Your Thanksgiving Day guide to watching football

Posted by Aubrey Wieber on Wednesday, Nov. 21 at 1:57 pm.

NCAA: TCU at No. 16 Texas
4:30 p.m., ESPN

Due to Texas A&M joining the SEC and TCU moving into the Big 12, the in-state rivalry game for Texas is a little less dramatic than in the past, but it still holds some big implications. If Texas wins out, including their final game against Kansas State, and TCU beats Oklahoma, then Texas will win the Big-12 and head to a BCS bowl.

This game will most certainly be a battle in the trenches as TCU leads the conference in pass rushing, and Texas has only allowed seven sacks this season, fewest in the conference. The TCU pass rush versus the Texas pass protection will be the theme of the game and whichever team wins this battle should win the game.

NFL: Houston Texans at Detroit Lions
9:30 a.m., CBS

For Detroit, sitting at 4-6 is a disappointment after making the playoffs last year. The team has been in a steady rebuilding process ever since the dreaded 0-16 season in 2008. After seemingly scoring at will last year, the Lions have looked inept on offense. Last year, Calvin Johnson scored 16 touchdowns but this year he has only found the endzone three times. The Lions, who play every Thanksgiving Day, haven’t won a Thanksgiving game since 2003. A win against the tough 9-1 Texans would be their first quality win of the season and bring some optimism to the year.

A win will have to be hard-fought though due to the long list of elite talent on this Texans squad. With Andre Johnson, Arian Foster and Matt Schaub on offense the Texans are constantly threatening to score, and with a defense anchored by the sensational play of second-year defensive end J.J. Watt, this team plays tough on both sides of the ball.

Detroit’s best shot at an upset lies in the hands of their highly touted but seldom productive defensive line. They have shown flashes of brilliance but have yet to dominate a game this season.

NFL: Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys
1:15 p.m., Fox

At this point, it looks as though Dallas head coach Jason Garrett is coaching for his job. The Cowboys once again failed to live up to their annual hype, and the person mostly to blame is Garrett, who has continued to make bone-headed mistakes to go with lackluster playcalling.

With Washington coming to town, the Dallas defense better be ready to play a flawless game. Rookie QB Robert Griffin III has been lighting up the league this season, including a four-touchdown game last week against division foe Philadelphia. RGIII has the Redskins thinking playoffs and will likely give Dallas’ D all they can handle.

NFL: NFL Patriots at New York Jets
5:20 p.m., NBC

The 7-3 Patriots, coming off of a 59-24 trashing against the Colts, will be going into Thursday’s game short handed after learning that star tight-end Rob Gronkowski broke his arm blocking for the final PAT. That is surely a blow to the potent New England offense, as he has been Brady’s redzone target ever since the Patriots drafted Gronk in 2010.

In past years, this game has been more competitive, but this year the lowly 4-6 Jets look far from equal to Brady’s squad. Even with Gronk out, the old and injured New York defense will have their hands full as tight end Aaron Hernandez is slated to return to play, joining Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd.

The majority of publicity surrounding the Jets this season has more to do with the cult following of Tim Tebow, who has yet to play meaningful minutes, rather than the actual play of the Jets. With Jets QB Mark Sanchez’s less-than-stellar play, chants for Tebow have gotten louder each week.