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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! My plans today include a turkey trot (yes, I'm one of those people), picking up my brother from the airport (can't wait) and then consuming as much food and football as possible. Basically, a perfect day. I hope you're able to enjoy today in a similar manner with friends and family. Today, I'm thankful for all of you readers. Thanks for starting your day with me. It means a lot, and it's not something I take for granted.

OK, enough thankfulness. Let's get right to a short and sweet holiday version of this newsletter.

🏈 Good morning to everyone but especially ...


For much of my childhood, Thanksgiving featured the Cowboys against some team that I'd be a huge fan of for three hours and the Lions against some team that would beat the Lions. Detroit lost nine straight Thanksgiving games from 2004-12, and even four straight wins from 2013-16 has been followed by six straight Turkey Day losses 

But these aren't the Detroit Lions of my childhood. These are the 8-2 Detroit Lions -- their best start in over 60 years -- and this is their best team in a while. I talked Monday about how much of a joy it is to watch them, and in his weekly picks, Pete Prisco thinks there will be plenty to be thankful for against the Packers.

  • Prisco: "This is a big game in the division for both teams, a survival test for Green Bay and a big one for the Lions if they want to try and get home-field advantage in the conference. The Lions have had defensive issues as of late and Jordan Love has played well the past two weeks. That will keep the Packers in this game, but the Lions win it. Pick: Lions 31, Packers 27."

Moving into the afternoon game -- a.k.a. the "I guess I'll go for seconds" game -- the Cowboys face the Commanders in another division rivalry. There are lots of positives for the Cowboys going into this one:

Over the last five weeks, Prescott leads the NFL in touchdowns passing (13) and passer rating (120.6). That momentum will continue today, Cody Benjamin writes in his bold predictions.

  • Benjamin: "Dak Prescott throws five touchdowns to firmly enter the MVP race. The Commanders just allowed undrafted Giants rookie Tommy DeVito to throw three scores in a 31-19 win on Sunday. Do we really think Washington is prepared to turn around and halt America's Team on a short week on the road? Only three teams are surrendering more yards than Ron Rivera's Commanders."

Finally, the 49ers and Seahawks provide an intriguing nightcap. John Breech's pick is in ...

  • Breech: "I'm not sure if I'm exaggerating here, but the 49ers might have the next Joe Montana on their hands. Every time I watch Brock Purdy play, I generally dismiss everything he does by convincing myself that he's a product of the system that he plays in, but I might have to stop doing that. ... The 49ers have won three straight games against the Seahawks, and they did that by averaging 180 rushing yards per game in those three wins. If Seattle decides to finally try and stop the run, then Purdy will be waiting to make them pay. The pick: 49ers 27-16 over Seahawks."

Here's everything else to get you ready:

😊 Honorable mentions

😔 Not so honorable mentions

🏀 No. 2 Purdue wins Maui Invitational

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Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games ... and Zach Edey is absolutely a big-time (and just flat-out big) player. The reigning national player of the year had a crucial tip-in with under a minute to go, giving Purdue its final points in a 78-75 thriller over No. 4 Marquette in the Maui Invitational championship game.

  • Edey finished with 28 points and 15 rebounds. For the tournament, he averaged 25.3 points and 12 rebounds.
  • Since the start of last season, Edey is averaging 24.4 points and 12.9 rebounds with seven double-doubles against ranked teams. Those marks respectively rank second, first and first nationally over that span.
  • The No. 2 Boilermakers had the inside-outside game working, outscoring Marquette 20-4 in second-chance points and also shooting 10 of 21 (47.6%) from beyond the arc. Braden Smith and Lance Jones combined for seven of those 10 makes.
  • Tyler Kolek and Kam Jones had 3-point looks to tie it after Edey's final bucket, but both missed.

No player has repeated winning AP Player of the Year since Ralph Sampson won three straight from 1981-83, but Kyle Boone says Edey's start might change that.

  • Boone: "Edey is now averaging more points per game (22.5) this season than he was last year. He's doing so while shooting it more efficiently from the free throw line and blocking more shots than he did last season. And doing so despite starting the season playing against competition in arguably the toughest MTE of the early college hoops season. It's very possible the best player in college basketball last season came back a year older and wiser and ... a whole lot better."

🦃 Elsewhere in sports ...

📺 What we're watching Thursday

🏀 Penn State vs. No. 12 Texas A&M, Noon on ESPN
🏈 Packers at Lions, 12:30 p.m. on Fox
🏀 No. 3 Arizona vs. No. 21 Michigan State, 4 p.m. on Fox
🏈 Commanders at Cowboys, 4:30 p.m. on CBS and Paramount+
🏈 No. 12 Ole Miss at Mississippi State, 7:30 p.m. on ESPN
🏈 49ers at Seahawks, 8:20 p.m. on NBC