Thanksgiving is always a favorite holiday for NFL fans, and this year, fans can watch live online as the resurgent Dallas Cowboys attempt get themselves back into the NFC playoff hunt by stopping the fearsome Carolina Panthers, who come into the Turkey Day matchup at a dominant 10-0 — one of just two undefeated teams remaining in the National Football League. And during their streak to start the season, the Panthers are crushing opponents by an average of nearly 11 points per game.
But the Cowboys are also undefeated — at least with four-time Pro Bowl quarterback Tony Romo starting under center. After Romo went down with a broken collarbone in Week 2, Dallas swooned to seven straight losses after winning both of the first to games of the 2015 season.
Watch a preview of the Carolina Panthers vs. Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day NFL matchup by the CBS Sports panel of experts, in the video below.
When the 35-year-old Romo returned to the lineup last week against the Miami Dolphins, the Cowboys returned to the win column with a 24-14 win as Romo threw for two touchdowns and 227 yards, completing 18 of 28 pass attempts.
But the Panthers present a very different, and more difficult, set of challenges. Not only must the Dallas defense figure out how to contain top MVP candidate Cam Newton, the Carolina fifth-year quarterback who was the top overall draft pick in 2011.
But Newton appears to be finally reaching his potential this season, throwing for 20 touchdowns — including five last Sunday against Washington — and running for six more so far in 2015.
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The Carolina defense has also been an important factor in the team’s unbeaten run, ranking fourth in yards allowed and fifth in fewest opponents points scored.
That performance should only improve on Thursday, when the Panthers get defensive lineman Charles Johnson back in their lineup after the nine-year veteran missed the last eight games with a hamstring injury.
The Carolina Panthers vs. Dallas Cowboys game will be the third and final regular season NFL game streamed live for free in what has been an experiment in online webcasting for the league. While several games each week are streamed to viewers who already have login credentials from a cable or satellite TV provider, for the first time, the NFL has offered a few games free to anyone.
To find out how to watch the Panthers vs. Cowboys game live online, see the streaming link in the final paragraph of this article. Kickoff time on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, is set for 3:30 p.m. Central Time at AT&T Stadium just outside of Dallas — 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time, 1:30 Pacific.
The game also marks the first time that the Cowboys highly controversial defensive end Greg Hardy will have faced the team that drafted him back in 2010. Hardy played four seasons in Carolina before a domestic violence case put him on the sidelines for almost all of 2014. The Cowboys signed Hardy in the offseason and waited out the first four games of this season as Hardy served his four-game suspension for the incident.
But Hardy says he sees no significance in going against the Panthers.
“It’s just a nameless, faceless opponent… On to the next game. I just keep it that way. We’ve got a great group of guys in here. We’re just focused on the next game. It’s the most important game on the schedule.”
The Cowboys and Panthers have not faced each other since October 21, 2012, when Dallas won by a 19-14 score. Since Carolina joined the league in 1995, the two teams have met 12 times, with Dallas winning all bit one of the 10 regular season meetings.
But in the two postseason games that have pitted Dallas against Carolina, the Panthers have won both, in 1997 and then again in 2004.
To watch the Carolina Panthers vs. Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day afternoon NFL game live online from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, go to CBSSports.com at this link and click on the “Video” tab at the top of the page. The game will also stream through the CBS Sports app on mobile devices and on set-top boxes such as the Roku, Xbox and Apple TV.
[Statistics Courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com] [Photo By Bob Leverone/Associated Press]