Nine things to watch for in Thanksgiving Day games

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Those passing game woes play right into the Chargers' hands. Dak Prescott won't suddenly bust out of his slump with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram rushing him, plus Casey Hayward shutting down one half of the field. Honestly, there really isn't that much more to say about this game. Without Smith, as much as without Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys are the Chargers, except the Chargers are a better version of the Chargers. The Redskins have had a rough schedule, being swept by the Eagles and losing to both the Vikings and Saints in consecutive weeks.

They finally get a break here for Kirk Cousins' play to pay off as he out-duels Eli Manning with a better array of mixed-bag targets. Redskins win but fail to cover the spread.

Since this is the most unpredictable NFL season in a while, bet on this ending up as the most entertaining game of the holiday. Yes, the odds are long. The Giants managed to not wow anybody even while beating the Chiefs last week.

Washington's collapse in the final minutes in New Orleans made their fans again question their will to live. Signs are growing that a national audience will be witnessing a lot of empty seats at FedEx Field. Every team that takes the field Thursday is at or above. All three games are of vital importance in the playoff race, starting with the opener between the Vikings and the Lions, which will go a long way in deciding the NFC North.

Did Minnesota pull their season back from the brink last week, or did they nab a bit of a fluky win against a fading opponent? Lose to the Lions, though, and the Vikings will be almost out of runway—Detroit technically would be up just one game in the standings with a Thanksgiving win, but they also would hold the head-to-head tiebreaker on Minnesota by virtue of a season sweep.

The Vikings halted a four-game slide last Sunday with a 30—24 win over Arizona, but it took a yard interception return and yard kickoff return to get there. If those splash plays from the defense and special teams are not there against the Lions, from where do the points come? The 97 yards Detroit rushed for in that game is its highest total since Week 3.

Both of these offenses are willing to nickel and dime their way down the field. And the Minnesota attack is not really built to challenge downfield, either. But Stafford has ripped game after game from the jaws of defeat this year. If this one goes down to the wire, the odds favor him. Kyle Rudolph and Eric Ebron. Detroit has been dreadful covering tight ends this season, and while it did keep Rudolph in check back on Nov. Ansah notches his first sack. Before the season, Detroit defensive line coach Kris Kocurek set the bar for Ansah at 20 sacks.

He has generated pressure, though, despite the lack of results. Time for a breakthrough. The first Dallas-Washington showdown of the season, back in Week 2, feels like ages ago. But the Redskins will tell you they should have won that game. They were ahead 23—20 in the fourth quarter and inside the Dallas 10 when Kirk Cousins threw an end-zone interception to Barry Church. They also settled for field goals on two second-half drives that started inside Dallas territory.

Cousins racked up yards, completing passes to a whopping 10 different receivers along the way. The issue for Washington, as is the case for any team playing Dallas: How do you stop Ezekiel Elliott?

He was just on the verge of taking off when the rivals met earlier—he finished with 83 yards vs. Josh Norman, should Washington up for that matchup. Bryant is coming off a two-TD showing against Baltimore.

That said, the Redskins will be seeing a different Prescott-Elliott combo that they got back in Week 2. The offense is more dynamic overall, and Elliott is gashing defenses behind the dominant Dallas line.

Robert Kelley, RB, Redskins. He has averaged Three games will be played on Thanksgiving this season. Vikings leap into top 3 Fantasy football Week 12 adds: Top Chinese general attends joint forum with U.

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The installment of Thanksgiving Day football features a tripleheader for the 12th consecutive season. The tradition of Thanksgiving Day and NFL football in general, however, is more historic. Watch video · Thanksgiving Day football picks: NFL, college best bets, 4-team parlay SportsLine's top NFL and college football experts pick a 4-team parlay that pays 10/1. Watch video · Prisco's NFL Week 12 Picks: Lions, Cowboys and Steelers roll on Thanksgiving Day Once Thanksgiving rolls around, the real season -- and meaningful playoff talk -- begins.