One of the great parts of Thanksgiving is that it’s still easy to feel like a kid no matter how old you’re getting. For me, it’s not just a day off from work, but a chance to enjoy some of the things that I love the most in this insane world we live in. One, is obviously family. For as long as I can remember, my mom has had her side of the family over for the day. Don’t tell my Italian side this, but I absolutely love my Greek side more. And since I don’t get to see them often enough, it makes the day one of my favorites on the calender. Of course, the food that my mom prepares, like the champ she is, ranks next. We do the traditional turkey day grub, but her stuffing is top notch and a must try if you’ve never had it. My friends who have indulged are all shaking their heads in agreement as they read this. And fine, consider yourself invited over, but don’t you dare root for the Packers.
And speaking of the cheese slobs, that brings me to the third part of Thanksgiving that makes it my favorite holiday of the year. Football. From 11 o’clock in the morning on, that’s all that is on any of our TV’s. When my sister asks, “what else is on?” she already knows the answer. It’s not until after the NFL Network game is over do we usually find what channel “Home Alone” is on. But other than that, it’s all NFL. That’s how we roll.
For the first time in eons, all three games have significant meaning. All six teams playing on Thursday won last week. Even the revived Dolphins have given their fans reasons for optimism despite the inevitable Tony Sparano firing. It’s going to be an exciting day, so let’s get right to the picks.
LIONS +6 over Packers
It hasn’t been a brutal task to fall in hate with this Lions team, but they are definitely relevant again. And when was the last Thanksgiving that you actually looked forward to seeing them play? Yes, it’s been since the Barry Sanders era. This team is dirty and annoying, but they showed some metal last week in coming back from a 24-7 deficit vs the Panthers. That was their first statement since they beat the Bears on a Monday night earlier this year. This is a dangerous offense when Matt Stafford isn’t playing like he’s on sleeping pills.
To beat Green Bay, you have to control the ball and score at least 28 points. That isn’t breaking news, I know. But that’s what it comes down to. As long as you can score enough and make Green Bay play Super Tecmo Bowl with you, it puts pressure on them that they don’t usually face. And with a front four that can own the Packers offensive line, the Lions have the right kind of mix to hand the champs their fist loss. The Pack have played too comfortably all year. It’s time for them to feel some heat, and this might be the week it happens. Plus, with the revived Kevin Smith (how did this happen?) back in the fold, perhaps the Lions finally have a running game to play keep away if they can build a lead. We need the Lions for the best case playoff scenario for the Bears, but it will still be sweet to see the champs go down.
Dolphins +7 over COWBOYS
Yes, I’m totally picking with my heart on this. If the Boys lose on Thanksgiving, it’s like an extra piece of cheesecake. Like I said earlier, the Dolphins have played inspired ball lately despite having every reason to pack it in. Even Reggie Bush is acting like an NFL player again. Who saw that coming? Matt Moore isn’t nearly as shitty as you might think he is, and the boys remain an enigma despite winning four of five. I am still not convinced in them because they were a 52 yard field goal away from losing to the abysmal Redskins and our old friend Rex Grossman. I’m all in on the Fish this week. So when the Cowboys blow them out, you know who to blame.
RAVENS -3 over 49ers
The much anticipated HarBowl. Being that I only stick to NFL Network & refuse to watch ESPN’s football coverage, this game has been over hyped & drawn out, but you can understand why. John is one of the best coaches in the league, and if his quarterback wasn’t so Sanchez-like, the Ravens might have a Super Bowl title by now. However, I despise the Ravens offense. If they aren’t running Ray Rice up the gut, they are chucking it deep on post patterns to Torrey Smith. That’s it. This is remedial offense 101 with teacher Cam Cameron confusing us all. Wouldn’t you just love to know guys on the Ravens defense privately say about Joe Flacco? I’d give a kidney to be in those meeting rooms.
As for the 9-1 Niners, what can you say? Jim has done an outstanding job changing the miserable culture that Mike Singletary created in ‘Frisco. The Niners are 4-0 in east coast road games this year, but you get the feeling they are due for a stinker. What I can’t wait for is for two of the best defenses in football to showcase just how nasty they are. If the Niners do get this game, their doubters will have nothing left to hate on. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Enjoy the games.
Last week: 7-6-1