Thanksgiving Day Is Stuffed With a Full NFL Football Lineup

Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers
Jeremy Brevard/USA Today Sports

It’s all feast, and never famine, when it comes to watching NFL football on Thanksgiving Day. The three games, starting around lunchtime and ending with a midnight snack, are “as American as turkey, dressing and pecan pie,” says CBS play-by-play man Jim Nantz.

While some teams have been gorging on wins—at press time, three were still undefeated and four have just one or two losses—others are experiencing exceptionally lean times. “That’s usually not the way it goes in the NFL,” NBC analyst Cris Collinsworth says, noting that teams generally wind up somewhere around an 8-8 record after the regular season. “But it really does set up some intrigue on the back end and the playoffs.”

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The beleaguered Detroit Lions, “one of the big disappointments of the year,” Nantz says, host the Philadelphia Eagles in the opener (12:30/11:30am, Fox). Then the Carolina Panthers make their Thanksgiving Day debut as the guests of the Dallas Cowboys (4:30/3:30c, CBS). “Cam Newton has stepped up as a leader like we’ve never seen from him before,” Nantz says of the quarterback, “and the Panthers really started to catch fire last year around Thanksgiving when they were down and out.” Dallas quarterback Tony Romo, who broke his collarbone in September, is expected to be back in the saddle, “and he’s going to try to save the season for the Cowboys,” Nantz adds.

In the final game, the Chicago Bears visit the Green Bay Packers (8:30/7:30c, NBC), a matchup Collinsworth says “conjures up great memories of” Hall of Famers Gale Sayers, Bart Starr and Paul Hornung. While Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, last year’s Most Valuable Player, is having “another absolutely brilliant year,” Collinsworth says, with Jay Cutler’s return as the Chicago signal caller, “we’re seeing a resurgence in that football team.” So fill your plates and settle in for a full day of football.

NFL Football, Thursday, Nov. 26, various times, CBS, Fox and NBC