Crystal Ball


My friends, THE GURU returns from Thanksgiving and thanks you, the reader.

I thank you for faithfully following this column for the past 24 years and never being afraid to share your opinions. Besides my love of the sport and of writing, you’re the why I write The Ball every week (You’re in the top three!) and I can’t thank you enough. You’re every bit as wonderful as MRS BRAVE’S sausage stuffing I annihilated earlier this week, with none of the aftertaste. Thank you.

The Thanksgiving record was 3-0 and the season mark is now 83-55 (.601). On to today’s games…



Tampa Bay (4-6) at Atlanta (6-4). Matt Ryan and the Falcons are still thinking about that Super Bowl collapse. Every. Single. Day. FALCONS, 23-20

…Take Tennessee (6-4) at Indianapolis (3-7). But I do like Jacoby as a QB. Kid can sling the long ball…

Carolina (7-3) is upset by the homestanding New York Jets (4-6). Todd Bowles’ ability to coax four wins out of the Jets is every bit as impressive as THE FAIR CLAUDINE convincing THE TRE MAN to brush his teeth…

Chicago (3-7) puts up a fight but loses at Philadelphia (9-1). Beware, TOMMY BIRD, two of the Bears’ three wins are against the Steelers and Panthers so they can beat good teams. Also, buddy, watch out for that second plate of nachos today. Your insides ain’t prepared for it.


Cleveland (0-10) at Cincinnati (4-6).
The Browns are in that part of the season where they always seem to struggle. It’s called the regular season. But this could be the week. BROWNS, 3-2

Buffalo (5-5) at Kansas City (6-4). A fascinating ballgame in KC with Bills coach McDermott facing off against his longtime boss, Andy Reid. The Chiefs are struggling but that home-cooked BBQ is always a magical elixir that lasts all night long. KC, 16-13

…Miami (4-6) at New England (8-2). At some point the Pats are due for a letdown but it probably won’t be against an unsightly pug like Miami, as much as I do like Matt Moore. PATS, 24-23.

4:05 PM, FOX

Seattle (6-4) at San Fran (1-9). The Seahawks are badly battered right now, like the overcooked three-piece meal at Bojangles. The 2017 Niners motto: “Playing for Pride!” NINERS, 16-14.

4:25 PM, CBS

New Orleans (8-2) at Los Angeles Rams (7-3). Who would’ve thought this would be the marquee matchup of Week Twelve? I LOVE the hosts in this team because a) Drew Brees is the worst QB in the league, statistically, when confronted with heavy pressure and b) the Rams focus on pressuring opposing signalcallers. Case in point: The Skins relentlessly went after Brees last week for the first 3 ½ quarters as he completed just 62% of his passes (vs his 71% average) and looked extremely ordinary. And I don’t think the Rams will make the Skins’ mistake of calling off the dogs in the last seven minutes of the game. RAMS, 33-30

…Jacksonville (7-3) at Arizona (4-6). Calais Campbell returns to Arizona and sees a far different team from the one-time contender he left last offseason. I still adore Arians, but the team’s quarterbacking woes are too big of a hurdle to overcome. JAGUARS, 24-20

…Denver (3-7) at Oakland (4-6). This is a proud rivalry but, then again, so is the battle between the two jomokes on your block, constantly trying to outdo one another with better cars or upgraded cable TV packages (I have DirecTV, FYI, and it is the best!!!). RAIDERS, 30-20.

8:30 PM, NBC

Green Bay (5-5) at Pittsburgh (8-2).Hundley is a gladiator in the lion’s den, an unprepared entrepreneur on “Shark Tank,” a chicken wing in the way of FATBACK as he takes down an entire buffet. STEELERS, 37-16.


8:30 PM, ESPN

Houston (4-6) at Baltimore (5-5).The big question: which Harbaugh kid has had the worst year? I vote for Jedediah, the little-known third son of Jack Harbaugh. The poor guy gets 10 lashes of a wet licorice rope from pops every time John or Jim lose a game. RAVENS, 17-15.


That’s it for today, folks. Enjoy the games, your family and God bless!

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