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Thursday, November 27, 2014

NFL Thanksgiving 2014

by JASmius

The flesh of the bird, the skin of the pig, the tryp to the phan, and huge mounds of carbohydrates - when it's dark, cold, wet, and dismal outside, does it get any better than that?

From the NFL's point of view, it could be worse.  Typically, with Detroit and Dallas always playing host on Thanksgiving, and with Detroit and Dallas usually the epitome of mediocrity, the quality of the day's football fare tends to be more than a little lacking.  But some of today's matchups are actually borderline-riveting, and the one that isn't is, fortunately, scheduled for most families' dinner times.

Ever wondered what an all-out fight between a grizzly bear and an African lion would look like?

Well, I can tell you with absolute confidence that that spectacle would be far more interesting than anything that will take place at Detroit's Ford Field today, where Chicago brings its #29 passing defense to get shredded by Matt Stafford, Golden Tate, "Megatron," and the #10 passing offense in the NFL.  And since neither team can run the ball worth crap, and the Lions sport the league's #10 passing defense, the only thing that might keep this game watchable is Detroit's penchant for kicking away games in which they are heavily favored.

CBS, in other words, drew the short straw.

Detroit* (-7)

A battle for first place in the NFC East, and with the rematch coming in a couple of weeks at the Linc.  Hard to beat this matchup.  It's got just what the networks love: great offenses and mediocre defenses.  DeMarco Murray and LeSean McCoy should run up big rushing numbers, but it's that big, fat #30 Eagles passing defense that will have Tony Romo's mouth watering more than any buffet Jerry Jones could possibly come up with.  Eagles backup quarterback Mark "Butt Fumble" Sanchez is actually playing pretty well in relief of the injured Nick Foles, but there's no way he's going to be able to keep up here.

Philadelphia (+3)

And finally, the main course.

The rematch of one of the greatest NFC Championship games ever played and resumption of the best rivalry in the NFL.  "The Tip" signifies it all.

Or at least NBC was hoping the Champs and the Forty Whiners would pick up right where they left off.  Seattle's and San Francisco's respective seasons don't have quite the sizzle of last year's glory, tied at 7-4, two games behind the Arizona Cardinals.  Both clubs have been injury-decimated this year, and both have been plagued by inconsistency.  But both have "hung around," and now that the Cardinals appear to be starting to falter, following Carson Palmer's second injury of the season, the NFC West is looking like it might be coming back into play for its last two winners.

As usual, if you tuned in the Eagles-Cowboys game for offense, you're tuning this one in for defense.  As in #1 (Seahawks) and #2 (49ers).  This is going to be another trademark 'hawks-Niners slugfest where who can run the ball better, and who has the ball last, will likely determine which team comes out on top.

With middle linebacker Bobby Wagner back in the lineup to help offset the season-ending run-stopping loss of defensive tackle Brandon Mebane to a hamstring tear, the Champs' top-ranked rushing attack, and the fact that San Francisco has never looked impressive this year and at times has looked godawful, I'm going to go with the slight upset, and the 'hawks first win down the coast in six years, and first ever at the Big Bell Bottom.

Seattle* (+1)
San Francisco

I told a friend at church this past Sunday that the Champs would either lose to the Cards and Niners or we would beat them both.  By this Sunday evening we could be a game up on San Fran and a game back of Arizona with the proverbial wind at our backs.  And with no true dominant team in the NFC this year, momentum at the right time may be all it takes to get back to the promised land once again.

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