As we approach Thanksgiving, plenty of Americans are preparing for their yearly traditions – turkey, stuffing, cranberry, pie and of course, pigskin.

Football is just as much a staple of November’s fourth Thursday as white meat and brown gravy. Whether it’s your family’s annual Turkey Bowl game in the yard or at a park or it just means falling asleep in front of the television with food coma, there’s a pretty good chance that most Americans will see something of the gridiron on Thanksgiving Day.

And as has been the case for the last several years, the National Football League is serving up three courses of action throughout the day. It begins with our yearly national stop in Detroit, where the Lions will try to be more than a speed bump against a Houston Texans team that has steamrolled nearly everyone its come across. Houston could have a problem, since the Lions tend to show up big on Turkey Day.

Follow that with one of the greatest rivalries in American sports with the Washington Redskins going to Dallas to take on the Cowboys. Most football fans bristle at the idea that the ‘Boys are still “America’s Team”, but that song ain’t so very far from wrong – when the Cowboys lose, most of America is happy.

The evening ends with the New England Patriots visiting the New York Jets. It’s the deadpan stoic Bill Belichick and his sentient, football-playing robots against the loudmouth loquacious Rex Ryan and his band of misfits. Plus, Tim Tebow on Thanksgiving? What could be more American than that? And no matter who loses, we all win.

Texans at Lions, 12:30 p.m. ET, CBS

Redskins at Cowboys, 4:30 p.m. ET, FOX

Patriots at Jets, 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC


This week’s Dude Tube Picks to Click

Red Dawn – Monday, 7 p.m., Spike

The scourge of remakes and reboots continues in Hollywood as though filmmakers have no idea about the concept of archiving. Why watch your watered-down version of an original when we could watch the original for ourselves? In 1984 when Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen teamed up to fight the Russians, America believed that the Soviets could possibly invade this country. Paying $10 to watch an Australian Thor fight the North Koreans in Spokane, Washington? I’ll pass, thanks.

Beforel Orel – Tuesday, 12:30 a.m., Adult Swim

It’s been a few years since Orel Puppington and the misguided God-fearing misanthropes of Moralton, Statesota left us. But now we can give thanks that there’s one last little slice to indulge in. Dino Stamatopoulos gives us the show’s prologue, taking us back to a time when Orel was finding his religious roots. Not to mention we get to see where exactly Shapey came from.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving – Wednesday, 8 p.m., ABC

While it might not have had the same lasting impact as It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown or A Charlie Brown Christmas, this is a worthy entry in the animated Peanuts catalog (it won an Emmy in 1974). Snoopy continues to be a man (dog, whatever) for all times and Vince Guaraldi’s soundtrack is just as fresh as ever.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – Thursday, 9 a.m., NBC

Before you get stuffed with stuffing and get drowsy on the couch, start your Thanksgiving Day with one of the country’s great holiday spectacles. Even if the show has begun to feature more musical numbers recently than in past years, it’s still a showcase for some of America’s top pop culture icons – in balloon form. Plus I’m still waiting for the day one of the handlers is lifted off the ground by a strong gust of wind.