It’s gameday once again, and the Cowboys are setting the table for another installment of their longtime holiday tradition. We’ll look back at some of the history behind America’s Team on America’s holiday and get into why this year it may come down to survival of the healthiest. We’ve got the keys to a Dallas win, final score predictions, and a sampling of the menu for fans who’ll spend Turkey Day at JerryWorld.
Meanwhile, Tony Pollard has some new hardware to show off after a big day up north, Dak Prescott is cementing his place among the passing elite, and Micah Parsons is giving back… and already looking ahead at life after football. We’ve got a hint at what the offensive line will look like once Tyron Smith returns, we’re remembering one of John Madden’s most beloved annual rituals, and we’re celebrating two longtime Cowboys who are a step closer to football immortality. Make yourself a plate and dive into the Thanksgiving Day News and Notes.
Anthony Barr is out for another game. Micah Parsons is questionable with a knee and ankle injury; Osa Odighizuwa is also questionable thanks to his knee. The illness running through the clubhouse has seven Cowboys- all on the defense- listed as questionable. The Giants are in even worse shape; of the seven players listed as out, four are offensive linemen. And another two of their front five are questionable.
Defensive end Takk McKinley has been elevated from the practice squad to help aid the Cowboys through the bug that’s going around through Dan Quinn’s unit. Offensive lineman Aviante Collins also gets the gameday call-up for Week 12.
The linebacker recently orchestrated a giveaway of 1,000 turkeys to needy families, personally handing them off at The Star in Frisco. It’s not just a PR stunt; it speaks to who Parsons is. “I would hate to ever be categorized into just one box,” he says, “because I know there’s so much inside of me and so much left that I want to do.” He’s already planning a two-year mission trip to Africa after he retires from football… and hopefully after bringing another Lombardi or two to Dallas.
When the eight-time Pro Bowler comes back, it will apparently be at left tackle. That will slide rookie Tyler Smith down to left guard, where he spent training camp. It’s unclear what the move will mean for Connor McGovern and Jason Peters.
This week’s QB Index has Prescott at No. 10. It’s where he was last week, but the outlook sure is different after his masterpiece in Minnesota. This version of Dak and the ‘Boys can knock off anyone inside the conference. After a messy performance in Green Bay, Prescott took a surgeon’s knife to Minnesota’s defense in completing all but three of his 25 passes and painting the picture of a passer who cannot be stopped when operating at this level.
After starting two games in place of Ezekiel Elliott, Pollard was back to his “backup” role… and all he did was win the NFC’s Offensive Player of the Week honors. It was the first weekly award of Pollard’s career; Micah Parsons took the defensive award after his Week 5 outing versus the Rams.
If the Cowboys can continue to ride Tony Pollard’s big-play hot streak, it could be too much for the Giants to handle. Special teams could be huge, with both teams’ kickers playing well… but only Brett Maher banging them in from beyond 50 yards. It could all come down to the ability of the Dallas defense to contain Daniel Jones as a runner.
The Cowboys are currently the fifth seed in the conference, but here’s the silver lining. They’re the only NFC team that has played 50% of their schedule against other playoff teams. They are 3-2 in those games, and their record is even more impressive when considering they’ve played 50% of their games without their starting quarterback.
The culinary team at AT&T Stadium will prepare over 4,000 pounds of ham, 4,700 pounds of dressing, and almost 12,000 pounds of turkey to feed fans on Thursday. Need an easy-to-handle feast? The “Thanksgiving Bowl” puts smoked turkey breast, herb dressing, the stadium’s famous mac n’ cheese, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and more all in one transportable bowl.
Ware made it right to the end in his first year of eligibility; Woodson has been a semifinalist six times before but has never advanced beyond that stage. Longtime Miami linebacker Zach Thomas- who spent his final NFL season as a Cowboy- is also among the 28 semifinalists for this year’s class.
The Cowboys are 31-22-1 all-time on Thanksgiving Day, having played on the holiday every year but two since 1966. In all that time, though, they’ve faced the Giants just once, beating them 30-3 in 1992’s edition. A Dallas win this season would stop a three-year Turkey Day losing streak.
Thanks to their annual slot on the holiday, more than a few Dallas Cowboys got to chow down on a postgame turkey leg sent down from the broadcast booth by the late John Madden over the years. Emmitt Smith and Nate Newton share their memories of what Madden- and his Thanksgiving tradition- meant to them.
The team’s staff writers are all looking for second helping of Dallas dominance this Thursday. The Cowboys are the unanimous pick to win, with the margin of victory ranging from 12 to 28 points.