Note: The quotes in this article are fictional.
New England @ Detroit (+7)
Thanksgiving in Detroit gets underway when the 8-2 Patriots pay a visit to Ford Field to face the 2-8 Lions, who have lost three straight and haven't won on Thanksgiving since 2003. Last week, Brady and the Patriots outdueled Peyton Manning and the Colts 31-28, and Brady tied Brett Favre's NFL record of most consecutive home starts won by a starting quarterback, at 25.
"I have a lot for which to be thankful," Brady said. "My health, my hair, impeccable jaw lines, domineering supermodels, frumpily-dressed coaches, ambiguous NFL rules defining pass incompletions, unheralded white teammates, timely Manning interceptions, and Thanksgiving games in Detroit. I've been known to benefit from the ???Tuck Rule;' on Thursday, I plan to benefit from the ???Turk Rule,' which says Detroit can't win on Thanksgiving.
Shaun Hill will start again for the Lions, again filling in for injured quarterback Matthew Stafford, whose shoulder injuries have shelved him for seven games this year.
"Luckily," said Jim Schwartz, "Stafford won't need surgery on his shoulder. Matthew's had a ton of MRI's of his shoulder this season, making it the most photographed joint in the NFC North, well ahead of Brett Favre's.
But does it really matter who's throwing, as long as Calvin Johnson's catching? The simplest play in our playbook is the one in which our quarterback throws the ball up for grabs in the direction of Johnson. We call it the ???Calvin And Lobs.'"
Schwartz is right. It doesn't matter who's throwing for the Lions, particularly when Brady is throwing for the Patriots, and psychotically raging when his teammates don't perform to his expectations. The Lions take a quick 7-0 lead, but the Pats, behind 341 yards passing and three touchdowns from Brady, finish off the Lions.
New England wins 38-21.
New Orleans @ Dallas (+1)
The Cowboys are 2-0 under new head coach Jason Garrett after last week's 35-19 win over the Lions. That winning streak will be tested when the defending Super Bowl champion Saints visit Cowboys Stadium. Last year, Dallas ended New Orleans undefeated season, as the Cowboys beat the 13-0 Saints 24-17 in New Orleans.
"I've really been impressed with the team as of late," said Jerry Jones. "It may have taken three months, but finally there's a Super Bowl-worthy team in Dallas. And we're honored to be playing them.
You're probably aware that I jetted to Las Vegas just days after jettisoning Wade Phillips. Ironically, I had no luck at the card tables, but I returned to Dallas to find a ???two of a kind' in the win column. And surprisingly, the odds went up for the Cowboys winning the Super Bowl...in 2011."
The Saints appear to be rounding into 2009 form, and have won three in a row after last week's 35-19 win over the Seahawks. Drew Brees passed for 382 yards and four touchdowns, and will test a Dallas secondary susceptible to the big play.
"You can throw ???on' the Cowboys," Brees said. "And you can throw ???at,' ???around,' ???over,' and ???between' them. Now, if you asked tongue-tied former Cowboy Emmitt Smith what I'm getting at, he might reply ???propositions.' That answer might apply were the subject Michael Irvin. But it's not. I'm talking about ???prepositions,' and the one that applies most to Dallas' secondary is ???by,' which happens to rhyme with ???bye.' Revenge is a dish best served cold, but speed is a dish best served ???burned,' as is ???toast.' And in Dallas, we'll be playing ???butter ball.'"
The Saints are a Garrett Hartley missed chip shot field goal from owning the best record in the NFC. The Falcons are aware of that, and so is Sean Payton, who would love to win in Dallas, where he was an assistant coach from 2003-2005. The Saints fake a long Hartley field goal, which leads to the first of five New Orleans touchdowns. Hartley saves his leg for the playoffs, and kicks five extra points.
New Orleans wins 35-27.
Cincinnati @ NY Jets (-9)
The Jets stunned the Texans last week, winning 30-27 on Santonio Holmes' six-yard touchdown reception with ten seconds left, just moments after the Texans took a 27-23 lead with 55 seconds remaining. It was the latest in a run of dramatic wins by the Jets, most keyed by clutch plays from Holmes, whom the Jets acquired from the Steelers for a fifth-round pick in the offseason.
"It would be hard to measure Holmes' impact," said Rex Ryan, "by just touchdowns, receptions, grams, or ounces. The kid goes all out all the time. It's safe to say you won't see more hustle out of anyone. But like Santonio, I know a good deal when I see one. More than anyone, Santonio understands the value of commerce, and our trade with the Steelers was a typical exchange of goods, one you'd likely see on most an everyday street corner.
Now, the Bengals are a team in turmoil. And I believe ???turmoil' loosely translates to ???Time for U to Replace Marvin Or It's to Late.' Or so I've heard. Darrelle Revis is really looking forward to locking down Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens. This will be a first for Darrelle. No, not a game in which he faces Ochocinco and Owens. But because ???Revis Island,' although it's been the site a many a shipwreck, it's never been home to a trainwreck. Until now."
Meanwhile, the 2-8 Bengals blew a 31-14 halftime lead in a 49-31 loss to the Bills last week, Cincinnati's seventh-straight loss, the longest streak in the NFL. Since nothing else seems to be, revenge may be a motivating factor for the Bengals, who were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs last year by the Jets.
"That loss was tough to swallow," said Ochocinco, "but surprisingly easy to Tweet about. Sure, going from division champs to the team with the worst record in the AFC is hard to tolerate. But, I can manage, thanks to the support of my sidekick T.O. and our numerous self-promotion endeavors. Amidst such adversity, we still know we're great, and that makes us ???Legends Of The Fall.'"
Owens called Revis just an "average" corner. Revis takes the good-natured banter in stride, then proves to Owens that an "average" corner can hold him to a "below-average" game.
Jets win 27-13.