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This Weekend in Sports: Thanksgiving Day NFL and College Football Rivalries

Wkd in Sports 11-21
Rob Carr, Ronald Martinez, Jonathan Daniel, Harry How / Getty Images

Thanksgiving Day NFL games and college football rivalries dominate the upcoming sports calendar. Here’s what to watch this holiday weekend:

Thursday, Nov. 22

Houston Texans at Detroit Lions

Ford Field, Detroit; 12:30 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Houston (9-1) visits Detroit (4-6) in a matchup of teams with explosive offenses. The Texans’ defense holds opponents to an AFC-low 18 points per game, while Lions receiver Calvin Johnson leads the NFL with 1,117 receiving yards.

Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Tex.; 4:15 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Quarterback Robert Griffin III leads Washington (4-6) against archrival Dallas (5-5). Griffin must overcome a Cowboys pass defense that allows just 211.4 yards per game. Dallas QB Tony Romo has thrown an NFC-high 13 interceptions.

New England Patriots at N.Y. Jets

MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.; 8:20 p.m. (ET) on NBC
New England (7-3) pits its offense, which averages a league-high 35.8 points per game, against the fourth-ranked pass defense of New York (4-6). Led by a disappointing Mark Sanchez, Jets quarterbacks have thrown for an AFC-low 192.7 yards per game.

Friday, Nov. 23

Oklahoma City Thunder at Boston Celtics

TD Garden, Boston; 7:30 p.m. (ET) on NBA-TV
Two NBA powerhouses meet in Massachusetts. Oklahoma City (8-3) leads the Northwest Division thanks to the play of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Boston (6-5) is in danger of falling further behind Atlantic Division pace-setters New York and Brooklyn. Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett lead the Celtics attack.

Saturday, Nov. 24

(20) Michigan at (4) Ohio St.

Stadium, Columbus, Oh.; 12 p.m. (ET) on ABC
Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer makes his debut in one of college football’s biggest rivalries, as Ohio St. (10-0 overall, 7-0 Big Ten) faces Michigan (8-3, 6-1). The Wolverines may start quarterback Devin Gardner, even though Denard Robinson is ready to play. The Buckeyes won’t go to a bowl because of NCAA sanctions, but they can finish undefeated with a win on Saturday.

(6) Florida at (10) Florida St.

Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, Fla.; 3:30 p.m. (ET) on ABC
Florida (10-1) still has a shot at the BCS national title. Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel is expected to play against Florida State (10-1) after missing last week with a sprained ankle. Seminoles’ defensive ends Bjoern Werner and Cornellius Carradine have helped lead an FSU defense that allows just 13.1 points per game.

(11) Stanford at (15) UCLA

Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.; 6:30 p.m. (ET) on Fox
UCLA (9-2 overall, 5-2 Pac-12) faces Stanford (9-2, 7-1) at the Rose Bowl. The Cardinal need a win to force a rematch with UCLA in the Pac-12 championship game on November 30. Freshman quarterback Kevin Hogan leads Stanford, while UCLA’s offense is directed by freshman Brett Hundley.

(1) Notre Dame at USC

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles; 8 p.m. (ET) on ABC
Ranked No. 1 for the first time in 19 years, Notre Dame (11-0) must travel to unranked, but dangerous, USC (7-4). Quarterback Everett Golson leads the Fighting Irish offense against a USC defense that has given up 35 or more points in three of its last four games. Freshman Max Wittek will start at quarterback for the Trojans in place of injured Matt Barkley.

Sunday, Nov. 25

San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints

Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans; 4:25 p.m. (ET) on Fox
The Sunday NFL schedule features a rematch of last season’s thrilling NFC playoff game won by the 49ers. San Francisco (7-2-1) could start Colin Kaepernick over Alex Smith at quarterback against a Saints defense that allows an NFL-high 462.8 yards per game. New Orleans (5-5) quarterback Drew Brees faces the NFC’s top-ranked total defense.

Green Bay Packers at N.Y. Giants

MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.; 8:20 p.m. (ET) on NBC
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers leads Green Bay (7-3) against the team that knocked the Packers out of the playoffs last season. New York (6-4) will look to pressure Rodgers and hope that Giants quarterback Eli Manning can improve on his QB rating of 60.5 over the past four games.

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