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Long story short, let’s give thanks for these Week 12 NFL picks:

49ers 30, Saints 14: A post-Mexico, post-Thanksgiving letdown is avoided for the postseason-bound 49ers. Speaking of, remember that 49ers’ playoff win over the Saints a decade ago, at Candlestick? Yeah, Niners fans are still giving thanks for that.

Bills 34, Lions 23: Josh Allen improves to 3-0 on Thanksgiving. The Lions fall to 37-44-2 on Thanksgiving, a record slightly better than The Turkeys. Line: Bills -9 1/2

Cowboys 21, Giants 10: It’s The O’Dell Beckham Jr. Sweepstakes will be a major storyline as the game opens, and one look at the Giants’ weakened offensive line will have OBJ going OMG and flying to DFW. Line: Cowboys -10

Patriots 20, Vikings 17: This is the first of four straight prime-time games on the Patriots’ schedule. Kirk Cousins, not made for prime-time. Line: Patriots +2 1/2

Broncos 26, Panthers 20: Sam Darnold makes his first start this season as the Panthers’ quarterback. Where will he make his first next season? Line: Broncos -2 1/2

Buccaneers 23, Browns 21: A post-Munich, post-bye letdown is avoided for the postseason-bound Bucs. Line: Browns +3 1/2

Ravens 24, Jaguars 23: After beating the Panthers last week, the Ravens take out the NFL’s other 1995 expansion franchise. Line: Jaguars +4

Dolphins 37, Texans 13: Mike McDaniel did work in the bye-week lab to lock up this win and get set for a Levi’s Stadium return next Sunday. Line: Dolphins -13 1/2

Jets 21, Bears 16: The Jets’ starting quarterback Sunday: Mike White, not Zach Wilson. The Jets’ starting quarterback next season: a heavily compensated Jimmy Garoppolo? Line: Bears +6

Titans 21, Bengals 17: Tennessee beats its puny scoring average (19.3 points per game) and keeps the Bengals from threatening their average (26.5 ppg.). Line: Titans +2 1/2

Commanders 19, Falcons 17: From 1-4 to 7-5, Washington is the comeback-team-of-the-year. Line: Falcons +4

Chargers 28, Cardinals 27: These teams both beat the Raiders, both lost to the 49ers, so, the 49ers will beat the Raiders on New Year’s Day. Line: Cardinals +3 1/2

Raiders 26, Seahawks 24: A post-Munich, post-bye letdown sinks the Seahawks as the Raiders win back-to-back for the first time this season. Line: Raiders +3 1/2

Chiefs 33, Rams 19: Don’t feel bad for Aaron Donald about his dwindling support staff as the Rams’ championship reign nears an end. Line: Rams +15 1/2

Eagles 24, Packers 23: Philadelphia improves to 4-1 with this final prime-time appearance – unless their Christmas Eve date in Dallas gets immaculately flexed to replace the Raiders at the Steelers. Line: Packers +6 1/2

Last week: 9-4 straight up, 5-7-1 against the spread

Season: 95-67-1 straight up, 84-76-1 against the spread

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News Source: mercurynews.com

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Key Buccaneers Starter Returns to Practice Amid Injury

Getty Todd Bowles has Akiem Hicks back but will need to adjust things with a banged up secondary before a key game with New Orleans.

Injuries hit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hard this week, but the team received some good news on Saturday, December 3.

Defensive end Akiem Hicks returned to practice on Saturday, according to Greg Auman of FOX Sports, after the former Pro Bowler missed practice on Friday due to a foot injury. Hicks previously missed almost two months of action because of a foot injury in Week 2.

#Bucs DT Akiem Hicks (96) back at practice on this Saturday morning (with a Sunday morning soundtrack) pic.twitter.com/1QztuG3FUx

— Joey Knight (@TBTimes_Bulls) December 3, 2022

The Bucs have a 4-1 record with Hicks on the field, and he has 12 tackles this season. Tampa Bay’s defense already had a slew of key injuries for the Week 13 game against the New Orleans Saints. That includes nose tackle Vita Vea (foot) who is expected to play after limited participation in practice all week.

Bucs Waiting on Banged up Secondary

Six Buccaneers defensive players appeared on the injury report and another six offensive players made the list due to injuries. Head coach Todd Bowles didn’t offer an overly promising outlook on those injuries.

“Everybody’s in play,” Bowles told reporters on Saturday. “Other than [Tristan] Wirfs, everybody else is in play.”

Wirfs sustained an ankle injury in Week 12 against the Cleveland Browns. Safeties Mike Edwards (hamstring) and Antoine Winfield Jr. (ankle), who didn’t practice for a third consecutive day, remain questionable for the Saints game, which Bowles clarified.

“Well, they’re not ruled out. We’re going to wait until [Monday], see if they can do something before the game, and we’ll make that decision at that time,” Bowles said.

Winfield Jr. back in the game and makes an immediate impact pic.twitter.com/ojXBqeCWFx

— Sports by Tampa Bay Times (@TBTimes_Sports) November 27, 2022

Both Edwards and Winfield have produced two of the better seasons for the Bucs defense thus far. Edwards has 64 tackles, a sack, three pass deflections, and two interceptions — including a pick six against the Saints in Week 2. Winfield has 51 tackles, an interception, three sacks, two pass deflections, and a forced fumble.

Cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting (quad) was limited at practice for a third consecutive day. Bowles said Murphy-Bunting will be a game-time decision.

With potentially three defensive backs out who have played major snaps, the Bucs could get some help with safety Logan Ryan coming back from injured reserve this week. Ryan, who sustained a foot fracture in Week 4, practiced this week, but Bowles couldn’t confirm the plan for Ryan against the Saints.

“He had no setbacks, hopefully,” Bowles said. “He’s been working hard, doing a little more each day. We’ve just got to see how much he can do.”

“We’ll see how the week[end] progresses, if he were to go out there at all,” Bowles added. “If he goes out there, we’ll see how he feels at the time. I can’t make that decision right now.”

Ryan has 10 tackles, an interception, and two pass deflections this season.

Bucs Could Get Boost on Offense

Tampa Bay could get a little help on offense with players returning from injury or illness.

Tight end Cameron Brate practiced on Saturday after missing two practices due to illness. Brate has 16 catches for 137 yards in seven games played.

“He looked a little better. He was sick, so he looked a little better today,” Bowles said. “[We’ve] got to get some more fluids in him, see how he feels on [Monday].”

The Bucs could also have wide receiver Russell Gage (hamstring) back on the field against the Saints. Gage has 29 receptions for 231 yards and a touchdown this season.

Guards Luke Goedeke (foot) and Nick Leverett (shoulder) both practiced on Saturday. Leverett filled in for Goedeke during his injury.

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