Previewing The Entire Slate Of 2021 NFL Thanksgiving Games

A Detroit Lions fan in the stands during the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Ford Field on October 31, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan.
(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)


Thanksgiving is nearly here and with it comes three brutal NFL games.

No doubt, Americans will still watch, but not before a nice nap as a result of consuming enough turkey — and therefore tryptophan — to knock out a small herd of buffalo.

Speaking of Buffalo, the Bills play in the nightcap.

Here is a preview of the NFL’s three Thanksgiving matchups.


Chicago Bears At Detroit Lions

Thanksgiving Day is like the Super Bowl for Detroit Lions fans.

While the 2016 season — the last time the Lions made the playoffs — wasn’t that long ago, the franchise hasn’t won a playoff game since January 5, 1992.

Thanksgiving is one of the few things Lions fans have bragging rights over, especially as they enter the November holiday winless for the third time in team history.

It’s why Jared Goff’s possible return from an oblique injury is such a big deal, especially given the struggles of Tim Boyle in his first NFL start.

Boyle went 15 of 23 passing for 77 yards and two interceptions in the Lions’ 13-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns in Week 11.

The Lions (0-9-1) have played close games in back-to-back weeks: It also includes a 16-16 tie in Week 10 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Lions fans might put paper bags over their heads on Thursday, but do they REALLY want to win this game considering they have a two-game lead entering Week 12 to secure the No. 1 pick of the 2022 NFL Draft?

While some fans might say there isn’t a clear-cut first overall pick at the quarterback position, the Lions shouldn’t overthink it if they get the top pick.

Tank for Thibodeaux!

Draft Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, and bite off kneecaps dominate the line of scrimmage for the next decade.

Remember, the Lions drafted offensive tackle Penei Sewell with the seventh overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Sewell is a different breed considering he got into a scrap earlier this year with three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald.

Plus, Thibodeaux and Sewell were college teammates at Oregon.

It’s a growing trend for NFL teams to pair college teammates together:

Meanwhile, the Chicago Bears are dealing with the fiasco of whether Matt Nagy will become the first coach in the team’s 101-year history to get fired during the season.

A report surfaced Tuesday stating Nagy would get fired after the Bears-Lions game.

Nagy disputed the report.

Say what you want about Nagy, but the Bears front office left him to fend for himself on Tuesday.

The Bears let’s report by Mark Konkol — who is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist — remain unaddressed with no one in the front office coming to Nagy’s defense.

The discontent for Nagy has gotten so bad that people chanted “Fire Nagy” at a high school football game featuring his son.

Nagy is also far from the Bears’ only problem, especially considering the team has lost five straight games.

Many of the NFL’s other 31 franchises play chess while the Bears play checkers.

The Thanksgiving national audience will be robbed of not getting to see the dazzling play of rookie quarterback Justin Fields, who suffered a rib injury in the Bears’ 16-13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

The Bears (3-7) will start Andy Dalton, who is colloquially known as “The Red Rifle” and an overall “nice guy.”

With Fields likely inactive, it means Nick Foles would serve as Dalton’s backup.

If this game is hard to watch, let the duo of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman put you into a nice, turkey-induced siesta.


Las Vegas Raiders At Dallas Cowboys

If the two teams had played this game weeks ago, it would have been intriguing.

The Las Vegas Raiders (5-5) have been in a tailspin, losing three games in a row.

They’ve not been the same since Henry Ruggs III’s release, and Jon Gruden’s resignation.

The Raiders went 1-for-7 on third-down conversions and managed only 278 total yards in a 32-13 home loss to the Bengals in Week 11.

Plus, the Dallas Cowboys (7-3) will be without several star players, including wide receiver Amari Cooper (COVID-19), defensive end Randy Gregory (calf), and All-Pro defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence (foot).

Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb would also need to clear concussion protocols to play Thursday.

However, with the potential return of offensive tackle Tyron Smith, it could mark the first time the Cowboys play a game with their starting five offensive linemen this season.

It’s always fun to see Tony Romo announce games involving his former team.

Also, Jim Nantz is the best in the business.


Buffalo Bills At New Orleans Saints

The Buffalo Bills will likely look to regroup after getting crushed 41-15 by the Indianapolis Colts in Week 11.

Second-year running back Jonathan Taylor had 185 yards rushing and five total touchdowns.

It’s not the only game the Bills have struggled to stop the run.

On October 18, a healthy Derrick Henry ran for 143 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries.

Buffalo has lost three of its last five games, and its AFC East lead.

However, since 2017, Bills head coach Sean McDermott has a record of 18-9 in his team’s next game after a loss.

Meanwhile, the New Orleans Saints are still figuring out how to use Trevor Siemian, who is 0-3 as a starting quarterback this season.

Mike Tirico and former Saints quarterback Drew Brees will announce the nightcap.

Enjoy the turkey!

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