Week 12 saw a couple of explosive wide receiver performances, a snowstorm move a game to a third-party city, the AFC North rivalry heats up and a rare win for the worst team in the league. A fantasy team finally turned a corner and new games are only hours away on this Thanksgiving week.
The Oakland Raiders
The Raiders finally won a game this season and it was against divisional rival—and a good team at that—in the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s the sort of fluke meets inevitability that sends red flags up for eyeballs on the odds. Latavius Murray had four carries for 112 yards and two touchdowns. The Chiefs sunk to 7-4, but no one is counting this as anything more than a fluke. Still, the Raiders finally pulled enough good things together to squeak out a win. The highlight being the clutch final drive which took 17 plays to go 80 yards and ticked off 7:21 minutes off the clock. Now the rest of the NFL fans can go back to plotting who the Raiders will take in the draft.
Hilton started his Sunday morning off watching the birth of his daughter and then spent the afternoon catching four passes for 122 yards and a touchdown. His celebration was adorable and his emotional post-game interview was a nice touch of humility rarely seen in NFL players when the cameras are on. Hilton should receive an additional paycheck from the NFL for bumping up some positivity in their news cycle this week.
Odell Beckham Jr.
This will probably go down as one of the many highlights that can just be called The Catch, Beckham has already been receiving high attention due to his acrobatic nature, but in this touchdown grab against the Cowboys on a Sunday night is worth watching up to a billion times in a row.
The Ravens went into New Orleans on Monday having watched Cleveland and Cincinnati win. And while The Saints have been wildly uneven, they are still a pretty good team under the dome at home. Forsett, who is on his fourth team in four seasons, erased any doubt with 22 carries for 182 yards and two touchdowns to keep Baltimore above the fray, as the Ravens defense “held” Drew Brees to 420 yards and three touchdowns. The Ravens edged out a 34-27 win to maintain a three-way tie for second in that division.
The Lions are supposed to be flying high to at least a wildcard spot in the playoffs in a less-than-competitive NFC, but against the New England Patriots, they got shoveled deeper into the non-playoff ground with a 34-9 drubbing. LeGarrette Blount was cut from the Pittsburgh Steelers last week after a truly subpar season on the team, now picked up and playing a week later with the Patriots and he looks like, well, any of the number of great “remember that guy?” New England running backs. The Lions’ only points scored were on field goals and three Patriot wide receivers had 70 or more receiving yards, while Matthew Stafford only finished with 18 completions and an interception.
The car sale industry in Cleveland
Josh Gordon was given a 10 game suspension by the league for testing positive for marijuana use and used that time off to train… and also sell cars. This week was his first game back for the Browns and while the coaching staff punted platitudes about using him sparingly, Gordon had eight receptions for 120 yards. The Browns are looking good, but have the disadvantage of playing in the AFC North, which currently sees every team with a winning record. Given how tight that race is, the Browns now getting an explosive receiver this late in the year with no wear on his body might be the tipping point for them.
If they didn’t have a reputation for snow before… oh yeah, they did.
The Fighting Impositions
Whoa nelly. Mohamed Sanu, Brandon LaFell, Terrance West all had above-average games while Jordy Nelson was stifled to just 68 yards receiving. Colin Kaepernick scored 14.64 points on 256 pass yards, 1 touchdown and 14 rushing yards while LeSean McCoy finally had his best game of the year, with 130 rushing yards and 1 rushing touchdown for 19.10 points. I hemmed and hawed about which defense to start as I had Seattle against the star quarterback-less Arizona Cardinals, or the Buffalo Bills against the just plain terrible New York Jets. The snowstorm pushed the Bills game back to Monday night but the Jets were still going to be the Jets. Buffalo’s D managed 7 sacks total, one interception, and a blocked punt that lead to a touchdown to a whopping 24 points.
Ah Thanksgiving week, a gluttony of the spirit and of the football fans. All three of the Thanksgiving games are pretty compelling. Detroit hosting Chicago will be a great example of which team will find a way to not close out the game and to watch adults boo other adults during a national holiday. The Philadelphia Eagles fly into Dallas for an NFC East contest to determine who will be on top of that division and who will have swirling rumors abound their quarterbacks afterwards. Hint, it will be both somehow. And the late game is a NFC finals re-match as the San Francisco 49ers host the Seattle Seahawks. The allure of this matchup has grown kind of dull since they’ve both been underperforming, but you can start a drinking game with all the character talk is bestowed upon Russell Wilson, and withheld for Colin Kaepernick. It’ll be about how you wear your hat!
The rest of the week has some games still worth watching as the Browns try to continue their ascent against Buffalo, but will the city be dug out by then? New England goes into Green Bay for a battle of top QB’s and teams of “destiny” while Sunday night has Kansas City attempting to rebound against the Denver Broncos.