This Thursday is the American holiday of Thanksgiving which means there will be three NFL games for fans to enjoy whilst eating their turkey and stuffing. The Dallas Cowboys and the Detroit Lions have been the two stable teams of Thanksgiving. The Cowboys have played on Thanksgiving since 1966 and the Lions have done so since 1934. In 2006 the NFL added a third game to the schedule in the primetime slot.
This year the Chicago Bears take on the winless Detroit Lions in the earlier slot. The Dallas Cowboys lost in Week 11 to the Kansas City Chief and they will be taking on the Las Vegas Raiders. Finally, the Buffalo Bills take on the New Orleans Saints in primetime to round off the action.
Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions
On Thursday the Chicago Bears (3-7) will be looking to snap their five-game losing streak against the Detroit Lions. Chicago will be without rookie quarterback Justin Fields as he is dealing with a rib injury and so the starting quarterback will be Andy Dalton.
The side may have issues on offense but last week against the Baltimore Ravens its defense stepped up. The Bears blitzed the Ravens on 28 of 44 dropbacks last week (64%) - the highest blitz rate by a team in a game this season. The Lions should have quarterback Jared Goff back from his oblique injury and any pressure the Bears can inflict on him will be crucial in helping them register a win.
The Lions are the 13th side in NFL history to enter Thanksgiving without a win in the season. The side is 0-9-1 with the tie coming in Week 10 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, guaranteeing that they won't become the first 0-17 side in NFL history.
Under first-year head coach Dan Campbell, the team have been unrelenting in their search for a win and come close on numerous occasions. In Week Three they lost to the Baltimore Ravens on a Justin Tucker field goal and just last week they lost 13-10 against the Cleveland Browns.
Here at Planet Sport, we love an underdog and they might be outside favourites but the defense of the Lions has the players to stop the Bears and help Detroit get their first win since Week 13 of the 2020 season.
If the Lions are to register their first win of the season they will look to feed running back D'Andre Swift. The player leads all running backs in receptions (53) and sits second among running backs with 420-receiving yards. Swift also ranks fifth among all running backs with 975 scrimmage yards. His ability to be a component of the passing game will help Goff avoid the pressure from the Bears pass rush.
Las Vegas Raiders @ Dallas Cowboys
Ever since their Week Eight bye week, the Las Vegas Raiders (5-5) have been in a mini-slump, losing three straight games. Quarterback Derek Carr has been unable to find the form that had him as a potential MVP candidate in the first half of the season. To try and get their offense rolling, Carr will be looking to advantage of his star tight end Darren Waller. The player has 12 career 100-yard games, the third most by any tight end since he made his debut in 2015.
The Raiders have had a very troubled season. Their head coach Jon Gruden resigned midway through the campaign while star wide receiver Henry Ruggs was released.
The Raiders are the underdog coming up against a Dallas Cowboys side (7-3) with one of the best offenses in the league. However, one of the saving graces for Las Vegas is that the Cowboys could be without both Amari Cooper and Ceedee Lamb.
When America's team has come up against AFC West teams, they have struggled offensively with their best effort being 20 points against the Los Angeles Chargers. One of the stats that is going the way of Dallas is that the Raiders are tied for 26th in points allowed (26.2).
The Dallas defense has been one of their strong points this year and one of their stars has been rookie linebacker, Micah Parsons. Parsons has eight sacks on the season and is 1/5 favourite for Defensive Rookie of the Year with Planet Sport Bet.
If the Cowboys are to win on Thursday afternoon then they will need a big performance from their starting quarterback Dak Prescott. Planet Sport Bet currently has Prescott as the favourite to win Comeback Player of the Year at 2/9.
With the injuries to key players at wide receiver, the Cowboys will have to rely on Prescott to take advantage of his tight ends and to be a factor in the running game. He currently has 91 rushing yards of the season but his ability to run the ball make him a difficult quarterback to plan for.
If Prescott is playing at his best then the Cowboys can move on quickly from their loss against Kansas City and solidify their position as the number one seed in the NFC East.
Buffalo Bills @ New Orleans Saints
The Buffalo Bills (6-4) come into their primetime matchup against the New Orleans Saints (5-5) having been run off the park by Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor in Week 11. It has been a tough couple of weeks for Buffalo losing two of their last three and are no longer the number one side in the AFC East. For Bills MVP candidate quarterback Josh Allen it has been a rough few weeks as he has thrown five interceptions in his last three games. Planet Sport has Allen at 6/1 to win MVP.
Whilst the offense has had its struggles, the Bills defense has not. The defense has been key to the side this season, especially in their statement win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Week Five. They have 15 interceptions on the season which is tied for the second-most in the NFL. Buffalo has also allowed opposing passers to complete just 57.7% of passes which is the lowest in the league.
The Bills will be up against the New Orleans Saints who are on a poor run of form themselves. For the first time since 2016, the Saints have lost three straight games and have massively missed their star running back Alvin Kamara.
In Week 11 the Saints were blown away by the Philadelphia Eagles and their second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts as they won 40-29. The Saints defense was no match for Hurts as he passed for 149-yards, rushed for 69-yards and three touchdowns.
As the Saints are missing key players and a win for the Bills will put them back in playoff contention, we have the Bills coming out on top.
Everything appears to be in place for Buffalo to register a statement win in primetime. Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs has scored five times in his past five games after scoring just once in his first five games this season. He is a dynamic player who will be a key factor in the passing game if the Bills are to get back to winning ways in their bid for a Super Bowl. Planet Sport Bet has Buffalo at 9/1 to win the Super Bowl.