Happy Turkey Day Everyone!

 

Two interesting matches on the NFL undercard today before we awake from our turkey induced tryptophan and carb coma to view the main event.

 

9-1 Houston Oilers at 4-6 Detroit Lions
12:30 p.m. ET on CBS

For what it’s worth Detroit has lost eight consecutive Thanksgiving day games. Houston played horribly last week; just because the Lions are vastly superior to Jacksonville with their passing offense I would not hold my breath waiting for a repeat performance to last week’s four-touchdown, 372 yard performance that Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne combined to post. The last time Houston had a bad game (losing 42-24 to Green Bay) they responded by dismantling the Ravens 43-13. Despite the game against the Jaguars Houston’s defense still ranks 4th in point allowed (18.0), 4th in passing yards per game (299), 5th in yards per pass attempt (6.5), and has an NFL 9th best eleven interceptions.

Expect Detroit to shoot themselves in the foot: their 70 penalties is the 7th most in the NFL, and the 647 yards they have been penalized is the 5th most. Detroit does not run the ball very often (only seven teams have fewer rushes) and they don’t run very well; a one-dimensional offense against J.J. Watt and Houston’s pass rush is a recipe for disaster. The only thing Detroit has in their favor is Houston having to make a long trip as the road team on a short week.

Prediction: Texans 31, Lions 17
- final score: Texans 34, Lions 31
Texans -3, under 50½

 

4-6 Washington Redskins at 5-5 Dallas Cowboys
4:15 p.m. ET on Fox

Dallas barely escaped with a victory against the lowly Browns last week in a game they did not deserve to win. As bad and as inconsistent as the Cowboys have been this year they somehow find themselves in a position to be in a first place tie in the NFC East when this week’s games gave been completed. The problem is that Dallas hasn’t exactly done a good job of taking advantage of opportunities this season. Washington’s Robert Griffin is coming off a game in which he posted a perfect passer rating (only one incomplete pass) and also rushed for 84 yards. The Redskins’ problem is that their defense is still bad, and they play a very undisciplined brand of football; they were penalized 13 times last week (including an inexcusable five false starts), and lead the league with 8.8 penalties per game. Of course that may not be a factor; Dallas is right behind them with 8.4 penalties per game.

I don’t know if Washington can win this game, but the two teams are close enough that I would take them plus the points.

Prediction: Cowboys 27, Redskins 24
- final score: Redskins 38, Cowboys 31
Redskins +4, over 46

 

7-3 New England Patriots at 4-6 New Jersey Jets
8:20 p.m. ET on NBC

I think a lot of people are making too much of the Patriots missing Rob Gronkowski, while at the same time overlooking the fact that the Pats get Aaron Hernandez back on the field. The Pats thrive on goading opponents into mistakes and turning the ball over, and despite last week’s game (75% completions), Mark Sanchez is pretty much the NFL poster child for doing just that. I think too many ifs have to happen for the Jets to win; don’t be surprised if the rest of the Patriots make a statement as if to say ‘we’re more than just Gronk’.

Prediction: Patriots 31, Jets 17
- final score: Patriots 49, Jets 19
Patriots -7, under 48½

 

 

This Day In Patriots History

 

November 22, 1959:
RB Ron Burton became the first ever draft pick of the Patriots; others drafted: DB Billy Brewer, HB Dave Ames, HB Buddy Allen, QB Harvey White, HB Joe Kulbacki, T Ron Mix, DB Gary Wisener, HB Gerhard Schwedes and LB Jack Rudolph

 

November 22, 1962:
Steve DeOssie was born in Tacoma; LB played with the Pats in 1994-95

 

November 22, 1963:
Hugh Millen was born in Des Moines; QB played with the Pats in 1991-92

 

November 22, 1970:
New York Jets 17, Boston Patriots 3 at Shea Stadium

This game was emblematic of the short-lived Joe Kapp era: In Clive Rush‘s second game as head coach Kapp completed four of the 17 passes he threw, the Pats leading receiver was Bake Turner, and the leading rusher was Odell Lawson. ‘Nuff said.

 

November 22, 1981:
Buffalo Bills 20, New England Patriots 17 at Rich Stadium

The Bills won on a Hail Mary pass from Joe Ferguson to Roland Hooks for the win, negating an excellent comeback by the Pats.

Late in the 4th quarter Matt Cavanaugh hit Stanley Morgan on a 65-yard completion which brought the Pats down to the Buffalo five-yard line; with less than two minutes to play Cavanaugh connected with Don Hasselbeck for a touchdown which gave the Patriots a 17-13 lead. On the ensuing possession Rick Sanford intercepted a Ferguson pass and the Pats seemed to be on their way to a victory.

As Bills fans streamed out of the stadium Buffalo used all three of their timeouts on defense and managed to get the ball back on their own 27 with 35 seconds left to play. The Pats secondary had the Bills receivers covered, but Ferguson found Hooks – who was only in the game because starter Joe Cribbs had been injured earlier – for a 37 yard completion down the middle. With the clock ticking Ferguson spiked the ball, for one last play from the Pats 36. Hooks and two Buffalo receivers lined up on the right and took off. The Pats had the coverage they needed and Mike Hawkins got his hands on the pass … but before it hit the ground Hooks dove and caught the ball for the winning score with five seconds left on the clock.

Stanley Morgan finished with 141 yards receiving, but of course nobody remebered that considering what transpired in the final drive.

 

November 22, 1984:
Dallas Cowboys 20, New England Patriots 17 at Texas Stadium

In what was the Pats first time ever playing on Thanksgiving the Cowboys edged the Patriots on a field goal with four seconds left to play after Danny White marched Dallas 55 yards on ten plays as the clock was running out, evening both team’s records at 8-5.

Considering the Dallas defense scored on a pick-6 and also registered ten sacks on Tony Eason the Patriots were probably fortunate to even be in a position to win the game late. The Pats were down 17-3 at the start of the 4th quarter but Eason threw a one-yard touchdown pass to Derrick Ramsey (5 catches for 71 yards) and then scored on a one-yard keeper to tie the game. Raymond Clayborn had an interception to keep things close, and Craig James ran for 112 yards on 19 carries for the Patriots.

 

November 22, 1987:
New England Patriots 24, Indianapolis Colts 0 at the Hoosier Dome

With both Tony Eason and Steve Grogan hurt, the Pats defense and special team units carried the team to a victory with a shutout over the Colts. The win put the Pats in to a five-way tie for first place in the AFC East as all five teams had identical 5-5 records.

Third-string QB Tom Ramsey got a win in his first NFL start, and threw an eight-yard touchdown pass to Irving Fryar in the 2nd quarter. In the 3rd quarter returned a blocked punt three yards for a TD, and then Ronnie Lippett intercepted a pass and ran it back 45 yards for a touchdown for the final score of the game. Andre Tippett had three sacks, Jim Bowman had two interceptions, a fumble recovery and eight tackles, Ernest Gibson had an interception, and collectively the Pats forced five turnovers. On offense Stanley Morgan had five catches for 102 yards and Bob Perryman had ten carries for 73 yards, including a 48-yard run. Morgan moved into seventh place in NFL history with 9,294 yards receiving for his career during the game, passing all-time great Raymond Berry.

 

November 22, 1992:
New England Patriots 24, New York Jets 3 at Foxboro

John Stephens ran for two touchdowns and Jon Vaughn rushed for a career-high 110 yards as the Pats easily handled the Jets. The Pats defense recorded four sacks and two interceptions, limiting Browning Nagle to just nine completions in 24 pass attempts and only 77 yards.

 

November 22, 2004:
New England Patriots 27, Kansas City Chiefs 19 at Arrowhead Stadium

The Pats improved to 9-1 in front of a Monday Night Football audience as Deion Branch had six catches for 105 yards and Corey Dillon rushed for 98 yards. Dillon ran for two touchdowns, Rodney Harrison had a critical interception, Ty Warren had two sacks, and Daniel Graham had three catches for 83 yards.

 

November 22, 2009:
New England Patriots 31, New York Jets 14 at Gillette Stadium

Leigh Bodden started things off with a 53-yard interception return for a touchdown and the Pats breezed to their 7th win of the year. Laurence Maroney ran for two touchdowns and Wes Welker had fifteen receptions for 192 yards for the Pats, while Bodden finished the game with three picks.

 

 

 

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November 22, 1946:
Aston Barrett of Bob Marley and the Wailers was born in Kingston, Jamaica

November 22, 1949:
Steven Van Zandt of Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band, and The Sopranos was born in Winthrop, Mass

November 22, 1950:
Tina Weymouth of the Talking Heads and the Tom Tom Club was born in Coronado, California

November 22, 1968:
The Beatles released the White Album

November 22, 1975:
That’s The Way (uh huh uh huh) I Like It by KC and the Sunshine Band became the new number one single

November 22, 1994:
Pearl Jam released their third album, Vitalogy

November 22, 1997:
INXS singer Michael Hutchence died

 

 

 

 

 

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