Note: The quotes in this article are fictional.
Green Bay @ Detroit (+3)
Matthew Stafford exploded for five touchdown passes, three to Calvin Johnson, in the Lions 45-14 Thanksgiving Day win over the visiting Eagles. Detroit improved to 4-7, three games behind the Vikings and Packers.
“I said ‘Thanks’ to the Eagles defense several times,” Stafford said. “They replied, ‘You’re welcome…to throw TD’s on us at your whim.’
“We may be in last place in the North, but a win would solidify our position as the best 5-7 team in football.”
The Packers dropped a 17-13 decision to the Bears on Thanksgiving night at Lambeau Field. The Bears defense limited Aaron Rodgers to only 202 yards passing and one touchdown, and Rodgers took a painful helmet to the elbow late in the game.
“I briefly lost feeling in some of my fingers,” Rodgers said. “I’ve also lost feeling for some of my receivers. And I’ve targeted all of them. I’ve publicly questioned the preparation habits of some of the members of this team. If I were a certain running back for the Vikings, I would give them a taste of the championship belt, and tell them it’s part of my ‘Dumbass Double Check.’
“It was a dreary night in Green Bay, but it warmed my heart to see Brett Favre’s No. 4 jersey retired at halftime. At least we know that jersey will stay retired. For fans of Favre, it was a ‘night to remember.’ For some of his accusers, Favre’s was a ‘member to remember.’”
Stafford outguns Rodgers in a shootout, and the Lions win 30-28.
NY Jets @ NY Giants (+2)
The Jets overwhelmed the Dolphins 38-20 at MetLife Stadium, led by four touchdown passes from Ryan Fitzpatrick.
“My newly-trimmed beard has made a difference,” Fitzpatrick said. “Before the trim, a lot of my teammates said I looked like I smoked a pipe. I told them I felt the same about them.
“And what would a discussion about hitting the pipe be without Lawrence Taylor? Incomplete, of course. And that brings me to Eli Manning. Many of Eli’s incompletions are actually completions, because they’re caught by the other team. I did something Eli Manning couldn’t—-grow a beard.
With two weeks to prepare, the Giants showed up unprepared at FedEx Field and suffered a devastating 20-14 loss to the Redskins. The defeat knocked the G-Men out of sole possession of first in the NFC East, and they’re now tied with the ‘Skins.
“With three interceptions,” Manning said, “I certainly contributed to the loss. My brother Peyton isn’t the only Manning with neck problems. Mine is chronic as well, because I get this choking sensation often.
“Odell Beckham, Jr. had another amazing one-handed catch. It’s great to have a receiver that can go and get a ball that I think I may have overthrown. On this team, we have a saying: ‘If it’s brown and flying wildly through the air, it’s probably Jason Pierre-Paul’s finger.’”
Giants win 23-21.
Arizona @ St. Louis (+5 1/2)
The Cardinals edged the 49ers 19-13 last week, as Carson Palmer’s eight-yard touchdown run provided the winning points.
“You’ve no doubt seen the highlight,” Palmer said. “I spiked the ball so hard that I stumbled and fell over. One second, I felt like Rob Gronkowski; the next second, I felt like Mark Sanchez.
“I’m still hearing about my ‘pelvic thrust’ from the Bengals game. What’s the big deal? I don’t see nothing wrong with a little bump and grind. That’s a line from an R. Kelly song, but that’s where my similarities to him end.
The Rams faced the wrath of a hungry Bengals team and were blitzed 31-7 in Cincinnati. Nick Foles struggled, with three interceptions, and Jeff Fisher later said anyone who questioned the team’s effort could “kiss my ass.”
“Ha!” Fisher said. “I just made a ‘booty call.’
“We’re not a very good team on the road. But at home, we’re 3-2. I defy anyone to question our effort there. If they do, they can kiss it where the ‘sun don’t shine.’ That would be indoors, inside the Edward Jones Dome.
“I have no desire to see that ‘Concussion’ movie. If there’s a Will Smith movie I want to see, it’s ‘I Am Legend,’ because it perfectly describes my opinion of myself.”
With a win, the Cardinals move one step closer to the NFC West title. Should the Rams lose, their hopes for a wildcard berth are all but shot. Is that the worst-case scenario for Fisher and St. Louis? No, that would be a quarterback named Keenum wobbling on the field of play.
Cardinals win 25-21.
Atlanta @ Tampa Bay (-2)
The Falcons couldn’t stop Adrian Peterson, who rushed for 158 yards and two touchdowns in Atlanta’s 20-10 loss to the Vikings. Atlanta dropped to 6-5 and has lost four in a row.
“After a hot start,” Matt Ryan said, “we’ve cooled dramatically. That’s coincided with my own slump, so our 5-0 start has been heavily tarnished. I guess I put the ‘Ice-ing’ on the cake.
“I see that pirate ship in the end zone at Raymond James Stadium. It’s on land, so it’s not going anywhere. That’s a different boat than the one regarding our playoff hopes, because that ship has sailed.”
The Bucs let a 12-6 halftime lead slip away in a 25-12 loss at Lucas Oil Stadium to the Colts.
“I threw five touchdowns two weeks ago against the Eagles,” Winston said. “If that would have taken place in a grocery store, it would have been in the ‘produce’ section.
“What I’ve learned is that I’m not going to throw for five touchdowns every week. Not all defenses are as porous as security at a Publix grocery store.”
The Bucs can’t stop Julio Jones, who grabs ten catches for 125 yards and a touchdown, and Robert Alford picks off Winston to seal the win.
Atlanta wins 27-17.
Carolina @ New Orleans (+7)
The Panthers cruised to a 33-14 win over the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, returning two Tony Romo interceptions for touchdowns. Carolina improved to 11-0
“As we say,” Ron Rivera said, “Iour best defense is a good offense.
“Josh Norman put the clamps on Dez Bryant and then told the Cowboys they needed to get their money back for signing Bryant to an extension. It seems Josh is making better personnel decisions than the Dallas front office.
“We’re 12-0, which means the 1972 Miami Dolphins are concerned. I think it’s good that those old timers have something that gets their hearts racing, or beating, for that matter. Our potential undefeated season will give them something to think about other than shingles, or senior discounts, or Garo Yepremian’s passing motion.”
The Saints were battered in Houston by the Texans, falling 24-6 to drop to 4-7 on the year. Drew Brees managed only 228 yards passing, and the Saints were held without a touchdown for the first time in a decade.
“That game was the first in my memory in which we haven’t been accused of ‘crossing the line,’” Sean Payton said.
Panthers win 30-20.
Seattle @ Minnesota (+1)
The Seahawks beat the visiting Steelers 39-30 behind five passing touchdowns from Russell Wilson. Seattle improved to 6-5 in the NFC West, three games behind the 9-2 Cardinals.
“I’ve had my struggles this season,” Wilson said, “but I never ever got down on myself. That’s mostly due to the words of encouragement I hear from Macklemore, who, much like opposing defensive rushers, follows me everywhere. And to all those that doubt me, this is Russell Wilson’s bird.
“Minnesota is a tough place to play. It’s December in Minneapolis. Chances are, snow is falling. At TCF Bank Stadium, it would be from the sky. In the Hubert Humphret Metrodome, it would be falling from the roof.”
Adrian Peterson rushed for 158 yards and two touchdowns in Minnesota’s 20-10 win over the Falcons at the Georgia Dome. Peterson passed John Riggins on the league’s all-time rushing yards list, and now stands 18th.
“I feel a special connection to Riggins,” Peterson said. “Maybe it’s because his abuse of the bottle.
“I don’t think the Seahawks will have any better luck stopping me. The ‘Legion Of Boom’ is not what it used to be. These days, John Madden’s ‘boom’ is scarier than the Seattle defense’s.
“I was looking forward to personally battling Marshawn Lynch. Unfortunately, he’s out recovering from sports hernia surgery. He went to the doctor and said, ‘I’m just here so I’ll be fine.’”
Seattle wins 24-19.
Houston @ Buffalo (-3)
The Texans defense stifled Drew Brees and the Saints in a 24-6 Houston win last week. Brees threw for only 228 yards and was sacked twice, both by J.J. Watt.
“I’ve done something this franchise never has,” Watt said, “and that’s get my hands on a Hall Of Fame quarterback.”
The Bills lost 30-22 to the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, falling to 5-6 on the season.
“Our offense looked great,” Rex Ryan said. “Our defense did not get the job done. And I’m supposed to be a defensive coach. How did I even get this job, you may ask? Well, when I walked into the Bills headquarters back in January, my reputation was already there.”
Houston wins 23-21.
Baltimore @ Miami (-4)
The Ravens blocked Cleveland’s game-winning field goal attempt, and Will Hill grabbed the loose ball and scooted 64 yards for a touchdown, giving Baltimore a 33-27 win at Cleveland.
“If you just heard about a blocked field goal returned 64 yards for a touchdown,” John Harbaugh said, “you wouldn’t get the full appreciation of the incident. It’s not until you see the video that the magnitude of the situation fully registers. And I think I just experienced déjà vu.”
Miami lost 38-20 at MetLife Stadium to the Jets, falling into an early 21-0 hole before scoring two late touchdowns. The Dolphins lost their second straight game, and fourth out of its last five.
“I passed for 351 yards and three touchdowns,” Tannehill said. “As a team, we rushed for 12 yards. Those numbers led to offensive Bill Lazor’s firing on Monday. I guess that’s what you call ‘hanging’ in the ‘balance.’ Apparently, the only thing for the Dolphins ‘firing’ on all cylinders is the Dolphins front office.”
Miami wins 34-17.
Cincinnati @ Cleveland (+7)
The Bengals snapped a two-game losing streak with a resounding 31-7 win over the Rams last week at Paul Brown Stadium. Andy Dalton passed for 233 yards and three touchdowns as Cincy improved to 9-2.
“As you saw,” Dalton said, “we can easily bounce back from defeat, as long as it’s in the regular season.”
“I think Johnny Manziel has the talent to be an NFL quarterback. He just needs to get his head on straight. That proves to be difficult when you’re trying to put your helmet on over a ‘dunce’ cap.”
The Browns lost 33-27 to the Ravens at First Energy Stadium in an unlikely finish to Monday night’s AFC North contest. Cleveland’s Travis Coons lined up for the game-winning field goal, but the Ravens blocked the kick and returned in for the decisive touchdown.
“In addition to the devastating defeat,” Mike Pettine said, “we lost Josh McCown to a broken collarbone. But Austin Davis played well in relief. And Johnny Manziel, as usual, got a lot of camera time for doing nothing. I’m not sure we should have drafted Manziel in the first place. I think former Brown legend Bernie Kosar would agree that we made a bad ‘Money’ decision.”
Cincinnati wins 29-13.
Jacksonville @ Tennessee (-2 1/2)
The Titans fell to 2-9, and 0-6 at home, after their 24-21 loss to the Raiders at Nissan Stadium last week.
“Visiting teams are 6-0 in ‘home away from home’ games against us this year,” Mike Mularkey said.
Titans win 23-20.
San Francisco @ Chicago (-7)
The Bears shocked the Packers at Lambeau Field on Thanksgiving night 17-13, bolstered by a defense that forced two turnovers and limited Aaron Rodgers effectiveness.
“That’s a defense Buddy Ryan would be proud of,” John Fox said. “Ryan’s influence is still felt in the league today. Heck, up until a few weeks ago, Rob Ryan was running the ‘46’ defense, because that’s approximately the amount of points the Saints defense was giving up per game.
“But I’ll give this to Rob: he knows how to use a ‘Refrigerator’ just as well as Buddy.”
The 49ers lost a hard-fought 19-13 decision to the Cardinals at Levi’s Stadium last week, as Carson Palmer’s seven-yard touchdown scamper gave Arizona the winning margin.
“Blaine Gabbert has been impressive in his two starts this year,” Mike Tomsula said. “In those two games, he’s passed for 582 yards and two touchdowns. That’s the first time in a long time anyone’s had reason to kiss a bicep.
“Colin Kaepernick may be done as a quarterback in the NFL. My, how quickly things change. He used to be the future, now he barely has one.”
Chicago wins 24-18.
Denver @ San Diego (+4 1/2)
The Broncos knocked off Tom Brady and the visiting Patriots last week, winning 30-24 in overtime on C.J. Anderson’s 48-yard touchdown run after the Denver defense forced a three-and-out.
“I’m 2-0 as a starter this year,” Brock Osweiler said. “I could be even better as the ‘finisher.’ I think I’ve earned the right to remain the starter. I’m 6’8,” so I’m qualified to ‘oversee’ this offense. Besides, of all people, we certainly don’t need Peyton looking over his shoulder. I’m not sure he’s physically capable of doing that anyway.
Philip Rivers threw for 300 yards and four touchdowns as the Chargers snapped a six-game losing streak with a 31-25 win at Jacksonville.
“It’s too bad Manning’s not playing on Sunday,” Rivers said. “This may have been the last chance I get to face him head-to-head. Hopefully, our fans will be respectful and honor his years at a high level. I’m sure there will be some morons screaming at him to ‘quit already.’ But I doubt Peyton will hear it over the sound of his body telling him the same thing.
“I’m still on pace to throw for over 5,000 yards. Our running game is on pace to hit that mark sometime in 2018.”
Denver wins 27-21.
Kansas City @ Oakland (+3)
The Chiefs won their fifth straight game, besting the visiting Bills 30-22 to improve to 6-5 in the AFC West.
“If the regular season ended today,” Alex Smith said, “we’d be the AFC’s No. 5 seed, and would travel to Indianapolis for a Wildcard game. I think we’d all like to relive that moment. Or maybe not.”
Derek Carr’s 12-yard touchdown pass to Seth Carter with 1:21 left in the game gave the Raiders a come-from-behind 24-21 win over the Titans.
“That certainly silenced the Nissan Stadium crowd,” Carr said. “It was so quiet, you could hear a mic drop.”
Raiders win 26-23.
Philadelphia @ New England (-9)
The Eagles were pummeled by the Lions on Thanksgiving, surrendering 337 yards passing and five touchdowns in a 45-14 loss. Philadelphia fell to 4-7.
“I did not interview for the USC job,” Kelly said. “I should have, because I would have had to answer way fewer questions than I did here in Philadelphia.
“I hear my neck may be on the chopping block. Well, before you put my neck on the chopping block, you first have to find my neck.”
The Patriots lost 30-24 in overtime to the Broncos in Denver on Sunday night. Tom Brady passed for 280 yards and three touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough against a balanced Denver attack.
“Nothing about Philadelphia scares me,” Brady said, “except catching a ride with Jahlil Okafor to a bar in Boston.
“The Eagles can feel confident that there are no bugs in their locker room. Ironically, the ‘bug’ is in our locker room. It’s the injury bug.”
Former Eagle Donovan McNabb makes an appearance in Foxboro, interrupting the coin toss, where he confiscates the coin and tosses his cookies.
Patriots win 31-24.
Indianapolis @ Pittsburgh (-5)
Matt Hasselbeck led the Colts to a 25-12 win over the visiting Buccaneers last week, tossing two touchdown passes to go with 315 yards through the air. Indy is 6-5, tied with the Texans atop the AFC South.
“I’m 4-0 as a starter this year,” Hasselbeck said. “But let’s be honest—I’ve been put into a good situation. I can’t believe my luck. That’s a common refrain in Indy this year, because when Andrew made one of his several turnovers, fans would say ‘I can’t believe my Luck.’”
The Steelers lost a shootout in Seattle, falling 39-30 as Russell Wilson outgunned Ben Roethlisberger. Wilson tossed five TD passes and Roethlisberger was knocked out of the game with a concussion in the fourth quarter.
“It will be tough to keep Ben out of this week’s game,” MikeTomlin said. “If there’s one thing I know about Big Ben, it’s that he won’t take ‘no’ for an answer.”
Steelers win 30-23.
Dallas @ Washington (-2)
The Cowboys lost Tony Romo for the season after he reinjured his collarbone late in Thanksgiving’s 33-14 loss to the Panthers. Dallas dropped to 2-8 on the year.
“Tony is understandably upset,” Jason Garrett said. “Luckily, he can channel his frustrations using paper mache, which happens to be what his clavicle is made of.”
The Redskins picked off Eli Manning three times and built a 20-0 lead in an eventual 20-14 win over the Giants. The win moved the 5-6 Redskins into a tie atop the NFC East with the Giants.
“Eli Manning making a bad throw is not news,” Jay Gruden said. “He’s been doing it for years. When he makes a bad throw, we call it an ‘Ole Miss.’
“I can tell you this: we’re going to blitz Matt Cassel unmercifully. Dallas may bring the Cassel, but we’re bringing the ‘house.’”
Washington wins 24-17.