There is nothing like the tradition of Thanksgiving football. The tradition began 87 years ago, and although there was a brief hiatus during World War II, it has become a staple of the American holiday.
The NFL is entering its 16th season of scheduling three games for Thanksgiving. Only two games were played last year. The night game between Steelers and Ravens was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns, but the Lions and Cowboys continued their decades-long streak of playing over the holidays.
The Lions were the team that started the Thanksgiving tradition. Owner George A. Richards designed the game in 1934 to increase attendance and it worked. The Cowboys began playing in the 1966 vacation. Barring a brief hiatus imposed by the NFL, they have continued to do so.
In 2021, the tradition will continue once again. The Lions will face the Bears, the Cowboys will fight the Raiders and the Bills will have a chance to face the Saints when the night game returns.
Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about the teams playing on Thanksgiving this year, plus the games’ TV channels and more.
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Which teams will play on Thanksgiving 2020?
|Play||Start time||television channel|
|Bears into lions||12:30 pm ET||Fox, fuboTV|
|Raiders in jeans||4:30 pm ET||Fox, fuboTV|
|Invoices in los santos||8:20 pm ET||NBC, fuboTV|
The Lions are hosting their 82nd Thanksgiving game in 2021 and, heading into Week 11, they were still looking to get Dan Campbell his first win. Could it come against the Bears? The Lions lost 24-14 to the Bears earlier in the season, but if they can stop Justin Fields and the Bears’ offense, they could pull off a brave victory. After all, they will be motivated to win on Thanksgiving.
The Cowboys will play their 53rd Thanksgiving Day game and have a chance to play their second team from the AFC West in as many games. The Raiders appear to be an easier matchup for the Cowboys than the Chiefs, as Las Vegas has collapsed in recent weeks following the pitches of Henry Ruggs III and Damon Arnette. Dallas’ offense is playing well, so as long as they are healthy, they will be solid favorites in this one.
The night game for 2021 should be interesting. There was no last season, the Ravens-Steelers game was postponed due to COVID issues, but it will return this year. The Bills have a strong offense led by Josh Allen and also great defense. The Saints have the best running defense in the league and could challenge some of the Bills’ receivers.
This can come down to the quarterback game, but maybe Trevor Siemian can play well enough to win. Having Alvin Kamara healthy and available would certainly help his cause.
What channel is Thanksgiving football on?
Lions vs. Bears
(Start at 12:30 pm ET)
- television channel: Fox
- Live broadcast: fuboTV
Fox’s number one broadcast team, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, tend to call the Thanksgiving game for the network. They may not show the Cowboys this year, but you can still expect them to be in the roster for the Lions-Bears game as they generally air “Thursday Night Football” anyway.
Erin Andrews and Kristina Pink have served as a team duo as sideline reporters this year, and they will likely continue to do this for Fox’s independent Thanksgiving game.
Mike Pereira is a broadcast rules analyst for Fox.
Cowboys vs. Raiders TV channel
(Start at 4:30 pm ET)
- television channel: CBS
- Live broadcast: fuboTV
It looks like Jim Nantz and Tony Romo will have the CBS call-up in the Cowboys-Raiders game. That means viewers will be able to watch Romo take down his former team and the starter who replaced him.
Tracy Wolfson is the side reporter for Nantz and Romo’s team, while former NFL referee Gene Steratore will serve as CBS’s rules analyst for the game.
Saints vs. Bills
(Start at 8:20 pm ET)
- television channel: NBC
- Live broadcast: fuboTV
It seems likely that the NBC broadcast will switch from its usual duo of Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth on Thanksgiving. Michaels usually has Thanksgiving off and is replaced by Mike Tirico. This year, it looks like Collinsworth will be moving out of the booth to take a vacation, while Drew Brees will break down his former Saints team in the booth.
Michele Tafoya or Kathryn Tappen will act as band reporters in this game, while Terry McAulay, a recently retired official, will serve as the NFL rules analyst for the broadcast.
MORE: Why Lions Play Thanksgiving Explained
What soccer teams always play on Thanksgiving?
the Detroit lions They are ready to play their 82nd game on Thanksgiving. The tradition began in 1934 with its only interruption of Thanksgiving games between 1939 and 1944 during the height of World War II.
the Dallas Cowboys he joined the fray in 1966 and hosted a few Thanksgiving Day games in the early years of his franchise history. They paused for a bit from 1975 to 1977, as the NFL wanted the St. Louis Cardinals to play on Thanksgiving to increase their popularity, they are set to play at home for the 43rd year in a row.
The Lions have a career record of 37-42-2 at Thanksgiving. They haven’t won a game since 2016 against the Vikings. The Cowboys are 31-21-1 on Thanksgiving with their last win over Washington in 2018.
MORE: Why the Cowboys play Thanksgiving explained
What teams have never played on Thanksgiving?
There is only one team that has never played on Thanksgiving. They are the Jaguars.
The Jaguars have only been around since 1995 and are one of the NFL’s smallest market teams. As such, it makes sense that they still have to play on Thanksgiving, especially when you look at their production over the years. Jacksonville has routinely been one of the worst teams in the NFL, so it makes sense that the NFL avoided scheduling the team in a prominent place, like Thanksgiving.
Perhaps if Trevor Lawrence improves in future seasons, the Jaguars will get that thumbs up. For now, however, they are the only team without a Thanksgiving appearance. Three other teams, the Buccaneers, Bengals and Panthers, have played just once on Thanksgiving.
Below is a list of NFL teams in order by number of appearances at Thanksgiving games, not including 2021 games.
|Green Bay Packers||36|
|New York Giants||fifteen|
|Kansas City Chiefs||10|
|New York Jets||8|
|Tennessee Titans / Houston Oilers||7|
|San Francisco 49ers||5|
|New England Patriots||5|
|Los Angeles Chargers||5|
|Los Angeles Rams||5|
|New Orleans Saints||3|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1|
Do people watch football on Thanksgiving?
NFL Thanksgiving Day games have routinely been among the most viewed NFL regular season broadcasts in recent years. In 2019, the Bills-Cowboys Thanksgiving game averaged 32.53 million viewers, making it the most-watched game since the 2019 Super Bowl between the Patriots and Rams.
In 2020, the trend of the Cowboys being a huge draw continued. They averaged 30.3 million viewers. for their 41-16 loss at the hands of the Washington soccer team. It didn’t quite compare to the numbers from the previous season, but it was still impressive considering the ongoing COVID pandemic and the increase in transmission alternatives.
The Lions-Texans game in 2020 attracted 23.2 million viewers on average during the game. Neither team had a playoff shot, so the broadcast went well, all things considered. The Steelers-Ravens game was, unfortunately, postponed due to some positive aspects of COVID, so these two games are the ones we have data on.
Long story shot, yes. People watch soccer on Thanksgiving. It continues to be a tradition for many families throughout the United States.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.