WASHINGTON – Thanksgiving is over, and even though we’re done with the leftovers and our relatives have left the guest room (if they haven’t, you have my sympathy), there’s still a lot for which to be thankful. I’ll leave you to your own devices for the personal stuff … I’m just here to give thanks for what I deem the best of the NFL this season. In no particular order:
Robert Griffin III
Regardless of your rooting interests, you have to appreciate what this kid is doing. His four-touchdown performance Thursday marked the first time in Redskins history a QB has passed for four TDs in consecutive games. Not to mention he’s thrown those eight TDs in a span of just five days. His 16-to-4 ratio of TDs to INTs is incredible for a rookie. Furthermore, he’s just about the only reason the ‘Skins are watchable, let alone competitive. Every week he does something to blow your mind, and Washington gets a front-row seat for all of it.
The Donovan McNabb deal
No, not the ill-fated one that brought No. 5 from Philly to Washington. I’m talking about the swap that sent him from D.C. to Minnesota. Because in that deal, the Skins got a sixth-round pick that would later be used on some kid from Florida Atlantic named Alfred Morris, who is easily in the mix for Offensive Rookie of the Year after Thursday’s 113-yard outing. If the ‘Skins continue to hit on mid/late- round picks, it will certainly ease the pain of being without their first-round pick each of the next two years.
Even though the division races in the AFC are all but decided, the NFC still has three divisions up for grabs. Heading into December, only Carolina and Philly are completely out of the NFC playoff mix, while the AFC has eight teams lined up for the fifth and sixth spots as well. Translation: We’ll have meaningful football played in all but about seven or eight NFL cities throughout the month of December. Somewhere, late commissioner Pete Rozell is smiling.
The New York Jets
You win, then you talk. Not the other way around. Somehow, Rex Ryan hasn’t received that memo just yet. I know it’s an annoying (and every once in a while, entertaining) trait that runs through his veins (his dad Buddy and brother Rob also have a habit of letting their mouths write checks their respective football teams can’t cash), but he’s got to know that coaching in the Big Apple exacerbates the scrutiny when things don’t go well. Yet and still, seeing mouthy, mediocre teams get a rude jolt of reality just feels right. Even if that snakebitten fanbase doesn’t deserve it.
Football on Thanksgiving
Need I say more? I do? Oh, right. The Week 12 recap:
Texans 34 Lions 31 (OT)
Great game for four quarters, but I’m still trying to figure out why nobody seemed to want to win in overtime. Were these guys trying to avoid their families or something?
Oh, and that red flag rule needs to go immediately. That Justin Forsett 81-yard non-touchdown might have changed the complexion of the playoff picture in both conferences.
Redskins 38 Cowboys 31
RGIII and company went into Dallas and pulled off the football equivalent of walking into someone’s house on Thanksgiving, eating all their food, kissing their wife on the mouth and leaving the joint unscathed despite a full-on chase from the homeowner. And it was long overdue.
Many (myself included) don’t think that much of Jay Cutler, but given the way Chicago plays when he’s in the lineup, perhaps we should start changing our thinking about where he ranks among starting NFL QBs.
Raiders 10 Bengals 34
If you’ve ever gotten a divorce, fallen on hard times and then come back to see your ex thriving in a great new relationship, please call Carson Palmer. He could use some sympathy right about now.
Steelers 14 Browns 20
Well, Cleveland…there could be something to waving a white flag after all. Pittsburgh responded by handing you the ball eight times. This we know: If Ben Roethlisberger isn’t back in the black and gold for the trip to Baltimore, the Steelers could be waving a white flag of their own.
Look, I’ll just call it like it is: Nobody’s going to be impressed with any Matt Ryan fourth-quarter rallies or anything else Atlanta does unless it’s in the playoffs. Now that it’s starting to become apparent the road to the Super Bowl will go through the Georgia Dome, this could be the best chance for the Falcons to do exactly that.
Titans 19 Jaguars 24
It’s not a good sign for Blaine Gabbert that Justin Blackmon plays his best ball without him. If Tim Tebow isn’t quarterbacking in his hometown of Jacksonville by Week 8 next season, I’ll be stunned.
Ravens 16 Chargers 13 (OT)
Only a Norv Turner team can surrender a 4th-and-29 conversion to blow a 10-point fourth-quarter lead at home. If the Redskins can fire Norv at 7-6 in the midst of a playoff race in 2000, the Chargers have no excuse for not doing the same at 4-7 in 2012. It’s clearly time for a change in San Diego.
Rams 31 Cardinals 17
Memo to Arizona: Running the table and hiding under the table are two very different things.
49ers 31 Saints 21
Alex Smith is a nice player, but this Colin Kaepernick kid has the goods. Time to hand the keys over to No. 7. San Fran’s title hopes depend on it.
Packers 10 Giants 38
Believe it or not, this result makes me think the Giants are poised to be upset by the Redskins in Week 13. Over the last couple years, the Giants have played their best against the elite (San Fran, Green Bay, New England), but choked against lesser teams (Philly, Dallas and Washington). Plus, the ‘Skins game is in December. That’s typically not a good month in New York.
Panthers 30 Eagles 22
Andy Reid might have some trouble getting into his office this morning … that is, if Jon Gruden hasn’t already moved his stuff into it.