NFL fans will get an extra serving of football this Thursday with three divisional round games to celebrate Thanksgiving.
The Detroit Lions will kick off the day against the Green Bay Packers before the Washington Commanders try to regroup from a tough loss over the weekend as they take on Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys.
Finally, the San Francisco 49ers will travel to Seattle in a battle for the NFC West but injuries to Geno Smith and running back Kenneth Walker III could complicate matters for the Seahawks, who helped solidify the Niners’ first place standing in the division with a loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.
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Read below for a breakdown of Thursday’s Thanksgiving lineup.
PACKERS VS LIONS
Things kick off on Thursday afternoon with a classic NFC North rivalry game between the red-hot Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers.
The Lions, which previously beat the Packers 34-20 in Week 4, are on a three-game win streak and boast an 8-2 record for the first time since 1962. They are also coming off a gritty win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday where they rallied late in the game to overcome a 12-point deficit.
“One of the reasons we were able to win that too is because our defense put out some fires,” head coach Dan Campbell told the media on Monday. “I thought our defense did some really good things.”
After suffering four turnovers, the Lions scored two touchdowns in the final four minutes of the game – a display that Campbell said was “some of our best football we’ve played all year.”
But Detroit will have a quick turnaround this week when they host the Packers on Thursday afternoon.
“You have to have just enough wrinkles to make sure you’re not a sitting duck but yet you don’t want to do so much that you slow your own guys down,” Campbell said. “That’s kind of the balance.”
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The Packers, also coming off a comeback victory over the Los Angeles Chargers, will be hoping to keep the momentum going when they travel to Ford Field under similar circumstances.
Jordan Love had a historic game, going 27 of 40 for 322 yards to become the first Packer to throw for more than 300 yards since Aaron Rodgers had a 341-yard day against the Chicago Bears on Dec. 12, 2021.
“Well, it certainly feels good to be on the other side of one of these tight ball games,” head coach Matt LaFleur said on Sunday.
“I think just guys made plays. That was evident in the second-to-last offensive series and then defensively to hold them there on the fourth down.”
Green Bay will be heading into the contest with a new look to the running back room after Aaron Jones and Emanuel Wilson suffered injuries in Sunday’s victory. The team announced the signings of Patrick Taylor and James Robinson on Monday.
COMMANDERS VS COWBOYS
In another Thanksgiving classic, the Dallas Cowboys will host the Washington Commanders for what will be their first meeting of the season.
The divisional matchup comes at a bad time for Washington, which suffered a 31-19 loss to the struggling New York Giants in a game that featured six turnovers and a defense that allowed eight plays longer than 20 yards.
“I just stick with the one game at a time mentality,” head coach Ron Rivera told the media Monday looking ahead to Thursday. “The biggest thing I can control is every day. That’s it. After that, the future? I can’t tell you what the future’s gonna be.”
Rivera said he’ll be relying on the younger players to rectify their mistakes, but overall he’s looking for more consistency on both sides of the ball.
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As of now, Washington ranks 31st in sacks allowed, 29th in total defense and 12th in total offense. By comparison, Dallas ranks 5th in total offense, second in total defense and 12th in sacks allowed.
The Cowboys are also coming off a 33-10 rout of the Carolina Panthers, their second-straight victory, but the team isn’t underestimating Washington.
“They may be a wounded animal now, but they’ve still got fangs,” left guard Tyler Smith said Monday. “So you can get bit. That’s just how that is.”
Thursday will mark the Commanders’ 11th time playing the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day. Dallas leads that series 8-2, but in their last meeting in 2020, Washington dominated with a 41-16 win.
49ERS VS SEAHAWKS
The Seattle Seahawks could be in trouble when they host the San Francisco 49ers on Thanksgiving night.
During a narrow loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, quarterback Geno Smith suffered a contusion to the tricep on his throwing arm that sidelined him for a portion of the 17-16 loss. The hope is that Smith will be able to get healthy enough to play, but other injuries continue to be a concern.
Running back Kenneth Walker III suffered an oblique strain on Sunday, making way for rookie Kenny McIntosh’s debut this week. Veteran safety Jamal Adams remains questionable after he was sidelined against the Rams because of a knee injury, and on Tuesday it was reported that rookie safety Jerrick Reed II would be out for the season with an ACL injury.
“It’s just really a difficult team to deal with,” head coach Pete Carroll said of the Niners. “But teams have figured it out. They have found them out and they were able to get them.
“They’ve got three losses. We got four losses,” he continued. “This is a huge opportunity for us.”
While the Seahawks are hoping to get healthy, the 49ers are hoping to continue their momentum.
After an uncharacteristic three-game slide, San Francisco and second-year quarterback Brock Purdy have quickly turned things around and won their second straight this weekend with a 27-14 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
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The divisional rivals last played on Thanksgiving Day in 2014, with Seattle winning 19-3.
“Hey, you go up to Seattle, it’s as hard as it gets and it’s one of the toughest places to play in the NFL, if not the toughest,” head coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday.
“They have a certain style there that, and the way they play, that is harder to deal with on the road because of how loud it is in the snap count disadvantage. So, it is always tough to go there. I also know just starting with them today, how many good players they have, how well they’re coached, and how big of a challenge it’ll be this Thursday.”
San Francisco sits in first place in the NFC West, thanks to Seattle’s loss against Los Angeles.
WHERE TO WATCH
Packers vs. Lions – 12:30 p.m. ET on FOX
Commanders vs. Cowboys – 4:30 p.m ET on CBS
49ers vs. Seahawks – 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.