Week 12 of the NFL season kicks off with three big games on Thanksgiving including Packers-Lions, Dolphins-Cowboys and 49ers-Ravens. Once we get through the Thanksgiving games, the Oakland Raiders battle for a playoff spot will continue on Sunday. The Raiders currently hold a one-game lead in the AFC West and would also be in the thick of the wild card race.
This weekend's games provide the Raiders a chance to build on their record and with a win would be guaranteed of pushing at least one of their rivals further down. The pertinent games for the Raiders include their own against the Bears, Chargers-Broncos, Chiefs-Steelers, and Browns-Bengals. This covers the AFC West and the 6-4 teams in the AFC. Here is a rundown of picks for these pertinent games:
Chicago Bears @ Oakland Raiders: The Bears bring a strong defense, running game and special teams, which would seem to put them in position to grab the road win. Unfortunately for the Bears, they have lost their starting quarterback, Jay Cutler, indefinitely and will be starting backup Caleb Hanie against the Raiders. In spite of what Matt Forte, Devin Hester and the Bears defense bring to the table, the Raiders are in a position to benefit from the Cutler injury. PICK: Raiders
Denver Broncos @ San Diego Chargers: I don't know if I can pick against Tim Tebow and the Broncos defense. The defense has put Tebow and the offense in a position to succeed. When you've then got Tim Tebow making crazy fourth quarter plays, what else do you need? PICK: Broncos
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs are struggling immensely and losing Matt Cassel did not help matters. Arrowhead can get pretty loud, but I would be pretty stunned to see the Chiefs pull off what would be a stunning upset of the Steelers. PICK: Steelers
Cleveland Browns @ Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals haven't been able to get big name victories over Pittsburgh or Baltimore, but they should handle their business against an up and down Browns squad. PICK: Bengals