AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
(From Guardian Unlimited)
The best Thanksgiving ever? It certainly has the makings of the best for some time. Awaiting us this evening is battle of two brothers as Jim Harbaugh's 49ers take on John's Ravens -- with both teams presenting themselves as legitimate contenders in their respective conferences; before that comes an intriguing collision between talented but inconsistent Dallas and a Miami team who have won three straight.
But first up, as tradition dictates, are the Detroit Lions. For once, that too is an appetising prospect. The long-running gag about Detroit's annual Thanksgiving involvement is that somebody has to play the turkey. Year-after-year the Lions would invite everybody to Ford Field only find out that it was they who would be taking a stuffing.
There is no guarantee that they will avoid such a fate this afternoon, but only because the opposition are the 10-0 Green Bay Packers. With Aaron Rodgers playing about as well as any quarterback in league history, it's a safe bet that at the very least one or two defensive backs will be getting roasted.
Yet no overstretched metaphor can disguise the fact that this Detroit team are also pretty good -- sitting at 7-3 and boasting a defence that will not allow Rodgers an easy ride. Last year their pass rush hit the quarterback to hard and often that he wound up leaving the game with a concussion. With Green Bay missing left tackle Chad Clifton through injury, Ndamukong Suh, Cliff Avril, Kyle Vanden Bosch and co could yet be the ones to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast.
On that best-ever claim Of course, it's a bit silly to talk too much about the greatest ever Thanksgiving until the games have actually happened, but for the record, the combined win percentage of the six teams in action today equals the best-ever for a Thanksgiving, set in 1975 when the Bills and Lions (both 6-4) took on the Rams and Cardinals (both 8-2) respectively .
As for what the best ever Thanksgiving game to date might be, I'm not sure -- though these two teams have certainly put on some classics, from Walter Stanley's late punt return to seal a 44-40 win for Green Bay in 1983 to the then winless Lions oh-so-nearly upsetting the play-off bound Pack in 2001. One thing I am sure about, though, is the dumbest-ever Thanksgiving play. Step forward Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Leon Lett, whose infamous lunge at what would have been a dead ball put the Miami Dolphins in position to steal a win in the snow in 2003 .
A kindly message "Happy Thanksgiving, Paolo," tweets Erin Murphy. "Tell your bosses that eating well is part of your job today. They ought to hook you up w/a feast." They should, shouldn't they? Perhaps we should start a petition '
Things you can do ... To make this live blog a more enjoyable experience for all of us:
1) Email me with tales of your best/worst Thanksgiving memories -- be they NFL-related or otherwise.
2) Tell me which NFL player - past or present - you would like to invite round for Thanksgiving dinner. And why.
2) Send turkey.
The pick The Packers are a four-point favourite for this game - actually pretty modest when you think how they've been playing. I think Detroit can win this game, but to do so they're going to need to both generate plenty of heat on Rodgers (as mentioned earlier, they have previous) and also get Kevin Smith going. The running back was out of football just a few weeks ago but last week he was the star of the comeback win over Carolina. They don't necessarily need three touchdowns out of him this week, but they do need him to keep the clock ticking over. No matter how well Detroit's defence play Rodgers, he is going to complete passes. The only …