That most wonderful time of the year is upon us. Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015 is not only Thanksgiving day and the official start of the holiday season, but it will be a great day for the National Football League as well. Starting at 9:30 a.m. PT, there will be a slate of three NFL games. First up, the 4-6 Philadelphia Eagles will take on the 3-7 Detroit Lions. At 1:30 p.m. PT, the undefeated 10-0 Carolina Panthers will face the 3-7 Dallas Cowboys. The final game will begin at 5:30 p.m. PT, when the 4-6 Chicago Bears will be at storied Lambeau Field to tackle the 7-3 Green Bay Packers. Here is a look at these upcoming games.
Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions – For the Eagles, a season which began with high expectations has quickly gone south. Though at 4-6 the eastern Pennsylvania franchise is just one game behind the 5-5 New York Giants for the lead in the NFC East division, there are deeper troubles. There are swirling rumors that head coach Chip Kelly has lost the team. Philly quarterback Sam Bradford has again been injury prone and even when healthy, has been inconsistent. Their big offseason acquisition, running back DeMarco Murray, has been for the most part a huge disappointment. As for the Detroit Lions, an 0-5 start likely killed their season. In the wake of that horrible start, the Motor city squad have won their last two games, including a big win over Green Bay in Week 10. Look for the Lions to keep the momentum. If the Eagles do lose this game, head coach Chip Kelly can expect the city of brotherly love to turn quite unkind.
Carolina Panthers at Dallas Cowboys – Amazingly, when the betting line opened, the 3-7 Cowboys were actually favored over the undefeated Carolina team. This is a testament to what the return of Cowboys quarterback means to the team. In Romo’s absence, the Texas-based team had lost seven straight games. When he returned in Week 11, the team defeated the Miami Dolphins by a score of 24-14. This is a virtual must-win for the Cowboys as a loss would mean they will finish the season with a record no better than 8-8. For Carolina, the fight for respect continues. It seems unconscionable that a 10-0 team devoid of any serious injury problems, would ever be considered an underdog to a team with a sub-.500 record, but that is exactly what happened. The only thing Carolina can do is keep on winning. If they can soundly defeat the Cowboys in a road game on Thanksgiving day, it will go a long way to finally establishing the teams credibility.
Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers – This will be a special day at Lambeau field. Despite some very serious recent health issues, legendary former Packers quarterback Bart Starr is expected be in attendance as the team retires the jersey of its modern-day quarterbacking legend Brett Favre, prior to the game. Favre quarterbacked the Packers to victory in Super Bowl XXXI. Starr was the Packers first great quarterback and played under immortal Packers coach Vince Lombardi, winning five NFL championships including the first two Super Bowls. When the game gets underway, Packers fans will see Aaron Rodgers who may be a better signal-caller than both Starr and Favre try to solidify his team’s position atop the NFC North division. At 4-6, the division rival Chicago Bears are in danger of falling out of the playoff hunt. They will be relying on the arm-talent of quarterback Jay Cutler who is the Bears best quarterback since Sid Luckman. There is a lot of history behind this great old-school rivalry; hopefully the game will prove worthy of it’s prime-time billing.
All in all, this should prove a satisfying day of NFL Football. In the wake of these games, fans can then get ready to fight the mobs of holiday shoppers on Black Friday. Then again there is the option to shop online and just wait patiently for Sunday, Nov. 29 when teams will begin playing the balance of the Week 12 NFL contests.