Last season, the Cowboys played in Washington the week before Thanksgiving. They pulled out a 27-24 overtime victory before traveling home for a short week getting ready for Miami.
This season, the Cowboys are at home the Sunday before Thanksgiving. The Redskins, who play at Cowboys Stadium on Thanksgiving, are at home against Philadelphia on Sunday. NFL rules make it mandatory for the team playing a Thursday road game to play a home game the previous Sunday.
"I just think it’s a matter of hours," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said of being at home this week. "I think we played in Washington last year and got home pretty late at night and had the quick turnaround. As you guys know, that Thursday game comes quickly. Your Monday practice is kind of a walk-through, and you’re just trying to transition as quickly as you can to get ready for the game and before you know it you’re out warming up before the next game. Even the fact it’s an early game, we played a 12 noon game, those three or four hours you have between playing the early game and the later game that makes a difference. It certainly helps. It helps our preparation. We’ll be that much more ready for Monday’s practice."
The NFL opted this season to have a Thursday game every week. Road teams have been at a disadvantage. They are 3-6 in the Thursday games this season. (That does not include the Cowboys' season-opening victory over the Giants on a Wednesday night, since neither team played on a short week.)
Road teams are 22-36 in Thursday games since the NFL Network started its late-season Thursday broadcasts in 2006. That includes the annual Thanksgiving Day homes hosted by the Cowboys and Lions, who are a combined 5-7 as home teams in the past six seasons, and a Jets victory over the Bills in Toronto.
-- Charean Williams