Ranking the 3 NFL Thanksgiving Day games in 2021

Like it has done for the past several years, the NFL is planning for a tripleheader during November’s Thanksgiving holiday.

This season, it should be even more fun with America’s Team going up against the Las Vegas Raiders and a huge primetime matchup on the slate between the Buffalo Bills and New Orleans Saints. Meanwhile, the Detroit Lions will host the Chicago Bears in their annual holiday game. Below, we rank these three matchups.

3. Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions (12:30 p.m. ET, CBS)

NFL thanksgiving, Justin Fields, Chicago Bears-Detroit Lions

Jan 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields (1) against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2021 CFP National Championship Game. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

There might be more flavor added to this old Black and Blue division rivalry if the Bears actually decide to go with rookie quarterback Justin Fields over Andy Dalton. Right now, that doesn’t look to be in the cards. It’s unfortunate for both Bears fans and those spending the early portion of their holiday watching football.

Chicago and Detroit posted a combined 13-19 record a season ago. For the first time in eons, Matthew Stafford will not be on the Lions’ roster when they host a Thanksgiving Day game. Instead, a struggling Jared Goff will be asked to do his thing in a game between two below-average divisional opponents. Maybe go for a walk before you fill your mouth with carbs. This is going to be a snooze fest unless Mr. Field is playing.

2. Las Vegas Raiders at Dallas Cowboys (4:30 p.m. ET, FOX)

NFL Thanksgiving: Las Vegas Raiders at Dallas Cowboys
Oct 11, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) calls a play in the second quarter against the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Typically, America’s Team going up against the Raiders would be the toast of the NFL during Thanksgiving. I am just not too sure that’s going to be the case in 2021. Fresh off a questionable offseason, the Raiders seem destined to take a step back under embattled head coach Jon Gruden and a general manager in Mike Mayock who is firmly on the hot seat.

As for the Cowboys, they did well to address major issues on defense via both NFL free agency and the draft. This should help improve a unit that yielded nearly 30 points per game a season ago. Quarterback Dak Prescott’s return from a devastating leg injury he suffered last season adds another layer to this. While the game might not be too close, it will be high-scoring. That adds to the entertainment value.

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1. Buffalo Bills at New Orleans Saints (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC)

NFL Thanksgiving: Buffalo Bills at New Orleans Saints
Jan 3, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) throws a pass against the Miami Dolphins in the first quarter at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Even if you’re in food (or adult beverage) coma as this late-evening game kicks off, you should still do enough to stay awake for it. Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs leading a championship-contending Bills teams into the Bayou to take on Sean Payton and the Saints in a game between two teams with Super Bowl aspirations. Could we ask for more as a three-game NFL slate comes to a culmination?

As for the matchup itself, we’re intrigued to see who will be under center for the Saints between Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill. If it is indeed Winston under center, he will be looking to make chicken wings (or crab legs) out of a questionable Bills defense. Either way, this game is going to be an absolute blast in Nola. NFL fans enjoy!