The 2023 NFL Thanksgiving slate serves up divisional rivalries and critical games with major playoff implications. The Detroit Lions host the Buffalo Bills, the Dallas Cowboys take on the New York Giants, and the Minnesota Vikings battle the New England Patriots. These marquee matchups on turkey day give fans a lot to be thankful for.
Lions Seek First Thanksgiving Win Since 2016
The Lions aim to snap a six-game Thanksgiving losing streak dating back to 2016. Detroit faces a formidable foe in the Bills, eager to bounce back from a heartbreaking loss to the Cleveland Browns. The Lions enter the holiday contest building momentum, having won three straight games.
Quarterback Jared Goff leads a Detroit offense excelling during their win streak:
|Points Per Game
|Total Yards Per Game
|Rushing Yards Per Game
Goff aims to continue this offensive success against a Buffalo defense ranked 18th in yards allowed. The Bills also struggle defending the run, giving up 4.8 yards per carry (27th). The Lions’ emerging rushing attack led by Jamaal Williams and D’Andre Swift could find holes.
But Buffalo fields a formidable offense of its own, fourth in yards gained. The Josh Allen-Stefon Diggs connection remains lethal, with Diggs’ 985 receiving yards ranking second league-wide. Detroit must get stops and limit explosive plays.
The Lions seek their first four-game win streak since 2016. Doing so would require derailing one of the AFC’s top Super Bowl contenders.
NFC East Showdown Highlights Second Thanksgiving Tilt
Bitter NFC East rivals meet in Dallas when the Cowboys host the Giants. These clubs played a tight 23-16 game in Week 3 won by the Cowboys. While both teams hover around .500, the victor gains an edge chasing the division-leading Eagles.
Quarterback Daniel Jones leads a surprisingly frisky Giants squad excelling with the league’s second-best rushing attack. Running back Saquon Barkley’s 931 rushing yards rank third, and he scored twice in the Week 3 loss to Dallas. The Cowboys limited Barkley to 81 yards on 14 carries in that contest but must stop him again.
Dallas fields the NFL’s eighth-best run defense but allows 4.4 yards per carry. Linebacker Micah Parsons and defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence must set the edge and contain Barkley and Jones’ mobility. If the Giants run effectively, it opens up their average passing game.
The Cowboys sport a top-five scoring offense behind quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Tony Pollard. But both units struggled in Dallas’ 40-3 debacle against the Bills in their last outing. The short week to regroup raises questions if the Cowboys can bounce back.
This NFC East collision looms large for both 7-3 squads hoping to track down the Eagles. The winner keeps pace in the tight division race entering December.
Cousins Seeks Revenge Against Former Team
Old faces meet when Kirk Cousins and the Vikings host Bill Belichick’s Patriots. Minnesota seeks revenge after New England trounced them 33-26 on Thanksgiving night last year.
The Vikings returned most starters from last year’s squad that reached the playoffs. But they still need to prove they can beat elite teams like the Patriots. Quarterback Kirk Cousins performed well in big wins over the Bills and Cowboys this year but faltered in losses to the Eagles and Giants.
Cousins now matches up with head coach Bill Belichick, who he’s never beaten. While the Patriots hover around .500, Belichick’s defense remains stingy, ranking fifth in points allowed. Slowing dynamic wideout Justin Jefferson who torched them last year poses a tall task.
Jefferson is a leading Offensive Player of the Year candidate, averaging over 100 receiving yards per game with five scores. But the Patriots blanked elite wideouts Davante Adams and Stefon Diggs earlier this season. Belichick sells out to take away an opponent’s top weapon.
The Vikings allow the fifth-most passing yards on defense, a weakness Belichick could exploit. But Cousins faces a New England pass defense that he shredded for 351 yards and two touchdowns last Thanksgiving.
This contest kicks off a critical stretch that determines whether Minnesota will repeat as NFC North champs. Cousins must prove he can conquer his Patriots demons to hold off the hard-charging Lions.
League-Wide Impacts of Thanksgiving Results
The outcomes of the Thanksgiving games send ripples across the playoff picture in both conferences. In the NFC, the Vikings and Cowboys aim to keep pace with the Eagles in the race for home-field advantage. The Lions seek a signature win to strengthen their wild card position while the Giants try clinging to a playoff spot.
In the AFC, the Bills look to rebound and remain ahead of the Chiefs in the battle for the one seed. The Patriots need an upset to stay alive in the muddled wild card mix.
So while the holiday allows NFL fans to enjoy family, food and football, the results prove critical for many contenders. Thanksgiving football this year shares high stakes along with the customary helping of pumpkin pie.
Black Friday Shopping Bonanza Follows Football Feast
The NFL scheduled all three Thanksgiving games this year to fall before the late-afternoon kickoffs on Sundays. So after football wraps up, fans can immediately commence the annual Black Friday shopping frenzy.
Retailers like Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Amazon entice shoppers with major deals on Technology like phones, TV’s and headphones. Clothing brands like Nike, Ugg and North Face offer big apparel discounts both online and in stores. Most sales get released by Thursday evening to jumpstart the shopping holiday.
So fans can plan on browsing deals and making purchases shortly after the final seconds tick off the clock in Minnesota. The NFL scheduling allows viewers to enjoy an entire slate free of interruptions before transitioning into buying mode.
Shoppers spent over $100 billion during the 2022 Black Friday weekend. Experts predict robust sales again as consumers take advantage of steep price cuts amidst inflationary pressures. The convenience of online shopping makes finding deals easier than ever for shoppers stuffed full of Thanksgiving leftovers.
Final Word: Appreciate the Blessings
Thanksgiving reminds us that life’s most joyous times occur hanging out with loved ones. The NFL provides another form of national gathering that connects friends and family on the holiday. After several trying years, this Turkey Day arrives with light at the end of the tunnel.
The pilgrims who shared that first feast 403 years ago simply wanted to celebrate survival and show appreciation. We owe those trailblazers thanks for demonstrating the power of grace, mercy and fellowship. Their example established an American tradition that continues bringing comfort during even the most strenuous times.
This Thanksgiving, embrace gratitude alongside friends and family whether virtually or in person. Enjoy the laughs, memories and mom’s irresistible cooking. Applaud the players on your television bravely battling for 60 minutes. And amidst the football feast, take a moment to count life’s blessings with an appreciative heart. For the chance to unite with loved ones and share in fellowship remains life’s greatest privilege.
To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.