The Complete Guide to 2013 NFL Thanksgiving Games

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksNFL AnalystNovember 28, 2013

The Complete Guide to 2013 NFL Thanksgiving Games

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    Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

    There are certain traditions that are essential parts of Thanksgiving.

    Watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

    Eating until you feel like you're going to explode...and then having pie.

    And last but not least, watching the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys each play home games on Turkey Day.

    In recent years, the NFL added a third game to the Thanksgiving slate (because of money), giving fans 10 hours of NFL goodness to be thankful for.

    The day started with the Green Bay Packers traveling to play the Lions and losing 40-10, followed by the Oakland Raiders losing to the Cowboys on the road 31-24 and a prime-time showdown that saw the Baltimore Ravens slip past the surging Pittsburgh Steelers in thrilling fashion, 22-20.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

Detroit Lions 40, Green Bay Packers 10

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    It was quite the drubbing in Detroit today. The Lions tore apart the Packers defense en route to a 40-10 victory.

    The Lions were back to their error-prone ways early with three first-half turnovers, two interceptions from Matthew Stafford and a Reggie Bush fumble, but they were able to overcome these woes by continually shredding the Packers defense.

    Detroit ended the game with 561 yards of total offense, but it wasn't just the play on offense that led to the score. The Detroit Lions defense held Green Bay to 126 total yards and sacked Matt Flynn seven times.

    Speaking of Matt Flynn, Packer fans must be excited for the return of Aaron Rodgers because Flynn's performance was nothing short of abysmal. Flynn finished the game 10-of-20 for 139 yards, no touchdowns and one interception, with most of his yardage coming during garbage time late in the game.

    The futility of the Packers offense was on full display not only in the passing game, but the running game as well. Eddie Lacy finished with 16 yards on 10 carries as the Packers averaged 1.6 yards per carry, with their longest rush going for four yards.

    Detroit now controls the division with a 7-5 record while Green Bay is buried multiple games back at 5-6-1.

     

Dallas Cowboys 31, Oakland Raiders 24

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    Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    It took a 14-point deficit at home, but the Cowboys rose the occasion and dominated the Raiders in the second half of a 31-24 victory.

    Behind a 145-yard combined rushing effort from DeMarco Murray and Lance Dunbar, Dallas controlled the second half and made plays when it mattered most.

    Matt McGloin wasn't a problem for the Raiders, but he wasn't a solution either. Oakland couldn't get out of its own way and was penalized 10 times for 71 yards while turning the ball over twice.

    This team is far from truly being competitive. Dennis Allen still has a lot of work to do.

    Meanwhile, at 7-5, the Cowboys hold a half-game lead over the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East. Philly plays the red-hot Cardinals on Sunday, and even a win will keep the Eagles behind Dallas courtesy of head-to-head win percentage. However, the Cowboys and Eagles play again in Week 17.

    Ultimately, Tony Romo (23-of-32 for 225 yards and one touchdown) and the Cowboys are in control of their playoff destiny. They can't ask for much more than that at this point of the season.

Baltimore Ravens 22, Pittsburgh Steelers 20

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    Patrick Smith/Getty Images

    The Baltimore Ravens didn’t make it look easy, but they made it.

    With little more than a minute left on the clock, the Pittsburgh Steelers lined up for a two-point conversion that could have tied the Thanksgiving nightcap at 22-22 and potentially forced some late-night leftovers in the form of overtime.

    Instead, Ben Roethlisberger’s pass attempt slipped through the hands of Emmanuel Sanders and found the end-zone turf, all but gift-wrapping Baltimore’s 22-20 victory.

    At 6-6, the Ravens are in sole possession of an AFC Wild Card spot, and the Steelers (5-7) are eyeing what could be a tumultuous offseason of tough personnel decisions. The AFC North has officially become a two-team race.

    While Joe Flacco produced a workmanlike 251-yard, one-touchdown performance, it was kicker Justin Tucker who shouldered the Ravens’ offense. The 24-year-old was a perfect 5-of-5 with his right foot, extending his streak of successful field-goal conversions to 27.

    As long as Baltimore’s offense continues to sputter (311 total yards Thursday night), Tucker is going to be the glue that holds it all together. Ray Rice is showing no signs of speeding up after a 12-carry, 32-yard performance against the Steelers’ No. 23 rushing defense, and it’s becoming clear Baltimore must find an answer to its ground game woes.

    Still, the Ravens can’t complain about where they are. With a 6-6 mark and a tentative Wild Card spot, things may finally be looking up in Baltimore.