Thanksgiving Day NFL Schedule 2022: Previewing Cowboys, Lions & Turkey Day Games

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVMay 13, 2022

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 25:  A general view of the video scoreboard displaying the Happy Thanksgiving message is seen during a regular season Thanksgiving Day NFL football game between the Chicago Bears and the Detroit Lions on November 25, 2021 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Food, family and football.

Thanksgiving wouldn't be the same without the three F's, and the NFL is providing plenty of the latter with a triple-header this year. The NFL released its 2022 schedule Thursday, and the biggest intrigue when it comes to Turkey Day is which teams the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys will face.

After all, it is an annual tradition for the two NFC teams to play on Thanksgiving.

The league didn't do the Lions any favors when it came to their quest to win on the holiday for the first time since 2016 with a showdown against Super Bowl contenders in the Buffalo Bills.

The Cowboys have an easier matchup with the New York Giants. 

That's not all, though, as the New England Patriots pay a visit to the Minnesota Vikings for the prime-time game.

Here is a look at the full slate of Thanksgiving games for the 2022 campaign.

Buffalo Bills at Detroit Lions, 12:30 p.m. ET (CBS) 

Anyone referring to the Thanksgiving game as the Lions' Super Bowl wouldn't be the first, which is both a testament to how much it means to the fanbase to always be in the national spotlight for the holiday and how far away from the Lombardi Trophy the franchise has been for much of its history.

Detroit has never even been to the Super Bowl, let alone won it, and its last playoff win came in 1991.

That leaves Turkey Day as the chance to shine, but even that won't be easy this year with Josh Allen coming to town.

Buffalo is coming off an 11-6 campaign that ended in heartbreak with an overtime playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Allen didn't get to take the field in overtime thanks to a lost coin toss, which felt particularly cruel given the offensive fireworks that were on display between him and Patrick Mahomes during regulation.

Allen and Stefon Diggs are back on offense, and two-time Super Bowl champion Von Miller is now a member of the defense after the Bills signed the eight-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro this offseason.

Few teams in the league can match Buffalo in talent, and Detroit is not one of them.

Prediction: Bills win 31-13

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys, 4:30 p.m. ET (Fox) 

Lions losses may seem like an inevitable part of Thanksgiving at this point, but those aren't as much of a foregone conclusion as the results of recent games between the Cowboys and Giants.

Dallas is 9-1 in the last 10 games against its NFC East rival with the only loss coming late in the 2020 campaign when quarterback Dak Prescott was sidelined by an injury. Prescott returned in 2021 and ended up throwing for 4,449 yards, 37 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while leading his team to a first-place finish in the division.

Things will look somewhat different in 2022 since Amari Cooper is now on the Cleveland Browns, but the Cowboys still have plenty of weapons surrounding Prescott in CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, among others.

Those are the types of weapons largely missing on the Giants' side as the organization enters a new era with head coach Brian Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen.

While the future may look bright with the new regime and rookies such as Kayvon Thibodeaux and Evan Neal, the present still has Daniel Jones under center. New York elected to decline the fifth-year option on his deal, so the 2022 season may be his last.

It is fitting, then, that it features more losses to the Cowboys.

Prediction: Cowboys win 27-17

New England Patriots at Minnesota Vikings, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)

The final game on the Thanksgiving slate looks to be the best one on paper.

New England is coming off a playoff appearance and may be even better now that quarterback Mac Jones has a year of experience under his belt. Minnesota was 8-9 last year but has plenty of talent with Justin Jefferson, Dalvin Cook and Adam Thielen.

Home-field advantage may not be a major factor in the outcome either, as the Patriots were 6-2 away from Gillette Stadium last year.

The formula for many of those wins was to rely on the defense and the ground game, which was never clearer than when Jones attempted just three passes in a December win over the Bills. Still, he had six touchdown passes to six interceptions in those road games and struggled to establish much consistency.

His average road performance won't be good enough to keep pace with an offense that can be explosive when operating on all cylinders with Jefferson and Thielen making plays in the aerial game and Cook churning out yards between the tackles.

Minnesota will emerge with a holiday victory.

Prediction: Vikings win 24-20