It was almost a week of stunning upsets. Almost. The high flying Atlanta Falcons got jumped by the Arizona Cardinals, and trailed 13-0 after the first quarter.
The lowly Cleveland Browns, winless on the road, carried a 13-0 lead into the locker room at halftime in Dallas.
The best team in the NFL, the Houston Texans, found themselves in a dogfight with the Jaguars and trailed by two touchdowns with 12 minutes to go in the game.
But. Atlanta somehow survived a five interception outing by Matt Ryan to knock off the Cardinals by four; the Browns surrendered 17 unanswered points in the second half and eventually succumbed to the Cowboys in overtime, despite regaining the lead with just one minute to go; and Jacksonville just couldn’t hold off the Texans, who eventually triumphed in overtime by six. Better luck next time, guys.
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The NFL’s new overtime rules are apparently working to perfection. In the Cardinals/Falcons game, the Cardinals got the ball first and kicked a field goal, but Atlanta scored a touchdown on the ensuing possession for the win.
In the Bucs/Panthers game, Tampa Bay took the ball in overtime and drove down to a 3rd and 1 on the 19. Rather than play it safe, they threw it and scored a touchdown to end the game.
In the Jaguars/Texans game, the Jaguars surrendered a field goal to Houston on the opening drive in OT, but promptly drove down and got it back, extending the game.
This Week’s Sucked And Won: Cowboys Offensive Line (DAL). Who wants to watch this game film? Tony Romo got sacked 7 times and got hit even more than that. The run blocking was no better, as Dallas gained just 63 yards on 21 carries. It all starts up front, only it didn’t for the Cowboys in this game, who were lucky to survive.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about this, but did someone on the Packers have money on their game? Up 21-20 with 19 seconds left, the Packers elected to kick a 39 yard field goal to go up 4 (and cover the 3.5 point spread). Thanks Green Bay!
Shocking Realization of the Week: The Philadelphia Eagles are the only team in the NFL who haven’t scored more than 24 points in a game this season.
WTF the Steelers wore this shit AGAIN?! Yeah, you should hang your head in shame, buddy.
Playing for basically their whole season, the San Diego offense failed to score any points until one minute to go in the third quarter. Lucky for them, their defense managed to score 9 points during that stretch to at least keep them in it. All of that makes things look bleak for head coach (and offensive guru) Norv Turner, who’s been on the hot seat for a while now.
This Week’s Great But Lost: Justin Blackmon, WR (JAX). The first round pick who was supposed to fix the Jaguars passing game had only 250 yards receiving coming into this game, but he exploded for 7 catches for 236 yards, nearly doubling his season total, and caught a touchdown. It may have helped that he had Chad Henne throwing to him for most of the game, after Blaine Gabbert went out with an injury. Either way, Blackmon is part of the Jaguars’ future, even if neither of his quarterbacks are.
Just plain dumb football: the Steelers are trailing by 3, and they’ve got a little under a minute to about 40 yards to try a field goal. No time outs left. Byron Leftwich completes a dump off pass to Rashard Mendenhall who has plenty of space, and he just runs straight up field and gets tackled.
He could EASILY have angled toward the sidelines and gotten out of bounds without even leaving his feet. By the time the Steelers had finished their next play, they had less than 30 seconds to go and the Ravens had practically won the game. Mendenhall is a veteran who should know better – just inexcusable!
Never make a slap bet on the Lions. Just don’t.
Houston (-3) @Detroit (Las Vegas Hilton)
The Lions have lost two straight, and at 4-6, their playoff lives hang in the balance in this game. But so what? The Lions have lost two straight because they’re not very good. Their wins this year have come against St. Louis, Philadelphia, Jacksonville and Seattle, so three really bad teams and a team that can’t win on the road. Houston got pushed to the brink on Sunday, which probably means they were looking past that game. . .to this one. Houston is the much better team and they should be able to win and cover here.
Houston Texans 28 Detroit Lions 24
Washington (+3.5) @Dallas (Wynn Las Vegas)
Ugh. I really hate this matchup. The last time Dallas beat Washington by more than three points was all the way back in 2009. This is just the rivalry game to end all rivalry games, and on Thanksgiving no less. The Redskins are coming off a drubbing of the Eagles, but that’s really non sequitir because the Eagles stink and have quit. Dallas barely beat the Browns, but Washington’s defense is sure to give the Cowboys every opportunity. Another plus for the Cowboys is that for once their selfish attitudes will work in their favor. The Cowboys Thanksgiving game is ALWAYS the marquis game of the day, although Dallas’ last two Turkey days have been flops – a one point win over lowly Miami and a loss to New Orleans. I’ve decided to take the points here and figure on a close game where Dallas escapes with a win, but this game is more of a watcher than one to put money on.
Dallas Cowboys 23 Washington Redskins 21
New England (-6) @NY Jets (Las Vegas Hilton)
I probably like the Patriots the best of any of these plays. These two teams played an overtime thriller earlier in the season in New England. That gets the rivalry aspect of this game out of the way. You would have expected the Pats to wipe the floor with New York, but obviously the Jets came in very hyped up for that game. The Jets can’t throw (they can’t really run either), and the Patriots only glaring weakness is their pass defense. The Jets can’t stop the run, and the Patriots have shown a complete willingness to exploit bad run defenses when the opportunity presents itself. I’m a little concerned that New England will be without Rob Gronkowski, but I’m willing to give the 6 points and assume that this will be the game that comes out the way you would expect – a Patriots blowout win.
New England Patriots 28 New York Jets 13
WAR OF WORDS
“Because we were trying to catch up and win the game.” – Eagles coach Andy Reid, explaining why RB LeSean McCoy was still in the game with 1:45 to go and down by 25 points. McCoy, the Eagles’ best player, suffered a concussion.
“We said he was a statue. We said he wasn’t going to move and he proved all of us wrong.” – Ravens LB Terrell Suggs, on Steelers backup QB Byron Leftwich’s 31 yard touchdown run on the game’s opening series.
“Kap’s a baller.” – 49ers WR Michael Crabtree, on backup QB Colin Kaepernick’s all-world performance on Monday, in which he carved up the Bears’ defense like it wasn’t even there.
“I guess it’s a good thing when a three and out is shocking or surprising to y’all.” – Broncos QB Peyton Manning, on the Broncos’ stalled first series to start the game before getting it going against the Chargers.
“I told P.J., ‘You’re gonna hurt yourself doing that.’” – Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano. After Tampa’s remarkable come from behind overtime win, receivers coach P.J. Fleck bearhugged Schiano and lifted him off the ground.
“I’d rather be here talking about it than not.” – Saints OT Jermon Bushrod, asked about the Saints’ playoff chances after a win over the Raiders evened their record at 5-5.
“The season ain’t over, man. We’ve got six games left. I don’t know what the picture looks like, but that’s what we’re fighting for.” – Lions WR Calvin Johnson, after Detroit’s loss to the Packers dropped them to 4-6.
“I wanted to start Cassel, so I started Cassel. When I felt like I needed to make a change, I made the change to Quinn.” – Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel, on his decision to start Matt Cassel at quarterback, then replace him with Brady Quinn in the team’s loss to Cincinnati.