NFL Turkey Day Priveiw 2016

Written by :
Published on : November 23, 2016

 

For many, watching NFL action on Thanksgiving is as essential as mashed potatoes. Most of my Turkey Day memories include the Detroit Lions and eating way too much. Then watching watching the Dallas Cowboys and eating a little more. Then complaining about how the Lions played while having coffee and pie. Let’s look at the menu for Thursday’s football feast.

 

9:30 am (PT) – Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions

 

Time to wake up and jump straight into fire. The lead in the NFC North hangs in the balance as both teams are 6-4 and coming off wins. Lions beat the Vikings in OT just a few weeks ago and this looks to be another close one. The winner will have a commanding lead with only 5 games left. All while Green Bay continues to implode and Chicago celebrates the Cubs. This Thanksgiving day game may decide the division.

 

Make at least a light snack during or before the game. Better yet, do a full breakfast or meal. You may think skip the early meal and save the room for dinner but it’s the early calories that kick start your metabolism and allow you to consume the most food possible. When you skip an eating, your body goes into reserve mode where it burns calories slowly. That’s not what you want, you want a roaring fire of an appetite. Let there be meat! Let there be football! Glorious Turkey Day to you all!

 

Good news for Minnesota is that their defense is legit and that will keep them in any contest. Good news for Detroit is that all 10 of their games this season (NFL record) have been decided within 7 points and Stafford seems to have a knack for winning it late. So we know this is going to come down to the last few possessions. Great, another holiday filled with screaming and tension.

 

1:30 pm – Washington R-words at Dallas Cowboys

 

Another tough divisional bout. NFC East leading Dallas defends their 9-1 record against 6-3-1 Washington who have found their stride recently, winning the last two. It’s hard to pick anyone to beat the Cowboys in Texas but Washington is sneaky. Alright, time to eat. First plate strategy is to get a small taste of everything the dinner has to offer. This may be tough depending on how many side dishes your Aunt brings. Resist the urge to make some mountain of first portion or else there will never be seconds.

 

I’ve mentioned this before but why does the league always schedule the Cowboys against one of the Native American themed franchises on Thanksgiving? Washington is in the division, so that kind of makes sense but it seems more than just luck. It’s kind of like someone at the NFL thinks it’s cute to play cowboys and indians on Turkey Day. Also, I’ve stopped using the Washington mascot name in my writing and I hope Washington ownership makes a change.

 

Good news for the Cowboys is that rookie QB Dak Prescott is playing great and limiting turnovers. Good news for Washington is they found a spark with RB Robert Kelley and QB Kirk Cousins is slinging. Time for a second plate. This time load up on all the best stuff, extra gravy please. But do it quick, the second half is about to start. The Washington defense needs to slow down the Dallas rushing attack or there is no chance they can win. Let’s hope Washington can score enough so this stays interesting.

 

5:30 pm – Pittsburgh Steelers at Indianapolis Colts

 

More football? Pile it on. This third game was added a few years back and can be any two teams, while Dallas and Detroit always host games. The last matchup features two 5-5 crews that both need the win to keep their playoff dreams alive. Grab a strong cup of black coffee, cream or sugar not needed because of what’s next: a piece of every pie, cake, pie or pie that’s available. Add ice cream or whipped cream where applicable.

 

Indy has trouble slowing down opposing offenses and Pittsburgh knows how to score a gang of points but those 5-5 records means we aren’t really sure who is going to show up. The Steelers’ ground game is solid with Le’Veon Bell and Big Ben to Antonio Brown is money in the bank but they don’t always seem to be able to put it all together. The Colts and QB Andrew Luck are building some steam with back-to-back wins over Green Bay and divisional foe, Tennessee.

 

Good news for Indy is they are at home and indoors which doesn’t sound like much of an advantage until you consider playing outside, at night, at Heinz Field. Good news for Pittsburgh is that QB Ben Roethlisberger has feasted on the Colts in his career. Ben Hungry. This could be a shootout. Which is the best case scenario because we are all very sleepy, so if this isn’t gripping, I’m napping.

 

nfl-thanksgiving-madden-jpg

 

Remember, Thanksgiving is day is about family and those close to your heart. Eat, drink, be merry but take a second to thank those around you. If you are away from the ones you love, call, text or fax. And if you go out into the world on Turkey Day, please be appreciative of the men and women who are working on the holiday.

 

Nap time.

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Review ‘N Brew: Weeks 11 and 12

Written by :
Published on : December 4, 2015

 

All right gang, this week you get a two’fer seeing as how I take off the entire week of Thanksgiving every year come hell or high water. After the belt is loosened, the naps slept, and the leftovers properly sandwiched, I’ve got fat reserves a-go-go to bring you the greatest plays from the NFL’s weeks 11 and 12, respectively.

 

 

Week 11: Matt Hasselbeck Flips to Ahmad Bradshaw for 7 Yard TD

Bradshaw for the TD!

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

If you’re gonna pull a comeback it needs to start somewhere. This time, the Colts three point victory over the Falcons got off the ground thanks to an old familiar face. Ahmad Bradshaw turns to Hasselbeck, as the replacement QB is about to get run-over under pressure, and catches the quick shovel pass. It ain’t too difficult for Bradshaw to take it seven yards to the house with two big blockers and a lot of green in front of him.

 

It certainly doesn’t look like a planned screen to me, and regardless whether or not it was, it took some quick reflexes and smarts on the part of both Hasselbeck and Bradshaw to pull it off. If Bradshaw can remain a viable back, it certainly takes some pressure off fellow old-timer Frank Gore, and would give the Colts a more successful running game down the stretch.

 

 

Week 12: Chris Ivory Refuses to Be Tackled

He won’t be stopped!

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

Chris Ivory has always been a beastly downhill runner, and he really lives up to his rep with this diehard effort. The play doesn’t look great to start as Dolphins linebacker Neville Hewitt bolts through a hole in the line, but Ivory manages to elude Hewitt, making him whiff on the tackle. Ivory gains a few, and by all rights should be stopped as the Jets back runs afoul of three linemen attacking from three different directions. Inexplicably Ivory twists out of this and gets free. Throw in one more missed tackle by linebacker Kelvin Sheppard and you’ve got a Review ‘N Brew worthy highlight on your hands.

 

Of course Ivory deserves all the credit and respect on the play, but there’s something troubling in the listlessness shown by a defense that some thought would be an elite squad at the beginning of the season…

 

 

Weeks 11 and 12: A Ceramic Mug of Congealed Turkey Gravy Melted in the Microwave

 photo mugofgravy01_zps1uoljd1v.jpg

 

Another sweet sweet Lions win in the books, and a blowout on Thanksgiving to boot! Every bite of turkey tasted like an eagle, and every mouthful of fluffy mashed potatoes like Chip Kelly’s fragile dreams. That night I gave thanks to Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate, Matthew Stafford, and especially Ziggy Ansah. There was even room in my heart for Joique Bell and Stephen Tulloch. Commensurate to the room in my belly for pumpkin pie (whipped cream, please.)

 

On Thanksgiving, that most pigskin friendly of holidays, I ate and drank my fill. Fine wines and side dishes, brewskies and desserts: all traveled merrily down my gullet as I celebrated with friends and family. I didn’t want it to end. I never want Thanksgiving to end.

 

One of Calvin’s three touchdowns on Thanksgiving

 

That night I couldn’t sleep, as I was unsurprisingly afflicted with indigestion. I crept downstairs and watched highlights from the day’s games. Poor Tony Romo. Bears win at Lambeau! I opened the fridge, but I wasn’t hungry. I was now possessed by either the spirit of the holiday, or by the ghost of a vengeful Native American exiled from his homeland after lending a helping hand to the pale-faced new arrivals.

 

I pulled a tupperware of gravy from the fridge and a spoon from the drawer. The cold gravy, once so warm and velvety, had now become the texture of jelly as the turkey grease congealed around the flour and mushroom chunks. This wouldn’t do. Not one bit. I looked for an appropriate receptacle and came upon a ceramic coffee mug. Inspired, I started spooning gobbet after gobbet of the meat slurry into the cup. 30 microwavable seconds later the gravy had returned to its former glory, with the mushrooms proudly floating atop my beautiful brown elixir. The aroma of rendered fowl fat was intoxicating.

 

I drank and I drank. I sucked up that damned gravy in one go. Sated, I hit replay on the day’s Lions highlights, smiling with joy between grimaces brought on by chest pains. Tomorrow would be a rough one, but right now everything was just as it should be.

 

 


Champ and Chump: Thanksgiving Day Edition

Written by :
Published on : November 28, 2015

 

 

After having a bye week last week, the Champ and Chump column returns for a festive edition to celebrate the best and worst performances from the holiday. While we all were filling our plates and stuffing our bellies, some athletes were filling the boxscores and stuffing their stat sheets while others imploded like the famous turkey from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Hopefully we all found many things and people to be thankful for during the holiday, causing us to feel like a champ. But after passing out from a tryptophan overdose from the delicious turkey or entering a food coma by forcing one more piece of pumpkin pie down our throats, we too may have found ourselves feeling like a chump. Let’s take a look who takes home the prestigious honors for this holiday edition of Champ and Chump.

 

 

Champ: Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson

It was like the good ol’ days for Stafford and Johnson on Thanksgiving.

 

While the Detroit Lions’ season appears to be all but over, they earned themselves a 3-game winning streak when they routed the Philadelphia Eagles on Thanksgiving in Detroit 45-14, and are mathematically still in the playoff hunt, though it may require them to win out. However, with the way that quarterback Matthew Stafford played, maybe anything is possible. It was refreshing for Detroit fans to seemingly have their Lions turn back the clock to when the Stafford-Johnson connection was one of the most lethal combos in the National Football League. Stafford finished 27-38 for 337 yards and 5 touchdowns without turning the ball over. Calvin caught 8 of those balls for 93 yards but most importantly hauled in 3 touchdown passes while dominating the Eagles’ secondary. It could be too little too late for the Lions, but for this one day, they can feel like champions and for the last 50-some years, that’s the closest they have ever been to being one.

 

Honorable Mention:

Luke Kuechly- Kuechly picked off Tony Romo twice, returning one to the house for a touchdown to go along with 7 tackles, anchoring the stout Panther defense in a win over the Cowboys

Denzel Valentine- Notching his second triple-double of the season already, Valentine led the Michigan State Spartans to a victory over the Boston College Eagles finishing with 29 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists.

Chris Warren and Jared Brownridge- Both in losing efforts, Warren ran for 276 yards and 4 touchdowns for the Texas Longhorns against the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Brownridge put up a John Wooden Classic tournament record 44 points against the Arizona Wildcats, but his Santa Clara Broncos fell in overtime.

 

 

Chump: Chip Kelly

More like “Chump” Kelly as of late.

 

The Philadelphia Eagles handed the keys to Chip Kelly to build a champion a few years back and now in his third season, the Eagles are yet to even win a playoff game. After going 10-6 in his first two years, Kelly changed the offense completely this year by acquiring Sam Bradford and dealing away Pro Bowl running back LeSean McCoy, who seemingly fit his offense well, before the team signed former Cowboy DeMarco Murray. So far the makeover has not been pretty as the Eagles lost their third straight and fell to 4-7 on the season. While the offense is hardly the only problem (the defense has given up 45+ points in consecutive weeks to average to below average opponents), it is supposed to be Kelly’s forte. While it has only been three seasons, and Kelly currently has a winning record with the Eagles, his scheme doesn’t seem to really translate to the NFL, and many people feel his job very well may be on the line. In a whacky year in college football with many big programs set to be looking for new coaches, I can’t help but feel like Chip returning to the PAC 12 and leading the Trojans in Southern Cal would be a perfect fit.

 

Dishonorable Mention:

Tony Romo- Finished with just 106 yards and 0 touchdowns while throwing 3 picks (2 returned for touchdowns) in a loss to the Carolina Panthers before fracturing his collarbone, forcing him to miss the remainder of the season.

Darren McFadden and DeMarco Murray- With both their teams losing on Turkey day, neither running back was able to get anything going for their respective teams. McFadden finished the day with just 11 yards on 10 carries and Murray found a little more success reaching 30 yards on 14 carries.

Wichita State Shockers- The Shockers took the world by storm a couple years back when they entered the NCAA Tournament undefeated before falling in the 3rd round, and last year had just four losses during the regular season. Already this year, the Shockers find themselves at 2-3. They have finally outgrown that slipper and we may just have a new Cinderella story come March.

 

 


Which Athletes Would Make the Best Thanksgiving Dinner

Written by :
Published on : November 26, 2015

 

Today is Thanksgiving, which means 3 things; football, food and finding a way to avoid getting stuck hearing your crazy Aunt Beatrice talk about her cats. Just kidding Aunt B, I love hearing about Mr Fluffles, and yes I would love to see more pictures of him. Anyways, I thought that before I fall into a turkey-induced coma, that it might be fun to talk about which athletes, past and present, would comprise the best Thanksgiving dinner.

 

Turkey – Larry Bird

He may be the turkey on our plate but he was no turkey on the court.

 

This seems like a no-brainer. He is one of the greatest basketball players in the history of the game and his name is Bird for Christ’s sake. As one of the best shooters, defenders and fiercest competitors to play the game, you can’t go wrong with making him the centerpiece of your Turkey Day feast.

 

Mashed Potatoes – Jamal Mashburn

Get some of this Mash.

 

A prolific scorer whose 12 year career was sadly marred by chronic knee problems, Jamal Mashburn averaged 19.1 ppg while playing for the Mavericks, Heat and Hornets. He could drain the rock and I can’t figure out if his name has something to do with potatoes or some sort of by-product from a backwoods whiskey still. Either way, he’s our mashed potatoes.

 

Stuffing – “Mean” Joe Greene

You do not want to mess with this man.

 

Joe Greene was a beast in the middle of the defense for those legendary Steelers teams of the 70’s. Sure his name doesn’t sound like food, but he gets to be the stuffing on our plate this year because his work on the inside made sure that opposing running games were stuffed more often than not.

 

Cranberry – Eric Berry

Mr. Berry himself.

 

This dude is one of the best stories in the entire NFL. He had his 2014 season cut short after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and it looked as though his career might be over. Apparently someone forgot to tell him that because he completed his treatment in remarkably fast time in order to be ready for the start of the 2015 season. He has played in every single game this year and is beginning to shine as the season progresses. His courage and dedications earn him a place on the plate as our cranBerry.

 

Gravy – Gary Payton

“I’m the gravy!”

 

Gary Payton is one of the best defenders at the point guard position of all time. He was nicknamed ‘the Glove’ for his ability to lock down the opposition. The Glove covers everything, just like the gravy on my Thanksgiving plate.

 

Dinner Rolls – Antrel Rolle

“I’m trying to make it to dinner!”

 

Every dinner needs some bread in there. He is our dinner Rolle. A Super Bowl Champion and three-time Pro Bowler at the safety position, he has 26 interceptions and 5 defensive touchdowns in his career.

 

 

So there you have it, the ultimate Thanksgiving dinner as represented by some of the best athletes ever. Now, I’m more of a go back for seconds and thirds, and skip dessert kind of guy, but if I have to pick something I’m going to finish my meal off with a little Walter “Sweetness” Payton with some Paul Coffey on the side. If you’ll excuse me there’s a turkey in dire need of some basting.

 

 

 

 


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