The NFL is about to embark on its most anticipated Thanksgiving series in years, as five of the six teams enter their games with a winning record for the holiday. Three of the playing teams are considered Super Bowl contenders, while all six teams are still players in the conference playoff races.
The longest winning streak in the NFC belongs to the Detroit Lions (4-6), who take on the Buffalo Bills (7-3) in the afternoon. The afternoon main course features the New York Giants (7-3) and Dallas Cowboys (7-3) continuing their NFC East rivalry, while the evening dessert ties the New England Patriots (6-4) to the Minnesota Vikings (8-2). ).
We are in for a feast of exciting games that will change the course of playoff racing. What better way to celebrate the holiday than to make some bold predictions to spice up your meal. Here are some bold predictions for each of the three Thanksgiving games.
Both teams score 30 points each: The Bills and Lions are two of three teams that have scored over 30 points in a game five times this season (the other being the Kansas City Chiefs). Why can’t these teams participate in shootouts where the last team to receive the ball wins?
The Lions rank eighth in the NFL in points per game (25.0) and sixth in yards per game (366.6), while their 15 rushing touchdowns rank third in the league. Detroit has 31 points in each of their last two games and is on a three-game winning streak. Spectators will be thrilled to see an offense that can really score points on the board, even if the Lions face the Bills’ top five scoring defense (17.4 points per game).
The Bills have one of the best offenses in the league, scoring seven goals in a row going into this game. The Lions defense will also help the cause, allowing for 410.5 points per game in the last two games. Detroit also allows the most points per game (28.2), yards per game (415.9), points per possession (2.57), and yards per possession (40.0) in the NFL.
This game has the makings of a shootout.
Jamaal Williams passed the Barry Sanders franchise mark: Williams leads the NFL with 12 rushing touchdowns this season and has five games in which he hit multiple rushing touchdowns (including three career-highs in Sunday’s victory over the Giants). No Lions player has ever had six games with multiple rushing touchdowns in a season.
Williams will become the first player in Detroit’s legendary history to accomplish this feat, even though Billy has only been allowed seven rushing touchdowns this year. Detroit will make sure Williams gets the ball in a goal-goal situation, which will give him six points on the board.
Williams is tied with Sanders for the most games of the season with several rushing touchdowns for the Lions (five). He breaks that mark on Thanksgiving.
Saquon Barkley ran 150 yards: It’s a tough challenge for Barkley, but he can’t handle it after running 15 times for 22 yards last week. The Giants running back should have a big game, especially against a run-out defense that allows for 136.1 yards per game (26th in the NFL) and 4.7 yards per carry (27th in the NFL).
New York has to go to Barkley to keep the game and also limit the Cowboys’ offensive possessions. Even with all of the Giants’ injuries on the offensive line, Barkley can still handle the heavy workload and continue to improve his 953 rushing yards and 4.5 yards on the carry mark.
In 2022, Barkley ran 150+ yards twice. On Thanksgiving Day, he will hold his third such performance.
Micah Parsons gets some sacks: Parsons dominated the Giants in the first meeting of the year despite not registering a sack. He had six presses and made his presence felt on the defensive line, setting up his teammates for five sacks against a Giants offensive line that had no pass rush responses.
Parsons gets to line up against anyone who plays the Giants right. Evan Neal (knee) has been restricted this week while Tyre Phillips (neck) has also been restricted. Whoever starts will have a lot of cases against Parsons, who has 49 presses and 10 sacks in a year.
Parsons completes his fifth multi-sack game this year. He’ll get his sixth and add to his already impressive sack count while being constantly in the backfield throughout the game.
Patriots in the Vikings
Matt Judon’s career day against the Vikings offensive line: Everything is set for Judon, the NFL’s sack leader, and he’s going to have a monster day when he gets to quarterback. Christian Darriso is still on concussion protocol, which is causing the Vikings serious problems in the offensive line.
Minnesota allowed 20 presses in their loss to Dallas last week, and only two were on Durrisow. Blake Brandel allowed Darrisow to replace two sacks and four presses, demonstrating how valuable the left tackle was to the offensive line. Ed Ingram allowed eight sacks and 38 presses on the right-back, which is already bad for the Vikings if Judon goes inside. Brian O’Neal (three sacks allowed, 16 pressing) was better, but Minnesota isn’t on the offensive when Darriso isn’t on the field.
Judon has a career-high 13 sacks, 47 presses and 21 quarterback hits this season. He’s already had a three-sack game this year (a career high) and he could get three sacks again against Minnesota. After Thursday, the race for the single-season sack record (22.5) could begin.
Justin Jefferson is again held under 50 yards on the receiving end: It’s hard to imagine Jefferson wrestling in consecutive games again, but the All-Pro wide receiver has already effectively shut down in consecutive games as early as this year. Jefferson is facing the Patriots’ defense that allows the fewest first downs in the NFL and also ranks fourth in passes allowed (188.3).
New England have allowed just 87 passing yards in their last two games, but the Patriot defense will face a much tougher test at Jefferson. While the Patriots don’t have an elite quarterback, Jonathan Jones is trying to jump into the conversation.
Jefferson will be occupied by Jones on Thanksgiving. The Vikings will have to find another option in the passing game, as the Patriot defense won’t let him take over the game like he usually does.