Skip to main content

NFL thankful for solid schedule of Thanksgiving games

The NFL will put its best foot forward on Thanksgiving, showcasing six teams that are all coming off wins in Week 11. The 10-0 Packers visit the 7-3 Lions at 12:30 ET, the 3-7 Dolphins visit the 6-4 Cowboys at 4:15 ET and the 9-1 Niners visit the 7-3 Ravens at 8:20 ET.

If the turkey doesn't do the trick, here are a few more things to chew on this Thanksgiving:

1. The Packers are the 15th team to reach the 10-0 mark in the Super Bowl era. Only nine of the previous 14 teams made it to the Super Bowl, and just six of them won the game. So if history is a measure of anything, Green Bay has a 64 percent chance of making the Super Bowl and a 43 percent chance of winning it. In other words, there is still a lot of work to be done, and it starts Thursday in Detroit.

2. Aaron Rodgers is the hottest QB in the league right now, without question. But is he as hot as Tom Brady was in 2007 when he led the Patriots to a 16-0 regular season? At the 10-game mark, Brady had seven more touchdown passes (38 for Brady, 31 for Rodgers), the same number of interceptions (4), 15 less sacks, a slightly better completion percentage (74 to 72.3) and his team was scoring 6 more points per game.

3. Turnovers will be the key to Thursday's games. The six teams playing on Thanksgiving, except for the Dolphins (who started the season poorly but are improving quickly), have made a living with turnovers. Take a look at their records when they get the ball back for their offense (see box, right).

The Harbaugh brothers, whose teams meet on Thursday night, both are used to creating turnovers and using them to win games. Mistakes will be costly in that game. It's clear Dallas doesn't take enough advantage of the turnovers they create, and the Dolphins simply weren't good enough early in the season to create turnovers or do much with the few they created. In the Green Bay-Detroit game, the Lions have absolutely no room for error. The Packers have created and scored points off turnovers in every one of their 10 victories.

4. Tony Romo loves this time of year.It shows in his 18-2 career November record, which ties Otto Graham for tops among QBs in their first 20 starts in the month (can you believe somebody is keeping track of those stats?!). But the red-hot Dolphins are coming to Dallas on Thanksgiving, and the way they're playing right now Romo's record may not be a factor. The Cowboys better be up for gameday against the 'Fins.

5. To call the 49ers defense stingy would be an understatement. San Francisco hasn't allowed a rushing touchdown in 203 carries this season. They are just the third team since the AFL-NFL merger to accomplish that feat through 10 games. In fact, they are the second San Francisco team to do it. In 1997, the Niners' defense was just as unforgiving, but after going 13-3, the team lost in the conference championship game to the Packers, giving up a rushing TD in defeat. The other team to not give up a rushing TD for the first 10 games was the 1986 Jets. Unfortunately, after that beautiful start they surrendered 14 rushing touchdowns in the next eight games and lost in the divisional round of the playoffs.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.