NFL Preview: Thanksgiving Day games start with Detroit Lions hosting Houston Texans
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: November 22, 2012 5:36pm
Tony Romo: No place like home in November
There's a tasty Turkey Day triple header of NFL action on Thanksgiving Day, and all of it will be live on Sky Sports with three huge games of NFL action.
Detroit is a traditional venue for a Thanksgiving Day game, but the Lions have not enjoyed their recent holiday outings as they are trying to win their first game on the day in nine years - but host the 9-1 Houston Texans.
Dallas is another traditional host and the Cowboys will look to keep their unlikely play-off pursuit on the right track by beating RGIII and divisional rivals Washington in the second game.
A third Thanksgiving game is a newer addition, but it is a beauty this year with heated rivals New England and the New York Jets locking horns in the Big Apple.
Houston @ Detroit
Despite the Texans' fearsome record, all is not lost for the Lions, with Houston only keeping their four-game winning streak courtesy of a 43-37 overtime win over struggling Jacksonville last week - and allowing a season-worst 458 yards to a Jags team led by back-up QB Chad Henne.
With Detroit also ranking second in the league with just over 400 yards a game, this one could be a real Thanksgiving treat for the fans.
Matt Stafford has piled up plenty of yardage but has not managed to turn that into more than four wins this season - as Detroit have lost five of their six games by eight points or fewer, leaving them all-but out of the play-off race.
All is not well within the Detroit campo as well, with receiver Titus Young dropped for his continued unprofessional behaviour, as summed up by fellow wideout Calvin Johnson.
"He's been a distraction the last few weeks whether just not being fully prepared or not showing up to things when we have things on the schedule - him not being there on time," said Johnson. "It's just him not being a professional."
Washington @ Dallas
Remarkably, Dallas are just one game off the NFC East lead despite a largely indifferent season so far, and if they can contain rookie Robert Griffin III and make it seven wins out of eight against the Redskins they will suddenly be right back in the post-season mix.
Former Baylor standout Griffin plays his first NFL game back in Texas, and was almost perfect when beating the Eagles last week, while Dallas had to come from behind to edge out the lowly Browns at home.
The Cowboys have won five of their last six on Thanksgiving while their quarterback Tony Romo loves November in Dallas as he is 14-0 at home during the month.
Romo was sacked seven times last Sunday though, as offensive line issues again frustrated the Cowboys - who also need to have their running game on form to provide the balance for Romo to hit his receivers.
New England @ NY Jets
The Patriots are closing in on ninth AFC East crown in ten years, but the Jets will be desperate to slow down that bandwagon and also keep their season alive when they host their hated rivals in New York.
The Pats do have to start dealing with life after Rob Gronkowski, the tight end who is arguably the biggest receiving touchdown threat in the league but who will be missing for the rest of the regular season with a broken arm.
Tom Brady does have a few other weapons and a good recent record against the Jets with four straight wins and 15 wins in the last 19 regular season meetings.
Rex Ryan is always desperate to get on over on Bill Belichick, but at 4-6 for the first time since 2009, his Jets need to take advantage of an easy schedule after this game to make a late dash for the play-offs, and bringing down the pats would be the perfect start.
"Right now, we're just swinging," Ryan said. "We're going to focus on our opponents, specifically, but anything we do, we're behind where we have to be. We can only focus on ourselves and just find a way to punch it. We earned where we are and we just have to find a way to punch our way out."