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"Everybody's cooking and football is on TV"  | Bills enjoy the festivities of playing on Thanksgiving 

Stefon Diggs (left), Josh Allen (center) and Dawson Knox (right), Buffalo Bills vs New Orleans Saints at Caesars Superdome, November 25, 2021.
Stefon Diggs (left), Josh Allen (center) and Dawson Knox (right), Buffalo Bills vs New Orleans Saints at Caesars Superdome, November 25, 2021.

The Bills are heading back to Ford Field in Detroit, but this time for the regularly scheduled game against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day.

"Happy for all the Bills fans that will be at the game, and ones that won't be at the game that they'll be able to watch us on television and celebrate a holiday together and watch their team perform," head coach Sean McDermott said.

Football fans across the country eagerly wake up on Thanksgiving morning as they wait for the first NFL game of the day – something that players remember about the holiday growing up. And this year, the Bills and Lions have the honor of kicking off the non-stop football action of the day at 12:30 p.m.

"Growing up, you watch football, you wake up in the morning and it's the first thing that's on," safety Jordan Poyer said. "Everybody's cooking and football is on TV…. So, it'll be cool to get in and get out, and get home at night with our families."

While Thursday marks the third time in the last four seasons that the Bills will have played on Thanksgiving, this will be the first time for 12-year NFL veteran LB Von Miller.

"It's always a dream of mine as a kid," Miller said. "You watch the Thanksgiving games, you watch the Cowboys, and the Commanders and you watch the Detroit Lions and the Bears. You have Thanksgiving dinner, and you go outside, and you play flag football in the backyard. These are the moments that you dreamed of."

For QB Josh Allen, his first Thanksgiving game came in 2019 with a 26-15 win over the Dallas Cowboys. A lot of friends and family from Allen's hometown of Firebaugh, California came in for the game and the QB described it as a "homecoming" experience to be able to celebrate with them after the game.

"They made the trip out so that was pretty cool having a lot of family in," Allen said. "Given our profession and how we've played this game for as long as we've played it in college and high school, I think most of the guys, we really haven't had that family, Thanksgiving or Christmas in a very long time with everybody."

As someone who loved football growing up and still does to this day, Thanksgiving is special for the QB who is 2-0 on Turkey Day games.

"Knowing that everybody's sitting at home, probably bellies full or about to get their bellies full, watching football," Allen said. "I remember that as a kid the most, whether it's at our house or one of our friend's houses just eat as much as possible and watching the games."

The Bills' most recent Thanksgiving game against the New Orleans Saints in 2021 stands out to WR Stefon Diggs, who enjoys the holiday because it's around his birthday (Nov. 29). Diggs remembers the 31-6 win over the Saints from the game just as much as the on-field celebration afterward.

"I got a turkey leg. I've never done that," Diggs said. "I've actually played in a couple of Thanksgiving games; it's been pretty fun. I'm just blessed to know that I get to watch my little brother play afterward too."

But before Diggs and his teammates can return home to celebrate the holiday with their families and watch what's left of the other two NFL games, they know they have to take care of business on the football field first. It's a quick turnaround for the Bills who held their lone practice of the week on Tuesday afternoon and will be getting back on a plane to Motor City Wednesday afternoon, but the focus remains going 1-0 on Thursday.

"Trying to get back on schedule and really get your body back to where you need it to be in less than a week," Diggs said. "It's a task that we all have to face, not just us but the other team too. So, take it in stride, more football."

Check out the best practice photos as the Bills prepare to play the Lions on Thanksgiving. The gallery is presented by On Location.

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