Happy Thanksgiving, my beautiful friend! I will be stuck inside quarantining and probably eating Chinese food while I await a COVID-19 test tomorrow (hooray!) but, on the bright side, there's no crippling Thanksgiving Eve hangover to deal with this year. That's a nice change of pace!
Whatever your plans are today, I hope you're able to dominate some good food and tell your loved ones that you're thankful for them, even if you can't spend the day together physically. And I hope you know I'm thankful for you still reading my insane ramblings every morning! It may not be a totally normal Thanksgiving today but we still some football on the menu (though not as much as initially planned) so let's get down to business before we carry on with the holiday.
📰 What you need to know
1. Thanksgiving Day NFL picks 🏈
One of the things I'm most thankful for this year is the opportunity to work with Pete Prisco every day. More specifically, I'm grateful for the opportunity to poke fun at Pete Prisco in a professional setting on a daily basis. And Pete should be thankful for me too, because the hate only seems to make him stronger.
I'd like to thank Pete for giving me plenty of ammo to work with this week, as he went 5-9 on his picks against the spread last weekend. You could say that performance made him look like a real ... turkey 😎. Lucky for him, he's got a shot to redeem himself this week so let's see who he's siding with today:
- Texans at Lions: Pete expects an offensive shootout in Detroit and thinks the underdog Lions (+3) have a good shot of beating Houston behind the big arm of Matt Stafford. Pick: Lions 31, Texans 29
- Washington at Cowboys: First place in the division is up for grabs in this matchup (LOL) and Prisco thinks the game will come down to Washington's defense vs. the Cowboys' offense. Pete has faith in Andy Dalton. Pick: Cowboys 27, Washington 21
You can find Prisco's picks for the rest of the week's slate right here.
As you'll notice above, the Ravens and Steelers aren't featured. The AFC North showdown was supposed to be tonight's primetime headliner, but concerns over COVID-19 (Baltimore has at least 10 positive cases) forced the NFL to postpone the game until this weekend. It will instead take place at 1:15 p.m. (ET) on Sunday. Many Steelers players were NOT thankful for the decision.
No night game tonight means you'll have to find some other activity to accidentally fall asleep during after eating and drinking too much. I'm sure you'll manage.
2. Rest in peace, Diego Maradona ⚽
The soccer world got some sad and stunning news yesterday, as Argentinian legend Diego Maradona died at the age of 60. Maradona, who had recently undergone brain surgery, reportedly suffered a heart attack.
Maradona won the 1986 World Cup as part of Argentina's national squad and is widely regarded as one of the best players ever to lace up the boots. He was also somewhat of a lightning rod who dealt with personal demons -- including cheating controversies and battles with substance abuse -- but his impact on the game of soccer is unquestionable.
Our Luis Miguel Echegaray penned a touching column on the magnitude (and the complexity) of Maradona's legacy:
- Echegaray: "To be perfectly honest, describing Maradona in one short article is almost insulting. His life, his presence and what he meant to Argentina, Napoli, Boca Juniors and anyone else who was impacted by his legacy, is too significant and too important to put into words. Four World Cups, including the 1986 tournament in Mexico where he practically won it by himself, nine club titles including those with Boca Juniors, Barcelona and of course, Napoli, where he essentially lifted a city."
There have been many sports superstars over the past 60 years but only a select few can be considered larger-than-life. Maradona certainly falls into that category. Rest in peace to a titan and an icon.
3. What the NFL playoff picture currently looks like 🏈
When the Thanksgiving Day games kick off later today, Week 12 of the NFL season will get underway. If you're like me, you haven't thought a ton about the playoffs just yet because, well, it's hard to predict what's going to happen six days from now, never mind six weeks from now.
But we don't have to think about it too hard because Jason La Canfora is here to do it for us. This week, JLC took a look at the playoff picture and organized the league's teams into a number of categories that help illustrate where they stand in the postseason hunt right now.
- Shoo-ins: Chiefs, Steelers, Saints, Packers
- Will punch ticket soon: Colts, Bills, Rams, Seahawks, Buccaneers
- More likely than not to make it: Cardinals, Raiders, Browns, Titans
- NFC Least: A team that stinks and doesn't deserve to make it but does anyway
- Trending in the wrong direction: Ravens, Bears, Dolphins
- It's possible: Patriots
If your team isn't listed above ... well, better luck next year. It should also be mentioned that we're going to have an expanded playoff field this year, one that could be expanded even further if COVID-19 cancellations continue to disrupt the remainder of the season. So, yeah, it's somewhat of an unpredictable mess at this point ... but everyone has to deal with at least one unpredictable mess on Thanksgiving, right?
4. Inter falters again in Champions League ⚽
Champions League Matchday 4 is officially in the books and Wednesday's action brought some notable results. Let's dive into what you should know:
- Inter's struggles continue: Inter Milan faced off against Real Madrid in the match of the day and it was a must-win showdown for the Italian side. They started off poorly and got buried in a 2-0 loss to Real. Inter is now destined for the Europa League
- Atalanta blanks Liverpool: In a surprise result, Atalanta shutout Liverpool, 2-0. They managed to put a ton of pressure on Liverpool's backline and it was a relatively uninspiring effort from the reigning Premier League champs. This match can be considered revenge for the 5-0 defeat that Liverpool handed Atalanta a few matchdays ago
- Six teams have now qualified for the knockout stage: Bayern Munich and Manchester City advanced through with victories on Wednesday
With four matchdays behind us, now's a good time to check in with our Champions League power rankings. Only two more to go!
📝 Odds & Ends
- Nick Saban tested positive for coronavirus again and will not coach in Alabama's Iron Bowl showdown with Auburn
- A Texas State football player died after suffering a gunshot wound during apparent drug deal
- Aaron Rodgers said the death threats that Marquez Valdes-Scantling received after his fumble were "extremely unnecessary"
📺 What to watch today
🏈 Texans vs. Lions, 12:30 p.m. | DET +3 | TV: CBS
🏈 Washington vs. Cowboys, 4:30 p.m. | DAL -3 | TV: FOX
📝 Top scores from last night
The Buckeyes scored the first 22 points of the game en route to a big season-opening win
💵 Winning wagers: OSU -19, Over (133.5)