Happy Thanksgiving from Patriots Pulpit
Thursday, Nov. 23
Miami (4-6) at Detroit (2-8), 12:30 p.m.
Remember when Miami was 1-6 and teams like Chicago, Kansas City and Minnesota chalked up wins before they stepped on the field? Remember their six-game winning streak to end the season last year? Remember when Joey Harrington replaced Daunte Culpepper and Miami started having an offense? (Maybe the offensive line came together and decided they had to play better because there's a new guy back there like New England's line did in 2001, right?) Remember when Detroit had a terrible team with no quarterback and no receivers and no defense, but at least they had Barry Sanders? Remember when you thought Arizona would never win another game and Detroit might not be the worst team in the league? Remember when people started calling for Matt Millen to be fired about 5 years ago? Remember the last time you were interested in a Thanksgiving Day NFL game? Statistically, these teams aren't that far apart. OK, they are. Detroit has a slightly better offense. Miami has a much better defense. And Miami has won three straight. And Detroit lost to aforementioned Arizona.
Prediction: Dolphins, 23-10.
Tampa Bay (3-7) at Dallas (6-4), 4:15 p.m.
Both teams enter this game on emotional highs. Tampa beat then-3-6 Washington when it's highly overrated sophomore running back gained 122 yards against a team that averages giving up 121.2 yards per game, a team with a first-time-in-the-NFL quarterback. Must have been thrilling. Dallas knocked off previously-undefeated-but-teetering-for-weeks Indianapolis. Dallas has no one on their injury report. Tampa has the No. 29 offense in average yardage, while Dallas is No. 6. It's worse if you look at scoring: Tampa is 31st and Dallas is third. Tampa's D isn't ranked as pathetically as it's offense, but it's far worse than Dallas, which is top 10 in yards and scoring. Dallas is at home on Thanksgiving, a situation that seems to matter a lot more in Texas than it does in Michigan.
Prediction: Cowboys, 38-16.
Denver (7-3) at Kansas City (6-4), 8 p.m.
The most interesting game of the day will be played when no one is really thinking about football anymore and most people will probably be traveling home from Thanksgiving visits. Boy, Trent Green was spectacular, going 9 for 16 and 102 yards (50 of that on four passes in less than 3 minutes on K.C.'s final drive) and connected with a whopping four receivers against Oakland. Denver has sure had problems scoring points, but I don't think 102 yards passing is going to get the job done. And, yes, Denver's pass defense isn't as good as Oakland's, but their rushing defense is, where Oakland's is not, and Larry Johnson racked up 154 yards rushing against Oakland. Denver won the first matchup, 9-6, in Week 2. Arrowhead is not an easy place to play, especially for division rivals. K.C. is nearly injury-free, while Denver has a couple handfuls of hurts, including to their offensive bread and butter (their running backs). This should be an interesting game if you happen to be near a TV and aren't overloaded on tryptophan and fermentables.
Prediction: Broncos, 19-17.
Update [2006-11-23 11:49:0 by tommasse]:
Lest we forget: This, the best of today's three games, is being broadcast only on the NFL Network, which most people don't have. So, in addtion to the tryptophan and fermentables and needing to be near a TV, you need to be near a TV that has the NFL Network. I'm thinking a 2.7 rating seems about right. Note to NFL: Nice work. Solid plan.