Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Quick Hits & NFL Picks

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody! Let's start off with the three NFL Games we have today:
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Green Bay at Detroit - Until somebody beats the Packers, it's really hard to pick against them. Aaron Rodgers is playing football at an unreal level. 31 touchdowns and just 4 interceptions. The Lions just gave up 35 points to Cam Newton and the Panthers. I don't see them slowing down the Pack Attack. Pick: Packers

Miami at Dallas - The Dolphins have quietly won three straight with Matt Moore under center. The Oregon State alum is unbeaten this November with 6 touchdowns and just 1 interception while completing over 70% of his passes. On the other side of the ball, Tony Romo hasn't exactly been a slouch. The emergence of a running game with DeMarco Murray has really opened up the Dallas passing game. I like Romo and Company at home. Pick: Cowboys

San Francisco at Baltimore - The inaugural Harbaugh Bowl as brothers Jim and John coach against one another for the first time. The 49ers have just one loss while the Ravens are a picture of inconsistency. The 49ers are making the trip across the country on short rest and I think that works against them. Look for the Ravens defense to really put pressure on Alex Smith and the 49er offense. Pick: Ravens

Last Week: 8-6
Season: 104-56

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A storybook beginning to the 2011 season has quickly turned sour for the Buffalo Bills. After starting the season 5-2 with wins over the Patriots and Eagles, the Bills have dropped three in a row by a combined score of 106-26. And to make matters worse the Bills dynamic running back Fred Jackson, second in the league in yards from scrimmage, has been placed on injured reserve meaning he's now out for the rest of the season. Jackson has a broken bone in his right leg which means C.J. Spiller will have to carry the load in Buffalo's backfield. The former first round pick out of Clemson has just 21 carries this season for 115 yards. Not the production they were hoping for when the used the 9th pick in the 2010 draft on him. Time for Spiller to step up. The 5-5 Bills are counting on him if they're to have any hope in saving their season. Buffalo takes on the Jets this weekend in the Meadowlands. The Jets started Buffalo's recent slide with a 27-11 win in Buffalo 3 weeks ago.

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Still no NBA basketball, but Deron Williams appears to be in midseason form. Playing in Turkey for Besiktas, Williams score 50 points in a 105-94 victory over German squad Göttingen in the EuroChallenge. The New Jersey point guard hit 17 of 23 shots from the field including 7 of 10 3-pointers, and also converted 9 of 11 free throws. Williams' career high in the NBA is 42 points, set in 2010 against the Thunder. Williams efforts earned him the tournament's weekly MVP honors as improves Besiktas to 3-0 in EuroChallenge play.

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With starting goalie Niklas Backstrom unavailable on Wednesday and his minor league replacement Matt Hackett not scheduled to land in Minnesota under 30 minutes before the opening faceoff, the Minnesota Wild found themselves with a potential goalie crisis. Not wanting to risk starting the game without a backup goalie, the Wild signed 51 year old recreational hockey player Paul Deutsch to an amateur tryout contract to be their emergency backup against the Predators. As fate would have it, Hackett showed up moments before the start of the game so Deutsch was scratched ending his improbable chance of playing in an NHL game. Deutsch, who plays recreational hockey in Minnesota, runs a screen printing and embroidery store outside of St. Paul, and though never an NHL player, he had been used in Wild practices in the past.

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After 30 straight losses over 17 years, American Samoa - ranked 204th in the World - finally won their first soccer match defeated Tonga 2-1 in 2014 World Cup Qualifying. After having been outscored 229-12 since starting international play in 1994 - including a record 31-0 loss to Australia back in 2001 - American Samoa got goals from Ramin Ott and Kaneti Falela and then held on for their first ever win. American Samoa will face the Cook Islands today and Samoa on Saturday to conclude the first round of Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) World Cup Qualifying. The winner of the group will advance to the second round where they'll be in an 8 team group with New Zealand, Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, and Papua New Guinea. American Samoa's squad is coached by former U.S. U-20 and MLS Head Coach Thomas Rongen.

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The Montreal Impact selected Brian Ching with the first overall pick in this year's expansion draft as they get set to join the league in 2012. The Impact also added Chivas USA striker Justin Braun, Philadelphia midfielder Justin Mapp, Colorado midfielder Sanna Nyassi and Chivas USA defender Zarek Valentin. For a complete look at the expansion draft results, click here.

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