Dallas Cowboys football on Thanksgiving is a tradition that dates to some of the earliest days of the franchise. The Cowboys will play this Thanksgiving in their 55th turkey day game, second only to the Detroit Lions, who have hosted Thanksgiving Day games since 1938. Division-rival New York travels to North Texas for the holiday game and is playing in their 16th Thanksgiving Day game.
New York has not played on Thanksgiving since 2009 when they lost dismally to the Denver Broncos 28-6. The previous Thanksgiving game for the Giants was in 1992 — the only other time that the Cowboys and the Giants have faced each other on the holiday. That affair was also a lopsided outcome, with Dallas triumphing 30-3.
Before that, the Giants played a decade earlier on thanksgiving 1982. Lawrence Taylor scored the only touchdown in the Super Bowl era on Thanksgiving for the Giants on an interception return.
Of the 54 Thanksgiving Day appearances the Cowboys have made, the team holds a 31-21-1 record. Last year, the Cowboys played the Las Vegas Raiders in a thriller that went to overtime and ended in a Raiders 36-33 victory. The win was set up on a series of defensive penalties, including a pass interference call on cornerback Anthony Brown and back-to-back neutral zone infractions on cornerback C.J. Goodwin.
The Cowboys will be looking to carry on from a 40-3 drubbing of the Minnesota Vikings last week that featured an outstanding defensive performance led by linebacker Micah Parsons who recorded two sacks and now has 10 on the season. The Cowboys’ defense sacked Vikings QB Kirk Cousins seven times and caused eight tackles for loss in the victory.
On top of the stellar performance from the defense, the Cowboys’ offense finally looked like the unit that fans were promised in the preseason. Ezekiel Elliott returned from a knee and leg injury and recorded two rushing touchdowns as he took most of the up-the-middle runs. Running back Tony Pollard scored two receiving touchdowns and piled up 105 yards receiving out of the backfield.
Last week, the Giants suffered an embarrassing loss at the hands of the Detroit Lions, dropping the team to a 7-3 record — the same as the Cowboys — but New York has lost two of the team’s three division matches.
Quarterback Daniel Jones threw two interceptions in the game, and Isaiah Hodgins fumbled the ball in the fourth quarter after a short reception. The Lions recovered the ball and scored a touchdown on the ensuing offensive drive to bury the game.
Running back Saquon Barkley has carried the Giants in recent weeks but was held to a mere 22 yards on 15 carries, by far his worst performance of the season. Jones led the team in rushing in the game, scrambling for a total of 50 yards on seven runs.
The team’s leading receiver in the game was Wan’Dale Robinson, who had 100 yards in receptions before going down with an ankle injury. Robinson tore his ACL and has been ruled out for the remainder of the season. The loss of the rookie receiver puts more pressure on Barkley and Jones in the run game against a Dallas defense that has been susceptible on the ground in recent weeks.
Dallas is the overwhelming favorite in the game, with ESPN Analytics estimating that Dallas has an 87.2 percent chance of victory. The game begins at 3:30 p.m. CST from AT&T Stadium.