The Minnesota Vikings have won six games in a row and taken charge in the NFC North with an 8-2 record. While they have a two-game lead on the Detroit Lions, don't expect any letdown when the two teams meet in the early NFL game on Thanksgiving Day.
This is the Lions' traditional home game, and after losing three consecutive games to close October, Detroit has won its last three games to get back into postseason contention.
The Atlanta Falcons and the Lions are both 6-4, but Atlanta won the head-to-head confrontation between the two teams in Week 3, and that's why the Lions are on the outside of the playoff structure looking in.
The Vikings can come close to putting a stranglehold on the division crown if they can win this game at Ford Field. It may not be easy, since Minnesota's last loss was a 14-7 defeat at the hands of the Lions in Week 4.
Since then, the Vikings have developed a cohesive offense to go along with the powerful defense that head coach Mike Zimmer has built.
Case Keenum has done a remarkable job since taking over for Sam Bradford. Keenum has completed 65.7 percent of his passes for 243.8 yards per game with 12 touchdowns and five interceptions.
He has been throwing the ball to wideouts Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. Thielen has caught 62 passes for 916 yards with three TDs, while Diggs has caught 35 passes for 532 yards and five touchdowns.
In addition to having the fifth-ranked offense in the league, the Vikings also have the fifth-ranked defense. One of the keys to their defensive proficiency is defensive end Everson Griffen, who leads the team with 10.0 sacks.
The Lions are dependent on the strong right arm of quarterback Matthew Stafford, who led the Lions to a comeback 27-24 victory over the Chicago Bears in Week 11.
Stafford has completed 227 of 360 passes for 2,760 yards with 19 touchdowns and five interceptions. The 29-year-old has learned how to avoid the major mistakes that used to plague him, and that has helped the Lions overcome their 3-4 start.
Stafford has a pair of game-changing receivers in Golden Tate and Marvin Jones, who have combined for 97 receptions, nine touchdowns and 19 plays of 20 yards or more.
The Vikings are three-point favorites on the road, according to OddsShark. Look for the home team to end Minnesota's winning streak with some late heroics from Stafford and PK Matt Prater. The Vikings are hot, but the Lions will be the more desperate team and are at home.
NFL Week 12 Schedule, Odds (courtesy of OddsShark)
Minnesota (-3) at Detroit | O/U 44.5
L.A. Chargers (-1.5) at Dallas | O/U 47.5
N.Y. Giants at Washington (-7.5) | O/U 44.5
Buffalo at Kansas City (-10) | O/U 46
Carolina (-5) at N.Y. Jets | O/U 39.5
Chicago at Philadelphia (-13.5) | O/U 44
Cleveland at Cincinnati (-8) | O/U 38
Miami at New England (-16.5) | O/U 47.5
Tampa Bay at Atlanta (-10) | O/U 48.5
Tennessee (-3) at Indianapolis | O/U 45.5
Seattle (-6.5) at San Francisco | O/U 45
Denver at Oakland (-5) | O/U 43.5
Jacksonville (-5) at Arizona | O/U 38
New Orleans at L.A. Rams (-2.5) | O/U 53.5
Green Bay at Pittsburgh (-14) | O/U 43
Houston at Baltimore (-7) | O/U 38
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots
The Dolphins are a mess right now with four consecutive losses and a muddled quarterback situation. That kind of tumult is not going to lead to any sympathy from the New England Patriots.
The Pats return home after consecutive one-sided road victories over the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders (in Mexico City). New England started the season slowly with a 2-2 start, but the Pats have found their stride with six consecutive victories.
The Patriots have the second-ranked offense in the league along with the No. 1 passing attack. While much of the credit belongs to Tom Brady once again, the key to New England's offensive success this season is offensive versatility.
Dion Lewis, Rex Burkhead, Mike Gillislee and James White are doing a solid job out of the backfield, and Brady also has a slew of receivers at his disposal.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski has long been Brady's most dangerous threat, and while he still has a size, strength, speed and skill advantage over most opponents, he is sharing the receiving load with Brandin Cooks, Danny Amendola and Chris Hogan.
The defense simply has no clue who to key on, and the Dolphins don't have the firepower to keep up.
Miami quarterback Jay Cutler suffered a concussion in Miami's Week 11 loss to Tampa Bay. He threw three interceptions before the injury, and Adam Gase is likely to start him if he is healthy enough to return to the lineup. If Cutler is not able to go, backup Matt Moore will get the call.
The Patriots are 16.5-point favorites, and many handicappers would not touch a line of that size. However, the Pats are getting better on both sides of the ball each week, while the Dolphins are in the land of the lost.
Look for the Pats to get the win and the cover at Gillette Stadium.
While we are getting close to the season where prop bets start to become more prevalent, we are not there yet.
As a result, we will look at the prop bet concerning the first touchdown scorer in the Los Angeles Chargers-Dallas Cowboys game on Thanksgiving Day.
The Cowboys have been struggling the last two weeks without Ezekiel Elliott, so it's not a surprise to see Chargers running back Melvin Gordon as the 13-2 favorite to score the first touchdown. Keenan Allen is the second choice at 8-1.
The Cowboys want to put on a big show for their home fans, and nobody wants it more than Prescott, who has struggled the past two weeks.
If the Cowboys can get close to the goal line on their opening possession, look for Prescott to put the ball in the end zone with his quick feet.
Go with Prescott at the 12-1 odds for this prop.