Thanksgiving Football Preview: Giving Thanks for RGIII
Texans @ Lions +3.5
Hexagram 12: Obstruction 否
The Texans’ 9-1 record blows you away, but they have had much less success in a smaller sample size against the NFC. Houston has gone 8-0 against the AFC and won by an average of over fifteen points a game. Their only two games against the NFC have also come against the North. They lost to the Packers 42-24 and beat a mostly Cutler-less Bears team 13-6 on Monday night a couple weeks ago. It’s always dangerous in the NFL to try to make assumptions based on games against common opponents, but the Lions played a really good game against Green Bay last time out, losing 24-20 in a game they led the majority of time. Detroit and their division rival share two things in common that make them a dangerous matchup for the Texans; they have a dynamic passing attack and a stingy pass defense as well. This isn’t the Jaguars secondary here. The Lions are 8th against the pass and I expect them to load the box against Arian Foster and dare Matt Schaub to beat them over the top. I see a tough defensive game to start the day, and hence like the Lions at home and getting the points.
Redskins @ Cowboys -3.5
Hexagram 25: The Astonishing 无妄
On this Thanksgiving, one of the many blessings life has given me that I am particularly grateful for is Mr. Robert Griffin III. In a lot of ways, this has a so-so football season for me. My fantasy teams have been disappointing. My picks have hovered around 50% all year. My rare gambling ventures have been hit and miss and I blew my first chance to win money from a Las Vegas casino sports books because I got too greedy, parlaying the over with my correct pick. And yet one man has made football like new to me. This time last year, I never could have imagined we would have maybe the most exciting player in the league to watch playing quarterback for our Redskins so near in the future. And it’s not his electric running ability or huge arm that I am most thankful for. After watching a solid decade of Washington Terrible QB X turn the ball over and miss wide open receivers way too frequently, just the fact that he has completed 67% of his passes and thrown just three interceptions through his first ten games as a pro is mind blowing to me. He still has a ways to go to become an elite passer, but just seeing a confident, composed and accurate quarterback in the pocket is such a beautiful thing for a long suffered Redskins fan to behold. Two far less acclaimed rookie quarterbacks, Nick Foles and Brandon Weeden, both had success recently against a Cowboys defense that hasn’t looked the same the past couple weeks. I say RGIII puts on a show in his first nationally televised game, and defeats the hated Cowboys. And even if he doesn’t, I’ll still consider myself blessed to have him on my team.
Patriots @ Jets +6.5
Hexagram 10: Treading the Road 履
This doesn’t seem like a good situation for the Patriots. Giving a touchdown to a division rival on the road that already played them tough all the way to overtime a month ago, the Jets seem to be the pick here. Especially considering their big bounce back win in St. Louis last Sunday and catching the Pats Gronk-less, right? Wrong. I’m saying forget the points and take New England. They have scored 141 points in their last three games. That’s an average of 47 points a game. Aqib Talib seemed to give their pass defense, their biggest weakness to that point, a real boost in his first game with the Patriots last week, and the Pats’ best football may well be yet to come. I have no confidence in the Jets offense to score enough points to keep up in this game.