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Thanksgiving Day 2016 football schedule: Cowboys host NFL rivalry, SEC teams collide

All six NFL teams playing on Thanksgiving Thursday are in the playoff hunt, and there’s an SEC college football game as well.

It’s Thanksgiving, which means plenty of food, plenty of thanks, plenty of giving, and plenty of NFL and college football. Three NFL games will be played, each running one after the other throughout the day, kicking off with a game between the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions at 12:30 p.m. ET on CBS.

Then the Dallas Cowboys will play host to Washington in the NFC East at 4:30 p.m. The Cowboys are going for their 10th win of the season in that game.

At 7:30 p.m. ET, LSU travels to Texas A&M to continue a new Thanksgiving rivalry.

Finally, a special Sunday Night Football presentation by NBC will be played at 8:30 p.m. when the Indianapolis Colts host the Pittsburgh Steelers.

All six teams in action on Thursday are well within the playoff picture, making for surprisingly interesting games. The first two games are divisional rivalries that have major implications to the playoff race. The leaders will try to stay in front, while the runners-up will try to gain ground in the division and bolster their standing in the wild card fight.

Here is a quick look at all three games on the schedule for Thanksgiving Thursday:

Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions
12:30 p.m. ET, Ford Field, Detroit, Mich.
CBS, CBS All Access

Sam Bradford has the Vikings playing quite well, though they’ve regressed to the average after a 5-0 start to their season. They snapped a losing skid in their last game, beating the Arizona Cardinals.

They find themselves trailing the Lions in the NFC North, and lost to the Lions less than three weeks ago in their recent losing skid. But they can take control of the division with a win on Thursday, while the Lions will put themselves in a great position, especially against the tiebreak, if they manage to sweep the Vikings this season.

Washington vs. Dallas Cowboys
4:30 p.m. ET, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
FOX, FOX Sports GO

Washington is third in the NFC East, but a win over the nine-win Cowboys will do wonders for its season. The Cowboys lost their first game of the season to the New York Giants, but started their massive winning streak with a win over Washington in Week 2.

Rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott have been leading the way for the Cowboys this season. Prescott has played smart, efficient football while Elliott still leads the league in rushing. Kirk Cousins is playing well for Washington, but until someone beats them, the Cowboys are an unstoppable force going into Thursday’s game.

LSU vs. Texas A&M
7:30 p.m. ET, Kyle Field, College Station, Tx.
ESPN, WatchESPN

The Tigers began the season in the top five of the AP Poll, and the Aggies made it up there in the season’s first Playoff rankings, but both tumbled along the way.

LSU fired longtime head coach Les Miles and replaced him with interim Ed Orgeron, whose bid to land the full-time job has suffered Ls against Alabama and Florida. He’s still in the running, however.

A&M’s Kevin Sumlin faces a different kind of uncertainty after reaching the top 10 and then collapsing for the fourth year in a row.

This isn’t that hot of a rivalry, and neither team has any hopes of winning the SEC West or making the Sugar Bowl, so the stakes boil down to two talented rosters and coaches with little to lose.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Indianapolis Colts
8:30 p.m. ET, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Ind.
NBC, NBC Sports

Ben Roethlisberger has a history of shredding the Colts. The last two years, Roethlisberger has thrown for a total of 886 yards with 10 touchdowns and no interceptions in games against the Colts. Both were wins for the Steelers.

On top of that, the Colts may not have Andrew Luck at the quarterback position. Luck is dealing with a concussion, and getting through the league’s concussion protocol with a short week is tough to do. If he can’t play, Scott Tolzien will be under center.

The Colts find themselves one game back of the Houston Texans, who lost on Monday Night Football this past week, in the AFC South. The Steelers are tied with the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North, but the Ravens own the head-to-head tiebreaker.