This Thursday, homes across the United States will be filled with two things: food and calcium. The National Football League’s annual Thanksgiving triple-header returns for what is sure to be an exciting series of showdowns.
This year the Buffalo Bills meet the Lions for Detroit’s 83rd Thanksgiving Day game, an NFC East rivalry matchup between the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys, and a prime time battle between the New England Patriots and the Minnesota Vikings. All six teams are battling for playoff placement at a pivotal time in the NFL season.
Here are previews of what to expect as you tune in to your turkey:
The Buffalo Bills (7-3) and the Detroit Lions (4-6) face off Thursday for their third Thanksgiving game. The Lions have been participating in the tradition annually since 1934, with an all-time record of 37-43-2 during the holidays. This is the second year in a row that the Bills have made a Thanksgiving Day appearance, after defeating the Saints in prime time last season.
Going into this week’s clash, the Lions are on a three-game hitting streak. Despite the losing record, they are second in the division and can be considered in the playoff hunt. The Bills are their toughest opponent throughout the rest of the season. A win on Thursday would boost their playoff chances and show they can compete against top-level opponents.
While the Lions’ recent surge shouldn’t be underestimated, the Bills have the right tools to defeat Detroit. While the Buffaloes may be the team on the road, they’ve shown that they know how to win in the Motor City. Just last week, they had a “home” win at Ford Field, beating the Browns 31-23. In 11 weeks, they defeated much stronger Detroit opponents, such as the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tennessee Titans.
To see which team starts Thanksgiving in the win column, tune in at 12:30 PM ET.
The most awaited match of the day is the one between Dallas Cowboys (7-3) and New York Giants (7-3). Going into the contest, the two teams are ranked second and third respectively in the extremely competitive NFC East. They met earlier this season with the Cowboys taking home a 23-16 victory. If the Cowboys swept the season series, they would have a tiebreaker lead down the road.
In the Cowboys’ last show, they were absolutely dominant. They amassed 40 points on the Vikings, led by strong performances from quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Tony Pollard. The defense collected seven sacks and 13 quarterback hits against Minnesota. If this game is any indication of the energy Dallas is bringing into the second half of the season, New York could be in trouble.
The Giants are coming off a very different Week 11 result. They suffered a disappointing loss to the Lions, a loss that felt much more bitter considering New York’s hot start to the season. To make matters worse, multiple players have gone out of the game due to injuries. To put it simply, the Giants are the underdogs of the game.
To see if history repeats itself with a Cowboys win, or if the Giants can pull off the upset, tune in Thursday at 4:30 p.m. ET.
The Minnesota Vikings (8-2) will host their first Thanksgiving game, facing the New England Patriots (6-4). It will also be the Patriots’ first Thanksgiving Day appearance since the infamous “butt fumble” game when they defeated the Jets in 2012.
The success of the Vikings has been one of the biggest surprises this season. In 11 weeks of play, they surpass the NFC North to boast twice as many wins as the second-place Lions. Last week, however, they suffered a brutal 40-3 loss at the hands of the Cowboys which raised some questions. Are the Vikings legitimate contenders? Or were they just lucky with an easy halftime schedule?
The Patriots’ journey up to this point has been somewhat of the opposite. After a slower start to the season, the Patriots have found their rhythm again. They enter this week’s matchup on a three-game hitting streak and haven’t allowed a single touchdown in their last two games. Bill Belichick’s team may be on the cusp of a hot streak and is hitting the Vikings game at just the right time. It’s also worth noting that the Vikings have lost five consecutive games to the Pats and haven’t defeated them since Belichick’s first season as head coach.
To see which team emerges victorious, tune in at 8:20 PM ET.
Here’s how to catch these teams and others across the league in action, wherever you are.
Australia: NFL Game Pass, ESPN, 7Plus
Brazil: NFL Game Pass, ESPN
Canada: CTV, TSN, RDS, NFL Game Pass on DAZN
Germany: NFL Game Pass, ProSieben MAXX, DAZN
Mexico: NFL Game Pass, TUDN, ESPN, Fox Sports, Sky Sports
UK: NFL Game Pass, Sky Sports, ITV, Channel 5
United States: NFL Game Pass, CBS Sports, Fox Sports, ESPN, Amazon Prime