NFL Thanksgiving game trends
Thanksgiving football has been around for as long as the NFL has existed. On Thursday the beloved tradition continues, as the Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys, and New Orleans Saints play host in three enticing matchups, beginning with the Lions and division rival Chicago at 12:30 p.m. ET.
To get you ready for the full-day feast, here are a few key NFL Thanksgiving trends to help you win some money — or at least impress your family and friends at the dinner table.
NFL Thanksgiving schedule
|Away team||Home team||Game Time||Spread||O/U|
12:30 p.m. ET
Las Vegas Raiders
4:30 p.m. ET
New Orleans Saints
8:20 p.m. ET
The Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving
Thu, November 25 2021, 5:30 PM
On November 29, 1934, Detroit held its first Thanksgiving game but fell 19-16 to the Bears. The Lions have a 37-42-2 record in Thanksgiving games and currently own a four-game losing streak.
1-4 in the last 5
The Lions are 1-4 in their last five Thanksgiving games and lost to Chicago the last two times these teams played each other on Turkey Day (in 2018 and 2019).
8-10 against Chicago
The Lions are 8-10 in 18 Thanksgiving Day meetings with Chicago. In their most recent Thanksgiving matchup, in 2019, the Lions were defeated 24-20 by the Bears.
Lions' ATS record
Over the past 17 seasons, the Lions are 7-10 against the spread on Thanksgiving Day.
Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving
Thu, November 25 2021, 9:30 PM
The Cowboys have participated in 53 Thanksgiving games and hold a 31-21-1 overall record. In Dallas' inaugural holiday clash in 1966, it bested the Cleveland Browns, 26-14.
2-3 in the last 5
America's team lost last year's Thanksgiving game to the Washington Football Team and has won just twice on Thanksgiving, dating back to 2016.
2-4 vs. non-division opponents
The Cowboys will face the Raiders of the AFC West on Thursday, a year after they hosted NFC East foe Washington. The Cowboys are 2-4 in their previous six games against non-division opponents on Thanksgiving and were beaten 26-15 by Buffalo the last time they met a member of the AFC on the holiday.
Dallas is 2-0 in its last two against the Raiders on Thanksgiving and most recently beat them 31-23 on Thanksgiving in 2013.
Fri, November 26 2021, 1:20 AM
In 2006, the NFL added a third Thanksgiving matchup in the primetime slot and rotates the host of that evening showdown each year.
The 2021 season will mark the second time the Saints have hosted a Thanksgiving Day game.
The number of primetime games played on Thanksgiving since 2006.
In 2020, the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers were scheduled to battle in the primetime matchup, but the contest was postponed because of a COVID-19 outbreak on the Ravens.
In the previous 14 primetime Thanksgiving games, the favorite has gone 12-2 ATS.
The Under is 10-4 in 14 Thanksgiving primetime games.
NFC vs. AFC
It’s been a rare occasion in recent memory to witness a team from the AFC square off with the NFC on Thanksgiving, but in the previous four inter-conference clashes, the AFC has won three.
November 25, 1993. The Dolphins and Cowboys played on Thanksgiving day in Dallas (look at all the snow!!!)With 15 seconds left in the game and the Cowboys up 14-13, Jimmie Jones blocks the would be game winning field goal from Pete Stoyanovich. pic.twitter.com/5f3BmNwaQp — TruthSerumSports (@Sports_TSH) November 26, 2019
It's even more uncommon to see a Thanksgiving contest head to overtime. Since 1980, it has happened five times, but never in primetime.
The last Thanksgiving matchup decided in extra time occurred in 2012, when the Houston Texans handed the Lions a 34-31 defeat at home.