Thanksgiving will bring plate full of pigskin stuffing

American Thanksgiving will give an extra special helping of gridiron goodness.

The NFL will be staging three games to celebrate the United States holiday on Thursday. It all starts at 12:30 p.m. as the 5-6 Chicago Bears battle the 7-4 Detroit Lions on CBS, at 4:30 p.m. the 8-3 Philadelphia Eagles take on the 8-3 Dallas Cowboys on FOX and at 8:30 p.m. the 7-4 Seattle Seahawks challenge the 7-4 San Francisco 49ers on NBC.

All of the games have playoff implications as they will make a difference in the race for divisional crowns. Chicago needs a win to stay relevant in the National Football Conference postseason picture and will be hoping for more dynamic play from quarterback Jay Cutler. The Lions may be best known for the exploits of QB Matt Stafford in the passing game but the real key to their success in the NFC North is a third-ranked defense.

No one has played better in the NFC East than the Eagles and Cowboys. Both squads have relied on similar successful traits: potent offenses featuring good quarterback play – Nick Foles of Philly and Tony Romo of Dallas have been outstanding – plus powerful running games with Cowboys back DeMarco Murray on pace to make more history this season.

Seattle are the reigning Super Bowl champions but have looked vulnerable at times this season. But they still have a chance to win the NFC West thanks to a top-rated defense headlined by shutdown cornerback Richard Sherman and the league’s best running attack steadied by Marshawn Lynch. San Francisco has also been up and down but sport a gritty defense (ranked second to the Seahawks) and a Colin Kaepernick-led rushing attack that ranks 10th overall.

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