An NFC North rivalry, classic matchup, and prime-time showdown highlight 2021 schedule
You can’t truly enjoy Thanksgiving if the NFL isn’t on at least one screen in your home, seeing as the two combine for one of the best annual traditions. Today, the world will be treated to a slate of three games as the turkey gets carved and enjoyed in the presence of family and friends. Leading the way is an NFC North clash that should start the afternoon off with a bang, followed by two interconference battles that will keep you invested the rest of the night while you enjoy another round of leftovers.
Outside of a four-year stretch in the early 1940s, the NFL has held Thanksgiving Day games every year since 1920. The Lions are the richest of Thanksgiving Day traditions and have been an annual participant since 1934. Last year’s Thanksgiving Day game was a disappointment for Detroit fans, as Deshaun Watson and the Texans cruised to a 41-25 victory.
The Lions offense has undergone significant changes since the 2020 regular season concluded. Stafford is out and Jared Goff is in. Kenny Golladay and essentially every other wide receiver on last season’s roster has moved on.
Chicago finished the 2020 regular season with an 8-8 record. Former No. 2 overall selection Mitchell Trubisky left for Buffalo in free agency, which led to the signing of Andy Dalton. Shortly after making a social media post proclaiming Dalton as ‘QB1,’ the Bears were aggressive in moving up in the 2021 NFL Draft to select Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, who is now firmly in place as the starting quarterback.
The Bears last appeared on Thanksgiving Day in 2019 when they defeated Detroit, 24-20. Chicago has played 36 Thanksgiving Day games — the third-most in league history — compiling a 19-15-2 record in those opportunities.
The Cowboys became the second regular Thanksgiving Day participant beginning in 1966. All but two Thanksgivings have included games featuring both the Lions and Cowboys since Dallas’ inclusion.
The Raiders will be making the franchise’s first Thanksgiving appearance since 2013. It will be their first since moving to Las Vegas. The team has compiled a 3-4 record during seven previous Thanksgiving Day appearances. Las Vegas made significant changes to its offensive line and defense this offseason. Running back Kenyan Drake was added to a skill player grouping that features Derek Carr, Josh Jacobs and Darren Waller. Yan nick Ngakoue was added on defense to bolster the unit’s pass rush production. Las Vegas finished with an 8-8 record in 2020 and fell short of the playoffs.
The Cowboys are banged-up at wide receiver, but still have a strong running game and Dak Prescott and Dan Quinn has the defense trending in the right direction.
The NFL added a primetime game to the Thanksgiving Day schedule in 2006. There had been a primetime game on Thanksgiving Day every year since 2006 until the Steelers-Ravens game was postponed during the COVID-19 pandemic last year.
Buffalo is just two years removed from a 26-15 Thanksgiving Day victory over the Cowboys. The franchise has made just nine Thanksgiving Day appearances and has an even 4-4-1 record. Quarterback Josh Allen produced an MVP-caliber season before his Bills fell short in the AFC Championship against Kansas City. General manager Brandon Beane has constructed one of the most talented rosters in the league and they should be back in Super Bowl contention.
The Saints have played on Thanksgiving Day just three times but the most recent was 2019 when they knocked off the Falcons. In fact, New Orleans is a perfect 3-0 all-time on Thanksgiving.
2021 NFL jerseys now available
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