Monday, November 19, 2012


Not really in on football? That's cool. But this Thanksgiving in households across America, football WILL be watched. Wouldn't you rather have dinner guests openly debating Tony Romo and Mark Sanchez's failures instead of yours?

Well, you've come to the right place! Here's a hastily thrown-together 2012 NFL THANKSGIVING CHEATSHEET, your one-stop source for easy talking points so you can spend your Thanksgiving holiday in peace... and maybe even accidentally enjoy yourself in the process.

But I gotta be honest with you: it's not exactly a killer lineup this year, lots of blow-out potential. As the Cowboys and Lions go, so goes Thanksgiving (especially since the retirement of the Madden turduckin, may all six of its legs rest in peace). I looked up the NBA schedule. And the NCAA schedules. And the international soccer schedules. This is the best we got, kids. Let's roll.

Houston at Detroit - 12:30 EST - CBS
Some holiday staples are sacred and eternal - and the Lions sucking on Thanksgiving Day is one of them. The Lions gave us a scare last year, when they were almost good, but now normal service has resumed. And Houston is a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

The Texans JUST survived an overtime scare on Sunday against Jacksonville, arguably the worst team in the league - I didn't watch the game, but it seems reasonable to question whether or not the Texans were going a little easy in hopes of surviving two games in five days with limited damage (especially considering how their season was destroyed by injuries last year - I mean, they were still competitive in the playoffs with their 3rd string quarterback - THAT'S how good they were). At this stage, the Texans just want to escape with their health, so the numbers on the scoreboard will be incidental.

A Few Quick Talking Points (or things you can shout at your TV):
* Watch for defender J.J. Watt (HOU) to SWAT a few of Matthew Stafford's 17,285 pass attempts. It looks a lot like a blocked shot in basketball.
* Calvin Johnson (DET) is still MEGATRON, even if he's only caught, like, one touchdown this season.
* Drink every time the Texans run the ball forward.
* Drink again every time the Lions do something petulant and/or borderline illegal. This includes their coach.

Washington at Dallas - 4:15 EST - FOX
This is the good game. If you watch only one, choose this one. Somebody has to win this division's playoff spot, and while we all know from previous experience it will be the New York Giants, these teams still have to keep it interesting a few more weeks.

Talking Points:
* The Redskins' rookie quarterback is fabulous fun to watch. His given name is Robert Griffin the Third. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to call him as many different nicknames as you can over the course of this game. RG3 is common. Bobby Three Sticks is another good one. Also, if they do any puff pieces on him in pregame or halftime, make sure to notice his socks.
* I in no way wish ill upon Cowboys' quarterback Tony Romo, but Kyle Orton is the backup and I would be endlessly delighted to have an Orton sighting on Thanksgiving Day.
* Drink every time they show Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. He's the one who looks like a werewolf (credit to Bill Simmons).

New England at NY Jets - 8:20 EST - NBC
* When in doubt, just shout FREE TEBOW and run away.