Cracking the Coad

STEVE COAD -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 7:23 AM ET

Atlanta (6-4) at Detroit (4-6)

The line: Falcons by 3

The skinny: Today, 12:30 p.m. (Fox, TSN). The Falcons ought to be in a downright ugly frame of mind, having lost back-to-back home games -- 33-25 to the Packers and 30-27 to the Bucs. Falcons QB Mike Vick passed for 306 yards against Tampa Bay, just the second time in his career he's surpassed 300 yards. Atlanta's defence is struggling to stop opponents from running wild, allowing five 100-yard rushing games in their last six. Detroit, 30-22-2 on Thanksgiving dating back to 1934, isn't saying whether Joey Harrington or Jeff Garcia will start at quarterback, which puts a little extra pressure on Atlanta's preparations. The Lions have to cut back on penalties, which hurt them in Sunday's 20-7 loss to the Cowboys. Detroit was flagged 17 times for 129 yards and each of Dallas's four scoring drives included a failed third down that became a first down after the Lions were flagged. Detroit is likely to have corner Dre' Bly back after he missed four weeks due to wrist surgery. This, plus the possible return of linebacker Boss Bailey (ankle) and safety Terrence Holt (back), may help Detroit contend with the multifaceted Vick.

Cody's call: Falcons 27-17

Denver (8-2) at Dallas (7-3)

The line: Broncos by 1 1/2

The skinny: Today, 4 p.m. (CBS, TSN). Excuse me for feeling like the Sports Illustrated cover curse. Just after I wished Wallaceburg's Shaun Suisham a long and happy career as Dallas's kicker, the Cowboys gave him the boot last Saturday and brought back Billy Cundiff. Oh, well. Denver-Dallas is fabulous Thanksgiving Day fare. In fact, it's one of the marquee matchups of Week 12. "It doesn't get much better than this right now," Cowboys defensive tackle La'Roi Glover told Associated Press sports reporter Jaime Aron this week. "Both teams have a short week, both are playing pretty solid football -- what more can you ask for?" Indeed. The Broncos have won three straight, and must stay on a roll if they're to have any chance of overhauling Indianapolis for home-field advantage through the playoffs. The Cowboys, who are heading into a tough December, have also won three in a row. Both teams are great at playing keep-away. Dallas leads the league in possession time -- averaging 33 minutes, 16 seconds. The Broncos are just six seconds behind. Denver's offence is No. 4 overall (second on the run, 20th in passing); Dallas's revamped D is ranked fifth overall (ninth against the run, 10th vs. the pass).

Cody's call: Broncos 24-20

Season record Straight up Last week: 10-6; overall: 104-56

Spread Last week: 7-7; overall: 74-66


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