THANKSGIVING CRYSTAL BALL: Commies Travel to Dallas
Alternative Title: "Dead Men Walking"
My friends, I’m well prepared for the pain that awaits My Beloved Commies (4-7) at Dallas (7-3) on Thanksgiving Day, a cover-your-eyes spectacle that has all the makings of a train wreck for the Burgundy & Gold.
How am I prepared? Well, I just witnessed New York rookie quarterback Tommy DeVito slice and dice my boys, looking like an Italian version of Johnny Unitas in a 31-19 Giants win. It was the third victory of the year for BROTHER BLUENIK’s squad with two coming against MBC. As Bart Simpson would say:
Before my boys take the field, THE TRE MAN and I will enjoy the 100th edition of the Xavier-Fordham Prep high school football game with friends in the Bronx. It’s a blood and guts affair where people get hurt - and I’m just talking about the tailgate.
Tomorrow’s menu is shaping up nicely as we’ll start with turkey sausage breakfast tacos with peppers and onions, roll into the cinnamon raisin bagel bread pudding, and close it with cinnamon swirl bread and Cowboy Coffee Cake, my mom’s most famous recipe. Of course, given my love for my football team, this delicacy has been renamed and Commie Coffee Cake will whet many an appetite in the Fordham parking lot.
After the game, we’ll head home for a scrumptious mid-afternoon meal with THE FAIR CLAUDINE and my father-in-law, SLICK WILLIE. The turkey will be good, but I’ll be laser-focused on my wife’s delicious sausage stuffing, the kind of comfort food I’ll need before my Burgundy & Gold pigs head off for the slaughter. The kickoff - or kick in the cojones - is set for 4:30 pm ET on CBS with Jim Nantz, Tony Romo and Tracy Wolfson calling the action.
The uneducated fan says “GURU, you may be in for a pleasant surprise. I’ve noticed that the Commies seem to play up - or down - to the level of competition. They might have lost twice to the Jints but they gave the Eagles fits both times. That could be good, right?”
Oh, how I wish that were true but I’m afraid it’ll be tough sledding for my boys. In fact, historically speaking, a blowout is a safe bet.
You see, since late 1997, Dallas has dominated this once-proud rivalry to the tune of 38-15 with many contests being outright beatdowns. In fact, seven of the last eight games in this series have been decided by double digits including Dallas wins of 47-16 in 2019 and 56-14 in 2021. Heck, even the last few DC wins have been blowouts with victories of 22, 25 and 20 points over the past three seasons.
The December 26, 2021, loss was particularly galling as star Washington defensive tackles Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne sparred on the sidelines with Allen winning the fight with an overhand right. The fact that it was Boxing Day only made the team’s meltdown more apropos.
The bottom line: don’t get your hopes up for a tight Dallas-Washington affair unless you’re talking about the snugness of my Levi’s after my third helping of said stuffing.
So, with defeat all but assured, what I’m looking for Thursday is simple: How will Sam Howell respond after Sunday’s game against the Giants, probably his worst game as a pro? My (considerable) gut says he’ll play well and make a game effort but, naturally, it won’t be enough to prevent a Reagan vs. Mondale-style landslide in Big D’s favor.
Let’s call it 41-20, Cowboys.
Is that depressing? Sort of but, as I’ve said frequently this season, this is already the best Washington campaign in decades. In. Decades. We have a new owner in place, it looks like we’ll have five of the first 100 picks in April’s NFL Draft, and, perhaps most importantly, we’ve got a long-term answer at quarterback.
“Wait, GURU, what are you talking about? You think Howell is the answer at QB? The guy threw three picks Sunday and is tied for the league lead with Josh Allen with 12 INTs. He’s terrible!”
Oh, buddy. You are mistaken. Howell has been nothing short of a revelation and, if we can keep him healthy, we’ve got a real gem on our hands.
First, seven of his picks were thrown in two games: this past Sunday vs. the Giants and a four-interception clunker against the Bills in Week Three, Howell’s fourth NFL start. And how did he respond to laying an egg against Buffalo? By posting a TD:INT ratio of 14:4 over the ensuing seven games, averaging 302 passing yards per outing.
That’s pretty good for a young kid in his first year as a starter. In fact, it’s excellent.
If you’re interested in numbers, chew on these: Through 11 games, Slingin’ Sammy leads the league in passing yards (3,038) and is on track for the second-highest single-season yardage total in the 91-year history of the franchise.1 He’s also tied for seventh in TD passes (18) and leads the NFL in what Pro Football Focus refers to as “big time throws” with 24.
Again, Thursday is going to be a major beatdown but, with young Howell at the controls, the future is bright in DC. And I’ll take it.
When it comes to predictions, what lies ahead is seldom pretty for yours truly, but the Week 11 mark was a solid 10-4 (.714), improving the season record to 106-60 (.639).
Let’s check out the other Thursday-Friday games and I’ll be back later this week with weekend predictions.
12:30 PM ET - FOX
Packers (4-6) at Lions (8-2)
This edition of the NFL’s longest continuous rivalry, looks like a mismatch on paper but games, with the exception of Tic Tac Toe, are not played on paper.
Last Sunday’s game felt like a big step for Jordan Love as Packers quarterback, rallying his troops for a late win over the Chargers. Of course, as good as the QB played down the stretch, it was against an LA outfit that has perfected losing close games. How does 15 defeats by six points or less since 2021 grab you?
This week, Love faces off against a Dee-troit club that is playing with an edge rarely seen in the Motor City, outside of a UAW rally or Hell’s Angels get-together. And I think that’ll be enough to carry the day for the home team. Lions, 33-24
8:20 PM ET - NBC
Niners (7-3) at Seahawks (6-4)
Pete Carroll faces his former team2 Thursday evening in a battle for first place in the NFC West and Seattle’s competitiveness in this game may depend upon the health of banged-up QB Geno Smith. Smith exited last week3 and the ‘Hawks fortunes went to the bench with him in a painful loss to the Rams.
Of course, even if Smith plays, it looks like the Niners got off the schneid last week in their convincing win over the Bucs. So that spells trouble. San Fran by seven.
FRIDAY, 3 PM ET - Amazon Prime Video
I see the Dolphins (7-3) laying the wood to the Jets (4-6) at MetLife on Friday afternoon. Miami is on its way to the playoffs and New York, with its offensive struggles, toes a fine line every time out. As good as the Jets’ defense can be, this smells like an easy win for the visitors. Fins, 27-10.
That’s all for today, folks. Happy Thanksgiving and God bless!
Kirk Cousins, as underrated a quarterback as we’ve ever had, holds Washington’s top spot with 4,917 yards passing in 2016. He also holds the #2 and #4 slots, achieved in 2015 (4,166 yards) and 2017 (4,093 yards), respectively.
It says a heck of a lot about Geno that his absence is considered a major obstacle on the path to victory. This guy was given up for dead years ago and, in the Upper Northwest, has become a solid starting quarterback. It’s the best turn of fortune I’ve seen since yours truly stumbled into a life with THE FAIR CLAUDINE.