#Thanksgiving is a time for turkey, family....and football. As per usual, there were 3 games on the schedule this Thanksgiving. In addition to the stalwart Lions and Cowboys, there was an AFC showdown as the late game. Those 3 games alone shook up the playoff picture in the #NFL. Let's take a look:
1 PM game - Vikings vs. Lions
This game started off strong with both teams scoring on their first possession. However, the first half ended with a Matt Prater field goal to give Detroit a 10-7 advantage. Minnesota fired back with a field goal of their own to tie the game. The game looked like it would be heading into overtime, just like the last game between the teams in Week 9. However, a late game interception kept the Lions in contention and put the game in the hands -- or legs, as it were -- of Matt Prater. He did not disappoint, knocking home the game-winning 40 yard field goal.
With the 16-13 win over the Vikings, the Lions go to 7-4 and now lead the NFC North by 1 game over the Vikings. The Lions have the Saints, Giants and Cowboys on the road along with home games against division rivals Chicago and Green Bay to wrap the season. The Lions could either run the table and go 12-4, but realistically, they could go 10-6, yet still win the division depending on the result of the Vikings' remaining games (vs Dallas, at Jacksonville, vs. Indianapolis, at Green Bay, vs. Chicago).
4 PM game - Cowboys vs. Redskins
There are 3 words that describe the theme of this game -- missed field goals. That was what killed the Redskins. Washington left 6 points off the board with 2 missed field goals. Had those field goals found the mark, we'd be looking at a 32-31 win for Washington instead of a 10 game win streak for Dallas. Instead, Dallas is still atop the NFC East, riding a 10 game win streak into their week 13 game December 1 against the Vikings in Minneapolis.
Washington still has games against the Cardinals, Eagles, Panthers and Bears before finishing the season on New Year's Day against Eli Manning and the Giants. At 6-4-1, Washington can max out at 11 wins. But with that schedule, there's just no way that's possible. The Redskins, in all likelihood, are bound to finish with 8 wins, no playoffs.
8:30 PM game - Steelers vs. Colts
The Colts usually start Andrew Luck as their signal-caller, but he was stuck in the concussion protocol following their win last Sunday against Tennessee. So Chuck Pagano called upon Scott Tolzien -- a man who has only started 3 games in his NFL career -- to start on Thanksgiving night. His performance was underwhelming. Sure, he threw for over 200 yards on 22/36 passing. Normally, that would be a great day. But when you throw only 1 touchdown with 2 picks and your team loses 28-7, 200 plus yards in a game isn't something to be proud of.
The Colts fell to 5-6 with the loss while the Steelers jumped to 6-5. Looking at both teams' remaining schedules, the Colts have some winnable games coming up with the Vikings, Texans, Jets and Jaguars. They could easily go 9-7. As for the Steelers, they have the Giants, Bills, Bengals, Ravens and Browns. Steelers could go 8-8 pretty easily, 9-7 if they get lucky against the Ravens or Giants. As for the playoffs, both teams look a little iffy in that regard. We'll see how the rest of week 12 plays out in the NFL first before we even talk playoffs.