Thanksgiving week and there are three games slated for today. The early game has New England traveling to Detroit. Dallas is also the traditional host on this day and they will be hosting New Orleans. The night game has Cincinnati traveling to the New York Jets. Week 12 should start off with quite a bang. Don’t forget to get your lineups in on time for these games. I’ve still got my good year going and I’m sitting at 10-1. I had hoped to get this column out yesterday but as sometimes happens life got in the way.
Let’s look at the games for today and the remainder of the week.
Ben Roethlisberger is at Buffalo this weekend and is coming off two really good games. He should make it three in a row here. The Bills have allowed multiple TDs to 7 Quarterbacks this year and Big Ben has 4 games where he has multiple TDs and that’s in only 6 starts.
Shaun Hill is hosting New England today. He had a good game vs. Dallas last week passing for 289 yds and 2 TDs against 1 interception. The Lions are underrated and should post good numbers vs. the Patriots. Hill has solid targets in Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson and Brandon Pettigrew. The Lions running game has stalled with injuries to Best and Smith leaving Morris as the team lead this week. The Pats have allowed 7 TDs to opposing QBs in just the last two games. I’m not saying that Detroit will win this game but Hill should shine through.
Joe Flacco will host Tampa Bay this weekend. Flacco has been coming on his past 5 games and he has a good chance to make it 6 here He has 11 TDs against 1 interception in that span. He also has played much better at home averaging 242 passing yds.
Kyle Orton hosts St. Louis this weekend and in spit of a bad game here and there. Orton has had a great year. Facing the Rams at home He averages 39 attempted passes a game so he should come out swinging.
Mark Sanchez is hosting Cincinnati tonight. He should have his way with the Bengals secondary. They gave up 316 yds and 4 TDs to Buffalo last week and all of that came in the 4th quarter. Sanchez has connected with Santanio Holmes in the past tree games winning each either late or in overtime. With Holmes and Braylon Edwards on the outside and the option of a revitalized LaDanian Tomlinson, I like Sanchez to score big and often tonight.
Matt Cassel is at Seattle this weekend and he has quietly been among the best QBs in the last 6 games. He’s taken advantage of some mismatches some against lesser quality teams than the Chiefs and the Seahawks should fit that same scenario nicely.
I do not recommend Jay Cutler vs. Philadelphia, Carson Palmer at New York Jets, Jon Kitna vs. New Orleans, David Garrard at New York Giants, Donovan McNabb vs. Minnesota or Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Pittsburgh.
Mike Tolbert is at Indianapolis this weekend and I liked him last week too. He did not disappoint me. Last week he ended with 25 carries for 111 yds, 1 TD and 2 catches for an additional 42 yds. This week he has another shot since Ryan Mathews still has a bum ankle. The Colts have improved their running game since the week one debacle vs. Houston and Adrian Foster but the charging Charger should still have a solid game here.
BenJarvis Green Ellis. In case you have any doubts his middle name is Jeremy. (I mention that so you’ll know which one I mean if it ever comes up.) Anyway, he’s at Detroit today and he and Danny Woodhead should be able to match the numbers that they had last week. BJGE had 96 yds and 1 TD and caught 1 pass for 4 yds. Woodhead ran for 69 yds on just 7 carries and had 1 TD. He also caught 4 passes for an additional 21 yds. All of this was done vs. the Colts. They should have that kind of a day at the Lions.
Brandon Jacobs hosts Jacksonville. He’ll get the majority of carries until Ahmad Bradshaw gets over his fumbleitis. I like Jacobs here because the receiving corp is now without Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks. The Giants will have to lean on Jacobs more that usual. This is a good game for Jacobs since the Jags give up a lot of yardage to running backs. He has not found the end zone all year but look for Jacobs to take care of business this week.
Thomas Jones is at Seattle this weekend and the Seahawks have allowed all but two opposing running backs to score a TD. I like Jamaal Charles to score in this game as well. Jones had 71 yds and scored 2 TDs vs Arizona last week and Charles pitching in with 126 all purpose yds. Seattle is a weaker opponent than Arizona and the pair should thrive even though this is a road trip.
Mike Goodson is at Cleveland this week and he was the only bright spot in an otherwise bad game for Carolina. He ran for 120 yds and had 5 receptions for an additional 31 yds. He did, however have two fumbles but recovered them both. Goodson is the only game in town for Carolina and his matchup against the Browns should be make or break. I like him to close in on the 100 yds and find the end zone. D’Angelo Williams is done for the year and Jonathan Stewart still thinks he’s Batman as he is questionable with a concussion. If you have Goodson on your bench, and you don’t have someone mike McCoy or Foster in the lineup, give some thought to Goodson. He should do well here.
Donald Brown is hosting San Diego this weekend and he should remain the starter with injuries to both Joseph Addai and Mike Hart. Brown had a solid game last week against New England rushing for 108 yds. He should do well here. The Chargers have allowed for 8 rushing TDs this year and Brown should make it at least 9. He can also catch the ball out of the backfield as he caught 3 passes for 40 yds last weekend. If you need an option or are plagued by injuries, Brown should fit the bill nicely.
I do not recommend Brandon Jackson at Atlanta, Marshawn Lynch vs. Kansas City, Ronnie Brown at Oakland, Beanie Wells vs. San Francisco, Cedric Benson at New York Jets, or Fred Jackson vs. Pittsburgh.
Vincent Jackson is at Indianapolis this week and this is the first week I’ve been able to recommend him. He has a chance to play week this week. Antonio Gates, Malcolm Floyd and now Patrick Crayton are all either questionable or out. Phillip Rivers has really stepped up his game and has made less talented receivers look good. Having Jackson back, in spite of the double team is going to be a blessing for the Chargers. Jackson has been a deep threat the past tow years and he should be happy to be back on the field.
Mario Manningham hosts the Jacksonville Jaguars this week and he is now the go to guy for the Giants. He should get more targets but more coverage as well. This could leave the door open for Derek Hagen who I consider a sleeper this week this is a home game so both receivers should have the crowd behind them. This is a good opportunity for Hagen to shine and look for a permanent spot on some team in the future.
Nate Washington is in Houston this week and although he has a 3rd QB in Rusty Smith, the two had a big play last week with Nate catching a 52 yd pass from Smith. The Texans are last in the NFL in pass defense and in spite of the presence and double teaming of Randy Moss, Houston can only put so much coverage on Washington so he should thrive in this environment.
Nate Burleson is home against New England this week. He’s become Shaun Hill’s favorite target except for Calvin Johnson. With Johnson drawing the double coverage, Burleson should do quite well here. Nate has been playing at a high level the past three weeks and this is a great match-up today. Because their opponent is the Patriots, the Lions should be throwing quite a bit today and Burleson has been stepping up. He should do that again today.
Sidney Rice is at Washington this week and he’s another first time recommendation for this year. Percy Harvin should also do quite well here. Last week Rice did ok against the Packers catching 3 balls for 56 yds in a mess of a game. Still, that’s not bad production for a guy just back from an injury. The Skins are a favorable match-up this week as they are 29th vs. the pass. Minnesota wants to prove they can win under the new coach Leslie Frasier. This is a great match-up for the Vikings.
Blair White is hosting San Diego this week. Something has got to give here. The Colts have been playing well but have been getting beaten on stupid mistakes. They had the opportunity to tie for overtime last week but Manning got picked off. Hey it happens even to Manning. In that game, White had 5 catches on 7 targets and 42 yds and 2 TDs. He should do well here with Austin Collie out again and Dallas Clark out for the year. Reggie Wayne gets the double here and Garcon has not stepped up nearly as much as Jacob Tamme or White.
I do not recommend Hines Ward at Buffalo, Donald Driver at Atlanta, Davone Bess at Oakland, Lee Evans vs. Pittsburgh, Johnny Knox vs. Philadelphia or Terrell Owens at new York Jets.
Kevin Boss is hosting Jacksonville and the Giants are looking for Boss to step up here with their receiving corp in a shambles. He should fill the bill nicely for Manning and his outlet passes. Boss did struggle last week vs. the Eagles but he’s gotten mor looks in practice this week and should be good to go here.
Joel Dressen is home vs. Tennessee this weekend. Last week, he had 4 catches for 106 yds and 1 TD. I should have waited on my recommendation as I had him recommended in week 10 and he was lousy with 2 catches for 24 yds. The Titans have not done well vs. tight ends this year and Dressen should be targeted often since Owen Daniels is not expected to play.
Brandon Pettigrew host New England today and Brandon has been among the better TEs this year. Last week vs. Dallas, he had 8 catches for 75 yds which is excellent production from a Tight End. He should see a good amount of targets today as New England cannot cover everyone on the Lions.
I do not recommend Kellen Winslow at Baltimore, Jermaine Gresham at New York Jets, Zach Miller vs. Miami, or Mercedes Lewis at new York Giants.
DEFENSE / SPECIAL TEAMS
New York Giants vs. Jacksonville
Minnesota at Washington
Cleveland vs. Carolina
Oakland vs. Miami
I do not recommend Atlanta vs. Green Bay
Neil Rackers vs. Tennessee
Nate Kaeding at Indianapolis Careful here coming off a groin injury
Matt Prater vs. St. Louis
Jay Feely vs. San Francisco
I do not recommend Graham Gano vs. Minnesota
That’s all for this week, gobblers. Get the lineups in and eat a lot of turkey today. Be thankful for the things in your life: Family, good friends, good health. Keep the comments coming and I’ll answer to anything football related.
Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving - Snake