On paper, a terrific trio of games of Thanksgiving. So, those hosting Thanksgiving dinner, expect some distracted football fans looking to break away from the dinner table quite a bit.
Let’s take a closer look at this year’s tempting troika of Turkey Day games . . .
Chicago Bears (5-6) at Detroit Lions (7-4)
The Detroit Lions 30th-ranked offense needs a boost, so perhaps the return of running back/political activist Reggie Bush will help. He has missed four of the last six games with an ankle injury.
“Anytime that you have a guy as explosive as he is, he’s a playmaker, he helps you in both the pass game and the run game,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. “He can be a great help to us.”
He’s certainly not helping the unrest in Ferguson with his tweets, including a comparison between the Michael Brown shooting and the plight of the Palestinians. He also tweeted after the verdict: “Same story different day! History is repeating itself! When is enough enough? How many more have to suffer? When does real change happen?”
The Lions hope that the dynamic Bush can bring some “real change” to their offense, which was held to no touchdowns in back-to-back losses. They are really struggling in the system of first-year offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, looking totally out of sync.
And getting their offensive act together could prove a challenge against the Bears defense, which struggled early in the year but has played much better in the last two games, giving up just 13 points in each contest.
This game is a toss-up.
Philadelphia Eagles (8-3) at Dallas Cowboys (8-3)
In a battle for first place, the Eagles visit the Cowboys.
Clearly the Cowboys have a huge advantage in his game. Aside from hosting, they boast Tony Romo at QB. The Eagles start a backup (Mark Sanchez)
While Romo is a big threat, a huge focus of the Eagles is stopping the NFL’s leading rusher, Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray.
“We have to do it if we are going to win the game,” said Eagles linebacker Casey Mathews.
Speaking of running games, it’s been a somewhat pedestrian season for last year’s leading rusher, Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy, who has 859 yards on the season, compared to Murray’s 1,359. The Eagles need a big outing from McCoy to help Sanchez, who historically has done much better with a running game. If you make Sanchez pass happy, and put the game on his back, he tends to turn the ball over a lot.
Sanchez has led the Eagles to a pair wins over subpar teams–Tennessee and Carolina. Dallas presents a much more significant challenge.
This game definitely favors the Cowboys.
San Francisco 49ers (7-4) at Seattle Seahawks (7-4)
San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick has his work cut out for him.
The Seahawks field the NFL’s #1 defense, and the 49ers QB has never fared well against them (see January’s NFC championship game–153 yards passing, one touchdown, two picks).
In four career starts, he has thrown just three touchdowns and has a 54.0 quarterback rating
But it’s not like Seattle QB Russell Wilson has a walk in the beach in the offing against the 49ers defense, which ranks second in the NFL, and leads the league with 16 interceptions.
This should be a very, very physical defensive battle that could go either way.