While Christmas is linked with the NBA, there’s no denying that the NFL dominates Turkey Day. The Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys have long been staples on Thanksgiving, and the recent addition of a Thursday night game helps create a tremendous slate of football.
Let’s dive in and take a look at the three games we will be watching as we stuff our faces:
Philadelphia Eagles at DETROIT LIONS (pick)
The Detroit Lions have beaten the Green Bay Packers and Oakland Raiders in their last two games, and are finally playing at the level we expected of them all season. The defense shut down two of the more dynamic offenses in the NFL, and Matthew Stafford has protected the ball enough (barely) to bring home some victories. While the Lions rank last in the NFL with 71.1 rushing yards per game, Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin showed in Week 11 that anyone can run the ball against the Eagles. Philadelphia is coming off their most embarrassing performance of the season, but with the pairing of Mark Sanchez and DeMarco Murray still intact, things aren’t going to improve this week. The Lions will make it three wins in a row on the season.
Prediction: PHI (17) – DET (23)
Carolina Panthers at DALLAS COWBOYS (pick)
In what promises to be the most entertaining game of the day, the undefeated Carolina Panthers (10-0) take on the undefeated-when-Tony-Romo-starts Dallas Cowboys (3-0). I have constantly underestimated the Carolina Panthers throughout the season, so why stop now? Coming off an impressive demolition of the Washington Redskins, Carolina’s next NFC East opponent promises to put up more of a fight. For as great as Carolina’s defenses has been, teams have had success running the ball against them. This is Dallas’ bread-and-butter, and I expect the Cowboys to control possession and the line of scrimmage. Romo will make some ridiculous plays, Dez Bryant and Greg Hardy will fight on the sidelines about who gets to carve the turkey at Thanksgiving dinner, and Dallas will ruin Carolina’s hopes of a perfect season.
Prediction: CAR (20) – DAL (24)
CHICAGO BEARS (+8.5) at. Green Bay Packers
You know who feels thankful right now? Mike McCarthy, Aaron Rodgers and Eddie Lacy. After a monumental road win over the Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay is back to controlling its own destiny in the NFC North race. Their impressive performance will certainly carry into this game, but the Chicago Bears are playing better football than many people realize. Giving the Brock Osweiler-led Broncos all they could handle this past week, Chicago was coming off an impressive two-game win streak involving road wins at San Diego and St. Louis. The Bears also get Matt Forte and Alshon Jeffery back for this one, meaning Jay Cutler and Chicago should give their rival all they can handle.
Prediction: CHI (23) – GB (27)