This week was Thanksgiving, which meant that for one week in the year, we had a triple header of football on a Thursday night. The Lions and Cowboys both recorded wins in their traditional Thanksgiving home games, while the Raiders and Cowboys continued on their amazing runs on Sunday. And yes, the Browns are still winless in 2016.
Thanksgiving Thursday Triple
(6-5) Minnesota Vikings 13 – 16 Detroit Lions (7-4)
The Lions did the double over the Vikings on Thursday in a low-scoring game at Ford Field. Matt Prater kicked 2 FG in the final two minutes to turn the game and give the hosts the victory. There were just two TDs in the game, with both sides getting into the end zone in the first quarter. The W gives Detroit a commanding lead in the NFC North, with the head-to-head record against the Vikings essentially giving them a two game lead at the top. The Vikings have now lost five of their last six and continue to struggle offensively.
(6-4-1) Washington Redskins 26 – 31 Dallas Cowboys (10-1)
Thanksgiving’s second treat was in Dallas, which saw a topsy-turvy game go the way of the Cowboys. Dak Prescott threw a TD, and also ran in a score. Fellow rookie, Ezekiel Elliott, ran in for 2 TD. The Redskins managed over 500 yards of offense, and Kirk Cousins threw 3TDs, all in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough as the Redskins fell short. They are now 6-4-1, four games behind the league leading Dallas Cowboys, who have only lost the one game this season.
(6-5) Pittsburgh Steelers 28 – 7 Indianapolis Colts (5-6)
The final game of Thursday’s NFL triple header was a blow-out in Indy. The Steelers won by 21 points, as Ben Roethlisberger had his best game since returning from injury. He threw 3 TD, all to Antonio Brown, as Pittsburgh cruised to victory in the battle of the .500 teams. Le’Veon Bell also scored a rushing TD to seal the deal. With Andrew Luck, the Colts struggled, and they fall to 5-6, but still well within a shot in the bang-average AFC South.
Sunday Evening Games
(4-6-1) Arizona Cardinals 19 – 38 Atlanta Falcons (7-4)
Devonta Freeman was the man for the Falcons on Sunday night, rushing in for two scores as the Falcons continued their high-scoring run. Matt Ryan also found Taylor Gabriel for 2 TD scores. His opposite number, Carson Palmer, also threw 2 TD but it would not be enough in the end. One good thing for the Cards is that David Johnson has now gone 11 games straight with 100yds or more from scrimmage, a remarkable stat for the RB. However, they are now 4-6-1 and struggling.
(3-7-1) Cincinnati Bengals 14 – 19 Baltimore Ravens (6-5)
The surprising hero in Baltimore on Sunday was Justin Tucker. He kicked 4 FG on the day, and broke a record for kicking 3 50+yd FG in one half of football, something that has never been done before. Both Andy Dalton and Joe Flacco threw a TD in a defense-heavy game, but this game arguably had the play of the week. As you can see here, Sam Koch (Ravens P) keeps the ball on 4th down, while eight players in front of him commit holding penalties. However, the clock runs out and time cannot be added on for offensive penalties, so the Ravens win the game. Genius or not?
(2-9) Jacksonville Jaguars 21 – 28 Buffalo Bills (6-5)
LeSean McCoy was the main man, once again, as the Bills took victory in a tight game with Jacksonville. He had another 100 yard rushing game, scoring 2 TD in the process, taking him to 9 for the season. Tyrod Taylor had another 2 TD game, with one through the air and one on the ground. Blake Bortles threw 2 TD passes, but only threw for 126 yards in the game. The Jags fell short, and are now just 2-9 for the year.
(6-6) Tennessee Titans 27 – 21 Chicago Bears (2-9)
The Titans got to .500 in 2016 before they go on their bye week in Week 13. However, the result would have been very different had Chicago’s receivers not dropped so many passes. Matt Barkley made his first career start at QB for the Bears, but he wasn’t helped by his teammates. He threw for 3 TDs, but he could have had a game-winning fourth at the end of the game. However, Marcus Mariota led the Titans to a six point victory, leaving the Bears effectively out of the playoff running.
(8-3) New York Giants 27 – 13 Cleveland Browns (0-12)
Another week, another defeat. Same old story for the Browns in Week 12. The Browns go into their bye week knowing that they need something spectacular to happen if they are to find a way out of this winless streak. The Giants, however, keep marching on. They have now won six games straight, and with the Eli-Odell combination firing for 2 TD again this week, they could become a big threat in the playoffs, especially if they have to accept a Wild Card spot with Dallas on such good form.
(5-6) San Diego Chargers 21 – 13 Houston Texans (6-5)
Brock Osweiler had a day to forget against the Chargers, throwing 3 INT. His counteprart, Philip Rivers, had a good day, throwing 3 TD, as San Diego managed to hold on to a fourth quarter lead, something they have struggled to do this season. They move to 5-6, but thanks to the competitive nature of the AFC West, they are bottom of the division and nearly out of the playoff race. The Texans, despite losing, lead the AFC South.
(1-10) San Francisco 49ers 24 – 31 Miami Dolphins (7-4)
The Dolphins are going about their business very quietly and efficiently, and they have now won six games in a row. Once again, this week, Jay Ajayi ran in for a score, but Ryan Tannehill came up big for Miami. He threw 3 TD to counter that of his opposite number, Colin Kaepernick. CK, who has had his critics this year, thanks to his knee-taking antics, almost got the 49ers into OT, but the ‘Fins D came up big, stopping the QB at the 2yd line as time expired to move to 7-4 on the year.
(4-7) Los Angeles Rams 21 – 49 New Orleans Saints (5-6)
The highest scoring game of the week started well for the Rams, with Jared Goff throwing three first half TD. However, they could not muster a single point in the second half, with the Saints running riot to win a high-scoring game at the Superdome. Drew Brees threw 4 TD passes, and also ran in for a score, while WR Willie Snead also threw a TD pass to Tim Hightower. Mark Ingram had a TD reception and rush, as the Saints racked up nearly fifty points. Despite their high-scoring offense, they are only 5-6 and will need to improve to make the playoffs in 2016.
(7-3-1) Seattle Seahawks 5 – 14 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5)
Just 19 points were scored at the RayJay on Sunday night, and none of those came after half time. Jameis Winston and Mike Evans came up big for the Bucs in the first quarter, connecting on 2 TD throws to give Tampa a lead they never relinquished. Seattle looked a shell of their usual self, as they could manage a FG on offense, and a safety on defense. Despite the defeat they still top the NFC West, while the Bucs are in position to mount an attack on the Falcons atop the NFC South.
(9-2) New England Patriots 22 – 17 New York Jets (3-8)
The Patriots needed a late go-ahead drive from Tom Brady to keep their #1 spot in the AFC on Sunday night. Brady threw 2 TD in the victory at MetLife Stadium, both going to rookie WR Malcolm Marshall. Ryan Fitzpatrick also threw 2 TD, with Quincy Enunwa going over 100yds receiving, but the Pats won out. Brady grabbed his 200th win, tying Peyton Manning for the most ever.
(4-7) Carolina Panthers 32 – 35 Oakland Raiders (9-2)
Derek Carr led the Raiders to victory, even after dislocating his finger in the third quarter of this one against the Panthers. Oakland looked comfortable with a 24-7 lead at the half, but Carolina scored 25 unanswered points at the start of the second half. Cam Newton only had 12 yards passing at the break, but he threw 2 TD in the third quarter to get his team back into it. However, Carr led the Raiders down the field so Stephen Janikowski could kick the game-winning FG as time expired. The Raiders move to 9-2 and tighten their grip on the AFC West.
Sunday Night Football
(8-3) Kansas City Chiefs 30 – 27 Denver Broncos (7-4) OT
The final game of Sunday’s NFL action saw an all AFC West match-up, as both teams looks to maintain pace with the Raiders. It went to OT, where both teams kicked FGs on their first possession. The Broncos then went for a 62yd game-winner, but they missed it, with Kansas City going down th other end to win it 30-27. Trevor Siemian threw 3 TD for the Broncos, but it was Tyreek Hill’s game. The Chiefs man became the first man to score a rushing TD, receiving TD and kick return TD in the same game since Gale Sayers in 1965. The Chiefs move to 8-3 and are just one back from Oakland.
Monday Night Football
(5-6) Green Bay Packers 27 – 13 Philadelphia Eagles (5-6)
Monday night saw the Packers snap their four-game losing streak with a dominating performance in Philadelphia. Aaron Rodgers looked to be back to his best, throwing 2 TD, both to Davante Adams. He did have a slight injury concern, needing his right hamstring to be taped up, but he won the game for Green Bay. Carson Wentz only managed a rushing TD on the night, as the Eagles dropped out contention for the NFC East division title.
Standings (Bold indicates playoffs as it stands):
AFC East – NE 9-2, MIA 7-4, BUF 6-5, NYJ 3-8
AFC North – BAL 6-5, PIT 6-5, CIN 3-7-1, CLE 0-12
AFC South – HOU 6-5, TEN 6-6, IND 5-6, JAX 2-9
AFC West – OAK 9-2, KC 8-3, DEN 7-4, SD 5-6
NFC East – DAL 10-1, NYG 8-3, WAS 6-4-1, PHI 5-6
NFC North – DET 7-4, MIN 6-5, GB 5-6, CHI 2-9
NFC South – ATL 7-4, TB 6-5, NO 5-6, CAR 4-7
NFC West – SEA 7-3-1, ARZ 4-6-1, LA 4-7, SF 1-10
Week 13 is the final week in which there are teams on a bye. Tennessee and Cleveland are the two remaining teams to have not had a week off, and Week 13 is there chance to do just that. Dallas will aim to carry on their amazing run of 10 wins when they kick the weekend off with a trip to Minneapolis on Thursday night. The Giants face a tough trip to Pittsburgh while Sunday night sees the last two NFC Super Bowl representatives go head-to-head as the Seahawks host the Panthers.