Thanksgiving Day takeaways: Bears, Cowboys prevail; Saints’ streak hits 10

Thanksgiving Day takeaways: Bears, Cowboys prevail; Saints’ streak hits 10

The Bears, led by quarterback Chase Daniel, downed the Lions in the early game. Then, the Cowboys ran their win streak to three and the Saints’ to 10 on Thursday.

All that and more in Week 12’s biggest takeaways from NFL Nation.

Safety Eddie Jackson could end up being Bears general manager Ryan Pace’s best draft pick. Taken in the fourth-round of the 2017 NFL draft, Jackson’s pick-six versus Matthew Stafford and the Lions on Thursday was his fifth defensive touchdown since last year; no NFL player has more than two scores over the same span. Jackson is quickly becoming one of the league’s top free safeties. He has helped the Bears to a five-game win streak and three-game lead in the NFC North heading into next Sunday’s matchup against the New York Giants. — Jeff Dickerson

The Lions have equaled their loss total — seven — from the past two seasons and there’s still five games to go. Oh, and the Los Angeles Rams come to town next week. This season has not gone how the Lions have envisioned and it has been myriad mistakes from different units throughout the year. One week, the defense is the problem. The next, the offense is poor. Special teams (while improved lately) has been hit-and-miss. It’s all leading to one thing — inconsistency and likely missing the playoffs for another year. — Michael Rothstein

The Redskins remain in contention for the playoffs, even if it doesn’t feel that way. After losing to Dallas, they’re 6-5 and tied with the Cowboys for first in the NFC East. But having lost three of their past four games, the Redskins are trending in the wrong direction. The run game — on both sides of the ball — has been a big reason for the recent struggles. Defensively, they miss too many tackles in the secondary. When teams can pass on them, the Redskins are cooked. Washington has enough so-called winnable games down the stretch, starting with the Eagles next week, to stay in the postseason conversation. But, they have to play better and hope running back Adrian Peterson has a hot finish. — John Keim

The Cowboys have won three straight after losing on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football,” and find themselves in first place in the NFC East with their Thanksgiving Day victory against Washington. “Everyone jumped off the bandwagon, of course, at 3-5,” Dak Prescott said. “You expect that. But I can tell you who didn’t doubt ourselves, who didn’t think we couldn’t do this or didn’t think that we had the team, is everybody in that locker room — and that’s all that really matters. So as long as we locked arms, we stayed tight, we knew could do this but we can do more.” — Todd Archer

To put it simply, the Falcons aren’t very good this season and don’t play with a consistent sense of urgency. They knew their playoffs chances were slim yet didn’t have anywhere near the same competitive fire against the Saints they did in a loss to the Cowboys last week. Three fumbles lost in the red zone by Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley symbolized the Falcons’ subpar season. Now at 4-7 with the Baltimore Ravens coming to Atlanta next, the Falcons need to shift the focus toward what changes need to be made to make the 2016 Super Bowl runner-up a championship contender once again. — Vaughn McClure

The Saints (10-1) might need to win out to stay ahead of the Rams (10-1) in the NFC. But they haven’t shown any signs of stumbling with three straight wins of 14-plus points. And it’s not just their historic offense but a surging defense that is playing its best football over the past three weeks. New Orleans forced four takeaways in a 31-17 win over Atlanta on Thursday, including three in the red zone. The Saints also had six sacks and two fourth-down stops. — Mike Triplett