Thanksgiving, the happy and cheery day where everyone appreciates one another, right?
Ironically enough, the day of “Thanks” will include hard-hitting linebackers, big and nasty defensive linemen, and maybe even some broken bones in the mix.
Thanksgiving Day specials in the NFL will run throughout the day, beginning at 12:30 PM Eastern time when the Green Bay Packers hope to keep their realistic playoff hopes alive when they travel to Detroit to take on the Lions. At 4:15, the Dallas Cowboys will host Oakland Raiders in the first Thanksgiving matchup in the new Cowboys Stadium. Finally, the Giants and Broncos will wrap up the holiday with what appears to be the best matchup of the day.
The Broncos and Giants are in somewhat similar boats — both teams have gone on losing streaks and are hanging in there with a current record of 6-4. Between these two teams, the Giants seem to be the team in the best shape right now. The Giants are coming off a thrilling overtime win against Atlanta and quarterback Eli Manning’s best passing game of his career. The defense even showed some signs of improving as they only gave up one score in the first half. The defense did fall apart miserably in the second half, but hopefully for the Giants, defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan has the problem under control.
The Broncos are swirling in a whirlpool of drama — 33-year-old head coach Josh McDaniels was forced to deal with the media following his spat with Chargers players last week when he boasted to them that he “owns them”. Former Giants annual rival and Eagles star Brian Dawkins, who now plays for the Broncos, held a team meeting this week in order to set the team straight.
On the other side of the ball, the Giants are drama-free for once in their history. New York should be ready to take on Denver at full-speed today, as the defense will be much better prepared than last week when middle linebacker Antonio Pierce suddenly went down with an injury just days before the game against Atlanta.
Look for Kevin Boss and the Giants offense to get started up quickly. Manning could be looking for Boss to finish up what they started last week when Boss had two touchdown receptions. Receivers Mario Manningham and Steve Smith also hope to continue their stellar season by contributing to the offense. Runningback Ahmad Bradshaw will miss the game due to an ankle injury, so Brandon Jacobs will really be carrying the load in today’s game. Look for him to wear down the Broncos offense to open up Manning’s passing attack.