What's on the menu for NFL Thanksgiving tripleheader

Arian Foster is a key part of the Texans' finger-licking good offence. (RICK WILKING/Reuters file...

Arian Foster is a key part of the Texans' finger-licking good offence. (RICK WILKING/Reuters file photo)

JOHN KRYK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:14 PM ET

Here's what's on the menu Thursday for the NFL's annual all-day U.S. Thanksgiving tripleheader. Sprinkle sage, rosemary or brown sugar to taste.

COFEE-TABLE NIBBLIES

Houston Texans (9-1) at Detroit Lions (4-6), 12:30 p.m. EST (CBS)

TEXAS CHILI: We mean the Texans' offence. Packs a wallop (running back Arian Foster on the ground), yet is amply sweet (the air attack led by quarterback Matt Schaub and wide recevier Andre Johnson). The Chicago Bears and Jacksonville Jaguars were the latest to discover that if you take away one half of this killer concoction, the other just zaps your palate all the more.

MIXED NUTS: Of course, we mean the Detroit Lions defensive line. Despite the Lions' inability to win many football games this season, Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley and co. have begun to take charge and realize their potential. But they're going against arguably the league's best offensive line. Suh probably won't have a stompin'-good time.

WHINE AND CRACKERS: Lions centre Dominic Raiola must be crackers to say what he did Tuesday. Evidently sick of hearing how great Texans defensive end J.J. Watt is, Raiola whined and told Watt to bring it on. Expect Watt and Houston's dominating defensive line to do just that.

HOME-COOKING SURPRISE: This is the 73rd time the Lions have played on U.S. Thanksgiving. It's as entrenched an NFL tradition as there is. The Lions know how to gear up for a Thursday game better than most teams. This is also the 50th anniversary of probably the Lions' biggest Thanksgiving Day win ever -– a thrashing of Vince Lombardi's best and otherwise unbeaten Green Bay Packers team. Detroit should be ready.

DINNER

Washington Redskins (4-6) at Dallas Cowboys (5-5), 4:15 p.m. EST (FOX)

TURKEY: Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. No, it’s not like that. This time we mean he's the main course. Seriously. Romo is 5-0 as a starter on Thanksgiving, completing 67% of his passes for 18 touchdowns against only 5 interceptions and a passer rating of 117.5. Now that's a main course. Stuff that, Romo haters!

CANDIED YAMS: Robert Griffin III. The Redskins quarterback is the perfect complement to the plain, sleepy turkey that is Romo. RG3 returns to his home state (he played college ball at nearby Baylor), where he’s loved. You can bet he wants to impress with some sweet plays in such a marquee setting.

MASHED POTATOES: That would be both teams' defences, whose star performers have been mashed by injuries all season. The Cowboys' D, however, doesn't get whipped like the Redskins' usually does.

HALF-BAKED HAM: Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant. This one makes the whole Thanksgiving analogy work.

GRAVY: If the Cowboys win, they add a little more pressure to the New York Giants, who host the streaking Packers on Sunday night. A Cowboys win and a Giants loss would see both teams tied atop the NFC East at 6-5.

BITS OF STUFFING: Redskins rookie running back Alfred Morris has rushed for 75+ yards in 8 of 10 games ... 'Skins linebacker London Fletcher had 16 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble the last time he played the Cowboys ... Dallas outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware has five sacks in his last four games vs. the Skins.

DESSERT TABLE

New England Patriots (7-3) at New York Jets (4-6), 8:20 p.m. EST (NBC)

RUM-BRADY ICE CREAM: One of the benchmarks, often incomparable. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady rather quietly is having another ridiculously impressive season: 21 touchdowns vs. 3 interceptions. How do you not savour that?

HEALTHY CHOICES: Jets head coach Rex Ryan lost more than 100 pounds this past off-season, but not much bluster. It must be killing him to go into a game against counterpart and arch-nemesis Bill Belichick with a team that can't keep up on offence and can no longer befuddle Brady on defence. Yet the Jets almost beat the Pats in New England last month.

NO NUTCAKE: That’s right. Pats tight end Rob Gronkowski won’t play. He's out for a month or so with a broken left forearm. But the Pats’ other star tight end, Aaron Hernandez, is expected back from his severely sprained ankle.

PUMPKIN PIE: A lot of people don't like it. Seldom lives up to expectations. Yet year after year it gets put out there, front and centre. Even those who like it savour it only a few days a year. We’re talking, of course, about Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez.

APPLE PIE: The backup to pumpkin pie. An all-American classic. Beloved by grammas and kiddies alike. Say hello, Tim Tebow. Think Ryan and Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano have been waiting till now to fully unleash the holy terror? Neither do we.

Now there’s another thing to give thanks for, people.

john.kryk@sunmedia.ca

@JohnKryk

blogs.canoe.ca/krykslants/


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