2023 NFL Thanksgiving preview

November 23, 2023
While you prep the food, let us dish on today’s three-course feast of divisional NFL action.
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2023 NFL Thanksgiving preview

🍴 The appetizer: Green Bay Packers (4-6) vs. Detroit Lions (8-2) — 12:30 p.m. ET

The GIST: Don’t let their 37-43-2 (wins, losses, ties) Thanksgiving Day record fool you — these Lions (who, save a six-year stretch during World War II, have played every Turkey Day since 1934) come roaring into this one on a three-game win streak.

  • The Packers, playing in their first Thanksgiving game since 2015, will be out to avenge a September blowout loss to their NFC North divisional foes.

Lions: Call Detroit your aunt who’s making her first post-divorce family appearance because the Lions have had a glow up heading into this Thanksgiving Day showdown. Historically relegated to the kids’ table, Detroit’s now sitting at the head, atop the NFC North.

  • Two major reasons why? Quarterback (QB) Jared “steady as they come” Goff just keeps finding ways to win, and defensive end Aidan Hutchinson has been applying the pressure and gobbling up opposing QBs all season.

Packers: Now without longtime QB Aaron Rodgers, the Pack have entered a new era, but it hasn’t been a winning one with five losses in their last seven games. Yes, new QB Jordan Love led the team to a win on Sunday, but one of the squad’s best offensive weapons, running back (RB) Aaron Jones, is unlikely to play today due to an MCL sprain.

Prediction: Detroit rolled to a 34–20 win when these teams met in Week 4, and they’ve only improved since. What’s more, the Lions are undefeated against teams under .500. If all goes as expected, the end of this one might be the perfect time to enjoy a post-turkey nap.

🦃 The main course: Washington Commanders (4-7) vs. Dallas Cowboys (7-3) — 4:30 p.m. ET


The GIST: Come for the Dolly Parton halftime show, stay for what could be a chaotic NFC East matchup between two explosive QBs with plenty to prove.

Cowboys: Like the Lions, the ’Boys have been a Thanksgiving mainstay since 1966, but they’ve seen much more success on the holiday, accumulating a 32-22-1 record. And America’s Team looks poised to notch another Turkey Day W, especially after scoring 82 combined points in their last two games.

  • QB Dak Prescott has been the driving force, accounting for seven touchdowns (TDs) in those two dubs. Combine that with the standout play of RB Tony Pollard and a top-five defense, and Dallas should have a recipe for success.

Commanders: Outside of second-year QB Sam Howell (who throws a lot of TDs but also interceptions), consider the Commanders the cranberry sauce of your Thanksgiving spread, always leaving something to be desired.

  • And that’s especially true for the Washington defense that’s surrendering a league-worst 27.7 points per game on average.

Prediction: Howell’s been fun to watch, but Prescott and Co. should feast on the lackluster Commanders D, meaning this matchup could get lopsided quickly. At least we’ll have the Dolly Bowl.

🥧 Dessert: San Francisco 49ers (7-3) vs. Seattle Seahawks (6-4) — 8:20 p.m. ET


The GIST: The NFL certainly saved the best for last with this matchup between the top two teams in the NFC West. A Niners win would widen San Fran’s lead atop the division while a Seahawks dub would catapult them to the top spot. Delish.

Seahawks: Like your cousin who’s always making a major life change, Seattle’s been hard to pin down this year, posting impressive wins only to suffer stunning blowouts the following week. But they should find some stability with the return of QB1 Geno Smith, who’s set to come back from a tricep bruise suffered in last week’s loss.

  • But if Smith can’t go, keep an eye on RB Kenneth Walker III (if he’s available). He leads the team in rushing yards and can pour it on thick with game-changing plays.

Niners: The only thing more stacked than your dinner plate, San Francisco’s roster is absolutely loaded with talent. From Olivia Culpo’s fiancé league-leading rusher RB Christian McCaffrey to QB Brock “Mr. Irrelevant” Purdy, this team has a cornucopia of ways to beat opponents.

  • Plus, their defense is exceptional, too, allowing the fewest points per game on average. It’s almost unfair.

Prediction: Rallied by the home crowd 12s, Seattle might keep this one tighter than expected, but it’ll take a whole lot of tryptophan to put this red-hot San Francisco offense to sleep.