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Thanksgiving Day 2009: Turkey and Some Terrible Football

When given the time, Aaron Rodgers is one of the best QBs. Versus Detroit, it's just unfair

Ah, Thanksgiving. It’s the time that to spend with your family, including those really loud cousins that you can’t stand to be around but will put up with for this one day. It’s about the smell of food cooking in the kitchen before savoring at the dinner table. Turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, yams, stuffing, rolls, four different types of desert, one more filling than the last. Nothing to distract you from food and family. It’s all good.

Hopefully that’s how you spent the majority of your Thanksgiving Day because there was certainly no NFL football on TV. At least, no good football anyway. Watching it probably made you dry heave. Plainly, Thursday was a terrible day in the NFL. All three games were excruciatingly listless. But in fantasy, it all still counts. Here’s what I took away from this dreadful holiday of football.

Ok, fine …

Packers 34, Lions 12

If you own Carson Palmer, Joe Flacco, Kurt Warner, Alex Smith and even Jay Cutler, good things are headed your way. Aaron Rodgers should have shredded the Lions’ pass defense and he did his job. We already knew this defense was horrible, but the fact that the Lions became the second team all season to sack Rodgers fewer than twice in one game should really tell you something. The other team was, of course, Browns. As we’ve seen, they are the Lions are so evenly matched.

Detroit can’t rush the passer. They can’t cover receivers. Embarrassing is now a cliche for that defense.

Donald Driver had another big day while Greg Jennings had to settle for just 53 yards. Defenses are still respecting Jennings enough to send safety help to his side, which is leaving Driver wide open. This touchdown play shows exactly that. Also, Jennings is running the routes that Driver ran last season (slants, short comebacks) while Driver is running the deep posts that Jennings ran last season. Jennings is no better than a middle-of-the road No. 2 WR for the rest of the year. Even last week, which was his best statistical day of 2009, wasn’t very impressive considering that half of his yards and his touchdown came thanks in part to some swift moves and non-existent tackling.

Jermichael Finley may be a nice sleeper week to week because of his athleticism, but he is not going to get much done on a consistent basis as long as Donald Lee is around. Finley is a little overrated right now.

Matthew Stafford probably shouldn’t have played in this game. Some of his throws were atrocious. I still think the loss of Al Harris and Aaron Kampman will have an effect on that Packers’ defense. I’ll chalk up this effort to a case of playing Detroit.

Calvin Johnson looks like he should be put in an old folks home. I got a pinching sensation in my side each time I had to see him get up after every play. He’ll probably be missing practice prior to each game going forward. It’s clear that his knee injury isn’t going away.

Kevin Smith didn’t end up with great totals — 18 rushes for 43 yards, four catches for 41 yards — but he was just a couple of ankle tackles away from having a 150-yard day.

A thin ray of light in the Black Hole

Cowboys 24, Raiders 7

I saw only a little more than a quarter of this game because I went out to Thanksgiving dinner in the middle of the day. Why should I slave over a stove cooking food on a holiday?!

Also, I don’t cook.

From what I saw … Justin Fargas got the most carries of anyone in the Raiders’ running back trio and fully deserved it. He ran the hardest of the three and was the quickest to the holes. Darren McFadden and Michael Bush are fantasy bench fodder right now. Hopefully Tom Cable continues to start Fargas. He is clearly the best in that stable right now.

Bruce Gradkowski makes the Raiders better, but that’s like painting a sewer rat baby blue. It’s still a rat. You just made it more pleasing to look at.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wanted to see more of Felix Jones. He responded with one of the few highlights from this game. There is no sense in chasing him. No one’s going to catch him.

Marion Barber ended up with 102 total yards, but a 42-yard reception and a 32-yard run late in the game kept him from being a total disappointment. I believe he ran for just nine yards on his first seven carries. The good news is that he got about 60 percent of the carries split between him, Jones and Tashard Choice.

I was never worried about Miles Austin. He had a tremendous day Thursday and more of the same should be on the horizon as he learns to deal with opposing teams’ best corner and double coverage.

Hey, Roy Williams caught a touchdown. I bet Dallas fans can’t wait for him to catch a bus out of town.

Dallas’ defense used to be so good at pressuring the quarterback. But in consecutive home games against the Redskins and Raiders, they totaled just four sacks and forced two turnovers combined. This is a unit that’s probably getting too much respect because of its personnel.

Broncos 26, Giants 6

All of my Thanksgiving dinner almost came back up while watching this pathetic contest. Apparently, the Giants lodged a protest about playing this game on Thanksgiving Day. That’s appropriate, because it looked as if no Giant cared whether if they won or lost. It’s not hyperbole to say that this is the worst I’ve seen the Giants play since their playoff loss to Philadelphia last season. You know it’s a bad game when Tom Coughlin says during his post-game press conference that he was most impressed by the place kicker. Way to go, Lawrence!

It’s not worth talking about any of the Giants. They were all pretty close to being equally wretched. But I will say a couple of things.

Steve Smith continued to be a PPR monster with seven more catches for 71 yards.

I am done using Brandon Jacobs. The Denver Broncos’ rush defense has been getting flattened in the past month, but Jacobs couldn’t do anything against that front. He looks old/injured/tentative/indifferent while playing. Given his future schedule, I would probably consider playing him only in week 16 against Carolina. Otherwise, he should be dead to you.

Knowshon Moreno has clearly become the Broncos’ top back, even though Correll Buckhalter got 20 carries on Thursday to Moreno’s 19. Don’t let that fool you. A nice chunk of those carries for Buckhalter came late in the game when Moreno was forced to leave due to a hand injury and a Broncos victory was secure. Overall, the rookie looked tremendous, running well inside and out, and breaking many tackles. He should be considered a solid No. 2 RB going forward with the Raiders and two games against the Chiefs on the schedule.

Kyle Orton didn’t have to do much, but at least he looked healthy. His stats are mostly due to Brandon Marshall playing with his gloves lined in double-sided tape.

Eli Manning and Brandon Jacobs didn't pick a good time to disappear for a must-win game

Seriously, I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving. I always do because I know it never lasts one day. Why? Because the best thing about Thanksgiving is the 10 pounds of leftover, cold turkey that lasts well into next week.

Best. Sandwiches. Ever.

Thanks for reading! Enjoy your weekend and enjoy week 12. Please check back on Monday night for a running blog of the Patriots-Saints game. Good times.

  1. November 28, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    That catch.

    I just.

    I have no words.

    I want to have sex with that catch, that’s how awesome it was.

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