We're back and it's Week 12, it's late in November, and... that must mean it's time for the greatest tradition the NFL has. THANKSGIVING FOOTBALL, Y'ALL.
And yeah we all know Thanksgiving football's the best so most of this goes without saying. But if you really stop and think about it, there's not a whole lot that epitomizes America better than the concepts behind Thanksgiving or football. Then only thing that's definitely more American is the idea of combining them and marketing it to all the people home from work, passed out on the couch.
This is a free country we live in, where people sit around and come up with excuses to eat massive amounts of food, and then come up with ways to entertain us after we're full. So with all due respect to "Rock" and "Roll", "Thanksgiving Football" may be the most American combination of two words that the English language has.
This year and every year, savor the union for all its worth.
Now, onto the picks, where we're not going to talk about what happened last week. It happened, it was ugly, and it's time to pick up the pieces and move forward. It's Thanksgiving, after all.
Since it's Thanksgiving and there's food to get to, we'll be quick. All winners in BOLD.
Green Bay at Detroit (+6.5) ... Back in Week 1 Picks, I wrote:
Everyone's Week 13 Power Rankings are going to look very different after Ndamukong Suh breaks every bone in Aaron Rodgers' body in Week 12.
Then a week ago, here's Suh talking to Yahoo! Sports' Shutdown Corner:
SC: And then, in order to get those steak melts to those happy fans of yours, you'll have to beat a Packers team led by a quarterback in Aaron Rodgers who's throwing the ball about as well as anybody can. What's the key — if there even is one at this point — to shutting him down?
Suh: He's playing at a very high level, but the way to stop him is to continue to hit him. We had a great game plan against him last year, he wasn't able to come back in the game, and that's one way to take care of business...
Miami at Dallas (-7) ... The Leon Lett Bowl!
Something tells me they'll show that video once or twice on Thursday. But more importantly: Apparently it snowed in Texas in 1993. In November, no less. Tomorrow's forecast? 68 degrees and sunny. But yeah, global warming's totally a bunch of hype from communist hippies.
San Francisco at Baltimore (-3.5) ... Honestly, at the beginning of the season, who would have thought that Joe Flacco would be a bigger question mark than Alex Smith in this game? And yet, I'm still incapable of trusting Alex Smith against a kickass defense on the road.
Tampa Bay at Tennessee (-3) ... Tennessee's one of the few teams in the NFL where it seems like there's a legitimate home field advantage. And now watch, now that I said that, they'll get blown out by 30. This is why gambling's impossible.
Arizona at St. Louis (OFF) ... There should be a mercy rule to prevent games like this.
Buffalo at New York Jets (-9) ... Fitzmagic? Sanchize? Make way for...
Houston at Jacksonville (+3.5) ... LEEEEEEEINNNNNARRRRRRRTTTT
Now that Matt Schaub is officially out for the year in Houston, it's Leinart's time to shine. If he can't make it work with those receivers and that running game, then... well, then he'll be exactly the same disaster of a quarterback we think he is now. He's got nothing to lose. So here's to hoping he makes it work. The NFL could always use more beer bong jokes.
Carolina at Indianapolis (+3.5) ... In 2011, it's important to link to this video once-a-month.
Minnesota at Atlanta (-11) ... The good news for Vikings fans is, well... There is no good news for Vikings fans.
Washington at Seattle (-3.5) ... This seems appropriate after that Skins-Cowboys game.
Chicago at Oakland (-5) ... Gonna ride the Raiders all year long, you guys. If you take away the first game against the Chiefs--where he was literally coming in off the street--Carson Palmer's completed 64% of his passes for 800 yards, 6 touchdowns, and a 2-1 record. Throw in the three-headed monster in the backfield (Taiwan Jones, Michael Bush, Darren McFadden) and that hellbeast of a rookie (Donnarius Moore), and the Raiders are looking pretty intriguing as a dark horse. Hopefully I didn't just jinx them.
Cleveland at Cincinnati (-8.5) ... I saw this video a few weeks ago and was pretty blown away. Obviously, the retro graphics are great. But man, just look at that stadium.
And the team records.
And how cold it looks.
And that was almost 30 years ago.
Has a Browns-Bengals games ever NOT been horribly depressing?
The graphics, obviously.
Denver at San Diego (-7) ... I've long been a Tebow skeptic. At one point I'm compared him to the city of Detroit. But you know, at this point, it might be fun if he just keeps on winning. And not just winning, but winning exactly the way he has the past few weeks--playing terribly, then coming through with some ridiculous drive at the end. Cue all the winner rhetoric, etc. At this point, the whole cycle has taken on a life of its own that's more entertaining than anything that happens on the field. We all know he's awful, and no amount of fluke endings will change that, and eventually he'll be exposed. In the meantime? It's kinda fun to...
- Watch an NFL team run the option like, for real.
- Watch people on both sides FREAK OUT when he wins.
So...... GO GET 'EM TIMMY. ALL PART OF GOD'S PLAN, BUDDY. DON'T STOP BELIEVIN.
New England at Philadelphia (OFF) ... GRONNNNNNNNNNNK. From Larry Brown Sports:
Gronk was clearly dazed after the touchdown, but he managed to do his trademark spike afterwards. The training staff examined him on the sidelines and he continued to play in the game. He even joined ESPN’s Monday Night Football crew for an interview after the victory.
The hosts asked Gronk how he was after the touchdown. Steve Young specifically pointed out that Gronkowski looked groggy after the touchdown, and asked if the tight end remembered the moment or if he went out for a second.
"I remember the moment and everything," Gronk said. "If I didn’t I still wouldn’t even say I didn’t. I’m trying to play this week hahaha."
Isn't he the best? He's like Latimer from The Program bred with Dane Cook. He even has the perfect nickname. I'm not sure if I can totally root for someone so phenomenally meatheaded, but it's really great that we get to watch Rob Gronkowski outdo himself every week.
OVERALL RECORD: 79-78-2