Just over a month before Christmas, and most of us are already relishing the smell of turkey cooking in the oven. Mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, green bean casserole and cranberry sauce overflowing a heavily laden plate, and that’s just the first course! Pecan Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Strawberry Rhubarb pie, oh man I am already stuffed just thinking about it. For many of us, it will be time to slow down for a few days, take some time and enjoy family. Play with the kids, argue with siblings, but most importantly get together for some serious fellowship. Amen!
This is the week that officially starts the holiday season. College football is winding down, and every game in the NFL, with a few exceptions, has playoff implications. The worst part about this time of year is knowing that we’ve already blitzed through more than half the season.
What we can look forward to however is several glorious days of football. Even non-football fans, stuffed to the point they can barely waddle, will sit down and enjoy a little Thanksgiving football tradition. Detroit especially needs this, on the heels of a sporting debacle that’s been covered a zillion times. Dallas and Detroit, home on Thanksgiving. The question is, will they be the turkeys getting stuffed, or manage a little of that magic they seem to find each year.
This week we find ourselves in familiar territory, with two teams battling for gridiron supremacy at a time when every game counts like a triple word score in Scrabble. Two AFC powerhouses collide in a monumental survival of the fittest, as the Baltimore Ravens travel to Foxborough to take on the New England Patriots in this week’s
Great White Shark Game of the Week – Baltimore @ New England
Sunday November 28th @ 1:00pm ET on CBS
This is a classic case of a game between a rock and a hard place. Baltimore’s defense has been rock solid this year, with Ray Lewis leading his Ravens on a rampage around the NFL. Gillette Stadium is a hard place, as in a hard place to beat the Patriots. They haven’t lost in Foxborough since the Jets beat them on December 22nd, 2002, 30-17. The Patriots, led by coach Bill Bellicheck and MVP quarterback Tom Brady, have reeled off thirteen straight home victories and a 27-3 overall record since then that includes an NFL record 21-game winning streak. Kyle Boller, the butt of many jokes early in the season and a frequent resident on the waiver wire, has stepped up and shown promise the last couple weeks. He’ll be tested by a battered but resilient New England defense that has somehow managed to continue playing at a high level even with the loss of several key personnel.
Shark Sighting – Will it be Jamal Lewis or Chester Taylor this week for the Ravens? Lewis is still nursing a sprained ankle suffered in the Dallas game. If Taylor starts, expect to see Boller tossing the rock around more as he did last week.
Whale of a Game – Jacksonville @ Minnesota
Sunday November 28th @ 1:00pm on CBS
Jacksonville took it on the chin last week as Steve McNair finally returned from the bruised sternum that had sidelined him for several games just in time to help the Titans slip by the Jaguars in a critical AFC South divisional match. Now they head into the Metrodome needing a win to keep pace with the Colts, while Minnesota has watched its early season divisional lead get yanked like Randy Moss’s hamstring. The good news for Vikings fans is Moss is scheduled to return to play this week and Daunte Culpepper owners couldn’t be happier. Just a few short weeks ago he and Peyton Manning were duking it out for the title of baddest quarterback mamma jamma in the NFL, but Manning has left C-Pep in the dust the last couple weeks while the Minnesota offensive juggernaut ground to a halt without the former Thundering Herd wide receiver. Both teams need a victory to stay in the race for a division title and possible first round bye.
Shark Sighting – Mike Tice has become the scourge of fantasy football players everywhere. His infamous game time decisions and RBBC philosophy have kept countless fantasy owners in suspense. Who will it be this week? Michael Bennett, last weeks leader in rushing attempts with a whopping 11 carries, or Onterrio Smith? Inquiring minds wanna know, but will get no help from Tice.
Chumming the Waters – Miami @ San Francisco in the Ricky Bowl
Sunday November 28th @ 4:15 ET on CBS
The big drama in this game will be the recent ruling that Ricky Williams will be returning to the Miami Dolphins. Since his departure basically sunk the Dolphins season I can’t imagine the players welcoming him back with open arms to play one game, if any, this season. Reports are that Ricky will immediately serve a four game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policies. Small consolation to Miami fans and players who, prior to the season start, had hopes for a playoff run on Ricky’s stout legs.
The 49’ers? They are just bad. And they’ll lose to Miami in this one. Tony, don’t even THINK about picking this game, aight?
Shark Sighting – Tim Rattay looked confused last week against a ferocious Buccaneers defense, and tight end Eric Johnson’s stats reflected it. The running game is non-existent and Miami covers the receivers well, so expect what little offense to come from the Rattay to Johnson combo.