It's never too early to begin planning for Thanksgiving -- not just in terms of what you'll be eating and drinking, but also in terms of what you'll be watching while you eat all that food and drink all that drink. Now that the 2020 NFL schedule has been released, we now know what you'll be watching on Thanksgiving this year. You already knew it'd involve football, but now you know which teams in particular you'll be watching.
This year's Thanksgiving slate features matchups between the Texans and Lions, Redskins and Cowboys, and Ravens and Steelers. Two of those three matchups are divisional rivalries, while the Texans and Lions will be facing each other for only the fifth time ever. The good news is that the list of quarterbacks we'll be watching on Thanksgiving goes like this:
That'll work just fine.
The Pick Six Podcast gang fired up a new episode breaking down every eye-catching aspect of the NFL's schedule release. Give it a listen below, and be sure to subscribe on your favorite podcast platform:
Below, you'll find more details about the three Thanksgiving games. Just keep on scrolling.
Texans at Lions, 12:30 p.m. ET (CBS)
It's never a bad thing when a Thanksgiving game features two of the 10 best quarterbacks in football. So, consider this a good matchup to start the day. In getting Texans vs. Lions, we're getting Deshaun Watson against Matthew Stafford, both of whom ranked in the top-10 in terms of total QBR a year ago. We all know how great Watson is, even though he'll be without DeAndre Hopkins in 2020. But Stafford's tremendous season in 2019 flies under the radar due an injury that ended his season -- he was on pace to throw for nearly 5,000 yards and 38 touchdowns. Above all else, the reason to watch this game is, very clearly, the quarterbacks. But there's also another intriguing storylines. The game will pit two Bill Belichick disciples in Lions coach Matt Patricia and Texans coach Bill O'Brien against each other.?
Unlike the other two games, the early game won't be a rivalry game. The Lions and Texans have only faced each other four times with the Texans leading the series 3-1. This will be their first matchup since 2016, so it'll mark Watson's first-ever game in Detroit. The Lions haven't beaten the Texans since 2004. As of May, the Texans will likely be favored, but given how poorly their offseason went, it won't be terribly surprising if both teams are more evenly matched up in Thanksgiving than we originally thought in May. Not much tends to go as predicted in the NFL.
At the very least, we'll get to wake up and watch two top-10 quarterbacks.
Redskins at Cowboys, 4:30 p.m. ET (Fox)
New Redskins coach Ron Rivera is going to be thrown into the fire of an NFC East rivalry with a Thanksgiving matchup in Dallas against the Cowboys. On paper, the Redskins are nowhere close to as talented as the Cowboys, who loaded up this offseason on offense by taking CeeDee Lamb in the first round and adding Andy Dalton as their backup quarterback, giving them a phenomenal insurance policy should Dak Prescott miss part of the season. So even if Prescott gets hurt before Thanksgiving, the Cowboys are likely to be favored.?
But this could still be an intriguing matchup. For one, the Redskins' stacked defensive front -- they added Chase Young in the draft -- will be going up against one of the league's best offensive lines that will suddenly be without All-Pro center Travis Frederick, who retired this offseason. Two, we'll get to see second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins face a Cowboys defense that could be susceptible now that they're without Byron Jones and Robert Quinn, both of whom departed in free agency. The hope is that by November, Haskins will be far enough along in his development to give us a competitive game. At the very least, it's a safe assumption that the Redskins will be far more competent under Rivera than they were under the previous regime.
Above all else, we'll get to revisit one of the best rivalries in the sport. Even though it carries historical significance, the Cowboys have dominated the series in recent years. They've won the past three matchups and nine out of the past 11 matchups. Overall, the Cowboys lead the series 73-45-2.?
Ravens at Steelers, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)
The NFL is leaning into divisional rivalries for this year's Thanksgiving slate. After getting treated to a Redskins-Cowboys matchup, we're going to polish off Thanksgiving with a juicy AFC North matchup between the Ravens and Steelers in Pittsburgh. This is, quite clearly, the headliner.?
For one, we get to see the reigning MVP in Lamar Jackson and the rest of the Ravens' high-flying offense against a Steelers defense that finished last season ranked third in DVOA. To put it simply, this is game between one of the league's best offenses against one of the league's best defenses. Flipping the matchup around, the Ravens' defense finished last season ranked fourth in DVOA and they fixed their biggest at linebacker in the draft by taking Patrick Queen in the first round, and they're going up against an offense that should be much improved with the return of Ben Roethlisberger. In that sense, this game could feature two top-five offenses and two top-five defenses.?
In addition to being a great matchup for the 2020 season, it's also a great rivalry matchup. The Steelers own the head-to-head advantage over the Ravens by a slim margin: 25-23 in the regular season and 3-1 in the postseason. That said, the Ravens swept the Steelers a year ago. Jackson is turning the tide.
Assuming Big Ben makes a full return and Jackson stays healthy, it should be the perfect way to cap off Thanksgiving with a game between two of the best teams in football who could quite possibly be playing for supremacy in the AFC North.