THANKSGIVING DAY – A TRADITION OF FRIENDS, FAMILY
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 aired to millions across the country and around the world.
The 2020 installment of Thanksgiving Day football, presented by Verizon, will feature a tripleheader for the 15th consecutive season.
The first game showcases the HOUSTON TEXANS traveling to Ford Field to face the DETROIT LIONS (12:30 PM ET, CBS). The late-afternoon game marks the 43rd consecutive Thanksgiving Day contest hosted in Dallas, as the DALLAS COWBOYS welcome the WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM to AT&T Stadium (4:30 PM ET, FOX). The holiday concludes at Heinz Field as the PITTSBURGH STEELERS host the BALTIMORE RAVENS in the 50th regular-season meeting between the AFC North rivals (8:20 PM ET, NBC).
The Lions will play their 81st Thanksgiving Day game dating back to 1934, while the Cowboys will play in their 53rd since 1966. Washington and the Steelers will play in their 12th and ninth games, respectively, on the holiday. The Ravens will play in their third and the Texans will play in their second Thanksgiving game.
The Thanksgiving Day records of the teams playing this Thursday:
Dallas is 31-20-1
Detroit is 37-41-2
Baltimore and Pittsburgh has been switched to Sunday
HOUSTON (3-7) at DETROIT (4-6): Thursday’s matchup marks the second Thanksgiving Day meeting between the Texans and Lions. In Week 12 of the 2012 season – the Texans’ only previous game on the holiday – wide receiver ANDRE JOHNSON registered nine receptions for 188 yards, the second-most receiving yards on Thanksgiving in NFL history, while defensive end J.J. WATT recorded three sacks in Houston’s 34-31 overtime win over Detroit. It marked only the fifth game in league annals to go to overtime on Thanksgiving. Lions quarterback MATTHEW STAFFORD passed for 441 yards in the contest, tied for the third-most passing yards on the holiday in NFL history. This is the fifth regular-season meeting between the two clubs, with Houston holding a 3-1 advantage in the series.
Houston enters Week 12 coming off a 27-20 win over New England. Quarterback DESHAUN WATSON passed for 344 yards and two touchdowns with zero interceptions for a 121.9 rating and added a rushing touchdown in the victory. He is the fifth quarterback to record three games with at least 300 passing yards, two touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown in his first four seasons in NFL history, joining DAUNTE CULPEPPER (four games), JOSH ALLEN (three), JEFF GARCIA (three) and CHARLEY JOHNSON (three). Watson has at least two touchdown passes and a rating of 100-or-higher in seven of his past eight games. Wide receiver WILL FULLER has 376 receiving yards (125.3 per game) and a touchdown reception in his past three games on Thursday and aims for his fourth in a row on Thursday with at least five receptions and 100 receiving yards.
In nine career games on Thanksgiving, Stafford has 2,705 passing yards, the most of any player in NFL history on the holiday. He also has 17 touchdown passes on Thanksgiving, trailing only TONY ROMO (18) all-time. On Thanksgiving last season (against Chicago), wide receiver KENNY GOLLADAY had four receptions for 158 yards and a touchdown and he aims for his third in a row on the holiday with at least 90 receiving yards..
WASHINGTON (3-7) at DALLAS (3-7): Washington and Dallas meet for the 120th time in the regular season, with the Cowboys holding a 73-44-2 series advantage. Dallas has won eight of the nine meetings between the two franchises on Thanksgiving, including each of the past two. In their last meeting on the holiday, Week 12 of the 2018 season, wide receiver AMARI COOPER had eight receptions for 180 yards and two touchdowns in the Cowboys’ 31-23 victory. Cooper’s 90-yard touchdown reception from quarterback DAK PRESCOTT marks the second-longest completion on Thanksgiving in NFL history.
Washington enters the holiday after a 20-9 victory over Cincinnati in Week 11. Quarterback ALEX SMITH passed for 263 yards and two touchdowns with one interception for a 102.9 rating in his only career start at Dallas (November 5, 2017, with Kansas City) and has thrown at least two touchdown passes in three of his four career starts against the Cowboys. Rookie running back ANTONIO GIBSON rushed for 94 yards and a touchdown last week and has a rushing touchdown in four consecutive games, tied for the longest active streak in the NFL. Gibson, who leads all rookies with eight rushing touchdowns this season, can become the first rookie with a rushing touchdown in five consecutive games since NICK CHUBB (2018). Wide receiver TERRY MCLAURIN aims for his sixth in a row with at least five receptions and 70 receiving yards. He recorded a touchdown reception in Week 7 against Dallas and aims for his third in a row against the Cowboys with a touchdown. McLaurin ranks fourth in the NFL with 871 receiving yards this season. Rookie defensive end CHASE YOUNG registered his second career forced fumble last week and leads all rookies with 3.5 sacks this season.
Last week, Dallas defeated Minnesota, 31-28, as quarterback ANDY DALTON connected with tight end DALTON SCHULTZ for the game-winning touchdown pass with 1:37 remaining in the fourth quarter. In his past four starts on Thursday, Dalton has eight touchdown passes with zero interceptions for a 107.0 rating. Running back EZEKIEL ELLIOTT recorded 114 scrimmage yards (103 rushing, 11 receiving) with a touchdown catch last week, his first game with at least 100 rushing yards this season. In three career games on Thanksgiving, he has 400 scrimmage yards (133.3 per game) and three rushing touchdowns and aims for his fourth in a row on the holiday with at least 120 scrimmage yards. Rookie wide receiver CEEDEE LAMB registered his fourth touchdown reception of the season last week and leads all rookies with 48 catches this season.
For the Thanksgiving all-time leaders and memorable moments, click here.
For the Week 12 Thanksgiving Day capsules, click here.
|Houston Texans (3-7) at Detroit Lions 4-6||CBS||12:30 PM ET||12:30 PM|