Thanksgiving Day and football go together like turkey and gravy, but it’s OK if you’re a fan of cranberry sauce instead.
In this week’s Showstopper, we’ve got a marquee slate to pair with your plate. We’re breaking down all the angles for Bears vs. Lions, Raiders vs. Cowboys and Bills vs. Saints.
You know what’s sweeter than pumpkin pie? Hitting that big bet on the holiday football action.
Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions
Thursday, November 25 | TV: FOX
The woeful Lions are still winless, but on the bright side, they do have a 3-point loss and a tie (!) in their last couple of games since returning from bye week. If there was ever a chance to break the shneid, this would be a good week to do so, with the 3-7 Bears in town. Both squads are averaging around 16 points per contest (bottom of the league) and have had much more success running the ball than passing, so we should see a healthy dose of tailbacks D’Andre Swift and David Montgomery.
Andy Dalton will be starting for the Bears at quarterback since Justin Fields injured his ribs in Week 11. Also, wide receiver Allen Robinson is coping with a hamstring injury, so Dalton may lean heavily on Darnell Mooney again to help move the chains. Dalton did toss two touchdowns against the Ravens in a game that was snatched away in brutal fashion. The sack-happy Bears defense will bring heavy pass rush to whoever starts at QB for the Lions. Jared Goff is questionable to play due to an oblique injury. If Goff can’t suit up, it’ll be Tim Boyle making only his second NFL start.
Las Vegas Raiders vs. Dallas Cowboys
Thursday, November 25 | TV: CBS
The Cowboys are touting a 4-1 record at home as they try to remain in cruise control of the NFC East. After losing a surprisingly low-scoring showdown to the Chiefs, the horizon looks much clearer for Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott, who was sacked five times and threw two picks in the loss. The Raiders are riding a three-game losing streak in which they’ve allowed an average of 32 points in those defeats. The offense hasn’t looked much better, with an average of 14.3 points scored over that span. Las Vegas has lacked any kind of offensive firepower outside of tight end Darren Waller, which could make it tough to keep up with a Cowboys offense that has plenty of weapons.
Prescott has thrown for at least two touchdowns in every home game this season. However, Amari Cooper tested positive for COVID-19 and won’t play, which means more targets on tap for receivers CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup, as well as tight end Dalton Schultz. For the Raiders to have any shot, they’ll need to attack through the air, where the Cowboys have shown some vulnerability at times. That could mean a lot of quick passes to Hunter Renfrow in addition to Waller as the Cowboys bring the blitz.
Buffalo Bills vs. New Orleans Saints
Thursday, November 25 | TV: NBC
In the biggest shocker of last week, the Bills got absolutely trounced 41-15 by the Colts, on their home turf no less. That included five touchdowns allowed to running back Jonathan Taylor. Luckily for the Bills, the Saints offense is a step down from what the Colts served up. Running backs Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram both missed practice this week due to knee injuries, and while Ingram is more likely to play, the Saints could be left with third-string back Tony Jones manning the carries. On top of that, tight end Adam Trautman was just placed on injured reserve with a sprained MCL. Quarterback Trevor Siemian may have to get pretty creative here.
As the Saints tend to their wounds amid a three-game losing streak, the full-strength Bills have no such problems. The Saints are third in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game, so quarterback Josh Allen will definitely have to win this one with his arm. In their last Thanksgiving Day game in 2019, Allen led the Bills to a 26-15 road victory over the Cowboys, so recent history is on their side. If you’re looking for a sneaky prop bet, it might be a bounce-back week for wideout Emmanuel Sanders versus the former team that cut him in a salary cap move.