2017 Thanksgiving NFL Schedule

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Well, maybe it is a little early but it is never too early to look ahead at one of the best things about the Thanksgiving holiday…FOOTBALL! The 2017 Thanksgiving NFL schedule features three match-ups that are sure to be explosive. All three featured games have either a major rivalry or pit two storied franchises against each other. Here is a preview of each match up and the history of the two teams involved.

RIVALRY ALERT- Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions
Nov. 23rd at 12:30 pm EST on FOX
Ford Field- Detroit, Michigan

Fresh off of a Week 4 loss to the Lions, the Vikings have now moved to 71-39-2 all-time against the Detroit. At first glance, this doesn’t sound like a recipe for a inter-conference rivalry but the numbers can be deceiving! In fact, of the total number of points scored (MN- 2402, DET- 2076) comes out to an average loss margin of just 9.5 points. Hardly blow out by any measure.

The Lions/Vikings rivalry stretches back decades and began in 1961 when the Minnesota Vikings joined the league. Until famed Vikings coach Bud Grant joined the team in 1967, the Lions led the head-to-head series 3-8-1. Throughout the 1960s, the Lions posted a 9-7-2 record against Minnesota. In the 1970s, during the era of the Purple People Eaters in Minnesota, the Vikings took control of the rivalry and have not given it back. In the respective decades to follow, the results are as follows:

MN/DET all-time records by decade (head to head)

Coming into the 2017 Thanksgiving game, the Lions have won three straight games over the Vikings. On Thanksgiving Day, the all-time series stands at two wins for the Lions and two for the Vikings– the most recent meeting being last year and was a Lions victory. Through week 5 of the NFL schedule, both teams stand at 3-2 in the NFC North.

The Minnesota Vikings have lost some key players to injury this year, most notably Teddy Bridgewater (retroactive to last year’s knee injury), Sam Bradford to a knee injury (listed as questionable for week 6), and rookie running back Dalvin Cook who tore his ACL in week 4 and is out for the season.

The Detroit Lions have also had some injuries this season. For week 6, quarterback Matthew Stafford was listed with an ankle injury but did fully participate in practice. Guard T.J. Lang did not practice and is questionable. Linebacker Paul Worrilow suffered a sprained MCL and may be out for 2-4 weeks, which may affect the Thanksgiving game for the Lions. Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata was placed on the inactive reserve list as he must undergo season-ending bicep surgery. A 12-year veteran of the NFL, Ngata has contemplated retirement before and the severity of this injury may hasten that decision.

The 2017 Thanksgiving NFL schedule will see the Vikings and Lions play each other in week 12. Both teams will have a bye week and play against the Green Bay Packers before they meet on November 23rd. A lot can happen between now and then! No matter where these two NFC North teams find themselves in the standings by then, history has shown us that their Turkey Day showdowns are always entertaining gridiron competitions. This year will be no different.


OFFENSE ALERT- Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas Cowboys
Nov. 23rd at 4:30 pm EST on CBS
AT&T Stadium- Arlington, Texas

The 4:30 pm game airing on CBS sees the numbers 6 and 7 ranked offenses in the NFL going head to head– the Dallas Cowboys led by QB Dak Prescott and the Los Angeles Chargers behind RB Melvin Gordon.

Unlike the Minnesota-Detroit match up or the Washington-New York tilt, the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Chargers rarely, if ever, play against each other. This will be just the 11th meeting between these two teams. The Chargers will be playing their first Thanksgiving Day game since the 1970 merger where as the Cowboys are no stranger to playing on that day with a stellar 29-18-1 record. That does not bode well for the newly planted LA Chargers.

The 2017 campaign for the LA Chargers has not exactly gone as planned. Week 5 saw the Bolts win their first game of the season. Despite having the 7th ranked offense, the Chargers are struggling with the 26th ranked defense in the NFL. Even though they’re putting plenty of points on the board, they’re also giving up quite a bit. They are currently in last place in the AFC West with a 1-4 record.

The 2017 Cowboys aren’t exactly dominating the competition either. Currently in 3rd place in the NFC East, Dallas is 2-3 and has lost 2 straight. Again, they’re in the top six ranked offenses but their defense trips over the goal line at 21st in the NFL. Not a great recipe for success. Thankfully for the ‘Boys, the New York Giants are also in their division…but we’ll get to that.

This mid-afternoon Thanksgiving match-up will feature the high-flying receiver Dez Bryant for the passing game and RB Ezekiel Elliott to carry the ground game. QB Prescott has been playing very well this year, much better than the team’s record would indicate. NFL sophomore Prescott touts a 93.1 QBR and is completing 62.6% of his passes in 2017 while throwing 11 touchdowns with 4 interceptions through week 5.

The Chargers feature RB Gordon, wide receiver Keenan Allen, and Phillip Rivers under center. At his current pace, WR Allen is projected to have over 1,200 receiving yards this season with three touchdowns. QB Rivers has thrown for nearly 1,400 yards this far this season but is completing less than 60% of his passes. He is, however, projected to throw for over 4,000 total yards. If he does, it would be the 9th time in his career.

The Cowboys/Chargers game will undoubtedly feature plenty of offense but will more than likely leave us wondering if the defense was even on the field. That being said, it should be incredibly fun to watch the shootout!


RIVALRY ALERT- New York Giants at Washington Redskins
Nov. 23rd at 8:30 pm EST on NBC
FedEx Field, Hyattsville, Maryland

The evening game stacks the New York Giants against the Washington Redskins. This rivalry has been hot since 1932 and is easily the oldest rivalry in the NFC East. New York leads the all-time series with a record of 99–67–4 but Washington has won two of the last three meetings between the two teams. Here is a quick breakdown of one of the oldest rivalries in the league:new york washington








With such an extensive history between the two teams, we’d be better served to deal with the present as the facts and figures of over eight decades of football games would be overwhelming to say the very least.

Currently, the Redskins have a 2-2 record through week 5 (they had a bye in week 5). Washington has the 3rd ranked defense in the NFL but just the 26th ranked offense. It is said that offense wins games, defense wins championships…but you need to win games to get to the championship. That being said, Redskins QB Kirk Cousins is having a great year. He currently boasts a 107.6 QBR (league average is 87.5 right now) and has thrown just one interception this year. He is also completing over 66% of his passes. That is about where the good news ends for the Redskins offense. Their defense, however, is stopping other teams in their tracks and has allowed just 1,245 total yards thus far (through week 5). Only the Denver Broncos and Miami Dolphins are better.

The New York Giants hit rock bottom in week 5 of their 2017 season. Not only have they fallen to 0-5  but they lost their star WR Odell Beckham, Jr. to a season-ending ankle surgery after he fractured his ankle against the Chargers. The Giants are ranked 28th in total defense and 14th in total offense– and that was before losing Beckham. The word out of the Giants’ camp is that the offensive line isn’t holding up their end of the bargain. However more and more armchair quarterbacks are starting to point the finger at Eli Manning. Lackluster play calling, lack of execution, etc. have the NY offense looking nothing like it did in 2011 when they won the Super Bowl.

How does this play out on Thanksgiving Day? Look for Cousins to pick apart the Giants’ defense with his precision. The Redskins’ defense will frustrate the milquetoast offense of New York. The Giants need Manning to be at the top of his game for anything good to come of this dumpster fire they find themselves in. The Redskins need more offensive weapons than just Cousins, look for his supporting cast to step up.


HISTORY BONUS- Minnesota Vikings vs. Dallas Cowboys
Nov 26th, 1998
Texas Stadium

As a Vikings fan, there is nary a Minnesotan that doesn’t remember the historic season of 1998…much less the epic Thanksgiving Day battle between the Vikings and Cowboys. The 8-4 Cowboys played host to the 11-1 Vikings in a Turkey Day shootout of high power offenses. Minnesota was the top ranked offense in the league, Dallas was ranked 9th. The respective defenses were both in the top ten as well, Dallas at #3 and Minnesota at #6. Basically this was a powerhouse game.

The Dallas Cowboys 1998 roster was anchored by future Hall of Famers in QB Troy Aikman, RB Emmitt Smith, and WR Michael Irvin. The 1998 roster of Minnesota Vikings consisted of rookie WR Randy Moss, future Hall of Fame WR Cris Carter, and 1998 NFL Passing Rating Leader Randall Cunningham. Even the most casual football fan knows this cast of players.

Troy Aikman torched the Minnesota defense for 455 passing yards and one touchdown. 137 of those yards went to Michael Irvin. Smith rushed for just 44 yards in the game but scored three mosstouchdowns. Cunningham aired out 359 passing yards en route to a 111.5 passer rating. He threw for four downs– three to Moss and one to Carter. The Moss/Carter duo combined for 298 receiving yards and each had catches of over 50 yards. To this day, Randy Moss’ touchdown catch still defies explanation.

The Vikings led the whole way but the Cowboys never really went away. Below are the scoring plays, courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com.

Vikings/Cowboys scoring plays





Ultimately, Vikings went on to post a 15-1 record in the regular season. The Cowboys finished at 10-6. Both teams went on to the playoffs. Dallas was bounced in the first round and the Vikings went on to lose in crushing fashion in the NFC title game. Another game Minnesotans still remember…along with a place kicker named Gary Anderson.

The complete 1998 Thanksgiving game between the Vikings and Cowboys from the NFL YouTube archive has been embedded below if you’d like to relive the glorious offensive shootout. Spoiler alert– the Vikings win 46-36. Enjoy one of the most fun games to watch as a Vikings fan!


Where to Buy a Pumpkin This Fall

pumpkinsLeaves are falling. The smell of bonfires is in the air. It’s fall! We’re about a month away from Halloween but even if you aren’t into carving jack-o-lanterns, a pumpkin is a classic way to decorate for the season. Let’s talk about where to buy a pumpkin this fall.

Around the Forest Lake area, we have no shortage of places to pick up a pumpkin. Many of these places include other activities for the whole family as well! The following are a handful of the top rated pumpkin patches in the area:

Lendt’s Pumpkin Patch
6903 Wyoming Trail, Wyoming, MN

Lendt’s Pumpkin Patch may not have a website but they have a major following online. Lendt’s boasts a 4.6/5 stars from 29 reviews on Google. Many patrons say in their reviews that they return every year and that this is the only place they go for their Halloween pumpkins. The fun includes not only the pumpkin picking but also a playground for the kids, a corn pit, and face painting.

One of the main themes of the reviews of Lendt’s is the customer service. The staff is praised as being extremely helpful and very nice. We all know that customer service is so important…one of the reasons why I take it so seriously as your Realtor! The long and the short of Lendt’s is this: customers continue to return year after year, even from down in the Twin Cities. They have a track record of great service and good prices on their pumpkins.

Pinehaven Farm
28186 Kettle River Blvd N, Wyoming, MN
Website: PinehavenFarm.com

Odds are if you’ve ever driven south on I-35, you’ve passed and seen Pinehaven Farm just north of the city of Wyoming. Pinehaven, known statewide for their Dead End Hayride, is also a very popular local pumpkin patch. It was even voted WCCO’s Best Pumpkin Patch in Minnesota for 2015!

Pinehaven also touts a 4.6/5 stars on Google from 37 reviews. In addition to being able to pick pumpkins, Pinehaven has the before-mentioned haunted hayrides, a train for the kids to ride, slides, a petting zoo, corn maze, and food. Family friendly hayrides are available, too. Not just haunted ones!

I encourage you to read the reviews of Pinehaven, and any of the other patches, for yourself. However, I will say that the vast majority of the Pinehaven reviews highlighted good customer service, plenty of family friendly activities, and gorgeous scenery. Pinehaven is also a popular location for weddings!

Located just about 30 minutes from the Twin Cities, Pinehaven is a popular destination for local citizens as well as those living down in the cities or out-state. Buyer beware: it is recommended that you buy your tickets in advance for the haunted hayride. It is extremely popular around Halloween and will be very busy!

Waldoch Farm
8174 Lake Dr, Lino Lakes, MN
Website: www.waldochfarm.com/html/waldoch_pumpkin-patchmn.php

Located just off of 35-W in Lino Lakes, Waldoch Farm has been a local nursery/farm for over 100 years. Waldoch Farm has many year-round events but the fall is really their time to shine!

Praised for their quality pumpkins and also specialty pumpkins, Waldoch Farm has an obstacle course for children to run, animals to feed and pet, corn mazes, hayrides, tasty food, and an indoor pumpkin shopping area for those inclement days!

Waldoch Farm has a Google rating of 4.7/5 stars from 33 reviews, the vast majority praising the abundance of fun to be had by the entire family. The farm is located 20 minutes from Minneapolis/St. Paul so if you’re living in the Twin Cities, Waldoch Farm would be a nearby option for a full-service pumpkin buying experience!

Pleasant Valley Orchard
17325 Pleasant Valley Rd, Shafer, MN
Website: www.pleasantvalleyorchard.com/the-pumpkin-patch/

Established in 1990, Pleasant Valley Orchard has been a go-to fall destination in east-central Minnesota for a long time. Located in Shafer, Pleasant Valley Orchard enjoys a prime location off of Highway 8 near the Wisconsin state line. Pleasant Valley is a well-known apple orchard and was named Minnesota’s Best in 2015!

Pleasant Valley wows with a 4.7/5 stars on Google from 24 reviews. As one review put it, “Good people, good products, and good time!” In addition to pumpkin picking, they have apple picking, a nature trail, a shop, and a pumpkin cook-off! Check out their pumpkin patch page for more details on that!

If you visit one of these patches, or rather go to another one, let me know what your experience was like! Now you know where to buy a pumpkin this fall! Happy pumpkin picking!

Buying a New Home This Fall

fall home buying guide

Are you thinking about buying a new home this fall? Worried that you should wait until next spring? Allow me to put some of your worries and other commons myths to rest!

Four Reasons to Buy Now!

Just because the “summer market” has begun to close doesn’t mean that you should wait until the spring to buy your new home. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Prices are going to continue to rise.
    CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that home prices have appreciated by 6.7% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 5.2% over the next year. The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.
  2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase
    Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have hovered around 4%. Most experts predict that rates will rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting that rates will increase by this time next year.
    An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home.
  3. Either Way, You are Paying a Mortgage
    I know what you’re thinking. You’re renting right now so you’re not actually paying a mortgage at all. That isn’t the case.There are some renters who have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity. Are you ready to put your housing cost to work for you?
  4. It’s Time to Move on with Your Life
    The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise. But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide if it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer, or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe now is the time to buy. If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial saving.

Myths Holding You Back from Buying a Home

In Realtor.com’s spring article, “Home Buyers’ Top Mortgage Fears: Which One Scares You?” they mention that “46% of potential home buyers fear they won’t qualify for a mortgage to the point that they don’t even try.”

Myths are rampant when it comes to buying a home. I’ll tackle two of the most common ones we hear in the real estate industry:

Myth #1: “I Need a 20% Down Payment”
Buyers overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan. According
to the First Quarter 2017 Homeownership Program Index (HPI) from Down Payment Resource,
saving for a down payment was the barrier that kept 70% of renters from buying.

Rob Chrane, CEO of Down Payment Resource, had this to say:
“There are many mortgage-ready renters today, but they don’t know it. Often, homebuyers
remain sidelined for years due to the down payment.

Many believe that they need at least 20% down to buy their dream home, but programs are
available that allow buyers to put down as little as 3%. Many renters may actually be able
to enter the housing market sooner than they ever imagined with new programs that have
emerged, allowing less cash out of pocket.

Myth #2: “I need a 780 FICO® Score or Higher to Buy”
The survey revealed that 59% of Americans either don’t know (54%) or are misinformed (5%)
about what FICO® score is necessary to qualify. Many Americans believe a ‘good’ credit score is 780 or higher.avg fico

To help debunk this myth, let’s take a look at Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insight Report, which
focuses on recently closed (approved) loans. As you can see on the right, 52.2% of approved mortgages had a credit score of 600-74.

In fact, we have several lenders we work with that have multiple loan programs geared at all levels of credit scores that you should be able to find something that works for you.

Bottom Line
Whether buying your first home or moving up to your dream home, knowing your options
will make the mortgage process easier. Your dream home may already be within your reach.

Things to Consider When Buying a Home

The four reasons to buy now and two myths above were a sneak peek from my fall edition of fall home buying guideThings to Consider When Buying a Home buyer’s guide. The rest of the guide, which you can download free from my website, goes on to talk about the current market trends, what you need to know going in to buying, and what to expect from the process.

The long and the short of it is this: don’t wait until the spring to buy your next home. If you think you won’t qualify for a loan, don’t let that stop you from speaking to a lender…so you may be closer than you think!

To download the entire fall home buyer’s guide for free, visit my website and let me know that you’d like a copy! As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions you have about buying a new home this fall!

When is the Best Time to Buy a Home?

The Conundrum 
When is the best time to buy a home? This is a dilemma buyers have been facing since the dawn of property ownership as we know it.

Many buyers choose to hit the market in early spring when many homes come on the market after winter in Minnesota. This is born out of a common misconception that early spring is the best and only time to buy a home.

Panic begins to set in if they don’t find what they like as summer comes. Buyers begin to worry that fewer homes will be on the market and they won’t be able to find a good deal during the summer. I’m here to tell you not to worry…late summer might be a better time for you to buy.

When is the Best Time to Buy a Home?
To figure out when the best time to buy a home is for you, you need to examine what you’re willing to experience.

If you’re interested only in having the most options to choose from, then spring is the time for you to hit the market. Home shopping in the spring, however, brings increased competition from other buyers. This leads to battle through multiple offers and will eventually lead to some major frustrations.

If you are willing to sacrifice a little selection in favor of lowering the competition, then the late summer is when you should start looking to buy.

In a June 5th article from Forbes, Zillow did an analysis of listing and price date from 2016. It turns out, the best blend of pricing and inventory selection occurs in the late summer market.

Not every spring listing will sell. Homes that are still on the market will take price reductions. This, coupled with the summer listings that come on the market, means that late summer buyers will have as many homes to choose from as spring buyers.

Eventually, summer listings will take their own price reductions as fall approaches. Long story short: late summer buyers have the same opportunities as the spring market…but often with better prices!

The Bottom Line
Late summer shoppers will have the advantage of dealing with very motivated sellers, something the spring markets don’t always have. It isn’t to say that spring sellers don’t want to sell their homes. They do. However, sellers who have been on the market for a while are much more likely to negotiate on sales price.

Today is August 7th. The late summer market is here! If you’re ready to take the plunge and buy a new home, you can get started today. Start with doing a quick search on my website, see what is available. Send me a message and I can help you get on the road to your next home!


Home for Sale in North Branch


12411 400th Street, North Branch, MN

$ Click for current price

Almost 1 mile of river frontage on the Sunrise River! Upscale custom built home on 47 acres of wildlife, kayaking, fishing, fenced grazing, peace and quiet, etc. Property has been used for horses and is currently being used for sheep. Horseback riding trails are still crossing the property. Check out the amazing windows to bring the outdoors in. Very rare parcel, don’t miss out!

Presented By:

Showing Agent:

Amanda Lucas

Realty Group, Inc.

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Forest Lake Home Values

Homes sold in Forest Lake

Forest Lake Home Values
Over 30 homes sold in Forest Lake in the month of July. The highest was $635,000. Your home value has changed. I know you’re curious now…

Everyone wants to know what their home is worth. Homeowners receive the “estimated market values” from the county with our tax estimates, however, that isn’t the only measuring stick. Rather it tends to lag behind the market by one to two years minimum.

And then there is the “Zestimate” from an unnamed, popular real estate website. A “Zestimate” isn’t always the most accurate as not all of the information is up-to-date. The best way to know is to look and see what is going on around you.

Looking at the properties that have sold near you in Forest Lake is quick and easy, and, will give you the best idea of what your property may be worth right now.

Your Free Valuation
Check out my free, automated home valuation website for Forest Lake below to see what your home value estimate is…all in under 30 seconds!

The Bottom Line
Knowing what your home is worth is important, however, knowing what is going on around you in the market is even more so.