By Tom Comi
Some folks might consider football games on Thanksgiving Day as a nice diversion, but it really is amazing how many people revolve their entire dinner around what games are airing and when.
The NFL is showcasing three games Thursday, so you really need to be on your toes in terms of planning if you don’t want to miss any of the action. Here is our preview of the three contests:
Green Bay Packers (10-0) at Detroit Lions (7-3)
FOX, 12:30pm ET
The Packers have yet to lose this season, and they are looking to become the first team to run the table since the 1972 Dolphins. But before the defending Super Bowl champs start looking too far ahead, they need to make sure they don’t overlook this dangerous Detroit team. Not only are the Lions talented on both sides of the ball, but they seem to have some mystique about them when playing their annual turkey day game. This contest features two of the best quarterbacks in the league in Aaron Rodgers (GB) and Matthew Stafford (Detroit).
Miami Dolphins (3-7) at Dallas Cowboys (6-4)
CBS, 4:15pm ET
If there is the potential for a blowout game today, this is the one. However, that also depends on which Dallas team shows up. Is it the one that dismantled the Buffalo Bills 44-7 two weeks ago or the one that needed overtime to beat the woeful Washington Redskins a week ago? If the Dolphins are going to pull the upset over quarterback Tony Romo and America’s Team, they are going to need a great game out of running back Reggie Bush. Also, the defensive secondary — which has been very good of late — needs to be great against the speedy Dallas receivers.
San Francisco 49ers (9-1) at Baltimore Ravens (7-3)
NFL Network, 8:20pm ET
Prior to the season, you would have thought somebody was crazy if they said the Ravens would only be a 3-point favorite at home against the 49ers, but that just shows what a remarkable job first-year coach Jim Harbaugh has done with San Francisco. The Niners were practically an afterthought a few months ago, and now they are boasting the second-best record in the entire league. This contest boasts two of the game’s great running backs in Frank Gore (SF) and Ray Rice (Baltimore), but the outcome could be determined by the arms of Alex Smith (49ers) and Joe Flacco (Baltimore) if both defenses play as well against the run as they are capable of playing.