By Daniel Dalenberg
Thanksgiving and football are a match made in heaven. Whatever your Thanksgiving tradition is, there is a good chance it involves football at some point. Whether it be a “Turkey Bowl” with your family and friends, or watching the Thanksgiving NFL games after a great Thanksgiving meal, football is there. This year, the Thanksgiving games are shaping up to be great matchups, here is all you need to know going into Turkey day.
Minnesota Vikings (6-4) @ Detroit Lions (6-4): 11:30am
This NFC North battle could prove pivotal in the NFC playoff race. The Lions and Vikings are tied at 6-4 atop the NFC North, however the Lions hold the tiebreaker after they defeated the Vikings 22-16 in overtime Week 11. After starting out 5-0, the Vikings have lost 4 of their last 5, including a loss to the lowly Chicago Bears. The root of the problem has been the Vikings offense, which ranks near the bottom of the league in both passing and rushing categories. Struggles aside, the Vikings still have one of the top scoring defenses in the league. The Lions, on the other hand, started out 1-3, and since have gone 5-1. The Lions strength comes on the offensive side of the ball, led by Quarterback Matthew Stafford, who is having one of the best seasons of his career passing for 2373 yards and 18 touchdowns. All in all, this game is set up to be a thriller. Prediction: Lions 24 Vikings 17
Washington Redskins (6-3-1) @ Dallas Cowboys (9-1) 3:30pm
Another great matchup, the Cowboys look to win ten straight games, while the Washington Redskins look to get a marquee win that can ignite them for their run at the playoffs. The Cowboys have been the biggest story in football this season, with a Rookie backfield, featuring Quarterback Dak Prescott and Running Back Ezekiell Elliott. The duo has been fantastic thus far this season, with Elliott leading the league in rushing, while Prescott is in MVP talks. This after Prescott bumped Cowboys’ former perennial starting Quarterback Tony Romo. While the Cowboys have been fantastic, the Redskins are no slouch of an opponent. Quarterback Kirk Cousins has been hot, highlighted on Sunday night against the Packers, when he broke the franchise record for most games with 300 yards passing or more. While, the Cowboys are favored by 7, the Redskins should keep it close. Prediction: Cowboys 30 Redskins 27
Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5) @ Indianapolis Colts (5-5) 7:30pm
Both teams are coming off week 11 wins, and a win on Thanksgiving night would be huge for both in the fight to win their divisions. The Steelers are tied with the Ravens in AFC North and the Colts are trailing the Houston Texans by a game and a half after Sunday (the Texans have the Monday night matchup which may narrow their lead to half a game if they lose). This matchup is set to be a shootout, as both teams bring below average defenses and prolific offenses. The Steelers arguably have the best QB/RB/WR combination in the league, featuring Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, Running Back Le’Veon Bell and Wide Receiver Antonio Brown. The Steelers have underperformed so far this season, but now with the teams’ main components healthy, they should perform well late in the season. Similarly, the Colts are led by Quarterback Andrew Luck, who has already thrown for 2827 yards this season, for the 5th best mark in the league. However, the Colts have a weak offensive line so if the Steelers can get to Luck, the Steelers should come away with a win. Prediction: Steelers 38 Colts 27
Happy Thanksgiving everyone, enjoy the family, food and football!