Buffalo Bills @ Detroit Lions
The Thanksgiving slate of games starts off with the Buffalo Bills taking on the Detroit Lions. The Bills were just at Ford Field where they were the “home” team due to the weather conditions in Buffalo, and beat the Cleveland Browns there. Now they will be heading back there to face a Lions team that has seemingly found their groove, winning three consecutive games.
The Bills have Josh Allen who has been in a funk as of late in his last three games, throwing four interceptions compared to two touchdowns. Allen was able to play a clean game against the Browns, throwing no interceptions while completing 18-of-27 passes for a season-low 197 yards. The offensive line did allow the Browns to get eight pressures on Allen, which turned into two sacks. That is an area the Lions have struggled with this season as they have only 71 on the season but have slowly started to improve. The players who have been helping in this category for the Lions are Alim McNeil and Aidan Hutchinson. McNeil had seven and Hutchinson had three against the New York Giants. With Allen still not at full health, getting that pressure would be key.
While Allen didn’t exactly have the production we are used to seeing from him in the pass game, the Bills showed they can have a rushing attack lead the way. Devin Singletary saw 18 attempts which he turned into 86 yards and a touchdown, even James Cook got in on the action with 86 over 11 attempts. While on the season the Lions have allowed the third most rush yards with 1,537, they put up a great performance against the Giants, holding Saquon Barkley to 22 yards over 15 attempts. Take away the ground game and the Bills can still exploit a Lions pass defense that has allowed 2,622 yards and 16 touchdowns on the season. With a depleted receiving corps, Daniel Jones was able to throw for 341 yards on them. The Lions will need to figure out a way to slow down both Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis.
The Lions offense has been on fire over the last two weeks, scoring 31 points in both. Jared Goff has been efficient during their three game win streak, with 50 completions on 78 attempts for 538 yards and three touchdowns. The Bills pass defense got a boost last week when Jordan Poyer returned, but they are still not at full strength as Tre’Davious White will most likely be out again along with Kaiir Elam and Tremaine Edmunds. To help with this, they should look for their pass rush to get to Goff, but that may not be easy. The Lions offensive line on the season have allowed only 64 pressures which is the eight least, and 15 sacks which is the third least. When the Bills do get pressure it is with Von Miller who leads the team with 19, but he will see Penei Sewell which will make for an interesting matchup.
Goff has been efficient to lead the offense down the field for the run game to takeover in the red zone. The Lions currently have the 11th most rush yards with 1,328, and the third most rushing touchdowns with 15. Jamaal Williams leads the group with 668 yards and 12 touchdowns. D’Andre Swift is still working his way back from missing time, but always has the potential to break off a long run. In the Lions’ 160-yard rushing effort against the Giants, they also got Justin Jackson involved with 66 yards which led the team on nine carries. The Bills run defense got back on track last week, holding Nick Chubb to 19 yards. Limit the run and put the pressure on Goff to throw should be the blueprint for the Bills.
The Bills average 28.1 points per game, while the Lions average 25. Expect this game to see some early scores traded, but ultimately the Bills secure the win. — Marissa Myers
New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys
Here we’ve got a divisional showdown between the Giants and Cowboys, who both sit at 7-3. Both teams are looking to break bad history, as Dallas has lost their past three Thanksgiving day games, while the Giants haven’t won in Dallas since 2016. The Cowboys come into this one with a little more momentum, fresh off a dominating win over the Vikings. Meanwhile, the Giants had a disappointing loss to the Lions this past Sunday, and they’ve suffered a few key injuries. I’m still not sold in Dallas in the long term, but there’s no denying they’ve looked better than the Giants as of late, and there’s a clear talent barrier between these two rosters. I’m rolling with the ‘Boys. — Aidan Maher
New England Patriots @ Minnesota Vikings
The 6-4 New England Patriots head to Minnesota to take on the 8-2 Vikings in the night cap of the Thanksgiving games. Arguably the best game on the schedule for the day, this matchup gives us two teams in the playoff race currently. The Patriots are coming off a walk off punt return win over the New York Jets while the Vikings want some redemption after getting stomped by the Dallas Cowboys last week.
Minnesota had been seen as one of the better teams around the NFL before last weekend and if they can take down the Patriots, that narrative will continue. They will need another big game from star wide reciever Justin Jefferson in this matchup if they want to win.
With Minnesota being at home and losing in the way they did last week, I’m going with the Vikings to get back on track this week. SKOL! — Matt Levine