Thanksgiving is a day of traditions. Who do you know who doesn’t eat turkey on the last Thursday of November? I can think of a plethora of main dishes served at Christmas. Glazed ham, prime rib, filet mignon, enchiladas, and tamales all make the list. But not on Thanksgiving. We stick to what we’ve always known on the holiday — as does the National Football League.
Since 1934, the Detroit Lions have been playing home games on Thanksgiving, the Dallas Cowboys since 1966. Because it’s tradition, we’re forced to watch Lions football and Jerry Jones’ team regardless of record. This year, the Lions enter Thanksgiving an ugly 0-9-1, primed once again for a top draft pick.
Things are better in “Jerry World,” with his Cowboys 7-3. Though the Cowboys are losers of two of their last three, and are battling numerous injuries.
In 2006, the NFL added a third game that changes every year, giving all of us turkey-stuffed fans of football an opportunity to end our day on the couch.
Let’s take a look at your football viewing schedule for Thanksgiving.
Detroit Lions vs Chicago Bears – 12:30 p.m. ET, FOX
While all football is appreciated on Thanksgiving, let’s not act like the morning game is going to be one we tell our kids about.
The winless Lions are hopeful that quarterback Jared Goff will be able to return from an oblique injury suffered in week 10 and is listed as a “gametime decision.”
“I feel good,” Goff said Tuesday. “I will never use it as an excuse. I feel good if I’m on the field I’m ready to go.”
On the other sideline, veteran Andy Dalton will get the start for the 3-7 Bears, as Justin Fields was officially ruled out on Wednesday as he deals with bruised ribs.
“You have to stay ready, that’s the biggest thing,” said Dalton of being the backup. “I felt like I was prepared, I was ready to go this past week, and when I got a chance to come in there; obviously there’s good things that happened, things, like I said, wish I would have had back.”
“Just being ready if the opportunity comes.”
Dallas Cowboys vs Las Vegas Raiders – 4:30 p.m. ET, CBS
Dallas needs a bounceback game following their offensive stinker against the Chiefs on Sunday.
Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb suffered a concussion against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, though reports on Wednesday appear to point toward Lamb being on the field for Thursday’s matchup.
“He was great today,” Dak Prescott said Wednesday. “Did everything, got a little session in with him [Tuesday]. I think that was like his check off for the most part and we did some double moves, things like that to make sure obviously just the balance and turning the head and he didn’t feel anything from it, so I don’t think we have any limitations going into the game with him.”
Amari Cooper is currently in a 10-day quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 and is not allowed to return until week 13. Offensive tackle Tyron Smith is expected to play after missing the last three games.
“We get Tyron [Smith] back this week,” team exec Stephen Jones told 105.3FM the Fan on Monday. “… Feel really good about him playing this week and it’s just a decision that we have to make, and it is a long year, and certainly we miss him. Be great to get him back.”
Dallas is third in the league in points per game, while Las Vegas is 26th in points allowed per game, as the Raiders attempt to end a three-game losing streak.
“I don’t know the right wording for it, but there’s definitely a feeling of, ‘Enough is enough. We’ve got to win,’” Las Vegas quarterback Derek Carr said. “It’s a big game because it’s the next game. But what an opportunity for us to get back on track on the road in a hostile environment against a really good football team.”
New Orleans Saints vs Buffalo Bills – 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC
One of these two teams will feel a lot better about their season following Thanksgiving, as the Saints have lost three straight and the Bills two of their last three games.
Saints running back Alvin Kamara was ruled out on Wednesday — meaning he’ll miss his third straight game — and Mark Ingram is listed as questionable.
Saints ruled out RB Alvin Kamara for Thursday night vs. Bills; RB Mark Ingram listed as questionable.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 24, 2021
Saints Quarterback Trevor Siemian is 0-3 as starting quarterback following Jameis Winston’s season-ending knee injury, though the Saints are still very much in the playoff picture in the NFC.
“Like I said, the urgency is at an all-time high as it was going into [today]. We know exactly where we’re at,” Siemian said in his postgame press conference. “We have to string some [wins] together but