2019 NFL Thanksgiving schedule: Cowboys draw surprising matchup, how to watch and stream

Although that bowl of gravy is a long way away from being in your hand ahead of Thanksgiving Day in 2019, we can go ahead and start thinking about the NFL's schedule for that holiday right now, thanks to the release of the full 2019 NFL schedule

Thanksgiving is about traditions and family and familiarity, and the football is no different, as we've got a pair of divisional matchups set up for the day, sandwiching (get it?) the Cowboys hosting a surprising foe.

We're breaking down all the schedule info and action on the Pick Six Podcast, our daily NFL pod featuring high-level NFL analysis with more than a dash of mirth. You can get it for free on iTunes or on Spotify or on Stitcher

Let's dive into the three Thanksgiving games.

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

Detroit has been the go to for Fox on the early afternoon Thanksgiving game for quite some time, and it feels like this has been either Chicago or Minnesota in this spot every year for the last half-decade. This year it will be the Chicago Bears, meaning there is plenty of juice added to this matchup due to the Bears' success in 2018.

Chicago was just a team on the rise -- and one without its starting quarterback -- when they came to Detroit last season. Now the Bears are the defending division champs, a team with a target on its back, and the Lions are sort of figuring out what their identity is after a disappointing first season for Matt Patricia. Still, the atmosphere here will be exciting unless one of these teams stumbles out of the gate.

There's plenty at stake when it comes to a division that should have plenty of heat with multiple contenders and the Lions looming as a potential sleeper if Matthew Stafford can return to playing like a quarterback who belongs in the upper-half discussion amongst the league's signal callers. 

Bills at Cowboys, 4:30 p.m. ET (CBS)

Huh. Non-traditional opponent for the Cowboys on Thanksgiving here. It's on CBS, so it's a great game, thanks for asking. I don't think anyone would suggest the Bills have the same headline appeal in a Cowboys matchup as the Redskins, Giants or Eagles, so it's a little surprising to see this non-divisional matchup.

But the Bills could be a frisky opponent this year -- Buffalo made some nice additions this offseason, and Sean McDermott gets the most out of his team every single year. The Cowboys will have high expectations after doling out a big deal to Demarcus Lawrence and potentially Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper. My early take is this game will end up being a lot better than the matchup might indicate off the bat. 

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

This is the second year in a row we're drawing this heated NFC South matchup on Thanksgiving, and there's plenty of reason to believe the 2019 version should be better than the one we saw last year, a romp by the Saints in which Atlanta's season basically came to a close.

The Falcons are in a somewhat desperate situation, with owner Arthur Blank making it clear that another rough season for Dan Quinn could result in the coaching staff seeing a huge amount of turnover. The Saints are all in again on 2019 after shoving their chips in the middle of the table last year. Expect a lot of points in this one and a lot of bitter battles between two divisional rivals. 

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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