The Dallas Cowboys are the annual center of attention on Thanksgiving Day. But despite the endless home-field advantage and the winning expectations that usually come with it, America's Team hasn't honored America's holiday over the past decade.
As the Cowboys (7-3) enter Thursday's Thanksgiving matchup against their NFC East rival New York Giants (7-3) at AT&T Stadium, they do so with a 3-7 record on the holiday since 2012. This has included three consecutive losses, highlighted by a 36-33 overtime loss to the Las Vegas Raiders last season.
But this thrilling finish was an outlier for the Cowboys, who have consistently been dominated when they lose on Turkey Day. Five of Dallas' seven losses have been have been by double digits, including four defeats of 19 points or more.
A win - regardless of how it comes - is clearly something the Cowboys are starving for on a day where the pressure of the matchup has overflown in recent seasons.
This makes Thursday's meeting with New York all the more pivotal. While the Cowboys have a chance to right the wrongs that have been abundant for them on Thanksgiving, they, more importantly, have a chance to deliver a major blow to the Giants' playoff hopes by dropping them a game back to third in the division.
But another holiday loss for the Cowboys would put them in this daunting third-place position as well and without the chance to control their destiny the rest of the season. The hope that either the Giants or Philadelphia Eagles - who Dallas plays again on Christmas Eve - will drop a game or two would be fresh on the minds of the entire team.
Thursday serves as a chance for the Cowboys to somewhat erase embarrassment of season's past while increasing their chances of a playoff spot or first-place finish in the division.
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But a fourth straight loss on Thanksgiving for Dallas would be much harder to swallow this time around. The Cowboys and Giants kickoff at 3:30 p.m. CT Thursday from Arlington.
You can follow Zach Dimmitt on Twitter at @ZachDimmitt7
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