In their annual Thanksgiving Day game the Cowboys survived to defeat a feisty Raiders team that came prepared to play. Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray rushed for 3 touchdowns in the 31-24 victory over Oakland and keep their lead over the Eagles in the NFC East. Even though the Eagles matched with a win over the Cardinals, Dallas holds the edge over Philadelphia in the head-to-head tie breaker. The Cowboys play their first game in 11 days on Monday night in Chicago. 4 games are left: at Chicago, Green Bay, at Washington, and home finale against the Eagles. This thing could go to as high as 11-5 or as low as 7-9.
The Ravens defeated the Steelers and earned a split in the season series. If the teams are tied at the end of the season it will go to divisional record, then common games (games against the AFC North, AFC East, and NFC North), then conference record, and then some other tie breaker involving points and touchdowns, and then eventually a coin flip. There was some controversy in this game where Steelers coach Mike Tomlin stepped onto the field of play during Jacoby Jones' kick return.
I'm surprised the refs did not flag him right there. I can expect the league to start enforcing the rule of coaches not staying on the sideline during the game.
The NFL avoided its 2nd tie of the season with the Vikings winning in overtime over the Bears 23-20. Another overtime game happened in Toronto between the Bills and Falcons. Atlanta, which was the first team eliminated from playoff contention, left Canada with a win.
The Texans showed they still have some fight left in them, but it was not enough to snap their now 10 game losing streak. Hard to believe this team was picked to win the Super Bowl in some circles. Shoot some folks picked them to end up in the AFC Championship Game...
The game of the week was in Kansas City. Peyton Manning threw for 5 touchdowns, 4 of them were thrown to receiver Eric Decker. The Chiefs were able to close the gap, but the Broncos left Arrowhead with a 35-28 win.
Denver now has the inside edge to the AFC West and possibly the #1 seed. If Denver keeps winning or New England loses a game, the road through the AFC will go through the Mile High City.
Have I mentioned that I have family that lives in Denver? A relative of mine married a Broncos fan who I bet is very pleased with their performance.
Last week I observed that the Giants at Redskins was essentially an elimination game. The Giants were able to leave DC with a victory and eliminate Washington from playoff contention.
Seattle is proving to be a place no will want to play at. When will I learn? This is the second time this season that I picked the Seahawks to loss at home. I picked the 49ers to beat the Seahawks back in Week 2. Big mistake. I thought maybe the Saints could do it.
Yup. Wrong again.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson is now 14-0 at home and won eight straight home Monday Night games. And before I get letters from Packers fans about the FailMary, you can send them to this address:
The current playoff picture is this: Seattle is first team in. Other teams that could join them: Carolina, Denver, Indianapolis, Kansas City, New England, and New Orleans.
Teams eliminated: Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Washington
The Texans and Jaguars are (surprisingly) still in the playoff race. To make the playoffs both teams would need to win out, plus have other teams ahead of them lose out. Essentially this game could determine who ends up with the top pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. If this game is not to your liking, here is some alternative programming options:
The Devil's Portal Fox
3. Documentary on Rommel on The Dumont
4. Daily Show/Colbert
5. MAC Championship Game between Northern Illinois and Bowling Green. If Northern Illinois wins, they will most likely go to a BCS Bowl Game.
Starting with the Sunday games, the Chiefs can snap their losing streak with a win against the Redskins. Combined with either a Ravens or Dolphins loss, Kansas City is in the playoffs. The Broncos are in the same scenario as the Chiefs: win plus other teams losing and they are in the playoffs. The Ravens can keep their defense of their Super Bowl title (and delay other teams schadenfreude) with a home win over the Vikings.
The Colts can clinch the AFC North and end the Texans brief 2-year reign over the division with a win at Cincinnati or wait until later in the day for the Titans to lose to the Broncos. I think the Colts want to take care of business on their own.
Seattle can win the NFC West and earn a first-round bye with a win at San Francisco. A first-round bye will pretty much solidify their chances of ending up in the NFC Championship Game. Seattle has proven to be a tough place to play.
For the second week in a row, the Giants are in another elimination game. This time against the Chargers whose playoff aspirations are looking very less likely.
This is one of the reasons why I am glad the NFL TV deal allows to flex in a better game for Sunday Night. The original game was Falcons at Packers, a good matchup at historic Lambeau Field between two pro bowl quarterbacks when the schedule was released back in April. Now with the season in full swing.... not so much anymore. It appears that the Falcons luck in close games ran out in this season and they were the first team eliminated from playoff contention. As for the Packers, they looked like a dark horse to represent the NFC. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers had a shoulder injury at the start of November against the Bears and since then the Packers have posted a 0-4-1 record.
Since starting 1-3, Carolina has reeled off 8 straight to put themselves in the thick of the NFC Wild Card race and look poised to overtake the Saints for the NFC South lead. New Orleans looks to rebound from the beating they took in the PACNORWEST last Monday night.
Monday Night is the Cowboys at Bears. There is also another NFC East vs. NFC North matchup that has playoff implications: Lions at Eagles in the Sunday slate. Both these games will play a role in who wins the NFC East and NFC North. The Eagles are trying to keep pace with the Cowboys while the Bears are trying to keep up with the Lions.
We all did better, but Ms. Roberts and Mr. Blake did better. Still trail the front runner by 3 games, but time might not be on my side. I might still be able to catch him, but with four weeks remaining those chances might be fading.
Picks are in BOLD
Times are Central Time Zone
Games airing in DFW are noted by (DFW)
Texans at Jaguars
Lions at Eagles (DFW)
Falcons at Packers
Vikings at Ravens
Chiefs at Redskins (DFW)
Colts at Bengals
Browns at Patriots
Raiders at Jets
Dolphins at Steelers
Bills at Buccaneers
Seahawks at 49ers (DFW)
Rams at Cardinals
Giants at Chargers
Titans at Broncos
Panthers at Saints
Cowboys at Bears