Thanksgiving and NFL football games go hand in hand. The tradition dates back to the league’s first season in 1920. Thanksgiving NFL games predate Super Bowls by 46 years.
There have been changes. Nobody was watching on their phones when the Dayton Triangles beat the Detroit Heralds 28-0 back on Nov. 25, 1920. Thanks to the glory of technology, you can watch all three Thanksgiving games this season as they’re live-streamed on the Yahoo Sports app. It’s better than arguing with your relatives about politics.
Here’s a look at all three Thanksgiving games in this 100th NFL season:
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions, 12:30 p.m. ET
Just imagine the reaction if Mitchell Trubisky gets outplayed by David Blough on Thanksgiving.
Who is Blough? He was the guy taking the practice snaps as Detroit’s quarterback this week. Matthew Stafford is out. Backup Jeff Driskel is dealing with a hamstring injury. If Driskel can’t play, Blough would take his first NFL snaps. Blough played at Purdue, went undrafted and then posted a 72.9 passer rating in the preseason for the Cleveland Browns. The Browns traded Blough to the Lions in a swap of 2022 seventh-round picks.
No matter if Driskel or Blough plays for the Lions, the quarterback under the most pressure in Thursday’s early game will be Trubisky. Trubisky was solid last season and then has hit a major slump this year. With the Bears struggling, one season after winning the NFC North, Trubisky has received a majority of the scorn from Bears fans. A bad outing on Thanksgiving, perhaps against an unknown rookie making his NFL debut, would make things a lot worse for Trubisky.
Buffalo Bills at Dallas Cowboys, 4:30 p.m. ET
The biggest story in the best Thanksgiving matchup is clearly Cowboys coach Jason Garrett and his job security. Prepare yourselves for a lot of Garrett talk during the broadcast.
There is another team involved in the game, and they are very likely heading to the playoffs. The Bills have had a nice breakout this season, and are leading the AFC wild-card pack at 8-3. Buffalo’s defense leads that team, though second-year quarterback Josh Allen is capable of some exciting moments. At least one of the teams in the second game on Thursday is a good bet to be in the postseason.
New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons, 8:20 p.m. ET
At the midway point of the season the Saints were 7-1. They went 5-0 while Drew Brees healed up from a thumb injury. They looked like the best team in football.
Then the Falcons came to New Orleans.
Atlanta, in the middle of a horrible season and with coach Dan Quinn facing constant questions about his job security, pulled off perhaps the biggest upset of the NFL season. They dominated the Saints in a 26-9 win. The result was unexpected and the way the Falcons pushed around the Saints was stunning.
The Saints really haven’t looked right the past three games, starting with that Falcons loss. They did beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 34-17, but with a big assist from Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston and his turnovers. Last week the Saints barely squeezed out a 34-31 win over the Carolina Panthers, getting a game-winning field goal as time expired. They caught a huge break when Panthers kicker Joey Slye missed a short field goal in the final two minutes.
What do we make of the Saints now? They’re still 9-2 and have a good chance to get the No. 1 seed in the NFC. A rebound against the Falcons on Thanksgiving would ease some concerns about their recent slump.
– – – – – – –