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It was a return to mediocrity in Week 11 after some head-scratching results.

What were some of those? How about the Jacksonville Jaguars hanging 34 points in regulation on the vaunted Houston Texans defense? It normally takes the Jacks

onville offense about a month to score 34 points.

I was dumb enough to believe in the Indianapolis Colts’ ability to keep it close at New England, before the Patriots flew by them like a Porsche passing a Model-T on a freeway.

Then there was the one that would have been a kneecap-breaker if gambling were legal. The Detroit Lions were 3½-point underdogs to the Green Bay Packers, led much of the game and fell behind late. Then the Lions inexplicably gave up a field goal in the closing minute to lose by four. Yikes.

On the other hand, the week was still on the right side of .500 at 7-6 (the Chicago Bears-San Francisco 49ers Monday nighter was off the board due to quarterback questions).

Thanksgiving on Thursday brings us three early games this week, including the Texans’ first foray into Turkey Day football. Houston visits the Lions. The Dallas Cowboys get their traditional Thanksgiving Day home game against their archrivals, the Washington Redskins, and the nightcap has old friends getting together when the Patriots head to New Jersey to play the New York Jets.

Now for the picks, with home teams in CAPS:

Thanksgiving
Texans (minus 3) over LIONS:
I suppose there’s a chance for an upset by the home team on Thanksgiving Day. This one is close, but not close enough to keep Detroit in playoff contention.

Redskins (plus 3) over COWBOYS: I’m not going to say I don’t trust Dallas at the JonesMajal. I’m just saying I don’t trust Dallas at the JonesMajal.

JETS (plus 7) over Patriots: These teams played to a regulation draw in Foxborough earlier this year and I like New York’s chances to keep this one close, too.

Sunday
Vikings (pick ’em) over BEARS:
This is the first of two meetings over the next three weeks and if Chicago has proven anything over the last couple of years, it’s that it is totally helpless offensively without Jay Cutler. He’s still not cleared to play.

BENGALS (minus 9½) over Raiders: The Bengals have been shredding much better defenses than Oakland’s recently.

Steelers (pick ’em) over BROWNS: Another week, another quarterback for Pittsburgh. Ancient Charlie Batch gets pulled out of moth balls this week after Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich went down with broken ribs in back-to-back games. Still, no one knows how to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory quite like Cleveland.

COLTS (minus 3) over Bills: Indianapolis is a much better team at home and should bounce back from the pummeling it absorbed in Foxborough.

Broncos (minus 10½) over CHIEFS: I want to believe in Kansas City. Of course, I also wanted to believe in Santa Claus and that, well, not so much.

Seahawks (minus 3) over DOLPHINS: Miami is struggling with a capital “S” of late. I realize this is the dreaded “West Coast team playing the early game on the East Coast” game, but I like Seattle’s defense to rule the day.

BUCCANEERS (pick ’em) over Falcons: Hey, Atlanta almost gave one to the offensively offensive Cardinals last week. And Tampa Bay is as hot as any team in football right now. So the “take the hot team at home” rule wins out.

Titans (minus 3) at JAGUARS: Jacksonville is awful at home. This game is in Jacksonville. Do the math.

CHARGERS (pick ’em) over Ravens: San Diego’s got to win one of these sooner or later, right? Right? Anyone?

SAINTS (plus 1) over 49ers: New Orleans is scorching hot right now and San Francisco just landed right in the heart of quarterback-controversy hell.

CARDINALS (minus 1) over Rams: Arizona’s awful offensively. Not sure who gets the nod at quarterback this week … will it be John Skelton? Ryan Lindley? Jim Hart? Timm Rosenbach? Neil Lomax? Gary Hogeboom? But I still like that defense over St. Louis.

Packers (plus 2½) over GIANTS: Green Bay’s been the better team over the last couple of weeks. Plus it’s November. The Giants, in case you haven’t heard, aren’t so good in November.

Monday
Panthers (no line) over EAGLES:
This—this right here—is how far Philadelphia has fallen. I’m taking the 2-8 team straight up on the road. Yes, Eagle fans … yes, it really is this bad.

Last Week: 7-6
Season: 71-81-5