by Ryan Meehan
Week thirteen in the NFL began with three Thursday games, the only difference there being this time it wasn’t just a money grab. It’s tradition to do NFL stuff on Thanksgiving, because it gives those of us who aren’t big fans of holidays something to get into. Detroit and Dallas have been hosting home games for some time now, and due to the recent insatiable desire to take the game overseas (at the direction of Kommissar Goddell) seem to be using the Thanksgiving Day games to buy their way out of such trips as well as these other pointless Thursday Night games that the front office of the league just can’t get enough of.
Thanksgiving Day: Lions 40, Packers 10
Although they came out with a win, this had to have been very frustrating to watch as a Lions fan. After seeing them drop games to Pittsburgh and Tampa, they came out here and looked very good in the second quarter before blowing it open in the third. So you have to wonder – why couldn’t they have done this the two previous games? You have to think that before that – they were 6-3 with two very winnable games in front of them, knowing that New Orleans would likely lose this week’s Monday Night matchup and they might actually have a shot at catching either them or Carolina and sneaking away with on of the first round byes. But as Coach said last week, things like the Pittsburgh game an the Tampa game are a direct result of poor coaching and we all know the Lions are in no shortage of that.
The second half of this game looked like a fire at the Slip N’ Slide factory, and you can thank the Packers for that. Here again, I just don’t understand why everyone is still so high on the Packers when they have such a dilapidated roster even minus the whole QB debacle. Aaron Rodgers will be back next week but it’s too late for them. They’re now 5-6-1 and would need a miracle to get in at this point, and that’s precisely why I consider them to be out of it already. They had 126 total yards (most of which were acquired on one play towards the end of the game when it didn’t matter) and they didn’t even have the ball for twenty minutes. It’s going to be a long offseason for the Packers, and it’s going to be full of decisions as far as who stays and who must go in order to make room for some productive free agents.
Cowboys 31, Raiders 24
This game really struggled to hold my attention for plenty of reasons. It appeared it was going to be more than just slightly entertaining as Dallas fumbled the opening kickoff which promptly turned into an Oakland touchdown. And Oakland was still up about midway through the second quarter but just lost all drive with about seven minutes left. The bottom completely dropped out of them, and when that happens on a team that’s not very good to begin with. They committed a total of ten penalties, and fell victim to just general sloppy play overall.
But once again, like he’s done so many times before Tony Romo was able to sit on the sidelines with that smirk on his face and do just enough to make it look like he was the hero. But the rest of us really know that the catalyst was DeMarco Murray. I don’t think there’s any question that with three touchdowns, that he was the main reason the Cowboys were able to win. Dez Bryant did play extremely well, but if you think this was Romo’s doing, you’re watching the game with the sound down. I know you are.
And one more thing, these Thanksgiving Day awards for Most Valuable Player have run their course. It’s not fun or amusing in the least bit, especially the Phil Simms one where he gives out a trophy shaped like an iron. This angers me so much because after having Simms be such a good memory from my childhood, every Thanksgiving they stop programming to show us footage of these ridiculous trophies being driven in by security as if they’re critical to national security. This year an Arlington City police SUV pulled in to the stadium and two extremely butch cope that looked like they could start for half the teams in the league got out with what seemed like a pile of trophies. And this is why trophies don’t mean anything – if everybody gets one, there’s no achievement. But Dallas is now 7-5, dodging a bullet in a home game that they could have easily lost.
Ravens 22, Steelers 20
At the time of this matchup, both of these teams were playing for the 6 seed in the AFC. And as we all are fully aware, that middle third of that conference is chock full of teams who don’t really deserve being in the playoff hunt. But one of them will get there, and I’m guessing it will be one of the two teams that played in this one. The end of this game was pretty brutal (a lot of helmet to helmet contact and uniform parts flying off all over the place) but it came down to a 2 point conversion that the Steelers couldn’t convert that ended up being the difference here.
Now there is a lot of barking coming out of the Ravens camp regarding how Mike Tomlin stepped out onto the field during one of Jacoby Jones’ kick returns, and some believe that the Steelers should have been penalized. Although I’m a staunch proponent of the idea that anything which doesn’t truly affect the outcome of the play (which I don’t believe it was in this case) shouldn’t be penalized, I think that this is a perfect time to mention that some of these coaches are on the field WAY too much and they continue to get away with it. It needs to stop, and with guys Pete Carroll’s age it may become a security issue at some point in time. Even though it’s not nearly as rampant in football as it is in the NBA, there’s way too much of it occuring and if class guys like Mike Tomlin are doing it maybe we need to seriously take a look at enforcing the penalties set in place as opposed to just mentioning that they are suggestions. Here again I don’t think he did it on purpose but I sincerely hope they contact him and let him know it’d better not happen again.
Colts 22, Titans 14
It’s hard to really buy the Colts when they can’t seem to really put away the Tennessees of the NFL. Yeah, they’re 8-4 but if you asked me today who would be your least surprising first round exit I’d say Indianapolis before anybody else. They will win their division easily, but will soon find that there are a lot of teams like the Colts who are “hanging around”. The Chiefs may be getting there if they don’t clean their act up, and you half to figure half of those teams have to lose in any given round. Where is the Colts team that handed the Seattle Seahawks their only loss of the year? You might want to ask Reggie Wayne.
Jaguars 32, Browns 28
Well it happened like it does every year, the Browns have hit rock bottom in a game that felt like one of their worst losses in years. I know the Jaguars have been playing good football but when your defense is supposed to be a top NFL defense, and your wide receiver becomes the first receiver in the league to go over 200 yards in consecutive games you should never lose to a team like Jacksonville. Funny enough after the Jags have won two out of three and have three in a row at home against sub .500 teams. If they can win 2 out of the next 3 they could be end up with 5 or possibly 6 wins, which Jags fans should chalk up as a victory after starting the season with 8 straight losses. For the Browns emotions from the fans and players boiled over as a once promising season has just turned into the norm in Cleveland. After the game cornerback Joe Haden let his emotions boil over during his post game presser in the most passion fans have seen out of a Cleveland player in years. To make matters worse Browns lame duck quarterback Brandon Weeden was diagnosed with a post game concussion leaving major question marks about who will be under center next week when the Browns head to New England in what surely will be a huge spread as Tom Brady could be squaring off against Alex Tanney.
Patriots 34, Texans 31
Let’s be real here…Did anybody really think that when Houston was ahead that they were going to hang on to the lead against a three time Super Bowl champion? Hell no…This game tells us two things that we should have already known: Anytime the Texans are up, wait for it. And anytime the Patriots are down, wait for it. When Houston is ahead with their lack of depth, it’s only a matter of time before they blow it. When New England is down, it’s only a matter of time before you realize that they’re playing against a team that’s about to have double digit losses. I heard an analyst say on Sunday morning that Rob Gronkowski (when healthy) can be the best position player in the NFL. I believe it, and don’t doubt the Patriots until they’re out.
Panthers 27, Buccaneers 6
When are people going to start taking the Panthers seriously? We get it, the Bucs are on the bottom of the pool in the NFC but Carolina has won eight straight and no respect seems to be headed in their general direction until that number is around 11 or 12. By the way, Carolina is giving up only 13.1 points per game headed into next Sunday night’s monster matchup with New Orleans that you can see at any bar where they have electricity. Tampa had been playing better as of late, but their ineptness and overall lack of depth really killed them in this one.
Vikings 23, Bears 20
Here’s my weekly anti-Bears rant. This is exactly why I don’t believe that the Bears are any good. I don’t want to hear any garbage about how the game was in Minnesota, or about how Jay Cutler didn’t play or any of that…If you can’t beat a 2-8-1 team in five quarters, you don’t get to play when the regular season is over. End of story, do not pass “Go”, do not collect $200. I will hand it to McCown, he did play well – but that defense is a shell of itself and even when it was good, that was at least 5 or 6 years back. Your time has passed, and it’s now time for the scouts to start doing work. AP went all day and put together yet another amazing performance in this one.
Eagles 24, Cardinals 21
So I had been jocking Arizona pretty hard for the past few weeks. I knew there was something that didn’t feel right about it, but I just wanted to believe it was going to happen so badly I didn’t know what else to do. The reality is, until the Cardinals can get a running back they likely won’t get to ten wins anytime soon. The West is simply too hard for them to not have a complete team and compete in. The Eagles are in great shape – Foles is playing extremely well and there is just no way you can go back to Vick regardless of how healthy he might be. If you’re the Eagles, you have one job: Sit back and wait for the Cowboys to blow it. Which should be right around the corner, because after all it is December…
Dolphins 23, Jets 3
It’s kind of funny how just a few weeks back everybody was barking about how the Jets were on and off week to week, and we just “weren’t sure” which team they were. Well, not to toot my own horn here, but I knew which team they were all along and it wasn’t the good one. It was the team that got worked by the Bengals 49-9. It was the team that got beat by three touchdowns at Buffalo. And it was the team that didn’t score a single touchdown against Pittsburgh, Baltimore and eventually Miami. Ed Reed is calling for Fireman Ed to come out of retirement, which shows you exactly where this team thinks its problems lie. And mind you all of this is happening to a team that’s first against the run. The Dolphins looked better and are now back at .500, but who wouldn’t be? Anybody could hold these schmucks to three points, and a 6-6 team that probably won’t have a winning record by the end of the season is no exception – so I’m not impressed.
Falcons 34, Bills 31
Sweet! The Falcons are back on track. I was wondering when this was going to happen. I was glad that it did before their season looked like a broken toilet bowl full of my diarrhea at El Rodeo on Brady Street after 3 enchiladas and something that cannot possibly be rice and/or beans. I couldn’t imagine if it was week thirteen and it was far too late for Atlanta to make a move – that would be terrible. They did finally win though, but have yet to make a statement this year on American soil as this game was in Canada. Toronto mayor Rob Ford was in attendance which is awful for the NFL, but great if you’re a hack comedian who’s been gnawing on that sock for a good month or so.
49ers 23, Rams 13
Bengals 17, Chargers 10
Although not the sharpest knife in the drawer, the Cincinnati Bengals continue to trudge on. Not monumental, but the blowouts are probably over for them this year. For the sake of the Bengals I am hoping 1) that they either get the Colts first; or 2) end up being faced with the Chiefs so the Chiefs can win one playoff game. San Diego is always small time, no real shock there. The good news is that now we don’t have to listen to any more shit about the Chargers being a “contender”. I can’t give you anymore information about the Bengals, because this is about where I expected them to be at this point in the season. I can understand why some people aren’t buying it, and it probably does tell us a little bit about where the AFC sits as far as the 2 to 6 seeds.
Broncos 35, Chiefs 28
The Denver Broncos once again did just enough and got some amazing work done by Eric Decker who caught four of Peyton Manning’s 5 touchdown passes. I am still encouraged by Kansas City, they have lost three straight but they don’t seem to be in a legitimate slump and they are still putting close to 30 points on the board. If anybody knows how to right that ship so all of the guys will be on the same page, it’s Andy Reid so there shouldn’t be too much panic overall. Denver was able to get themselves away from what was just a heartbreaking loss against New England that could have damaged a lesser team’s season. But their defense again is not playing well. They aren’t getting the third down stops they should be and something just seems off. The lack of Elvis Dumervil really screwed up the internal chemistry of that side of the football, and there’s no denying it. Like I said, the Chiefs should be fine but they have some bowling pin teams in the next couple of weeks and in an odd way that will be a real test for them. They play Oakland next and then the Redskins afterwards. If they lose EITHER ONE of those two games they are one and done in the postseason for sure. Speaking of the Washington Redskins…
Giants 24, Redskins 17
The Giants came out looking extremely flat, and fell down 14-0 early in this one. Thankfully, the Redskins are capable of the kind of collapse we’ve come to know from Atlanta or Houston this year, and they were outscored 24-3 in the remainder of the game. Justin Tuck went absolutely apeshit in the second half, totaling four sacks and dominating the Redskins O line. Look, the Giants aren’t going to go anywhere since Philly won today (they can’t leapfrog TWO teams) but I will say this about my guys: They always fight their asses off even when they are completely out of the hunt, and that’s to be respected.
As for Washington, there is just no way that Robert Griffin has control of that locker room in any way, shape or form. Even though he looked phenomenal in the first quarter, he doesn’t command respect when it’s needed most and a locker room can turn on a guy quick. Especially a guy like RG3, who might have less of a backbone than originally sold to us in the first place. And they haven’t won a game in a month, so if you want to bag on me for hating, I’ll take plastic please. Go right ahead.
Seahawks 34, Saints 7
A lot of people are going to rip on New Orleans and say that their defensive problems have returned, but they are just trying to hide the fact that Seattle really might be this good. They could have easily scored 50 because everything was hitting, but they eased up after they realized that they are going to need some of that fuel to get to San Francisco next week. Even without key defensive players, they are just brutal at the corners and the Cliff Avril signing is really starting to look like it’s paid off. Sorry to gush, but I just can’t say enough good things about the Seattle Seahawks, especially at 11-1.
The Saints on the other hand have one big problem: Two of their remaining games are against the red hot Carolina Panthers. If the struggles they had in this game continue, they could actually not win that division which a month and a half ago would have been crazy talk. And if they can get through all of that what is their reward? Well, they will probably have to go back to Seattle late in the postseason. Ain’t life a bitch?
Bonus Comment #1
So during the Giants-Redskins game on Sunday night there was an officiating error where the chains were moved without reviewing the spot of a forward pass. Mike Shanahan and everybody who has ever done DC radio is throwing a fit about it, but I don’t see the problem. They got a free down. If the Houston Texans got 5 downs on every single drive, they might be undefeated this year. Seriously, if anybody is upset about anything it should be the fact that there was such a huge deal made about a situation where the Redskins 1) failed to convert anyway; and 2) still had to make it 50 yards against a defense that had been eating their soul for an entire half and still kick an extra point to tie the game. There’s so many different hypothetical situations involving what could have happened, and the only one where Washington could have ended up winning involves a guy who’s a bit of a chicken going for 2 and likely blowing it. Anybody who’s legitimately upset about this can kiss my black ass.
Bonus Comment #2
I began writing this piece on Thursday night, and at that time I hadn’t watched the Tomlin clip as much as I have now as I’m writing it on Sunday. To be brutally honest with you, it doesn’t look good for Mike and the Steelers. Upon further review, it was pretty obvious that there was some kind of intent there and the NFL will be looking into it, as well they should. If they don’t like what they find, look for them to make an example out of Tomlin who is one of the more classy guys in the league. There’s even talk that he may be suspended, or that the Steelers will lose a draft pick. While the latter is a stupid penalty, they have to send some sort of message that tells coaches to stay off the field while the ball is in play. That last part is in italics because I shouldn’t even have to mention stuff like this.
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