Thanksgiving Day NFL Slate

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Luke Land, Writer/Designer

Thanksgiving is a time to be with loved ones, eat a ton of food, and pass out on the couch watching football. The NFL has become a staple for Thanksgiving. Every year, they schedule 3 games to be played on Thanksgiving. I will be analyzing those 3 games and giving my predictions to the Thanksgiving slate. 

I would like to note before making all predictions, there are a couple of weeks left before the Thanksgiving day games, so these opinions are subject to change week by week. All predictions are made from action of weeks 1-9.

Starting with the first game, the Chicago Bears at the Detroit Lions. The bottom two teams meet up in a classic NFC North Thanksgiving game matchup. They have played 18 times before this matchup, all in Detroit. The Bears are 10-8 through those 18 games. 

Starting with Chicago, they average around 17 points per game (ppg) while their opponents average around 25 ppg. Chicago’s offense has given up 9 interceptions through 9 games, 8 from rookie Justin Fields. It’s hard to blame him though, as pass protection has been scary for Chicago this season. They have given up 33 sacks for 225 yards, which is substantially more than their opponents. On the rushing end, they are averaging 136 yards per game (ypg). Detroit has a terrible defense, so even with the bad offensive show this season, I don’t see why they will struggle offensively. 

Now with Detroit, they are a struggling team, still searching for their first win. They give up around 30 ppg, which is not good for them at all. They are a pass heavy offense, throwing for around 228 ypg, but with Chicago’s decent secondary, I don’t think they can afford to throw the ball, and with around 93 rushing yards a game, I see them struggling offensively. 

Overall, I see Chicago easily winning this game, even though they have struggled a lot this season. Honestly, if you’re not picking Chicago to win, you’re making a mistake. 

Next game up is the Las Vegas Raiders at the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys are an absolute staple for Thanksgiving day football. They have played a total of 52 Thanksgiving games, and have hosted 50 of those games. The only years they haven’t hosted are 1975 and 1977. The last time the Raiders had played on Thanksgiving was in 2009, against the Cowboys. They lost 24-7. 

Starting with the Raiders, Derrick Carr is having a stellar passing season. He is currently in the top 5 for most passing yards this season, with 2,565 yards. This is an electrifying offense, with Darren Waller, a top tight end in the NFL, and Josh Jacobs out of the backfield. They did have one of their biggest weapons, Henry Ruggs, get into a very dangerous car accident, so their offense will be hindered, but I still can’t wait to see what this offense does. 

For Dallas, their offensive trio of Dak Presscot, Ezekiel Elliot, and Amari Cooper are playing great this year. Dak is throwing over 2,000 yards on the season, Elliot has over 600 yards rushing, and Cooper has over 500 receiving yards. This offense is efficient as ever, with Presscot throwing for 18 touchdowns, and Elliot rushing for 5 touchdowns. With the Cowboys averaging 30 ppg, I don’t see why they won’t do something like this again against a not so good Raiders defense. 

This is probably the best matchup we have on Thanksgiving. Both teams leading their division in wins, this game will be close, but I don’t see why the Cowboys can’t pull away and win this game. 

For the final game, it’s the Buffalo Bills at the New Orleans Saints. The Saints have only played on Thanksgiving three times, but winning all three times, while the Bills have played 9 times, going 4-4-1 (4 wins, 4 loses, 1 tie). 

Starting with Buffalo, they have MVP front runner, Josh Allen, leading the way. He has thrown for 2,200 yards and 17 touchdowns and rushed for 319 yards and 3 touchdowns. He has been amazing this season. They also have completed almost 50% of third downs, which is substantially higher than any other team that plays on Thanksgiving this year. Their offensive line has only given up 12 sacks all year, which is a good thing because the Saints have a pretty good defensive line.

The Saints are averaging around 200 ypg in the air and 123 ypg on the ground. With Jameis Winston having a decent season compared to years past, and Alvin Kamara doing things we expect from him, the Saints have a decent offense to compete. Averaging 25 ppg, they can compete with anyone that they have in front of them. 

Although the Saints are looking like a good team right now, I can’t see them winning. Buffalo’s offense is unmatched and with Josh Allen playing like he is, I don’t know how they would lose.

Overall, it looks like a great slate of games for Thanksgiving this year. I cannot wait to see what happens during these games and if my predictions come true.