The Professor’s Top NFL Games of Thanksgiving Weekend

The Professor's Top NFL Games of Thanksgiving Weekend

Thanksgiving Day features two solid matchups but the best action of the NFL weekend will come on Sunday with a slate that features eight games that merited serious consideration for the top four spots in this column. Matthew Stafford, no longer a Lion, gets Thanksgiving Day off and will travel to the familiar destination of Green Bay with his new Rams teammates, Baker Mayfield has an opportunity to rebound against a Ravens team that should have Lamar Jackson back at quarterback, the Vikings and 49ers will meet in a matchup that features two of the NFL’s hottest receivers, and the Buccaneers travel to play the Colts, pitting one of the league’s most respected run defenses against the NFL’s leading rusher. This article will get you ready for those games; all spreads and totals are provided by DraftKings.

Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay Packers (LAR -1, Total 47)

Green Bay’s offensive line was dealt another blow when Elgton Jenkins, an All-Pro caliber left guard with the versatility to play any line position, tore his ACL on Sunday. Jenkins had filled in at left tackle throughout 2021 while David Bakhtiari worked back from his own ACL injury; now, weeks before Bakhtiari is slated to return, any hope that Green Bay would get the offensive line to full strength for the playoffs is gone.

Between quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ toe injury and the pending matchup with a Rams defense that features Aaron Donald, Leonard Floyd, and Von Miller on the line, the timing of Jenkins’ injury couldn’t be worse. Yosh Nijman, who will replace Jenkins at left tackle, did gain experience against San Francisco’s Nick Bosa earlier this season, which will help smooth the transition, but the Packers need to find ways to negate the Rams’ talent advantage with scheme and tempo. A key factor in this game could be whether Green Bay can block superstar defensive back Jalen Ramsey in the receiver screen game; those quick passes can be an excellent way to disrupt the timing of pass rushers, but Ramsey’s propensity for turning such throws to his side into negative plays could take that tactic out of Green Bay’s repertoire.

It is an important game for Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, who has committed critical turnovers as the Rams dropped their last two games. In a period where the Cardinals didn’t have Kyler Murray, Arizona has managed to increase their NFC West lead over the Rams, a gap that will only grow wider if Stafford can’t lead the Rams to a victory this week. Minnesota receiver Justin Jefferson had a field day against Green Bay last week; look for Rams receiver Cooper Kupp to do the same this Sunday.

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Steven Clinton, better known as "The Professor", is a former D-1 Quality Control Assistant (Northwestern, Toledo) who holds a B.A. in Economics and M.S. in Predictive Analytics from Northwestern University. He maintains an end-to-end NFL game projection model and is a film junkie who breaks down the tape of every NFL game.