Five Things I'm Thankful for in the upcoming NFL Week 12
1. Three Thanksgiving games (Texans/Lions, Redskins/Cowboys, Patriots/Jets) that should be at least watchable thanks to the high-profile participants, division rivalries, and effective offenses.
2. Last season's division doormats (the Vikings, Browns, and Buccaneers, a combined 14-16 after 11-37 last season) actually having a strong fighting chance against division stalwarts (the Bears, Steelers, and Falcons, a combined 22-8 after 30-18 last year), although there may be two of those stalwarts without their starting quarterback.
3. The Packers and Saints getting the opportunity to avenge last season's disappointing playoff losses against the Giants and 49ers, with the former being on Sunday Night.
4. The perfect opportunity to stick a large, shiny fork in the Eagles' season if they manage to lose at home to a 2-8 Panthers squad that has disappointed as well.
5. Last season, I put Tim Tebow here. I really don't think that's appropriate at this point in time. I'll just go with Carson Palmer facing his former team, that has significantly benefited from trading him away.
And now for the big time. What teams do we have on our plate this year?
White meat: The standard option, always there at the end of the meal if you need it. This year, that's looking to be the New England Patriots, a consistent winner that has had a knack for making big runs at the end of seasons, and is always in the mix come playoff time. Oh, and having a white guy on their logo doesn't hurt their case for this distinction.
Dark meat: Sometimes a little too fatty, but can provide a burst of flavor that white-meat-enthusiasts don't quite appreciate. The 49ers have thrown up three dud games against the Vikings, Giants, and Rams, but have won their next three games by a combined score of 79-13. And Colin Kaepernick's introduction to this offense has provided just the kind of pop that dark meat can compared to that silly Alex Smith white meat. I really don't intend on making these race comments, they just sort of show up. Good thing no one important reads these.
Cranberry Sauce: Doesn't really look good, but can be excellent in small doses. I think that this should go to the Lions, who can play terribly for most of the game and then make a 4th-quarter charge to make the game interesting in the closing minutes. They've averaged an impressive 12.4 points per game in the fourth quarter and overtime, against a paltry 11.2 points per game in the first three quarters.
Stuffing: Can be good, but you're never really confident in it if you're at someone else's place. Not exactly a tough choice for this one, as the Seattle Seahawks have gone undefeated at home while losing four of five on the road. This isn't that surprising, considering their stadium is known for the 12th Man and they've been 7 games better at home the previous three seasons, but that doesn't explain beating teams at home with a combined 29-16 record otherwise while losing to teams on the road with a combined 14-20-2 record otherwise.