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Six things to watch for in Bills-Lions, Giants-Cowboys, Patriots-Vikings during John Madden Thanksgiving Celebration

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Thanksgiving traditions are like no other: family, turkey and bemoaning the struggling Lions during the early-game window.

Except this year, you suddenly can’t do that. It’s time to break tradition, we say.

Winners of three straight games, the Lions are suddenly pretty hot, taking down the Packers and Bears and shocking the Giants in New York in Week 11 to keep the hope of a winning season alive. And although the Bills know all about winning in Detroit (more about that below) and are unbeaten in Thanksgiving games, they had lost two straight before holding off the Browns to cap a wild last week.

The early game of the John Madden Thanksgiving Celebration sets the table for what should be an entertaining and important trio of contests.

The Cowboys and Giants meet in Dallas in the middle game with matching 7-3 records. This one figures to have a big say in how the NFC East will shake out, and although the Cowboys will feel pressure to win, the Giants badly need to steal one here after Dallas beat them (with Cooper Rush at quarterback) back in Week 3 .

And for the nightcap, we have a really interesting battle of non-conference opponents with the Patriots heading to Minnesota to face the Vikings. Prior to Sunday, it had been a gilded season for the Vikings after an 8-1 start, but the 40-3 home loss to the Cowboys raised some big questions about the viability of this team making noise in the postseason.

With such a respectable group of games on Thursday, the only remaining question is: When will dinner be served? Make sure your Thanksgiving host reads these previews before making a final decision on that.