It’s my favorite time of the year. Football and food. Food and football. Eating massive amounts of food and then sitting down to watch nearly 12 hours of football.
Thanksgiving Day Games
There seems to be a renewed interest in the Detroit area about the Lions Thanksgiving Day game with their improved play this season. The 10-0 Green Bay Packers travel to Ford Field in the day’s opening tilt. For those interested in halftime performances, that may be the perfect time to go raid the turkey tray as Nickelback will perform in front of Lions fans who earlier this month protested against the band (who are a Canadian rock band) playing the half-time show.
Thursday’s second game has the Miami Dolphins traveling to Dallas to face Tony Romo and the Cowboys. Who can forget the last time these two teams hooked up on Thanksgiving. I remember the game vividly, snow and ice covered the field at Cowboys Stadium on Thanksgiving of 1993.
The Dolphins played without Dan Marino who was injured and fought hard, driving down the field late in the 4th quarter only down 14- 13. The Dolphins attempted a game-winning FG, but the kick was blocked. Game over right?
As everyone scurried away from the ball, Leon Lett unsuccessfully tried to lay his huge paws on the football. In a wild, snow-covered scene, Miami recovered the ball and one play later DID kick the game winning field goal to beat the eventual Super Bowl champs. I wonder where Leon Lett will be for this game?
And of course, in the nightcap, the Harbaugh Bowl goes down at M&T Bank Stadium. The San Francisco 49ers led by head coach Jim Harbaugh face off against head coach John Harbaugh and his Baltimore Ravens. In what should be a defensive struggle throughout, I think most folks, including this writer, are interested in seeing how the brothers’ post game handshake goes down.
Before I jump into players I like for the slate of games in Week 12, let’s first look back at some key performances from Week 11.
QB Jay Cutler- Bears: Cutler had himself a nice day, throwing for 286 yards and 2 TD’s. He fractured his thumb late in the 4th quarter trying to make a tackle against the Chargers, and now finds himself out 6-8 weeks. Big blow for Chicago as Cutler was throwing the ball well.
RB Michael Bush- Raiders: This guy has been golden the last three weeks while Darren McFadden continues to be out with a foot injury. Bush has scored in three straight games, and also gone over 100 yards combined during that time too. Bush rushed for 109 yards against the Vikings and a rushing TD. As of this time, McFadden has not practiced, so Bush should be in line for more work again this week.
RB Marshawn Lynch- Seahawks: Lynch continues to get it done, and yet no one is really talking about him that much. He ran for 88 yards and a TD in the win over St. Louis last Sunday. He’s now scored in six straight games that he has played.
WR Jordy Nelson- Packers: OK, is this Madden 2011 we are watching or real life? Nelson has been on fire, now with two games in a row of two TD catches. He caught 6/123 in the win over the Buccaneers. With Greg Jennings a little banged up, Nelson is stepping up big time.
TE Tony Gonzalez- Falcons: Gonzalez shows no signs of slowing up, and he’s been a huge factor in the Falcons offense the last few weeks with WR Julio Jones banged up and WR Roddy White inconsistent this season. He caught a TD and had 74 yards in the Falcons win over Tennessee.
Players I like in Week 12
QB Ben Roethlisberger- Steelers: Big Ben has a fractured thumb on his throwing hand, but this is nothing new for the Steelers QB. He played with the same injury two seasons ago and fought his way through it. He’s as tough a QB as they come, and even with the injury, should get it done against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night. Roethlisberger could be playing out of the shotgun or pistol set-ups in this game as that is what he has practiced with all week in an effort to limit pain to the thumb.
Prediction: 215 yards/TD
QB Matt Ryan- Falcons: Ryan got back into the swing of things last week, throwing for 316 and getting some timing down with top WR Roddy White. This week the Falcons face the Vikings, a team that has had their secondary picked on in recent weeks. Minnesota has given up the most FPG to QB’s so far this season. Start ‘em.
Prediction: 270 yards/2 TD’s
RB Rashard Mendenhall- Steelers: I think with Big Ben’s injury, the Steelers will start to rely more and more on Mendenhall in the upcoming weeks. He has fresh legs and has started to run the ball better.
Prediction: 92 yards/TD
RB LeGarrette Blount- Buccaneers: Blount ran for 107 yards against Green Bay, including an amazing 57-yard TD run where he broke six or seven tackles. He faces off against a Titans secondary.
Prediction: 80 yards
RB Matt Forte- Bears: Forte will shoulder even more of the workload now that QB Jay Cutler is out with the thumb injury. The Bears face the Oakland Raiders and Forte will see a good amount of carries.
Prediction: 90 yards/TD
WR Brandon Lloyd- Rams: Lloyd is the man in St. Louis, and he’ll see the football a lot on Sunday against a Cardinals defense that gives up the 7th most FPG to WR’s this season. In the last meeting between the two teams on November 6th, Lloyd had five catches for 80 yards.
Prediction: 95 yards/TD
WR Laurent Robinson- Cowboys: Robinson had four catches for 34 yards and a TD against the Redskins last week. WR Dez Bryant should see more of the Dolphins top CB, so should continue this week against the Miami Dolphins.
Prediction: 75 yards/TD
TE Rob Gronkowski- Patriots: Gronkowski is an absolute monster right now. I just don’t think the Philadelphia Eagles have an answer for him, so start him if you have him.
Prediction: 80 yards/ TD
TE Heath Miller- Steelers: If Big Ben can throw the ball well enough, I think Heath Miller will have some success against the Chiefs because they are allowing the most FPG to TE’s the last five weeks.
Prediction: 65 yards
Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone. Good luck to all in Week 12!
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