WFT, Baltimore Ravens Enter Thanksgiving Games As Underdogs

Written By Dann Stupp on November 23, 2020
The WFT and the Baltimore Ravens are both underdogs heading into their Thanksgiving Day matchups as part of NFL Week 12 this week.

11/23/2020 Update: The Baltimore Ravens have reported positive COVID-19 tests within the organization, which may impact the team’s scheduled game on Thanksgiving. 

The WFT and the Baltimore Ravens are both underdogs heading into their Thanksgiving Day matchups as part of NFL Week 12.

The Washington Football Team (3-7) looks to build off an encouraging win as it hits the road to take on its rivals, the Dallas Cowboys (3-6).

Baltimore (6-4), meanwhile, looks to keep its playoff hopes alive when it meets the AFC North leaders and the NFL’s lone undefeated team, the Pittsburgh Steelers (10-0).

The Washington vs. Dallas game kicks off at 4:30 p.m. on Fox on Thanksgiving Day. The Ravens, meanwhile, clash with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 8:20 p.m. nightcap on NBC. (Houston and Detroit kick off the NFL Turkey Day triple-header with a 12:30 p.m. start on CBS.)

Here’s what to expect while you’re feasting during the main attractions and slicing up some pie for the NFL Week 12 Thanksgiving finale.

Washington Football Team (+2.5) at Dallas Cowboys

In a largely forgettable 2020 campaign, Washington showed some signs of life in Sunday’s 20-9 victory over Cincinnati.

To claim its first back-to-back wins of the year, the WFT will need another sharp performance from quarterback Alex Smith. As he and the other WFTers know, first place is still very much within reach. After all, Philadelphia currently leads the NFC East with a meager 3-6-1 record.

Dallas, meanwhile, halted a four-game skid on Sunday with a spirited 31-28 come-from-behind win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Veteran quarterback Andy Dalton had his best game of the season, and running back Ezekiel Elliott posted his first 100-yard effort of 2020.

Washington won its Week 7 meeting with Dallas in a 25-3 cruise. However, despite the Cowboys being an NFL-worst 2-8 against the spread (ATS) this season, Washington is a small underdog in the rematch. The Cowboys are also 1-8 ATS on Thanksgiving Day over its past nine games.

Baltimore Ravens (+3) at Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh cruised to a 27-3 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. Baltimore, on the other hand, squandered a 24-21 lead late in a heated game against the Tennessee Titans.

It was a real crusher.

There’s clearly plenty of rationale for favoring the Steelers over the Ravens in this Week 12 spot. After all, the Ravens are coming off an emotional loss, they’re on the road, and they’re playing an unbeaten Steelers team that manhandled the Bengals and Jaguars in the past two weeks.

However, savvier bettors are likely to overlook recent results and remember these two teams’ fierce rivalry. Especially if casual bettors push the line any higher than a field goal as we approach Thursday.

After all, 15 of the Ravens and Steelers’ past 26 meetings have been decided by four points or fewer. That includes the Steelers’ 28-24 win over the Ravens in Week 8, when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger led an efficient second-half comeback.

Sharp bettors also know the Ravens are especially tough as a visiting team. For example, they’re 4-1 on the road in 2020 and went 9-1 in 2019. Throw in one of the NFL’s fiercest rivalries, and there’s reason to believe the Ravens could be the first team to hang a loss on the Steelers in 2020.

Other Week 12 Games of Note to Virginia

Here’s what NFL Week 12 offers for Virginia football fans’ other favorite teams, who are also ‘dogs this week:

Tennessee Titans (+3.5) at Indianapolis Colts

Fresh off the thrilling 30-24 win over the Ravens in overtime, the Tennessee Titans (7-3) head north for a clash with fellow AFC South leaders, the Indianapolis Colts (7-3).

Sunday’s game (1 p.m., CBS) features two teams seemingly headed in opposite directions. The Titans avoided a fourth loss in five games with Derrick Henry‘s 29-yard touchdown in OT on Sunday. The Colts, meanwhile, are on a 4-1 run that included a 34-31 upset of the Green Bray Packers in OT on Sunday.

The Titans’ recent defensive struggles likely played a part in Indy opening as 3.5-point to 4-point favorites in this game.

Carolina Panthers (+4) at Minnesota Vikings

The Carolina Panthers (4-7) halted a five-game skid with a 20-0 shutout of the Detroit Lions on Sunday. Former XFL quarterback P.J. Walker got his first NFL start and did a commendable job (24-for-34, 258 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs). However, injured Teddy Bridgewater will be back under center this week against the Minnesota Vikings (4-6).

Sunday’s game (1 p.m., Fox) should see some motivated Vikings. The team was riding a three-game winning streak and clawing up the NFC North standings before a 31-28 heartbreaking loss to the Cowboys on Sunday.

Minnesota opened as 3.5-point favorites against the Panthers this weekend. However, the line had already shifted to mostly 4 and 4.5 at sportsbooks by Monday afternoon.

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Dann Stupp

Dann Stupp is a longtime sports journalist who’s written and edited for The Athletic, USA Today, ESPN, and other outlets. He lives in Lexington, Virginia.

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