Thanksgiving Day in the NFL did not disappoint this year with three games that ran the gamut last Thursday on Nov. 25. To start the holiday weekend, the Chicago Bears traveled to Detroit to face the Lions in an NFC North divisional matchup. The Bears, now 4-7, beat the Lions, who now hold a league worst 0-10-1 record, in a close 16-14 matchup. Despite scoring a touchdown in the first quarter and leading after the third quarter, the Lions were sadly unable to pick up their first win of the season at their home field on Thanksgiving Day. The Bears scored a go-ahead field goal and were able to hold the Lions scoreless in the fourth quarter. Later on Thursday, the Buffalo Bills won a decisive victory over the New Orleans Saints with a score of 31-6. The Bills, now 7-4, and the Saints, now 5-6, appeared to be evenly matched non-conference opponents heading into Thursday. However, the Saints were no match for the Bills’ impressive offensive, which boasted four touchdowns thrown by quarterback Josh Allen and scoring drives in all four quarters. Also contributing to the Bills’ dominant performance was the defense, which held the Saints scoreless until the final quarter.
The most anticipated game on Thursday was the matchup between the Las Vegas Raiders and the Dallas Cowboys. The 6-5 Raiders topped the 7-4 Cowboys 36-33 in a close matchup that went into overtime. Dallas trailed the Raiders through the first three quarters 27-19, but they came back in the fourth quarter. While the Cowboys scored four touchdowns and the Raiders only recorded three, Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson completed five out of five field goal attempts, one of which led to the overtime victory. The Cowboys, on the other hand, only scored two field goals and their kicker, Greg Zuerlein, missed a field goal attempt in the first half which would have erased the three-point deficit in the loss.
Despite their Thanksgiving loss, the Cowboys did not lose their first place position in the NFC East division. However, there has been a movement for other teams in the division through the twelfth week of the season. The Philadelphia Eagles, now 5-7, who had previously been positioned in second right behind Dallas, moved to third after a low-scoring loss to their divisional rival, the New York Giants, now 4-7. The Giants edged out the Eagles in a tedious 13-7 victory on Sunday. This loss was devastating for the Eagles, who had the opportunity to move closer to first place in the division after the Cowboys’ loss this weekend. The Giants were widely considered the weakest team in the NFC East, suggesting the Eagles have hit yet another rough patch. It is unlikely that the Eagles will win their upcoming games if they cannot improve their offense. In Sunday’s disappointing performance, the Eagles only managed to score one touchdown, and quarterback Jalen Hurts threw three interceptions. After starting out several games behind the Cowboys, the Eagles finally picked up blowout wins against the Saints and the Denver Broncos two weeks prior to their matchup with the Giants. Losing this key divisional game this weekend will make things tough for the Eagles if they seek to capture the divisional title and a berth to the playoffs.
Currently, the Washington Football Team has moved into second place in the NFC East over Philadelphia. Washington, now 5-6, picked up a non-divisional win over the Seattle Seahawks on Monday. The good news for the Eagles is that they will face Washington twice over the course of the next month and have the opportunity to pick up two critical divisional wins. The Eagles will also face the Dallas Cowboys at home in their final game of the regular season. If the Eagles can move past this weekend’s weak offensive performance, improve this weekend in a non-conference matchup against the New York Jets, and prepare to win their final four games against their divisional rivals, they could reclaim second place in the division or even catch up to the Cowboys. However, the route to victory will not be easy.
This year’s Thanksgiving weekend matchups have led to position shifts in the NFL and, thanks to thrilling matchups and blowout victories, Thanksgiving Day football earned its highest television ratings for the first time in the past 23 years. Overall, there is a lot of exciting potential, especially for the local Philadelphia Eagles, to compete to win their division throughout the final five weeks of the regular season.