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Previews of Thanksgiving Day NFL Games

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By Maximillian C. Burgos | Staff Writer

Thanksgiving is a day for thanks. For many families in the U.S. it is a special day of full of feasts and gatherings. Thanksgiving is also a day full of hard collisions, Hail Mary passes and ankle-breaking jukes for the NFL.

Each year, the NFL schedules three games on Turkey Day for fans to enjoy. This year, the 12:30 p.m. game is a divisional rivalry game between the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions. At 4:30 p.m., fans will be entertained by a clash between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Dallas Cowboys. The primetime game will be another divisional matchup between the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins.

All three games promise to be entertaining for this Turkey Day.

Viking at Lions (12:30 p.m.)

According to ESPN’s matchup predictor, the Vikings have a 53.3 percent chance of winning the game. The Vikings currently sit at a comfortable 8-2 on the season despite not having their first and second string quarterbacks healthy in the season. Both Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater suffered knee injuries that derailed their seasons.

Bridgewater hasn’t played a down of football in nearly two years and Bradford started the season, but was hurt early on. Case Keenum stepped in and did his job. He helped the Vikings offense manage the game while the defense shutdown opponents.

Reuben Foster trying to tackle Minnesota Vikings running back Latavious Murray (Getty Images)

Reuben Foster trying to tackle Minnesota Vikings running back Latavious Murray (Getty Images)

The rushing attack for the Vikings has been a talking point all year. When rookie running back Dalvin Cook was healthy the Vikings looked posed for the playoffs. When he went down, Jerrick McKinnon stepped in and picked up where Cook left off. Recently, Latavius Murray has been getting his fair share of carries. Ultimately, the Vikings are exceeding expectations on the offensive side of the ball. They are No.11 in passing yards with a third string quarterback behind center, No.8 with second and third string running backs running the ball and No.11 in points for.

With one of the most feared defensive units in the League, the Vikings have earned their spot in the top five in the League.

The Lions have been unbeatable in recent years on Thanksgiving. Last year, they edged out the Vikings 16-13, the year before that they wiped the floor with the Philadelphia Eagles, and before that they destroyed the Chicago Bears.

ct-lions-matthew-stafford-5-year-extension-20170828.jpg

Matthew Stafford (AP Photo)

This year, they face the Vikings again. The Lions will be at home, where they are currently 2-3 on the season. Quarterback Matthew Stafford, plays exceptionally well on Thanksgiving.

“Playing meaningful football on Thanksgiving is a whole lot of fun,” quarterback Matthew Stafford said in an ESPN interview. “This year should be no different. Any time you win on Thanksgiving, it’s a blast. The turkey tastes a whole lot better.”

The Lions have not been blown out yet this season. In almost every game so far, they have been competitive. So far, out of the four games they have lost, three of them have been at a margin of five or less points. To win against the Vikings, they will have to play a full game of football.

Maybe this year, the Vikings will beat their NFC North rivals.

Chargers at Cowboys (4:30 p.m.)

The Chargers are coming off of a huge win against the Buffalo Bills, where they put up a season high 54 points. The Cowboys on the other hand are coming off of a tough loss to their divisional rivals, the Eagles. In that game, the Eagles defensive man-handled the Cowboys, forcing three interceptions from second-year quarterback Dak Prescott.

The Cowboys come into the game at a modest 5-5 record, while the Chargers are struggling yet again this year to stay relevant with a record of 4-6. The Cowboys will have to have to win in order to keep playoff hopes alive.

According to the ESPN matchup predictor, the Cowboys have a 56.3 percent chance of winning the matchup. Both teams have comparable statistics on both offense and defense. Both teams are also suffering on both sides of the ball with injuries.

One of the key components of the game is the fact that the Cowboys will be playing without their star running back Ezekiel Elliot. Elliot has finally dropped his appeal for suspension and will serve his six game suspension.

Ezekiel Elliott (Getty Images)

Ezekiel Elliott (Getty Images)

The Cowboys did well on the ground last week without him, but he will still be missed on Thursday. His explosiveness and catching ability is hard to replicate. Before his suspension took effect, he racked up 783 yards on 191 attempts and seven touchdowns. The next leading rusher is Alfred Morris who has accumulated 260 yards on 42 carries.

The Cowboys will have a good chance at winning. The Chargers victory over the Bills was in large part due to the five interceptions that quarterback Nathan Peterman threw.

New York Giants at Washington Redskins (8:30 p.m.)

Both teams in this game are coming in with losing records. The Giants are competing for the top spot in the draft, while the Redskins hope to win at least five of their next six games to have a slight chance of making the playoffs.

Even with both teams’ playoffs hopes almost nonexistent, more so for the Giants than the Redskins, but the game should be entertaining at least.

Kirk Cousins (Getty Images)

Kirk Cousins (Getty Images)

By some miracle, the Giants beat the Kansas City Chiefs this past week. Maybe that will have some carry over momentum for them and they will be able to win this game.

This game will come down to which team wants it more. The Redskins have a better shot of winning the game. According to the ESPN matchup predictor, the Redskins has 67.8 chance of winning the game.

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