Thanksgiving NFL: Cowboys shaky defence will allow Washington to tuck in

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A special night in American as Thanksgiving Day is marked with extra NFL action. Louis Ross (@LouisRoss67) looks at the three games for us.

Minnesota Vikings @ Detroit Lions | Thursday 17:30 | Sky Sports 1

Thanksgiving Night and as is tradition, we get America’s Game and we get not one but three juicy match ups to feast on. My favourite night of the NFL season. We start with an NFC tie that will go a long way to deciding the division as the Vikings visit the Lions.

Minnesota started the season 5-0 as the hottest team in football. Four straight losses followed before they got back into the winning groove with victory at home to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

What won that game and in my opinion will do the same here was defence and special team. Two 100 yard returns, an interception and a kick off, went a long way to securing that win. Xavier Rhodes clocked 22.7 miles an hour on his way to the end zone.

I am going against the grain here as Minnesota are very much second favourites but I am convinced that with Sam Bradford proving an adequate game manager and the Vikings defence proving itself once again to be far too good for one dimensional offences.

To be fair, Detroit do have a very good single dimension that being its passing offence. That passing game is Matt Stafford and Stafford will not do what he did last Thanksgiving and toss five touchdowns.

No not this time. He’s facing the number three defence for one that’s a given but the Lions ran for just 14 yards on Sunday. That’s Fourteen. The Vikes can basically forget about the run and defend Marvin Jones, Golden Tate and the screen threat of Theo Riddick.

That’s a hell of an advantage. Even the Jaguars picked Stafford off a couple of times. The Lions have had every game this season decided by seven points or less. Stafford is a quality quarterback but his defence sucks, not as bad as his ground game but anyway, and if he turns the ball over to these guys it’s likely to go for 6.

Either way this is a great start to the nights action and for those of you who play points I think that line of 41.5 is a little low. It’s very hard to see it being below 40 but I really like the Vikings here and have backed them on the Money Line. Those odds have shortened throughout the week and it’s the handicap market and the very attractive +2.5 at 10/11 on the guys in purple that is my confident pick.

Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys | Sunday 21:30 | Sky Sports 1

Game of the night, possibly game of the weekend right here. I’m really looking forward to this. I was quite sweet on Washington in pre-season and although Dallas is the hottest team in football at the moment, I still rather like them in this game. Once again, I am taking a chance and going against what most of you reading will be thinking.

I know most of you will be fairly confidently betting the Cowboys in this game. I get it. I am sure nobody changes their mind on games based on what some guy on Twitter thinks but hear me out. If for nothing else you could be reading a resignation letter to WeLoveBetting as Washington go down 48-7 in a Thanksgiving Night Massacre.

Dallas are amazing. As exciting a team as we have seen in many years. Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott taking the title of Americas’s Quarterback from Tony Romo, Rookie running back ‘Zeke Elliot breaking rushing records every quarter, Dez being Dez and the best offensive line in football. The defence though? Number 13. I could look silly in the New Year but number 13 defences don’t win championships.

That’s pretty much my angle on this game. I happen to really rate the Redskins offence and I think they can hurt the Cowboys here and at the very least cover the spread.

Dallas beat Baltimore here on Sunday but that’s a game the Ravens should have won. They beat themselves with penalties and no disrespect but that was Baltimore.

The Ravens took the home team close and they don’t have anything like the weapons that Kirk Cousins has at his disposal. The hugely underrated Jordan Reed and Pierre Garçon alongside Jamieson Crowder, a receiver with a big future. Rob Kelley has come in at running back after Matt Jones failed to improve his ball security and has done a fine job. He could have a huge night.

The chance to back Washington+7 is one I cannot pass up. Dallas really does have a stellar offence and I expect a big scoring shootout. I wouldn’t be surprised if America’s Team extends its winning streak to 10 but can’t see it being anything but tight if they do.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Indianapolis Colts | Friday 01:30 | Sky Sports 1

Just a few words on this game. At the time of writing, it has just been confirmed that Andrew Luck will miss the action due to concussion. It’s a completely unknown quarterback and that makes it a game that it would be impossible to write about let alone give a pick to anyone with any degree of confidence.

Personally I backed the Colts +9. I couldn’t resist backing Indy at home with a nine point start against a team that everyone thinks has a far better offence than it does in reality, that is not half as good on the road and struggled to beat Cleveland four days ago. That’s a gut feel bet and one made when there was still a chance Luck may play. Good luck if you put money down on this one.

Best Bets

Minnesota Vikings @ Detroit Lions – Minnesota Vikings +2.5  (10/11 Bet365)

Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys – Washington Redskings +7 (5/6 Bet365)

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I have been interested in betting since a stint managing a bookmakers 20 years ago. I now work in the travel industry but spend 90% of my day thinking (and talking)about sport. Rarely missing an Arsenal home game, I still find time for my 25 year obsession with the NFL and the Chicago Bears in particular. I'm still stuck in the 80's and can't find anything better to listen to than The Jam or The Smiths. I am a stats junkie where the NFL is concerned and there is no sport in the world where they matter more. My mission is to convert you all to a wonderful sport. Oh and win a few quid along the way.

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