One of the first things I look at when the NFL schedule is released each spring is the Thanksgiving matchup.
Or, in other words, I do a quick scan of the schedule to see who’s going to beat the Detroit Lions while I’m sucking down turkey and cranberry sauce.
The Lions are 0-7 in their last seven Thanksgiving games, and bashing their involvement in one of the Thursday national TV matchups has become as much a part of the holiday as stuffing and roasted squash.
But I have higher hopes for 2011.
Who knows who the up-and-coming Lions will match up against in that Turkey Day special, but with Calvin Johnson a year older, a healthy Matthew Stafford, a more experienced Jahvid Best and an improved defense led by Ndamukong Suh, I have to think they’ll put up a better fight.
Even ESPN.com’s wonderfully talented LZ Granderson, an admitted Lions fan, suggested that his team should lose the right to host the Thanksgiving game back in 2009, a day before the Lions lost 34-12 to the Green Bay Packers:
"Fact is, no team that has won only one playoff game in 52 years should be a marquee holiday game on network television just because that's the way it's always been—not if the goal is to keep people excited about football."
But what if they’re an up-and-coming team with a chance at competing for a playoff spot? Couldn’t that be a fun way to spend your Turkey Day?
Or look at it this way: A Lions game on Thanksgiving will certainly be easier to digest this year than that roasted squash.