2018 NFL Schedule: Thanksgiving has three great division rivalry games, Bears-Lions on CBS

The 2018 NFL schedule has been released and that means we now know the biggest games of the year on the biggest football day of the year: Thanksgiving. As usual, there are three games and this year they are a trio of fantastic games.

All three of the matchups are division rivalry games, and all three of the games features matchups from the NFC. 

Bears at Lions (12:30 p.m. ET, CBS)

Two really fascinating teams that everyone is counting out here. Both teams have new coaches, with Matt Patricia leaving the Patriots to join the Lions and Matt Nagy leaving the Chiefs to join the Bears. Expectations are fairly low for both Minnesota and Chicago; everyone is banking on the Packers and Vikings dominating the NFC North. But this game could mean a lot in terms of jockeying for position in the division and potentially the wild card.

Additionally, the development of Mitchell Trubisky going against a Patricia-led defense could say a lot about the Bears work in terms of getting Trubisky going. 

I actually have the Bears as a possible NFL Cinderella team after they decided to add a bunch of weapons (Allen Robinson, Trey Burton, Taylor Gabriel) for Trubisky this offseason. Completely ignoring the Lions feels like it could bite everyone in the behind. I bet this game ends up having a major NFC Wild-Card wild impact.

Redskins at Cowboys (4:30 p.m. ET, FOX)

Another game that could easily have wild-card/playoff implications and a game that really needs no introduction. The Redskins and Cowboys hate each other and they will be going at it while you shake off your turkey/gravy coma. 

There's added juice here, as both teams are undergoing transformations this offseason. The Cowboys just cut Dez Bryant and have Allen Hurns as their top wideout. The Redskins let Kirk Cousins walk after trading for Alex Smith

There is a decent chance Dez signs with Washington, which would make this a real blowtorch/gas can situation. 

You'll recall last year the Cowboys got beat up by the Chargers on Thanksgiving before beating the Redskins the next week, while the Redskins took care of the Giants on Thanksgiving evening.

Falcons at Saints (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC) 

Blood feud here with two gentile Southern teams who do not care for one another. This could very well be close to a division title game, with these two teams setting up as the most dangerous NFC South squads. They play in Week 3 the first time, so this will be the last chance to knock down a top rival.

Oddly, it could end up being a low-scoring game, which is not something you expect to see from a game that features Drew Brees and Matt Ryan. The Saints defense stepped up in a big way last year and should be good again in 2018. The Falcons defense is slowly developing into a really impressive unit.

Both offenses will be steady as long as Brees and Ryan are playing, and both run games should be stout. It wouldn't be shocking if this was an NFC Championship Game preview.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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