Much of the Thanksgiving Thursday football action went according to plan except for the Green Bay Packers visiting the Detroit Lions. Green Bay lost in Week 4, 34-20, to the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field in a game that was a lot uglier than the final score indicated. On Thursday, the Packers entered Ford Field in Detroit against the 8-2 Lions and left with a 29-22 victory in a game where they led 23-6 at halftime.
Green Bay quarterback Jordan Love struggled in Week 4, tossing two interceptions, but he played like a brand new quarterback Thursday, throwing three touchdowns and no interceptions -- two of which came on the Packers' first two drives of the game.
Surprising, but it just goes to show almost anything can turn around in the NFL if given the right resources to develop. With that in mind, what's next you ask? Well, here are five bold predictions to tide you over while you snack on some Thanksgiving leftovers.
Jake Browning becomes first QB to beat Steelers in first career start since Brett Favre in 1992
The Steelers are out for blood after losing 13-10 to a Cleveland Browns team quarterbacked by fifth-round rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Head coach Mike Tomlin fired offensive coordinator Matt Canada on Tuesday, marking the first time the Steelers made an in-season head coach or coordinator change since 1941 when the team's half owner Bert Bell fired himself. World War II was going on at that time.
Pittsburgh is averaging 16.6 points per game this season, ranked 28th out of 32 teams in the NFL. It's also their fewest since 1998 when they went 7-9 and averaged 16.4 a game. Going up against that putrid of an offense whose quarterback Kenny Pickett's 1.9% touchdown rate is the lowest by any QB since the 1970 AFL/NFL merger among those with a minimum of 500 career pass attempts is the recipe required for Bengals fill-in starter Jake Browning to win his first career start.
Him doing so would make him the first quarterback since Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre to do so.
QBs in 1st Career Start vs Steelers
Last 10 Instances
GB Brett Favre
CIN David Klingler
OAK Billy Joe Hobert
The Steelers have been outgained in their first 10 games, making them the first team to accomplish that feat since the 2020 New York Jets, who started 0-10. Bengals running back Joe Mixon has a touchdown in four straight games, and his support -- along with wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase's -- will allow Browning to do just enough to beat out the woeful Steelers attack.
Matthew Stafford snaps five-game streak without 300 passing yards at Cardinals
The good about Matthew Stafford's season is he has eight consecutive games with a passing touchdown, tied for the sixth-longest active streak in the league. The bad is he has thrown for under 200 yards in back-to-back games as part of a stretch of five in a row under 300 yards.
The good news is the Rams are playing at the 2-9 Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, a place where the Rams have won eight in a row. In his five games against the Cardinals as the Rams quarterback, Stafford has averaged 248.8 passing yards. Receivers Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua run wild, and Stafford ends his five-game run of under 300 yards.
Haason Reddick records fourth consecutive game with a sack vs. elusive Josh Allen
Eagles Pro Bowl edge rusher Haason Reddick has a sack in six of the last seven games, including each of the last three. All 8.5 of his sacks have come in the last seven games. However, an unstoppable force meets a moving target in Week 12 in Buffalo Bills dual-threat quarterback Josh Allen. He has only been sacked 14 times this season, the third-fewest amount of times sacked in the NFL.
However, the Eagles will likely turn Allen over and grab an early lead, forcing an already one-dimensional offense to be even more pass-heavy. That plays right into Reddick's hands, and because of this, he will throw Allen down for a sack.
Odell Beckham puts up 100 receiving yards in consecutive games for first time since 2018
Odell Beckham Jr. last totaled 100 or more receiving yards so long ago that he was still on the New York Giants when he did it in Weeks 7-8 of the 2018 NFL season. Since he has suffered not one but two torn ACLs and played for three new teams: the Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Rams and Baltimore Ravens.
At age 30, Beckham Jr. put up 116 yards on four catches in Week 11 against the Bengals on "Thursday Night Football", his first 100-yard receiving game since the 2021 NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers. He is going to do it again in primetime because the Ravens opponent is the Los Angeles Chargers, the owners of the league's worst passing defense (291.6 passing yards allowed per game) and the most plays of 25 or more yards allowed (34) in 2023.
All four of Beckham's catches in Week 11 were at least 15 yards while three of them went at least 20 yards in distance, including 51-yard deep strike. OBJ stays hot against the struggling Chargers defense led by, turning back the clock once again when the lights are brightest.
The Chicago Bears have been a bad football operation for years. How do we know? They have lost 12 consecutive NFC North division games, which is the longest active streak in the NFL, and Chicago's longest since the 1970 AFL/NFL merger. However, that streak ends on Sunday. Why? Because Justin Fields is going to beat Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores' blitz-heavy scheme.
Minnesota blitzes on 47% of their defensive plays in 2023, the highest rate in the NFL. Fields averages 8.3 yards per pass attempt against the blitz this season, the sixth-highest figure in the league. Wideout DJ Moore, who averages 96.7 receiving yards per game and has scored six receiving touchdowns in Fields' seven starts in 2023, will put up that type of production while helping Fields beat the blitz and the Vikings.