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A look at Thanksgiving's NFL matchups

A look at Thanksgiving's NFL matchups

A look at Thanksgiving's NFL matchups

New York Giants running back Brandon ...


    ARLINGTON, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders need the same short memory during a short week, for different reasons.
    The Cowboys have to move on from a last-play win over the New York Giants to stay in position to end a three-year playoff drought. The Raiders must forget a last-minute loss to Tennessee that damaged hopes for their first postseason trip since 2002.
    "Maybe being a short week you just know you can't think about it," said quarterback Tony Romo, who has directed winning fourth-quarter drives in the past two Dallas victories. "I mean really, this game comes so fast you're immersed in the study and just looking at the opponent and really wearing yourself out to get all of the looks to find out what you think is the best way to attack them. And by the end of the week you feel comfortable."
    Romo won't be the only undrafted starting quarterback Thursday. Oakland's Matt McGloin makes his third career start on a big Thanksgiving stage two weeks after his debut in Texas with a victory over Houston.
    McGloin became the fourth quarterback since the NFL merger in 1970 to throw three touchdown passes without an interception in his first start against the Texans. He then put the Raiders in position to beat the Titans with a fourth-quarter drive that Tennessee answered on a TD with 10 seconds remaining for a 23-19 win.
    The rookie from Penn State got his chance after Terrelle Pryor injured a knee, and now coach Dennis Allen isn't hesitating to call him the starter.
    "It's never been too big for Matt," Allen said. "Last week it wasn't always pretty early in the game, but in the second half he really got going in the passing game. Everybody's told him he can't do it, but he's continued to prove people wrong and so far he's been able to do that in the two starts he's had."

Lions looking for good news
    DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Lions desperately want to end some skids.
    Detroit (6-5) has lost two straight games, blowing chances to take command of the NFC North.
    The Lions have dropped five in a row against the Green Bay Packers (5-5-1) and a franchise-record nine straight on Thanksgiving. When they limp into their annual showcase on the holiday, a quarterback who cashed in by carving them up is playing in place of Aaron Rodgers.
    Matt Flynn will start his first game for Green Bay since Jan. 1, 2012, when he threw for 480 yards and six touchdowns in a 45-41 win over Detroit. A couple months later, he signed a $26 million, three-year deal with Seattle. The Seahawks traded him in March to Oakland after he barely played last year. Then, the Raiders and Buffalo Bills both cut him in a one-month span earlier this season.
    The Packers were happy to welcome him back two weeks ago because none of their backups took full advantage of a chance to play after Rodgers fractured his left collarbone Nov. 4 against Chicago. Rodgers was ruled out Wednesday and Flynn was made the starter.
    "He's obviously comfortable with their offense," Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said. "He stepped right in. Last week, they were down 16 points (to Minnesota), he led them back and they got a tie."

Rivalry resumes for Ravens, Steelers
    BALTIMORE (AP) — The last time the Baltimore Ravens played on Thanksgiving, coach John Harbaugh gathered the family together for a game against brother Jim and the San Francisco 49ers.
    Two years later, Harbaugh and the Ravens will spend the holiday with their most bitter rival.
    It doesn't matter that Baltimore (5-6) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (5-6) both have losing records. Both teams have plenty of motivation, because Thursday night's game has playoff ramifications. Plus, these AFC North foes almost always engage in a hard-hitting, trash-talking, closely played affair.
    "It's always a cool week when you go against these guys," Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco said. "It's been a good game for the last handful of years, and it's always a challenge getting ready on a short week. But they have the same issues. It should be a lot of fun."
    Since Harbaugh took over the Ravens in 2008, Baltimore has faced Pittsburgh 13 times, including twice in the playoffs. Nine of those games were decided by three points, including the Steelers' 19-16 win last month.
    "It's just an intense rivalry," Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown said. "Great defense is played. I think everyone understands the urgency of the game. It's just iron on iron. It's always a tough battle, and it always comes to the fourth quarter and to the end of the game."

Few NFL coaches prefer a short week leading up to an important game, but Harbaugh loves the idea of pacing the sideline at a time when most of America is digesting a big holiday meal.

"To get a chance to play on Thanksgiving night in front of the whole country in a rivalry such as this in Baltimore is something that you work hard for," Harbaugh said. "We're looking forward to it. We can't wait to play."

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