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Plan dinner carefully

November 23, 2011
The Mining Journal

As a public service, I just want to make sure all of us Lions and Packers fans have taken this into account - will you be serving Thanksgiving dinner early, say at 11:30 or 11:45 a.m., or will you be waiting till after the big game, around 4:30 or 5 p.m.?

If you really time it well and are a fast eater, you could start serving at the two-minute warning in the first half.

Maybe the cooks in your house don't take Turkey Day games that seriously. After all, when was the last time you cared if you missed the second half of New England beating up on the Lions?

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But this year is different. WAY different. With 10-0 Green Bay playing in 7-3 Detroit at 12:30 p.m., eating during this game could become hazardous.

How much gravy will you pour in your lap because you're not paying attention to what you're doing, instead watching Aaron Rodgers throw a bomb 75 yards down the field?

Or will you dump a fully loaded plate weighed down with five pounds of turkey, stuffing, cranberry relish and mashed potatoes on the floor when you see Calvin Johnson haul in an amazing TD catch?

Don't let me be telling you, "I told you so," when disaster strikes if the big meal is served at 2:30 p.m. Thursday.

Now on to the picks:


Green Bay at Detroit - It pains me to say this as a Lions fan, but I haven't seen much lately to make me think Detroit will keep up with Green Bay, even with several home-field advantages - Like playing at noisy Ford Field, playing on national TV, being at home on the short week, and remembering the 1962 Turkey Day game in Detroit when Packers quarterback Bart Starr was sacked 11 times for their only loss of a championship season.

Too many mistakes by the offense, defense and special teams will put Detroit in an early hole it can't climb out of, only because Rodgers & Co. will continue to score, even during timeouts, halftime and most importantly, when the other team has the ball. Packers, 37-31.

Miami at Dallas - Miami has revived its season with three straight wins, but too late to make a playoff run.

The Cowboys are finally ready to avenge the famous T-Day game from 1993 when Leon Lett jumped on the ball after a blocked field goal and Miami went on to win in the snow in Dallas. In a repeat of the '93 score, but with the teams reversed, Cowboys, 16-14.

San Francisco at Baltimore - OK, maybe you'd miss this game if it was lumped in with a bunch of other games on Sunday, but having it on the NFL Network insures the vast majority of us will be sure to miss it.

And this one could easily be an all-time classic. 49ers, 20-17.

Sunday, 1 p.m.

Minnesota at Atlanta - The Vikings will look like they showed up at a track meet in their socks. Falcons, 31-19.

Cleveland at Cincinnati - And the Browns will look like they showed up at a water-balloon fight with an eyedropper. Bengals, 20-6.

Carolina at Indianapolis - The Panthers are one-dimensional, but that's one more dimension than Indy. Panthers, 34-27.

Houston at Jacksonville - New Houston QB Matt Leinart got a one huge break with the bye week to prepare for his first start this year. The second break is the opponent. Texans, 20-16.

Buffalo at N.Y. Jets - Two teams recently exposed as frauds. But at least New York can play defense. Jets, 17-9.

Arizona at St. Louis - Two of the three answers to this difficult trivia question: Who else plays in the division that San Francisco has led by five games throughout November? Cardinals, 14-10.

Tampa Bay at Tennessee - I just looked up some NFL yardage numbers. The big surprise? The Bucs are 32nd in total defense. That bodes well for Tennessee, which is in flux at QB between injured starter Matt Hasselbeck and top draft choice Jake Locker, who looked good in relief Sunday. Titans, 28-24.

Chicago at Oakland - Even though the Bears can run the ball and play defense, the backups to injured QB Jay Cutler don't inspire confidence - Caleb Hanie and Nathan Enderle. Who? Unless they run like Tim Tebow, Chicago's in trouble. Raiders, 20-12.

Denver at San Diego - Speaking of Tebow, will the juggernaut continue? Or will San Diego dominate like Detroit did in Denver? Considering the stumbling and bumbling by the Chargers, plus a porous run defense, Broncos, 24-23.

New England at Philadelphia - The Eagles saved their season Sunday, just to watch it get blown up this weekend. Patriots, 33-24.

Washington at Seattle - Two teams going in different directions. Nothing changes this week. Seahawks, 27-17.

Sunday night

Pittsburgh at Kansas City - Two more of the same. Steelers, 30-16.

Monday night

New York Giants at New Orleans - Part of the Giants' brutal stretch in the schedule. New England and San Francisco are in the rearview mirror. And Green Bay is coming to the Meadowlands in a week. But this might be the toughest game, since it's in New Orleans. Saints, 36-24.

Last week - 11-3, 79 percent. Season - 104-56, 65 percent.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246.



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