Week 12 Rankings: What is Your Team Thankful For?

Week 12 Rankings: What is Your Team Thankful For?

The titanic Monday Night matchup between arguably the two best teams in football has come and gone, and now we all look to one of the greatest traditions in sports. That’s right, it’s time for some Thanksgiving Football. A time where we can enjoy good food and good football with family and friends. Where we reflect on what we’re thankful for. Teams are no different. Even teams like the Redskins, who’ve suffered the worst of losses, have something to look back on and smile.

Biggest Riser: Colts +6

Biggest Loser: Redskins -9

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us here at The Game Changer Sports Network.

1. (–) New Orleans Saints (9-1)

Week 11: W 48-7 vs. Eagles. What AREN’T the Saints thankful for? Drew Brees (22-30, 363 yds, 4 TD) is playing as good as ever, the running game is a two-headed monster of Ingram and Kamara, Michael Thomas is off to one of the greatest starts we’ve ever seen from a wide receiver, and the Saints have won 9 in a row for the first time since 2009, the year New Orleans won their first Super Bowl. Seriously, who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints, because I don’t see anyone who can.

2. (–) Los Angeles Rams (10-1) and 3. (Kansas City Chiefs (9-2)

Week 11: Rams 54-51 Chiefs.
Just….just wow. I honestly don’t know what else can he said about that game. Over 1000 yards of offense, nearly 900 passing yards and 10 passing touchdowns, the highest-scoring Monday Night game ever, and the third-highest scoring game in NFL history. Jared Goff (31-49, 413 yds, 4 TD) and Patrick Mahomes (33-46, 478 yds, 6 TD, 3 INT) put forth their arguments for MVP. Todd Gurley (15 touches, 94 yds) and Kareem Hunt (17 touches, 111 yds, TD) were both solid accessories to their QBs. Both defenses scored touchdowns. Both kickers even missed an extra point. And after one of the best games I’ve ever seen, it’s Los Angeles that managed to do enough to get the win. These two teams are both incredible, and if I could I’d make them both 2. But that’s not how this works, so LA 2 and KC 3.

4. (–) Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2-1)

Week 11: W 20-16 @Jaguars. Down 16-0 late in the 3rd quarter, most would be safe in assuming this game was over. Then Big Ben (27-47, 314 yds 3 total TD, 3 INT) connected with Antonio Brown for a 78-yard touchdown and suddenly the comeback was on. A last-second diving touchdown for Roethlisberger capped off a monster 4th quarter, showing just how good the Steelers can be once they get going and how many players Pittsburgh fans truly have to be thankful for.

5. (+1) New England Patriots (7-3)

Week 11: Bye. Tom Brady and Co. had the week off, getting a full 2 weeks to prepare for their matchup against a struggling Jets team. Obviously 5 rings is plenty to be thankful for, but any Patriots fan will tell you that they’re more thankful for a coach and quarterback that might get them a 6th ring every season.

6. (+1) Houston Texans (7-3)

Week 11: W 23-21 @Redskins. J.J. Watt now has 10 sacks on the year, DeAndre Hopkins snagged another incredible touchdown pass, and Deshaun Watson (16-24, 208 yds, TD, 2 INT) is healthy. Houston has now won 7 straight under the leadership of their star players and the Texans are primed for another playoff run. That’s plenty for Houston fans to give thanks for after last year.

7. (+4) Chicago Bears (7-3)

Week 11: W 25-20 vs. Vikings. We’ve known for a while now how good the Bears were on defense. Sunday Night, we saw the same on offense. Mitch Trubisky (20-31, 165 yds, TD, 2 INT) didn’t have his best game, but he was able to lead the Bears to a 22-6 4th quarter lead with the help of a 150-yard day by the running backs. If there’s one thing Chicago has to be thankful for, it’s head coach Matt Nagy. He’s manages to turn the ship around and steer the Bears to their first playoff appearance since 2010.

8. (-3) Los Angeles Chargers (7-3)

Week 11: L 23-22 vs. Broncos. Every streak has to come to an end, but it’s never easy when it’s a long win streak that gets snapped by a last-second field goal. Philip Rivers (28-43, 401 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT) aired it out as much as he could, but the run game never really got going and the defense fell victim to the big-play Denver offense. Still, LA is on pace for double-digit wins for the first time since 2009 and are serious threats in the AFC. What more can you ask for?

9. (+3) Seattle Seahawks (5-5)

Week 11: W 27-24 vs. Packers. If there’s one thing I’m thankful for this week, it’s all the great primetime games I got to watch while my team was on bye. First among them was the Seahawks besting the Packers yet again, this time on the back of another huge rushing game and a solid performance from Russel Wilson (21-31, 225 yds, 2 TD). The 12th man is definitely thankful for their defense, which held the great Aaron Rodgers to just 3 points in the second half. Currently 1/2 a game back of the #6 seed, Seattle still has work to do to go back to the postseason.

10. (-2) Carolina Panthers

Week 11: L 20-19 @Lions. The Panthers lost this one because of a bad coaching decision, plain and simple. Cam Newton (25-37, 357 yds, 3 TD, INT) led the Panthers to 2 4th quarter touchdowns and had all the momentum at the end of the game. But instead of taking that momentum into Overtime, Ron Rivera decided to go for the win. Needless to say, it didn’t work. Still, Panthers fans can be thankful for a much-improved quarterback, who has now thrown 2+ touchdowns in 9 straight and has thrown 11 TDs to just 2 INTs in his last 5 games. That pace should carry Carolina right back into the playoffs, where they’ll hope to avenge last season’s loss to their rivals in New Orleans.

11. (-1) Minnesota Vikings (5-4-1)

Week 11: L 25-20 @Bears. It was a rough week for the purple and gold. The run game was held to just 22 yards, the offense was held to just 6 points until there was less than 5 minutes left, and Kirk Cousins (30-46, 262 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT) couldn’t seem to get in any sort of rythym with anyone but Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. But look on the bright side, he’s one of the best in the legaue when he does throw their way. Sunday Night, Cousins was 20-30, 192 yds, TD when targeting his top 2 receivers. Numbers even Patrick Mahomes would be proud of.

12. (+4) Baltimore Ravens (5-5)

Week 11: W 24-21 vs. Bengals. Lamar Jackson (13-19, 150 yds, INT) finally got his first career start for the Ravens, and he lit things up in a big way. Despite his passing numbers being only ok, Jackson ran the ball 27 times (an NFL record for a QB) for 117 yards by himself and earned his team the win. Add onto that a 115-yard game by rookie RB Gus Edwards and Baltimore’s rushing attack rivals anyone in football right now. As a team, the Ravens ran the ball 54 times for 265 yards and 2 touchdowns. I’m always thankful for some old-fashioned between-the-tackles football.

13. (+6) Indianapolis Colts (5-5)

Week 11: W 38-10 vs. Titans. Andrew Luck has thrown for 3 or more touchdowns in 7 straight games and has thrown 13 TDs to just 1 INT in his last 4 games. He hasn’t been sacked since week 5. The Colts have won 4 straight after starting 1-5, and they know exactly who to thank for their success.

14. (–) Green Bay Packers (4-5-1)

Week 11: L 27-24 @Seahawks. Aaron Rodgers (21-30, 332 yds, 2 TD) played about as well as anyone could ask, but it just wasn’t enough to get the win. The Packers are still winless in Seattle against Russell Wilson, due in large part to the running game disappearing yet again. Rodgers and all the Packers faithful should be thankful for all their success, of course, but facts are facts. Aaron Rodgers has a losing record on the road, while his rival Tom Brady is .689 outside of his home in Foxboro. Not the GOAT-like stat you normally hear come out of Green Bay.

15. (+5) Dallas Cowboys (5-5)

Week 11: W 22-19 @Falcons. The Cowboys are favorites to win the NFC East. Imagine saying that 2 weeks ago. Back at .500, Ezekiel Elliot (30 touches, 201 yds, TD) and Dak Prescott (22-32, 208 yds, rushing TD) have the chance to take the division lead against their wounded Redskins rivals in Dallas’ annual Thanksgiving game. Good football on Thanksgiving? Always thankful for that.

16. (-3) Tennessee Titans (5-5)

Week 11: L 38-10 @Colts. Think about records of utter dominance. Tom Brady 29-3 against the Bills. Aaron Rodgers 16-4 against the Bears. The Baltimore Ravens 14-3 against the Browns in the 2010s. Add Andrew Luck against the Titans. If there’s anything the Titans are NOT thankful for, it’s Andrew Luck. He’s played Tennessee 10 times and won….10 times. Add to that Marcus Mariota (10-13, 85 yds, INT) getting knocked out of the game and being replaced by Blaine Gabbert (11-16, 118 yds, TD, INT) and the Titans had a Sunday to forget.

17. (-9) Washington Redskins (6-4)

Week 11: L 23-21 vs. Texans. Alex Smith is done for the season, and quite possibly his career, after suffering a gruesome injury that mirrored Joe Theismann in almost every way. It’s hard to stay optimistic after watching that, but the Redskins still have a job to do. They hold a 1-game lead in the NFC East and have the chance to take a commanding lead over the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. Colt McCoy and Mark Sanchez aren’t show-stoppers, but Washington should be thankful for all the success they’ve already earned this season. After all, it could be worse. They could be stuck with Nathan Peterman.

18. (-3) Cincinnati Bengals (5-5)

Week 11: L 24-21 @Ravens. I feel like I ask this question every week, but what happened to the Bengals? After a 4-1 start, Cincy has imploded against a tougher schedule. Andy Dalton (19-36, 211 yds, 2 TD) has seriously regressed as the year has gone on, and the running game hasn’t been enough to keep the Bengals above water. Totaling just 48 yards, Cincinnati was doomed from the start. It’s a testament to the Bengals defense that the game was still competitive with stats like that.

19. (-2) Atlanta Falcons (4-6)

Week 11: L 22-19 vs. Cowboys. Just when Atlanta looks to be in a good position to rebound and make the playoffs, they go and lay multiple eggs and their season looks over. The latest installment comes at the hands of the Cowboys. Matt Ryan (24-34, 291 yds, TD, INT) had a below-average game by his standards, and it showed just how much the Falcons rely on their star QB to win games. Atlanta was down 10 points with just 8:30 to go, but Ryan led the Falcons back to a tie game with a 34-yard touchdown to Julio Jones with less than 2 minutes to go. But like it did in the Super Bowl, the defense disappeared when it mattered and the Falcons lose another one. Maybe next year guys.

20. (+1) Denver Broncos (4-6)

Week 11: W 23-22 @Chargers. Wait, the Broncos win on the road against a 7-2 Chargers team you had as the #5 team in the NFL and they only go up 1 spot? What gives? Well, allow me to explain. Case Keenum (19-32, 205 yds) was all over the place and got over 37.5% of his yard on 2 throws. The run game was held in check for the entire game with the exception of a few big runs due to LA’s mistakes. The defense was only average against one of Phillip River’s worst games of the year and LA’s run game was non-existent for the first time this year. Denver didn’t win. The Chargers lost.

21. (-3) Philadelphia Eagles (4-6)

Week 11: L 48-7 @Saints. Week 11 should have been a matchup between the champs and those who want to dethrone them. Instead what we got was an Eagles team thats in the middle of a massive Super Bowl hangover getting blown out by the all-powerful weapon known as the Saints. Carson Wentz (19-33, 156 yds, 3 INT) has taken a massive step back in his third year, while the offense that scored 28.6 points per game last year (3rd most in the NFL) is scoring just 20.5 (good for #24 in the NFL) per game this year. The division is still open, but Philly is running out of wiggle room very fast.

22. (+1) Detroit Lions (4-6)

Week 11: W 20-19 vs. Panthers. Like the Broncos, Detroit didn’t win that game. Carolina lost it. Matt Stafford (23-37, 220 yds, TD) played okay and rookie RB Kerryon Johnson had a decent performance before he got hurt. Detroit is thankful for his presence, which has given the Lions a run game for the first time in I don’t know how long. Hopefully when he returns, Johnson can keep up his strong pace.

23. (-1) Cleveland Browns (3-6-1)

Week 11: Bye. This one is pretty short. What is Cleveland thankful for? They’ve got a QB that isn’t a bust, one of the toughest and most turnover-prone defenses in the league, more wins than the last 2 years combined, and are on pace to have their best season since 2014. The Browns are on the upswing, and football fans in general should be thankful for that.

24. (–) Miami Dolphins (5-5)

Week 11: Bye. What’s there to be thankful for in Miami? Well, they started the season 3-0 and have some good young players. That’s about it, though. Still, there’s a path to the playoffs if the Dolphins can right the ship in their bye week.

25. (+2) New York Giants (3-7)

Week 11: W 38-35 vs. Buccaneers. Saquon Barkley. That’s literally all I need to say. 152 yards and 3 touchdowns is huge, even against the Buccaneers defense that ranks near the bottom in almost every statistic. Eli Manning (17-18, 231 yds, 2 TD) was nearly perfect as he continues one of the best seasons of his career, and OBJ is racking up the stats just like old times. Week 12 is the prove-it week for me, though. A matchup in Philadelphia is the perfect litmus test to see if Beckham’s prediction is possible or not. Expect a bug jump in the rankings if the G Men can win their 3rd straight.

26. (+2) Buffalo Bills (3-7)

Week 11: Bye. The man, the myth, the meme, Nathan Peterman is gone and the Bills actually looked decent. Fans should be thankful for the bye week, which might help Sean McDermott improve the team and make ground in their rookie QB’s first year.

27. (-2) Jacksonville Jaguars (3-7)

Week 11: L 20-16 vs. Steelers. The Jags had a 16-0 lead late in the third quarter. At least the fans can be thankful for that. The defense proceeded to lay egg after egg and managed to choke away the win that might have gotten the Jags rolling again. Instead, Blake Bortles (10-18, 104 yds) leads a 3-7 team that fell right back down to the norm. But hey, at least they’ve got Leonard Fournette. That’s at least something to be thankful for.

28. (-2) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-7)

Week 11: L 38-35 @Giants. Ryan Fitzpatrick (13-21, 167 yds, 3 INT) lost his magic….again, and Jameis Winston (12-16, 199 yds, 2 TD, INT) is back in the starting role….again. Don’t get me wrong, I always love to watch a QB battle play out in real time, but no one is thankful to watch the trainwreck that has become the Bucs quarterback situation: two guys who can put up tons of points but still lose you the game with bad interceptions and fumbles. Another wasted year down in Tampa.

29. (+1) New York Jets (3-7)

Week 11: Bye. There’s not a whole lot to say about the Jets. Sam Darnold can only improve, they’ve got over $100 million to spend next year, and they’re in a prime position to earn another high draft pick. At least the Yankees are good, right?

30-32. Arizona Cardinals, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers (2-8)

Week 11: Raiders 23-21 Cardinals, 49ers Bye.

Remember how I said I couldn’t give 2 teams the same rank when choosing between the Rams and Chiefs? I lied. Each one of these teams is awful in their own regard, but they’ve all lost to each other. Arizona’s 2 wins both come against the Niners. Oakland got crushed by San Francisco earlier in the season, but still beat Arizona last week. They’ve a got legitimate claims to the #1 draft pick, and it’ll be fun to watch who ends up failing the hardest. Be thankful that there’s at least some competition at the bottom of the pile this year.

Again, Happy Thanksgiving from all of us here at The Game Changer Sports Network.

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Photo Credit: Associated Press, USA Today Sports, NFL, Getty Images

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