For many people, the most special Thursday of the year means three things: family, food, and football. This year, all three Thanksgiving Day NFL games will be intriguing match ups that will make for great entertainment after the wishbone is snapped and the turkey is carved.
Every year the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions host opponents as part of a tradition older than the Super Bowl. Since 2006, there has also been a normal broadcast of Thursday Night Football. In the last decade, both the Cowboys and Lions have been mired in mediocrity, with both teams combining for one playoff victory in the last 15 seasons. As a result, Thanksgiving has been lacking in top-notch match ups. That’s not true this year. Football fans will be treated to a slate of three games, all with playoff implications.
In the Motor City, The American Football Confeence-leading Houston Texans will be making their first appearance on Thanksgiving against a Lions team fighting for a playoff spot. The Lions will host the Texans at 1:30 on CBS. After a decade of irrelevance and obscurity, the Texans emerged last year as a solid contender. This year they are looking like a bona-fide Super Bowl contender, especially after beating the Bears in week 10.
In Arlington, Texas, the Cowboys will host their bitter rival, the Washington Redskins, at 3:15 p.m. on FOX.
The ‘Skins are led by quarterback Robert Griffin III, who won the Heisman Trophy last year playing for nearby Baylor. Despite an impressive rookie season, Griffin has failed to help the Redskins avoid a disappointing season thus far.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys too are mired in a disappointing season and are seeing their playoff chances fade away, so this game figures to be a last stand of sorts for both teams. The ‘Boys have found ways to lose this year, and a win at home in their annual showcase game could help them build the momentum and confidence they need to start a playoff run. The Redskins also will look to gain momentum from the game and find their rhythm in the second half of the season.
In the nightcap on NBC, the New York Jets will host the surging New England Patriots, who have won 5 of 6 going into week 11.
The Jets-Patriots rivalry is a contentious one, and their previous meeting ended in a 29-26 Patriots victory in OT in Week 7. The Patriots look to have overcome the Super-Bowl loser hangover and a 1-2 start. The Jets, on the other hand, are doing what they do best: fostering controversy.
Hovering over the Jets this season has been the play of starting Quaterback Mark Sanchez and the presence of the world’s most famous backup Quarterback, Tim Tebow. The clamoring for change that got Tebow a starting job last year for a seemingly dead Broncos team is not having the same effect this year. Tebow may get a shot this season after the team’s playoffs hopes are officially extinguished, but more likely than not Tebow will continue to ride the bench.
A disappointing 28-7 loss to the Seahawks in week 10 effectively ended the Jets season.
Still, the Patriots-Jets matchup is always close and promises to cap off a better-than-usual turkey day.