Archives for category: NFL Thanksgiving

It’s Thanksgiving. That means it’s time to sit in crowded airports and bus stations, deal with the in-laws, the picky, bratty kids that won’t eat their veggies and deal with your sister’s bean and squash casserole (no wonder she’s still single!). It’s also time for NFL football as week 13 opens with three games on the docket. Detroit and Dallas will play their games at home, while the Falcons and Saints close things out in the Big Peach in prime time.

Like we said, it’s three games and it’s not just three games, it’s three contests that could very well decide who wins their division. Think of the early afternoon game as a snack of sorts, while the mid-afternoon game is the main meal with the Thursday night prime time contest as dessert.

For generations of Americans, the tradition of Thanksgiving Day and NFL football are historically intertwined. On Thanksgiving in 1925, a crowd of 36,000 – then the largest in professional football history – watched the Chicago Bears play the Chicago Cardinals to a scoreless tie at Wrigley Field. In 1934, the Detroit Lions and the defending world champion Bears squared off on Thanksgiving in the first NFL game nationally broadcast, with NBC radio on the call. This year, the three holiday games will be played inside stadiums (Ford Field, AT&T Stadium and Mercedes-Benz Stadium) with a combined capacity of over 215,000 and will be aired to millions across the country and around the world.

The Lions will play their 80th Thanksgiving Day game dating back to 1934, while the Cowboys will play in their 52nd since 1966. The Falcons will play in their fourth and the Saints will play in their third Thanksgiving game. Three games in three cities on three different networks. If nothing else, you’ll at least be spared from listening to Uncle Harry tell the same bad joke over and over again, being stuck at the kid’s table with your 13-year old cousin that’s as plain as a sheet of paper (and she has a crush on you!) and stuffing (or dressing, if you’re in the South) so bad even the squirrels won’t touch it.

For generations of Americans, the tradition of Thanksgiving Day and NFL football are historically intertwined.

On Thanksgiving in 1925, a crowd of 36,000 – then the largest in professional football history – watched the Chicago Bears play the Chicago Cardinals to a scoreless tie at Wrigley Field. In 1934, the Detroit Lions and the defending world champion Bears squared off on Thanksgiving in the first NFL game nationally broadcast, with NBC radio on the call. This year, the three holiday games will be played inside stadiums with a combined capacity of more than 215,000 (Dallas the largest at 85,000 while Detroit is the smallest venue at 64,500) and will be aired to millions across the country and around the world.

The 2019 installment of Thanksgiving Day football will feature a triple-header for the 14th consecutive season.

The first game showcases a battle of NFC North rivals as Chicago travels to Ford Field to face Detroit at 12:30 p.m. on FOX. The late afternoon game marks the 42nd consecutive Thanksgiving Day contest hosted in Arlington, as Dallas welcomes Buffalo to AT&T Stadium at 4:30 p.m. on CBS. The holiday concludes at Mercedes-Benz Stadium as Atlanta welcomes NFC South rival New Orleans in the 101st regular-season meeting at 8:20 p.m. on NBC

The Lions will play their 80th Thanksgiving Day game dating back to 1934, while the Cowboys will play in their 52nd since 1966. The Bears and Bills will play in their 36th and ninth games, respectively, on the holiday. The Falcons will play in their fourth and the Saints will play in their third Thanksgiving game.

The Thanksgiving Day records of the teams playing this Thursday:

TEAM (W-L-T)
ATLANTA (1-2-0)
Buffalo 3-4-1
Chicago (18-15-2)
Dallas (31-19-1)
Detroit (37-40-2)
New Orleans (2-0-0)

While most of America will be waiting in line for those Christmas deals, reading the Black Friday ads and making their lists, most of us will be stuffing our faces with food and stuffing our eyes with parades and football. It’s food. It’s football. It’s Tnanksgiving. Be sure to get seconds if you can and watch out for your cousin Connie (remmeber her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 58 last June and dates a 43-year old ex-Marine, who’s now a football coach at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”)

Two of the three games Thanksgiving Day (Chicago at Detroit, New Orleans at Atlanta) are rematches not only from this season but from last Thanksgiving and for the teams that won the first meeting, it’s a chance to establish themselves; for the losers, it’s revenge. If nothing else, at least they’ll get that Christmas shopping done early. With that, make sure that everyone’s on their best behavior and enjoy dinner… and football (not in that order) and avoid your aunt Charlotte’s fruitcake (it’s so laced with booze it could be its own drink!). With that, after you’ve watched the parade and hugged your cousin Marge, who always smells like gingerbread (a pretty damned good smell if we say so ourselves!), watch football. Here are the Thursday Thanksgiving Day picks.

New Orleans (9-2) at ATLANTA (3-8), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. They meet again on Thanksgiving night and this time, it’s in the Big Peach. You can forget them breaking bread anytime soon… they still don’t like each other. Atlanta and Green Bay meet in the second round of their 2019 NFC South rivalry.

The Saints ended Carolina’s hopes of leaving the Big Easy with a win as New Orleans’ Wil Lutz booted a 33-yard field goal as the clock struck :00 to survive 34-31. New Orleans led 17-15 at the intermission as Carolina’s Kyle Allen and RB Christian McCaffrey would connect on a 1-yard pass as time expired in the half. Carolina then went for two in hopes of going to the locker room tied but the try failed.

The Panthers, who trailed by as much as 14 in the contest, would even things up at 31-31 with 9:23 left in regulation when Allen and WR D.J. Moore connected on a 2-yard TD toss. The two clubs exchanged punts and Carolina had a chance to take the lead with 1:56 left in the contest but fell short as Joey Slye’s 28-yard field goal sailed wide right. That gave New Orleans the ball and the Saints used all of the 1:56 left on the clock, making their way down the field to Carolina’s 15-yard line to set up Lutz’ game-winner. Carolina used a time out with three seconds left in an attempt to ice Lutz. The plan failed as Lutz’ try sailed through the uprights to send Saints fans home happy.

McCaffery and Saints RB Latavius Murray each lead their teams with 64 yards rushing (both had a rushing TD) as the Panthers actually outrushed New Orleans 121-118 and Brees threw for 311 yards and a pair of TDs (two sacks, interception), while Allen had 256 yards with three TDs (four sacks) for Carolina. New Orleans was 4 of 10 on third down (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 28:27 (including the final 1:56 of the contest), while the Panthers ruled the clock and kept the ball for 31:33, going 5 of 13 on third down and 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Tampa Bay ended Atlanta’s brief 2-game win streak in the Big Peach as the Buccaneers stopped Matt Ryan and the Falcons 35-22. Atlanta saw a 10-7 lead at the end of the first quarter get away from them at Mercedes-Benz Stadium as Tampa Bay would take control of things in the final 45 minutes of action, outscoring their NFC South rivals 28-12 in that frame. Atlanta would find themselves held to 57 yards on the ground (the Bucs rushed for 133 yards) and Tampa Bay would sack Ryan (271 yards) six times with an interception, while Jameis Winston threw for 313 yards with a three TDs and a pair of interceptions (one TD toss went to DL Vita Vea on a tackle-eligible play late in the first half. Vea would later live out a lineman’s dream as he would sack Ryan, forcing a fumble, which teammate Ndamukong Suh picked up and ran in for a TD. Atlanta was 4 of 16 on third down but had succcess on fourth down (2 of 3) and actually ruled the clock, as they kept the ball for 31:38, while Tampa Bay, keeping the pigskin for 28:22, were 6 of 13 on third down tries.

They met in week 10 in the Big Easy and the Falcons broke their seven-game losing streak as they manhandled Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints last Sunday, holding the NFC South leaders to three Will Lutz field goals to take a 26-9 win out of the Mercerdes Benz Superdome. Atlanta broke a 3-3 tie at the end of the first quarter, took a 13-6 lead with them to the break and floored the gas in the final 30 minutes of action. New Orleans pulled themselves to within four with 6:05 left in the third before the Falcons scored their final 13 points of the contest unchallenged.

Holding New Orleans to 52 yards on the ground, Atlanta took care of business against their NFC South foes, tallying 143 yards with Brian Hill leading all rushers with 61 yards.

Ryan, returning from the ankle injury he suffered against Seattle, showed no ill effects, throwing for 182 yards with a pair of TDs (one to Hill, the other to Austin Hooper), while the Falcons defense sacked Brees (287 yards) six times, while Ryan was sacked once and threw an interception. Atlanta went 6 of 15 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 33:46, while the Saints kept the ball for 26:14, going 3 of 12 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down.

In the week 10 meeting in the Big Easy, the Saints were favored by 13 and Atlanta covered, winning by 17. As for the 51 1/2 over/under? Untouched, as both teams merged for 35 points. Vegas likes the Saints again and this time, the boys and girls in Vegas have favored them by 7 with the over/under at 49. New Orleans wants to do two things in Atlanta; one, get revenge from their week 10 loss in the Big Easy and two, clinch the NFC South. Atlanta is saying “you’ll get NOTHING and like it!” Falcons bounce back from their loss to Tampa Bay and takes the Turkey Day win in the Big Peach.

Chicago (5-6) at Detroit (3-7-1), 12:30 p.m. on FOX. A Thanksgiving rivalry older than the NFL itself gets things underway as Detroit hosts Chicago at Ford Field. While the Bears recovered from their loss on the West Coast to the Rams last Sunday, the Lions took a loss on the road in Landover.

Da Bears held off a late New York Giants rally in the fourth quarter as the Monsters of the Midway took a 19-14 win at Soldier Field Sunday afternoon. Chicago trailed 7-3 at the half in the Windy City, then proceeded to score 16 third-quarter points unchallenged to take a 19-7 lead at the end of the period. Giants QB Daniel Jones and WR Golden Tate pulled themselves to within 5 with 4:10 left on a 23-yard TD toss but Chicago prevailed, holding off the Giants to take the win.

The Giants outrushed Chicago 109-65 but Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky threw for 278 yards with a TD toss to Allen Robinson and had a rushing TD of his own (Trubisky was sacked twice and threw a pair of interceptions), while Jones threw for 150 yards with a pair of TDs (Jones was sacked once). Da Bears were 4 for 15 on third down conversions in the Windy City and kept the ball in hibernation for 33:11, while the Giants kept the pigskin for 26:49, going 1 of 12 on third down and 2 for 4 on fourth down.

Lions fans saw their hearts get broken again as Washington erased a 16-13 deficit, using a pair of Dustin Hopkins field goals to come away 19-16 winnners at Fed Ex Field in Landover. Trailing 13-6 at the break, Detroit manged to tie things up in the third quarter on a 12-yard TD toss to WR Lance Thomas from Jeff Driskel. Detroit then took a 16-13 lead early in the final quarter of play on a 21-yard field goal by Matt Prater before Washington would storm their way back, as Hopkins kicked the first of his two field goals in the quarter from 42 yards, then connecting on a 39-yarder after the Redskins picked off Driskell, the second coming with 16 seconds left in the contest. Detroit would get the ball back with the time that was left on the clock and got themselves no further than their 24-yard line, where Driskel was picked off by Fabian Moreau, ending the threat and the drive.

Detroit somehow managed to outrush Washington 175-86 and Driskel threw for 207 yards and the TD to Thomas but sacked six times and threw three interceptions, including the one that ended the Lions’ hopes of tying or taking the lead, while Washington’s Dwayne Haskins threw for 156 yards with an interception and three sacks. Detroit went 6 of 15 on third down conversions and actually ruled the clock as they held on to the ball for 33:30, while the Redskins kept the ball for 26:30 and went 4 for 14 on third down tries.

They met in the Windy City in week 10 and Detroit watched a 6-0 lead against NFC North rival Chicago get away from them as the Bears stormed back to take a 20-13 win at Soldier Field. The Lions took that 6-0 lead with a pair of Matt Prahter field goals before the Bears would erase that lead with 25 seconds left before the break when Mitch Trubisky and TE Ben Braunecker connected on a 18-yard toss. Trubisky would add 3rd quarter TD passes to Tarik Cohen and Taylor Gabriel to take the lead to 20-6 before Kenny Golladay and Jeff Driskell (taking over for Matthew Stafford – back) would put the Lions to within 7 with 5:53 left in the contest.

After Detroit and Chicago exchanged punts, the Lions got the ball back with 1:41 and would get themselves as close as Chicago’s 25-yard line, where the drive and game ended. Neither club breached the 100 yard barrier in the contest in the Windy City but Detroit did manage to outrush Chicago 98-81 and Driskell threw for 269 yards with the TD, while he was sacked twice and threw an interception, while Trubisky accounted for the three TDs with 173 yards of passing and five sacks. Detroit was 7 for 18 on third down (0 of 2 on fourth down) and including the final 1:41 of the contest, kept the ball for 31:54, while the Bears kept the ball for 28:06, going 2 of 12 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week 10 contest at Soldier Field, Da Bears won by 7, allowing them to cover the 2 1/2-point spread but both clubs missed the 41 1/2 over/under, tallying only 33 points. In the Thanksgiving Day rematch, Da Bears are favored, this time by 2 1/2 and the over/under’s 39. History has a way of repeating and for the Lions, it’s Groundhog Day. For the Bears, they’ll pull themselves a little closer to Green Bay and Minnesota in the NFC North. Da Bears cover the 2 1/2 in the Motor City and wins on the road.

Buffalo (8-3) at Dallas (6-5), 4:30 p.m. on CBS. A pair of contending playoff teams meet in the middle Thanksgiving Day contest in the Lone Star State as Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys take on Buffalo at Jerry World (aka AT&T Stadium).

Buffalo held Denver to a Brad McManus field goal in the third quarter in upstate New York as the Bills circled their wagons last Sunday to take a 20-3 win over the Broncos last Sunday. The Bills used a pair of Stephen Hauschka field goals in the first half to lead 6-0 at the intermission. Josh Allen and WR Cole Beasley gave Buffalo a 13-0 lead early in the third quarter before McManus ended Buffalo’s shutout bid with a 45-yard field goal halfway in the third. Allen would connect with WR John Brown early in the final quarter to close out the scoring in the contest.

Buffalo’s Devin Singletary led all rushers with 106 yards as the Bills outrushed Denver 244-75 and Josh Allen (Buffalo) threw for 185 yards with a sack to go with the two TD passes, while Brad Allen (Denver) threw for 82 yards with four sacks (both threw an interception in the contest). Buffalo went 8 of 16 on third down conversions in upstate New York and ruled the clock as they would keep the ball for 35:04, while the Broncos kept the pigskin for 24:56, going 2 of 11 on third down.

Dallas got three field goals from Brett Maher but it wasn’t enough as New England took Prescott and the Cowboys 13-9 at Gillette Stadium in rainy Foxboro Sunday afternoon. After the defending Super Bowl champs blocked a Dallas punt, New England went to work, using only two plays and 12 yards for the contest’s only TD as Tom Brady and rookie N’Keal Harry connected on a 10-yard TD toss. After that, it would be all field goals as New England’s Nick Folk and Maher would kick field goals to round out the scoring.

Dallas did outrush New England 109-101 with Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott leading the way with 86 yards, while Sony Michel would lead New England with 85. Brady threw for 190 yards with the first quarter TD toss (he was sacked twice but threw no interceptions), while Prescott threw for 212 yards with a pick but was not sacked. Dallas, going 2 of 13 on third down, actually ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 30:22, while New England, keeping the ball for 29:38, went 3 for 14 on third down (both clubs were 0 for 1 on fourth down).

Dallas leads the series 6-4 and the Cowboys have outscored Buffalo 191-151. Dallas’ last win in the series came in 2011 in the Lone Star State as they came away with a 44-7 win, while Buffalo’s last win in the series came in upstate New York by a final of 16-6 in 2016. Dallas is favored by 7 and the over/under’s 45. Both numbers make a ton of sense. 4 of 5 Dallas’ losses have come by 4 points or less. As for the Bills? They’re still in the hunt if not for the AFC East, then for a Wild Card spot and there’s no shame in that. Bills circle the wagons in the Lone Star State and takes the win, even though Dallas could make it closer than the 7.

Broadcast Information (All times Eastern)

New Orleans at ATLANTA, 8:20 p.m. on NBC: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya (field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Brandon Gaudin, Tony Boselli, Laura Okmin (field reporter); SIRIUS: 82 (New Orleans), 83 (ATLANTA); XM: 225 (New Orelans), 226 (ATLANTA)

Chicago at Detroit, 12:30 p.m. on FOX: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews (field reporter), Kristina Pink (field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Ryan Radtke, Ross Tucker, Hub Arkush (field reporter); SIRIUS: 82 (Chicago), 83 (Detroit); XM: 225 (Chicago), 226 (Detroit)

Buffalo at Dallas, 4:30 p.m. on CBS: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson (field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: John Sadak, James Lofton, Scott Kaplan (field reporter); SIRIUS: 82 (Buffalo), 83 (Dallas); XM: 225 (Buffalo), 226 (Dallas)

Officials
New Orleans at ATLANTA, 8:20 p.m.: Shawn Smith
Chicago at Detroit, 12:30 p.m.: Jerome Boger
Buffalo at Dallas, 4:30 p.m.: Bill Vinovich

Injury Report

New Orleans at ATLANTA, 8:20 p.m.

New Orleans
QUESTIONABLE: C William Clapp (Back), WR Deonte Harris (Hamstring)

ATLANTA
OUT: TE Austin Hooper (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: S Sharrod Neasman (Shoulder), DE Takkarist McKinley (Shoulder), TE Luke Stocker (Back)

Chicago at Detroit, 12:30 p.m.

Chicago
OUT: TE Ben Braunecker (Concussion), WR Taylor Gabriel (Concussion), T Bobby Massie (Ankle), S Sherrick McManis (Groin), TE Adam Shaheen (Foot), LB Danny Trevathan (Elbow)

Detroit
OUT: CB Jamal Agnew (Ankle), WR Marvin Hall (Foot), CB Rashan Melvin (Ribs)
QUESTIONABLE: QB Jeff Driskel (Hamstring), DE Trey Flowers (Concussion), DE Da’Shawn Hand (Ankle), DT Damon Harrison (Knee), TE Thomas Hockenson (Shoulder)

Buffalo at Dallas, 4:30 p.m.

Buffalo
OUT: T Attauyo Nsekhe (Ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Robert Foster (Hamstring), C Mitchell Morse (Hand)

Dallas
OUT: LB Leighton Vander Esch (Neck), DT Antwaun Woods (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: S Jeffrey Heath (Shoulder)

Weather
New Orleans at ATLANTA, 8:20 p.m.: Game indoors
Chicago at Detroit, 12:30 p.m.: Game indoors
Buffalo at Dallas, 4:30 p.m.: Game indoors

Broadcast information and injury report courtesy the National Football League, odds courtesy Don Best, weather information courtesy The Weather Channel.

Parades, Black Friday Sales, in-laws grousing about the food and picky eaters.

There’s always football on Thanksgiving.

This year, NFL fans will get a chance to shove food in their faces and watch football. The schedule makers have once again given football fans a pigskin buffet with not one, not two but three games on the tube.

How did all of this get started, you ask?

Glad you asked.

We’re about to explain it to you.

Pass the rolls, please.

In 1920, there were a total of six games that were played on Turkey Day. While we will never know who liked dark meat or light, we can tell you that the home teams that day did quite well, going four for six. The idea of professional football on Thanksgiving Day? It came as a way to make money and for the new league we know now as the National Football League a chance to get some recognition.

The NFL Historians and the good folks at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio tell us that the Chicago Bears introduced their newest star, Illinois RB Red Grange – “the Galloping Ghost” to a standing room-only crowd at Wrigley Field of 36,000 fans in a contest against their cross-town rivals the Chicago Cardinals. Even though the two teams fought to a 0-0 tie, they had their star, the league got its much-needed recognition and the rest, they say is history. Even though he got a black eye for his effort (probably from either being tackled or reaching for the mashed potatoes before the prayer was said), Grange tallied 92 yards rushing, 56 yards on punt returns, throwing six passes and had an interception to stop a Cardinals drive. Newspapers reported that he took home a whopping $12,000 for his day of work, most of which went to his manager C.C. “Cash and Carry” Pyle.

Grange would travel the nation over the next several months on a barn-storming tour. More than 400,000 spectators – from coast to coast – saw the fabled All-America from the University of Illinois display his athletic talents on the football field. With Grange as his star attraction, Pyle organized a rival league called the American Football League in 1926. Grange starred for the New York Yankees. While the Yankees had moderate success, the league failed. Grange rejoined the Bears in 1927 but suffered a serious knee injury that sidelined him through the entire 1928 season. He came back in 1929 and played with Chicago through 1934. While known as a runner, Grange was better as a defensive back. More importantly for the NFL, the name recognition of Red Grange was instrumental in attracting large crowds for the professional game. His signing with the Bears helped the league succeed and grow to a new level in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

As for the two major teams that play at home on Thanksgiving Day… Detroit and Dallas?

The Lions began playing on Turkey Day in 1934 when they played the Chicago Bears and lost to Da Bears by a final of 19-16. We’re still not sure who got the drumstick or if the Lions liked dark or white meat and we’re not even sure if the Bears liked gravy on their dressing. Detroit did find the win column the next year, as they would beat Chicago and gain some revenge, taking a 14-2 win.

The Lions and Bears (sorry, no tigers… oh my!) would play Chicago three more times from 1936 to 1938, when some guy named Hitler ruined the party and would eventually force America and the rest of the world into the Second World War. While America was out saving the world from a madman that was bent on killing 6 million people because of their religion, Thanksgiving Day football went into hibernation, plus it was kind of hard to throw a football when you’re trying to throw a grenade.

The war ended, Hilter’s dead (probably from overeating, if the Russians didn’t get him first), the Germans and Japanese are in the process of being punished for starting the Second World War and things did get back to normal in 1945 when the Lions once again took the stage, losing to the Cleveland Rams (yes, kids… the Rams were in Cleveland before they loaded up the truck and moved to Los Angeles and then to St. Louis before coming back to Tinseltown) by a 28-21 final. Things didn’t go well for Detroit for four more seasons (probably due to over-eating before, during and after the game) before beating up on the New York Yanks 49-14 in 1950.

Detroit will have played a grand total of 76 games on Thanksgiving Day and even when the team was bad, fans still come to the game. Why? Probably because their fathers brought their kids to the games and they in turn brought their kids. Even when the team was bad, fans still came out and to watch their team. Some came before they sat down to eat and some leaving early to get home to eat. While the Lions have been the home team on Thanksgiving, their opponents have changed from year to year and Detroit’s most common opponent is Green Bay. The second most common opponent? Da Bears.

There have been blowouts and there have been some really good games in the series. Have there been shutouts, you ask? Yes, just as sure as your aunt Grace is going to serve that orange and rum cheesecake for dessert. (Pack the Pepto, it’s gonna be a long day). Seven contests have been shutouts but the Lions only have won one contest where they did the deed, a 24-0 win over Chicago in 1979 and three games have gone into overtime (think of it as going for seconds of your sister’s mashed potatoes). The first overtime contest took place in 1980, when Chicago beat Detroit 23-17 on a 95-yard kickoff return by David Williams. The last overtime game in the series was in 2017 against Houston, as the Texans would win it on a 32-yard field goal by kicker Shanyne Graham.

As for the Cowboys… America’s Team didn’t make it onto the Thanksgiving Day Stage until 1966, when their first contest took place in the Cotton Bowl against the St. Louis Cardinals. They won that contest 46-21 in the Lone Star State that day. The Cowboys have always played their games later in the afternoon. Think of it as dessert after you’ve cleaned your plate while being forced to sit at the kids’ table with your ugly cousin Terri (although she’s gotten a lot better looking lately and is about to go off to college next year). They started out winning their first six contests before finally losing to San Francisco in 1972. The only year America’s Team did not grace the nation’s TV screens was in 1975 but they came back the following year before skipping the 1977 season but returned the following year and they’ve been with us ever since… think of that really bad gravy your cousin Marge made three years ago. It’s that bad (we’re speaking of the gravy, not the football). The Cowboys have played 45 games on Thanksgiving, winning 30 of them with 15 losses.

Is this the end of football on Turkey Day? Far from it. In 2006, the NFL decided that if two games on Thanksgiving Day were good, then three must be great and that was the case when they when prime time for football fans. It’s like going back and making a turkey and ham sandwich with cranberry sauce as a snack.

2019 will give football fans three chances to watch as much football and shove as much food in their faces as they can do so (use your common sense when eating, no elbows on the table and watch out for your cousin Connie. She’s the one that turned 57, dates a 42-year old football coach and once wiped out your Super Bowl party last year by eating an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?” The girl’s a bottomless pit!).

Food and football. The NFL and Thanksgiving. The only other holiday that joins food and football is Super Bowl Sunday (which technically is not a holiday but some think it should be). It seems that the powers that run the National Football League knows what they’re doing. Mind your manners, no belching at the table and try not to cheer with your mouth full, k?

Here’s a history of football on Thanksgiving (source: the National Football League; home teams in CAPS)

November 25, 1920
AKRON PROS 7, Canton Bulldogs 0
Decatur Staleys 6, CHICAGO TIGERS 0
ELYRIA (Ohio) ATHLETICS* 0, Columbus Panhandles 0
DAYTON TRIANGLES 28, Detroit Heralds 0
CHICAGO BOOSTERS* 27, Hammond Pros 0
All-Tonawanda (New York) 14, ROCHESTER JEFFERSONS 3
* Non league team. Games between league teams and non league teams counted in standings in 1920.

November 24, 1921
Canton Bulldogs 14, AKRON PROS 0
Buffalo All-Americans 7, CHICAGO STALEYS 6

November 30, 1922
Buffalo All-Americans 21, ROCHESTER JEFFERSONS 0
CHICAGO CARDINALS 6, Chicago Bears 0
RACINE LEGION 3, Milwaukee Badgers 0
Oorang Indians 18, COLUMBUS PANHANDLES 6
CANTON BULLDOGS 14, Akron Pros 0

November 29, 1923
CANTON BULLDOGS 28, Toledo Maroons 0
CHICAGO BEARS 3, Chicago Cardinals 0
GREEN BAY PACKERS 19, Hammond Pros 0
Milwaukee Badgers 16, RACINE LEGION 0
AKRON PROS 2, Buffalo All-Americans 0

November 27, 1924
AKRON PROS 22, Buffalo Bisons 0
Chicago Bears 21, CHICAGO CARDINALS 0
FRANKFORD YELLOWJACKETS 32, Dayton Triangles 7
CLEVELAND BULLDOGS 53, Milwaukee Badgers 10 (at Canton, Ohio)
Green Bay Packers 17, KANSAS CITY BLUES 6

November 26, 1925
CHICAGO BEARS 0, Chicago Cardinals 0
Kansas City Cowboys 17, CLEVELAND BULLDOGS 0 (at Hartford, Connecticut)
Rock Island Independents 6, DETROIT PANTHERS 3
POTTSVILLE MAROONS 31, Green Bay Packers 0

November 25, 1926
New York Giants 17, BROOKLYN LIONS 0
Los Angeles Buccaneers 9, DETROIT PANTHERS 6
CHICAGO BEARS 0, Chicago Cardinals 0
FRANKFORD YELLOWJACKETS 20, Green Bay Packers 14
POTTSVILLE MAROONS 8, Providence Steam Roller 0
CANTON BULLDOGS 0, Akron Pros 0

November 24, 1927
Chicago Cardinals 3, CHICAGO BEARS 0
POTTSVILLE MAROONS 6, Providence Steam Roller 0
Green Bay Packers 17, FRANKFORD YELLOWJACKETS 9
Cleveland Bulldogs 30, NEW YORK YANKEES 19

November 29, 1928
Providence Steam Roller 7, POTTSVILLE MAROONS 0
DETROIT WOLVERINES 33, Dayton Triangles 0
FRANKFORD YELLOWJACKETS 2, Green Bay Packers 0
CHICAGO BEARS 34, Chicago Cardinals 0

November 28, 1929
New York Giants 21, STATEN ISLAND STAPLETONS 7
FRANKFORD YELLOWJACKETS 0, Green Bay Packers 0
Chicago Cardinals 40, CHICAGO BEARS 6

November 27, 1930
STATEN ISLAND STAPLETONS 7, New York Giants 6
BROOKLYN DODGERS 33, Providence Steam Roller 12
Green Bay Packers 25, FRANKFORD YELLOWJACKETS 7
CHICAGO BEARS 6, Chicago Cardinals 0

November 26, 1931
Green Bay Packers 38, PROVIDENCE STEAM ROLLER 7
STATEN ISLAND STAPLETONS 9, New York Giants 6
CHICAGO BEARS 18, Chicago Cardinals 7

November 24, 1932
CHICAGO BEARS 34, Chicago Cardinals 0
Green Bay Packers 7, BROOKLYN DODGERS 0
STATEN ISLAND STAPLETONS 13, New York Giants 13

November 30, 1933 Chicago Bears 22, CHICAGO CARDINALS 6
New York Giants 10, BROOKLYN DODGERS 0

November 29, 1934
CHICAGO CARDINALS 6, Green Bay Packers 0
Chicago Bears 19, DETROIT LIONS 16
New York Giants 27, BROOKLYN DODGERS 0

November 28, 1935
New York Giants 21, BROOKLYN DODGERS 0
CHICAGO CARDINALS 9, Green Bay Packers 7
DETROIT LIONS 14, Chicago Bears 2

November 26, 1936
DETROIT LIONS 13, Chicago Bears 7
New York Giants 14, BROOKLYN DODGERS 0

November 25, 1937
Chicago Bears 13, DETROIT LIONS 0
BROOKLYN DODGERS 13, New York Giants 13

November 24, 1938 DETROIT LIONS 14, Chicago Bears 7
BROOKLYN DODGERS 7, New York Giants 7

November 23, 1939#
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 17, Pittsburgh Steelers 14

November 28, 1940#
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 7, Pittsburgh Steelers 0

# In 1939 and 1940, President Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving one week earlier. Various states celebrated on the date declared by the President, while other states recognized the traditional fourth Thursday of the month. In 1941, Thanksgiving was sanctioned by Congress to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, which it has been ever since.

November 22, 1945
Cleveland Rams 28, DETROIT LIONS 21

November 28, 1946
Boston Yanks 34, DETROIT LIONS 10

November 27, 1947
Chicago Bears 34, DETROIT LIONS 14

November 25, 1948
Chicago Cardinals 28, DETROIT LIONS 14

November 24, 1949
Chicago Bears 28, DETROIT LIONS 7

November 23, 1950
DETROIT LIONS 49, New York Yanks 14
Pittsburgh Steelers 28, CHICAGO CARDINALS 17

November 22, 1951
DETROIT LIONS 52, Green Bay Packers 35

November 27, 1952
DETROIT LIONS 48, Green Bay Packers 24
DALLAS TEXANS 27, Chicago Bears 23 (at Akron, Ohio)

November 26, 1953
DETROIT LIONS 34, Green Bay Packers 15

November 25, 1954
DETROIT LIONS 28, Green Bay Packers 24

November 24, 1955
DETROIT LIONS 24, Green Bay Packers 10

November 22, 1956
Green Bay Packers 24, DETROIT LIONS 20

November 28, 1957
DETROIT LIONS 18, Green Bay Packers 6

November 27, 1958
DETROIT LIONS 24, Green Bay Packers 14

November 26, 1959
Green Bay Packers 24, DETROIT LIONS 17

November 24, 1960
DETROIT LIONS 23, Green Bay Packers 10
(AFL) – NEW YORK TITANS 41, Dallas Texans 35

November 23, 1961
Green Bay Packers 17, DETROIT LIONS 9
(AFL) – NEW YORK TITANS 21, Buffalo Bills 14

November 22, 1962
DETROIT LIONS 26, Green Bay Packers 14
(AFL) – New York Titans 46, DENVER BRONCOS 45

November 28, 1963
DETROIT LIONS 13, Green Bay Packers 13
(AFL) – Oakland Raiders 26, DENVER BRONCOS 10

November 26, 1964
Chicago Bears 27, DETROIT LIONS 24
(AFL) – Buffalo Bills 27, SAN DIEGO CHARGERS 24

November 25, 1965
DETROIT LIONS 24, Baltimore Colts 24
(AFL) – SAN DIEGO CHARGERS 20, Buffalo Bills 20

November 24, 1966
San Francisco 49ers 41, DETROIT LIONS 14
DALLAS COWBOYS 26, Cleveland Browns 14
(AFL) – Buffalo Bills 31, OAKLAND RAIDERS 10

November 23, 1967
Los Angeles Rams 31, DETROIT LIONS 7
DALLAS COWBOYS 46, St. Louis Cardinals 21
(AFL) – Oakland Raiders 44, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 22
(AFL) – SAN DIEGO CHARGERS 24, Denver Broncos 20

November 28, 1968
Philadelphia Eagles 12, DETROIT LIONS 0
DALLAS COWBOYS 29, Washington Redskins 20
(AFL) – OAKLAND RAIDERS 13, Buffalo Bills 10
(AFL) – KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 24, Houston Oilers 10

November 27, 1969
Minnesota Vikings 27, DETROIT LIONS 0
DALLAS COWBOYS 24, San Francisco 49ers 24
(AFL) – KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 31, Denver Broncos 17
(AFL) – San Diego Chargers 21, HOUSTON OILERS 17

November 26, 1970
DETROIT LIONS 28, Oakland Raiders 14
DALLAS COWBOYS 16, Green Bay Packers 3

November 23, 1972
DETROIT LIONS 37, New York Jets 20
San Francisco 49ers 31, DALLAS COWBOYS 10

November 22, 1973
Washington Redskins 20, DETROIT LIONS 0
Miami Dolphins 14, DALLAS COWBOYS 7

November 28, 1974
Denver Broncos 31, DETROIT LIONS 27
DALLAS COWBOYS 24, Washington Redskins 23

November 27, 1975
Los Angeles Rams 20, DETROIT LIONS 0
Buffalo Bills 32, ST. LOUIS CARDINALS 14

November 25, 1976
DETROIT LIONS 27, Buffalo Bills 14
DALLAS COWBOYS 19, St. Louis Cardinals 14

November 24, 1977
Chicago Bears 31, DETROIT LIONS 14
Miami Dolphins 55, ST. LOUIS CARDINALS 14

November 23, 1978
DETROIT LIONS 17, Denver Broncos 14
DALLAS COWBOYS 37, Washington Redskins 10

November 22, 1979
DETROIT LIONS 20, Chicago Bears 0
Houston Oilers 30, DALLAS COWBOYS 24

November 27, 1980
Chicago Bears 23, DETROIT LIONS 17 (OT)
DALLAS COWBOYS 51, Seattle Seahawks 7

November 26, 1981
DETROIT LIONS 27, Kansas City Chiefs 10
DALLAS COWBOYS 10, Chicago Bears 9

November 25, 1982
New York Giants 13, DETROIT LIONS 6
DALLAS COWBOYS 31, Cleveland Browns 14

November 24, 1983
DETROIT LIONS 45, Pittsburgh Steelers 3
DALLAS COWBOYS 35, St. Louis Cardinals 17

November 22, 1984
DETROIT LIONS 31, Green Bay Packers 28
DALLAS COWBOYS 20, New England Patriots 17

November 28, 1985
DETROIT LIONS 31, New York Jets 20
DALLAS COWBOYS 35, St. Louis Cardinals 17

November 27, 1986
Green Bay Packers 44, DETROIT LIONS 40
Seattle Seahawks 31, DALLAS COWBOYS 14

November 26, 1987
Kansas City Chiefs 27, DETROIT LIONS 20
Minnesota Vikings 44, DALLAS COWBOYS 38 (OT)

November 24, 1988
Minnesota Vikings 23, DETROIT LIONS 0
Houston Oilers 25, DALLAS COWBOYS 17

November 23, 1989
DETROIT LIONS 13, Cleveland Browns 10
Philadelphia Eagles 27, DALLAS COWBOYS 0

November 22, 1990
DETROIT LIONS 40, Denver Broncos 27
DALLAS COWBOYS 27, Washington Redskins 17

November 28, 1991
DETROIT LIONS 16, Chicago Bears 6
DALLAS COWBOYS 20, Pittsburgh Steelers 10

November 26, 1992
Houston Oilers 24, DETROIT LIONS 21
DALLAS COWBOYS 30, New York Giants 3

November 25, 1993
Chicago Bears 10, DETROIT LIONS 6
Miami Dolphins 16, DALLAS COWBOYS 14

November 24, 1994
DETROIT LIONS 35, Buffalo Bills 21
DALLAS COWBOYS 42, Green Bay Packers 31

November 23, 1995
DETROIT LIONS 44, Minnesota Vikings 38
DALLAS COWBOYS 24, Kansas City Chiefs 12

November 28, 1996
Kansas City Chiefs 28, DETROIT LIONS 24
DALLAS COWBOYS 21, Washington Redskins 10

November 27, 1997
DETROIT LIONS 55, Chicago Bears 20
Tennessee Titans 27, DALLAS COWBOYS 14

November 26, 1998
DETROIT LIONS 19, Pittsburgh Steelers 16 (OT)
Minnesota Vikings 46, DALLAS COWBOYS 36

November 25, 1999
DETROIT LIONS 21, Chicago Bears 17
DALLAS COWBOYS 20, Miami Dolphins 0

November 23, 2000
DETROIT LIONS 34, New England Patriots 9
Minnesota Vikings 27, DALLAS COWBOYS 15

November 22, 2001
Green Bay Packers 29, DETROIT LIONS 27
Denver Broncos 26, DALLAS COWBOYS 24

November 28, 2002
New England Patriots 20, DETROIT LIONS 12
DALLAS COWBOYS 27, Washington Redskins 20

November 27, 2003
DETROIT LIONS 22, Green Bay Packers 14
Miami Dolphins 40, DALLAS COWBOYS 21

November 25, 2004
Indianapolis Colts 41, DETROIT LIONS 9
DALLAS COWBOYS 21, Chicago Bears 7

November 24, 2005
Atlanta Falcons 27, DETROIT LIONS 7
Denver Broncos 24, DALLAS COWBOYS 21 (OT)

November 23, 2006
Miami Dolphins 27, DETROIT LIONS 10
DALLAS COWBOYS 38, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 19, Denver Broncos 10

November 22, 2007
Green Bay Packers 37, DETROIT LIONS 26
DALLAS COWBOYS 34, New York Jets 3
Indianapolis Colts 31, ATLANTA FALCONS 13

November 27, 2008
Tennessee Titans 47, DETROIT LIONS 10
DALLAS COWBOYS 34, Seattle Seahawks 9
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 48, Arizona Cardinals 20

November 26, 2009
Green Bay Packers 34, DETROIT LIONS 12
DALLAS COWBOYS 24, Oakland Raiders 7
DENVER BRONCOS 26, New York Giants 6

November 25, 2010
New England Patriots 45, DETROIT LIONS 24
New Orleans Saints 30, DALLAS COWBOYS 27
NEW YORK JETS 26, Cincinnati Bengals 10

November 24, 2011
Green Bay Packers 27, DETROIT LIONS 15
DALLAS COWBOYS 20, Miami Dolphins 19
BALTIMORE RAVENS 16, San Francisco 49ers 6

November 22, 2012
Houston Texans 34, DETROIT LIONS 31 (OT)
Washington Redskins 38, DALLAS COWBOYS 31
New England Patriots 49, NEW YORK JETS 19

November 28, 2013
DETROIT LIONS 40, Green Bay Packers 10
DALLAS COWBOYS 31, Oakland Raiders 24
BALTIMORE RAVENS 22, Pittsburgh Steelers 20

November 27, 2014
DETROIT LIONS 34, Chicago Bears 17
Philadelphia Eagles 33, DALLAS COWBOYS 10
Seattle Seahawks 19, SAN FRANCISCO 49ers 3

November 26, 2015
DETROIT LIONS 45, Philadelphia Eagles 14
Carolina Panthers 33, DALLAS COWBOYS 14
Chicago Bears 17, GREEN BAY PACKERS 13

November 24, 2016
DETROIT LIONS 16, Minnesota Vikings 13
DALLAS COWBOYS 31, Washington Redskins 26
Pittsburgh Steelers 28, INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 7

November 23, 2017
Minnesota Vikings 30, DETROIT LIONS 23
Los Angeles Chargers 28, DALLAS COWBOYS 6
WASHINGTON REDSKINS 20, New York Giants 10

November 22, 2018
Chicago Bears 23, DETROIT LIONS 16
DALLAS COWBOYS 31, Washington Redskins 23
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 31, Atlanta Falcons 17

Thanksgiving Day standings Of current NFL franchises. While this includes American Football League (AFL) games, it does not include All-America Football Conference (AAFC) games.

Team (Last Game; W-L-T, Pct.)
Arizona (2008; 6-15-2, .304) (a)
ATLANTA (2018; 1-2-0, .333)
Baltimore (2013; 2-0-0, 1.000)
Buffalo (1994; 3-4-1, .438) (b)
Carolina (2015; 1-0-0, 1.000)
Chicago (2018; 18-15-2, .543) (c)
Cincinnati (2010; 0-1-0, .000)
Cleveland (1989; 0-3-0, .000) (d)
Dallas (2018; 31-19-1, .618)
Denver (2009; 4-7-0, .364)
Detroit (2018; 37-40-2, .481)
Green Bay (2015; 14-20-2, .417)
Houston (2012; 1-0-0, 1.000)
Indianapolis (2016; 2-1-1, .625) (e)
Jacksonville (Never; 0-0-0, .000) (f)
Kansas City (2006; 5-5-0, .500) (g)
Los Angeles Chargers (2017; 3-1-1; .700) (h)
Los Angeles Rams (1975; 3-1-0, .750) (i)
Miami (2011; 5-2-0, .714)
Minnesota (2017; 6-2-0, .750)
New England (2012; 3-2-0, .600)
New Orleans (2018; 2-0-0, 1.000)
New York Giants (2017; 7-5-3, .567)
New York Jets (2012; 4-4-0, .500)(j)
Oakland (2013; 3-4-0, .429)
Philadelphia (2015; 6-1-0, .857)
Pittsburgh 2016 2 6 0 .250
San Francisco 2014 2 2 1 .500 (k)
Seattle (2014; 2-2-0, .500)
Tampa Bay (2006; 0-1-0, .000)
Tennessee (2008; 5-2-0, .714) (l)
Washington (2018; 3-8-0, .273)

Key
(a) Chicago Cardinals (1920–1959), St. Louis Cardinals (1960–1987), Phoenix Cardinals (1988–1993)
(b) Does not include 1–0 record of unrelated AAFC team of same name
(c) Decatur Staleys (1920), Chicago Staleys (1921)
(d) Does not include 3–0 record when team was a member of the AAFC
(e) Baltimore Colts (1953–1983)
(f) Only active franchise to have never played on Thanksgiving
(g) Dallas Texans (1960–1962), does not include 1–0 record of unrelated NFL Dallas Texans
(h) San Diego Chargers (1961–2016)
(i) Cleveland Rams (1937–1945), does not include 1936 AFL’s Cleveland Rams
(j) New York Titans (1960–1962)
(k) Does not include 1–0 record when team was a member of the AAFC
(l) Houston Oilers (1960–1996), Tennessee Oilers (1997–1998)

Thanksgiving Day records of defunct teams (League teams only, since 1920.)
Team (W-L-T, Pct.)
Frankford Yellow Jackets (2-0, 1.000) (Defunct in 1931)
New York Yankees* (2-0, 1.000) (Defunct in 1949)
Pottsville Maroons (2-0, 1.000 (Defunct in 1928)
Boston Yanks (1-0, 1.000) (Defunct in 1948)
Buffalo Bills* (1-0, 1.000) (Defunct in 1949) (a)
Dallas Texans (1-0, 1.000) (Defunct – 1952) (b)
Los Angeles Buccaneers (1-0, 1.000) (Defunct in 1926)
Oorang Indians (1-0, 1.000) (Defunct – 1923)
Rock Island Independents (1-0, 1.000) (Defunct in 1925)
All-Tonawanda Lumberjacks (1-0, 1.000) (Defunct in 1921)
Akron Pros (3-1-1, .700) (Defunct in 1926)
Buffalo Bisons (1-1-1, .500; Buffalo All-Americans (1920–1923) (Defunct in 1929)
Canton Bulldogs (1-1-1, .500) (Defunct in 1926)
Cleveland Bulldogs (1-1, .500)(Defunct in 1927)
Dayton Triangles (1-1, .500) (Defunct in 1929)
Kansas City Cowboys (1-1, .500; Kansas City Blues (1924)(Defunct in 1926)
Milwaukee Badgers (1-1, .500 (Defunct in 1926)
Brooklyn Lions (0-1, .000) (Defunct in 1926)
Chicago Tigers (0-1, .000) (Defunct in 1920)
Detroit Heralds (0-1, .000) (Defunct in 1920)
New York Yanks (0-1, .000) (Defunct in 1950)
Providence Steam Roller (0-1, .000) (Defunct in 1931)
Racine Legion (0-1, .000) (Defunct in 1926)
Toledo Maroons (0-1, .000) (Defunct in 1923)
Brooklyn Dodgers* (0-2, .000) (Defunct in 1949)
Chicago Hornets* (0-2, .000; Chicago Rockets (1946–1948) (Defunct in 1949)
Columbus Panhandles (0-2, .000) (Defunct in 1926)
Detroit Panthers (0-2, .000) (Defunct in 1926)
Hammond Pros (0-2, .000) (Defunct in 1926)
Rochester Jeffersons (0-2, .000) (Defunct in 1925)
Los Angeles Dons* (0-3, .000) (Defunct in 1949)
*All-America Football Conference team.

(a) unrelated to current NFL team with this name
(b) does not count AFL’s Dallas Texans, which are now the Kansas City Chiefs

The last currently active franchise to have never played on Thanksgiving through 2018 is the Jacksonville Jaguars, who joined the league in 1995.

An idiosyncrasy in the NFL’s current scheduling formula, which has been in effect in its basic form since 2002, effectively prevented teams from the AFC North from playing the Lions or Cowboys on Thanksgiving, as the formula had the AFC North playing in Dallas or Detroit in years when the other team was slated to play the AFC game on Thanksgiving. These teams, under the television contracts in place at the time, could only play in the third (night) game. With the changes in the scheduling practices in 2014, the division is no longer barred from participating in the game (since both CBS and Fox can choose teams from either conference; because of the idiosyncrasy, the AFC North team would, if chosen, always play on Fox). In practice, the changes have led to fewer AFC games, as the league has regularly scheduled the Lions and Cowboys’ division rivals for the contests so that ratings are maximized; eight out of the twelve Thanksgiving games involving the Lions or Cowboys since 2014 have involved a team in the same division, while only two (a 2017 contest between the Cowboys and Los Angeles Chargers and a 2019 contest between the Cowboys and Buffalo Bills) have involved the AFC.

The Los Angeles Rams have the longest active appearance drought of any team, with their last appearance coming in 1975. Among current NFL markets, Cleveland has had the longest wait to have a team from its city play on Thanksgiving; the Browns last appeared in 1989, several years before suspending operations in 1995 and have not appeared in the game since rejoining the league as an expansion team in 1999.

Since 2010, several appearance droughts have ended. New Orleans, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Houston, and Carolina all played their first Thanksgiving games during this time frame. San Francisco likewise played their first Thanksgiving game since 1972 in 2011 and the Los Angeles Chargers, who last played on the holiday in 1969 (while the team was still an AFL franchise in San Diego) before actually joining the league, appeared for the first time as an NFL member in 2017.

It’s Thanksgiving.

Time to deal with the in-laws, the picky, bratty kids that won’t eat their veggies and deal with your sister’s bean and squash casserole (no wonder she’s still single!).

It’s also time for NFL football as week 12 opens with three games on the docket. Detroit and Dallas will play their games at home, while the Falcons and Saints close things out in the Big Easy in prime time.

Like we said, it’s three games.

It’s not just three games, it’s three contests that could very well decide who wins their division. Think of the early afternoon game as a snack of sorts, while the mid-afternoon game is the main meal with the Thursday night prime time contest as dessert.

For generations of Americans, the tradition of Thanksgiving Day and NFL football are historically intertwined.

On Thanksgiving in 1925, a crowd of 36,000 – then the largest in professional football history – watched the Chicago Bears play the Chicago Cardinals to a scoreless tie at Wrigley Field. In 1934, the Detroit Lions and the defending world champion Bears squared off on Thanksgiving in the first NFL game nationally broadcast, with NBC radio on the call.

This year, the three holiday games will be played inside stadiums with a combined capacity of over 215,000 and will be aired to millions across the country and around the world.

The 2018 installment of Thanksgiving Day football will feature a triple-header for the 13th consecutive season and for only the second time since 1970 (2014), the holiday will feature exclusively divisional match-ups. (That season, those games took place in week 13; Chicago was at Detroit, Philadelphia was at Dallas and Seattle was at San Francisco.)

The Lions will play their 80th Thanksgiving Day game dating back to 1934, while the Cowboys will play in their 52nd since 1966. The Falcons will play in their fourth and the Saints will play in their third Thanksgiving game.

Three games in three cities on three different networks. If nothing else, you’ll at least be spared from listening to Uncle Harry tell the same bad joke over and over again, being stuck at the kid’s table with your 13-year old cousin that’s as plain as a sheet of paper (and she has a crush on you!) and stuffing (or dressing, if you’re in the South) so bad even the squirrels won’t touch it.

sing yards and touchdown passes on Thanksgiving:

PASSING YARDS

PLAYER, TEAM (GAMES – PASSING YARDS)
Matthew Stafford, Detroit (8 – 2,469)*
Tony Romo, Dallas (10 – 2,338)
Troy Aikman, Dallas (10 – 2,174)^
Danny White, Dallas (10 – 1,545)
Bart Starr, Green Bay (8 – 1,345)^
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

TOUCHDOWN PASSES

PLAYER, TEAM (GAMES – TOUCHDOWN PASSES)
Tony Romo, Dallas (10 – 18)
Matthew Stafford – Detroit (8 – 17)*
Bobby Layne, Detroit (8 – 14)^
Danny White, Dallas (10 – 14)
Troy Aikman, Dallas (10 – 11)^
Brett Favre, Green Bay (4 – 11)^
*Active
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

While most of America will be waiting in line for those Christmas deals, reading the Black Friday ads and making their lists, most of us will be stuffing our faces with food and stuffing our eyes with parades and football.

It’s food. It’s football. It’s Thanksgiving. Be sure to get seconds if you can and watch out for your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 58 last June and dates a 43-year old ex-Marine, who’s now a football coach at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”)

All three games on Thursday are rematches from previous action and all three games are NFC contests. While these six teams have short weeks, they wouldn’t have to do much planning, which in actuality is a good thing. For the teams that won the first meeting, it’s a chance to establish themselves; for the losers, it’s revenge. If nothing else, at least they’ll get that Christmas shopping done early. With that, make sure that everyone’s on their best behavior and enjoy dinner… and football (not in that order) and avoid your aunt Charlotte’s fruitcake (it’s so laced with booze it could be its own drink!).

Here are Thursday’s games to open week 12.

ATLANTA (4-6) at New Orleans (9-1), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. Round two of a Southern hate-fest gets underway in the Big Easy as Atlanta and Matt Ryan travels to New Orleans for a prime-time showdown with Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. The Falcons are trying to catch and perhaps pass the Saints in the NFC South, while New Orleans wants to remain king of the NFC South mountain in the second meeting. The Falcons will make their third appearance on Thanksgiving and first since 2007, while the Saints will be playing in their second game on the holiday with their only previous appearance coming in 2010. For Ryan and Brees, it will the the 27th time they have met on the gridiron since joining their respective teams.

Atlanta took Dallas to the edge of their contest last Sunday in the Big Peach and came away on the short end of a 22-19 final second loss to the Cowboys in Atlanta. The Sunday afternoon contest at Mercedes-Benz Stadium was a field goal fest in the first half, with Atlanta taking a 6-3 lead with them to the intermission. Atlanta would then lead 9-6 at the end of the third quarter before the Cowboys would take the lead for the first time when Dak Prescott scored from 4 yards out as the fourth quarter got underway. Dallas missed the extra point and led 12-9 with 14:19 left to play and added a 22-yard run by Ezekiel Elliott to lead 19-9. Atlanta then chipped away at the Cowboy lead thanks to a Matt Bryant field goal with 8:26 left, then tied the contest when Ryan and WR Julio Jones connected on a 34-yard TD strike with 1:52 left in regulation. Dallas then proceeded to use all of the 1:52 that was left and marched their way down the field, where K Brad Maher connected on a 42-yard field goal as the clock struck :00. While Elliott rushed for 122 yards and the TD and Dallas outrushed Atlanta 132-80, Ryan outpaced the younger Prescott, throwing for 291 yards and the fourth quarter TD toss to Jones (Ryan was sacked three times and picked off once, while Prescott threw for 208 yards with a pair of sacks). Both clubs did quite well on third down conversions in the Big Peach, with Atlanta going 6 for 12, Dallas 7 for 13 and the Cowboys ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:57 (including the final 1:52 of the contest) to Atlanta’s 28:03.

New Orleans manhandled the defending Super Bowl champs in the Big Easy 48-7 at the Superdome. The Saints and Brees led 24-7 at the half and then proceeded to shutout Philadelphia 24-0 in the final 30 minutes of play. New Orleans easily outrushed Philadelphia 173-58 and Saints RB Mark Ingram ran for 103 yards and a pair of TDs, while Brees threw for 363 yards with four TDs, no sacks or interceptions. The Saints defense made life less than enjoyable for Eagles QB Carson Wentz, who threw for 156 yards with three sacks and three interceptions in the lopsided affair. New Orleans went 6 for 11 on third down (the Saints were 1 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 37:34, while the Eagles were 3 for 10 on third down, 0 for 2 on fourth down and held the ball for 22:26.

In their week three contest, Atlanta went through a back and forth battle with NFC South foe New Orleans in the Big Peach and came out on the short of a 43-37 overtime loss to the Saints. Atlanta trailed 16-14 at the intermission and actually rallied to take a 37-30 lead with 6:58 left in regulation thanks to Ryan tossing a 5-yard TD strike to WR Mohammaed Sanu. That lead would not last long as Saints QB Drew Brees tied things up at 37-37 with 75 seconds left on a 5-yard scamper into the endzone. The Saints then won the toss to start the overtime and made sure that Ryan and the Falcons would not get the ball back, going on a 15- play, 80 yard drive that used 7:05 of clock and ended with Brees scoring from a yard out. New Orleans outrushed Atlanta 143-48 and Brees threw for 396 yards and three TDs, while Ryan (sacked three times) threw for 374 yards and five TDs, connecting with rookie WR Calvin Ridley on three of those tosses (Ridley finished with seven catches for 146). Atlanta was 4 of 11 on third down, keeping the ball for 29:20, while the Saints went 7 of 14 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs, holding on to the ball for 37:45, including the overtime.

Although the Falcons were favored by 3, the Saints covered the spread with the 6-point win in the Big Peach and the 80 points they would combine to score easily covered the 53 over/under in the week three affair. This time, the Saints are favored by 13 with a 59 1/2 over/under. Atlanta gave New Orleans all they could handle in their first meeting and as they say, revenge is best served cold. Atlanta will go back for seconds. The Falcons may not cover the 13 but they take the win in the Big Easy.

Chicago (7-3) at Detroit (4-6), 12:30 p.m. on CBS. A pair of NFC North (NFC Norris rivals, to quote ESPN’s Chris Berman) meet in the Motor City as first-place Chicago travels to Ford Field for an early afternoon meeting with Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions. Both teams were winners at home with both taking close wins in the process. Thursday’s matchup marks the 17th Thanksgiving Day meeting between the Bears and the Lions, dating back to November 29, 1934. Pro Football Hall of Famer Bronko Nagurski threw a two-yard touchdown pass to Bill Hewitt for Chicago to secure a 19-16 victory over Detroit in the first holiday meeting between the two teams. In their last Thanksgiving Day matchup, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford completed 34 of 45 attempts (75.6 percent) for 390 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 116.0 passer rating in the Lions’ 34-17 victory on November 27, 2014.

Mitch Trubisky and Da Bears survived a scare from Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday night at Soldier Field, coming away 25-20 winners in the Windy City. Chicago led 14-3 at the intermission in the NFC North contest before the Vikings would go on in the final 30 minutes to outscore Da Bears 20-11. Trubisky threw for 165 yards with a TD and a pair of interceptions, while Cousins threw for 262 yards with a pair of TDs (Cousins threw a pair of interceptions and was sacked twice, Trubisky was sacked once) in the contest. Chicago outrushed Minnesota 148-22 and went 6 for 12 on third down and kept the ball for 34:29, while the Purple Gang went 5 for 12 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down and held the ball for 25:31.

Detroit survived a scare from Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers, taking a 20-19 win at Ford Field last Sunday. The Lions led 10-7 at the half, then survived a late fourth quarter rally by the Panthers, as Carolina outscored Detroit 12-10 in the last 30 minutes of play, holding off a two-point conversion by Newton that would have given the Panthers the lead. While neither club breached the 100-yard mark, Detroit outrushed Carolina 94-56 and Stafford threw for 220 yards and a TD to WR Kenny Golladay, while Newton threw for 357 yards and three TDs, connecting with Greg Olson on one of those tosses (Newton was sacked three times and threw and interception, while Stafford was sacked once). Detroit went 4 for 12 on third down tries in the Motor City and held the ball for 31:40, while the Panthers kept the ball for 28:20, going 5 for 11 on third down.

They met in the Windy City in week 10 and Da Bears took Detroit to the woodshed by Chicago at Soldier Field last Sunday, coming away 34-22 winners in the Windy City. Although Detroit managed to outscore Chicago 15-8 in the final 30 minutes of play, the Monsters of the Midway took a 26-7 lead with them to the break and never looked back. While Detroit did manage to outrush Chicago 76-54, Chicago made life for Matthew Stafford less than pleasant as they would sack him six times and force a pair of interceptions while throwing for 274 yards. Chicago’s Mitchell Trubisky had a better time than his Lions’ counterpart, throwing for 355 yards with no interceptions and three TDs while being sacked only once. While the Lions were 4 of 15 on third down, they had success on fourth down conversions, going 4 of 5 and ruledthe clock as they kept the ball for 32 minutes, while Da Bears kept the pigskin in hibernation for 28 minutes, going 4 for 10 on third down conversions.

Da Bears were 6 1/2 point favorites in the Windy City over Detroit and covered with their 12-point win at Soldier Field. Both teams covered the 45 over/under with 56 points in the week 10 contest. In the second meeting, Chicago’s favored by 4 and the over/under’s 45. Both numbers are reasonable. Detroit’s trying to restore some order in the NFC North, while Da Bears are looking to stay kings of the NFC North mountain. Long live the king! Da Bears cover the 4 and win in the Motor City.

Washington (6-3) at Dallas (5-5), 4:30 p.m. on FOX. They meet again. Throw out the records. They STILL don’t like each other, even if it is Thanksgiving. First-place Washington travels to Jerry World to face off against Dallas in a week seven late afternoon rematch. Thursday marks the ninth Thanksgiving Day meeting between the two teams, with the Cowboys leading the holiday series 7-1. ​The first meeting between the two teams on Thanksgiving was played at the Cotton Bowl on November 28, 1968. Cowboys running backs Don Perkins and Craig Baynham each rushed for a score and rookie defensive lineman Larry Cole had a five-yard interception-return touchdown in Dallas’ 29-20 victory. Washington will make its 11th appearance on Thanksgiving Day and will play on the holiday for the third-consecutive season. Last year, wide receiver Jamison Crowder had 141 receiving yards with a touchdown and linebacker Ryan Kerrigan recorded two sacks in the Redskins’ 20-10 victory over the New York Giants. In the last Thanksgiving Day meeting between the teams, Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 97 yards and two touchdowns, quarterback Dak Prescott both passed and rushed for a touchdown and linebacker Sean Lee recorded 14 tackles and one tackle for loss in Dallas’ 31-26 victory in 2016.

Washington suffered two losses Sunday against Houston at FedEx Field. First, they lost the services of their QB Alex Smith to a broken leg, then they lost 23-21 to the Texans last Sunday. Washington trailed 17-7 at the intermission in Landover, then took the lead with 11:57 left to play when Redskins RB Adrian Peterson scored from 7 yards out to lead 21-20. That lead would not last all that long as the Texans would take the lead back with 7:30 left when K Kai Fairbairn nailed a 54-yard field goal for the one-point lead. Washington would eventually get the ball back with 52 seconds left in regulation and got as close as Houston’s 45-yard line and could have won the game with 8 seconds left but Dustin Hopkins’ 65-yard field goal attempt was short of the mark. Smith threw for 135 yards with three sacks (including the one that knocked him out of the contest) a pair of interceptions, while the Redskins were outrushed by Houston 139-124 in the loss (Texans’ QB DeShaun Watson threw for 208 yards and a TD, with three sacks and a pair of interceptions). While Washington was 6 for 15 on third down, they were successful on fourth down, going 1 of 1 and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:57, while the Texans kept the ball for 29:03, going 4 for 11 on third down.

Dallas took their fans to the edge of their contest last Sunday against Atlanta in the Big Peach and came away 22-19 last second winners in Atlanta, avenging a loss in Atlanta last year. Dallas trailed 6-3 in the Sunday afternoon contest at Mercedes-Benz Stadium before the Cowboys would take the lead for the first time when Dak Prescott scored from 4 yards out as the fourth quarter got underway. Dallas missed the extra point and led 12-9 with 14:19 left to play and added a 22-yard run by Elliott to lead 19-9. Atlanta then chipped away at the Cowboy lead thanks to a Matt Bryant field goal with 8:26 left, then tied the contest when Ryan and WR Julio Jones connected on a 34-yard TD strike with 1:52 left in regulation. Dallas then proceeded to use all of the 1:52 that was left and marched their way down the field, where K Brad Maher connected on a 42-yard field goal as the clock struck :00. While Elliott rushed for 122 yards and the TD and Dallas outrushed Atlanta 132-80, Ryan outpaced the younger Prescott, throwing for 291 yards and the fourth quarter TD toss to Jones (Ryan was sacked three times and picked off once, while Prescott threw for 208 yards with a pair of sacks). Both clubs did quite well on third down conversions in the Big Peach, with Atlanta going 6 for 12, Dallas 7 for 13 and the Cowboys ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:57 (including the final 1:52 of the contest) to Atlanta’s 28:03.

They met in Landover in week seven and Washington held off a late Dallas rally as the Redskins managed to survive a 20-17 scare at Fed Ex Field. Washington led 7-0 at the end of the first quarter, then saw that lead go away as Cowboys QB Dak Prescott and WR Michael Gallup connected on a 49-yard TD toss with 60 seconds left before halftime. Washington then would take the lead back in the third quarter with the help of K Dustin Hopkins, who booted a 21-yard field with 9:10 left in the quarter. Hopkins would then add a 25-yarder early in the fourth quarter, giving Washington a 13-7 lead. Dallas would pull themselves to within three with 9:46 left when K Brett Maher booted a 47-yard try. The Redskins then pushed the lead back to fumble and returned it for a 1-yard TD.

Dallas was not going quietly into the good night as Prescott would score from a yard out with 97 seconds left to play, making the score 20-17. After a Washington punt, the Cowboys would get the ball back with 69 seconds left and got as close as Washington’s 34 and could have tied the contest but Maher’s 52-yard try hit the crossbar, giving Washington the win. Washington outrushed Dallas 130-73, with Redskins RB Adrian Peterson barely missing the 100-yard barrier with 99 to lead all rushers. Prescott, who along with Ezekiel Elliott, rushed for 33 yards, throwing for 273 yards, while Alex Smith threw for 178 yards (neither Prescott or Smith threw an interception; Prescott was sacked four times, while Smith was sacked once). Washington went 3 of 12 on third down tries (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:55, while the Cowboys kept the ball for 29:05, going 5 of 14 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

In the week seven contest at Landover, Washington was favored by 1 1/2 and the Redskins covered, winning by 3. As for the 41 1/2 over/under? It stayed in tact, as both clubs combined for only 37 points. This time in the Lone Star State, the Cowboys are favored by 7 1/2 and the over/under’s 41. Given the history between these two teams, this one may be worth your time to watch. Will Washington fans be singing “Hail to the Redskins” or “Hell, it’s the Redskins” this week? Hail, hail, the gang’s all here. Washington may not cover the 7 1/2 but they take the win in Arlington.

Thursday Broadcast Information (All times Eastern)

ATLANTA at New Orleans, 8:20 p.m. on NBC: Mike Tirico, Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison, Michele Tafoya (Field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Tom McCarthy, Ross Tucker, Hub Arkush; SIRIUS: 82 (Atlanta), 83 (New Orleans); XM: 226 (Atlanta), 225 (New Orleans)

Chicago at Detroit, 12:30 p.m. on CBS: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson (Field reporter); NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Ryan Radtke, Tony Boselli, Laura Okmin; SIRIUS: 82 (Chicago), 83 (Detroit); XM: 226 (Chicago), 225 (Detroit)

Washington at Dallas, 4:30 p.m. on FOX: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews (Field reporter), Kristina Pink (Field reporter)
NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One: Brandon Gaudin, Rod Woodson, Ed Werder; SIRIUS: 82 (Washington), 83 (Dallas); XM: 226 (Washington), 225 (Dallas)

Thursday Officials
ATLANTA at New Orleans, 8:20 p.m.: John Hussey
Chicago at Detroit, 12:30 p.m.: Brad Allen
Washington at Dallas, 4:30 p.m.: Ron Torbert

Thursday Injury Report

ATLANTA at New Orleans, 8:20 p.m.

Atlanta
OUT: LB Deion Jones (Foot)

New Orleans
OUT: T Terron Armstead (Pectoral)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Tre’Quan Smith (Foot), DE Marcus Davenport (Toe)

Chicago at Detroit, 12:30 p.m.

Chicago
DOUBTFUL: QB Mitchell Trubisky (Right Shoulder)
OUT: LB Aaron Lynch (Concussion), TE Adam Shaheen (Concussion)

Detroit
OUT: RB Kerryon Johnson (Knee), WR Marvin Jones (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE: DE Ezekiel Ansah (Shoulder), WR Bruce Ellington (Back), DT Damon Harrison (Shoulder), LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin (Neck), TE Michael Roberts (Shoulder), DT A’Shawn Robinson (Ankle), CB Darius Clay (Knee)

Washington at Dallas, 4:30 p.m.

Washington
OUT: RB Christopher Thompson (Rib)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Jamison Crowder (Ankle), G Anthony Bergstrom (Knee), CB Quinton Dunbar (Shin), RB Samaje Perine (Calf), T Trent Williams (Thumb)

Dallas
OUT: WR Tavon Austin (Groin), DE David Irving (Ankle), LB Sean Lee (Hamstring), G Adam Redmond (Concussion), TE Geoffrey Swaim (Wrist)
QUESTIONABLE: LB Joe Thomas (Foot), DT Antwaun Woods (Concussion), DE Vidauntae Charlton (Shoulder), DT Maliek Collins (Knee), G Zachary Martin (Knee), T Tyron Smith (Neck), G Connor Williams (Knee)

Thursday Weather Forecast
ATLANTA at New Orleans, 8:20 p.m.: Game Indoors
Chicago at Detroit, 12:30 p.m.: Game Indoors
Washington at Dallas, 4:30 p.m.: Game Indoors

Broadcast Information and Injury Report courtesy the National Football League, odds courtesy Don Best, weather information courtesy The Weather Channel. (Note: Weather information is based on kickoff local time)