Welcome to another Thanksgiving Thursday on the National Football League schedule, and three games that could help to shape the upcoming playoffs.
Turkey Day traditionally begins in Detroit, where this year they're celebrating the 75th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving Day game between the Lions and the Chicago Bears. Those same two teams, NFC North rivals, will meet once again at Ford Field for your Thanksgiving appetizer.
The Lions are coming off a 34-9 loss to the New England Patriots last Sunday while the Bears defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 21-13. Both teams like to throw the ball, averaging around 250 yards per game through the air. Chicago does a little better job running the football.
The Lions, despite last Sunday, are still one of the best defensive teams in the NFL, only allowing an average of 17 points per game. You can watch the Lions and Bears at 12:30 p.m. Eastern time on CBS.
The two teams are tied for the division lead with 8-3 records. Dallas quarterback Tony Romo is quietly putting together perhaps the best season in his career so far, throwing for more than 2,500 yards and 22 touchdowns. Meanwhile, Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray leads the NFL in rushing with 1,354 yards and nine touchdowns.
The Eagles were flying high with Nick Foles at quarterback early this season. A shoulder injury against the Houston Texans back on Nov. 2 knocked him out of the lineup, to be replaced by former New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, who has led the Eagles to three wins in their last four games. Philly has an outstanding running back of its own in LeSean McCoy, who's run for 859 yards. Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin has 63 catches for 980 yards and nine touchdowns.
The Eagles and Cowboys kick off at 4:30 p.m. Eastern on Fox.
Everybody loves dessert, and what an offering we have on this Thanksgiving night. It will be a rematch of last season's NFC Championship Game, featuring the Super Bowl-champion Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers.
Both teams have changed since that Sunday night this past January, when the Seahawks held on to beat the Niners in Seattle. Free agent defections and injuries have affected both rosters. That, plus some ineffective play at times, have produced 7-4 records for both teams, tied for second place in the NFC West behind the surprising Arizona Cardinals.
What hasn't changed is the multi-dimensional talents of the two quarterbacks – Russell Wilson of the Seahawks and the 49ers' Colin Kaepernick. Both signal callers are the second-leading rushers on their respective teams. Wilson has thrown for more than 2,200 yards and 14 touchdowns, while Kaepernick has thrown for more than 2,600 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Being members of the same division, there's no love lost between these teams as they meet for the first of two games this season. And still fighting for a playoff spot in the NFC means this game at the 49ers' new home, just south of San Francisco, will take on added luster Thanksgiving night.
The Seahawks and 49ers can be seen on NBC, beginning at 8:30 p.m. Eastern.