Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving: A day for Giving thanks, Turkey and Football

Thanksgiving day is here, meaning it's time to give thanks for your family and friends, eat plenty of great, home-cooked food and sit back and relax while watching some NFL football.

When Thanksgiving day rolls around each year it usually means it's time for teams to get down to business and start thinking about a late-season run to the playoffs, and this season is no exception. The Packers are still streaking, riding a 16-game win streak (including playoffs) and heading in to a division matchup with the 7-3 Detroit Lions. This will be the first time in years that this game will have actual meaning.

The Lions are hungry, and I can hear them knocking on Green Bay's door. I'd absolutely love to call a Turkey Day upset of the Pack today, but I just don't see it as plausible.
The Packers have averaged 35.5 points a game this season and I don't think Matt Stafford will be able to keep up With Aaron Rodgers, even on his home turf. Green Bay puts up 30+ points on Ndamukong's Suh defense, keeping the game out of reach of Detroit. Green Bay wins 31-21 (much closer than usual, at least right?).

The second matchup of the day, Miami at Dallas (4:15 PM ET), is reminiscent of the two teams' 1993 Turkey Day classic in which Dallas defensive lineman Leon Lett botched a Miami missed field goal (blocked by Dallas), giving the Dolphins a second chance in kicking the game-winner. The second attempt was good as time expired, giving the Dolphins the 16-14 victory.

Both teams are riding three-game win streaks (Dallas 4-1 in last five), but I think Tony Romo and the Cowboys have more to lose in this one. The Dolphins began the season 0-7 and are pretty much out of playoff contention at the bottom of the AFC East. Dallas, however, has a share of the NFC East lead at 6-4 and are in the middle of a playoff race.

Dallas has recently been very successful on Thanksgiving, winning four out of the last five seasons with victories such as 24-7 in '09, 34-9 in '08, 34-3 in '07 and 38-10 in '06. I'd like to think Dallas has the edge once again this year. Matt Moore's recent success can't last forever, DeMarcus Ware should have a big day against him, in fact. Dallas 28, Miami 10.
Harbaugh Bowl

The 2011 Thanksgiving Day finale of the triple-header features two brother head coaches–Baltimore's John Harbaugh and San Francisco's Jim Harbaugh.

Not only does this game feature the two brother's battling it out, but it's also a matchup between two of the top defenses in the league with above average signal callers (Smith has been playing that way this season, anyways) and scary rushing attacks.

The two teams are extremely even when it comes to overall talent, but I give the edge to the 9-1 49ers. Like I said in my previous post, San Francisco is the best team in the league right now. Hard-nosed defense and a top 10 rushing attack has defined the Niners all season long.

The offense has turned the ball over the least in the league, and the defense has forced the most turnovers in the league. That's what I like to call a recipe for success, and not only that but Baltimore may be without its leader on defense for the second straight week (Ray Lewis' status is still uncertain as of two hours ago).
San Fran wins 24-14, giving the younger of the two brother's the chance to bask in the glory of beating his older brother on the gridiron.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and their families, enjoy the games!

Photo credit
Matthews and Woodson: Getty Images
Murray: Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Harbaugh brothers:

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