NFL fans set for a Thanksgiving Day feast

Irish fans can enjoy the once yearly experience of American football at a reasonable hour on a Thursday.

FOR AMERICAN FOOTBALL fans in Ireland, Thanksgiving is better than Christmas. 

Once a year, on the last Thursday of November, Thursday Night football takes place at a decent time for those of us who have to deal in GMT.

Sometimes the games can be awful but, this year, they’re not so bad with the 9.30pm game particularly tasty.

Philadelphia Eagles (4-6) @ Detroit Lions (3-7) – 5.30pm

Source: Jersey Autentico/YouTube

The Eagles are a bit of a mess at the moment. A team without a clear identity and a head coach who appears to have lost the locker room, Philadelphia have lost their last two games, failing to break the 20-point mark in either despite Chip Kelly’s much vaunted offence.

Add to the mix the fact they’re forced to start Mark Sanchez — whose most famous Thanksgiving moment will forever be the ‘Butt Fumble’ — and things don’t look great for the Eagles this evening.

The Lions have won both their games since the bye week, with the defence stepping up to limit the Packers and Raiders to a combined 29 points. Expect a similar lack of generosity this evening as they move to 4-7.

Carolina Panthers (10-0) @ Dallas Cowboys (3-7) – 9.30pm

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Redskins Panthers Football Cam Newton has been in tremendous form this season. Source: AP/Press Association Images

On paper, this should be a relatively routine win for the perfect Panthers against a Dallas team that lost seven in a row before last weekend. However, the key factor in this game could well prove to be the returning Tony Romo who, like his opposite number Cam Newton, is undefeated this season.

Carolina are currently 11/2 second favourites for the Super Bowl while the Cowboys realistically have to win five or more of their remaining six games to be in with a chance of the postseason and yet Dallas are one-point favourites to win this match-up.

Newton, for his part, is having the best season of his young career with 20 passing touchdowns to his name as well as six with his feet. This game affords him a real opportunity to show all the MVP and Super Bowl talk is for good reason. Panthers by 3.

Chicago Bears (4-6) @ Green Bay Packers (7-3) – 1.30am

Packers Bears Football Jay Cutler and Aaron Rodgers will meet again this evening. Source: Charles Rex Arbogast/AP/Press Association Images

Since 2008, the Packers have won 13 of 16 games between these NFC North rivals and the last three haven’t even been close with Green Bay’s average margin of victory more than 23 points so this one may not be worth staying up for.

However, until last week’s return to form with victory over the Minnesota Vikings, Aaron Rodgers’ team looked vulnerable this year and will, once more, look to Eddie Lacy to put up a big performance on the ground.

Earlier this season, the Bears looked like one of the worst three teams in the NFL but have turned it around and can consider themselves unlucky not to be 5-5.

As has happened so often over the past eight years, however, Bears fans are unlikely to be giving thanks for anything once this one is over. Packers by 7+.

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Steve O'Rourke

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