The NFL has been playing on Thanksgiving since 1922, with the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys permanently hosting games starting in 1933 and 1966 respectively. A third game was added to the slate in 2006. This year we were thankful for the three great games that transpired.
The day started off with the Buffalo Bills barely edging out the Detroit Lions 28-25. The Bills walked it off with a 45-yard field goal from Tyler Bass as time expired. Detroit kept pace with the Bills all day by not allowing them to get a lead larger than a touchdown. The Lions took their first lead of the day with 13:47 left to go in the fourth quarter off of a one-yard touchdown from Jamaal Williams to make it 22-19. The Bills responded like they usually do, and marched 90 yards in a 14-play touchdown drive, as Josh Allen found Stefon Diggs on a slant from five yards out. Jared Goff then went on a two-minute drill to tie the game at 25 with 23 seconds left. This was just the right amount of time for Allen as they went 48 yards in four plays to get the winning kick. Detroit could not get over their third-quarter mistakes including a safety and a missed 29-yard field goal. The narrative continues: the Lions are still the Lions. The curse of Bobby Layne remains.
The second game of the day was a very important NFC East matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants with Dallas coming out on top 28-20. The teams played a sloppy first half that saw the Giants up 13-10, mostly due to Dak Prescott’s two interceptions. In the second half, Dallas got back to doing what has been their bread and butter for over half a decade – feeding Ezekiel Elliott. Elliot turned back the clock with a 92-yard, one-touchdown performance. In addition to Elliott’s big day, wide receiver Ceedee Lamb hit the century mark in receiving yards, and tight end Dalton Schultz caught two touchdowns. The Dallas defense was able to contain Saquon Barkley to only 39 yards on the ground and was able to sack Daniel Jones three times, with potential Defensive Player of the Year Micah Parsons having two of them. With the win, the Cowboys move one game ahead of New York in the standings.
In the final action of the day, the Minnesota Vikings improved to 9-2 after a 33-26 win over the New England Patriots. On the bright side for Pats fans is that Mac Jones had his best showing as a pro, posting a stat line of 382 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions while completing 71% of his passes. On the flip side, the special teams blunders inevitably cost the team the game. The biggest reason the Vikings were able to secure the win was because they have the best wide receiver in the NFL in Justin Jefferson. The star hauled in nine catches for 139 yards and a touchdown. A massive advantage for Minnesota on both sides of the ball was their third down production. They converted 53% of their third-down opportunities, while New England was only able to muster 30%. The Pats continued their inability to convert in the red zone going 0/3 compared to the Vikings’ 3/5. One of the Patriots’ red zone misses came off a touchdown call reversed when Hunter Henry had a touchdown catch and crossed the goal line but the replay officials made a questionable decision to reverse the call. This was a hard loss for the Patriots because they have three games within the division the rest of the season, including a matchup against Buffalo on Thursday.