Thanksgiving offers three meaningful football games for TV viewers. Detroit vs. Chicago matches two teams in pursuit of Minnesota in the NFC Central Division. St. Louis trails Dallas by only one game in the NFC East, while Card opponent Miami has a legitimate shot at the AFC wild card.
Orange Bowl officials will be spending an anxious afternnon, watching the Arkansas-Texas Tech game. After rejecting Penn State in favor of the Razorbacks, the Orange Bowl would be embarrassed if Tech, the Tangerine Bowl entry, manages an upset.
However, Lou Holtz's club is lightning-quick on defense, with nosequard Jimmy Walker on a par with any college player at this position. Tech has to regroup after its humiliation by Houston, Arkansas by 10.
The big question in Detroit will be whether Walter Payton can walk, let alone run, four days after his record-shattering 40-carry day against Minnesota. Detroit is suffering from a lack of offense. Tommy Hudspeth intended to live by the pass this year but injuries to his offensive line and quarterbacks have shattered that dream, and the Lions don't have Payton to carry them. Chicago by 3.
Miami lost to Cincinnati on a gimmick play but St. Louis won't have to resort to trickery. Dolphins are weak on pass rushing and Conrad Dobler and Co. are as good as anybody at protecting their quarterbacks. St. Louis by 6.
Here's the way the rest of this weekend's pro schedule looks:
Dallas 7 over Washington, Cincinnati 13 over N.Y. Giants, Atlanta 10 over Tampa, New England 10 over Philadelphia, Pittsburgh 14 over N.Y. Jets, Los Angeles 3 over Cleveland, Minnesota 10 over Green Bay, Houston 10 over Kansas City, Denver 1 over Baltimore, San Diego 7 over Seattle, San Francisco 4 over New Orleans, Oakland 17 over Buffalo (Monday).
The major-college games:
Friday - Oklahoma 12 over Nebraska, Southern California 6 over UCLA, Arizona State 14 over Arizona.
Saturday - Navy 7 over Army, Pittsburgh 4 over Penn State, Boston College 22 over Holy Cross, Georgia Tech 1 over Georgia, Tennessee 8 over Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech 4 over VMI, Alabama 21 over Auburn, Baylor 19 over Texas Christian, Texas 7 over Texas A&M, Colorado State 17 over Utah State, Houston 20 over Rice, Florida 7 over Miami (Fla.), Louisiana State 19 over Wyoming, New Mexico 6 over Utah.