NFL

NFL Thanksgiving 2014: Is This the Best Lineup of Games Ever?

Leon Halip/Getty Images
Leon Halip/Getty Images

It’s hard to remember a Thanksgiving Day NFL schedule that compares favorably to the full slate of meaningful matchups scheduled for this year. All three of the NFL games slated for Thanksgiving Day in 2014 are not only divisional rivalry games, but each of them also have major implications in the race for the NFC Playoffs. The Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys will, as usual, be playing home games on Thanksgiving Day, but for the first time since the 1990s, both teams are legitimate division-title and NFC Playoff contenders. The Thanksgiving primetime game will be a matchup of the last two NFC Super Bowl representatives when the San Francisco 49ers host the Seattle Seahawks. There is currently not a more heated rivalry in all of professional football than the Seahawks and 49ers, and again, both teams are serious NFC Playoff contenders.

We will get to see some of the best rivalries the NFL has to offer this Thanksgiving, and for the first time in recent memory, every game is meaningful. Here is a look at the three Thanksgiving Day NFL games in 2014.

All statistics courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Chicago Bears (5-6) at Detroit Lions (7-4), 12:30 PM EST

After two straight losses, this game has become a must-win game for the Lions. With a win, they can stay within one game of the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North and also hold onto one the NFC Wild Card spots. At this point, the Bears’ players are playing for their jobs, and Marc Trestman is coaching for his job.

Bears Key Offensive Statistics (league rank):

  • 347 total yards per game (16th)
  • 246 passing yards per game (14th)
  • 101 rushing yards per game (20th)
  • 21.5 points per game (19th)

Bears Key Defensive Statistics (league rank):

  • 367 total yards allowed per game (21st)
  • 261 net passing yards allowed per game (29th)
  • 107 rushing yards allowed per game (12th)
  • 27.5 points allowed per game (31st)

Lions Key Offensive Statistics (league rank):

  • 333 total yards per game (21st)
  • 252 passing yards per game (10th)
  • 81 rushing yards per game (30th)
  • 17.9 points per game (28th)

Lions Key Defensive Statistics (league rank):

  • 304 total yards allowed per game (3rd)
  • 233 net passing yards allowed per game (10th)
  • 71 rushing yards allowed per game (1st)
  • 17.3 points allowed per game (1st)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Philadelphia Eagles (8-3) at Dallas Cowboys (8-3), 4:30 PM EST

As if this bitter division rivalry needed an added element, this game is for sole possession of first place in the NFC East.

Eagles Key Offensive Statistics (league rank):

  • 412 total yards per game (3rd)
  • 293 passing yards per game (4th)
  • 119 rushing yards per game (12th)
  • 31.1 points per game (3rd)

Eagles Key Defensive Statistics (league rank):

  • 375 total yards allowed per game (27th)
  • 266 net passing yards allowed per game (30th)
  • 109 rushing yards allowed per game (16th)
  • 25 points allowed per game (21st)

Cowboys Key Offensive Statistics (league rank):

  • 387 total yards per game (21st)
  • 237 passing yards per game (17th)
  • 150 rushing yards per game (2nd)
  • 26.5 points per game (6th)

Cowboys Key Defensive Statistics (league rank):

  • 355 total yards allowed per game (16th)
  • 248 net passing yards allowed per game (19th)
  • 107 rushing yards allowed per game (13th)
  • 21.8 points allowed per game (14th)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Seattle Seahawks (7-4) at San Francisco 49ers (7-4), 8:30 PM EST

The 49ers represented the NFC in Super Bowl XLVII and the Seahawks represented the NFC in – and won – Super Bowl XLVIII. In the last meeting between these heated rivals, the Seahawks beat the 49ers in last year’s NFC Championship Game, and who can forget Richard Sherman’s post-game interview? The rivalries in this matchup run deep, starting with head coaches Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll, and the loser of this game will have a difficult time making the NFC Playoffs in 2014. 

Seahawks Key Offensive Statistics (league rank):

  • 359 total yards per game (13th)
  • 190 passing yards per game (30th)
  • 170 rushing yards per game (1st)
  • 25.4 points per game (11th)

Seahawks Key Defensive Statistics (league rank):

  • 297 total yards allowed per game (1st)
  • 209 net passing yards allowed per game (3rd)
  • 88 rushing yards allowed per game (6th)
  • 19.8 points allowed per game (6th)

49ers Key Offensive Statistics (league rank):

  • 340 total yards per game (19th)
  • 221 passing yards per game (24th)
  • 120 rushing yards per game (10th)
  • 20.7 points per game (21st)

49ers Key Defensive Statistics (league rank):

  • 300 total yards allowed per game (2nd)
  • 207 net passing yards allowed per game (2nd)
  • 93 rushing yards allowed per game (7th)
  • 20.5 points allowed per game (10th)