NFL Picks: Week 12 - Thanksgiving Edition

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NFL Picks: Week 12 - Thanksgiving Edition

By Rich Levine
CSNNE.com

Happy Turkey Day, all. Your gift from me? An early dose of NFL Picks!

No, really, I'm serious.

Hey, why are you crying?

Anyway, you know who else is crying? My imaginary bookie, who better pay up after last week's stellar 11-4 performance before I break his imaginary thumbs. But in the meantime, here are my three Thanksgiving bets.

Ill be back on Friday with the rest of the games.

The Game: New England (-7) at Detroit

If it weren't for the Cleveland game, this one would raise a flag that's redder than Rudolphs nose. Wait, crap, wrong holiday. What I mean is that I'd probably pick the Pats to lose. First of all, youve got the funky 12:30 kickoff, which might not seem like much, but can mess with the mentality of the non-traditional Thanksgiving team. In Shaun Hill, you've got an average, journeyman quarterback, but one who much like Ryan Fitzpatrick can sling the ball around the field and potentially take advantage of the still-developing Pats secondary. You've also got Calvin Johnson, a superhuman receiver capable of winning a game by himself.

Like I said, without that Cleveland wake-up call, the Pats were primed to drop this one. But they've learned their lesson. That's not to say this game will be easy; in fact I think it will still be close, but New England won't be caught asleep at the wheel when they arrive at Ford Field (pun intended); they'll go home with a win.

The Pick: Lions (7)

The Game: New Orleans (-3.5) at Dallas

Initially, the notion that Jason Garrett was "holding back" the Cowboys offense over the final few games of the Wade Phillips Era sounded preposterous. I mean, do coaches really do that at this level? Is that even possible?

With every passing week, I'm becoming more convinced that it is. It's not that the Cowboys offense has turned into the '07 Pats; after all, Jon Kitna didn't even throw for 150 yards last week. But they're taking more chances and they're far more creative. The Cowboys scored a combined 24 points in Phillips' last two games, and have 68 in the two games since.

Their season is very clearly over, but the post-Phillips momentum and Thanksgiving Day pride will carry them for one more week.

The Pick: Cowboys (3.5)

The Game: Cincinnati at N.Y. Jets (-9)

I've picked both 'dogs in the first two games, and there's no way they're going three-for-three for some reason I'm assuming I'll get the first two right, a page out of the Antoine Walker book of gambling logic.

Anyway, now that Wade Phillips and Brad Childress have finally been taken out behind the barn, we need a third coach to complete the trifecta and there's no one more deserving than Marvin Lewis (apologies to coaches Singletary, Kubiak and Fox).

A national TV blowout should do it.

The Pick: Jets (-9)

The Record

Last Week: 11-4
Season: 82-71-5

Rich Levine's column runs each Monday, Wednesday and Friday (and, occasionally, on football holidays like today) on CSNNE.com. Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrlevine33

Affleck offers passionate Brady defense when asked about Deflategate

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Affleck offers passionate Brady defense when asked about Deflategate

When the topic of Deflategate was broached on HBO's Any Given Wednesday with Bill Simmons, which debuted this week, Ben Affleck became all kinds of fired up.

"What they did was suspend Tom Brady for four days for not giving them his [expletive] cellphone," Affleck said. "I would never give an organization as leak-prone as the NFL my [expletive] cellphone . . . so you can just look through my emails and listen to my voicemails?"

Affleck grew up in Cambridge, Mass. and is a passionate Patriots fan. He made no attempts to hide his fandom, and his appreciation for Brady, as he and Simmons (also a Patriots fan) discussed the football-deflation controversy that has now lasted well over a year. 

Affleck, who said he would want to cast himself as Brady if ever a Deflategate movie was made, harped on the fact that the league wanted Brady to turn over his phone. 

"Maybe Tom Brady is so [expletive] classy and such a [expletive] gentleman," Affleck said, "that he doesn’t want people to know that he may have reflected on his real opinion on some of his co-workers."

Brady is waiting for the Second Circuit to make a decision as to whether or not it will rehear his case against the NFL. Earlier this offseason, the Second Circuit reinstated Brady's four-game suspension issued by the league when a three-judge panel ruled in favor of the NFL, 2-1. 

Pro Football Talk wrote on Thursday that a decision from the Second Circuit could come at any time. If the rehearding request is denied, Brady could then take the case to the Supreme Court. Should the Second Circuit grant Brady a rehearing, his suspension would be delaed until the court reached a decision. In that case, Brady could potentially play the entire 2016 season before a decision came to pass. 

Brady posts high school essay to Facebook on living in his sisters' shadow

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Brady posts high school essay to Facebook on living in his sisters' shadow

Tom Brady wasn't always the most famous person in his family. Growing up, his sisters were the accomplished athletes in the household. 

For his latest Throwback Thursday style Facebook post, Brady published a pair of photos of an old high school essay that he wrote in the fall of his senior year in 1994. It was titled "The way my sisters influenced me."

I found an essay I wrote in 1994... I love my big sisters! #tbt. Thanks for the good grade Mr Stark!

Posted by Tom Brady on Thursday, June 23, 2016

In it, he discusses some of the difficulties of growing up with three older sisters and no brothers. Because Maureen, Julie and Nancy Brady had achieved so much in softball, basketball and soccer, Brady -- or "Tommy," as he signed his paper -- had trouble getting noticed. 

Of course, it wouldn't be long before Brady was headed from San Mateo, California to Ann Arbor, Michigan in order to play football for the Wolverines. He probably had no trouble garnering attention by then. Still, it's funny to read about how he felt overlooked in his youth. 

He closed the essay explaining that he knew his sisters would always provide him support throughout his life, adding, "hopefully, just maybe, one day people will walk up to them and say, 'Aren't you Tommy's sister?' or 'Hey where is your brother?' Maybe . . . "

If the Brady sisters didn't get those kinds of comments by the time the baby of the family was given an 'A' for his English assignment, it probably didn't take long before they did. About seven years later, he took over as the starting quarterback of the Patriots.