Saturday, November 22, 2014

2014 NFL THANKSGIVING CHEATSHEET

It's that time again! You're going home. Family and food are happening. Sportsball will likely be on your TV. Need something innocuous to discuss while you stuff more pie in your face? You've come to the right place! And lucky for you, non-sports viewer, this year's slate of Thanksgiving games features all of our favorite whipping posts, from Tony Romo to Jay Cutler and ports in between. We haven't had this much fun since the Butt Fumble (seems like it was only last Thanksgiving, but no, it was TWO Thanksgivings ago and it's kept giving ever since).


Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions
12:30pm EST (CBS)

Big week in Detroit. On Sunday, the Lions play in New England against the evil Patriots. On Monday, they're letting the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets "borrow" their stadium so that they don't have to play in 47 feet of snow, and then on Thursday, they host their annual Thanksgiving game. For generations, the Lions' Thanksgiving game has been the perfect opportunity for a food nap, but in recent years, they've become much more interesting. After monster receiver Calvin Johnson (also known as "Megatron") broke all the receiving records a year or two ago, the Lions have been kind of quiet this year, almost sneakily going 7-3.

Their opponent, the Bears of Chicago, have been anything BUT quiet and sneaky. They've been a delightful tire fire while having a bunch of really exciting fantasy football players. Even embattled quarterback Jay Cutler has put up lovely fantasy numbers (I have him on my team). I love watching Jay Cutler; he reminds me of April from Parks and Recreation; I firmly believe he has a heart of gold underneath that glum stare (he's from Santa Claus, Indiana for crying out loud, which, incidently also claims Hall of Fame Quarterback Bob Griese as its own).

Basically, this game features two entities just dying to collapse for our amusement, and getting Jay Cutler as part of my Thanksgiving festivities is an unexpected treat. I don't know what I've done to deserve this, but I'm unworthy. Thank you, NFL Schedulers.

Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys
4:30pm EST (FOX)

That's right, ladies and gentlemen. Mark Sanchez's triumphant return to Thanksgiving day! (Watches Butt Fumble video three more times.)

The word on Philly is that they like to play football as though it's basketball. They like to snap the ball fast, score fast, everything fast. The announcers have trouble talking between plays. If they get their way, it will be a difficult game to nap through, like being in a room with a strobe light. Their starting quarterback is a guy named Nick Foles, who looks shockingly like Napoleon Dynamite, but Nick/Napoleon is injured, and that's how we get Mark Sanchez, his back up, who exists somewhere in the realm of "I've played in two AFC Championship games, but I'm also the guy from the Butt Fumble." So anything could happen, including copious napping.

A few weeks ago on Monday Night Football, Tony Romo fractured his back. Then he took a flight from Dallas to London and still played. Now he's back and (theoretically) still-still playing. If Mark Sanchez is known for a two-year-old Butt Fumble, then Romo is probably best known for a seven-year-old botched snap in a playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks. Both guys have enjoyed being the coolest dude in the room and being beat up as the most incompetent moron in the league, or so it would seem. But only one will emerge victorious, and both have their eyes on playoff spots with only about a month to go. ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!?

Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers
8:30pm EST (NBC)

The other two Thanksgiving games are cool because they have an awesome mix of comedic potential and actual sporting potential. This business, however, is commonly thought of as the best rivalry in the land (at least at this moment). The Seahawks are defending Super Bowl champs, and the 49ers were in the Super Bowl the year previous. They legitimately don't like each other. Even the coaches have some previous, dating back to when they coached at rival college institutions (49ers Jim Harbaugh at Stanford and Seahawks Pete Carroll at USC). This game is the real deal, and they're playing it in the 49ers brand new shiny stadium.

Have a lovely Thanksgiving week!