What NFL games are on Thanksgiving in 2022? TV schedule, times, channels for all three games
Thanksgiving is one of the best days of the year for football fans, as the NFL has a tradition of playing on the holiday. It began 88 years ago in 1934 and has continued annually save for a five-year interruption due to World War II.
The Lions and the Cowboys are Thanksgiving Day staples, but the NFL has scheduled a third, prime-time game for the holiday over the last 17 seasons. That will continue in 2022, as the league has brought the Patriots and Vikings aboard for a showcase game in its 8:20 p.m. ET window.
Though Detroit and Dallas are the teams most associated with Thanksgiving football, it’s the Lions that deserve credit for beginning the tradition. Owner George A. Richards designed the game in 1934 to boost attendance, and it worked. The Cowboys began playing on the holiday in 1966. Save for one brief stoppage imposed by the NFL, they have continued to do so.
That tradition will continue in 2022. Will the Lions beat the Bills and the Cowboys defeat the Giants to snap holiday losing streaks? It certainly is possible.
MORE: Watch NFL Thanksgiving Day games live on fuboTV (free trial)
Below is all you need to know about the teams playing on Thanksgiving this year, plus the TV channels for the games and more.
What teams are playing on Thanksgiving 2022?
|Game||Kickoff time||TV channel|
|Bills at Lions||12:30 p.m. ET||CBS, fuboTV|
|Giants at Cowboys||4:30 p.m. ET||Fox, fuboTV|
|Patriots at Vikings||8:20 p.m. ET||NBC, fuboTV|
The Lions are hosting their 83rd Thanksgiving Day game in franchise history during the 2022 NFL season. Per usual, their contest will be the first of the holiday, and Detroit will be motivated to win its first Thanksgiving contest since a 2016 victory against the Vikings. However, that will prove a tough task, as Josh Allen and a high-flying Bills offense come to town.
The Bills have had their share of struggles in recent weeks, including back-to-back losses in Weeks 9 and 10 to the Jets and Vikings, but they are still one of the NFL’s most talented teams. The Lions defense will have trouble containing Allen and Co. so this should be a high-scoring game — provided that Jared Goff has a solid outing against a strong pass rush.
The middle game of the slate will be an NFC East clash between the Giants and the Cowboys. Dallas will play its 53rd Thanksgiving game, good for the second-most all-time, and will look to earn its first win since 2018.
The Giants won’t prove an easy matchup for Dallas. However, the Cowboys managed to beat their division rival 23-16 on “Monday Night Football” earlier in the season with Cooper Rush at quarterback, so they should be favored to win this one with Dak Prescott back in action.
Finally, the night game for 2022 will be an intriguing one. The Patriots will look to upset the Vikings, who have one of the NFL’s best records. Minnesota has a rock-solid offense while New England has a top-tier defense. As such, this strength-on-strength battle should be fun to watch.
Another interesting subplot: Bill Belichick will get to match up against Kevin O’Connell, a former quarterback whom he selected during the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft, for the first time since O’Connell became Minnesota’s head coach. Belichick will relish a chance to put a damper on O’Connell’s potential NFL Coach of the Year campaign.
What channel is Thanksgiving football on?
Lions vs. Bills TV channel
(12:30 p.m. ET kickoff)
- TV channel: CBS
- Live stream: Paramount+, fuboTV
CBS’s No. 1 broadcast team of Jim Nantz and Tony Romo is expected to have the call for the Lions-Bills game on Thanksgiving. Romo won’t get to broadcast the Cowboys on the holiday this time, but he and Nantz should enjoy seeing what the Bills can do against a team with a lower-level defense.
Tracy Wolfson usually serves as the sideline reporter for the Nantz and Romo crew. She is expected to do that again in 2022.
Gene Steratore serves as the rules analyst for the CBS broadcast, so he will provide rules analysis for this contest.
MORE: Why the Lions play on Thanksgiving, explained
Cowboys vs. Giants TV channel
(4:30 p.m. ET kickoff)
- TV channel: Fox
- Live stream: FoxSports.com, fuboTV
Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will not be calling Fox’s Thanksgiving game for the first time in a while after their defection to ESPN. Instead, Fox’s new top broadcast tandem of Kevin Burkhardt (play-by-play) and Greg Olsen (analysis) will be the talent calling the Cowboys-Giants game.
Burkhardt and Olsen have worked with Erin Andrews during the 2022 NFL season, and it is expected she will continue to be on the sidelines for this matchup. In previous years, Kristina Pink has joined her on the opposite sideline, but it isn’t clear whether that will be in the cards for Thanksgiving this season.
Mike Pereira serves as Fox’s broadcast’s rules analyst.
Vikings vs. Patriots TV channel
(8:20 p.m. ET kickoff)
- TV channel: NBC
- Live stream: NBCSports.com, Peacock, fuboTV
NBC will broadcast the Thursday night Thanksgiving game instead of Amazon Prime. Mike Tirico (play-by-play) and Cris Collinsworth (analyst) seem likely to call this contest, as they are NBC’s main broadcast team.
Melissa Stark has served as NBC’s sideline reporter this year while former NFL official Terry McAulay will be the NFL rules analyst for the broadcast.
NFL Thanksgiving game ticket prices
NFL tickets can get expensive given that there are so few game each season. Thanksgiving is no exception, though there are still stadiums that qualify as affordable for NFL fans.
Below is a look at the highest, lowest and average ticket prices for each Thanksgiving Day game in 2022, per TicketSmarter:
Lions vs. Bills ticket prices
- Highest: $9,823
- Lowest: $169
- Average: $369
Cowboys vs. Giants ticket prices
- Highest: $2,486
- Lowest: $65
- Average: $414
Vikings vs. Patriots ticket prices
- Highest: $2,366
- Lowest: $112
- Average: $373
MORE: Buy NFL tickets via TicketSmarter
What football teams always play on Thanksgiving?
The Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys are the two teams that always play on Thanksgiving Day. Both teams have played on the holiday consecutively since 1978, but Detroit’s tradition dates back much further.
The Lions began playing on Thanksgiving in 1934. They only ever stopped playing games on the holiday from 1939 to 1944 during the height of World War II.
As for the Cowboys, they have played on Thanksgiving since 1978, but they originally joined the Thanksgiving Day fray in 1966. They hosted those contests in the early history of the Cowboys franchise before being asked to stop from 1975 to 1977. Why? Because the NFL wanted the St. Louis Cardinals to play on Thanksgiving to boost their popularity
The Cowboys are now set to play on Thanksgiving for the 44th consecutive time, and they have become a holiday staple.
The Lions have a career record of 37-43-2 on Thanksgiving. They haven’t won a game since 2016 against the Vikings. The Cowboys are 31-22-1 on Thanksgiving with their last win coming over Washington in 2018.
MORE: Why the Cowboys play on Thanksgiving, explained
What teams have never played on Thanksgiving?
There remains just one team that the NFL hasn’t yet played on Thanksgiving: the Jaguars.
Jacksonville has had an NFL team since 1995, but hasn’t yet enjoyed much success. The Jaguars finished with the No. 1 pick in back-to-back drafts in 2021 and 2022, and given that they are in a smaller market, it makes sense that the NFL would look to schedule other teams for these marquee spots.
The Jaguars will probably have a chance to play on the holiday soon. That would be especially true if Trevor Lawrence takes a step forward and leads Jacksonville to potential playoff contention at some point in the future. For now, they still have zero Thanksgiving appearances under their belt.
There are three other teams — the Buccaneers, Bengals and Panthers — that have played just once on Thanksgiving Day. Below is a list of NFL teams in order by the number of Thanksgiving game appearances, not including 2022’s games.
|Green Bay Packers||36|
|New York Giants||15|
|Kansas City Chiefs||10|
|New York Jets||8|
|Las Vegas Raiders||8|
|Tennessee Titans/Houston Oilers||7|
|San Francisco 49ers||5|
|New England Patriots||5|
|Los Angeles Chargers||5|
|Los Angeles Rams||5|
|New Orleans Saints||4|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1|
Do people watch football on Thanksgiving?
Yes, people do watch football on Thanksgiving. In fact, they love watching it more than anything else.
The NFL’s Thanksgiving Day games have routinely been among the most-watched NFL regular-season broadcasts in recent years. In 2019, the Bills-Cowboys Thanksgiving game averaged 32.5 million viewers, which made it the most-watched game since the 2019 Super Bowl between the Patriots and Rams.
In 2020, the trend of the Cowboys being a big draw continued. They averaged 30.3 million viewers for their 41-16 loss at the hands of the Washington Football Team. It didn’t quite compare to the previous season’s numbers, but it was still impressive considering the ongoing COVID pandemic and rise of streaming alternatives.
The Lions-Texans game in 2020 drew 23.2 million viewers on average during the game. Neither team had playoff chances, so that broadcast did well, all things considered. The scheduled Steelers-Ravens game was postponed because of some COVID positives, so these two games are the ones we have data on.
Finally, in 2021, the overtime game between the Cowboys and the Raiders drew an average of a whopping 37.8 million viewers on CBS. That was the league’s best Thanksgiving performance since a Cowboys-Dolphins game in 1993.
As such, swaths of fans will certainly tune in to see all six of the teams in action on Thanksgiving Day.