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PALLISTER: A Thanksgiving full of football is reality, not a fantasy

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ANALYSIS/OPINION

Maybe I've been watching too much Oscar the Grouch as part of my daily "Sesame Street" viewing (yes, I have a child), but I am NOT thankful for having to choose between Tony Romo and Tom Brady, and I am NOT thankful for a similar choice between Stevan Ridley and Maurice Jones-Drew (although that is no longer a choice), and I am NOT thankful for official NFL scoring decisions that cost me 4 points in a 2-point loss.

However, I am thankful — in ways I cannot adequately describe — that I get to spend an entire Thanksgiving holiday with my wife and son. Just the three of us. OK, the four of us. I need to mention the pug, and I need to mention him by name. Referring to Edgar only as "our pug" got me in trouble last week.

Anyway, I will get up Thursday morning, grab the remote control off the bed, the Nook off the chair next to the bed and the child out of his crib and begin a day I've been looking forward to since I found out I wasn't working the holiday this year.

My defective sinuses should quit pummeling me about the time Packers-Lions kicks off, and then it's a full day (and night) of family, food and football.

The plan is to help my wife cook a traditional Thanksgiving meal, and despite the cramped working conditions in our apartment, I think I can be generally useful — "Honey, I need you to take the rolls out of the oven before they burn." "But the Cowboys are in the red zone!" "Grab the damn rolls!" "OK." — until the point at which I am banished from the kitchen.

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday because of food and football. But it's family that makes all the difference (when I'm not getting yelled at, and even sometimes when I am). It's family that makes this year so special, and it's family that makes me more thankful than ever.

So wherever you find yourself for the holiday, enjoy the turkey, the potatoes, the stuffing and, if you're a weirdo, the green bean casserole. But mostly, enjoy — and be thankful for — the people who love you and put up with you, especially when you're screaming at the TV because DeMarco Murray scored instead of Dez Bryant.

Week 13 Lineup Crime: I wavered all week between starting Romo or Brady. I started Romo, but decided to hedge my bet by also starting Ridley and Aaron Dobson. I figured I'd get a small piece of the action if sitting Brady cost me points. Well, Brady outscored Romo by 11, and that would have made the difference in the aforementioned 2-point loss, but the real crime was getting absolutely nothing from Ridley and Dobson. Ridley fumbled early and never saw the field again, and Dobson didn't catch a pass. Now I know why everyone hates the Patriots.

Week 13 Lineup Time: The last time Matt Flynn faced a bad Detroit secondary, he threw for 6 touchdowns and made roughly a gazillion dollars because of it. This is a great matchup for Flynn and the Packers' receivers. ... It would be so Cowboys for them to lose at home to the Raiders, but even Dallas can't screw this up, right? I expect the Cowboys to win, but I also expect the defense to play down to Oakland's offense, giving a guy like Rod Streater some flex appeal. ... Just a hunch, but I think we'll finally get a high-scoring Ravens-Steelers game. I like Torrey Smith a lot in this matchup. ... On a related note, Josh Gordon torched the Steelers for 237 yards last week; this week he draws the Jaguars. ... Jay Cutler is out again, so Josh McCown is a solid play against the Vikings. ... Despite losing nine straight games, the Texans have the league's best pass defense. Tom Brady should have a good day against them, but don't be surprised if he gives you less than expected. ... Everyone on the Giants' offense has had a disappointing season, but facing the Redskins' "get right" defense will give Victor Cruz and Reuben Randle plenty of opportunities to make plays.

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