This coming Thursday it’s Thanksgiving day across America and this can only mean one thing besides turkey, it’s 3 extra games of NFL action coming your way.
For the 6 teams involved, the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys as always among them, it’s a short week, a quick turnaround from Sunday’s games but an increased programme to fill until they play again a week on Sunday.
All three clashes are from the NFC and all have play off implications. Given the results from Sunday’s games where a fair few play off chasing franchises suffered losses, it’s opened the door once again for those whose glimmer of hope is turning more towards a firm late run at the post season.
The first game comes from the NFC North where one of the surprise packages of the season, the 7-3 Chicago Bears head to the 4-6 Detroit Lions. The Bears have stormed their way to lead the division thanks in principle to their QB Mitch Trubisky, drafted in 2017 and thrust into the limelight this season and putting up some good numbers to lead his franchise to within touching distance of the post season leaving the much fancied Green Bay Packers in their wake.
Their opponents, the Lions, are themselves not out of contention after a couple of surprise losses for other NFC play off chasing franchises on the weekend. It will however take a good run of wins for Detroit to actually make it, but this is the NFL after all. Head Coach Matt Patricia knows there is very little margin for error and the possibility of needing others to lose is very much a tall order.
The second match up has almost turned into the must-see game as the 6-4 Washington Redskins head to Texas to take on the 5-5 Dallas Cowboys. Just two weeks ago, the Cowboys were facing the prospect of another year without post season football and the Skins were heading towards their 10th NFC East Divisional title. Since then Dallas have back to back wins for the first time this year whilst the Redskins loss to Houston has put the Cowboys back in contention once again. More importantly, the horrific injury suffered by the Skins QB Alex Smith could well de-rail their season and the signing of ex Cowboy QB Mark Sanchez as back up to Colt McCoy doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence.
WR Amari Cooper, along with Zeke Elliott rediscovering the running game, is a key component to the Cowboys gaining a third win, especially with a few questions marks over kicker Brett Maher who has missed 3 of his last 5 field goal attempts. The Dallas D however is certainly the meanest it has been for years in points allowed against them and more often than not have been able to keep the Cowboys in games throughout this season.
The final game sees the impressive New Orleans Saints take on the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC South. The Saints are on a fantastic run of 9 straight wins, the best by far across the NFL and in 39 year old QB Drew Brees currently in the form of his life and with weapons all across his offense there has never been a better time for New Orleans to return to the Superbowl. The Falcons meanwhile have struggled to find some consistency and Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys leaves them two games behind the Carolina Panthers in the play off race. But, with the Panthers on a two game losing streak the Falcons still have a slim chance of making the post season, but this a game they can’t afford to lose especially being a divisional game and with one of the worst defences this year smart money would be on the Saints to maintain their winning run.
Definitely looking at a Bears, Cowboys and Saints winning threesome, but it’s Thanksgiving and the NFL you can never say never………..