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Peter Schwartz
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When the NFL schedule came out back in April, I pointed out to my wife that the Jets were going to be home on Thanksgiving night. Even though I wasn’t on the Jets beat at that time, Sheryl had a feeling that this Thanksgiving was going to be a little different.

“You are going to be at that game,” she said.

I told her no way because there was really no reason for me to go. I’ll be home and we’ll watch the game on television.

Then in June, WFAN offered me the opportunity to cover the Jets, which I accepted.

As it turns out, my wife was right but we both agreed that it was a good thing. We’ll have all day to spend together with our sons Bradley and Jared who will be celebrating his first Thanksgiving.

Then, I’ll be off to the Meadowlands.

On this Thanksgiving, my family and I have a lot to be thankful for.

If you’re a Jets fan, this could be the best Thanksgiving ever.

Think about it.

Every year, you stuff your face with turkey and all of the other holiday goodies while also watching football. Sure, once in a blue moon, the Jets have participated, but this is different.

This year, Thanksgiving begins with a parade and could conclude with more proof that there could be another parade in New York City come February.

The 8-2 Jets face the Bengals Thursday night at New Meadowlands Stadium to cap the NFL’s Thanksgiving Day schedule, a triple-header that begins with the Patriots taking on the Lions. Before they kickoff, the Jets will know if they are playing for a share of first place in the AFC East or a one game edge heading into the Monday night showdown in Foxboro on December 6th.

While the short work week is a tough challenge, there is some prestige in being selected to play on Thanksgiving.

“I think there is,” said head coach Rex Ryan. “I think both of these teams were chosen to play in this game because they are two good football teams. I think that’s why the league chose us. Both teams went to the playoffs last year.”

But while the Jets have followed their trip to the AFC title game last year with a strong start this season, the Bengals have had a disappointing season. At the beginning of the season, this looked like a potential playoff preview.

But while the Bengals haven’t held up their end of the bargain, the Jets don’t view them as a 2-8 team.

“Absolutely not,” said Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez. “They’re too talented for that. They have another chance here on national television to play well. Those two wide-outs (Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco) sure do well on national TV. Their defense is active. They’re fast. They do a great job of getting pressure on the quarterback and they’ve lost a few heartbreakers.”

Many of the Jets have experienced just about everything in the NFL. But for some, playing on Thanksgiving will be something special. In fact, there’s one Jet who is really looking forward to playing on this holiday for the first time.

“This is my first opportunity,” said Ladainian Tomlinson. “Years of growing up, watching these Thanksgiving games were some of the best holidays. I remember sitting at home around Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends. Now, we have that opportunity to be the entertainment. My family will be back in Texas watching me play, so it’s special. Even though it’s a short week, you realize these are special opportunities you get to play on Thanksgiving. You want to take every advantage you can.”

The Jets are certainly well prepared to play under the lights.

This marks the fourth of five scheduled primetime games for Gang Green. So far, they are 2-1 in night contests with one more still to come against the Pats.

But Thanksgiving?

Since most people are at their holiday destination, chances are, they will be checking out the game.

“That’s huge because everybody in the country is watching,” said Sanchez. “Ours is the last game, I think. Right when people are eating dinner, football’s on TV and it’s going to be us. We wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Family, friends, food, and football.

Like I said, this could be the best Thanksgiving ever!

THE SERIES

The Jets lead the all-time series against the Bengals 14-7 and have won seven of the last eight. Gang Green has also won both playoff meetings with Cincinnati. These teams met twice last year with the Jets winning 37-0 in week 17 at old Giants Stadium to clinch a playoff spot. Then, the following week, the Jets beat the Bengals 24-14 in the wild card playoff game at Cincinnati.

THE JETS ON THANKSGIVING DAY

This will be the Jets’ seventh game on Thanksgiving. They are 3-3 and have lost three straight.

11/24/60 DALLAS WON 41-25
11/23/61 BUFFALO WON 21-14
11/22/62 at Denver WON 46-45
11/23/72 at Detroit LOST 37-20
11/28/85 at Detroit LOST 31-20
11/22/07 at Dallas LOST 34-3

Get your turkey ready! Jets improve to 9-2 with a 31-16 win over the Bengals.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

pixy Jets Blog: Jets Bengals Preview
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