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The Best Games This Season & Other Things About NFL Week 13

Aaron Rodgers Tom Brady
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Forget about turkey; several tasty football games are the best items on the menu during the long Thanksgiving weekend. Here are the storylines we’ll be following in Week 13:

Thursday, Nov. 27

The 2014 NFC East Title Fight: Round I

Philadelphia at Dallas | AT&T Stadium; 4:30 p.m. (ET) on Fox

Tony Romo Mark Sanchez
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Philadelphia sports fans hate the Cowboys a lot more than they like turkey. No Eagles fan worth their (soft pretzel) salt is going to choose to chow down on a Thanksgiving Day feast if it means missing their team’s first meeting of 2014 with Dallas. The holiday game finds both teams atop the NFC East with identical 8-3 records.

Philly QB Mark Sanchez has seven passing touchdowns since replacing the injured Nick Foles in Week 9, but his eight turnovers are alarmingly high. He needs to take better care of the ball. Meanwhile, if Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo gets the type of protection he did against the Giants on Sunday night, heartburn could be the least of the Eagles’ fans worries. These teams face each other again in Philadelphia in two weeks.

Seahawks-Niners Is Perfect For Thanksgiving Night

Seattle at San Francisco | Levi’s Stadium; 8:30 p.m. (ET) on NBC

Richard Sherman Michael Crabtree
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Usually by the time Thanksgiving night rolls around — and your goodwill has been eroded by boring stories, dried-out turkey and the line for the bathroom — you are ready for a scrap. What better NFL match-up for such a turbulent time than the always feisty Seahawks-49ers rivalry?

The teams are tied with records of 7-4, two games behind the over-achieving Cardinals in the NFC West. Both teams have a game left against Arizona — and each other (Dec. 14) — but they’d like this Turkey Day win first. The key to the game is whether San Francisco’s offense can score against the Seattle defense, something they weren’t able to do in a BIG moment last season. Seahawks CB Richard Sherman may decide to eat a live turkey if the Seahawks don’t win this game.

 

Sunday, Nov. 30

The Saints Don’t Need To Win Many Games To Clinch A Playoff Spot

New Orleans at Pittsburgh | Heinz Field; 1 p.m. (ET) on Fox

Drew Brees
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Somehow the Saints find themselves closing in on a playoff spot even after losing three straight home games. New Orleans (4-7) controls its own destiny in the horrible NFC South. If they can rack up a win or two away from the cozy Superdome, the Saints could guarantee themselves at least one home playoff game, even at 5-11. Oof.

Save for an embarrassing loss to the Jets, Pittsburgh (7-4) has played very well over the past six weeks. Le’Veon Bell has become a threat at running back while helping to set up Ben Roethlisberger’s aerial attack. If the Steelers blitz can rattle Drew Brees, this one might be over fast.

A Real Super Bowl Preview

New England at Green Bay | Lambeau Field; 4:25 p.m. (ET) on CBS

Aaron Rodgers Tom Brady
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With MVP-winning quarterbacks, opportunistic defenses and devout fan bases, Patriots vs. Packers would make for an amazing Super Bowl in February. For now, it’s only a Sunday game in November, but each team is easily playing the best football in its respective conference.

New England (9-2) has won seven games in a row by keeping teams off balance with a mix of Tom Brady and the running back-of—the-week scheme. Green Bay (8-3) has won seven of eight games as Aaron Rodgers has put up video game-like numbers. Turnovers are likely to be the key to this potential Super Bowl preview.

The Denver-KC Game Is About More Than The AFC West

Denver at Kansas City | Arrowhead Stadium; 8:30 p.m. (ET) on NBC

Peyton Manning
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Denver (8-3) often looks like the AFC’s best team, but the Broncos only have a one-game lead over the Chiefs and the Chargers in the AFC West. If Kansas City’s (7-4) top-ranked pass defense can defeat Peyton Manning’s aerial assault, it could put the Broncos in danger of missing the playoffs completely. After this week, Denver has three difficult games against Buffalo, San Diego and Cincinnati and additional losses could push them out of the wild card picture.

The Chiefs schedule gets even tougher with games against Arizona, Pittsburgh and San Diego among their final four contests. They’ll have running back Jamaal Charles, who missed much of the Broncos win over Kansas City earlier this season.

Other Games

Thursday, Nov. 27
Chicago at Detroit | Ford Field; 12:30 p.m. (ET) on CBS

Sunday, Nov. 30
Washington at Indianapolis | Lucas Oil Stadium; 1 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Tennessee at Houston | NRG Stadium; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Cleveland at Buffalo | Ralph Wilson Stadium; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
San Diego at Baltimore | M&T Bank Stadium; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
N.Y. Giants at Jacksonville | EverBank Field; 1 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Cincinnati at Tampa Bay | Raymond James Stadium; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Oakland at St. Louis | Edward Jones Dome; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Carolina at Minnesota | TCF Bank Stadium; 1 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Arizona at Atlanta | Georgia Dome; 4:05 p.m. (ET) on Fox

Monday, Dec. 1
Miami at N.Y. Jets | MetLife Stadium; 8:30 p.m (ET) on ESPN

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