Thanksgiving Football: Who's Playing & How To Watch

Thanksgiving is full of family traditions, but one of the biggest national traditions of the holiday is an entire day of Thanksgiving NFL games. Thanksgiving day NFL games have been a staple of the holiday since the NFL began back in 1920. There were as many as four games back when it began, before dwindling to two a year, but there have reliably been three football games on Thanksgiving since 2006.

In 2018, there'll once again be three football games played on Thanksgiving, and the theme is division rivals in the NFC as the entire AFC will be left out of the festivities. The three matchups this year pit NFC North, NFC East, and NFC South teams against each other, each with something to prove.

Here's who is playing in the NFL Thanksgiving games, and how you can watch live. For those of your without a cable subscription, many online-only options are available, which will explore below.

Chicago Bears (7-3) vs Detroit Lions (4-6)

Channel: CBS

Time: 12:30 pm EST

Watch The Game Online: Fox Sports Go app, cable subscription verification required (iOS, Android, Amazon Kindle Fire, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast, Roku Samsung Smart TVs, Xbox One)

The Bears are winners of four straight games and continue to see their offense come together under quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who may have to sit out the game out due to an injury, with his backup Chase Daniel playing instead. Their early season acquisition of Khalil Mack has paid dividends for a defense allowing just 19.5 points per game this season and leading the league in turnovers, with 27 takeaways in their first ten games.

The Lions enter the game after narrowly defeating the Carolina Panthers last week to snap a three-game slide. They'll be without star rookie running back Kerryon Johnson due to a knee injury, which will keep the ball in quarterback Matthew Stafford's big arm for most of the game. He'll have rising second-year wide receiver Kenny Galloday at his disposal, but fellow wideout Marvin Jones Jr. will not play. The teams faced off just two weeks ago in Chicago and resulted in a 34-22 victory for the Bears. They'll play at Ford Field in Detroit for this matchup, where the weather will not be a factor due to the enclosed stadium.

Washington Redskins (6-4) vs Dallas Cowboys (5-5)

Channel: FOX

Time: 4:30 pm EST

Watch The Game Online: CBS All Access, subscription required, free trial available (Android TV, Fire TV, Chromecast, Roku, PS4, Xbox One and smart TVs from Samsung, Vizio)

The Cowboys enter Thanksgiving on a bit of a high themselves. After a rough start to the season, they've won two straight games to remain in the playoff and division title hunt. Steady play quarterback Dak Prescott and more usage of running back Zeke Elliott, as well as newly acquired wide receiver Amari Cooper, have benefitted the offense. The Redskins currently sit atop the NFC East standings, but have been put in a tough position following the events of their loss to the Houston Texans last week. Their starting quarterback Alex Smith exited the game after a gruesome season-ending injury that resulted in compound and spiral fractures in his right leg. Backup Colt McCoy will get the start in his place, but the expectation is that running back Adrian Peterson's workload will increase even more as part of his rejuvenated season. Both teams sport low scoring offenses and stout defenses, so this could be a classic grind it out division matchup. They previously met in week 6 where the Redskins won at home by a score of 20-17. This time AT&T Stadium will serve as the battlefield, where the Cowboys are 3-1 this season.

Atlanta Falcons (4-6) vs New Orleans Saints (9-1)


Time: 8:20 pm EST

Watch The Game Online: NBC Sports SNF All Access

The Falcons and Saints on paper could provide the most excitement of the day with two likely high scoring offenses, especially after the Saints outlasted the Falcons in overtime for a 43-37 victory when they met in week 3. The Saints are winners of seven straight games since then and are riding a nine-game winning streak overall. This is largely thanks to being the highest scoring team on the season with a 37.8 points per game average. Future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees is lighting up teams with 25 touchdowns thrown to just 1 interception on the season, as he feeds ascending wide receiver, Michael Thomas. Running back Alvin Kamara is a dual-threat playmaker with 15 total touchdowns this season and over 1,000 combined yards from scrimmage. On the other side of the field, the Falcons' disappointing season continues as they enter this game on a two-game losing streak. Quarterback Matt Ryan has played fairly well all year long and wide receiver Julio Jones is finally getting into the end zone as of late. But, they'll need their porous bottom five defense to step up big time to give them a realistic shot at upsetting the Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

How To Watch Thanksgiving NFL Games Online Without A Cable Subscription

There are trials for CBS All Access available even to those without cable subscription. However, for the other game there are several options.

You can watch all channels on PlayStation Vue, DirectTV Now, Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV or FuboTV. You can also watch NBC and Fox (but not CBS) on Sling TV.

More: How to Watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Online

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