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Thanksgiving the highlight of 2012 NFL schedule

Matthew Stafford changed everything. Once Detroit drafted a bona fide franchise quarterback, suddenly the possibilities for football on Thanksgiving changed. The Lions were fun to watch again.

It took Stafford a little while to have a fully healthy season, but now he's a 5,000-yard quarterback who has been to the playoffs. Tony Romo ended the Cowboys' long quarterback drought years before, ensuring Dallas always is interesting if not dominant.

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With Stafford and Romo in place, the 2012 Thanksgiving schedule looks like the best in memory. It starts with the Houston Texans visiting the Lions in Detroit. This would have been a dog of a game a few years back, but now it features two Super Bowl contenders with stacked young rosters. Arian Foster. Calvin Johnson. Enough said.

The Cowboys host the Washington Redskins in the afternoon game. For years, the NFL gave the Cowboys so-so opponents on Turkey Day. The game got ratings regardless. With Robert Griffin III in Washington, the Redskins are infinitely more interesting in 2012. Rex Grossman can watch from the bench.

The nightcap on NBC makes the day special. New York Jets-New England Patriots. Tim Tebow-Tom Brady. Or Mark Sanchez-Brady if things go according to plan in New York, which rarely happens.

The scheduling gods have spoken. They have come up with a worthy slate for my favorite day of football all year.

Now it's up to the injury gods to avoid screwing things up.

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