This is one of the NFL’s showcase days of the season. Everyone knows that Detroit and Dallas will play at home but now with the addition of an NFC South Slugfest makes this day even better. So lets take a look at Thanksgiving Day’s trio of games. Normally I would give a few pieces to watch on my normal Thursday preview, but with three games on the schedule. I’m going to give you my thoughts on each of the games on the schedule.
Early Game: Chicago Bears (7-3) vs Detroit Lions (4-6)
In the opening game tradition of Thanksgiving, the Detroit Lions will host another Thanksgiving day game against the Chicago Bears. This game means everything for the Lions. A loss by Detroit means with 7 losses, any chance of attempting to win the NFC North will be out of the window and the chance at the wildcard diminishes even more. Detroit will be without Kerryon Johnson and Marvin Jones Jr. on offense, so Matthew Stafford will have to rely on Kenny Golliday again this week. Golladay was huge in the Lions victory over Carolina on Sunday, as he caught 8 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown. Now he will draw Chicago’s best cornerback in Kyle Fuller, so if Detroit wants to win he will have to make a play or two to help out his quarterback.
Chicago won a huge divisional game on Sunday night as they defeated the Vikings at home. But in that game quarterback Mitchell Tribisky hurt his shoulder is out for the Bears on Thursday. In their last meeting two weeks ago, Mitchell threw for 355 yards and 3 touchdowns as they beat the Lions at home. In that same game, Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller both caught over 100 yards receiving a piece. Chicago expects to start Chase Daniel against a Lions defense that 13th in the league in quarterback sacks with 28. In order for Chicago to win this one the road, Jordan Howard has to get the ball and be effective with it.
Even though Chicago’s Khail Mack will get in Stafford’s face all game long, the Lions find away to beat another playoff team at home. Stafford finds Golliday and TJ Jones for touchdowns and LeGarrett Blount will find the end zone.
Detroit 27 Chicago 14
Late Afternoon Game: Washington Redskins (6-4) vs Dallas Cowboys (5-5)
Washington heads to Dallas today coming off a heartbreaking loss at home to Houston on Sunday. They are bringing Colt McCoy as the starter today because of an season ending injury to Alex Smith. He’s going to rely on Adrian Peterson to carry the load if Washington has a shot to win the game. Even though McCoy threw a touchdown pass and had a quarterback rating of 90.3 in hit time against the Texans, he was sacked twice and had two crucial incompletions to get kicker Dustin Hopkins in for a closer field goal. Hopkins missed from 63 yards to win the game.
Dallas has found some life after the trade for wide receiver Amari Cooper. They have won their last 2 games and are at .500 with a chance to tie for the division lead today. Dak Prescott has played mistake free football and Dallas has been giving the ball to Ezekiel Elliott. He has 381 all purpose yards in the last 2 weeks. Ironically, Dallas has won both of those games. On top of that, it might be time Cowboys to have one of those defense outputs that makes fans remember how good that unit is.
Washington can almost clinch the division with a win on Thursday. Putting both Dallas and Philadelphia 2 games back with 5 games to go, put both teams in a tough spot with time running out in the season. I would have felt better about taking the Redskins if Smith was in the lineup. But since he’s not, expect Dallas to give Washington Elliott on a regular basis. Expect him to have over 160 total yards and multiple touchdowns.
Dallas 24 Washington 10
Thanksgiving Night: Atlanta Falcons (4-6) vs New Orleans Saints (9-1)
Atlanta has had awful luck in the fourth quarter this season. The Falcons have lost 3 games in the final quarter as the opposing team has scored in their final possession. Last week’s game against Dallas was another example of this season of disappointment in Atlanta. Even though Julio Jones has found the end zone the last 3 weeks and Matt Ryan has been outstanding all season, without running the ball effectively has made things even tougher for the Falcons. Atlanta is 2-0 when they run for over 100 yards as a team.
After a week one head scratching loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Saints have been the best team in the entire NFL. Their scoring 37.8 points per game and have hit 40 or more points 5 times this season. Yes, the Saints might not have the number 1 defense in the league and it’s been a talking point about when it comes to things that could stop them from making the Super Bowl. But just think about this, the last two games they have only allowed 26 1st downs combined. In the previous 8 games, they 6 games where they have given up 20 or more 1st downs for the entire game.
These two teams played a great game in September as the Saints won in overtime. A lot has changed since then, the Saints offense has scored on almost everyone with ease and the Falcons haven’t been able to make big stops on defense late in games. Well maybe not much as changed. Neither will thanksgiving night, even though Atlanta will potentially play their best game of the season. Too much of Drew Brees and company on offence will give the Saints their 10th win of the season.
New Orleans 45 Atlanta 37
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