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NFL Thanksgiving Day Games – Schedule, Tips, Fantasy Football Tips, Odds, Injuries and More

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11/24/2021

  • ESPN staff

The NFL Week 12 schedule for the 2021 season starts with three Thanksgiving Day matches, and we’ve got you covered with everything you need to know. Our NFL Nation reporters bring us the key keys to every game, a bold prediction for every match and of course the final results.

In addition, ESPN Stats & Information offers great statistics and a betting nugget for each competition, and our Football Power Index (FPI) counts with a matchup rating (on a scale from 1 to 100) and a game projection. ESPN researcher Kyle Soppe also shares helpful insights into fantasy football. Everything you want to know is here in one place so you can prepare for a packed afternoon of NFL football.

Let’s get to the full Thanksgiving daily table, including an NFC North match between the Bears and Lions and an offensive duel between the Raiders and Cowboys. The football-filled vacation culminates in a battle between two teams currently on the verge of the playoffs, the Bills and the Saints. Who will get one step closer to the postseason with a win on Thursday?

Jump to a matchup:
CHI-DET | LV-DAL | BUF-NO

See more:
Story of Thanksgiving in the NFL
John Madden’s first turducken
Any team’s most memorable Thanksgiving

12:30 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating:
6.8 | Spread: CHI -3.5 (41.5)

What to look out for: Still looking for their first win of the season under senior coach Dan Campbell, the Lions will become the 13th team in NFL history to enter a Thanksgiving game with a winless record. Detroit will try to feed the hot hand, with running back D’Andre Swift leading all running backs in the receptions (53) and sitting second in the receiving yards (420). Swift also ranks fifth among all running backs with 975 scrimmage yards. Can the bears stop him and find their own offensive with quarterback Andy Dalton? – Eric Woodyard

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Courageous prediction: Dalton will fit for three touchdowns as the Bears end their five-game losing streak. Justin Fields is struggling with a rib injury but Dalton has the experience to handle the quick turn and he’s still good enough – Dalton tossed two touchdowns against the Ravens – to get the job done against losing teams. Fields (if sane) is still Chicago’s quarterback, but look for Dalton to light it up on Thursday. – Jeff Dickerson

Statistics to know: The Bears flashed the Ravens last week with 28 of 44 dropbacks (64%), the highest team flash rate in a game this season, and the highest flash rate the Bears had in a game since ESPN began in 2006.

Injuries: Bears | Lions

What you should know for the imagination: Chicago receiver Darnell Mooney saw 16 goals last week, Allen Robinson II was sidelined and now ranks in the top 20 air yards this season, ahead of elite deepball options like Mike Williams and DK Metcalf. See rankings week 12.

Betting nugget: Seven of the last eight games in Detroit went below the grand total. Continue reading.

Dickerson’s choice: Bears 24, lions 17
Woodyard’s choice: Lions 21, bears 20
FPI prediction: CHI, 64.0% (by an average of 4.8 points)

Review of the Thanksgiving Festival: On Thanksgiving in 1997, Detroit running back Barry Sanders stormed 167 yards and three touchdowns against the Bears in a 55-20 win for the Lions. Continue reading.

Matchup must reads: Nagy says his focus is on Lions, not job status according to the report

4:30 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating:
54.7 | Spread: FROM -7.5 (51)

What to look out for: Can the Cowboys finally take on an AFC West defense? They scored 20 points against the Chargers, 16 against the Broncos and nine against the Chiefs. Denver and Kansas City were physically on the verge of the Cowboys, which helped them build pressure against an offensive line that Tyron Smith hadn’t left. However, Smith is expected to play against the Raiders and the Las Vegas Defense ranks 26th (26.2). The Cowboys Offensive has to answer the call, even though WR Amari Cooper and possibly CeeDee Lamb are unavailable. – Todd Archer

Courageous prediction: The Dallas Pass Rush Terror Micah Parsons – along with the problems in the Raiders’ red zone – will force Las Vegas to use replacement quarterback Marcus Mariota for more than the occasional third and short and fourth and short situations. Mariota is much more mobile than Derek Carr. Parsons has 5.5 of his eight sacks in the Cowboys’ last three games, and Carr was in a three game post-bye funk. The raiders need a spark. – Paul Gutierrez

Statistics to know: Raiders tight end Darren Waller now has 12 100-yard games of his career, the third highest since his debut in 2015 (Travis Kelce has 27 and Rob Gronkowski has 14).

Injuries: Robber | Cowboys

What you should know for the imagination: Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has been kept out of the end zone in four of his last five games and has not carried more than 11 yards in four straight games. See rankings week 12.

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Stephania Bell and Matthew Berry are investigating the Cowboys’ wide receiver situation if CeeDee Lamb is not cleared for Thursday.

Betting nugget: Dallas is 1-9 against the Spread (ATS) in their last 10 Thanksgiving games. Continue reading.

Gutierrez’s choice: Cowboys 27, Raider 16
The Archer’s Choice: Cowboys 26, Raider 19
FPI prediction: DAL, 75.0% (by an average of 9.1 points)

Review of the Thanksgiving Festival: In 1993, the Cowboys defensive tackle Leon Lett inexplicably tried to win back a blocked, game-winning field goal attempt from the Dolphins. The ball was booted forward from Lett and retrieved from Miami at the 2-yard line. Dolphins kicker Pete Stoyanovich tied on the following field goal to win the game 16:14 for Miami. Continue reading.

Matchup must reads: The way of the football lifer Bisaccia to the interim trainer of the Raiders …

8:20 p.m. ET | ABC
Matchup rating:
82.1 | Spread: BUF -5.5 (46)

What to look out for: There may be no NFL playoff contender in need of more urgent catch-up than these two teams. Losing three times in a row for the first time since 2016, the Saints need to get Alvin Kamara and her offensive tackles back from injury as soon as possible. Meanwhile, Bill’s MVP candidate QB Josh Allen has struggled with fluctuations while Buffalo has lost two of its last three and fallen from first place in the AFC East. – Mike Triplet

Courageous prediction: Saints quarterback Trevor Siemian will throw at least two interceptions and execute less than 60% of his passes. He threw two interceptions in last week’s loss to the Eagles, averaging 56.9% of the season’s end. The Bills defense is ripe for a comeback game, with 15 interceptions in the season, the second most in the NFL. Buffalo has also allowed opposing passers-by to complete only 57.7% of the passes (lowest in the league). The Saints could do without Kamara and several other offensive players due to injuries, including tight end Adam Trautman, who built the Bill’s # 1 pass defense to success. – Alaina Getzenberg

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Statistics to know: The Bills left with the lowest points per game (15.0) in Week 11, ditching 41 to the Colts. The Saints debuted # 1 in run defense last week (72.9 yards per game allowed) before relegating 242 to the Eagles. Which defense recovers in week 12?

Injuries: Invoices | Saints

What you should know for the imagination: Bills recipient Stefon Diggs has scored five times in his last five games after scoring just once in his first five this season. He was WR2 for the last eight weeks of last season and seems to be getting in shape at the right time. See rankings week 12.

Betting nugget: New Orleans is in Thanksgiving games under coach Sean Payton with 3-0 straight and 2-1 ATS with covers in its last two appearances (2018 and 2019). Continue reading.

Getzenberg’s choice: Bills 27, saints 20
Triplet choice: Bills 23, Saints 22
FPI prediction: BUF, 61.7% (average 4.0 points)

Review of the Thanksgiving Festival: In 2019, the Saints won the NFC South title on Thanksgiving with a win against the Falcons. Backup quarterback Taysom Hill blocked a punt and scored two touchdowns (one reception, one rushing) in New Orleans’ 26-18 win. Continue reading.

Matchup must reads: Bills have little room for error after a disappointing loss to Colts … Saints ‘playoff hopes are on the ropes ahead of Bills’ Thanksgiving match … Sources: Saints TE Trautman will be 4-6 weeks with MCL sprain miss

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