Week 13 in the NFL was spread out over a few more days with the Thanksgiving holidays. Instead of just one Thursday game, we got three. I had the unique experience of watching the day games on Thanksgiving from the deck of a cruise ship. A rainy day on vacation gave me the perfect excuse to just relax and soak up all the NFL I could. I was pretty surprised at all the Detroit fans that ended up on a ship with me that set sail from Tampa, Florida. I’m still not sure what was up with that.
The early Turkey Day game between Detroit and the Bears was not close in the end. But early on this one was a decent contest. The Lions had a great second quarter in which they scored 21 points to give them a ten point lead at halftime. Chicago tried to match Detroit’s wideouts with their own stars, Jeffery and Marshall, but were ultimately no match for Megatron and company. Calvin Johnson had 11 catches for 146 yards and had two touchdowns to boot. Detroit went out on top of the Bears 34-17.
Dallas has a big Thanksgiving tradition to uphold. They failed to do so this year with an ugly loss to division foe Philadelphia. This game got so out of hand that Fox had to go to Jimmy Johnson in studio to rehash the old Buddy Ryan bounties on Dallas from 100 years ago. Tony Romo was sacked several times as he simply gave himself up when in danger of being hit. That made it obvious that the guy is hurt and didn’t want to risk a big hit. Tony Romo is not one to give up on plays and he is known to play tough, so if I were a Cowboys fan I would be really concerned about his health. Philly has quietly stayed at the top of the league all year long and is now the NFC East leader. This game ended with the Eagles taking Dallas’ manhood 33-10.
The late holiday game featured two teams on the border of not being postseason relevant. The Niners, in the midst of more Jim Harbaugh trade rumors, took on Seattle. This game had been pegged as a key matchup ever since the start of the 2014 season. The two teams have not lived up to expectations, but that didn’t mean the game wasn’t important. San Francisco mounted virtually no offense, gaining only 164 yards total. The measly three points were not enough to keep up with Russell Wilson and the Seattle offense. They didn’t exactly look like an offensive juggernaut, but 19 points proved enough in this one.
Houston beat up on Tennessee 45-21 in a game that saw Ryan Fitzpatrick ruin fantasy lineups all over the nation. Fitz threw six touchdowns on his way to a 358 yard day. I wouldn’t look at this as a sign this will happen on a weekly basis, or ever again actually. J.J. Watt caught another touchdown pass to prove he is a freak, as if anyone doubted his freakiness. The Texans are 6-6 with playoff hopes still alive, and now the Titans fall to 2-10 in a race to the bottom.
The Raiders were pounded 52-0 by the Rams. I should stop right there, but I didn’t want to leave out the Tre Mason performance. This kid is something special and I have been on board with him since he was at Auburn gashing defenses. This performance was not an aberration either. Look for more games like this three touchdown performance from Mason.
The Ravens came from ahead to lose to the Chargers 34-33. San Diego needed three fourth quarter touchdowns to get the win and get to 8-4 on the year. Strong second half finishes are not the hallmark of the Bolts, but that is mainly for the second half of seasons. Baltimore is now 7-5 with the loss.
Buffalo did away with Cleveland pretty handily 26-10. The biggest news from this game was J-Football finally getting into a game. Brian Hoyer wasn’t getting it done and hasn’t been great recently. ESPN and their ilk would like nothing more than for Manziel to be named the starter so they could go into hyperbole mode. Then they would love to have the kid be found with a pallet of cocaine on a private jet with 15 Korean hookers. Meanwhile, journeyman Kyle Orton has quietly led his Bills to a decent record. A tough defense has certainly helped.
A 14-13 win over the Tampa Bay Bucs is nothing to brag about. However, the Bengals are now 8-3-1 with that “win.” They are at the top of their division, which is proving to be very tough with the rest of the pack at 7-5 currently.
The Colts laid waste to the Redskins who were led by Colt McCoy. Andrew Luck did his thing on way to a 49-27 win. McCoy looked impressive once again this year and may be the Redskins longterm answer if they could give him enough help, namely a competent offensive line.
The NY Giants managed a loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars to make sure Tom Coughlin was sent off to a rocking chair next year. You simply can’t lose to the Jags, but they did and the Coughlin era is almost at an end. Eli may not be far behind the coach, as crazy as that sounds.
35-32 looks closer than it was between Pittsburgh and New Orleans. Big Ben jacked his throwing hand up early in the game and that may have changed the game plan around. But the Saints were going to be hard to stop in this one offensively. They put up 35 in a game that they barely bothered to look at Jimmy Graham. The Steelers got a couple of late scores that closed the gap but the Saints were never in danger in this game.
Arizona dropped a game to the NFC South leading Falcons 29-18. Drew Stanton will have to do more to keep the Cardinals at the top level of the NFC. Carson Palmer’s fill-in had good numbers, but he will need to find the end zone if the Cards are to keep pace. Atlanta is a dismal 5-7 after the victory. The good news is that dismal is good enough to lead the NFC South. The Falcons and Saints apparently think it is OK to start playing tough in week 13.
The Broncos pushed Kansas City back into the muck of reality with a 29-16 win for Manning’s crew. The Chiefs are a nice story this year, but this is the outcome when they play a team with a superior QB like Manning. The Broncos are now in firm control of the AFC West.
The game of the week was supposed to be the Packers versus the Patriots. It lived up to the billing. The game was back and forth and the Pack was never in full control of the game. Who didn’t think Brady was going to bring the Pats right down the field to take the lead on their last drive? I know many Packers fans were holding their breath. To the Pack’s credit, their defense made the big plays on Brady at the end to preserve the win, 26-21.
Carolina also lost to the Vikings, while the Jets melted away to lose another game. This time it was to the Dolphins.