NFL Thanksgiving Preview


The NFL has become as important to Thanksgiving as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, and this year the American league continue their long tradition of football with a trio of games to feast on.

Within the last few years the NFL has expanded its Thanksgiving football coverage to three games, keeping the traditional Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys game, while also giving fans a Thanksgiving night game to watch.

This year’s Thanksgiving match-ups are pivotal to the season’s playoff race, in that all are elimination games for at least one of the teams playing in each game.


Ford Field: Hosting one of three Thanksgiving Day games


Here’s what to expect in each contest:

Game one, 12:30 EST: (9-1) Houston at (4-6) Detroit—The Lions come into this game in dire need of a win. Detroit, which lost three of its first four games, has clearly underachieved this season and one more loss will probably spell the end of their playoff hopes.

Quarterback Matt Stafford, who threw for more than 5,000 yards last season, is off his pace a bit and has just 12 TDs through 10 games after finding the end zone 41 times last year.

Offense isn’t their only problem though as the Lions have surrendered 24.6 points per game—good for 23rd in the league.

Houston, meanwhile, hangs their hat on defense. Sophomore defensive end J.J. Watt is third in the league with 11.5 sacks though he has just two in the last four games—a slump for him. On offense, Arian Foster is fourth in rushing yards (949) but is averaging just 3.8 per carry.

As a team though Houston is coming off a very shaky 43 – 37 overtime win and certainly aren’t used to being in the spotlight in the NFL this late in the season. They’re due a loss here: Lions 24, Texans 14.

Game two, 4:15 EST: (4-6) Washington at (5-5) Dallas – The Cowboys are bit of a mystery this year.  Tony Romo has thrown for nearly 300 yards per game but on two occasions his picks (whether it was his fault or the receiver’s) have single-handedly lost the game for Dallas.

Romo coughed it up four times in a loss the Giants and five in a loss to the Bears (both at home) yet in the other eight games he has a total of just four interceptions.

The speedy Robert Griffin has taken the NFL by storm this season. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The Cowboys topped the Super Bowl champion Giants earlier in the season and were right there with 9-1 Atlanta and 8-2 Baltimore but needed overtime to top the 2-8 Browns last week.

Washington may have their own problems, though not at quarterback. Robert Griffin is fifth in the league with a quarterback rating of 101.0 and is 19th in rushing yards—among all players—with 613.

Griffin will shine on the big stage in Dallas: Redskins 27, Cowboys 24.

Game three, 8:20 EST: (7-3) New England at (4-6) N.Y. Jets—Roughly four weeks ago the 3-3 Jets rolled into New England to take on the 3-3 Patriots in a battle of first-place teams—amazing how time changes everything. Clearly the Jets hadn’t looked like a first-place team up to that point, but played surprisingly well and actually should have won the game, had they not fouled up the play-calling and execution down the stretch.