Week 13 Wrap-up: Do we have to watch the Lions?

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! If you were wishing that the football games would give you reason to ignore your family members and sit on the couch all afternoon, you were probably a bit disappointed with what transpired this past Thursday. In my opinion, this had to be one of the worst weekends of football in a long time, as eight of the fifteen games were near-blowouts, seven were missing a 30 point effort from either of the contestants, and three games featured teams whose leading rusher was either their quarterback or Jacob Hester (who needed one attempt to best LT!) Anyways, it was one of the most important weeks of football from a fantasy perspective, so let’s hope that the right guys had big days for your team, starting with the action from Turkey Day…

  • Tennessee 47, Detroit 10 (Thursday): Is it time to remove Detroit from the Thanksgiving Day football schedule? After another pathetic performance from a team trying its hardest to go 0-16, do they really deserve a national audience every Turkey Day? Either way, the Titans got back to what got them to 10-0 a few weeks ago…the running game, as both Chris Johnson (125 yards, 2 TD) and LenDale White (106 yards, 2 TD) had a field day against the Lions.
  • Dallas 34, Seattle 9 (Thursday): The second bad game of the day…Tony Romo (331 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT) lights up the Seahawks with some help from Terrell Owens (98 yards, TD) and Jason Witten (9 catches for 115 yards, TD.)
  • Philadelphia 48, Arizona 20 (Thursday): Finally…a game that should live up to a Thanksgiving Day billing! Oh wait…the Cardinals lost by 28 points? The NFL is probably looking at ways to provide a little more in terms of competitive games on Thanksgiving for next season after this year’s bombs. Anyways, MVP candidate Kurt Warner (235 yards, 3 TD, 3 INT) had a pretty solid day for Arizona, but it wasn’t enough to counter the monster days that Donovan McNabb (260 yards, 4 TD) and a supposed-to-be-gimpy Brian Westbrook (130 combined yards, 4 TD – 2 rush, 2 receiving) had.
  • Carolina 35, Green Bay 31: The game of the weekend by far, it took a few last minute heroics for the Panthers to knock off the Packers in this one. DeAngelo Williams (86 combined yards, 4 TD) had a huge day for Carolina, while Steve Smith (105 yards) had a solid effort (and a very important catch!) and it was enough to send Green Bay packing…and into third place in the division.
  • Denver 34, New York Jets 17: Just when you thought the Titans were the team to beat in the AFC…along comes the Jets. And when you thought the Jets were the cream of the crop…here come the Broncos. While Denver probably isn’t consistent enough to win the Superbowl, they proved that when they’re playing well, they can beat the best. Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler (357 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT) had a decent outing, but it was running back Peyton Hillis (129 yards, TD) that was the big surprise against a top notch Jets run defense. For the Jets, running back Thomas Jones (159 combined yards, 2 TD) had another great game, but he obviously couldn’t carry the team the way DeAngelo Williams did for the Panthers.
  • Minnesota 34, Chicago 14: This win moved the Vikings into sole ownership of first place in the division (although who knows if that will last for more than a week.) Wide receiver Bernard Berrian returned to fantasy football relevance with his big game, while everyone who ran the ball for the Vikings found the end-zone (Adrian Peterson – 131 yards, TD; Chester Taylor – 46 yards, TD; Gus Frerotte – 1 yard, TD.) Rookie running back Matt Forte (125 combined yards, TD) had another solid game for the Bears and should be one of the top candidates for Rookie of the Year at this point.
  • Pittsburgh 33, New England 10: Wow, talk about a tale of two halves! As the clock wound down on the first half, it looked like the Patriots would go into halftime with at least a three point lead, if not a touchdown (Randy Moss apparently forgot how to catch the ball for the day!) A couple minutes into the third quarter though and the game is pretty much wrapped up for the Steelers after a few bad turnovers by New England. You have to feel bad for all the Pats fans (including one of the guys I work with) who sat through 4+ hours of non-stop rain just to see Matt Cassel change the minds of any of the crazies out there who had it in their heads that the Patriots should trade Tom Brady in the offseason and keep Cassel!
  • Tampa Bay 23, New Orleans 20: If the Saints are going to beat anyone with their defense, they need to put up around 30 points a game…so 20 probably wasn’t going to get it done. Reggie Bush made his return in this game, but his effectiveness was minimal at best (0 yards rushing, 32 receiving), while Buc’s running back Cadillac Williams found the end zone for the first time since being activated two weeks ago. For the Saints, Marques Colston (106 yards receiving) continued to rebuild his chemistry with quarterback Drew Brees, but it might be too little, too late for a Saints team that is most likely out of playoff contention at this point.
  • Atlanta 22, San Diego 16: Umm…when rookie Jacob Hester leads the team in rushing with 28 yards on one (!!!)…and LT averages 1.7 yards per carry (!!!)…odds are that you’re not going to win. Falcons running back Michael Turner (120 rushing yards) out-ran his old teammate LT, while Roddy White (112 receiving yards) had a solid game receiving en route to another loss for one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL this year.
  • New York Giants 23, Washington 7: I think it’s pretty safe to say that the Redskins, while they can compete in the NFC, are not in the same league as the Giants at this point. Similar to the San Diego situation, when your leading rusher is your quarterback, followed by a receiver, and finally followed by your star running back Clinton Portis (22 yards rushing)…you’re not going to win.
  • Indianapolis 10, Cleveland 6: It wasn’t pretty, but the Colts got a much needed win to keep them in the hunt for a wild card spot in the AFC. If there was any chance that the Browns could see any form of redemption this year, it might be out the window completely now with the injury to Derek Anderson which could sideline him for the rest of the season.
  • Baltimore 34, Cincinnati 3: Not that much of a game, but the outcome was important for the Ravens who are in quite the battle with the Steelers for first place in their division. Wide receiver Mark Clayton (164 yards, TD) had a big day for Baltimore, while the Bengals’ (similar to the Chargers and Redskins!) weren’t going to win when their leading rusher was their quarterback.
  • Miami 16, St. Louis 12: I’m not sure how this game was so competitive given the complete ineptitude of the Rams offense, but it was a big win for the Dolphins to keep them competitive in the AFC East. Other than that…it was a pretty bad game.
  • Kansas City 20, Oakland 13: While the outcome of this game had no bearing on anything at all…the fact that Chiefs running back Larry Johnson (92 yards, TD) and tight end Tony Gonzalez (8 catches for 110 yards) had big games might have helped a fantasy team or two out there make the playoffs.
  • San Francisco 10, Buffalo 3: Weren’t the Bills 5-1 at some point in this season?