NFL Week 12 Preview: The Big Three

Ricky Rothstein | Updated Oct 04, 2017

A look, now, at the three biggest National Football League games to take place on Thanksgiving Weekend.  All NFL football betting lines come courtesy of the Sports Interaction online sportsbook:

New England Patriots (7-3) at New Orleans Saints (10-0) Saints -3.0, Over/Under 56.5

The biggest game of the weekend is also the last, as the Patriots travel to New Orleans for a tantalizing Monday Night Football showdown. As you can see by the huge Over/Under total, a lot of offense is expected from this game, and with good reason – the Saints lead the NFL in scoring (36.9 points per game) while the Patriots feature the No. 2 scoring offense (29.0).  Most will see this as a battle of marquee QBs in Tom Brady vs. Drew Brees, but the outcome might be decided by some less familiar names – Jabari Greer, Tracy Porter, Randall Gay and Leigh Torrence.

Those are New Orleans’ four injured cornerbacks, guys who would’ve been in charge of handling New England’s dynamic receiving duo of Randy Moss and Wes Welker. Without them, the Saints are reed-thin in the secondary and, earlier this week, were forced to sign Mike McKenzie off the street just to try and fill a hole. Welker is coming off a 15-catch, 192-yard masterpiece against the Jets and Moss is the best deep threat in the NFL, so don’t be surprised if New England looks to attack the Saints secondary early, and often.

Arizona Cardinals (7-3) at Tennessee Titans (4-6) Titans -1.0, Over/Under 47.0

The Titans are a 4-6 team in record only. There’s no denying that the QB switch from Kerry Collins to Vince Young has dramatically altered the club; since Young has taken over, the Titans are a perfect 4-0 and the offense is dominating time of possession. Young’s ability to make plays with his feet has given opposing defenses fits. His ability to convert third-and-longs against Houston on Monday night was a prime example of how dangerous he can be; along with Chris Johnson in the Titan backfield, defenses are constantly guessing as to how each play will unfold.

Arizona has been great on the road this year (5-0), but this is a bad time to go into Tennessee. Internally, the Titans believe they can run the table and have a shot at an AFC Wildcard berth. They’ll be jacked up to get after Kurt Warner, who’s still iffy following a concussion suffered last week in St. Louis. It might be tempting to take a 7-3 team +1, but Arizona should be avoided at all costs.

Pittsburgh (6-4) at Baltimore (5-5)

No line available yet for this one, which is a shame considering how enticing a game it’ll be to watch.  After getting his bell run by Kansas City last week, Ben Roethlisberger is expected to play against the Ravens, and that could be scary. Big Ben has taken some notoriously bad beatings at the hands of the Ravens; all told, he’s been sacked 27 times in eight career games vs. Baltimore. If the Ravens have any hopes of cracking the playoffs, they almost have to win this game; six losses in the highly-competitive AFC is right on the brink of postseason elimination.

It should be noted that, if Roethlisberger can’t go or gets injured in this game, Pittsburgh will turn to former University of Oregon standout Dennis Dixon at QB. Usual backup Charlie Batch is out for six weeks with a wrist injury (also suffered in the Chiefs game).