Turkey Day means an NFL triple-header for football fans to feast upon. This year it is an all-NFC affair, with being showcased later this weekend on Sunday and Monday night. Oh yeah, there’s also a late afternoon game Sunday that may be of interest to NFL fans as well…

 

Chicago Bears (5-6) at Detroit Lions (7-4) ★★★★
Early game (12:30 pm ET) on CBS
Announcing crew: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson

The Bears have won two in a row while Detroit has lost two straight. Before reading too much into that, consider the opponents: Chicago played the Vikings and Bucs at home, while the Lions had to contend with Arizona and New England on the road. I like Detroit’s defense to rebound at home and force Jay Cutler into a couple of key turnovers.

Pick • Lions 23, Bears 17
Bears +7
under 46½

 

Philadelphia Eagles (8-3) at Dallas Cowboys (8-3) ★★★★★
Middle game (4:30 pm ET) on FOX
Announcing crew: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews

While the Patriots-Packers game is deserving of all the attention it is receiving this week, there are a few other great matchups as well. Thursday afternoon we have a contest between division rivals that both own 8-3 records; normally that would make this the game of the week. If you like scoring you should love this game: Dallas ranks 6th in yards (387 ypg) and 7th in points (26.5), while Philly is 4th with 412 yards per game and 3rd in scoring (31.1). The Cowboys’ DeMarco Murray leads the NFL with 1.354 yards rushing and 1.657 yards from scrimmage – that’s 403 more rushing yards and 222 more yards from scrimmage than any other player in the league – and Dez Bryant is 2nd with 10 touchdown receptions and 9th with 879 yards receiving. Philly’s up-tempo offense is more balanced, and led by LeSean McCoy (970 yards from scrimmage) and Jeremy Maclin (980 yards receiving).

Mark Sanchez is 3-1 since replacing Nick Foles, but his eight turnovers against inferior opponents (Houston, Carolina, Tennessee) in that short span are unsettling. In fact as a whole Philly’s eight victories are against teams with a cumulative 21-55 record. On the other hand the Dallas defense hasn’t shown much recently; they allowed the Giants to score on three drives of 80 yards or more, and allowed 417 total yards to New York last week. Bottom line is that I can’t back a Sanchez-quarterbacked team to defeat a good opponent on the road – on the anniversary of The ButtFumble.

Pick • Cowboys 35, Eagles 27
Cowboys -3
over 54½ (two units)

 

Seattle Seahawks (7-4) at San Francisco 49ers (7-4) ★★★★
Late game (8:30 pm ET) on NBC
Announcing crew: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michelle Tafoya

Who would have guessed when the 2014 schedule was announced that the NFCCG rematch, between the two best teams of 2013, would only be the third best game of week 13? That’s not to say it is not worth watching; in fact, it will make for a nice contrast to the Dallas-Philadelphia game. Seattle is in a tough spot, coming off a game at Arizona and then having to go on the road on a short week to face the Niners – and then go on the road again next week to play at Philadelphia. For what it’s worth the Seahawks are 2-6 in their last eight road games within the division, while San Francisco is 15-1-1 in their last 17 home games against the NFC West. Although the Niners have not taken advantage of playing at home (3-2 this season) this year, I think they’ll grind out a tough win in this game.

Pick • Niners 20, Seahawks 17
Niners -1½
under 42½

 

Three-way Parlay
SF-Sea under 42½, Dal-Phil over, Chi +7 (one unit)

Three-way Teaser
SF-Sea under 51½, Dal-Phil over 45½, Chi +16 (three units)

 

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