US tennis star Jack Sock is Sky Sports News’ Richard Graves’ opponent in a Thanksgiving NFL predictions special.
Graves moved two games clear of .500 for the first time this season, sitting at 6-4-1, after edging out England Netball’s Jade Clarke in Week 11, whose loyalty to her beloved Oakland Raiders proved to be her downfall.
Graves now faces Jack Sock, fresh from a superb week at the ATP Finals at The O2, where he streaked through to the semi-final stage, ultimately falling to eventual winner Grigor Dimitrov.
Roger Federer gets videobombed by Jack Sock at the Sky Pad during the ATP Finals
Now back home in Kansas City, Chiefs fan Sock has given us his predictions as he gets excited for Thanksgiving Day on Thursday.
“I’ll be spending Thanksgiving with family and friends back in Kansas City, as well as watching the NFL,” says Sock. I might even go to the Chiefs game this Sunday.
“I’ve been a fan since I was 10 years old and, though we’ve been on a bad recent run, I’m backing them to get back on track with a win this weekend against the Buffalo Bills.
“I’m still backing my boys to go all the way to the Super Bowl this year.”
Can Sock get the better of Graves though? Here are the pair’s Week 12 predictions…
Minnesota Vikings @ Detroit Lions, Thanksgiving Day NFL
Sky Sports Action (407), 5pm, Thursday
Graves: A huge NFC North clash to kick off Thanksgiving! The Lions have won three straight, to improve to 6-4, while the Vikings are leaders in the division with an 8-2 record.
Detroit Lions v Minnesota Vikings
November 23, 2017, 5:00pm
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I’m a paid-up member of the group which believes defense wins championships. and this Vikings unit is ranked fifth overall, giving up just 17.2 points per game – despite allowing an opening TD drive against the Rams and their top-scoring offense last week, they then shut them down for the rest of the game.
Sock: I’ll take Detroit in this one, ending Minnesota’s win streak and throwing open the NFC North. The Lions are really good at home, and have a good recent record on Thanksgiving – they’ve won their last four, including beating the Vikings last year. Matthew Stafford to lead them to the W.
Los Angeles Chargers @ Dallas Cowboys, Thanksgiving Day NFL
Sky Sports Action (407), 9.30pm, Thursday
Get set for a Thanksgiving Day football triple-header, live on Sky Sports
Graves: The Cowboys are hopeful left tackle Tyron Smith will return to solidify their line, and they’re going to need him against the Joey Bosa led Chargers defense. Bosa claimed another sack, taking his total to 10.5 for the season, and the Chargers forced six turnovers in a 54-24 rout of the Bills last week!
Dallas Cowboys v Los Angeles Chargers
November 23, 2017, 9:00pm
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All the chatter around Dallas since Sunday’s humbling divisional defeat to Philadelphia is that this is a “must win” game for the Cowboys. The Eagles have effectively wrapped up the NFC East and so a wild card spot is now the target.
Sock: I’m not a huge fan of Dallas, so it pains me to say this, but I’m going to take the Cowboys. I’ve gone for the home team again – I think that is an even bigger advantage than usual on Thanksgiving.
New York Giants @ Washington Redskins, Thanksgiving Day NFL
Sky Sports Action (407), 1.30am, Friday
Graves: At the start of the year this looked like being the pick of the Thanksgiving Day games, but it has been a horrible season for the Giants and a plague of injuries appear to have finally caught up with the Redskins.
Yet, if proof were needed that anything can happen in the NFL, the Giants pulled off the shock of Week 11 in securing an overtime win over Kansas City. Washington, meanwhile, saw a 15-point lead evaporate on the road as they slipped to an OT defeat in New Orleans.
Washington Redskins v New York Giants
November 24, 2017, 1:00am
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The Redskins continue to put up points though. They’ve scored at least 26 points in five of their last six games. New York have yet to score 25 points in any outing this season!
Paul Pogba is the latest footballer to take on an NFL star in Game Recognise Game and this time it's Washington's Josh Norman.
Sock: I’ve got to go with the Redskins in this one. The Giants beat my Chiefs on Sunday – I still can’t quite believe that! – but they’ve been struggling generally this year. I’m actually good buddies with Odell Beckham Jr, so to see him injured this year is a real shame and a tough break for them.
Chicago Bears @ Philadelphia Eagles, NFL Sunday LIVE
Sky Sports Action (407), 5.30pm, Sunday
Graves: Philadelphia are now at 9-1; life for the Eagles is pretty good right now. Their opponents in this one, meanwhile, are still in a transition period. Rookie QB Mitch Trubisky can expect a tough day against an Eagles defense which is now ranked seventh overall, number one against the run and giving up fewer than 19 points per game. Compare that to a Bears offense which is only averaging 17.4 points per game…
Sock: There’s only one winner in this one, the Eagles. They’re playing sick this year and will keep the NFL-best record for another week at least.
New Orleans Saints @ Los Angeles Rams, NFL Sunday LIVE
Sky Sports Action (407), 9.25pm, Sunday
Graves: This may well be the most entertaining match-up in Week 12. All indications are that this will be a high-scoring affair and it may well be decided by which team holds the ball last.
The Rams are the second-highest scoring offense in the league, averaging 30.3 per game, while the Saints are setting records and looking as good as at any time since winning the Super Bowl in 2010. After starting out the season 0-2, they’ve now won eight games in a row! They’re doing it on the back of a much improved defense and a strong running game – rookie Alvin Kamara has rushed for 216 yards in the last three games, while teammate Mark Ingram has 342 in the same period.
Sock: Ooooooh. Ooooooh. Ooooooh. What a game! I really like what the Saints are doing, but I think they’re a little stronger at home. Los Angeles are surprising everyone this year and, though they lost last week, I’m going to go with the sleeper pick of the Rams.
Green Bay Packers @ Pittsburgh Steelers, NFL Sunday LIVE
Sky Sports Action (407), 1.20am, Monday
Graves: The Packers are simply a pale imitation of the team we know when Aaron Rodgers isn’t in the game. With Brett Hundley instead at QB, they were shut out for the first time in 11 years at home when losing to the Ravens on Sunday. Hardly ideal preparation for a trip to the AFC’s top placed Steelers.
Pittsburgh have had three more days to prepare for this match-up after a blowout win over Tennessee on Thursday night, and it was a performance which suggests their offense is finally firing on all cylinders – Antonio Brown finished with 144 receiving yards and three TDs. If Green Bay can stop him, they’ll have Le’Veon Bell to deal with.
Can Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco lead his team to victory on Monday night?
Sock: Without Aaron Rodgers at QB, it’s tough to see Green Bay going into Pittsburgh and getting a result. Their defense is really good. Again, I don’t like routing for the Steelers, especially as they always seem to get the better of the Chiefs, but I’m going to have to go with them in this one.
Houston Texans @ Baltimore Ravens, Monday Night Football
Sky Sports Action (407), 1.15am, Tuesday
Graves: Houston also had a morale-boosting win, outlasting the Cardinals, to improve to 4-6 but that still leaves them three games behind the division-leading Jaguars.
Baltimore’s 23-0 success in Green Bay masks another disappointing offensive display – they were only able to score two touchdowns against a weakened Packers outfit – but their defense is playing well, and that may just be enough to give them the edge in what will likely be a scrappy, untidy affair.
Sock: This is a tough one to call. Again, I’m tempted to go for the home team. Minus Deshaun Watson, who was carrying the Texans, it’s going to be tough Houston. But I don’t really know too much about the Ravens this year, and as my girlfriend is from Houston, I’m going to go with them. #HoustonStrong.
Week 12 Predictions Richard Graves Jack Sock Vikings @ Lions Vikings Lions Chargers @ Cowboys Cowboys Cowboys Giants @ Redskins Redskins Redskins Bears @ Eagles Eagles Eagles Bills @ Chiefs Chiefs Chiefs Titans @ Colts Titans Titans Browns @ Bengals Bengals Browns Buccaneers @ Falcons Falcons Falcons Dolphins @ Patriots Patriots Patriots Panthers @ Jets Panthers Panthers Saints @ Rams Saints Rams Seahawks @ 49ers Seahawks Seahawks Jaguars @ Cardinals Jaguars Cardinals Broncos @ Raiders Raiders Raiders Packers @ Steelers Steelers Steelers Texans @ Ravens Ravens Texans
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