Quarterback Colin Kaepernick. They will need to get their season and divisional place back on track here against another rival in the Vikings. Minnesota is coming off a bye and will be fresher in playing against the Bears who have a short turnaround. Competitive this season they have won six games and are definitely in the playoff hunt. The Bears will be hoping that their starting quarterback Jay Cutler is back for this one, and they can forget about their trip to the West Coast with a victory here.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Atlanta Falcons
The Buccaneers are proving to be one of this year’s surprises and rose from the ashes last week to come back and beat the Carolina Panthers last week. They have a philosophy that every play may be their last and they have a will to win like no other. The Falcons still have one of the best records in the NFL however struggled against the flailing Arizona Cardinals last week. Although they won Quarterback Matt Ryan threw five interceptions – very rare to win when that happens. This will be a tough trip for the Falcons, and also being a divisional game there is some extra spice..
New Orleans Saints v San Francisco 49ers
Another classic NFC match up and a repeat of last year’s playoff between these two. The Saints are on a roll and after a zero from four start, they are now five from five and in the playoff hunt. Their offence is lethal which makes up for some deficiencies in their defence; however once they get going they are hard to stop. A short turnaround for the 49ers who had a debut start for Quarterback Colin Kaepernick last time out; however he showed no nerves leading them to a big win over the Chicago Bears. This should be a classic. Hardnosed defence and a running game from the 49ers versus a passing offence from the Saints and classy Quarterback Drew Brees.
New York Giants v Green Bay Packers – Live ESPN Monday 2.30pm
Another classic NFC clash between two teams that have met each other in playoff games in recent years, with the Giants having the upper edge as the underdog in those match ups. Both teams are in different realm at present with the current form team being the Packers. After a bad start the Packers are starting to click and although they are not dominating like they have in the past two seasons they are getting wins. Aaron Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and has the knack to be able to win on a final drive. The Giants form is patchy and they are struggling. Coming off a bye and having lost their previous two, and will want to take a better hold of the NFC East which they top, only just. This could be a classic.
Philadelphia Eagles v Carolina Panthers – Live ESPN Tuesday 2.30pm
A match up that really is a trial for both players and coaches from both teams to keep their jobs at their respective teams next season. Both had high expectations this season and both have fallen badly flat. The Eagles thought last season’s failure was based on not having a cohesive unit of a new bunch of star players. Unfortunately the same has occurred this year and it looks to have cost long term coach Andy Reid his job. The Panthers took out newspaper advertisements claiming they would win the Superbowl at the start of the season. Unfortunately tough to do when you only have two wins at present and last season’s Rookie of the year, Quarterback Cam Newton, looks a shadow of his former self and his ability is now being questioned at this level. The Eagles have lost their last six so home advantage is a non factor here.