Happy Thanksgiving everyone! The NFL and Thanksgiving have become synonymous over the past decades. The Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins usually butt-heads over turkey and cranberry sauce and John Madden was the catalyst to any Tryptophan overdose.
This week the NFL hosts 3 games on Thanksgiving, this Thursday. That will mean six teams will have an opportunity to take on of the year's biggest stages and take another step in the direction of a playoff push.
Let's take a look at where your team stacks up heading in to Week-12.
32. Kansas City Chiefs (1-9)
Marshall Law has officially been declared in Kansas City. To think, the team was 10-6 just two seasons ago. The NFL must truly stand for "Not For Long".
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9)
A little positive energy surfaced in Jacksonville last week, the Jags' took the AFC-leading Houston Texans into overtime, becoming the first two teams to ever score twice since the league changed its overtime rules. The starting of Chad Henne (354yds, 4TD's-0INT's at Houston last week) is a step in the right direction for the team.
30. Carolina Panthers (2-8)
The Panthers took the red-hot Buc's into overtime and the defense looked great. Well, until overtime that is. Cam improved this week, with a 95.8 quarterback rating, which is a good sign for his confidence and the team's success.
29. Cleveland Browns (2-8)
The Cleveland Browns produced three good quarters against the Dallas Cowboys. Then it returned back to its futile self. Giving up a 13 point lead in the second half and being outscored 23-7 leading to the loss. Another day in Cleveland..
28. Oakland Raiders (3-7)
The A.D. era in Oakland appears to have become the Dark Ages. In their recent 3-game skid, the Raiders have surrendered 135 points, more than any other team in a three game span this year.
27. Philadelphia Eagles (3-7)
It's safe to say that the Andy Reid-era will officially be over in Philadelphia at the season's end. Unfortunately, before that point the Eagles must still face the Cowboys, Bucs, Bengals, Redskins and Giants. Ouch. Vick doesn't appear to be ready to return for the next couple of weeks while going through the NFL's phases of concussion treatment.
26. St. Louis Rams (3-6-1)
The Rams secondary hasn't recorded an interception since October 4th. They've also recorded 8 turnovers on offense since that very same point. Which should explain the 5-game lose/tie streak.
25. Detroit Lions (4-6)
The Lions put up quite the fight against the Green Bay Packers, but undisciplined football (7 penalties, 50yds) and a lack of rushing consistency continues to be the can of worms.
24. Arizona Cardinals (4-6)
The Cardinals secondary continues to stink up stadiums across the league, allowing 5TD's and over 290 yards passing at the Georgia Dome.
23. Miami Dolphins (4-6)
The turnovers continue to mount for rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill who has racked up 5INT's in the past two games. The Dolphins defense isn't helping either, failing to record a turnover during Miami's recent three-game losing streak.
22. Buffalo Bills (4-6)
Buffalo scored it's 19 points all in the first half against the Miami Dolphins. They have only 17 second half points since the Week-8 bye.
21. Tennessee Titans (4-6)
Hopefully the Titans used the bye week to explore the aberration that was a 37-3 win over the Miami Dolphins. Without the Bears debacle (5 turnovers), the Titans offense hasn't recorded a turnover in 3 games.
20. San Diego Chargers (4-6)
Deja vu for Norv Turner & Co.. Will front office finally end this Groundhog Day? The Chargers are 4-6 in the month of November since 2010. failing to reach the playoffs in each of those seasons.
19. New York Jets (4-6)
The win at St. Louis just further continues the media drama circus that is the New York Jets. A Thanksgiving night contest against the New England Patriots should prove for must see T.V., prepare for something to talk about Friday.
18. Indianapolis Colts (6-4)
It's back to reality for the Indianapolis Colts and Andrew Luck, who found out first hand how deep the Indy-New England thing really goes. The Colts clearly aren't playoff-ready and stand to finish 8-8 with two games in three weeks against the hungry, hungry Houston Texans.
17. Dallas Cowboys (5-5)
The Cowboys pulled out a late win against the lowly Cleveland Browns to keep jobs alive for one more week. If Dez Bryant keeps up performances like the last, the Cowboys may have a shot. Here we go again.. We will see if Mr. November shows up or not, but history proves he will.
16. Cincinnati Bengals (5-5)
Since the bye, the Bengals have scored an average of 27ppg, while holding opponents to 16ppg. Pacman Jones appears to have resurrected his career.
15. Washington Redskins (4-6)
RGIII's (14-15, 200yds, 4TD's) near perfect game may have saved the season for Washington, and perhaps taken the foot out of head coach Mike Shanahan's mouth.
14. Minnesota Vikings (6-4)
The only thing that stands in the way of the Vikings making the playoffs appears to be rookie quarterback Christian Ponder, and maybe the confidence in Adrian Peterson's knee. Nonetheless, Minnesota has once again asserted itself as one of the league's top defenses and Adrian Peterson leads all running backs in total yards (1,128).
13. New Orleans Saints (5-5)
The Saints have averaged 29ppg since the Week 6 bye. The Saints have gone 4-1 since that point, saving the season and perhaps playoff hopes.
12. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4)
The Steelers lost a hard fought game to the Baltimore Ravens, further proving it is one of this generations greatest rivalries. Unfortunately that smack mouth, hard-nosed series meant the loss of backup quarterback Byron Leftwich, leaving the Steelers with 3rd-stringer Charlie Batch who is 5-2 in starts for Pittsburgh. The Steelers also signed wide receiver Plaxico Burress after losing to the Ravens, Burress began his career with the Steelers, accumulating 4,146yds and 22TD's in his first five seasons.
11. Seattle Seahawks (6-4)
The Seahawks benefited from the 49'ers victory against the Chicago Bears which will be key going forward as they see match-up in Week-13. The Seahawks are 5-0 when quarterback Russell Wilson has a QB rating of 99 or higher.
10. Tampa Bay Buccanneers (6-4)
Since the Week-5 bye, the Bucs are averaging 34ppg, and Josh Freeman has only recorded 3 turnovers in seven weeks. Doug Martin continues to beast for Tampa Bay, averaging 148 yards per game during the Buc's 4-game winning streak. It's about time that head coach Greg Schiano gets attention for something other than nosediving victory formations.
9. New York Giants (6-4)
The Giants have been able to maintain a divisional lead as the rest of the NFC North self implodes. This will be an advantage as New York has the toughest second half schedule of all the teams in the NFL (Baltimore, Green Bay, Washington, Atlanta, Philadelphia, New Orleans). If New York somehow loses the division and makes the playoffs via Wildcard, NFL beware.
8. Chicago Bears (7-3)
It appears to be deja vu at Halas Hall. Quarterback Jay Cutler gets injured in the 10th week of a 7-win season for the second straight year. The Bears are now neck-and-neck with the Green Bay Packers for the division (Green Bay owns the tiebreaker) and there is no sign of Jay returning for the next couple of weeks. Jason Campbell doesn't appear capable of handling the offense, but it doesn't matter because the Bears' offensive line couldn't block a friend on Facebook.
7. Denver Broncos
If Peyton Manning (2,975yds; 24TD's-7INT's; 106.2 rating) isn't 100% yet, that spells trouble for the rest of the league.
6. Green Bay Packers (7-3)
The Packers are one of the hottest teams in the NFL at this point. Shooting from mere oblivion back up to contention within the NFC North, Sunday Night's match against the New York Giants should be a good grade on exactly howhot Green Bay is.
5. Baltimore Ravens (8-2)
It's hard to believe that the Ravens could play so without Ray Lewis on the field. It doesn't hurt that the miraculous return of Terrell Suggs has created a spark within a Baltimore locker room that could have easily been distracted by shell-shock.
4. San Francisco 49'ers (7-2-1)
Colin Kaepernick has been named the starting quarterback moving forward for the San Francisco 49'ers. However, that point should be irrelevant if the Niner's stick to their ground and pound gameplan. Nonetheless, let the drama ensue in the Bay.
3. New England Patriots (7-3)
The Gronk went down last week, but that won't stop the NFL's best offense (35.8ppg, 284 1st downs-1st, 4,319yds-1st) and Head Coach Bill Bilichick (202-146 all-time with Pats', 3 Super Bowls, 12 Division titles, 5 Conference titles) from scheming things up. New England's schedule isn't easy as they go to New York (Jets) and Miami before hosting the 49'ers and Texans. Tom Brady hasn't thrown an interception since October 14th.
2. Atlanta Falcons (9-1)
Quarterback Matt Ryan isn't living up to his "Matty Ice" moniker, throwing 5INT's and 0TD's in a win, the first of its kind since the 60's. Atlanta hasn't made much of a case for its 9-1 record as of late, but that is only an appetizing argument for a team that will only be judged by its performance in the playoffs.
1. Houston Texans (9-1)
The Texans look good, real good. Even in a narrow victory against a terrible Jacksonville team. They proved they could stick one out, and Matt Shaub (527yds, 5TD's-2INT's last week) is dangerous when healthy.
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