Favorites Feast on Thanksgiving
Despite the potential for tryptophan-induced comas, the Lions, Cowboys and Steelers were all favorites heading into Turkey Day football games and they all came away with wins. As hard as it is to believe, Detroit is as hot as any team in the NFC and could end up running away with the NFC North as Matthew Stafford led an NFL-record seventh fourth-quarter comeback in one season. The Cowboys are the only team hotter, and they took apart a pretty good Redskins team. Pittsburgh had a gimme with Andrew Luck out for the Colts. Speaking of Thanksgiving -- why don't the Patriots play the Redskins every year and then steal their stadium afterwards?
Two First Names, Taste My Pain
Guys with two first names, you definitely can’t trust ‘em. Especially if you’re the Arizona Cardinals. Taylor Gabriel -- a nobody waiver-wire pickup by the Falcons -- toasted the Cardinals secondary for two touchdowns courtesy of his two first-name quarterback Matt Ryan. Their offense hasn't gelled either and the Cards were trounced by Atlanta, 38-19. Arizona was a sexy pick to win the Super Bowl after threatening the past two seasons but now they might have to run the table just to sneak into a Wild Card spot.
2015, A Pretty Good Year
Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota faced off in their first ever starts in 2015 after being made the No. 1 and No. 2 picks by the Bucs and Titans. Mariota looked spectacular and Winston, well, pretty terrible, but the two evened off by season's end. Both have taken major steps forward in season two after getting off to slow starts. After throwing eight interceptions in his first four games, he's thrown just two in his last six to go along with 12 touchdowns in that stretch and a 103.8 QB rating. Mariota has been just as incredible, albeit against softer opposition, but in his last seven games, Mariota has tossed 19 touchdowns against three interceptions and put up a 116.8 rating. But the question remains: does Mariota have a single win bigger than Winston's wins against the Falcons, Chiefs and Seahawks, all of whom would all be in the playoffs if they started today?
Derek Carr For MSP (Most Savage Player)
There are a couple of candidates for this year's MVP award, but is anyone as important to their team as Derek Carr is to the Raiders? Oakland's Pop Warner defense constantly puts the offense in a position where they need to score late to win. On Sunday against the Panthers, Carr sustained a horrifying pinky finger injury on his throwing hand and left for a short time. Carolina worked themselves back into the game and Carr came back in after a trip to the locker room. He led a scoring drive and two point conversion that tied it and later the game-winning field goal drive. In crunch time, Carr has been maybe the most reliable passer all year and the Raiders secured their first winning season since their Super Bowl run in 2002. Here’s to hoping Carr’s injury doesn’t have any lasting effects on his social life.
Hot Seats Getting Hotter
If there's ever a sequel to the film This Is The End, it might star Bengals coach Marvin Lewis and Jaguars coach Gus Bradley, whose teams lost again Sunday. Both teams entered the season with promising squads but have stumbled and are at the bottom of the standings. Lewis seemed ready to hang them up at the end of last year and could forever be haunted by his 0-7 postseason record. Bradley has never even sniffed the playoffs, posting a 14-45 record in three-plus years in Jacksonville.
Browns Keep Putting Up Turds
Well, at least they’ve got LeBron (and now The Indians) in Believeland. Predictably the Browns lost again and move to a disaterous 0-12. It's gotten so bad that opposing players now give zero fucks about the Browns and after the game Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins wasted no time in roasting Terrelle Pryor on Twitter, calling him a shit eater. To his credit, Pryor stayed classy, and paid Jenkins a compliment, and in this class-starved league, Pryor's high road tactic was about the best thing to come out of Clevelend in weeks.