Just like turkey, stuffing and pie are all staples of Thanksgiving, the NFL has found its place as a tradition of the holiday with the Thanksgiving Day games being some of the highest rated of the whole season. I know that the games will be on the television in my house and I can't wait.
This year's slate of games is the best in recent memory, mainly because the Lions are good again. Detroit will have most of the country rooting for them as well because who doesn't love to root for the underdog? Their opponents, the Green Bay Packers, are currently 10-0 and have been dominating nearly every team they have played. Ford Field will be rocking on Thursday, which should give the Lions a great home-field advantage. The game schedule begins with the Lions vs. Packers at 12:30 p.m. (FOX), followed by the Cowboys vs. Dolphins at 4:15 p.m. (CBS) and finally the nightcap of the Ravens vs. 49ers at 8:20 p.m. (NFL Network).
That's just the Thanksgiving games! This week is looking like one of the better weeks of NFL football in 2011, so here is the full run-down of the Week 12 NFL Game Power Rankings:
1. Philadelphia Eagles vs. New England Patriots
Average Ticket Price: $182.52
Although the Eagles have struggled this season, currently sitting at 4-6, the fans in Philadelphia continue to come out for their team, especially against the top teams in the league. It's still up in the air whether or not Michael Vick will play, but after beating the Giants last week, the Eagles’ confidence is growing and the Patriots need to take notice.
2. New Orleans Saints vs. New York Giants
Average Ticket Price: $176.25
The Giants didn't exactly play well last week against Philly, only putting up 10 points. This week may be a different story against the Saints and their top-ranked offense. The G-Men will have to put up a lot more points if they want to stay with Drew Brees and New Orleans on Monday night.
3. Dallas Cowboys vs. Miami Dolphins
Average Ticket Price: $173.41
The Cowboys are a fixture on Thanksgiving, and in this season's game Dallas takes on the… dare I say it… red-hot Miami Dolphins. After losing their first seven games of the season, the Dolphins have reeled off three straight wins, outscoring their opponents 86-20.
4. Baltimore Ravens vs. San Francisco 49ers
Average Ticket Price: $168.25
Thanksgiving is supposed to be about family, and this game will have plenty of that as brothers Jim and John Harbaugh man the sidelines for their respective teams this Thursday. It’s the first time in NFL history that brothers are matched up against each other as head coaches. It looks like their parents are plenty proud.
5. Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers
Average Ticket Price: $156.76
This game marks the third Thanksgiving Day game on our list, but it is maybe the most highly anticipated. This is the first Turkey Day game that actually means something to the Lions, as they are in the hunt for a playoff spot. It's also a chance for them to knock off the undefeated Packers, meaning both the players and fans will be amped up.
6. New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills
Average Ticket Price: $113.70
This game could be nicknamed "The Game to Decide Which Team Has No Chance to Win the AFC East," but I think that may be a little long-winded. Either way, the loser of this game will drop to 5-6 and all but seal their fate of being out of the AFC playoff picture.
7. San Diego Chargers vs. Denver Broncos
Average Ticket Price: $103.89
I swore I wouldn't let it happen. I said I wouldn't allow it to happen. But alas, it has happened. I have bought into Tebow-mania. All he does is win and no one can figure out how he does it. Maybe it's with a little help from a higher power?
8. Kansas City Chiefs vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Average Ticket Price: $89.35
Without QB Matt Cassell last week, the Chiefs looked awful, losing 34-3 to the Patriots. This week won't get any easier against the Steelers, a team that has a significantly better defense than the Patriots put on the field on Monday.
9. Oakland Raiders vs. Chicago Bears
Average Ticket Price: $88.89
The Bears have looked like the third best team in the NFC so far this season, but they will be put to the test the rest of the season without QB Jay Cutler, who is out with a broken thumb. My conspiracy theory: he didn't break it during last week's game; his on–again, off-again fiancée Kristin Cavallari did it! (Where is TMZ when you need them?)
10. Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns
Average Ticket Price: $88.82
The Bengals have been the surprise team of the NFL this year behind rookie QB Andy Dalton (aka Red Rifle). They are still in the thick of things for a playoff berth and they will have to beat the lowly Browns to keep it that way in the battle for Ohio bragging rights.
11. Seattle Seahawks vs. Washington Redskins
Average Ticket Price: $80.78
As a rule of thumb I usually try to avoid watching any football games when Rex Grossman or Tavaris Jackson is playing quarterback. Due to the fact that they both will be playing in this one, I will probably go into a food coma from leftover turkey during this one.
12. Tennessee Titans vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Average Ticket Price: $72.89
Titans RB Chris Johnson held out prior to the season before getting a new 4-year, $53 million contract. He has rewarded the Titans with a career-worst season thus far, rushing for only 509 yards. He will earn $13 million this season, which comes out to just under $16,000 per yard rushed. Nice work if you can get it.
13. Indianapolis Colts vs. Carolina Panthers
Average Ticket Price: $71.64
Indianapolis has pretty much wrapped up the top pick in the draft in 2012 as they remain winless at 0-10. Now they have to make sure they don't do something stupid and win a few games like this weekend's game against the Panthers.
14. Atlanta Falcons vs. Minnesota Vikings
Average Ticket Price: $60.43
With Vikings RB Adrian Peterson likely out this weekend with an injury, not to mention the fact that Minnesota starts a rookie quarterback, the Falcons should have a distinct advantage on Sunday. Of course, this is the NFL, and stranger things have happened.
15. Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans
Average Ticket Price: $50.69
The injury bug has hit the Texans as well with QB Matt Schaub reportedly out for the rest of the season. Houston will have to rely on Matt Leinart to steer the ship with the help of running backs Arian Foster and Ben Tate.
16. St. Louis Rams vs. Arizona Cardinals
Average Ticket Price: $42.61
This is definitely the worst game on the schedule this weekend with almost nothing for fans outside of St. Louis and Arizona to look forward to. The two teams have the 25th (Arizona) and 30th (St. Louis) ranked offenses and both average fewer than 20 points per game. Yawn.
Come back next Thursday for the Week 13 rankings! Happy Thanksgiving!
Rankings are based on the average price of tickets sold on the TicketNetwork Exchange as of 11/22/2011 at 3:30 p.m. EST.