The unusual game has also forced bars that would ordinarily close for the day to keep the lights on and inspired the stadium caterers to find a way to squeeze holiday fare onto the menu.

Mother's Federal Hill Grille is one of the area's iconic Ravens bars — along with others including Nick's Fish House and Bill Bateman's Bistro in Havre de Grace — that will open on Thanksgiving just to welcome their perennial game-day crowds.

Mother's owner Dave Rather said he usually shuts the doors on Thanksgiving to give his staff a chance to be with their family. But he's opening at 4 p.m. on Thursday to greet the regulars with turkey dinners and festive autumnal drinks like apple cider with spiced rum.

"We're obviously a huge spot for the Ravens, so we definitely want to be open and be part of that action," Rather says.

At M&T Bank Stadium, fans in the luxury suites and hospitality tents might be able to close their eyes and imagine they're spending the holiday at grandma's.

Caterers are augmenting the usual nachos and crab cakes with honey-roasted turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green-bean casserole and, of course, pumpkin pie.

"Thanksgiving is a very traditional holiday," says Joe Arena, general manager for Aramark at M&T Bank Stadium. "People are used to their traditions. … This could be the start of a new tradition, having Thanksgiving dinner here."

To appease stadium staff who have to work the holiday game, Aramark is giving all of them commemorative tumblers, and they'll have a chance to enter drawings for grills, clothing, autographed memorabilia and even airline tickets.

"You're taking time away from your family to work at the stadium," Arena says. "We respect the fact that they're changing their tradition."

Longtime passionate tailgater Ed Naworol knew there was no way football could trump family — even as much as he loves football. So he and his tailgate buddies plan to get to the game later than usual to meet for after-dinner drinks and dessert. However — he made what he calls his "psychotically good" deep-fried turkeys on Sunday, for the game against Cincinnati.

"Thanksgiving is a big tradition for a lot of families — you can't interrupt that for a football game," he says. "I'm trying to blend both the football family and the home family."

jill.rosen@baltsun.com

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