Thanksgiving weekend brought us turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and plenty of heartburn. It also gave us five days of great football. Thursday alone the featured three NFC contenders setting themselves up to win their divisions. The rest of the weekend wasn’t too shabby either. Here is a look at Week 12 of the NFL season:


Dallas Cowboys rising


Is there a more frustrating franchise in the NFL? The Cowboys somehow maintain the label of “America’s Team,” despite not winning a Super Bowl since 1995. Nonetheless, the 2018 Cowboys are a threat again. Something that will certainly put NFC teams, if not the entire National Football League, on notice. 

Dallas has won three in a row behind a balanced offense and a strong defense. They took first place by beating the Washington Redskins 31-23 on Thanksgiving Day, and they have a mediocre enough schedule to win the NFC East outright in the coming weeks. The Cowboys will face the New Orleans Saints this Thursday night on national television. We’ll know whether or not they can hang with the league’s best teams this week.

Seattle Seahawks reloaded not rebuilt

The Seahawks hit a wall last season and fell behind the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC West hierarchy. It could be argued that the Seahawks fell to their lowest point in at least five years with their 42-7 loss to the Rams in Seattle last December.

Pete Carroll, Chris Carson, Seahawks

One year later, the Legion of Boom has been replaced by a young, hungry defense. The once leaky offensive line now forms the foundation of the top running games in the league. And when that running game struggles, quarterback Russell Wilson is still just as dangerous as before. The Seahawks’ tough 30-27 victory over the Carolina Panthers signaled that they are for real. Carolina came into this game unbeaten at home. That didn’t bother the Seahawks at all.

Last December, we all thought that the Seahawks were entering a rebuild. It turns out they were simply reloading. Seattle lost the NFC West for this season, but look for the Seahawks to challenge the Rams for years to come.

Denver Broncos are dangerous

Phillip Lindsay, Broncos

I mentioned this last week as a high, but I’m going there again to make this point: the AFC better hope that the Denver Broncos don’t win out and make the playoffs. It’s a long-shot, but Broncos have proven to be far better than their record indicates. They played the Rams, Chiefs, Seahawks, Chargers, Texans, and Steelers tough, and the Broncos are actually getting better.

The sports news world is making a big deal out of the Steelers’ mistakes that resulted in the Broncos’ 24-17 victory. However, it was the Broncos’ defense that caused those mistakes. Denver had the Steelers out of sorts for much of the game. They earned that victory, and if the conference doesn’t wake up, we could see three teams from the AFC West in the playoffs come January.


Reuben Foster arrested for domestic abuse… again

Reuben Foster, 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers had a problem on their hands entering the 2018 season. 2017 first round draft pick Reuben Foster had just been cleared of domestic violence charges stemming from an encounter with a significant other, Elissa Ennis. There were concerns around the league that Foster was bad news. In the age of #MeToo, there were even whispers wondering why the 49ers hadn’t released him.

Well, it took some time, but the 49ers finally cut the cord with Foster after he was charged with domestic violence again in another altercation with Ennis. She later recanted her statements, resulting in charges dropped. However, that didn’t stop authorities from charging him again the next time around. What a mess for the 49ers. By the way, they got blown out by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27-9, and two days later, the Redskins claimed Foster on waivers.

From contenders to trainwrecks

Blake Bortles, Doug Marrone

What happened Jacksonville Jaguars? They started the season as Super Bowl contenders. Now they sit at 3-8 with a benched quarterback, a fired offensive coordinator, and a 72-year-old team executive (Tom Coughlin) promising to “put the gloves on” with anyone questioning the team’s moves.

It’s clear their offseason moves didn’t work. The team’s woes have gotten to the point where a rookie quarterback not exactly known for his mobility ran for 99 yards on them during the Jaguars’ 24-21 loss to the Buffalo Bills. That’s right 6’5, 237-pound Josh Allen nearly put 100 yards on the vaunted Jacksonville defense. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Are they really that bad?

The Arizona Cardinals entered rebuilding mode when Bruce Arians and Carson Palmer retired. In fact, a large portion of the roster has turned over in the last couple of years. However, the defense still featured some talent, including Patrick Peterson, Antoine Bethea, and Tre Boston. Now even that unit has little to offer.

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers compiled a game for the record books against the beleaguered Arizona defense. He completed 28 of 29 passes for 259 yards and three touchdowns in the Chargers’ 45-10 pounding of the Cardinals. What a great night for him, and what an awful showing for a once-proud defense.