If you're a longtime reader of this column, then you know that during Thanksgiving week I usually use the space reserved for the big story of the week to list ten things I'm thankful for in regards to the current NFL season.
So without any further ado, here's this year's list.
1. I'm thankful for electrifying rookies like the Vikings' Percy Harvin. They make the most out of their abilities and contribute to their teams right away.
2. I'm thankful for success stories like the Bengals and the Saints. Their emergences always make the game fun to watch and less predictable.
3. I'm thankful for Drew Brees and Chris Johnson, since they both are carrying my fantasy team at the moment.
4. I'm thankful to be a Patriots fan, they're always a mark of consistency.
5. I'm thankful that the Broncos finally bought into Josh McDaniels' system after a summer of discontent. Although they're struggling now, I still think they've exceeded expectations.
7. I'm thankful that Terrell Owens was such a bad teammate in Dallas that he got what he deserved by getting traded to Buffalo and is having a miserable season.
8. I'm thankful that Eric Mangini is proving himself to be a total fraud and the "Mangenius" tag is now a distant memory. The lesson is simple: Don't mess with Belichick.
9. I'm thankful that this column has taught me some valuable lessons over the years, such as don't mess with Raider fans, and Johnny Mathis is still a popular singer.
10. Most of all, I'm thankful to NBC's Football Night in America and Sporting News Today for helping me write this column every week, and to you for reading it.
And now, my thoughts on Week 11 action.
- I just praised him, but now I'm going to have to rip him. Josh McDaniels made a rookie mistake in telling a couple of Charger linebackers "We own you" before Sunday's game. Not surprisingly, the poor choice of words gave San Diego all the motivation they needed to use a power running game to thrash the Broncos.
- I'm convinced the football gods are watching out for Peyton Manning. He could barely score against the Ravens defense, yet his defense forced three turnovers and as usual, the Colts were able to escape with a narrow victory.
- My game ball this week goes to the Eagles' Antonio Dixon, who blocked a field goal that set up a game-winning touchdown to defeat the Bears.
- The Bears started 3-1, but have now lost five of six. I wonder if they're starting to get buyer's remorse about Jay Cutler.
- On the flipside, the Giants finally snapped their long losing skid by overcoming the losses of a fourteen-point lead and Brandon Jacobs to beat Atlanta in overtime.
- I was fearing the worst when my Patriots were carrying a 31-14 lead into the third quarter and couldn't score in the second half. But I need not have worried, since Mark Sanchez is no Peyton Manning and the defense harassed him all day.
- Well TO finally had the kind of day the Bills had expected from him all along. It wasn't enough, though, as David Garrard led a game-winning drive for the second week in a row.
- Who knew that all Brett Favre needed was a strong offense and his close friend Darryl Bevall calling his plays? He threw four touchdowns against the Seahawks and is having the most efficient season of his career.
- A blow to the head sidelined Kurt Warner for the second half, but the Cardinals were still able to take comfort in the fact that even Matt Lienart can beat the Rams.
- I feel for the Redskins. How do you allow Tony Romo to still beat you when he's in pain and has difficulty throwing? That late missed field goal really hurt.
- The important thing to remember is that the Packers won the game, although they almost blew a 20-point lead and lost both Al Harris and Aaron Kampman to injury.
- And while we're on the subject of pain, the Steelers sure suffered a lot of it in losing to the pitiful Chiefs and allowing them to snap a 10-game home losing streak.
- If there is a Silver lining for the Raiders this year, it's that they were able to snag an improbable victory away from the Bengals with two late scores.
- Only the Browns would be stupid enough to lose a game on a desperate Hail Mary in which they got called for pass interference. Better yet, the Lions took advantage of the gift penalty.
- How do you know you're playing with confidence? The Saints are 10-0 and Drew Brees doesn't think his team has peaked offensively. He'll get a good test Monday night against the Pats.
- Ricky Williams will never be the player he was projected to be, although you got to hand it to him since he's been able to stay in the league so long and was a huge reason why the Dolphins beat the Panthers.
- The Titans/Texans game came down to a battle of field goal kickers. Rob Bironas won out, while Kris Brown has missed key field goals that would have tied the game in two of the last three weeks.
- Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving. See you next week.