BASN NFL Picks: Thanksgiving Day Games

By Tony McClean
Updated: November 21, 2007

NEW HAVEN — Before I get started, on behalf of the entire BASN staff, let me wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving. In many ways, Turkey Day is almost like Opening Day and Super Sunday all rolled into one.

For many football fans, it represents the quintessential holiday, synonymous with family, food and football. And for NFL fans everywhere, what a day it promises to be. Thanksgiving Day this Thursday features an NFL triple-header with traditional holiday games in Detroit and Dallas and the NFL Network primetime game in Atlanta.

The action begins in the Motor City on Fox (12:30 ET) with a key NFC North divisional matchup between the Green Bay Packers (9-1) and Detroit Lions (6-4). The teams meet on Thanksgiving for the 18th time with the last such game occurring in 2003 when the Lions defeated the Packers 22-14.

The holiday action shifts to Dallas for the second game on CBS (4:15 ET) as the Cowboys (9-1) host the New York Jets (2-8). Dallas has a 24-14-1 (.632) record on Thanksgiving. In last year’s game, Tony Romo tied a franchise record with five touchdown passes as the Cowboys defeated Tampa Bay 38-10.

This year’s contest will feature a showdown between running back brothers Thomas (New York) and Julius (Dallas) Jones. Julius rushed for 150 yards in the last Thanksgiving meeting between the brothers in 2004 when Thomas played for Chicago.

The final contest of the day (NFL Network, 8:15 ET) features the Indianapolis Colts (8-2) at the Atlanta Falcons (3-7) in primetime. The Falcons played on Thanksgiving in 2005 and defeated Detroit 27-7. The Colts won at Detroit on the holiday in 2004 as Peyton Manning passed for a Thanksgiving-record six touchdowns.


It’s finally put up or shut up for the Boys of Motown. If they’re to be taken seriously as a playoff team this season, they have to show up Thursday. Two brutal losses at home and the road have left folks starting to whisper “Same Ol’ Lions” again. On the other side, the Cheeseheads seem to reaching a new peak every week. Back-to-back home wins against Minnesota and Carolina have impressed, but they now face a road stretch (beginning with this game) that may very well definre their season. We all know that the Lions usually play well on Turkey Day, however Green Bay has won five of the last six meetings in this series, and 11 of the last 13. While I don’t think Green Bay will look past the Lions, I think Detroit needs this worse than the Pack.

Pick: Lions.


Yes, I know Gang Green pulled off one of the bigger upsets last week by shocking the Steelers. Yes, I know they held Willie Parker, the AFC’s leading rusher, to 52 yards on 21 carries. However, the Cowboys are on a great roll now and I really can’t see them looking past the Jets. Yes, I know that on any given Sunday (or Thursday or Monday, etc.), any team can beat another team, but I’m just not buying for this certain game. Dallas is 25-14 all-time on Thanksgiving. The Jets are making their first Thanksgiving appearance since 1985, when they lost at Detroit. Bottom line: I’m just not sure the Jets D (which has been playing well) can deal with both Romo and Owens on this day.

Pick: Cowboys.


The Colts won last week, but they are a mad bunch. They’re dealing with a lot injuries and a lot flak from the media that they don’t have a chance to repeat as Super Bowl Champs. Through gritting his teeth, Tony Dungy has shrugged off his team’s recent slump. He also remembers that Indy went through a 2-4 slide late last season but bounced back to win the Super Bowl. Nothing like a being served a big fat turkey (in the form of the Falcons) to help right the ship. The Dirty Birds were pimpslapped at the Dome last week by the Bucs and all indication are that even if they turn the other cheek Thursday, Indy will more than likely slap it. They may make it interesting for a few minutes. But after the National Anthem, then what??

Pick: Colts.

NOTE: A regular edition of BASN NFL Picks, including Week 12′s other games, will be in Friday’s editions.