The holiday season doesn’t just ring in the end of the NFL regular season. It’s a time to give thanks. So what better time than now to offer up a few things I’m thankful for this football season?
Before getting mathematically eliminated from the playoffs on Sunday, the rallying cry in Washington all season was “even though we suck, we’re only a couple of games out of first place.” Plus, with 13 weeks now in the books, there are 27 teams still alive in the postseason race. This can only be true in a league rife with parity.
Tip of the cap to Calvin Johnson, Dez Bryant and Mike Tomlin for making this year special. The tips go to Megatron for just being great, Dez for the fantasy football points and Tomlin for becoming the most photoshopped and/or memed coach in NFL history.
The rapid emergence of the Kansas City Chiefs
I’ve been doing this NFL Recap for five years. This is on track to be my worst batch of season predictions yet. The one thing I got really right was the Chiefs rising from 2-14 doormat to playoff contender. Almost makes up for being loud wrong about the Texans, Redskins and Falcons. Almost.
Even amid trade rumors, Big Ben has resurrected not only his Pittsburgh Steelers’ playoff hopes but he’s also saved my fantasy football season — my first without an elite QB. With Colin Kaepernick, I was an awful 2-6. Since picking Roethlisberger up off waivers, I’m 5-0 with a legit shot at the playoffs. Don’t call it a comeback.
We also like a nice, tasty NFL recap to go with our cranberry sauce:
Packers 10 Lions 40
Detroit posted their first Thanksgiving win in 10 years and may have delivered a death blow to Green Bay’s playoff hopes in the process. It’s starting to look like the Year of the Lion in the NFC North.
Raiders 24 Cowboys 31
Not to be a football fashionista, but there’s something terribly wrong about the Dallas Cowboys wearing their blue jerseys at home. Completely unacceptable, circumstances be damned.
Steelers 20 Ravens 22
Baltimore looks like a team poised to make a late playoff push when they’re matched up against teams equal to or lesser than they are. But with games at Detroit and against New England, it’s hard to see the Ravens keeping pace with the Bengals.
Jaguars 32 Browns 28
Josh Gordon just posted his 2nd straight 200-yard receiving game (an NFL first) and has the 2nd most receiving yardage in the league despite catching passes from the likes of Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell. This kid is legit.
Titans 14 Colts 22
As Andrew Luck took yet another pounding behind that porous Indy offensive line (5 sacks for a loss of 40 yards), I wonder if Colts fans discuss benching him so he doesn’t get killed like Redskins fans do regarding RGIII.
Bears 20 Vikings 23 (OT)
Adrian Peterson topped the 10,000-yard rushing mark for his career, again reminding us all that he’s literally the only thing good going for Minnesota.
Dolphins 23 Jets 3
Memo to Geno Smith: if you keep your starting job despite leading the league in turnovers and getting benched at halftime for one of Phil Simms’ kids, then you most definitely are Mark Sanchez.
Cardinals 21 Eagles 24
Nick Foles stayed hot against one of the best and most underrated defenses in the league, and continues to make history by throwing 19 TDs and still no interceptions. He’s more than earned the starting spot in Philly and maybe even an honorable mention as an MVP candidate.
Yes, Denver basically locked up the AFC West by sweeping KC. Yes, the Chiefs are mired in a 3-game losing skid after the 9-0 start. But all of that is secondary to the comically gigantic tears shed by Knowshon Moreno. No human should be able to do that without instantly fainting from dehydration.
Bengals 17 Chargers 10
Now that Cincy is 8-4 with a pretty favorable remaining schedule, it’s growing increasingly likely that they’ll have the AFC North title already in hand when their Week 17 showdown against Baltimore rolls around.
Giants 24 Redskins 17
Props to @SadlyLacking for tweeting this resolution to the Redskins’ name debate: “rename the team: ‘The Washington Casinos’. You enter the stadium full of hope, but you undoubtedly leave broke and miserable.” Couldn’t say it any better myself.
Saints 7 Seahawks 34
In the nearly inevitable preview of the NFC Championship Game, Seattle made a huge statement. They shutdown one of the most prolific offenses in the league, scored at will against a solid defense, and set the Guiness World Record for loudest outdoor stadium in the process. Now that the ‘Hawks have a playoff berth locked up, they can shift focus to nailing down homefield advantage.