Thanksgiving weekend sports preview

By Khari Demos, Sports Editor 

Every year, people across the country gather with their families to give thanks and load their plates with turkey all weekend long. Good food, outrageous shopping deals and spending time with loved ones are all synonymous with Thanksgiving. Yet there might be one more thing even more closely linked to this holiday: football.

The Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys are both staples of Thanksgiving, with both teams now playing on this day for the 82nd and 49th times respectively. The NFL has taken note of this success and has slated a third primetime game on the evening of Thanksgiving as well.

The Lions have won their last three contests and look to battle with division rival and the NFC North leaders in the Minnesota Vikings. Despite sitting at 8-2, the Vikings have only one home loss this season, dating back to Oct. 1 when they were defeated by the Lions.

‘America’s team’ has struggled since the suspension of All-Pro running back Ezekiel Elliott, losing its last two games by a combined score of 64-16. Their offense should improve when they take on the Los Angeles Chargers, with superstar left tackle Tyron Smith back in the lineup, after missing time with a groin and back injury.

The primetime Thanksgiving game will be another divisional matchup, with the New York Giants traveling to the nation’s capital to play the Washington Redskins. Washington’s quarterback Kirk Cousins, currently the NFL’s third leading passer, will be up against New York’s two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning for the first of two games in the next six weeks.

If NFL football is not your forte, there is a college football option for you to watch. No. 14 Mississippi State hosts Ole Miss in the “Egg Bowl” on Thanksgiving night, the first contest of college football’s rivalry week. Since 2011, the Bulldogs and Rebels have split in these games 3-3, with the Bulldogs most recently coming out on top 55-20 last fall.

The weekend will be full of college football and basketball action. NBA and NHL teams will get back to work while people get their Christmas lists in order on Black Friday. And the NFL will end the weekend on Sunday. Here is a list of some of the notable games to watch during Thanksgiving Break:

Thursday, Nov. 23
NFL:
Minnesota Vikings @ Detroit Lions – 12:30 (FOX)
L.A. Chargers @ Dallas Cowboys – 4:30 (CBS)
N.Y. Giants @ Washington Redskins – 8:30 (NBC)

NCAA Football:
Ole Miss @ #14 Mississippi St.

NCAA Basketball:
Portland @ #9 UNC – 2:30 (ESPN)
#21 Saint Mary’s @ Harvard – 4 (ESPNews)
Portland State @ #1 Duke – 4:30 (ESPN)
#15 Xavier @ George Washington – 5 (FS1)
Rhode Island @ #20 Seton Hall – 6 (ESPNU)
#23 West Virginia @ Marist – 8:30 (ESPNews)
#7 Florida @ Stanford – 10 (ESPN2)
#4 Michigan State @ DePaul – 11:30 (ESPN)
#17 Gonzaga @ Ohio St. – 11:59 (ESPN2)

Friday, Nov. 24
NCAA Football:
#2 Miami @ Pitt – 12 (ABC)
Navy @ Houston – 12 (ESPN)
#25 VT @ Virginia – 8 (ESPN)

NCAA Basketball:
Advocare Invitational/Game 1 – 11 a.m. (ESPNews)
Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis/Game 1 – 12 (ESPN2)
Wooden Legacy Tournament/Game 1 – 1:30 (ESPNews)
Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis/Game 2 – 2 (ESPN2)
PK80 Tournament/Game 1 – 3:30 (ESPN)
Advocare Invitational/Game 2 – 5 (ESPN2)
PK80 Tournament/Game 2 (ESPN) – 5:30 (ESPN)
Wooden Legacy Tournament/Game 2 – 7 (ESPN2)

NHL:
Pittsburgh Penguins @ Boston Bruins – 1 (NBC)
New York Islanders @ Philadelphia Flyers – 4 (TSN)

NBA:
Chicago Bulls @ Golden State Warriors – 10:30 p.m. (NBATV)

Saturday, Nov. 25
NCAA Football:
#7 Georgia @ Georgia Tech – 12 (ABC)
#9 Ohio St. @ Michigan – 12 (FOX)
#1 Alabama @ #6 Auburn – 3:30 (CBS)
#5 Wisconsin @ Minnesota – 3:30 (ABC)
West Virginia @ #4 Oklahoma – 3:45 (ESPN)
#3 Clemson @ #24 South Carolina – 7:30 (ESPN)
#8 Notre Dame @ #21 Stanford – 8 (ABC)
#13 Washington St. @ #17 Washington – 8 (FOX)

Sunday, Nov. 26
NFL:
Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs – 1 (CBS)
New Orleans Saints @ L.A. Rams – 4:25 (CBS)
Green Bay Packers @ Pittsburgh Steelers – 8:30 (NBC)

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