NFL contenders hope to be thankful after US holiday games

<a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Detroit Lions;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Detroit Lions</a> coach Dan Campbell, celebrating a touchdown, will guide his club in a US Thanksgiving Day holiday contest against Green Bay (Gregory Shamus)

Traditional US Thanksgiving NFL game hosts Detroit and Dallas will be joined by Seattle as the league's holiday kickoff Thursday features title contenders seeking crucial victories on short rest.

The Detroit Lions, on a three-game win streak and atop the NFC North division at 8-2, entertain Green Bay (4-6) in the 22nd edition of the most frequent Thanksgiving Day NFL matchup.

"It's something special," Lions coach Dan Campbell said. "It's a privilege to be able to play on Thanksgiving Day. Everybody is watching. All your family. All your friends.

"I grew up watching it as a kid. I was fortunate enough to be able to play in it, and now to coach in one, it's special."

Thursday's other games find Washington (4-7) at Dallas (7-3), with the Cowboys owning an 8-2 edge in their most frequent Thanksgiving matchup, and San Francisco (7-3) at Seattle (6-4) in a fight for the NFC West lead.

The NFL's first-ever game on the Friday after Thanksgiving sees AFC East leader Miami (7-3) at the New York Jets (4-6).

Miami, Detroit, San Francisco and Dallas boast four of the NFL's five most productive offensive units.

The Lions, 12-8 with one tie against the Packers in holiday rivalry games, have not made the playoffs since 2016 and have not won a playoff game since 1991, dropping nine in a row in the post-season.

"We're trying to turn over a new leaf," Campbell said. "We're trying to do something different and find a way to do some things that haven't been done in a while. This is another one of those opportunities for us."

The Lions have not won an NFL crown since 1957. But they are off to an 8-2 start for the first time since 1962 and only one game behind Philadelphia (9-1) for the NFC top seed and first-round playoff bye.

Jared Goff has thrown for 2,743 yards and 16 touchdowns with eight interceptions this season. He sparked a late rally to beat Chicago on Sunday.

"We're a resilient group. We're tough. We have a lot of courage, and we don't back down from anything," Campbell said.

"Certainly we're not playing the best all the way across the board, but you can't put a price on finding a way to win tough games when things don't go your way.

"We'll keep doing what we do, preaching what we preach, keep working on the little things and it will all come together."

The Cowboys, two games behind Philadelphia in the NFC East, seek a third consecutive Thanksgiving triumph.

"Got to take care of your body, first and foremost, and then just being ready," Dallas offensive guard Tyler Smith said of preparing for a game on short rest.

- NFL's freaky Friday -

The 49ers boast the NFL's top rusher in Christian McCaffrey with 825 yards and Brock Purdy directs an attack that produces 387 yards a game while the Niners defense ranks second in forcing turnovers.

Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith has a triceps bruise, although Seattle coach Pete Carroll is confident he will play on Thursday.

The NFL's new Friday game will come on an afternoon famed for US shoppers chasing discounted holiday bargains.

"I haven't played on Friday since high school," Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle said.

Miami boasts the NFL's top passing attack at 291 yards a game, number two run game at 143 yards a contest and top overall offensive attack at 434 yards a game.

The Dolphins are powered by Tua Tagovailoa with 2,934 yards and 21 touchdowns with eight interceptions while Raheem Mostert ranks second in the NFL with 691 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on 131 carries.

Miami's Tyreek Hill tops all NFL receivers with 1,222 yards on 79 catches with nine touchdowns.

"We're going to miss Thanksgiving with our family, so that kind of sucks," Hill said. "But we get a chance to play this beautiful game."

A triumph would lift Miami level with AFC leader Baltimore (8-3) in what has become a five-team fight for a top seed and playoff bye.