The Biggest Winners & Losers from NFL Week 12 Thanksgiving Games
Thanksgiving might be one of the best holidays around. It features great food and time spent with family and football. I love nothing more than stuffing my face with turkey, then laying on the couch and watching football all day long.
This year's slate of games boasted some good matchups, but featured two blowouts. The Washington Redskins and New England Patriots really played well. Obviously, those two teams will have a few players on the "Winners" list.
The New York Jets won't be so lucky, as their performance was just embarrassing.
Winner: Mike Shanahan
Mike Shanahan's ability to swing a deal to land Robert Griffin III in April saved his job. Prior to Griffin's arrival, Shanahan was struggling to identify his quarterback of the future. This led to failed experiments with Donovan McNabb, Rex Grossman and John Beck.
Those mistakes, combined with not making any playoff appearances, put Shanahan on the hot seat. His job is not only safe because Griffin gives the franchise hope, but because Shanahan has been able to put together a game plan that puts his young quarterback in a position to thrive.
The win over the Dallas Cowboys only gives Shanahan more slack. Anytime you can embarrass a division rival, it's a good day.
Loser: Tony Romo
Tony Romo had another poor performance this week. His two interceptions were part of the reason why the Redskins were able to pull off the road victory, as both were poorly thrown balls by Romo.
His overall accuracy and ball location has been off for most of the year. As it stands, only Philip Rivers has thrown more interceptions this season.
Dallas was already in the midst of a terrible season, but this loss to Washington only makes things worse. Expect to hear more speculative talk about Romo's future with the team, as his marriage with the Cowboys just isn't working out.
Winner: Pierre Garcon
This has been a very tough year for Pierre Garcon. He signed a big deal to play for the Washington Redskins but hasn't been able to hold up his end of the bargain because of injuries. His time out of the lineup was frustrating for him, the team and the fanbase.
However, this most recent performance showed why Washington decided to give him such a large contract. He's an electrifying player capable of scoring from anywhere on the field. His presence gives Robert Griffin III a true No. 1 wide receiver.
It'll be good for the entire team if Garcon can finish the year on a good note. This will let the team head into next season with some momentum.
Loser: Jason Hanson
Jason Hanson's inability to connect on a potential game-winning field goal in overtime may have cost the Detroit Lions a shot at the playoffs. The NFC playoff picture is very fluid, but this is going to make it tough for the Lions to make a late-season surge.
Hanson's 47-yard attempt was a very makable kick. It's important to factor in that this was a home game and inside a dome. The 42-year-old Hanson has had plenty of practice and experience in such situations.
As usual, kicker remains one of the most hated positions in all of football. Both fans and teammates alike hate putting the team's fate on a kicker.
Winner: J.J. Watt
J.J. Watt continues to make a strong case to win the Defensive Player of the Year Award. He's a terrific all-around player who both wreaks havoc in the backfield and holds up against the run. His three sacks, four tackles for loss and two batted balls helped the Houston Texans pull off the win against the Detroit Lions.
Those batted balls have an underrated impact on the game. There's no telling how many of those passes could've been completed for big gains. Instead, the ball never passed the line of scrimmage each time.
It's important to note that Watt continues to make game-changing plays despite facing countless double teams. This just shows the type of talent he possesses.
Loser: Ndamukong Suh
Ndamukong Suh continues to have poor judgment on and off the field. His kick to Matt Schaub's groin is just the latest example.
Actions like this also hurt Suh's wallet, as he's unlikely to receive endorsement opportunities. Companies don't want someone with a dirty reputation and image representing their products.
Suh is one of the best players on the Detroit Lions roster, but his actions continue to serve as a poor example for the rest of the team. Detroit continually makes poor decisions on the field that cost the team games.
Winner: Steve Gregory
Steve Gregory had the game of his career against the New York Jets. He was able to recover two fumbles and register an interception. The turnovers he created helped the New England Patriots open an early lead and basically put the game out of reach by the end of the first half.
Gregory hasn't been much more than a special teams ace and part-time secondary player in his career. However, he's been able to gain more playing time in New England. His hard-working attitude and ability to make good decisions is why Bill Belichick looks to get him on the field.
This should be a game Gregory remembers, as he helped the Patriots embarrass a division rival.
Loser: Rex Ryan
Each week, Rex Ryan comes closer and closer to being the ex-head coach of the New York Jets. This team is very sloppy, continues to turn the ball over and heads into each game with a less-than-inspiring game plan.
These are all things that fall on the head coach. However, Ryan is a loose-lipped coach who does neither himself nor his team any favors.
The combination of the team's poor play and Ryan's media mishaps will make it easy for owner Woody Johnson to go in a different direction. This embarrassing loss against the New England Patriots only helps make that decision easier.
Winner: The New York Jets Fanbase
This may take some convincing, but a game like this could actually be a positive thing for a franchise. Major changes tend to follow an embarrassing loss to a division rival, and the New York Jets definitely need some major changes.
The changes need to start at the quarterback position. Mark Sanchez just doesn't have the talent needed to be a consistent winner in the NFL. He's too inaccurate, makes too many poor decisions and crumbles under pressure.
After a quarterback change, the Jets need to go a different direction with the coaching staff. This franchise needs a strict, no-nonsense coach at the helm. That coach should also come from an offensive background. Someone needs to come in and develop the next quarterback for the Jets.
So the New York fanbase won't immediately enjoy the outcome of this game; however, it's something that could be a positive down the line.
Loser: The Rest of the AFC
Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are playing terrific football. Right now, they look like one of the top two teams in the AFC. The rest of the conference should be a little worried that this team is finding its stride late in the season.
As usual, Brady and the offense are scoring points at a rapid pace. However, the improved play of the defense makes the Patriots a more balanced team. New England was able to make it to the Super Bowl last season with one of the worst defenses in the league—imagine how tough they'll be this year.
Playing well is just a part of the playoff puzzle. The Patriots' playoff experience is another piece that will play a factor.