THANKSGIVING DAY – A TRADITION OF FRIENDS, FAMILY
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 aired to millions across the country and around the world.
Since 2006, the NFL has scheduled three
Thanksgiving Day games each year. This year’s triple-header features three
teams currently in playoff position and four teams with a .500-or-better
The first game showcases the CHICAGO BEARS
traveling to Ford Field to face the DETROIT LIONS (12:30 PM ET, FOX).
The late-afternoon game marks the 44th consecutive Thanksgiving Day contest
hosted in Dallas, as the DALLAS COWBOYS welcome the LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
to AT&T Stadium (4:30 PM ET, CBS). The holiday concludes at Caesars
Superdome as the NEW ORLEANS SAINTS host the BUFFALO BILLS in an interconference
matchup between two 2020 playoff teams (8:20 PM ET, NBC).
Chicago Bears (3-7) at Detroit Lions (0-9-1)
Las Vegas Raiders (5-5) at Dallas Cowboys (7-3)
3:30 PM CT
Buffalo Bills (6-4) at New Orleans Saints (5-5)
7:20 PM CT
The Lions will play their 82nd Thanksgiving
Day game dating back to 1934, while the Cowboys will play in their 54th since
1966. Chicago will play its 37th game while Buffalo will play its 10th game on
the holiday. The Raiders are appearing on Thanksgiving for the eighth time
while the Saints will play in their fourth Thanksgiving game. Five of the six
teams competed on Thanksgiving during the 2019 season.
The Thanksgiving Day records of the teams playing
CHICAGO (3-7) at DETROIT (0-9-1): Thursday’s matchup marks the 19th Thanksgiving Day meeting between
the Bears and 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, running back DAVID MONTGOMERY recorded the
go-ahead touchdown with 2:17 remaining as Chicago overcame a 10-point deficit
to defeat Detroit, 24-20, on November 28, 2019.
Thursday marks the second meeting of the season between the two NFC North
rivals. In Week 4, the Bears earned a 24-14 victory as Montgomery rushed for
106 yards and two touchdowns in the win. Chicago has won six of the past seven
meetings between the two clubs, including three consecutive road victories.
Last week, Chicago quarterback ANDY DALTON threw two second-half touchdowns of 49 and 60 yards, while wide
receivers DARNELL MOONEY (121) and MARQUISE GOODWIN (104) each surpassed 100 receiving yards. Last year on Thanksgiving,
Dalton passed for 215 yards and one touchdown with Dallas. Quarterback JUSTIN FIELDS, who passed for
209 yards with an 82.7 passer rating in Week 4 against Detroit, can become the
fifth rookie quarterback to start on Thanksgiving in the past 10 seasons.
Chicago has 31 sacks this season, tied with
Minnesota for the most in the NFL. Linebacker ROBERT
QUINN had a career-high 3.5 sacks in Week 11 and
leads the team with 10 sacks, his fifth-career 10-sack season. Linebacker ROQUAN SMITH had a career-high
17 tackles last week and has 110 tackles this season, his fourth-consecutive 100-tackle
season since entering the NFL in 2018. In the 2019 meeting on Thanksgiving, he
recorded 16 tackles and two sacks.
In Week 11, Detroit running back D’ANDRE SWIFT rushed for a career-high 136 rushing yards with his fourth rushing
touchdown of the season. He leads all running backs in receptions (53) and is
one of two running backs (AUSTIN EKELER) with at least 500 rushing yards (555) and 400 receiving yards (420)
this season. Swift, who has a career-high 975 scrimmage yards, needs 25 scrimmage
yards to become the first Lions running back with 1,000 scrimmage yards in a
season since JOIQUE BELL (1,182 scrimmage yards in 2014). Tight end T.J.
HOCKENSON, who had six receptions in the last
Thanksgiving meeting between the two clubs, leads all NFC tight ends in
receptions (54) and ranks second in receiving yards (499) this season.
Defensively, Detroit is one of three NFC teams
(DALLAS and SAN FRANCISCO) to allow fewer
than 20 points in each of their Week 10 and Week 11 games. Cornerback AMANI ORUWARIYE recorded his
career-high fourth interception of the season last week. Linebacker CHARLES HARRIS registered a sack
and forced fumble in Week 4 against Chicago and aims for his third in a row
against the Bears with a sack.
LAS VEGAS (5-5) at DALLAS (7-3): The Raiders and
Cowboys meet for the 13th time, with the all-time series tied, 6-6. Thursday
marks the third meeting between the two franchises on Thanksgiving. On November
28, 2013, Dallas running back DEMARCO MURRAY totaled 102 scrimmage yards (63 rushing, 39 receiving) and three
rushing touchdowns in a 31-24 victory. On November 26, 2009, Cowboys
quarterback TONY ROMO passed for 309 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions for a
121.2 rating in the team’s 24-7 win over the Raiders.
Las Vegas quarterback DEREK CARR ranks second in
the NFL with 3,041 passing yards this season and became the fourth quarterback
with at least 3,000 passing yards in each of his first eight seasons in NFL
history, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer PEYTON
MANNING, CAM NEWTON and RUSSELL WILSON. Carr enters Week 12 with 29,937 career passing yards and with 63
passing yards on Thanksgiving, he would become the fifth quarterback to reach
30,000 passing yards in his first eight seasons. Tight end DARREN WALLER recorded a
season-high 116 receiving yards last week and has 12 100-yard games since
joining the Raiders in 2018, second-most among all tight ends over the past
four seasons (TRAVIS KELCE – 16).
PERRYMAN leads the AFC with a career-high 114 tackles and
has nine games with at least 10 tackles this season, most in the league.
Defensive end YANNICK NGAKOUE registered his seventh sack of the season last week and is the only
player in the NFL with at least seven sacks in each of the past six seasons.
In four career starts on Thanksgiving, Dallas quarterback
DAK PRESCOTT has seven touchdowns (five passing, two rushing) and a 95.5 rating. Including
the holiday, he has a passer rating of 90-or-higher in seven of his nine career
starts on Thursday. In five home starts this season, Prescott has 15 touchdowns
(14 passing, one rushing) with two interceptions for a 118.1 rating and aims
for his sixth in a row at home with at least two touchdown passes. The Cowboys
have scored at least 35 points in nine of Prescott’s last 10 home starts.
Running back EZEKIEL
ELLIOTT has at least 120 scrimmage yards in three of
his four career games on Thanksgiving and has seven touchdowns (six rushing,
one receiving) in eight career Thursday games. This season, he has seven
touchdowns (six rushing, one receiving) in five home games. Elliott needs 101
scrimmage yards for his sixth-consecutive season with at least 1,000 scrimmage
yards and he leads all players with 9,240 scrimmage yards since he entered the
NFL in 2016.
Rookie linebacker MICAH
PARSONS had two sacks and a forced fumble last week
and leads all rookies with eight sacks. He aims for his third in a row with a
forced fumble and fourth in a row with at least one sack. Cornerback TREVON DIGGS leads the NFL with
eight interceptions this season and ranks second with 13 passes defensed.
BUFFALO (6-4) at NEW ORLEANS (5-5): New Orleans leads the all-time series against Buffalo, 7-4, including
wins in five consecutive matchups. In their last meeting, Week 10 of the 2017
season, running backs MARK INGRAM (131 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns) and ALVIN KAMARA (106 rushing yards
and one rushing touchdown) led the Saints to a 47-10 win over the Bills.
Buffalo is appearing on Thanksgiving for the second time in the past three seasons.
In 2019, quarterback JOSH ALLEN had two touchdowns (one passing, one rushing) with a 120.7 rating in a
Bills victory over the Cowboys. He enters Week 12 with 2,811 passing yards and
21 touchdown passes and needs 189 passing yards for his third-consecutive 3,000-yard
season. Wide receiver STEFON DIGGS had his seventh-career game with at least two touchdown receptions
last week and has five touchdown receptions in his past five games. Since
joining the Bills in 2020, he is one of two wide receivers (DAVANTE ADAMS) with at least 185
receptions (187) and 2,300 receiving yards (2,308).
Buffalo enters Thanksgiving ranked second in
scoring defense (17.6 points allowed per game) and second in takeaways (24). Safety
JORDAN POYER leads the team with four interceptions and has five passes defensed
and two interceptions in five road games this season.
New Orleans is playing in its fourth
Thanksgiving game since 2010 and third in the past four seasons. The Saints
(3-0 on Thanksgiving) are one of four active franchises that are undefeated on
the holiday, along with Baltimore (2-0), Houston (2-0) and Carolina (1-0).
Defensive end CAMERON
JORDAN, who is one of five players with at least six
sacks on Thanksgiving since 1982, had two sacks on November 29, 2018 against
Dallas and four sacks on November 28, 2019 against Atlanta. Entering Week 12,
he has a sack in four of his past five contests. Defensive end MARCUS DAVENPORT had 1.5 sacks last
week and aims for his fourth in a row with a sack. He recorded two sacks and
two forced fumbles on Thanksgiving in 2019 against Atlanta. Cornerback MARSHON LATTIMORE is one of three
defensive backs (JAMES BRADBERRY and MARLON HUMPHREY) with at least 10 passes defensed in each of the past five seasons.
SIEMIAN totaled four touchdowns (three passing, one
rushing) last week and has at least two touchdown passes in each of his three
starts this season. Ingram had a season-high 113 scrimmage yards (88 rushing,
25 receiving) and aims for his third in a row with at least 100 scrimmage
yards. Kamara has 14 touchdowns (11 rushing, three receiving) in his past eight
home games. Wide receiver MARQUEZ CALLAWAY had his team-leading sixth touchdown reception of the season in Week
11 and aims for his fourth in a row with a touchdown catch.
For the Thanksgiving all-time leaders and memorable moments, click here.
For the Week 12 Thanksgiving Day capsules, click here.