Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.
Tennessee @ Detroit (+11)
The first of three Thanksgiving Day games kicks off as the AFC South-leading Titans invade Ford Field, home of the winless Lions, in what has been dubbed the Thanksgiving "Feast or Famine" game. Tennessee had its undefeated run end last week in a 34-13 loss to Brett Favre and the Jets. While a chance a payback will have to wait until the playoffs, the Titans can easily get back on the winning trail with a win over the Lions.
"A win by the visiting team in Detroit has become as much of a Thanksgiving tradition as Thanksgiving itself," says Jeff Fisher. "And what's the craze that's been 'sweeping' Detroit all year? The visiting team, of course."
"The Jets took us out of our game early, forcing us to abandon our running attack. Chris Johnson and LenDale White were both ineffective, and that's bad news for us. Heck, LenDale had only one carry for -1 yard. I guess LenDale wasn't 'feeling kind of Sunday,' although, judging by his waistline and his penchant for eating when upset, I'm sure he was feeling kind of 'sundae' afterwards."
The Lions raced to a 17-0 lead last week over the Bucs, only to lose 38-20 and fall to 0-11. Lions coach Rod Marinelli knows a quick start against the Titans is imperative if the Lions intend to compete for their first win.
"Tennessee finally tasted defeat," says Marinelli. "It's a flavor we've been unable to cleanse from our palates as of yet. But with their loss last Sunday, a crack in the armor of the Titans has been exposed. And where there's a crack, there's a 'taint,' the letters of which, when scrambled, spell 'Titan.' When you're 0-11, you look for inspiration in the darkest of places."
"But, if we lose, I could be out the door. This may be my 'Waterloo.' Boy, do I wish I were talking about the ABBA song and not the site of Napoleon Bonaparte's final, crushing defeat. I fear I'll be exiled to the 'Island of Misfit Lions Head Coaches.' Hopefully, there will be room for me."
What's worse for the Lions that peering across the line of scrimmage and seeing the colossal Albert Haynesworth? I'll tell you what. Haynesworth looking back and seeing a plump and delicious Butterball at quarterback for the Lions, Daunte Culpepper, directly in his line of sight. Haynesworth is hungry, and so are the Titans.
Tennessee gets its rushing attack back in gear. The Titans take an early lead and don't look back. Tennessee wins, 32-10.
Seattle @ Dallas (-13)
It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without the late afternoon Turkey Day game in Dallas, and while there's neither snow nor a Leon Lett appearance forecast, it should be an entertaining day in Big D. The Cowboys have won two in a row with Tony Romo and a serviceable pinkie back at quarterback, and Terrell Owens is content after a seven-catch, 213-yard day in Dallas' 35-22 win over the 49ers.
"The Seahawks are 2-9," says Romo, "but records can be deceiving. Heck, we're 7-4. Anyway, my pinkie's almost totally healed, and while I'll miss the attention it's brought me, I'm sure the media/paparazzi will find another of my dangling appendages to sensationalize. Not that it needs sensationalizing. And speaking of 'Big Units,' left-handed fireballer Randy Johnson made a name for himself in Seattle, which is who we'll be facing on Thursday. Not Johnson, but Seattle. Although I have disturbing memories of my last game against the Seahawks, I've somehow put the memories of that fumbled snap behind me. It was easy to forget when there was another playoff failure the very next year."
"Anyway, all is well in Dallas. Terrell Owens is happy. Pacman Jones is back. Unfortunately, both of those statements have to be amended with the qualifier 'for now.' We'll see which lasts longer."
Like Romo, Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has dealt with injury, albeit a more serious situation than a broken pinkie. Hasselbeck's back and knee injuries have kept him out of several games, but he is expected to play at Dallas.
"I'm still shaking off the rust," says Hasselbeck. "And I'm sure Pacman Jones will be doing the same once he returns to the Dallas lineup. I'm not real clear on the details of Jones' reinstatement, but 'shaking off the rust' may be a violation of those terms. And let's be honest. Jones is not the brightest guy in the world. I wonder is he even knows the difference between 'shaking off the rust' and 'shaking down a stripper.'"
Cowboys win, 31-20.
Arizona @ Philadelphia (-3)
Quick! Someone tell Donovan McNabb that in addition to the fact that games can end in a tie, there is now not only two, but three Thanksgiving Day games! And he's scheduled to play in the NFL Network's night game, as the Eagles host the Cardinals. "Awareness" hasn't exactly been a word used to describe McNabb's state of mind lately. After admitting he didn't know games could end in ties after Week 11's 13-13 tie with the Bengals, McNabb threw 2 interceptions and lost a fumble before being benched by Andy Reid against the Ravens.
"Hey, pimpin' ain't easy," says Andy Reid. "And this is a situation in which the principles of pimping can be applied to the game of football. If you don't put out, then you get 'bench-slapped.' Sure, it's been a tough two weeks for McNabb. First the 'tie' controversy, then the benching, which has inevitably led to talk of Donovan's demise as our quarterback. That's what you call getting 'tie-died.'"
Kurt Warner threw for 351 yards and 1 touchdown last week, but it wasn't enough to overcome the Giants, who won 37-29 in Arizona. The Cardinals failed in their bid to clinch the NFC West, but can do so with a win Thursday or a 49er loss on Sunday.
"There's only one thing that can stop our passing game," says Warner. "And that's our running game. We piled up a whopping 23 yards on 15 carries against the Giants. Of course, two of those carries were for touchdowns, but that's an aberration. Who's more likely to bite on 'play action?' Marv Albert, or opposing defenses? I think the answer is clearly Albert, assuming he's with a prostitute named 'Play Action.'"
"As for McNabb, he'll get through his troubles, with or without the Lord's help. The whole 'tie' situation has been way overblown. I think there's a whole lot in the rule book that most players wouldn't be aware of. For future reference, I'd just like to point out to Donovan that, as well as ending in ties, games can start that way, as well."
The Eagles offense has been horrible as of late, so it's up to their defense to provide a spark. And against the pass-happy Cardinals, that means a blitzkrieg of blitzes. And, with McNabb fully-schooled on the rules of the game, the Eagles are ready to break out of their slump.
Bryan Westbrook rushes for two scores, and the Eagle defense forces a Warner fumble and an interception. Philly wins, 29-24.