The 2023 NFL regular-season schedule once again serves up two tasty tripleheaders over the holidays.
Of course, the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys are set to host on Thanksgiving -- and schedule-makers gave fans two classic divisional bouts to set the table on Nov. 23. The night will be capped by another NFC showdown (and playoff rematch to boot) when the Seattle Seahawks host the San Francisco 49ers.
Christmas Day also features a pair of divisional rivals squaring off and a former Super Bowl matchup, one that will surely make for a nice gift for NFL fans everywhere.
Here is a break down for what to expect during the NFL's Thanksgiving and Christmas Day tripleheaders:
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Thanksgiving Day games
- Where: Ford Field | Detroit
- When: 12:30 p.m. ET on Nov. 23 (Week 12)
- How to watch: FOX
There's no better time than Thanksgiving 2023 to renew a divisional rivalry that effectively ended one team's disappointing season and nearly propelled another into an unexpected postseason appearance.
For the first time in what feels like forever, the scales have tipped in Detroit's favor, at least on paper. The Lions are coming off an unexpectedly successful 9-8 season -- including a 5-1 mark against division opponents -- and have only given fans more reason to believe their best days are ahead of them. The Packers, meanwhile, are still picking up the pieces left behind by Aaron Rodgers' departure for New York. Jordan Love is the new sheriff in town and, provided he's healthy, will make his first Thanksgiving Day start. But will the Packers have something to play for by the time this holiday rolls around?
Detroit plans on being in the thick of the playoff race by this point in the season. While still talented, Green Bay will have to surprise some folks to find itself in a similar situation. A reversal of roles could await us, but regardless of where each team stands, the Packers will have a point to prove against a Lions team that is suddenly looks like the favorite in this matchup. After years of consistent struggle, it's Detroit's time to shine -- unless the Packers can become the upstart bunch the Lions were last season.
- Where: AT&T Stadium | Arlington, Texas
- When: 4:30 p.m. ET on Nov. 23 (Week 12)
- How to watch: CBS
One of the NFL's top rivalries of the last 60 years returns on Thanksgiving in what is setting up to be a clash of two franchises in vastly different positions.
Dallas maintains its hope of advancing beyond the Divisional Round for the first time since the Clinton Administration and will again tout its potential entering 2023. The Cowboys certainly have the talent to do so, starting with quarterback Dak Prescott and continuing with a well-rounded defense that has become the franchise's focus in 2023.
Washington, meanwhile, appears set to hitch its wagon to either Sam Howell or Jacoby Brissett in 2023, which worked out well enough for the Browns but doesn't give the Commanders the highest ceiling. No matter who ends up taking first-team snaps under center, Ron Rivera needs to win in 2023 to keep his seat from warming further.
The placement of this game falls in line with the NFL's rich history of rivalries, but we'll have to see whether Washington can perform at a level comparable to Dallas. If so, we'll be in for a fun afternoon in Arlington.
- Where: Lumen Field | Seattle
- When: 8:20 p.m. ET on Nov. 23 (Week 12)
- How to watch: NBC
Fresh off an incredibly surprising run to the Divisional Round of the 2022 playoffs, the Seahawks find themselves receiving special attention in 2023 in the form of a Thanksgiving contest. Seattle is the chosen third location for the annual Thanksgiving tripleheader, and depending on how the NFC West shakes out in 2023, this one could carry plenty of significance as the season approaches December.
Last year's Seahawks morphed from a team most everyone expected to struggle into a scrappy bunch that fought its way into the postseason. Despite trading its franchise quarterback, Russell Wilson, Pete Carroll's crew found success with Geno Smith, so much that the franchise rewarded him with a three-year deal in the offseason. But was Smith's success a fluke, or will he be able to do it again in 2023?
San Francisco isn't going away any time soon, even with some uncertainty at quarterback. Despite losing their top two quarterbacks, the 49ers still managed to advance all the way to the doorstep of the Super Bowl with 2022 Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy leading the way, smashing through his undesired title and proving he is, in fact, quite relevant. He'll remain relevant to the 49ers in 2023, primarily because he's returning from an elbow injury that could affect San Francisco's depth chart at the position.
This game, however, doesn't arrive until the end of November, giving Purdy plenty of time to return to the field. After Seattle put together a quality offseason and solid draft, the Seahawks will no longer be a surprising competitor in 2023. The NFL's schedule-makers have indicated they anticipate both of these teams to be in the thick of the NFC West race -- and this contest just might play a huge part in sorting out the division.
Christmas Day games
- Where: GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium | Kansas City, Mo.
- When: 1 p.m. ET on Dec. 25 (Week 16)
- How to watch: CBS, Nickelodeon
A divisional rivalry remembered most recently for some pre-snap window dressing -- a ring-around-the-Rosie huddle that produced a (called-back) touchdown -- will be renewed to kick off the football extravaganza on Christmas Day. The defending champion Chiefs will be ready to hand the Chiefs Kingdom their specially wrapped presents in the form of a high-flying win, but can the Raiders replace those gifts with lumps of coal?
Las Vegas is aiming to return to legitimate contention with Jimmy Garoppolo now running the show under center, and he'll be tasked with helping the Raiders keep pace with the often-explosive Chiefs offense, engineered by none other than two-time Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes. This rivalry dates back to the start of the AFL, and despite the good feelings of the holiday, don't expect either time to find kindness in their hearts, especially if a division title is at stake. Bundle up and settle in folks -- but leave the cookies and eggnog at home.
- Where: Lincoln Financial Field | Philadelphia
- When: 4:30 p.m. ET on Dec. 25 (Week 16)
- How to watch: FOX
Some of you may feel as if you just watched this showdown in the winter months, and you're correct: These two division rivals last squared off in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, a January contest the Eagles won handily. That game ended a memorable ride for the Giants, a team no one expected to reach the playoffs, let alone finish just two games shy of a Super Bowl appearance. The greatest challenge for New York in 2023, then, is to ensure it doesn't take a step back. It's all about continuous progress for the Giants.
The Eagles, on the other hand, reached Super Bowl LVII and nearly won it. Their goal starts and ends with the final game of the NFL calendar, except this time around, they plan on emerging victorious.
This game will serve as a great test of where these two teams stand not only within the ranks of the NFC East, but the conference as a whole. And even if one or both aren't in serious contention for a title, we can bank on the rivalry producing some fire typically seen only near the Christmas trees in homes across America. Grab another log -- this blaze is guaranteed to roar.
- Where: Levi's Stadium | Santa Clara, Calif.
- When: 8:15 p.m. ET on Dec. 25 (Week 16)
- How to watch: ABC
This matchup immediately evokes memories of the Harbaugh Bowl, also known as Super Bowl XLVII. One of the two Harbaugh brothers, John, remains on the sideline for the Ravens, while the 49ers ride into Christmas under the direction of Kyle Shanahan, a coach who has returned the 49ers to the Super Bowl once since these two teams last met on the sport's biggest stage.
Long gone are the main actors in that game. What remains is a series that has proven to be even since their Super Bowl showdown, with Baltimore and San Francisco each prevailing once in their last two meetings. The arrival of 2023 means it's time for the AFC North and NFC West to square off, and both of these teams will be hoping to prove their worthiness in a matchup that could have significant postseason implications.
Both teams are stocked with talent and proven coaching expertise. One (Baltimore) boasts the highest-paid player in the NFL in quarterback Lamar Jackson, while there's no telling who might end up playing quarterback for San Francisco by the time Santa Claus arrives. Either way, this should be quite a treat -- one fit for the holiday.