The best, most delicious Thanksgiving Day recipe calls for three helpings of turkey with a triple dose of NFL. This year, the NFL continues its tradition with a huge three-game slate that will feature some of the league’s biggest stars and almost every team remains in the playoff hunt. The "Turkey Day" mainstays, the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys, will once again act as hosts for Thursday’s afternoon games while the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears take their rivalry to one of the biggest days on the NFL calendar.
Here’s a quick early breakdown of each game, including who’s favored and when to tune in between trips to the dinner table.
Philadelphia Eagles (4-6) at Detroit Lions (3-7), 12:30 p.m. ET
For the Eagles, Thanksgiving couldn’t have come at a better time. On the heels of a nasty 45-17 home loss to Tampa Bay, Philadelphia will be thankful for their trip to Detroit due to their impressive holiday record. Of the teams that have played at least five times on Thanksgiving, the Eagles are the only squad to remain undefeated with a 6-0 mark. The Eagles enter the game as a slim one point favorite.
However, that record is in danger against a Lions squad that’s won two straight for the first time this season. Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford rushed five yards to the end zone and the Lions defense came up with a safety in the fourth quarter to claim an 18-13 win over Oakland to improve to 3-7 on the season.
Philadelphia might prefer to rest rather than play on four days’ rest, but they need a win to stay in the NFC East hunt. Despite the loss the Eagles are only one game back of the Giants for the division lead.
Detroit is four games back in last place in the NFC North, and though it technically hasn’t been eliminated from the postseason, it will need to beat the Eagles, run the rest of the table, and get some help from the rest of the NFC wild-card field. Last year, the Lions won their second straight on Thanksgiving after losing their previous nine.
Betting Line: Philadelphia -1
Over/Under: 46 points
Carolina Panthers (10-0) at Dallas Cowboys (3-7), 4:30 p.m. ET
The perfect Panthers and quarterback MVP Cam Newton are not only off to the best start in franchise history, but will also make their first appearance on Thanksgiving. Carolina’s coming off a 44-16 beat down of Washington, its biggest win of the season highlighted by Newton’s five touchdown passes and a defense that allowed just 186 total offensive yards.
The Cowboys welcomed quarterback Tony Romo back from injury and snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 24-14 win over Miami, and are clinging to life in the NFC East. Romo went 18-for-128 for 227 yards and two touchdown to two interceptions and running back Darren McFadden totaled 129 yards, his third 100-yard game in the last five.
Carolina could all but lock up a postseason berth with a victory and can keep pressure on Arizona for the top spot in the NFC, while Dallas hopes to wipe one game away from its two-game division deficit. Last year, Romo threw two interceptions and the Cowboys fell 33-10 to Philadelphia.
Betting Line: Dallas -1
Over/Under: 46.5 points
Chicago Bears (4-6) at Green Bay Packers (7-3), 8:30 p.m. ET
Appearing in back-to-back Thanksgiving games for the first time since 1981, the Bears will try to snap a four-game holiday losing streak and keep the Packers from solidifying their slim lead in the NFC North.
Chicago nearly won its third straight to improve to .500 for the first time all season, but running back Jeremy Langford failed to convert a two-point conversion attempt with under 30 seconds remaining, as the Bears fell to Denver 17-15 in Week 11. The Bears are three back of the Packers in third-place in the division, but are one of five 4-6 teams angling for a NFC wild-card berth.
The Bears already fell to Green Bay 31-23 in the season opener that saw quarterback Jay Cutler post a season-low 67.5 passer rating. But Cutler’s looked sharp with six touchdown passes to two interceptions in the last four games.
Meanwhile, the Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers got back on track and broke a three-game slide by trouncing Minnesota 30-13 to retake the division lead. Rodgers threw two touchdowns, but Green Bay received a major boost from running back Eddie Lacy and his 100 rushing yards. Groin and ankle injuries limited Lacy in his first eight games of the season, but he reached the century mark for the first time all year and faces a Bears defense ranked No. 25 in league.
Green Bay not only needs the win to stay in first in the division, but is looking to crash Carolina and Arizona’s party for one of the NFC’s top two playoff seeds.
Betting Line: Green Bay -8.5
Over/Under: 47.5 points