Thanksgiving is upon us! This is my favorite holiday because it’s all about enjoying the company of friends and family over turkey, football, and all the fixins. Being a first generation American, I had the best of both worlds for Thanksgiving. As a kid, my mom would make two different turkeys to feed the numerous guests that would come to our house. Her reasoning behind the two different styles of cooking the turkeys was to celebrate the blending of our Salvadoran culture with our American culture. One of the turkeys had all the American sides (i.e. mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, etc.). Yum!!! The other turkey was made for the Salvadoran style sandwich known as pan con pavo. Imagine a cross between a Philly cheesesteak (sans the cheese) and a banh mi (for my Vietnamese brethren) but with turkey as the meat substitute. Mmmm my mouth is watering….
I miss a lot of things from Thanksgiving that I can’t experience anymore. I miss playing football for hours with all my neighborhood friends before we were all called in for Thanksgiving dinner. Growing up in LA, I didn’t get to see many Lions games, so Thanksgiving was the only time I was able to catch Barry Sanders play. I miss watching him play. To this day, I still argue with people over the fact that he was the best running back of the 90’s. Back in the day, CBS was once the NFC carrier before FOX took over the coverage, but I miss listening to Pat Summerall and John Madden call the game. Maybe it was the waft of the turkeys cooking in the oven mixed with Summerall’s and Madden’s voices, but it was always serendipitous when they were calling the Thanksgiving game. Most importantly, I miss my Dad, who passed away last year in June, for being the epitome of a great host when people would stop by our house. While we were watching the games, I loved hearing him tell people that had he grown up in the States, he would have been the best O-lineman. His favorite line was, “It’d be cold day in hell before any SOB pass through me.” Thanksgiving was his favorite holiday, too. Miss you, pops.
We’ve set up camp in the Mendoza line the past couple of weeks, but I have a feeling we will on the plus side this week. Let’s go to the games:
Last Week: 3-3
GREEN BAY (-7) at DETROIT: Detroit’s slow start last week against Carolina almost came to haunt them. Down 17 points at one time, they relied heavily on Kevin Smith, a former Detroit RB who was recently signed again (off the streets by the way), to lead their rushing attack. He came through in a big way by accumulating 140 yards and 2 TDs. What a feel good story!! On the other hand, Green Bay had to use some elbow grease to get a comfortable win late in the 4th quarter against Tampa Bay.
This is the Super Bowl for the Lions. They’ve marked this game on their calendar since Week 1 and the
Pontiac Silverdome Ford Field will be rocking. I expect the Lions to continue to use Kevin Smith against a porous Green Bay rush defense which will open up the passing attack for the Lions. Dom Capers, Green Bay’s Defensive Coordinator, loves to blitz and shows many packages. This will disrupt Matthew Stafford, but if he can read the defense and take what the defense gives him, the offense will be able to go mano a mano with Aaron Rodgers’ offense.
Speaking of the GB offense, man, are they impressive! They look like a real-life version of their video game counterparts in Madden. If the Lions can create a couple of turnovers and capitalize on them, then they will give GB their first loss of the season. I told you last week that I was taking Detroit and nothing has changed. TSS PICKS LOCK OF THE WEEK: DETROIT
MIAMI at DALLAS (-7): Do you remember the last time these two teams played against each other on Thanksgiving Day? If my memory serves me right, it was the Leon Lett game. You remember that game, don’t you? Dallas blocked a possible game-winning Miami FG only to lose the ball when Leon Lett decided to pick up the ball on an icy field in Dallas. Miami gets the ball back and scored the winning FG. Epic!!
Coming into this game, Miami is riding a season-high 3 game winning streak much to the chagrin of Andy Goldenberg. (Embrace the winning streak, Andy!! There are plenty of good QBs for the taking in next year’s draft.) During this current winning streak, they have held their opponents to a total of 20 points! Reggie Bush is finding his grove within the Miami offense and Miami is finally playing complete games.
Dallas is frightening good. They are atop of the NFC East by a virtuous tie with the NY Giants. They themselves are boding a 3-game winning streak and the road to the playoffs is getting much easier. Dallas left the trenches of Washington with an overtime victory that will surely strengthen team morale. Look for Tony Romo to throw a couple of TD’s and DeMarcus Ware to continue to add to his sack total. Barring a Romo debacle (he’s due for one), Dallas escapes with narrow win. TSS PICKS: MIAMI
SAN FRANSCISCO at BALTIMORE (-3): Of the three Thanksgiving games, this game will be the closest one. Don’t be surprised if this is a slow-paced game (maybe it’ll be from all the tryptophan in your system making you sleepy). The previously mentioned games have the potential to be blow-outs but not this one. Harbaugh Bowl I-Brother vs. Brother!! Hermano vs. Hermano!! Sometimes, I don’t know what to make of the Ravens. They get up for big games but falter against lesser opponents.
San Fran is a mirror of its coach. Their blue-collar, lunchbox mentality has afforded them the opportunity to clinch the NFC West with a win on Sunday. Their defense is rock-solid, Alex Smith is finally comfortable under center, and their running game controls the time of possession game.
Baltimore has gotten up for every BIG game this year. At home, they are undefeated (5-0) and their average margin of victory is 16.6 points. Though I think they won’t win by 16, I believe they will cover. The travel time on a short week will play into account as well. Fun fact: Both teams are averaging 25.6 points per game. TSS PICKS: BALTIMORE
NEW ENGLAND (-3) at PHILADELPHIA: “Don’t go gently into that good night! Rage! Rage against the dying of the light!” That was my war-cry last week when my beloved Iggles played the NY Giants. They now play The Man at the Linc on Sunday afternoon and the war-cry remains the same.
On the offensive side, the Eagles need to feed the ball to LeSean McCoy and avoid costly turnovers. On the defensive side, they need to be aggressive and play a complete game. Last week was the first time I saw the Eagles D play as a cohesive unit.
Look for The Man to be a surgeon on the field on Sunday. He should be able to complete his passes down the middle of the Eagles D. Rob Gronkowski will be able to add to his team-leading TD receptions but Nnamdi Asomugha will contain Wes Welker ala Darelle Revis.
This game is a personal favorite of mine because Alex, my cousin, (who is more of a brother than a cousin to me) and the rest of the family are big Patriot’s fans so there will be a lot of trash-talking during the game. TSS PICKS: PHILADLEPHIA
In closing, be thankful for all that you have!