Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. It’s a time to celebrate family, food, football, and fake stories about awkward conversations during dinner. What a wonderful time! I like Thanksgiving, but it’s not my number one (I know for a fact I’ve gone into this before, but it’s Christmas. Obvi). Give me the meal, but I’ll skip the explanations to countless family members of how I’m still kind of a loser. But that’s not what this is about. This is about football. For the first time this season, you’ll get some Thursday picks, so be thankful for that. Hmmm. Thankful. That sounds like a decent gimmick. I think I’ll go through every game and say what they make me thankful for. No one’s done that, right?
Chicago Bears (-3.5) at Detroit Lions
I’m thankful for the Lions’ early Thanksgiving game, which has eased me into countless Thanksgivings by giving everyone something to talk about. I’m thankful for my uncle from Australia (yeah, I’m pretty worldly, NBD) who, without fail, would watch the majority of every game with me once he got a taste for it. I’m thankful for Matt Stafford because it’s nice to have guys with huge stats that don’t actually win anything. I’m thankful for Khalil Mack because it’s fun to watch future Hall of Famers in their primes. I’m thankful for Mitchell Trubisky not playing, because it makes this a lot easier.
Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys (-7.5)
I’m thankful that, eventually, this game will end.
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (-13)
I’m thankful for the invention of the forward pass, which will be on full display during this game. I’m thankful for Drew Brees, who was indirectly related to one of my crowning achievements (eating 13 cupcakes during the 2009 Super Bowl). I’m thankful for Matt Ryan for being a major character in the greatest night of my life (when the Falcons lost the Super Bowl despite being up 28-3. Don’t know if I’ve mentioned it). I’m thankful I don’t really have to do any research, because my gut tells me there’s no way a division game in the Thanksgiving prime time spot ends in a blowout. That only happens when the Jets are involved.
Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers (-3)
I’m thankful for all the random receivers the Seahawks have who seem to decide before every game who’s going to have a 50 yard play. I’m thankful for Cam Newton because he makes me question how I share 99% of my DNA with someone like him. I’m thankful for Russell Wilson because he’s one of the most fun QBs to watch of all time and one of the weirdest people in world history. I’m thankful that this game exists to appease all the sticks in the mud who complained about too much offense on Monday night.
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (-6)
I’m thankful for the future where society crumbles under the apocalyptic heat of the collapsing sun and the NFL is left behind, because that means there won’t be any more NFC East games.
New England Patriots (-9.5) at New York Jets
I’m thankful for Tom Brady (obviously) for being the driving force behind the, like, five happiest moments of my life (yes, I’m a loser). I’m thankful for this exact matchup for giving us the Butt Fumble massacre on Thanksgiving night six years ago. I’m thankful that the Jets have provided so much comedy over the years and are the perfect slump-busters. I’m thankful for whichever QB starts for the Jets because they’re going to be very bad.
San Francisco 49ers at Tampa Bay Bucs (-3)
I’m thankful for every quarterback involved with this game. The definition of electric. That’s it, though. Not much else to look forward to.
Oakland Raiders at Baltimore Ravens (-11)
I’m thankful for season 3 of Ballers, because the storyline that Spencer Strasmore was spearheading the Raiders move to Las Vegas is still the most preposterous thing I’ve ever seen. I’m thankful for Lamar Jackson because he’s really fun to watch, even if he’s on my least favorite team. I’m thankful for crab and crabcakes, some of America’s most underrated cuisine. I’m thankful for the Mark Davis-Jon Gruden-Reggie McKenzie triumvirate, because it gives me hope that, no matter how bad I am at a given task, there’s always the chance that someone out there will pay me handsomely to do it.
Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals (-3)
I’m thankful my family is from New England and not Ohio. I’m thankful for the 2007 version of this game where Derek Anderson and Braylon Edwards looked like the future of the league. I’m thankful for the Browns’ jerseys and brown jerseys, in general, because it separates the sartorial men from the boys. I’m thankful Andy Dalton went to a team with orange helmets. I’m thankful for those same Bengals helmets for being one of the best in the league since the moment they were introduced in 1981. I’m thankful that both these franchises have selflessly decided to be perennial losers so other teams don’t have to be. I’m thankful for Baker Mayfield and every promising young QB cursed by where they were drafted.
Jacksonville Jaguars (-3) at Buffalo Bills
I’m thankful football games are only 60 minutes long.
Arizona C*******s at Los Angeles Chargers (-12)
I’m thankful for turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, bread, apple pie, pumpkin pie (even though I’m a bit of a h8tr), and everything else that you, yes you reading this now, like eating on Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for those of us who don’t follow society’s pressure to trash food online because it makes us feel cool and liked. I’m thankful for cranberry sauce even though I don’t really like it, because I know plenty of people do and that’s reason enough for it to be on the table. I’m thankful for leftovers. Mostly leftover turkey, but most Thanksgiving leftovers fall under the umbrella. I’m thankful for that America is the land of the free and I will never face persecution or prosecution for eating way too many appetizers and snacks before the actual meal. I’m thankful that I’ve never been (and hopefully never will be) the drunkest person at a Thanksgiving dinner. I’m thankful that one day, the C*******s will be watchable again.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) at Denver Broncos
I’m thankful that the Steelers refuse to beat the Patriots in the playoffs. I’m thankful that the Broncos won’t make the playoffs so the Pats can’t lose to them.
Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts (-8)
I’m thankful that the Dolphins have been the Pats’ chief competition in the AFC East. I’m thankful that they win the offseason Super Bowl every year and still never win more than nine games. I’m thankful that the Colts are still the ultimate “you can just bludgeon them in the playoffs” team after all these years. I’m thankful for Parks and Rec, because it gave us some of the greatest athlete cameos in TV history. I’m thankful that the Dolphins quit a couple months ago.
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings (-3)
I’m thankful for Al Michaels, who’s still one of the best in the business. I’m thankful for Kirk Cousins because he gives the worst pre-game speeches of all time. I’m thankful for Aaron Rodgers because he’s really good. I’m thankful one of these teams will be effectively eliminated after this, because I’m sick of the “will they, won’t they” dance both of them are doing.
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans (-6.5)
I’m thankful that I’m going to see Creed II in one of the new Dolby Theaters on Monday night, because it means I don’t have to watch this.