NFL Thanksgiving Day predictions

I have never been good at predicting games and that is why I make few predictions. Forecasting the outcome is an inexact science. After all, that is why they play the games. Nevertheless, predicting games can be fun, especially if you don’t have money on the outcome.

So here goes. My predictions on today’s NFL Thanksgiving Day games.

  • The Lions will beat the Bills. Detroit has won three straight and is playing at home. Granted, the Bills are picked by many to make it to the Super Bowl and did win at Ford Field over the Browns on Sunday, when the game was moved their because of the snowstorm in Buffalo, but I like the Lions.
  • Dallas over the Giants. This is tough, because I am a longtime Giants fan, but I cannot pick with my heart here. The Giants are one of the surprise teams this season, but last week for the first time lost a game they should have won, falling to Detroit at home. Plus Dallas has New York’s number, is riding high after that dominant win Sunday at Minnesota and is playing home on Thanksgiving. Enough said.
  • Minnesota to beat the Patriots. Look for a bounce back game from a very good Vikings club. Yes, the Pats are a surprising 6-4 and have the GOAT coach, but their offense is practically nonexistent and the Vikes are playing at home. Can the Pats pull a rabbit out of their hat? Of course, but I don’t see it happening here.

These are my outright selections sans point spread. Enjoy the games and Happy Thanksgiving.

NFL ratings dip

NFL ratings for the first two rounds of the post-season are “down” but every other sports league would settle for the league’s numbers. To put it in perspective, the last time a non-NFL program came close to NFL ratings was Game 7 of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians.

What is interesting is the Sunday NFL game between Tampa Bay and New Orleans was down 10%. That was the game featuring Tom Brady for the Bucs and Drew Brees – in his last game – for the Saints at quarterback. Still, attracting 35.46 million viewers for a second round playoff game is nothing to sneeze at.

A quarterback matchup between two heavyweights would seem to be a large attraction, but one needs to wonder how much the pandemic has impacted sports in general. In other words, with limited or no attendance permitted, out of sight might mean out of mind.

The big test will be this weekend, when the Bucs travel to Green Bay for the NFC Championship game. Brady vs. Aaron Rodgers, Bucs vs. one of the league’s signature franchises, should be enough to mobilize near, record ratings. Count me among those who will be watching.