NFL Thanksgiving games, Week 12 schedule and matchups


Week 12 of the NFL season brings with it an unusually interesting lineup of Thanksgiving Day games, along with a reasonable chance the holiday table could be competitive.

So far this season, 126 games have been within a point in the fourth quarter — the most of those games in the first 11 weeks in NFL history.

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Bills (7-3) at Lions (4-6), 12:30 p.m., CBS: The NFL has a tasty Turkey Day trifecta of games this year, and even a matchup with the Lions is looking good: Detroit has won three straight games for the first time since 2017. However, his overall Thanksgiving record isn’t favorable considering the Lions always play at home. They are 37-43-2. (The bills are 5-4-1 on the holiday.)

Giants (7-3) at Cowboys (7-3), 4:30 p.m., Fox: Ezekiel Elliott’s return from injury gives Dallas a tough one-two in running back. Elliott showed he can be used in games between tackles, short range and pass protection during Sunday’s Cowboys destruction of Minnesota. Tony Pollard’s forte is perimeter running and jumping for a touchdown run at any moment. NFC East teams have a combined win rate of 0.707.

Patriots (6-4) at Vikings (8-2), 8:20 p.m., NFL Network: After losing 37 points to Dallas, Minnesota has a minus two point differential, the lowest in NFL history by a team that started a season 8-2 or better in 10 games, according to NFL Research. The previous low was set by the 1987 San Diego Chargers (up 6), and they missed the playoffs that season.

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Broncos (3-7) at Panthers (3-8), 1:00 p.m.: Denver management wouldn’t fire Coach Nathaniel Hackett on Thanksgiving weekend, would they? Nothing Hackett does works. When Hackett struggled with clock management and in-game decisions, retired special teams coach Jerry Rosburg was brought in to help. Since then, Denver has played 2-6, with Hackett also delegating play-calling responsibilities to passing play coordinator Klint Kubiak.

Buccaneers (5-5) at Browns (3-7), 1:00 p.m.: Tampa Bay is on a modest two-game winning streak after stumbling on offense and defense and losing five of six games. The Bucs are at the forefront of the NFC South and have a manageable schedule the rest of the way.

Ravens (7-3) at Jaguars (3-7), 1:00 p.m.: Oh to be the Ravens. Though they only just lead the Bengals in their division, their next four opponents are crammed like turducks with 3-7, 3-7, 3-7, and 3-7 records at the moment.

Texans (1-8-1) at Dolphins (7-3), 1:00 p.m.: All is not murky for the one-win Texans. They have first and seventh picks in the 2023 draft, which likely has three quarterbacks in the top five. This seventh pick comes from Cleveland via trade with Deshaun Watson.

Bears (3-8) at Jets (6-4), 1:00 p.m.: An injury to Justin Fields and Zach Wilson’s bench press could result in this becoming a “showdown” between Trevor Siemian and Mike White. Fields dislocated his left shoulder last week and was listed as day-to-day. Wilson made no friends among New York defenders when he replied, “No. No.” when asked if he let down the defense in Sunday’s ugly loss to New England. That led to coach Robert Saleh refusing to sign him for the start against Chicago midweek and on Wednesday Saleh announced that Wilson was benched and White will start.

Bengals (6-4) at Titans (7-3), 1:00 p.m.: Does a team really need more than Derrick Henry and a strong defense? Tennessee have won seven of their last eight games since a 2-0 start (losing in overtime to Kansas City). It seems less likely than it did a year ago when the Titans managed to finish No. 1 in the AFC, but it’s not out of the question.

Falcons (5-6) at Commanders (6-5), 1:00 p.m.: Washington has eased above .500 but still finds itself at the bottom of the highly competitive NFC East. In the first five weeks, the Washington defense gave up 25.6 points and 345.6 yards per game with just one takeaway. But as of Week 6, those numbers are down to 15.8 points and 276.7 yards, with 12 takeaways.

Chargers (5-5) at Cardinals (4-7), 4:05 p.m.: The Chargers gave the Chiefs a try Sunday night, but Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce were too many. Los Angeles is the second-best team in the AFC West but is still three games behind Kansas City after losing twice to the Chiefs by three points.

Raiders (3-7) at Seahawks (6-4), 4:05 p.m.: Geno Smith continues to be in good company, with a 108 Passer Rating, trailing only Tua Tagovailoa’s 108.4 and ahead of Mahome’s 107.3.

Rams (3-7) at Chiefs (8-2), 4:25 p.m.: The Rams appear to be pretty close to bottoming out: Cooper Kupp is on injured reserve, and Matthew Stafford will miss his second game in three weeks after re-entering the NFL’s concussion protocol. They could get there in Kansas City if the Chiefs’ offense clicks. Mahomes went into Sunday night’s game with a career-high yards-per-game average (326.2) and finished with 329 yards.

Saints (4-7) at 49ers (6-4), 4:25 p.m.: Perhaps it was unwise to underestimate Jimmy Garoppolo. He passed four touchdowns Monday night for the first time since Week 14 of the 2019 season. Of course, that was the season the 49ers won the NFC title and lost to Kansas City in the Super Bowl.

Packers (4-7) at Eagles (9-1), 8:20 p.m., NBC: A sobering statistics comes from Packers writer Zach Kruse: Aaron Rodgers had six games under 20 points from 2019-2021. In 2022 he already had six such games. As for his Philadelphia counterpart, Jalen Hurts is 14-2 and 33 touchdowns in his last 16 regular season games.

Steelers (3-7) at Colts (4-6-1), 8:15 p.m. ESPN: Indianapolis coach Jeff Saturday is popping up on ESPN in a way no one would have credited the former commentator with just a few weeks ago. In a one-point loss to the Eagles on Sunday, the Indianapolis defense forced two turnovers and did a good job controlling the line of scrimmage.