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American Thanksgiving has arrived. We’ll get a dose of both turkey and football on Thursday, when a couple of important divisional contests take place. The most notable one will be the matchup between the NFL-leading Dallas Cowboys and the red-hot Washington Redskins. Will the Redskins spoil the Cowboys’ party?


Thanksgiving Games

Three Thanksgiving games are on the schedule this week and all of them have playoff implications. To start things off, the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions will battle for first place in the NFC North at 12:30 PM ET. The Vikings suffered a painful loss in Detroit three weeks ago, so revenge will be on their minds.

At 4:30 PM ET, the Dallas Cowboys will put their nine-game winning streak on the line against a Redskins team that’s 6-1-1 in their last eight. The Cowboys are 7-point favourites, and the total is 52 ½ as we go to press.

Lastly, the 8:30 PM ET nightcap comes from Indianapolis, where the shorthanded Colts will take on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both teams are 5-5 and need a win to move up the ladder in the AFC.


NFC Playoff Picture

If the Redskins end up losing to the Cowboys, that will open the door for teams to close the gap. Entering Week 12, three teams are 6-4 straight up in the NFC.

There are a handful of teams hovering around the 6-5 mark. The loser of Thursday’s Minnesota-Detroit matchup will be 6-5, assuming they don’t tie. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could improve to 6-5 if they spring an upset at home against the Seattle Seahawks, who are 6.5-point favourites. And lastly, the Philadelphia Eagles, who are 4-point favourites over the Green Bay Packers, can also move to 6-5 SU with a victory on Monday Night Football.


AFC Wild Card Race

As for the teams hunting for the final AFC Wild Card spot: the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos – both of whom are 7-3 SU – play each other this week. One of them will lose, which will give the teams chasing them a chance to make up one game. The loser will fall to 7-4, which is good news for the Miami Dolphins (6-4), who can tie for the final spot if they beat the 1-9 San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. Teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5), Buffalo Bills (5-5) and Tennessee Titans (5-6) will get a chance to pull one game closer, too.


Important Injuries

Andrew Luck (IND): The Colts’ quarterback suffered a concussion last Sunday and has yet to practice (as of Tuesday). It’s a short week for the Colts, who play on Thursday, so he’ll likely miss the contest.

Earl Thomas (SEA): The Seahawks’ star safety suffered a hamstring strain last weekend, and head coach Pete Carroll suggested that Thomas may be out for up to two weeks.

AJ Green (CIN): The Bengals’ star wide receiver also strained his hamstring and has already been ruled out for Week 12. There’s concern that the injury could keep him out for an extended period of time.


*Odds as of November 23, 2016