Move over turkey. H-Town's next Thanksgiving could include sitting down to watch the Houston Texans in a national TV showcase.
A source in Detroit tells CultureMap that the Texans are "the clear favorite" to be the AFC opponent in the Detroit Lions' annual Thanksgiving Day game in Motown.
The official 2012 NFL schedule will not be released for months, but the Texans already know which teams they'll be playing and where (just not any times or dates). Detroit is one of the Texans' eight road opponents for next season.
The Texas team that's often forgotten has captured America's attention in defeat like it never has in victory.
CBS, which holds the AFC rights, is set to broadcast the Lions' Thanksgiving Day game Nov. 22. That means Detroit must play an AFC team. Which means Jim Nantz — the Houston-raised No. 1 voice of CBS — could finally get to broadcast a Texans game for sure.
Of course, Nantz could be doing more Texans games than just a Thanksgiving matchup.
As CultureMap detailed on Monday, the Texans' national profile is undergoing a huge upswing as a result of that 20-13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the second round of the playoffs. The Texas team that's often forgotten has captured America's attention in defeat like it never has in victory.
Tailback Arian Foster, in particular, is attracting national love.
It's easy to see how having Foster and Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson — the most explosive passing game threat in the league — on the same field would make for an easily promotable Thanksgiving showcase.
The other AFC team playing at Detroit that could be moved into the Thanksgiving spot is the Indianapolis Colts. The Peyton Manning/Andrew Luck possibilities would also intrigue.
Thanksgiving is a huge showcase day for the NFL, with whichever teams play in the holiday games enjoying the national spotlight for days. An appearance on Thanksgiving would be another breakthrough for Bob McNair's franchise.
Houston's schedule will be packed with marquee teams in 2012 — Green Bay Packers (at home), New England Patriots (on the road), New York Jets (on the road) and Baltimore Ravens (at home) included. Playoff teams get the tougher schedules the following year, making repeating success in a parity-focused league, tough.
It's a task the Texans swear they'll embrace.
"We're not going to be one of those one-year wonder teams," Houston defensive end Antonio Smith said. "The last thing you want to do is make the playoffs one year and be out the next. That's when everyone calls you a fluke.
"This team is not going to be a fluke."
It figures to be working the holidays to prove that.