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NFL 2014: Thanksgiving Football Preview
Week 13 features a Thanksgiving tripleheader for the ninth consecutive season. Traditional competitors Detroit and Dallas will host games during the day followed by a primetime nightcap on NBC between the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers.
The Detroit Lions play their 75th Thanksgiving Day game dating back to 1934, while the Dallas Cowboys will play in their 47th since 1966. The Chicago Bears play in their 33rd game on Thanksgiving Day, while the Eagles, 49ers and Seahawks will play in their sixth, fifth and fourth games, respectively.
The Thanksgiving Day records of the teams playing this Thursday:
|San Francisco 49ers||2||1||1||.667|
The Chicago Bears aim for a third consecutive victory following last week's 21-13 win against Tampa Bay.
The Bears overcame a 10-0 third-quarter deficit en route to the win. Running back MATT FORTe rushed for 89 yards with two touchdowns and had five catches for 23 yards in the victory. Forte has 822 rushing yards and 72 catches this year, his seventh consecutive season with at least 800 rushing yards and 40 receptions. He joined La Dainian Tomlinson as the only players in NFL history to start a career with seven seasons in a row with at least 800 rushing yards and 40 catches.
"We'll take the win, but we have a lot to work on," says Bears head coach Marc Trestman. "We are excited to move forward to Thursday and a Thanksgiving game at Detroit."
Detroit enters Week 13 following a 34-9 loss at New England.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford passed for 264 yards in the game, including completing four passes for 97 yards to wide receiver Golden Tate, who reached 1,000 receiving yards for the first time in his career. Tate, who has 1,047 receiving yards this season, is the first Lions wide receiver other than CALVIN JOHNSON to amass 1,000 receiving yards in a season since ROY WILLIAMS (1,310) and MIKE FURREY (1,086) accomplished the feat in 2006.
"I think it is good we have a short week," says Stafford. "We have a chance to go out and play again on Thursday against a familiar opponent and on a national stage."
Detroit hosts Chicago on Thanksgiving for the first time since 1999.
Stafford has passed for 771 yards and five touchdowns in his past two games on Thanksgiving. Johnson aims for his sixth game in row on Thanksgiving with a touchdown catch. Johnson is currently tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer MICHAEL IRVIN (six) for the second-most all-time career touchdown receptions on Thanksgiving. With a touchdown catch this Thursday, Johnson would tie CLOYCE BOX (seven) for the most receiving touchdowns on Thanksgiving in NFL history.
The players with the most career touchdown catches on Thanksgiving:
First place in the NFC East is on the line when the Eagles visit the Cowboys in the second game of the NFL's Thanksgiving tripleheader.
The Cowboys play in the first of two consecutive Thursday games (Week 14 at Chicago Bears, December 4, 2014) following a 31-28 victory against the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football.
Dallas quarterback TONY ROMO passed for 275 yards with four touchdowns for a 143.4 passer rating in the come-from-behind victory. With 3:00 remaining in the fourth quarter, Romo led a seven-play, 80-yard drive capped off by a 13-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver DEZ BRYANT.
"Now we have another challenge coming up real quick on Thanksgiving Day," says Romo. "Philly is playing great football so we're going to have to play better than we did tonight to win that game."
Romo has led the Cowboys to six wins in seven Thanksgiving starts. For his career, Romo has passed for 2,033 yards and an NFL-record 18 touchdowns on Thanksgiving.
The most career passing yards and touchdown passes on Thanksgiving Day:
|Bart Starr||Green Bay||8||1,345|
|Brett Favre||Green Bay||4||11|
Tight end JASON WITTEN, who will play in his 12th Thanksgiving Day game this week, is currently the all-time leader on Thanksgiving with 65 catches. His 732 receiving yards trails only HERMAN MOORE (834) for the most all-time on Thanksgiving.
The most career receiving yards on Thanksgiving Day:
The Philadelphia Eagles enter Week 13 following a 43-24 win against the Tennessee Titans.
Philadelphia rookie JOSH HUFF returned the opening kickoff 107 yards for a touchdown in the win. Huff is the second Eagle with a 100-plus yard kickoff-return touchdown this year (CHRIS POLK, 102 yards, Week 3) and Philadelphia is the first team since the 1970 Green Bay Packers to have multiple players with a 100-plus yard kickoff-return touchdown in a season. Nine different Eagles have now scored a return touchdown, tied for the most in a single season in NFL history.
"It's a big one," says tight end BRENT CELEK, who has played in 14 career regular-season games against Dallas. "It's going to be big for them and big for us. I'm excited. Playing on Thanksgiving, everyone is watching, Cowboys against Eagles - it doesn't get much better than that."
Philadelphia, who is undefeated in Thanksgiving Day games, will play in Dallas on Thanksgiving for the first time since 1989. The Eagles most recently played in the 2008 Thanksgiving nightcap, a 48-20 victory against Arizona. Philadelphia has the highest winning percentage among active NFL franchises on Thanksgiving (minimum five games).
The active franchises with the highest winning percentage on Thanksgiving Day (minimum five games):
Seattle and San Francisco cap off a full day of Thanksgiving football action when they face each other for the first time since last season's NFC Championship Game. Seattle will play in its first game on Thanksgiving since 2008, while Thursday marks the first time that San Francisco hosts a game on Thanksgiving Day.
The Seahawks enter Week 13 following a 19-3 win against the Arizona Cardinals.
"Our team played really well in the win," says Seahawks head coach PETE CARROLL. "We have to turn around in a hurry. Hopefully we can put together another good performance this week against a very tough divisional opponent."
In his third year, Seattle quarterback RUSSELL WILSON has won 20 of his first 22 career starts at home in the regular season. That is tied for the fewest starts (22) needed to reach 20 regular-season wins at home among quarterbacks who began their careers in the Super Bowl era. The other three quarterbacks to accomplish the feat are MATT RYAN, MARC BULGER and DANNY WHITE.
Wilson heads into this week's matchup having won his past two starts in Thursday games, passing for five touchdowns with no interceptions for a 116.6 passer rating. Including the postseason, Wilson has also led the Seahawks to victories in three its past four games against San Francisco.
Wilson's career numbers against San Francisco (including postseason):
|Record||Passing Yards||TDs||Rating||Rushing Yards|
The 49ers aim for a fourth consecutive victory after a 17-13 victory over Washington.
"I think this is something to continue to build off of," says 49ers safety ANTOINE BETHEA. "This string of victories has been great and will pay big dividends for us. Now we have a short week against a great team coming into our house on Thanksgiving."
San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick heads into Thursday's divisional matchup with a 7-5 career regular-season record as a starter against the NFC West. Kaepernick has passed for 16 touchdowns and has posted a passer rating of at least 90 in eight of his 12 starts against the NFC West.
Kaepernick's career regular-season numbers as a starter against the NFC West:
|Record||Passing Yards||TDs||Rating||Rushing Yards|
Chicago Bears (5-6) at Detroit Lions (7-4) Game Notes
1st Thanksgiving game since 2004
QB JAY CUTLER has won 7 of his past 10 starts vs. Det
In 12 meetings, RB MATT FORTe has 1,365 scrimmage yards (113.8 per game) & 9 TDs (6 rush, 3 rec.). Rushed for 2 TDs last week
In last meeting, WR BRANDON MARSHALL had 7 catches for 139 yards & 2 TDs. Since 2012, has 31 rec. TDs, 4th in NFL. WR ALSHON JEFFERY aims for 3rd in row vs. Det. with 100+ rec. yards
DE WILLIE YOUNG played 4 years with Det. (2010-13) & had 6 sacks. In 1st year with Chi., has 8 sacks. DT STEPHEN PAEA had 2 sacks last week & has 6 sacks, 2nd most by NFC DT. In 13 games vs. Det., DE JARED ALLEN has 15.5 sacks, 4 FFs & 36-yard INT-TD. Since 2012, CB TIM JENNINGS is 2nd in NFL with 13 INTs & ties for 3rd with 3 INT-TDs
Play 75th game on Thanksgiving. Host Chi. on Thanksgiving for 1st time since 1999
QB MATTHEW STAFFORD aims for 3rd win in row vs. Chi. Has passed for 771 yards (385.5 per game) & 5 TDs in past 2 on Thanksgiving
RB REGGIE BUSH aims for 3rd consecutive game vs. Chi. with 100+ rush yards
WR CALVIN JOHNSON aims for 6th in row on Thanksgiving with TD catch. In past 17 at home, has 116 catches for 2,039 yards (119.9 per game) & 11 TDs. Since 2011, leads NFL with 5,715 rec. yards & 105.8 rec. yards per game. In past 8, WR GOLDEN TATE has 56 catches for 846 yards (105.8 per game) & 3 TDs. In past 3 at home, has 28 catches for 397 yards (132.3 per game) & 2 TDs
LB DE ANDRE LEVY had INT in last meeting. Has 7 INTs since 2013, most by NFL LB. DT NDAMUKONG SUH aims for 5th in row vs. Chi. with sack. In past 6, DE EZEKIEL ANSAH has 4.5 sacks & 3 FFs. In past 2 meetings, DT NICK FAIRLEY has sack & FR-TD.
Philadelphia Eagles (8-3) At Dallas Cowboys (8-3) Game Notes
1st Thanksgiving game in Dallas since 1989 (Eagles won, 27-0)
QB MARK SANCHEZ won only start vs. Dal. (9/11/11 with NYJ) & passed for 335 yards & 2 TDs. Has 985 pass yards (328.3 per game) in past 3
In last meeting, RB LE SEAN MC COY had 131 rush yards & rec. TD. Has 5 TDs (3 rush, 2 rec.) in 3 games on Thurs. Rushed for 130 yards & TD last week. In last game vs. Dal. (11/10/13 with NO), RB DARREN SPROLES had rush TD & rec. TD
WR JEREMY MACLIN has TD catch in 3 of past 4 meetings. In past 5, has 36 catches for 535 yards (107 per game) & 5 TDs. Rookie WR JORDAN MATTHEWS has 4 TDs in past 4
Rookie KR JOSH HUFF had 107-yard KR-TD last week, longest TD in franchise history. Phi. has 9 different players with return TD, tied for most in season in NFL history
LB CONNOR BARWIN had 2 sacks last week & leads NFC with 12.5 sacks. LB MYCHAL KENDRICKS had 12 tackles, INT & FF in last game vs. Dal. LB TRENT COLE had 2 sacks last week
The Cowboys are 29-16-1 on Thanksgiving, incl. 6-2 in past 8
QB TONY ROMO is 7-1 as starter on Thurs. (6-1 on Thanksgiving) with 108.2 rating. Has won past 3 starts vs. Phi. & has 105.8 rating. In last home meeting, completed 22 of 27 (81.5 pct.) for 303 yards with 3 TDs, 0 INTs & 150.5 rating. Had 4 TDs & 143.4 rating last week
RB DE MARCO MURRAY is 1st ever with 100+ rush yards in 10 of team's 1st 11 games. Leads NFL with 1,354 rushing yards. Rushed for 3 TDs last year on Thanksgiving
WR DEZ BRYANT aims for 5th in row with TD & 3rd in row with 2+ TDs. In past 2 on Thanksgiving, has 15 catches for 206 yards (103 per game) & 3 TDs. Has TD in 7 of past 9 at home. In past 2 at home vs. Phi., TE JASON WITTEN has 18 catches for 243 yards (121.5 per game)
CB BRANDON CARR has 2 INTs (1 TD) in past 4 meetings. S BARRY CHURCH leads team with 61 tackles. Had INT last week vs. NYG. DE GEORGE SELVIE had 2 sacks in 10/20/13 meeting vs. Phi.
Seattle Seahawks (7-4) at San Francisco 49ers (7-4) Game Notes
1st Thanksgiving game since 2008 (at Dallas)
QB RUSSELL WILSON has won past 2 on Thurs. with 5 TDs, 0 INTs & 116.6 rating. Has won 3 of past 4 vs. SF, incl. NFC Champ
In past 6 meetings (incl. NFC Champ.), RB MARSHAWN LYNCH has 600 rush yards (100 per game) & 8 TDs (6 rush). In 5 games on Thurs., has 512 rush yards (102.4 per game) & 6 TDs. Has TD in 10 of past 15 (incl. playoffs) & has 17 TDs in those 15 (14 rush, 3 rec.)
WR DOUG BALDWIN had 6 catches for 106 yards in NFC Champ. WR JERMAINE KEARSE had 35-yard TD in NFC Champ
CB RICHARD SHERMAN has 2 INTs, FF & TD (90-yard blocked FG return) in past 4 meetings. Since entering league in 2011, leads NFL with 21 INTs. DE CLIFF AVRIL had 2 sacks last week. DE MICHAEL BENNETT had sack, FF & FR in NFC Champ. S KAM CHANCELLOR has 2 INTs, FF & FR in past 4 vs. SF (incl. NFC Champ.). In past 3, S EARL THOMAS has 19 tackles, 47-yard INT & 2 FFs
San Francisco 49ers
QB COLIN KAEPERNICK won only Thurs. start (9/26/13 at StL) & had 115.7 rating. When he starts & has 100+ rating (incl. playoffs), team is 15-1 (.938)
RB FRANK GORE has 2 highest single-game rushing performances in franchise history, both vs. Sea. (212 yards on 11/19/06 & 207 on 9/20/09). Has 892 rush yards (127.4 per game) in past 7 home meetings. Has 571 rush yards (114.2 per game) in 5 Thurs. games
WR ANQUAN BOLDIN has 14 catches for 221 yards (110.5 per game) & TD in past 2 on Thurs. Had 9 catches for 137 yards & TD last week. TE VERNON DAVIS had TD in last home meeting. Since 2009 (incl. playoffs), is 3rd in NFL with 53 rec. TDs. WR MICHAEL CRABTREE aims for 6th in row vs. Sea. w/ 4+ catches (incl. playoffs)
LB ALDON SMITH has 6 sacks in past 6 vs. Sea. (incl. playoffs). Had 2 sacks last week. DT JUSTIN SMITH had sack & FF last week. Rookie LB CHRIS BORLAND has 63 tackles, 2 INTs, FR & sack in past 5. Rookie LB AARON LYNCH has sack in 4 of past 5.
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