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Who plays on 'Thursday Night Football' tonight? Time, TV channel, schedule for NFL Week 13

Sporting News logo Sporting News 12/2/2021 Jacob Camenker

One of the weirdest "Thursday Night Football" matchups of every year comes the week after Thanksgiving. What's so strange about it? Usually, two of the six teams that played on the holiday will face off in a second consecutive Thursday game. It's the only time each year that happens, as Thanksgiving is the only day that multiple teams play on Thursday. 

So, both teams are coming off equal rest. As such, there's no competitive rest advantage for either side. That will make this matchup a strong one, and so will the improving health of both of the teams playing.

The visiting team played on Thanksgiving without its top two receivers, but CeeDee Lamb (concussion) seems likely to return this week. That will provide the Cowboys with a bit of a boost. However, they are dealing with a COVID outbreak among their staff, so Mike McCarthy won't coach in this one. That could hurt Dallas, especially since they're playing in a tough location.

The Superdome has proven to be a hostile environment for opposing teams in recent years. The Saints may be struggling, but they are expected to make a quarterback change and will be getting some key pieces back from injury on offense. That includes running back Alvin Kamara, and he could be a difference-maker in this matchup.

Below is everything to know about Thursday night's matchup, plus everything you need to know to watch the first Week 13 game of the 2021 NFL season.

MORE: Watch Cowboys at Saints live with fuboTV (7-day free trial)

Who plays on 'Thursday Night Football' tonight?

  • Matchup: Cowboys at Saints
  • Location: Caesar's Superdome in New Orleans, La.

The Cowboys (7-4) are traveling to New Orleans to face the Saints (5-6) on "Thursday Night Football" in Week 13. Both teams lost on Thanksgiving, as the Cowboys fell in overtime 36-33 against the Raiders while the Saints were shellacked by the Bills 31-6.

Dallas has been one of the league's best offenses this year, but it has lost three of its last four games. The Cowboys' lone win came against the Falcons, and now they're going to have to navigate some difficult waters on Thursday night.

CeeDee Lamb seems ready to return from a concussion that held him out last week, but Amari Cooper (COVID) is still questionable. Meanwhile, Mike McCarthy and some other members of the coaching staff have tested positive for COVID, and they will miss the game. That could prove problematic for Dallas depending on which coaches can play.

The silver lining for Dallas is that the Saints have struggled of late. They have lost four consecutive games and have been banged up during them. The team is hoping running back Alvin Kamara can return this week along with the team's right tackle, Terron Armstead. That would give the offense some extra punch.

That said, the biggest change could come at the quarterback position. New Orleans may look to trust Taysom Hill after giving Trevor Siemian that backup job following Jameis Winston's season-ending injury. Siemian has struggled immensely and Hill battled for the starting job during camp. He hasn't played much in recent weeks because of a foot injury, but if he does play, his mobility will make him more of a weapon than Siemian.

Both teams need to win here. The Cowboys need one to stay in the race for the No. 1 seed and to keep distance between themselves and the surging Washington Football Team. The Saints need to win to stay in the Wild Card race.

What time is the NFL game tonight?

  • Date: Thursday, Dec. 2
  • Time: 8:20 p.m. ET

The Cowboys vs. Saints game will kick off at 8:20 p.m. ET. That's the same time that all "Thursday Night Football" games will begin throughout the 2021 NFL season. Pregame coverage of the event will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET on both NFL Network and Fox. NFL Network will also air "TNF First Look" on game day starting at 3 p.m. ET.

Streamers will be able to watch the game via Amazon Prime or by using fuboTV, which comes with a seven-day free trial.

Meanwhile, viewers in Canada can watch the game on DAZN free with a 30-day trial.

What channel is 'Thursday Night Football' on tonight?

"Thursday Night Football" will continue to be simulcast on both Fox and NFL Network. The two networks will each show a broadcast featuring Joe Buck and Troy Aikman on the call, and that will continue for the rest of the 2021 NFL season. Viewers will also be able to stream the game using Amazon Prime.

Most United States cable providers carry the NFL Network. It also is available via satellite provider DirecTV (channels 212 and 1212) and IPTV providers Verizon FiOS (channels 88 and 588) and Google Fiber (channel 2019).

NFL live stream for Thursday night game

Streamers will be able to view "Thursday Night Football" for free with a cable subscription by using either the NFL App or the Yahoo! Sports App. You must enter cable/satellite subscription credentials to access it.

Meanwhile, cord-cutters will have plenty of options to watch Cowboys vs. Saints. They are as follows.

Streaming option Cable subscription needed? Free? Cost Free trial?
NFL App No Yes - -
Yahoo! Sports App No Yes - -
DirecTV Stream No No $69.99/month No
fuboTV No No $60/month Yes
Hulu Plus Live TV No No $55/month Yes
Sling TV No No $30/month Yes
YouTube TV No No $65/month Yes

NFL Week 13 schedule

The Saints vs. Cowboys game will kick off Week 13 of NFL action. Both of the teams in action played, and lost, on Thanksgiving with the Cowboys falling in overtime against the Raiders and the Saints getting blown out by the Bills. New Orleans is planning to start Taysom Hill this week — if healthy — so that could change things up a bit for them.

The other prime-time games in Week 13 will be some intriguing divisional clashes. The Broncos are set to the take on the Chiefs in a "Sunday Night Football" game that was flexed into prime-time ahead of the Seahawks-49ers. The Chiefs (7-4) lead the other three teams in the AFC West by one game and will look to keep it that way while the Broncos battle for their first win in their last 11 tries against the Chiefs.

"Monday Night Football" will feature the Patriots and Bills playing in Buffalo. This game will determine which team has the inside track to first place in the AFC East, though there are two Patriots-Bills matchups remaining this year.

Elsewhere, the Cardinals return from bye to take on the Bears while the 0-10-1 Lions look for their first win at home against the Vikings.

Below is the full schedule for Week 13 of the 2021 NFL season.

Week 13

  • Thursday, Dec. 2
Game Kickoff time TV channel
Cowboys at Saints 8:20 p.m. ET Fox/NFLN/Amazon
  • Sunday, Dec. 5
Game Kickoff time TV channel
Giants at Dolphins 1 p.m. ET Fox
Colts at Texans 1 p.m. ET CBS
Vikings at Lions 1 p.m. ET CBS
Eagles at Jets 1 p.m. ET CBS
Cardinals at Bears 1 p.m. ET Fox
Chargers at Bengals 1 p.m. ET Fox
Buccaneers at Falcons 1 p.m. ET Fox
Washington Football Team at Raiders 4:05 p.m. ET Fox
Jaguars at Rams 4:25 p.m. ET CBS
Ravens at Steelers 4:25 p.m. ET CBS
49ers at Seahawks 4:25 p.m. ET CBS
Broncos at Chiefs 8:20 p.m. ET NBC
  • Monday, Dec. 6
Game Kickoff time TV channel
Patriots at Bills 8:15 p.m. ET ESPN
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