Food, family, and football. The smell of Thanksgiving is in the air. After the Covid-19 pandemic forced the NFL to change its holiday format last season, three games are back on the schedule again this year — including the classic matchups featuring the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys.
Fans of the New England Patriots can sit back and relax. The team will not take the field in Week 12 until Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, making for a stressless evening. That said, there are still some clear rooting interests to talk about, so let’s do just that.
Welcome to the Thanksgiving edition of the Patriots rooting guide.
12:30 pm ET
Chicago Bears (3-7) at Detroit Lions (0-9-1): Go Bears! While this all-NFC matchup has no major impact on the Patriots and their position in the AFC playoff race, rooting for Chicago is still the way to go here. Why? The NFL Draft. The Lions, after all, are the frontrunners to earn the first overall pick. Not far behind them, however, are the 2-8 New York Jets. Every additional Lions loss therefore makes it more likely that they, and not the Jets, earn the top pick next spring. | FOX
4:30 pm ET
Las Vegas Raiders (5-5) at Dallas Cowboys (7-3): Go Cowboys! The Patriots were beaten by Dallas earlier this year, and yet their fans should root for the Cowboys today. The reason is as simple as obvious: the NFC team most always is a better rooting interest than the AFC squad — especially one that is still alive in the race for a playoff spot. Dropping to 5-6, however, would make life significantly more difficult for the Raiders. | CBS
8:20 pm ET
Buffalo Bills (6-4) at New Orleans Saints (5-5): Go Saints! The primetime matchup between Buffalo and New Orleans is the easiest game to root for this weekend. The Bills, after all, are the Patriots’ closest competition for the AFC East title and thus a top-four playoff seed in the conference. While New England did overtake its division rivals last week, a Buffalo loss would go a long way towards helping the Patriots stay ahead in the long haul. | NBC