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Seahawks, Eagles reign supreme among Thanksgiving teams

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Food, football and family -- I can't wait for Thanksgiving.

And the NFL's slate of games is as delicious as the culinary offerings.

Six intriguing teams will play in three divisional bouts absolutely stuffed with playoff implications.

Here is my Turkey Day pecking order -- a ranking of the six teams in action on Thursday, with my thoughts on how they'll fair in the final five weeks of the regular season ... and beyond:

1) Seattle Seahawks (7-4)

In smashing Arizona on Sunday, Seattle finally looked like the team that rampaged its way to the Lombardi Trophy last season. The "Legion of Boom" was back -- as was stud linebacker Bobby Wagner, who returned from a five-game injury absence with authority. Marshawn Lynch was physical and Russell Wilson was clutch. That's the formula.

But Seattle's remaining schedule is rough. First off, the Seahawks face the rival 49ers twice in 18 days, beginning Thursday night at Levi's Stadium. I think they split this home-and-home. Seattle also has away games at Philadelphia and Arizona before closing the regular season at home against St. Louis.

FORECAST: I believe Arizona will hold on and win the NFC West, but I like Seattle as a wild card. If the 'Hawks get the No. 5 seed, they'll destroy the NFC South winner in Round 1. That 5 seed is going to be a coveted slot -- essentially, a wild-card team gets a bye into the divisional round!

2) Philadelphia Eagles (8-3)

The Eagles' schedule is tough over the next three games, with two contests against the rival Cowboys sandwiched around a home date versus the Seahawks. But after that, Philly finishes off the regular season with the Redskins and Giants, two games that have to be wins despite the fact that they're both on the road.

It's been well documented in this space that I am not a believer in Mark Sanchez. But I do believe in Chip Kelly. He will maximize Sanchez and the brilliant weapons that surround the quarterback. LeSean McCoy is fresh off a 130-yard performance -- getting last year's rushing king going is no small development. Plus, Philly's defense and special teams have been extremely opportunistic.

FORECAST: A reasonable expectation is for the Eagles to split with the Cowboys and end up with 11 wins. That will put them in the playoffs and likely give them the division.

3) Dallas Cowboys (8-3)

Tony Romo has been clutch. And of course, Dallas' offensive line has been fantastic. How many Mississippis did you count every time Romo dropped back in last week's win over the Giants? I consider Zack Martin to be the front-runner for Offensive Rookie of the Year. (Yes, he's a right guard. Deal with it.) Meanwhile, DeMarco Murray continues to pound the rock, having just logged his 10th 100-yard effort in 11 games this season.

Dallas' remaining slate is fascinating, with the Eagles twice, a tough roadie against the Bears (Chicago will have favorable matchups on offense), a home game versus the AFC South-leading Colts and a Week 17 date with the Redskins at FedExField.

FORECAST: These 'Boys have a formula for success, but it's a question of trust with this franchise, based upon prior collapses. I think Dallas has proven this is a different year. I see the Cowboys winning three of five and snagging a wild-card spot.

4) San Francisco 49ers (7-4)

I won't believe San Francisco's dead until you show me the body.

I know the Niners haven't looked great this year. The Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman injuries have been costly. The offensive line and defensive backfield have struggled. And despite what Jim Harbaugh was preaching after a narrow win over the Redskins, Colin Kaepernick hasn't been great.

Still, Harbaugh is a masterful head coach. I think his 49ers can split the two contests against Seattle (with a home win on Thanksgiving night). I also believe they can take advantage of an easy game in Oakland and beat the banged-up Chargers at home. A Week 17 showdown with the Cards looms large.

FORECAST: I will never count them out until it's over, but I think the Niners fall just short.

5) Detroit Lions (7-4)

The Lions have earned respect for how tough and clutch they've been this year. But looking back, maybe the comeback wins over the Saints and Falcons said more about those teams being bad than Detroit being legit.

This team can't score. That's a problem in 2014. To be fair, the Lions went up in class over the past two weeks, facing the Cardinals and Patriots on the road. But Detroit didn't look good in either loss. Matthew Stafford isn't playing well -- and his receivers aren't helping him out with all the drops.

This team is ripe to be picked off by Chicago on Thanksgiving. The Lions can beat the Buccaneers and Vikings at home, but then they finish the season at Chicago and at Green Bay. That Week 17 game at Lambeau is a loss. I know they beat the Packers earlier in the year, but Green Bay has been clicking since. It's a different Packers team now, one that has become a juggernaut. Oh, and the Lions haven't won in Green Bay since George Bush was in office. George H.W. Bush, that is.

FORECAST: I don't think the Lions make the playoffs. I don't trust them. And if they prove me wrong, they are one and done.

6) Chicago Bears (5-6)

The Bears are in the midst of a two-game winning streak! OK, before we go too crazy, let's remember the two teams Chicago just vanquished: the Vikings (currently 4-7) and Buccaneers (2-9). That's an improvement from their previously inept ways, but let's hold off on the parade for now. The Bears' defense remains leaky. And Jay Cutler isn't the most trustworthy individual from week to week.

That said, I could see a scenario where Chicago finishes the season with a flurry. For the record, I think the Bears can outscore and upset the Lions on Thursday. And thus, it's obviously feasible to imagine them beating Detroit at home in Week 16. Chicago will have good matchups on offense against the Cowboys, and the Saints are dreadful. Minnesota is certainly beatable in Week 17.

FORECAST: 9-7 is possible. 8-8 is my belief. The early-season chaos will bite the Bears in the end.

Follow Adam Schein on Twitter @AdamSchein.

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