The Dallas Cowboys play their 51st Thanksgiving Day game on Thursday. But Head Coach Jason Garret will be giving thanks if his team can defeat the visiting Buffalo Bills, because his job is reportedly hanging in the balance as the Cowboys continue to struggle.
The Bills, on the other hand, appear headed for their second playoff appearance in three seasons after missing out for 17 straight years. In fact, at 8-3 heading into Dallas for the Thanksgiving matchup — only the eighth Turkey Day game for Buffalo in the team’s 60-year history — the Bills hold on to at least an outside chance of catching the New England Patriots in the AFC East. But they must win in Dallas to keep those rather remote hopes alive.
The meeting will be the 13th all-time between Dallas and Buffalo, and will also be a rematch of Super Bowl 27 and Super Bowl 28 — both of which were won by Dallas.
Though the Bills come in as winners of two straight, oddsmakers still see them as six-and-a-half-point underdogs in the cavernous, 100,000-seat AT&T Stadium, according to Sports Illustrated. Dallas enters the game coming off a dispiriting 13-9 loss to New England on Sunday. After losing to the team with the best record in the AFC, the ‘Boys now face the AFC Wild Card playoff leaders.
Watch a preview of the Buffalo Bills vs. Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day game in the video below, courtesy of Good Morning Football.
The Thanksgiving Day game also offers an opportunity for the Bills to make their mark on national television. According to The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Thanksgiving is second only to Super Bowl Sunday as the year’s most popular day for watching football on TV. Last year’s Cowboys game against the Washington Redskins drew an audience of 30 million, which was the largest TV viewership of the NFL regular season in 2018.
The game is also a chance for each team to prove itself because neither owns a win this year over a team with a winning record. That will change for one of the two teams on Thursday.
“It’s a Thanksgiving Day game and we’re honored to play in it,” Buffalo coach Sean McDermott told The Democrat and Chronicle.
“But I’d say it’s an opportunity for us to take a step, another step this season as a football team and I think our players are aware of that.”
In the all-time series, the Cowboys have won eight times — including the two Super Bowl victories — to just four for the Bills, according to Pro Football Reference. But the last time the two teams squared off in Buffalo on December 27, 2015, the Bills came away with the win by a 16-6 score.