Lessons, big questions for every game

Welcome to Week 12 of the 2022 NFL season, which opened with three games on Thanksgiving Day.

The Detroit Lions have hosted Thanksgiving Day games for 88 years but haven’t had much success lately. The Buffalo Bills made a late comeback, defeating the Lions, who have won just six Thanksgiving games since 2000.

The Dallas Cowboys, who like the Lions host a Thanksgiving game each season, ended a three-game losing streak while on vacation by beating NFC East rivals the New York Giants.

Our NFL Nation reporters respond with the biggest takeaways and lingering questions from this week’s matchups and look ahead to what’s next. Let us begin.

Jump to a matchup:

BUF-DET | NYG DAL

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bills

What you should know: The Bills’ offense has some issues, but their stars showed up when they needed them, which is an important step. When Buffalo came into play, he was trailing 1-9 in the fourth quarter for the past two years. But quarterback Josh Allen and receiver Stefon Diggs led the unit down on back-to-back drives, hitting five goals for 65 yards and scoring on the last two drives to win the game. But improving in the red remains a priority for offense.

What’s next for cornerback? Cornerback Tre’Davious White was active for the first time since tearing his cruciate ligament last Thanksgiving, but only played the first two series (15 snaps). After that, Buffalo mostly played rookie Christian Benford and Dane Jackson. Coach Sean McDermott said White played within expected snaps. Faced with a big game against the Patriots, white availability could be crucial as the defense continues to allow opposing No. 1 receivers to surpass 100 yards in games. – Alaina Getzenberg

Next game: at Patriots (Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET)


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lions

What you should know: The Detroit Lions proved they can compete with the best in the league after a narrow loss to the Buffalo Bills. Now they must find a way to win these tight games through better clock management and on-track decision making. The Lions are 2-7 against teams that are currently .500 or better. All of their games have been against teams currently .500 or better, with the exception of their wins over the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears.

Is Linebacker James Houston’s Debut Appearance Real? To a certain extent, but let’s not get carried away. He’s not expected to put up two sacks every game with a fumbling recovery, but the Lions can find a role for him. He was the first player with two sacks in his NFL debut since 2017 (Myles Garrett and TJ Watt). No one is asking him to be that player, but the Lions’ defense, which ranks last in pass rush win rate (29.1%), could use a defensive playmaker alongside fellow rookie Aidan Hutchinson. -Eric Woodyard

Next game: vs. Jaguars (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

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cowboys

What you should know: These could be 12 days that will mark the Cowboys’ season. After losing to Green Bay in overtime on November 13, the Cowboys responded with two wins in four days by defeating Minnesota and the New York Giants. They were almost perfect against the Vikings and less so against the Giants, but they came up 8-3 and swept their division rivals. “It was a win,” said Dak Prescott, who recovered from two first-half interceptions with two second-half touchdowns. “It was a win against a division opponent and sometimes it’s just the win that counts.”

Should the Cowboys sign Odell Beckham Jr.? Maybe not. CeeDee Lamb has had two 100-yard receiving plays in the last three games. Michael Gallup is showing signs his surgically repaired knee is no longer a problem. And the tight group of Dalton Schultz, Jake Ferguson, Peyton Hendershot and Sean McKeon shows they can be an important part of the offense. Beckham may be a cowboy, but they don’t need him as the main receiver. He can come in and contribute after a long layoff from a cruciate ligament rupture. – Todd Archer

Next game: vs. Colts (December 4, 8:20 p.m. ET)


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Giants

What you should know: So maybe it will be a struggle for this Giants team to make the playoffs, especially with all the injuries. They aren’t talented or deep enough and it shows when they play against better opponents. New York (7-4) has been topping in the first half of the season, but these are straight losses now and their schedule isn’t getting any easier. The encounters with Washington will be tremendous. They appear to be the Giants’ biggest threat for the NFC’s final wildcard spot.

Will the Giants be healthy for the stretch run? After Thursday’s defeat, coach Brian Daboll indicated he doesn’t think any of the recent injuries will be long-term. The Giants already expected outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari, left guard Ben Bredeson and right tackle Evan Neal to return for their next game against Washington. Daboll’s comments seem to imply cornerback Fabian Moreau could also be back. Those are four pretty important players who should be returning for the Giants’ stretch run relatively soon. –Jordan Raanan

Next game: vs. Commanders (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

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https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/35093405/nfl-week-12-takeaways-2022-big-questions-every-game Lessons, big questions for every game

Emma Bowman

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