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For generations of Americans, the tradition of Thanksgiving Day and NFL football are historically intertwined.
On Thanksgiving in 1925, a crowd of 36,000 – then the largest in professional football history – watched the CHICAGO BEARS play the CHICAGO CARDINALS to a scoreless tie at Wrigley Field. In 1934, the Detroit Lions and the defending world champion Bears squared off on Thanksgiving in the first NFL game nationally broadcast, with NBC radio on the call. This year, the three holiday games will be played inside stadiums with a combined capacity of more than 215,000 and will be aired to millions across the country and around the world.
The 2019 installment of Thanksgiving Day football will feature a tripleheader for the 14th consecutive season.
The first game showcases a battle of NFC North rivals as the CHICAGO BEARS travel to Ford Field to face the DETROIT LIONS (12:30 PM ET, FOX). The late afternoon game marks the 42nd consecutive Thanksgiving Day contest hosted in Dallas, as the DALLAS COWBOYS welcome the BUFFALO BILLS to AT&T Stadium (4:30 PM ET, CBS). The holiday concludes at Mercedes-Benz Stadium as the ATLANTA FALCONS welcome the NEW ORLEANS SAINTS in the 101st regular-season meeting between the NFC South rivals (8:20 PM ET, NBC).
|GAME||NETWORK||LOCAL TIME||EASTERN TIME|
|Chicago Bears (5-6) at Detroit Lions (3-7-1)||FOX||12:30 PM ET||12:30 PM|
|Buffalo Bills (8-3) at Dallas Cowboys (6-5)||CBS||3:30 PM CT||4:30 PM|
|New Orleans Saints (9-2) at Atlanta Falcons (3-8)||NBC||8:20 PM ET||8:20 PM|
The Lions will play their 80th Thanksgiving Day game dating back to 1934, while the Cowboys will play in their 52nd since 1966. The Bears and Bills will play in their 36th and ninth games, respectively, on the holiday. The Falcons will play in their fourth and the Saints will play in their third Thanksgiving game.
The Thanksgiving Day records of the teams playing this Thursday:
|New Orleans Saints||2||0||0|
CHICAGO (5-6) at DETROIT (3-7-1): Thursday’s matchup marks the 18th Thanksgiving Day meeting between the Bears and Lions, dating back to November 29, 1934. Pro Football Hall of Famer BRONKO NAGURKSI threw a two-yard touchdown pass to BILL HEWITT for Chicago to secure a 19-16 victory over Detroit in the first holiday meeting between the two teams. In their last Thanksgiving Day matchup, Chicago quarterback CHASE DANIEL passed for 230 yards and two touchdowns with zero interceptions for a 106.8 rating and safety EDDIE JACKSON recorded a go-ahead 41-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to give the Bears a 23-16 win at Detroit on November 22, 2018.
The Bears and Lions met in Week 10 of the 2019 season, with Chicago earning a 20-13 victory as quarterback MITCHELL TRUBISKY passed for three touchdowns and a 131.0 passer rating in the win.
Chicago enters Week 13 coming off a 19-14 victory over the New York Giants. Wide receiver ALLEN ROBINSON totaled 131 receiving yards and a touchdown while linebacker KHALIL MACK recorded a sack and forced fumble in the third quarter that led to a Trubisky two-yard touchdown run. Since joining the Bears in 2018, Mack is tied for the league lead with 11 forced fumbles.
Detroit heads into Thanksgiving off a Week 12 loss against Washington. Quarterback JEFF DRISKEL passed for a career-high 269 yards against Chicago in Week 10 and totaled three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) in his only career home start with Detroit (Week 11 against Dallas). Wide receivers KENNY GOLLADAY and MARVIN JONES have each recorded eight touchdown receptions in 2019, tied for the second-most in the league.
BUFFALO (8-3) at DALLAS (6-5): The Bills and Cowboys meet for the 13th time, including the postseason, with Dallas holding an 8-4 series advantage. Thursday marks the first meeting between the two franchises on Thanksgiving. The Cowboys have won three of their past four meetings against Buffalo, with the Bills winning the most recent matchup, 16-6, in Week 16 of the 2015 season.
Buffalo will make its eighth appearance on Thanksgiving Day and will play on the holiday for the first time since November 24, 1994. In Week 12, the Bills defeated Denver, 20-3, as wide receivers COLE BEASLEY and JOHN BROWN each recorded touchdown receptions and the Buffalo defense held the Broncos to 134 net yards of offense. Running back FRANK GORE, who had 65 rushing yards last week and now has 15,289 career rushing yards, surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer BARRY SANDERS (15,269 rushing yards) for the third-most rushing yards in NFL history.
Last week, Dallas fell to New England, 13-9, as running back EZEKIEL ELLIOTT totaled 126 scrimmage yards (86 rushing, 40 receiving) in the loss. Elliott has recorded the most games (27) with at least 125 scrimmage yards since entering the NFL in 2016 and has recorded at least 120 scrimmage yards and a rushing touchdown in each of his first two career games on Thanksgiving.
On Thanksgiving in 2018, Dallas quarterback DAK PRESCOTT passed for 289 yards with three total touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) while wide receiver AMARI COOPER recorded eight receptions for 180 yards and two scores in the Cowboys’ 31-23 win over Washington. Prescott has thrown at least two touchdowns in four of Dallas’ five home games during the 2019 season.
NEW ORLEANS (9-2) at ATLANTA (3-8): The Saints and Falcons meet for the second consecutive season on Thanksgiving to close out an all-day spread of holiday football. Last season, New Orleans quarterback DREW BREES threw four touchdown passes and defensive end CAMERON JORDAN recorded two sacks in the Saints’ 31-17 win over the Falcons.
Thursday marks the second meeting of the season between the two NFC South rivals. In Week 10, quarterback MATT RYAN threw two touchdown passes and the Falcons defense recorded six sacks in Atlanta’s 26-9 win over New Orleans.
In Week 12, the Saints defeated Carolina, 34-31, as kicker WIL LUTZ hit a 33-yard game-winning field goal as time expired. Wide receiver MICHAEL THOMAS recorded 10 receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown in the win and became the fourth player with at least eight receptions and 100 receiving yards in five consecutive games in a single season in NFL history. Thomas leads the NFL with 104 receptions and 1,242 receiving yards in 2019 and became the fifth player with at least 100 receptions and 1,200 receiving yards in three consecutive seasons in NFL history.
Last week, Atlanta fell, 35-22, at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Wide receiver CALVIN RIDLEY recorded his 16th career touchdown reception, tied for the third most since he entered the NFL in 2018. Ridley has five touchdown catches in four career home games against divisional opponents, including a career-high three touchdown receptions in his only career home meeting against New Orleans (Week 3, 2018). Wide receiver JULIO JONES ranks fourth in the NFL with 950 receiving yards this season and needs 50 receiving yards for his sixth consecutive 1,000-yard season. Since 2014, Jones leads all players with 588 receptions and 8,944 receiving yards.