Holiday Cheat Sheet: 4 Ways to Look Smart About Football on Thanksgiving

As you gather around the television for food and football on Thanksgiving, why not wow the family with your NFL knowledge?

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A traditional Thanksgiving turkey

As you gather around the television for food and football on Thanksgiving, why not wow the family with your NFL knowledge? Sure beats bickering. Here are four conversation points that will make you top turkey:

1. “Hey, Uncle Phil, Detroit Is Trying to Party Like It’s 1962.” The Green Bay Packers, defending Super Bowl champs, are a perfect 10-0 entering their Thanksgiving tilt against the Detroit Lions. Back in ’62, the Packers were also 10-0 on Thanksgiving — and the defending NFL champs — when they faced Detroit in Tiger Stadium. Detroit dominated that game, ruining Green Bay’s bid for a perfect season with a 26-14 victory and nearly a dozen sacks of Packers quarterback Bart Starr. Detroit, which enters the year’s game with a resurgent 7-3 record, finished the ’62 season 11-3. But Green Bay more than survived its Thanksgiving Day takedown: the Packers finished 13-1 and beat the New York Giants in the NFL championship game to clinch a second straight title.

2.”Aunt Jane, Green Bay Is Six Wins Away from a Record!” Green Bay won the last two games of last year’s regular season, all four of its playoff games and the first 10 games of the 2011 campaign. That’s a 16-game winning steak for the Packers. What’s the all-time NFL record for most games won in a row? The New England Patriots own it: over the 2003-04 seasons, the Pats took 21 straight. They won the Super Bowl in both years.

3.”Grandma, Miami Is No Longer Just Sucking for Luck.” Before she threatens to wash your mouth out with soap, explain: a few weeks ago, the Miami Dolphins were 0-7.  Many Fins fans were hoping the team would tank the season so it would finish with the worst record in the league and be able to select outstanding Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the top pick in the draft. (Thus “suck for Luck.” Everyone was saying it, Grandma, I’m no cretin.) But Miami has won its past three games and held its opponents to just 20 points over that stretch. In fact, the Miami defense has not allowed a touchdown in 12 quarters. The Dallas Cowboys, who host the Dolphins on Thanksgiving, are also hot: the team has a three-game winning streak of its own and is now tied with the New York Giants for first place in the NFC East. About a month ago, the Cowboys were probably circling this game as a sure win. They’d be foolish to do that now.

 4. “Dad Isn’t Sticking Around for the HarBowl, Gramps.” Fight off the tryptophan to stay up for the prime-time game between the Baltimore Ravens (7-3) and the San Francisco 49ers (9-1). For the first time in NFL history, two brothers will face each other as head coaches: John Harbaugh leads the Ravens, while his brother Jim, 15 months John’s junior, is the first-year coach of the surprising 49ers. So what will their father, former college head coach Jack, be doing during this game? He won’t be watching in the stadium: Jack says he plans to snap a pregame photo with his sons and wife and then high-tail it out of there. He doesn’t want the TV cameras focused on him.

The Harbaughs send game film to their dad every week so he can break it down and give them tips. Every Tuesday at 10 a.m., the DVDs arrive at his door. “A FedEx man, a gentleman by the name of Tim, really looks forward to it,” Jack Harbaugh told Baltimore sports-radio station 105.7 The Fan. “He comes down the street in a truck and jumps out of the truck with some real enthusiasm and runs them up to the door.”

We hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving football with Tim-like passion.