Beastin’ and Feastin’: History and NFL Preview

Kyle Laska and Jake Luce

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 Thanksgiving Football Story

When you hear the word “Thanksgiving,” many words come to mind: Family, food, friends, and of course, football.  Football has been a large part of Thanksgiving ever since 1934, when the Detroit Lions were defeated by the Chicago Bears on Thanksgiving Day.  That fateful game sparked an annual Thanksgiving tradition, which has been carried out for 80 years straight.

However, the annual tradition of Thanksgiving football games was not precedented by the NFL.  Starting in 1876, Yale and Princeton faced off against each other every year on Thanksgiving day.  The University of Michigan also played Thanksgiving games from 1885 through 1905.  By the time the NFL was founded in 1920, football had already played a large role in Thanksgiving traditions.

Presently, three NFL games are played on Thanksgiving every year. One is payed in the morning, one is played in the afternoon, and one is played in the evening.

Sophomore Brandon Rule thoroughly enjoys the setup of the games this year.  “I love how there is a football game on at every time in the day,” Rule states.  “You can watch one in the morning when you wake up, you can watch one while you are getting ready for dinner, and you can watch one after you scarf down all your turkey and stuffing.

Football on Thanksgiving provides a great way for families and friends to bond, so here is your guide to bonding for this Thanksgiving day.




Bears @ Lions

10:30 CT


Coming into the season, expectations were high for the Chicago Bears. Not only were they expected to compete for the NFC North title, they were possible Super Bowl contenders. However, they have not lived up to expectations. As of now, the Bears are 5-6 and sit in last place of the NFC North division. The Lions, however, have been just the opposite. They have dominated defensively, having one of the best defenses in the league to this point in the season . Their offense has been good enough, even with injuries causing key players to miss time.

This matchup will be one of the gunslingers, as two quarterbacks with rocket arms will look to throw the ball downfield, and throw it a lot, throughout the game. The dynamic WR duo of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, both taller than 6’3”, should allow the Bears to have some options downfield, even against a stingy Lions defense. Detroit’s Matt Stafford is known for having a strong arm, and with WR Calvin Johnson catching the ball, it’s always going to create problems for defenses.

The determining factor of this game will be defense.  The Lions are allowing just 74 rushing yards a game, second best in the NFL. They are also only allowing 216 yards passing a game, which is fifth best in the league.

The Lions have a better defense, and in a game where defenses will need to step up, expect them to prevail.

Lions 24, Bears 20


Eagles @ Cowboys

3:30 CT



The Eagles are undoubtedly one of the most athletic teams in the league. They push the tempo with no-huddle sets and quick substitutions. However, they don’t have usual starting QB Nick Foles. Foles has a fractured clavicle and is sidelined for at least the next few weeks. This means QB Mark Sanchez will have to step up and lead an offense that already has plenty of weapons. He will have the help of RB Lesean McCoy and WR Jeremy Maclin to attack a Cowboys defense that has been better than expected coming into this year.

The Cowboys lost LB Sean Lee for the season due to a torn ACL suffered on the first day of practice. Without their top LB, and the departure of DE Demarcus Ware in free agency, the Cowboys defense was predicted to be worse than their historically bad defense in 2013. However, additions like LB Rolando McClain have helped the Cowboys play solid defense this year and help out their potent offense. Their offense has RB DeMarco Murray, the NFL’s leading rusher, and Dez Bryant, a top WR in terms of size and athleticism.

In what has the makings of a potential shootout, it comes down to which team can make stops when it matters. In my mind, the RB matchup of McCoy versus Murray will be one to watch. However, the running game will not win the game, and with teams leaning on their quarterbacks, the nod goes to QB Tony Romo and his Cowboys, even though Sanchez is fully capable of leading the Eagles to success.

Cowboys 34, Eagles 31


Seahawks @ 49ers

7:30 CT



The Seahawks just aren’t the same team they were last year. Last year, they had a certain swagger. It seemed as if they unbeatable. While they aren’t as dominant this year, they’re still a top team in the NFL. They have a top-3 defense led by CB Richard Sherman and S Earl Thomas, and they have an offense that can compete with the best of them, led by RB Marshawn Lynch. With the departure of WR Percy Harvin, this team loses some athleticism, but the Seahawks have begun to lean more heavily on QB Russell Wilson and his legs in terms of moving the ball.

The 49ers also have a fantastic defense, ranking in the top 3 in terms of total defense. However, the loss of LB Patrick Willis will hurt the team down the stretch. This isn’t the end of the world, though, as rookie LB Chris Borland has stepped up and played great for the team in his time on the field. The 49ers offense can also compete, as they have a great RB in Frank Gore. Mobile QB Colin Kaepernick is proving himself as an absolute game-changer, and unlike the Seahawks, his wide receivers are among the best. WRs Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree should help Kaepernick against the Seahawks’ stingy pass defense.

In a game where everything about these two teams seems equal, you have to look for differences. In terms of big differences, there is only one in mind: Wide receivers. The 49ers have more weapons and a more dangerous passing game. For that reason, they get the edge.

49ers 21, Seahawks 17