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Week 12 NFL Picks And Predictions: The Falcons Give Thanks For No Adrian Peterson On Sunday

The Atlanta Falcons will likely get the opportunity to face the Minnesota Vikings without Adrian Peterson this weekend, and that's a situation worth giving thanks to.

While families come together from near and far to break bread, engage in libation and sit around the 50-inch Hoshitoshi to watch football, we should all be mindful for what we're thankful for. The Falcons should be thankful to still be in the running for a divisional crown and a date with the Vikings this Sunday without Adrian Peterson.

Very thankful indeed.

The winners here are picked straight up, but for all the odds on each game be sure to visit the SB Nation NFL Odds page, presented by

Thursday Games

Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions - This will be the first game we get to see the upstart Lions face off versus an elite opponent all season, and this seems to be the marquee game of Thanksgiving Thursday. While the Lions are thankful for having the best defensive line in the league, unfortunately they're facing a quarterback who's quick release might be faster than Dan Marino's. Packers will score and score some more, but the Lions will keep it close. Pick: Packers

Miami Dolphins @ Dallas Cowboys - The Miami Dolphins are now on a three-game winning streak, beating the Chiefs, Redskins and Bills in the process. Not exactly the league's elite, but three wins is better than none. Dallas probably looked at this game on the calendar a few weeks ago and thought they had an easy one, now they've got a dogfight on their hands. Romo will lead them, barely in Jerry's World. Pick: Cowboys

San Francisco 49ers @ Baltimore Ravens - You've heard everything under the sun to ad-nauseum about the Harbaugh brothers, so lets shift the focus slightly. Alex Smith and Joe Flacco will get their chance against two of the best defenses in the league. Better quarterback wins, right? Pick: 49ers

Sunday Games

Minnesota Vikings @ Atlanta Falcons - No Adrian Peterson and a rookie quarterback on the road during Thanksgiving weekend? The Falcons will mess up and find a way to keep this close unfortunately. Pick: Falcons

Cleveland Browns @ Cincinnati Bengals - The Bengals have now faced two of the AFC's best and stood toe-to-toe with them. In defeat, they now know what the best looks they get to see one of the worst in the Browns. Let Andy cook. Pick: Bengals

Carolina Panthers @ Indianapolis Colts - A winless team who has had two weeks on bye to prepare for a rookie quarterback who has cooled in recent week. My upset special of the week as Cam Newton gets introduced to Dwight Freeney.. Pick: Colts

Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars - Its crazy to think that the Texans will now be without the services of Andre Johnson, Mario Williams and now Matt Schaub for their 2011 campaign. Two weeks off to rest and recuperate seems like the perfect remedy, but are we really ready to usher in the Matt Leinart era? Not ready to believe quite yet, as Sunshine Gabbert gets a big win at home. Pick: Jaguars

Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets - Both teams come into this game with a lot on the line, and now more than ever its put up or shut up time for these two QB's. Fitzpatrick's paid, but hasn't produced since his big-money contract. Sanchez continues to put up dreadful opponents, and Rex Ryan has been unafraid to shake things up. The Bills didn't expect to be here, the Jets did. Overtime win for Gang Green. Pick: Jets

Arizona Cardinals @ St. Louis Rams - This game might get blacked out on the NFL Sunday Ticket (jokes) but I want to see Sam Bradford look like the poised rookie QB he was last year, instead of being a deer in headlights. Plus, I couldn't name Arizona's QB right now if you asked me to. Pick: Rams

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Tennessee Titans - There's uncertainty on who will start for the Titans between Matt Hasselbeck and Jake Locker, and if Tennessee leans on Locker...they'll lose. Hasselbeck regains the reigns for one last time and out-manages Josh Freeman. Pick: Titans

Chicago Bears @ Oakland Raiders - Watching Jay Cutler sit back there in the pocket behind that offensive line is awe-inspiring. It takes a learned skill to continually take hits the way No. 6 did, and I'm not sure Caleb's up for that challenge just yet. The Raiders have a nasty defensive line and their running game has been top notch. Raiders by a touchdown. Pick: Raiders

Washington Redskins @ Seattle Seahawks - Quietly, the Seahawks offense has seen a spark behind Marshawn Lynch. Six consecutive games with rushing touchdowns will do that for you. However, both of these quarterbacks are lousy and whoever's defense plays better will win. Pick: Redskins

New England Patriots @ Philadelphia Eagles - Regardless on if Michael Vick or Vince Young starts for the Eagles, the key to the Eagles success will be to run the ball. The Patriots defense has been dreadful all year, and Philly actually is the one team who matches up well with New England's offense. Make it two in a row for Vince Young. Pick: Eagles

Denver Broncos @ San Diego Chargers - Its clear that Tim Tebow is good enough to win ugly games for you, and if the Chargers don't play football like Marty Schottenheimer taught Norv Turner needs them to they'll get embarrassed once again. Better quarterback wins, right? Isn't Philip Rivers better than Tim Tebow...isn't he? Pick: Chargers

Sunday Night Game

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Kansas City Chiefs - The Steelers will eat Palko for dinner, this will get ugly real quick. Pick: Steelers

Monday Night Game

New York Giants @ New Orleans Saints - The Saints and the Giants will be an interesting clash of Drew Brees trying to spread the ball around the field versus the Giants trying to rush the passer. Defense wins championships and I think New York's is better. Pick: Giants

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.