MILAN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 23: Seydou Keita (R) of FC Barcelona celebrates after the first goal during the UEFA Champions League group H match between AC Milan and FC Barcelona at Giuseppe Meazza Stadium on November 23, 2011 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Happy Thanksgiving everybody! Across the USA this morning, thousands are suiting up for some morning football. And i’m not talking about the round ball you kick with your feet. American football is probably played by more people on Thanksgiving day than any other time of year. These games inevitably result in lots of pulled hamstrings, but afterwards, everybody feels better about packing away pounds of turkey, potatoes, and stuffing. With that in mind, and in honor of Turkey day, I present FC Barcelona’s Turkey bowl lineup.
QB: Victor Valdés
I think VV would make a fine quarterback. He’s got size, strength, and good vision, and he’s obviously pretty good with his hands. He’ll take most of the reps under center, and don’t be surprised if he puts his head down and scrambles for a few yards.
backup QB: Jose Manuel Pinto. Let’s hope this doesn’t happen.
Pedro’s a little undersized at WR, but he’s got the jets and the crisp route-running to make up for it. He’s Barcelona’s only legitimate deep threat, but look for him to get involved in the screen game as well.
WR2: Cesc Fabregas
Cesc has soft hands and enough athleticism to make some plays at WR. I see him quickly becoming Valdes’ favorite target and go-to wideout on third down.
TE: Gerard Piqué
The big man from Barcelona provides a large target for Valdés across the middle. Piqué also has a knack for finding the end-zone, and is Barcelona’s best red zone threat.
RB: Lionel Messi
Messi’s used to taking big hits, and his ability to change directions on the dime and accelerate out of the holes make him an ideal running back
WR/RB: Alexis Sanchez
The Chilean is Barcelona’s all-purpose threat. Whether he’s returning kicks, spelling Messi at tailback, or lining up in the slot on three wideout sets, Sanchez (when healthy), is always a threat to break one off and find paydirt.
LB: Carles Puyol
Puyi flies around the football field, curly hair waving beneath his helmet, and lays some serious hits on opposing running backs. Puyol’s no spring chicken, but he’s still quick enough to drop into coverage when necessary and strong enough to get off blocks to stop the run. Puyol, as team captain, calls the plays on D.
LB: "El Jefecito" likes to lay licks on receivers coming across the middle, or come up and stuff the run. He’ll even blitz the QB from time to time. Small, yes, but nobody maximizes his size like Masch, and he delivers some serious hits—often of the helmet-to-helmet variety—which leads to hefty fines from the league.
CB: Dani Alves
Darelle Revis ain’t got nothing on Dani Alves. This guy takes the top wideout on opposing offenses and removes them completely from the game. Tireless and speedy, Dani cruises up and down the sideline in much the same fashion as he does playing round ball, and is just as intimidating. Just imagine the trash-talking when another pass falls incomplete at the feet of Dani’s cover assignment.
He’s a bit bulky for this position, so he likes to chip wideouts off the line and knock them off their routes. But Adriano’s got some speed, and overall does a good job at corner.
FS: Eric Abidal
If any wideout manages to get past Barcelona’s Brazilian corners, the big Frenchman is there to provide some punishing help over the top. Abidal’s got great anticipation and is perhaps the most NFL-ready player on FCB’s Turkey-day squad.
SS: Thiago Alcantara
Thiago’s got the wheels and hops to cover just about anybody, and delivers some big hits of his own. Still struggling to learn Tito’s complex cover schemes.
Kicker: David Villa
There were obviously plenty of options for this position, but "El Guaje" just looks like an NFL kicker too much not to win the job. No slouch from dead-ball scenarios, Villa will make a fine kicker—perhaps maxing out around 50 yards, but virtually automatic from close range.
Punter: Andrés Iniesta
Let’s be honest here, Iniesta’s only hope of making the squad was at punter. While Isaac Cuenca gave him a run for his money, Iniesta’s ability to stop balls inside the twenty, plus his knack for fake punts won him the job.
Head Coach: Pep Guardiola, Offensive Coordinator: Xavi Hernández, Defensive Coordinator: Tito Villanova