We all have a lot to be thankful for. For some its family. For some, its friends. For some, its the fact that they were able to wake up today. And for some, Thanksgiving football is what most are thankful for. Without any further, here are my breakdowns for the NFL's Thursday Thanksgiving specials!
Green Bay vs Detroit
The Packers travel to the Lion's Den to take on the Detroit Lions. The Pack have been almost invincible this year behind the firepower of their offense. Well, this week, QB Aaron Rodgers and the boys face the front four of the Lions, led by DT Ndamakong Suh. In order to slow the Lion's front four down, the Pack must run the ball well. That means James Starks(if he plays) or Ryan Grant will have to run with conviction and punish the Lions where their weakest: in the run game. Once the run game is established, expect Rodgers to hit his plethora of WRs all over the field.
The Lions found a running game last week with newly signed Kevin Smith. But the thing is, they were playing against the Panthers, who have been pretty bad against the run. The challenge this week will be if the Lions can run this week. In their spread formations, they must attack the gaps in the Pack's defense, especially when the Pack is spread across the field when the Lions go to 3 or 4 WRs. If the Lions aren't able to run, then Lions QB Matt Stafford has to carry the offense, and that won't work with the likes of CB Charles Woodson, OLB Clay Matthews and crew on the other side. I think the crowd and the atmosphere will be electric in this game, but the Packers will prevail because of their unbelievable offense and some huge key stops. The 1972 Dolphins keep the champagne on ice for another week.
Prediction: Green Bay 31, Detroit 27
Miami vs Dallas
The upstart Dolphins head to the Big D to take on a Cowboys team sitting in first place in the NFC East. The Dolphins have got solid play out of veteran QB Matt Moore. Moore must continue to play well this week because the pressure of the Cowboys defense will be after him. The Dolphins must continue to find creative ways to get the ball in the hands of RB Reggie Bush. He has really picked it up the last few weeks and can be extremely dangerous with the ball. I expect the Dolphins offensive line to have a few problems trying to keep Cowboys OLB Demarcus Ware out of the backfield. He will make some plays, but as long as the Dolphins can keep him under control, that increases the Dolphin's chances to leave Dallas a winner.
The Cowboys have had tremendous play out of QB Tony Romo. He's been hitting receivers in stride and making plays by keeping scrambling outside the pocket. Romo will have another great game if the Dolphins don't put any pressure on him. Expect the Dolphins to have their secondary tested because they have been the weak link of this defense. Miami will keep this game close for a minute, but expect Dallas to eventually overwhelm the Dolphins.
Prediction: Dallas 31, Miami 17
San Francisco vs Baltimore
The 49ers head east to take on the Baltimore Ravens. This game should be PHYSICAL! Leading the 49ers into town is QB Alex Smith. Sure, the running game has been outstanding so far, but eventually teams will stack the box against Frank Gore and the San Francisco Gold Rush. Smith must make some plays in the passing game in order to loosen up the Ravens' D. If that can happen, the 49ers will have some lanes created due to Raven defenders backing out of the box. Also, it should be interesting to see if LB Ray Lewis plays. If he plays, his energy alone will take the Ravens to the next level.
QB Joe Flacco has been very inconsistent. Some of the inconsistencies are because of the lack of commitment to the run game. Well, this week doesn't get any easier. The 49ers will play physical, smart defense against the Ravens and will be stingy against the run. If this is the case, expect the Ravens to at least attempt to run the ball some. That will put the Ravens outside the realm of predictability. If the Ravens aren't able to run the football to at least make the 49ers respect that threat, then Flacco will be running for his life behind his offensive line. Expect a tight, physical, intense game. And in that type of game, the toughest team wins. And the toughest team is the 49ers. Expect them to impose their will on the Ravens as the game goes on.
Prediction: San Francisco 23, Baltimore 17
Thanks to all who have read my blog for today. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!