Both the 10-0 Green Bay Packers and 9-1 San Francisco 49ers can clinch playoff berths this week with victories on Thanksgiving Day and a little help from their NFC friends.
The first course of your Thursday meal features the resurgent Lions hosting the Pack in a game that promises to be stuffed with big plays on offense. The Cowboys host the suddenly-competitive Dolphins in the afternoon and the nightcap features perhaps the most intriguing matchup of the day when the brothers Harbaugh clash as the 49ers travel to Baltimore.
Here’s how those playoff scenarios could shake out...
Green Bay Packers clinch with:
Packers win + Cowboys loss/tie + Falcons loss
Packers win + Cowboys loss/tie + Saints loss
Packers win + Falcons loss + Giants loss/tie
San Francisco 49ers clinch with:
49ers win + Seahawks loss/tie
49ers tie + Seahawks loss
While the Packers’ scenario seems less likely, there’s little doubt they’ll have the NFC North wrapped up before the end of the season. As for San Francisco — which has not made the playoffs since 2002 — this could be the week they clinch with Seattle hosting the reeling Redskins.
Regardless, both teams should provide some entertaining football to help you digest your Thanksgiving feast.
A few more fun facts to impress your Uncle Larry:
• The Lions faced the unbeaten Packers on Thanksgiving in 1962 and handed them their only loss of the season with a 26-14 defeat. Green Bay went on to beat the New York Giants in the NFL Championship.
• Thursday marks the 18-year anniversary of Leon Lett’s infamous slide through the snow in Dallas that gave the Dolphins a second chance to kick a game-winning field goal.
• Everyone remembers the Packers winning the Super Bowl last season. Not as many people remember the Lions holding Aaron Rodgers and company to three points (3!) in a 7-3 win in December.
• The 49ers have not allowed a rushing touchdown all season, so it should be tough sledding for Ray Rice and the Ravens run game.
• For all his struggles, Tony Romo is a perfect 4-0 in Thanksgiving Day games.