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NFL Thanksgiving games, Week 12 schedule and matchups


Week 12 of the NFL season brings with it an unusually interesting lineup of Thanksgiving Day games, along with the reasonable chance that the holiday slate might be competitive.

So far this season, 126 games have been within one score in the fourth quarter — the most such games through the first 11 weeks in NFL history.

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Bills (7-3) at Lions (4-6), 12:30 p.m., CBS: The NFL has a tasty Turkey Day trifecta of games this year, and even a matchup involving the Lions looks good: Detroit has won three games in a row for the first time since 2017. Its overall Thanksgiving record is not favorable, though, considering the Lions always play at home. They’re 37-43-2. (The Bills are 5-4-1 on the holiday.)

Giants (7-3) at Cowboys (7-3), 4:30 p.m., Fox: The return of Ezekiel Elliott from injury gives Dallas a tough one-two punch at running back. Elliott showed he can be used on plays between the tackles, in short-yardage and in pass protection during the Cowboys’ demolition of Minnesota on Sunday. Tony Pollard’s forte is perimeter running and bouncing through for a touchdown run at any moment. NFC East teams have a combined .707 winning percentage.

Patriots (6-4) at Vikings (8-2), 8:20 p.m., NFL Network: After losing by 37 points to Dallas, Minnesota has a minus-two point differential, the lowest in NFL history by any team to start a season 8-2 or better through 10 games, according to NFL Research. The previous low was set by the 1987 San Diego Chargers (with a plus-6), and they missed the playoffs that season.

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Broncos (3-7) at Panthers (3-8), 1 p.m.: Denver management wouldn’t fire Coach Nathaniel Hackett on Thanksgiving weekend, would it? Nothing Hackett is doing is working. When Hackett struggled with clock management and in-game decisions, retired special-teams coach Jerry Rosburg was brought in to help. Since then, Denver has gone 2-6, with Hackett also ceding play-calling duties to passing game coordinator Klint Kubiak.

Buccaneers (5-5) at Browns (3-7), 1 p.m.: Tampa Bay is riding a modest two-game winning streak after stumbling on offense and defense while losing five of six games. The Bucs are atop the NFC South, and they have a manageable schedule the rest of the way.

Ravens (7-3) at Jaguars (3-7), 1 p.m.: Oh, to be the Ravens. Although they lead the Bengals by a slim margin in their division, their next four opponents at the moment are stuffed like a turducken with 3-7, 3-7, 3-7 and 3-7 records.

Texans (1-8-1) at Dolphins (7-3), 1 p.m.: All is not dismal for the one-win Texans. They have the first and seventh picks in the 2023 draft, which has three quarterbacks likely to go in the top five. That seventh pick comes from Cleveland by way of the Deshaun Watson trade.

Bears (3-8) at Jets (6-4), 1 p.m.: An injury to Justin Fields and Zach Wilson’s current predicament may cause this to be a Trevor Siemian vs. Mike White “showdown.” Fields dislocated his left shoulder last week and was listed as day-to-day. Wilson made no friends among New York defenders when he answered: “No. No.” when asked if he had let down the defense in Sunday’s ugly loss to New England. That led Coach Robert Saleh to refuse to commit to him at midweek to start against Chicago.

Bengals (6-4) at Titans (7-3), 1 p.m.: Does a team really need anything more than Derrick Henry and a stout defense? Tennessee has won seven of its past eight games (the loss was in overtime to Kansas City) since an 0-2 start. Earning the No. 1 seed in the AFC seems less likely than when the Titans did it a year ago, but it’s not out of the question.

Falcons (5-6) at Commanders (6-5), 1 p.m.: Washington has eased over .500 but still resides at the bottom of the ultracompetitive NFC East. Over the first five weeks, the Washington defense was giving up 25.6 points and 345.6 yards per game with only one takeaway. But since Week 6, those numbers have gone down to 15.8 points and 276.7 yards, with 12 takeaways.

Chargers (5-5) at Cardinals (4-7), 4:05 p.m.: The Chargers gave it a go against the Chiefs on Sunday night, but Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce were too much. Los Angeles is the second-best team in the AFC West but still trails Kansas City by three games after twice losing to the Chiefs by three points.

Raiders (3-7) at Seahawks (6-4), 4:05 p.m.: Geno Smith continues to find himself in lofty company, with a 108 passer rating that trails only Tua Tagovailoa’s 108.4 and is ahead of Mahomes’s 107.3.

Rams (3-7) at Chiefs (8-2), 4:25 p.m.: The Rams seem pretty close to rock bottom: Cooper Kupp is on injured reserve, and Matthew Stafford is dealing with concussion concerns. They could reach it in Kansas City, with the Chiefs’ offense clicking. Mahomes entered Sunday night’s game with the highest yards-per-game average of his career (326.2) and then finished with 329 yards.

Saints (4-7) at 49ers (6-4), 4:25 p.m.: Perhaps it was unwise to underestimate Jimmy Garoppolo. He passed for four touchdowns Monday night for the first time since Week 14 of the 2019 season. That, of course, was the season in which the 49ers won the NFC title and lost to Kansas City in the Super Bowl.

Packers (4-7) at Eagles (9-1), 8:20 p.m., NBC: A sobering stat comes from Packers writer Zach Kruse: Aaron Rodgers had six games of fewer than 20 points from 2019 to 2021. In 2022, he has had six such games already. As for his Philadelphia counterpart, Jalen Hurts is 14-2 in his past 16 regular season games with 33 total touchdowns.

Steelers (3-7) at Colts (4-6-1), 8:15 p.m., ESPN: Indianapolis Coach Jeff Saturday turns up on ESPN in a way that no one expected the former commentator to a few weeks ago. In a one-point loss to Eagles on Sunday, the Indianapolis defense forced two turnovers and did a nice job controlling the line of scrimmage.

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