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The NFL Bandwagons: Week 12

By Mike McCurry
On November 27, 2012

A wise man (you can immediately rule out Lions coach Jim Schwartz) once said that there are two certainties in life: death and taxes. Not that I disagree with the saying, but I want to tweak it a little bit and apply it to Thanksgiving. So, in memory of the splendid careers of Larry Fitzgerald and Tim Tebow (they are both done for, correct?) here goes nothing. There are three certainties on Thanksgiving: that one family member of yours consumes too many beers, Lions fans placing paper bags over their head, and Tony Romo completing rather accurate passes to the opposing team. There, that's better.
Honestly, in a society that suddenly worships FaceTime and Snapchat and unfathomably refuses to buy Twinkies, it is beyond refreshing to know that some things never do change. Every time the Lions eventually cough up the game, you smile knowing that the same outcome will occur exactly one year from then. And, just when you think Tony Romo is finally cleaning up his act, you lift your head up from your mashed potatoes and are unfazed when No. 9 attempts another bonehead throw. Cowboys Stadium already has a field-level VIP bar and Victoria's Secret, so why not add a state-of-the-art bakery to boot? Romo could always supply the turnovers.
If you were busy eating pumpkin pie or planning a Black Friday rendezvous, or your nickname unfortunately happens to be Fireman Ed, chances are you didn't catch all of the NFL action on Thanksgiving. Luckily, that is where I come in. The Texans, Redskins, and Patriots all won. The Lions, Cowboys, and Jets all lost. But who were the real winners and losers on the national holiday?
1. J.J. "Swat" Watt: If the San Francisco 49ers didn't have their own freak of nature in Aldon Smith (30.5 sacks in 27 career games), J.J. Watt would have Defensive MVP honors locked up already. Watt collected another three sacks against the Lions (AFC-leading 14.5 on the year) and, unlike Ndamukong Suh, does not have to cheap-shot quarterbacks in order to prove a point.
2. Andre Johnson: Remember when the fantasy football world was freaking out over the inconsistency of Andre Johnson earlier this season? Well, Johnson is doing just fine now, thank you. A lot of the earlier contests were Texans blowouts, in which case Houston stopped the aerial onslaught and wisely ran some clock. The last two games have been dogfights against the Jaguars and Lions, however, and Andre's numbers directly reflect that. Johnson has an absurd 461 receiving yards in those two contests, and Thursday's nine catch, 188-yard masterpiece should put an end to all those questioning whether the guy is still elite.
3. Matt Stafford's Fantasy Owners: With a backfield that could probably still find carries for Tiki Barber, it must be nice for Matt Stafford to sit back in the pocket and throw the ball around all day. That is, unless he cares about that whole winning-games thing. Stafford's 61 tosses on Thanksgiving may appear asinine to some, but it's simply another day on the job for the Lions QB. Stafford leads the NFL in passing yards and passing attempts, but his completion percentage (60.7 %; completed just 31/61 vs. Houston) is way too close to that of Mark Sanchez. That spells bad news for Detroit fans (hence the bags over their head), yet I'm positive that fantasy owners will take 441 yards and 2 TD's out of their starting quarterback every week.
4. Dez Bryant: Besides from those who earn their living on the pole and New York Giants fans, Dez Bryant doesn't receive compliments all that often. The holidays are a time for giving, though, and I have thus decided to throw some kudos at the Cowboys wide out (he'd probably drop them). Dallas was down 28-3 versus Washington at the half, and Bryant quickly became the main beneficiary of Tony Romo's frantic try at a comeback. Two late touchdown catches and 145 receiving yards later, Bryant turned in his best statistical performance to date. Congrats, Dez. Enjoy watching the playoffs on Jerry Jones' big screen.
5. Patriots Defense: Four forced fumbles, two sacks, one interception, (not bad, Sanchez!) and two return touchdowns are the numbers on the stat-sheet for the Patriots defense in their pasting of the Jets on Thanksgiving night. Over 100 bruised ribs from laughing at Mark Sanchez can be found on the postgame injury report for New England. Forcing diehard Jets fan Fireman Ed to leave the game at halftime? Priceless.
1. Jim Schwartz: You should all be familiar with the play by now. Texans running back Justin Forsett was given the handoff, appeared to be down after an 8-yard run, got up, and ran the rest of the way for a touchdown. The ruling on the field was a touchdown and, like all scoring plays this year, was to be reviewed by the officials. Lions coach Jim Schwartz, clearly frustrated that the refs let Forsett keep running, threw the challenge flag. A play that absolutely would have been called back instead may have been the difference in the game. Because Schwartz tossed the red flag, the scoring play was not reviewed. Final score: Texans 34, Lions 31. Ouch.
2. Ndamukong Suh: Last Thanksgiving, Suh helped himself to a two-game suspension by stepping on a Packers lineman. For an encore this year, the Lions bad boy perfectly swung his foot between Matt Schaub's legs. Not only is Suh dirty, but he is overrated. He didn't record a single tackle on Turkey Day.
3. Tim Tebow: What's more insulting: being shipped from Denver to New York to backup Mark Sanchez, or not even getting garbage time in a 49-19 loss? You tell me, Mr. Tebow.
4. Fireman Ed: Now that he is done attending Jets games, I have some ideas for Fireman Ed on how he should spend his newly acquired free time: attend a Broadway play, become a Giants fan, meet Jay-Z. Hey, you think he is old enough to try-out for the Knicks?

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