Although the Dallas Cowboys won this division last season, the Philadelphia Eagles are eager to make their way back to the top of the NFC East. The Washington Redskins and New York Giants both missed the playoffs last season, but will be looking to get back to the playoffs after making some key moves this offseason. How does each team stack up heading into Week 1?
1. Philadelphia Eagles
Last season’s record: 9-7
Postseason Result: Lost to Saints in Divisional Round 20-14
DT Malik Jackson (Jacksonville Jaguars)
WR DeSean Jackson (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
LB L.J. Fort (Pittsburgh Steelers)
DE Vinny Curry (Tampa Bay)
RB Jordan Howard (Chicago Bears)
DT Hassan Ridgeway (Indianapolis Colts)
DE Eli Harold (Buffalo Bills)
QB Josh McCown (New York Jets)
OT Andre Dillard (22nd)
RB Miles Sanders (53rd)
WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside (57th)
DE Shareef Miller (138th)
QB Clayton Thorson (167th)
Waived CB Elie Bouka, LB Asantay Brown, G Kaleb Johnson, CB Chandon Sullivan, WR Johnny Holton and S Tre Sullivan, released QB Nick Foles, S Chris Maragos, DE Kasim Edebali, DE Eli Harold, LB Hayes Pullard, CB Orlando Scandrick and TE Will Tye and WR Charles Johnson injured.
The big question:
This is not an attack to take lightly. After last season’s hiccups, the Eagles have been keen to have ample resources in the event of injuries, as the signings of DeSean Jackson and Howard signal. There is the uncertainty to if the injury plague hits again, can the Eagles’ draft picks step up? However, the bigger question would be if quarterback Carson Wentz can stay healthy. Every time he’s been unable to play, Nick Foles graciously stepped up, but Foles is now in Jacksonville. How will their backups play if Wentz goes down again?
2. Dallas Cowboys
Last season’s record: 10-6
Postseason Result: Lost to Rams in Divisional Round 22-30
WR Randall Cobb (Green Bay Packers)
RB Alfred Morris (San Francisco 49ers)
Trysten Hill (58th)
Connor McGovern (90th)
Tony Pollard (128th)
Michael Jackson (158th)
Joe Jackson (165th)
Waived LB Justin Phillips and WR Lance Lenoir. Released WR Allen Hurns and OL Larry Allen Jr.
The big question:
The Cowboys are hoping to have a repeat of last season, so it’s clear as to why they weren’t too active in free agency. They’ve added to an already stout offense with the signings of Cobb and Morris. The focus will be on stars RB Ezekiel Elliott and QB Dak Prescott to deliver and lead by example. It’s also dangerous to assume that the Cowboys will automatically at least get second place in the NFC East. f Washington or New York all-of-a-sudden are able to perform, how will Dallas cope with that? Can Elliott & Prescott stand up and lead the Cowboys to the playoffs?
3. Washington Redskins
Last season’s record: 7-9
Postseason Result: N/A
QB Case Keenum (Denver Broncos)
S Landon Collins (New York Giants)
OT Donald Penn (Oakland)
DB D.J. White (Indianapolis)
QB Dwayne Haskins (15th)
EDGE Montez Sweat (26th)
WR Terry McLaurin (76th)
RB Bryce Love (112th)
G Wes Martin (131st)
LB Cole Holcomb (173rd)
Released LB Zach Brown, DL Stacy McGee and LB Mason Foster and waived DB Alex Carter, G Kyle Fuller, OT Darius James, WR Tre McBride, RB Russell Hansbrough and LB DeMarquis Gates.
The big question:
The Redskins had a team who led the NFC East last season before Alex Smith went down. They had a great defense, and they made an improvement to that defense by adding S Landon Collins. After Smith was injured, the offense was the problem. That’s why they added Case Keenum and drafted Dwayne Haskins. Although they drafted Haskins in the first round, will he take over as their starter this season? This dilemma can make or break the success of Washington’s offense this season.
4. New York Giants
Last season’s record: 5-11
Postseason Result: N/A
S Jabrill Peppers (Cleveland Browns)
G Kevin Zeitler (Cleveland Browns)
WR Da’Mari Scott (Buffalo Bills)
WR Golden Tate (Philadelphia Eagles)
RB Rod Smith (Dallas Cowboys)
OT Mike Remmers (Minnesota Vikings)
WR T.J. Jones (Detroit Lions)
TE Eric Tomlinson (New York Jets)
QB Daniel Jones (6th)
CB Deandre Baker (30th)
Traded WR Odell Beckham Jr. and LB Olivier Vernon, waived WR Quadree Henderson, WR Jawill Davis, DE Alex Jenkins, TE Eric Dungey, TE Isaiah Searight, WR Da’Mari Scott and LB B.J. Goodson, DE Nate Harvey and WR Corey Coleman injured and released DB Tony Lippett. Lost S Landon Collins to the Redskins.
The big question:
It honestly isn’t looking good, is it? The Giants did away with Beckham Jr., Vernon and Landon Collins. With that being said, the Giants have made some good signings and they are nurturing a new, young defense. Another place to look at is the QB spot. It seems pretty obvious that QB Eli Manning would start, but what if draft pick Daniel Jones is able to get some game time? Could he prove to be good enough for New York?
This was a big weekend for the National Football League, and I want to make sure nobody missed the significant moments of it. That’s why this week we will have two different “What you may have missed” articles. This one is only going to reflect on the NFL draft. There were a lot of moves that shocked us all. Let’s take a look.
How about those trades that impacted the draft?
We already know about the Odell Beckham Jr., Amari Cooper and Antonio Brown trades, but other trades impacted draft picks throughout the weekend.
Pittsburgh Steelers received 66th, 141st pick for Antonio Brown. Those picks were WR Deionte Johnson and TE Zach Gentry.
Oakland Raiders’ 27th pick (Safety Jonathan Abram) was received from the Amari Cooper trade to the Dallas Cowboys.
Oakland Raiders’ 24th pick (RB Josh Jacobs) and 196th pick (trade to New York Jets) were part of the Khalil Mack trade to the Chicago Bears.
New York Giants’ 17th pick (DL Dexter Lawrence) and 95th pick (LB Oshane Ximines) were part of the Odell Beckham Jr. trade to the Cleveland Browns.
Denver Broncos trade for QB Joe Flacco with the Baltimore Ravens for 113th pick (RB Justice Hill).
Seattle Seahawks trade EDGE Frank Clark and 84th pick (DT Khalen Saunders) to Kansas City Chiefs for 29th (DE L.J. Collier), 92nd (trade to New York Jets) and 2020 second rounder. Chiefs extended Clark’s contract to 5 years, 105.5 million dollars.
Pittsburgh Steelers traded up to 10th (LB Devin Bush) with the Denver Broncos and gave up the 20th (TE Noah Fant), 52nd (trade to Bengals) and 2020 3rd round pick.
Denver Broncos traded with Cincinnati Bengals to move up. Broncos received the 42nd pick (QB Drew Lock). Bengals receive No. 52 (TE Drew Sample), No. 125 (DT Renell Wren) and No. 182 (RB Trayveon Williams).
The Bengals moved up later to draft QB Ryan Finley with the 104th pick. They traded with the San Francisco 49ers, who received the 110th (P Mitch Wishnowsky) and 183rd (T Justin Skule).
After drafting EDGE Rashaan Gary with the 12th pick, the Packers moved up from 30 to 21 and selected DB Darnell Savage. The Seattle Seahawks received multiple picks which they used to trade later on in the draft. Those picks were No. 30 (trade to Giants), No. 114 (trade to Minnesota), No. 118 (trade to New England).
That Packers trade sparked several trades late in the first round as the Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens swapped picks. The Eagles drafted OT Andre Dillard 22nd overall. The Ravens drafted WR Marquise “Hollywood” Brown with the 25th pick. They also received the 127th (CB Iman Marshall) and 197th picks (QB Trace McSorley).
The Washington Redskins traded back into the first round after drafting QB Dwayne Haskins 15th overall. The Redskins received the 26th pick (Edge Montez Sweat) from the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts receive 46th pick (traded to the Browns), and a 2020 second-round pick.
The New York Giants also traded back into the first round and selected CB Deandre Baker with the 30th pick. The Seahawks received even more picks, No. 37 (trade to Panthers), No. 132 (S Ugochukwu Amadi), and No. 142 (LB Ben Burr-Kirven).
The Atlanta Falcons weren’t done either. After a surprising pick with the 14th overall (OG Chris Lindstrom), they wanted to trade up and draft another surprising OL with the 31st pick (OT Kaleb McGary), they also received the 203rd pick and selected WR Marcus Green. The Los Angeles Rams got a few picks back in return. The 45th (trade to Patriots) and the 79th (DB David Long)
After the Jacksonville Jaguars landed EDGE Josh Allen with the 7th overall pick, they were looking to get the guy they wanted all along, and they traded up earlier in the 2nd round. With the 35th pick, the Jaguars got OT Jawaan Taylor (1st round projected). They also added the 140th (Ryquell Armstead) and 235th (DT Dontavius Russell). The Raiders received the 38th, and 109th picks which were later traded.
With all the news about QB Cam Newton’s health being in question, the Carolina Panthers look to help protect him. They did so by trading up in the 2nd round to take OT Greg Little at 37. The Seahawks received the 47th pick (DB Marquise Blair) and 77th (trade to Patriots). The Panthers also drafted QB Will Grier in the 3rd round in late of Newton’s health and maybe ended of a career with Panthers.
As part of a big run of drafting offensive linemen, the Buffalo Bills had their eyes on trading up to draft OT Cody Ford with the 38th pick. The Raiders would receive the 40th pick (DB Trayvon Mullen) and 158th (trade to Dallas).
The Cleveland Browns had a quiet draft this year after the trade to get WR Odell Beckham Jr. and adding RB Kareem Hunt to the team, but they wanted to get “greedy” and traded up to get CB Greedy Williams with the 46th pick. The Colts received the 49th (LB Ben Banogu) and 144th pick (S Marvell Tell III).
The Kansas City Chiefs and LA Rams made a desperation trade as the Chiefs moved up to take WR Mecole Hardman with the 56th after finding out about WR Tyreke Hill’s video that leaked. The Chiefs may be in trouble if Hill is found guilty, but Hardman is a poor man’s Hill, and the two could play off one another if Hill can play. The Rams received the 61st (DB Taylor Rapp) and 167th pick (traded to Philadelphia).
The Rams would later trade up to take RB Darrell Henderson with the 70th pick. That is a move that could prove to be valuable with the status of RB Todd Gurley up in the air right now. In return, the Buccaneers received the 94th (DB Jamel Dean) and the 99th picks (S Mike Edwards).
After both QB Kyler Murray and Daniel Jones were taken in the top six, Miami passed on QB Dwayne Haskins and drafted DL Christian Wilkins with the 13th overall pick. They also traded for former 1st rounder QB Josh Rosen later in the evening on Thursday to secure their QB spot. The Miami Dolphins received Rosen from the Arizona Cardinals for the 62nd pick (WR Andy Isabella) and 2020 fifth-round pick.
Players who fell in the draft?
The Washington Redskins drafted Dwayne Haskins at 15th and Montez Sweat at 26th. Haskins was a projected top 10 pick with several teams having interest in trading up for him. Sweat’s late injury put a bit of worry on the faces of some teams. But the Redskins saw the opportunity and grab it.
One of the top five offensive linemen fell to the second round and drafted by the team that mocked him going. That was Jawaan Taylor and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
One of the top five WRs wasn’t even the top 10th picked in the draft. The Seattle Seahawks traded up into the second round to draft him. That player was D.K. Metcalf, and the Seahawks drafted him in light of whether this may be WR Doug Baldwin’s farewell after battling injuries over the last couple of seasons.
OL Cody Ford also dropped out of the first round after being a possibility for the Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons who surprised us with other picks.
DB Taylor Rapp was likely a late first to an early second rounder, but he fell to the Los Angeles Rams in the late second.
WRs Hakeem Butler and A.J. Brown were expected off the board earlier than where they ended up. Both of these could likely be stars in the NFL and their teams right away. The Arizona Cardinals drafted Butler and Brown was drafted by the Tennessee Titans.
Let’s also not forget to mention this year’s Mr. Irrelevant, TE Caleb Wilson from UCLA. Wilson was selected as the last pick of the 2019 draft by the Arizona Cardinals.
Players who rose in the draft?
As certain players fell, others raised, and QB Daniel Jones was the biggest one of them. With the 6th pick in the draft, the New York Giants selected Jones as the potential heir to Eli Manning. Now I saw them drafting Jones at some point in the draft because he has ties to the Manning family, but I didn’t think it would be 6th.
The Oakland Raiders selected DL Clelin Ferrell instead of drafting EDGE guys like Josh Allen, Rashaan Gary or even Ed Olivier. Ferrell was also surprised about the pick at 4th overall. The Raiders continued to select players from both Alabama and Clemson for most of the night.
The Atlanta Falcons surprised us all by going with OG Chris Lindstrom at 14, but trading back into the first round to take OT Kaleb McGary was a big shock. Although, after listening to an interview by Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff, it was the guys they wanted and felt that if they waited too long for McGary in the second or third, he wouldn’t have been able. So let’s see how this one plays out.
The Green Bay Packers wanted to be “Savage” on defense and traded up to get DB Darnell Savage in the 1st round. For the sake of the Cheese heads, I hope this pick works out.
Also, DL Jeff Simmons, he was drafted by the host city, Tennessee Titans in the first round and he wasn’t on the board as a first rounder. The Titans did make up for it with other picks like A.J. Brown later in the draft, but let’s see how this one works.
But now it’s time to see who the greatest of all-time really is. Who’s the greatest quarterback? How about greatest coach-QB duo? In the next set of articles, we will be telling you exactly that.
First, we will look into the coaches that helped these QBs become great. Just keep in mind that not all coaches or QBs are on their individual list, so you will have to return back on Sunday to find out who the greatest QB of all-time is.
Until then, let’s get right into the list of coaches and QBs. Know that not all duos won Super Bowl titles, but still deserve to be recognized.
10. Mike Shannahan and John Elway, Denver Broncos (1995-1998)
These two made the most of their four seasons together. Shannahan could possibly be the main, if not only reason Elway was able to win two Super Bowls. They moved on from a defensive-minded head coach in Wade Phillips to focus more on the offense and QB John Elway.
It’s not that the Broncos were bad with Philips, but after failing to win two previous Super Bowls and Elway getting older, their time was running out. In their four years together, they won back-to-back Super Bowls. Elway did whatever he had to to get the first one, including a helicopter spin late in the game.
9. Joe Gibbs and Doug Williams, Washington Redskins (1986-1989)
These two were also together for a short four seasons and had success early. They only managed to get one Super Bowl title, but that one was history making, as Williams became the first African-American quarterback to win a Super Bowl. He also picked up MVP honors in the game after battling back from injury.
Williams had the capability to win games, but it wasn’t until he came to Washington to Gibbs where he started get the wins. One of which was against John Elway’s Broncos in Super Bowl XXII. Gibbs coached the Redskins to three total championships. One before and one after Williams was with the team. Had Williams came earlier in his career, there is no saying how many titles the two could have won.
8. Jimmy Johnson and Troy Aikman, Dallas Cowboys (1989-1993)
The ’80s was full of greater QBs. That will explain why there’s several of them on here. However, Aikman was part of a transition into the ’90s. The short time he was with coach Johnson, they had a lot of success, as they won two titles in four years. Aikman also had the Hall of Fame running back Emmit Smith running wild with him and Johnson. Had they all stayed together for a longer time, they might have already had the franchises 6th title.
7. Marv Levy and Jim Kelly, Buffalo Bills (1986-1996)
This was a great duo, as they dominated their division by winning it six out of 10 years. They even won four conference championships to get them into the Super Bowl four times, but they came up short in each one. The one that has to hurt the most is the one against Bill Parcells’ New York Giants, as they had a chance to kick the game-winning field goal, but it was wide right off the foot of K Scott Norwood.
They just simply couldn’t find themselves on the winning side of a Super Bowl, but that shouldn’t discredit them as one of the top duos, because it’s never easy to win the big one.
6. Don Shula and Dan Marino, Miami Dolphins (1983-1995)
Speaking of winning the big one, or failure to do so, the Miami Dolphins of the ’80s had several chances to get there. They, like the Bills, won their division five times. What makes it interesting is that both the Bills and Dolphins were in the division then as they are now. They combined for 11 of the 13 divisional titles.
But the Super Bowl appearances and titles is not impressive. Despite having coach Shula and Dan Marino together for 12 years, the Dolphins only made it to one Super Bowl in which they lost. But the individual success of Marino himself had helped the Dolphins be successful. It wasn’t without the coaching of Shula to get him there.
5. Tom Landry and Roger Staubach, Dallas Cowboys (1969-1979)
The earlier stages of the the Super Bowl era featured a lot of the Dallas Cowboys and Roger Staubach. Staubach and coach Landry won several division championships in the 10 years they were together. At which time, they had made it to the Super Bowl five times, winning it twice. If Staubach hadn’t left for the military during the middle of his playing career, we might have been able to see more from this duo.
4. Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw, Pittsburgh Steelers (1970-1983)
One of the teams that beat the Cowboys in the Super Bowl was this Steelers team. They did it twice in back-to-back seasons. In fact, the Steelers won it four times during Bradshaw and Noll’s time together. Both of which were back-to-back over a six year span.
They also won the division eight times, as they were one of the more dominant teams earlier in history. That explains why they are the only team to have a record six Super Bowl titles. Had Bradshaw thrown less interceptions, they could have been way ahead in number of titles, but with his mediocre play the Steelers still managed to have success.
3. Vince Lombardi and Bart Starr, Green Bay Packers (1959-1967)
The first ever Super Bowl winners have to be on the list, because without Lombardi, there wouldn’t be a Lombardi trophy. But that isn’t the only title they have. They won the first two Super Bowls and an additional five league championships.
If league titles counted back then, the Packers would have the most wins in terms of championships. Both Starr and Lombardi would be the most winningest coach-QB duo of all time. Let’s not forget about the fact that they won these seven titles in eight years of being together. They could easily be the No. 1 duo of all-time.
2. Bill Walsh and Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers (1979-1988)
Unfortunately for the Packers, Montana and Walsh came along 20 years later and helped change the way the game was played. If you were to compare the stats, you would see why. But we won’t get into that, because Montana had one of the best, if not the best wide receiver to pass the ball too. That is what helped the Niners be successful during all of the ’80s.
Remember when I told you the ’80s was full of great QBs? Montana might be the greatest from that decade, as he and coach Walsh won six division titles on their way to winning three Super Bowls together. Now, if it wasn’t such a stacked position back then, we might have seen him win even more Super Bowls.
1. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, New England Patriots (2000-present)
The best coach-QB duo has got to be these guys. When you look at where all the other QBs were drafted, their success would be a mirror image of that. Brady wasn’t a top QB in his draft class. In fact, he was drafted 199th overall by the Patriots, which made him the seventh QB drafted in that class.
But with Belichick, Brady looked like an elite quarterback. That has been something they continue to prove, as they have won 16 divisional titles and have made it to their ninth Super Bowl. As of now, they sit with five Super Bowl titles, looking to add their sixth, which will give them a tie with the Pittsburgh Steelers for most titles. Brady and Belichick will be the first coach-QB duo to get six titles together in the history of the NFL. There’s no question these two are the best pairing in NFL history. What they have done will never been done again.
With only 10 spots available for the top duos, there were bound to be some duos left off. That is where the honorable mentions come in.
Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts (2002-2008)
George Seifert and Steve Young, San Francisco 49ers (1989-1996)
Bill Parcells and Phil Simms, New York Giants (1983-1990)
Bud Grant and Fran Tarkenton, Minnesota Vikings (1972-1978)
Sean Payton and Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (2006- present)
Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia Eagles (1999-2009)
Will Brady and Belichick get their 6th title? Or will they be stuck at five and hoping for Brady to get one more before he turns 45 and retires?
We’ll talk more about Brady and some of these QBs in our next article the morning of Super Bowl LIII, but tell us if we got it right!
Where is your favorite coach-QB duo ranked? Are they in the top 10? Do you think they deserve to be there if they aren’t already? We’re interested in hearing your opinion, so don’t forget to comment below!
After taking the time to look back at some of the best Super Bowl moments for both the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots, we turned our attention to the best moments of their first Super Bowl match. As we prepare ourselves for another encounter between the two teams, we will look back at some of the greatest Super Bowl moments of all-time.
There are several different moments in the 53 year history we could call great. Narrowing it down to just 15 makes it even harder, but we at Fourth Quarter Sports have come together to make it the best we can. So let’s take a look at the top 15 Super Bowl moments of all-time.
15. Max McGee’s Touchdown, Super Bowl I
Many people may not think of this as one of the best moments in Super Bowl history, but most of us probably don’t even know who Max McGee is or what team he payed for. He played for the Green Bay Packers in the first ever Super Bowl. His touchdown was the first ever touchdown scored in a Super Bowl. It was a 37-yard pass from QB Bart Starr to open the game. The Packers never looked back.
What makes this moment more special, is that McGee wasn’t even suppose to play after he missed curfew. It’s not like he was the superstar WR on that team. He only caught four passes in the 1966 season. But on that day of Super Bowl I, he was the hero with seven receptions for 138 yards and two touchdowns, as the Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10.
14. Joe Namath’s Guarantee, Super Bowl III
How could you not put a moment like this on the list? This is known to be one of the greatest upsets in sports history. The best part about it was when quarterback Joe Namath publicly guaranteed a Jets victory. He walked off the field with one finger pointing to the sky as he did what he said he would do. Namath made the guarantee three days prior that the Jets would beat the Baltimore Colts. He did it with a balance of passing and running plays, as running back Matt Snell totaled 121 yards and a touchdown.
Namath and Jets had a 16-0 lead heading into the second half, where the Colts made the decision to change quarterbacks and go back to Johnny Unitas. He led them to a scoring drive. However, it was too late for Unitas and the Colts, as Namath and Jets won the game for the first time in the AFL after the Green Bay Packers won it the past two years in the NFL.
Hear more about how Namath felt after they won here.
13. Devin Hester returns opening kickoff against Colts, Super Bowl XLI
It was Super Bowl XLI when we saw the Chicago Bears against the Indianapolis Colts. It was also the first Super Bowl game that featured two African American head coaches (Bears’ Lovie Smith and Colts’ Tony Dungy), which means there is a historical fact to this moment as well. But this was likely the worst moment of the game for the Bears, as they lost to the Colts 29-17 after leading 17-3 at halftime. So why is Devin Hester on the list? Well, he did something that has never been done. That was taking the opening kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown. It went down in history as the fastest TD in the Super Bowl, scored in just 14 seconds.
Let’s keep in mind that Hester was just a rookie returner who led the league in both kickoff and punt returns with six total. This kick return was the first ever opening kickoff return for a TD in a Super Bowl. There were eight other guys who were able to return a kickoff for a TD in a Super Bowl, but none were as special as this one.
Riggins was known as “The Diesel” during his time in the NFL. It was moments like this that gave him the name. In the Redskins’ first ever Super Bowl, they were down to the Miami Dolphins 17-13 with 10 minutes left to play. They faced a 4th-and-1 situation on the Dolphins’ 43-yard line. Riggins ran over Dolphins DB Don McNeal for the decisive score that put the Redskins ahead for good. He was the workhorse for the Redskins’ first Super Bowl win, carrying the ball a record 38 times for 166 yards in a Super Bowl. The touchdown run at the moment was the longest run from scrimmage in the history of the Super Bowl.
11. Montana, 49ers win in Bill Walsh’s final NFL game, Super Bowl XXIII
If you thought the Niners were the team in the 80’s, you thought right. That was mostly because of the coach-QB duo of Bill Walsh and Joe Montana, who had a lot of success together, including three Super Bowl titles. This is the most memorable Super Bowl moment, because this was the last game Bill Walsh coached in the NFL.
This Super Bowl was the closest of the three they won together, and the second against the Cincinnati Bengals. This was a Niners team that was down 16-13 with three minutes remaining in the game. The ball was at their own 8-yard line. The Niners were not worried, as they had “Joe Cool” ready to lead the drive, which he did as they capped off a 92-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass to WR John Taylor with 34 seconds remaining. That’s the way to end a coaching career. Let’s not forget that Montana and the Niners made it back to the Super Bowl without Walsh and crushed the Denver Broncos 55-10.
10. John Elway “Helicopter” Spin, Super Bowl XXXII
Elway and the Broncos struggled to win Super Bowls. In fact, Elway had lost his first three Super Bowl appearances until this Super Bowl, where he pulled out all the stops to get his first Lombardi Trophy. It was Elway’s determination that helped the Broncos pull off this win against the defending Super Bowl champion Packers. Elway took us all on a thrill ride, as he gave us one of the most iconic moments in Super Bowl history.
The Broncos and Packers went back and forth all game, as the Broncos ultimately came out on top 31-24. It was the third quarter drive that was 13 plays and 92-yards that gave the Broncos the lead back in a tied game. One of those plays was an 8-yard scramble for a first down by Elway, in which he dove and got hit by multiple Packers defenders while spinning through the air like a Helicopter. The Broncos followed that up by getting a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Terrell Davis.
Want to watch Elway fly like a Helicopter? Look here!
9. Redskins’ Williams becomes first African American QB to win a Super Bowl, Super Bowl XXII
From one successful Broncos Super Bowl to one of the Elway losses. It was Super Bowl XXII when Elway and the Broncos built a quick 10-0 lead in the first quarter. But what would happen next is something that none of us would’ve predicted.
It was a second quarter full of touchdowns, five to be exact. All five were scored by the Washington Redskins and their QB Doug Williams. Williams and the Redskins scored 35 points in a quarter which was the most points ever in a single postseason quarter in NFL history at the time. The first touchdown was an 8-yard touchdown pass from Williams to Ricky Sanders, which tied a record for the longest pass in a Super Bowl game. Sanders and rookie running back Timmy Smith both set Super Bowl records: Sanders for receiving (193) and Smith for rushing (204).
Williams also made history, as he was the first African American QB to win the Super Bowl. He also put himself in the record books with all his success in that one game alone.
Watch this great performance by the Washington Redskins and Doug Williams here.
8. The Fridge’s TD, Super Bowl XX
Is your refrigerator running? Maybe you should want it too? That’s what the Chicago Bears did in Super Bowl XX against the New England Patriots. It was already a 34-3 lead with three minutes left in the third quarter, so why not have some fun? Bears coach Mike Dikta made the decision to go with his 300+ pound defensive linemen to run the ball for a 1-yard touchdown. That linemen was rookie William “The Refrigerator” Perry, who lived up to his first-round draft status. Perry became the first 300 pound guy to score a touchdown, and Bears Hall of Fame RB Walter Payton loved it.
It’s not everyday you can be sensational, unless your name is Lynn Swann and you played for the Pittsburgh Steelers in ’70s. In this Super Bowl, Swann earned MVP honors, as he played the best game of his career. In this game, he made two sensational catches. The first was a juggling catch while falling to the turf for a 53-yard gain, and the other catch was a score on a 64-yard touchdown. It would help the Steelers win their second consecutive Super Bowl, and first of two against the Cowboys.
When you’re down one point with 2:16 remaining, you have no real pressure on you besides getting into field goal range. That is actually what the Buffalo Bills QB did against the New York Giants, as they were down 20-19. Bills’ QB Jim Kelly marches the team down the field and gets to the Giants’ 29 with eight seconds left. What happened next was part of a long losing streak in the Super Bowl. The Bills had a losing streak in the Super Bowl that will always be remembered. This play is the worst of them all. Bills’ kicker Scott Norwood set up for a game-winning 47-yard field goal, but he misses wide right and their streak continued.
5. Desmond Howard’s 99-yard return, Super Bowl XXVII
In another Super Bowl the Patriots lost, it came down to the speed of one man. That man was Desmond Howard, as he stopped the Patriots momentum from completing a comeback. It was a late score by New England in the third quarter to close within 27-21. That was until Green Bay’s Desmond Howard returns the ensuing kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown in the Packers’ 35-21 win.
Howard was a nearly unstoppable force as a return specialist, like we saw from his college days. He led the NFL in punt return yardage and touchdowns in 1996, along with the Super Bowl MVP award when he finished with 244 total return yards.
4. James Harrison’s 100-yard pick six, Super Bowl XLIII
From a great kickoff return touchdown to an even greater interception returned for touchdown. It was a memorable Super Bowl for the Steelers, as they had two unforgettable plays to help them clinch their 6th Super Bowl (tied most in history). This play was the first one, where James Harrison grabbed an interception off of Arizona Cardinals QB Kurt Warner late in the first half to give them a 17-7 lead. He took the interception 100 yards for a touchdown with seconds remaining in the half. It was the longest play in Super Bowl before it was broken by Jacoby Jones’ 109-yard kickoff return touchdown in Super Bowl XLVII.
Watch the big boy run down the sideline for a score here.
3. Dolphins complete perfect season, Super Bowl VII
There is nothing like having a perfect season. There is only one team ever in the NFL who has won all their games. That team was the 1972 Miami Dolphins. The closest team to come to that was the 2010 New England Patriots with their 18-1 record. But the Dolphins were too good and had no worries about their record, besides ruining the chance to shut out the Washington Redskins in the Super Bowl. The only real mistake they made in the game was trying to make something out of an already broken play, when kicker Garo Yepremian attempted to throw a forward pass after a blocked kick and Redskins cornerback Mike Bass would get the team’s only touchdown of the game.
What the Dolphins complete their perfect season here.
2. Santonio Holmes goes toes in for the victory, Super Bowl XLIII
This is the second part of an amazing Super Bowl by the Steelers. As you previously read, Harrison made a clutch interception at the end of the first half to put the team ahead by 10 points. But after watching Kurt Warner ledd his team back, the Steelers found themselves down by three with little time left. That was just enough time for Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger to find WR Santonio Holmes in the end zone.
This final drive was all Holmes, as he had four catches for 73 yards. Despite being in tight coverage, Holmes catches the ball and somehow nabbed a game-winning touchdown pass on the tips of his toes, just barely staying in bounds with less than a minute left on the clock.
This was the Super Bowl the New England Patriots were supposed to be undefeated in, as they were up 14-10 late in the fourth quarter. It looked like things were going in that direction for the Patriots, until this happened…
New York Giants QB Eli Manning escapes two tackles and launches a pass down field on 3rd-and-five. Giants WR David Tyree jumped and pinned the ball against his helmet for a 32-yard catch that will go done in history as one of the greatest catches of all-time. But that wasn’t game-winner. The Patriots had one more chance to stop the Giants march, until four plays later when Manning connects with Plaxico Burress for the game-winning touchdown, as the Giants shock the previously undefeated New England Patriots.
As amazing as all these plays have been, there will certainly be many more plays left off. Some of which are in the honorable mentions find below.
Jacoby Jones’ 109-yard kickoff return touchdown – Super Bowl XLVII
Dyson 1-yard short against Rams – Super Bowl XXXIV
Malcom Butler’s goal line Interception- Super Bowl XLIX
Adam Vinatieri’s FG for Patriots first Super Bowl win – Super Bowl XXXVI
Others have yet to be determined. Going into this, I wanted to focus on some of the records and first ever moments that led to some plays making it in over others. I couldn’t ignore the first ever Super Bowl with Vince Lombardi as the coach. I mean, the title is named after him. What memorable moments will this year’s Super Bowl bring?
And also don’t forget to return this weekend for some more Super Bowl talk. Please share your thoughts about the top moments in Super Bowl history!
After looking at head coaches on Wednesday and then linemen on both sides of the ball yesterday, I wrap up the week (but not the series) looking at a group of defensive backs up for the NFL’s Hall of Fame. Three of these men played the bulk of their careers as free safeties, while the other two were corners. Interestingly, the last three all played together in 2009 for the Denver Broncos*, and four out of five of these players played in Denver at some point in their careers, while three out of five played for the Jets–but never together.
*That Broncos squad, Josh McDaniels’ first, went 8-8 while the defense ranked third against the pass.
For my comparisons throughout this series, I’ve been looking at the Hall of Fame list posted on pro-football-reference.com. According to the last, there is no distinction between safeties or cornerbacks. Instead, PFR refers to all of those players as “defensive backs.” So, instead of breaking these five players down by position like I did yesterday with guards and tackles, I’ll be comparing them to fellow defensive backs.
However, I will be comparing them to defensive backs of a certain era–from 1989 until 2013, the former because that’s the earliest any of these five began his career, and 2013 because that’s the last year that any of these guys played.
Steve Atwater, Free Safety: Denver Broncos, 1989-1998 & New York Jets, 1999
Atwater, known for his bone-crushing hits over the middle, went 20th overall to the Broncos in the 1989 draft out of Arkansas. Over the next decade, he started at least 14 games every season. He picked off 24 passes, forced five fumbles, recovered eight fumbles and collected 1,125 total tackles. He made All-Pro in 1991 and 1992 while reaching eight Pro Bowls in a span of nine years. He was one of the team’s defensive leaders when Denver won back-to-back Super Bowls in the 1997 and 1998 seasons.
John Lynch, Strong Safety/Free Safety: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1993-2003 & Denver Broncos, 2004-2007
Over the years in Tampa Bay, John Lynch led a revolution that helped transform the Bucs from the Yuks into a Super Bowl winner. The Stanford product went in the third round of the 1993 draft to Tampa, where he’d patrol the center of the field for the following 11 seasons. In that time, he went to five Pro Bowls, made All-Pro twice, and won Super Bowl XXXVII. Lynch later left for Denver, where he made another four Pro Bowls before retiring. In the end, that’s nine Pro Bowls, two All-Pro selections, seven trips to the playoffs and one championship.
Ty Law, Cornerback: New England Patriots, 1995-2004; New York Jets, 2005, 2008; Kansas City Chiefs, 2006-2007; Denver Broncos, 2009
Ty Law was another first round pick, going No. 23 to the Patriots out of Michigan in 1995. He was part of the team that lost Super Bowl XXXI to the Packers, but then he collected three Super Bowl rings at the start of the Brady-Belichick Dynasty. By the time he retired as a member of the Broncos, he’d made five Pro Bowls (four with the Patriots, one with the Jets) and had been named All-Pro twice. He finished his career with 53 interceptions, seven of which he returned for touchdowns, which is the 11th most all-time.
Champ Bailey, Cornerback: Washington Redskins, 1999-2003 & Denver Broncos, 2004-2013
Before getting dealt to the Broncos for running back Clinton Portis prior to the start of the 2004 season, Champ Bailey had already intercepted 18 passes and collected 312 total tackles while getting voted into four Pro Bowls as a five-year member of the Redskins. Over the next 10 seasons in Denver, he’d be named All-Pro three times while making another eight Pro Bowls. He led the league in interceptions with 10 in 2006 and finished his career with 52.
Ed Reed, Free Safety: Baltimore Ravens, 2002-2012; New York Jets, 2013; Houston Texans, 2013
The 24th overall pick out of Miami (Fla.) in the 2002 draft, Reed played 11 years for the Ravens before splitting his final season between the Jets and Texans. In his first decade-plus in Baltimore, Reed was named the 2004 Defensive Player of the Year, won one Super Bowl, made nine Pro Bowls and was elected All-Pro five times. Throughout his 12-year career, Reed intercepted 64 passes, which is seventh all-time. His 1,590 interception return yards is the most all-time.
Which of the five of Atwater, Lynch, Law, Bailey and Reed gets into the Hall of Fame? Remember two things: 1) Only a maximum of five finalists can be inducted in a given year, and 2) I’ve already selected center Kevin Mawae and guard Alan Faneca. I have at most three remaining spots between these five and three offensive playmakers I’ve yet to discuss.
Based on those factors, I believe only one defensive back has a shot at making it into Canton this season. Right off the bat I’m going to eliminate three of them: Steve Atwater, John Lynch and Ty Law. Each of those three defensive backs previously had shots to make it, yet failed. This year, they face even tougher competition with first-time nominees Champ Bailey and Ed Reed.
And it’s at those two that I’m going to take a closer look.
There are 26 defensive backs in the Hall of Fame. Of those 26, five retired after 1999: the ageless Darrell Green, Rod Woodson, Deion “Primetime” Sanders, Aeneas Williams and Brian Dawkins.
As far as longevity, both Bailey and Reed stack up with those five. Bailey made more Pro Bowls than any of those players, while Reed made more than all but Woodson. Only Woodson and Sanders made more All-Pros than Reed, while Bailey only edges out Green in that category. Regarding interceptions, only Woodson’s 71 overshadow Reed’s 64. Meanwhile, Bailey’s 52 interceptions only beats Dawkins’ 37.
Here’s what I’m getting at: Bailey and Reed both compare very well to the five defensive back members of the Hall of Fame from around their era. Much like with the discussion I had yesterday about guards Alan Faneca and Steve Hutchinson, though, the two will be compared against each other as their careers overlapped from 2002-2013.
Starting with longevity, Bailey gets the edge as he started longer at his position. Bailey also has a 12-9 edge regarding Pro Bowls. But, in less time as a starter, Reed has more All-Pro selections, 5-3. Reed won a Defensive Player of the Year award while Bailey never did. Reed also collected 12 more interceptions than did Bailey (again, in fewer years), and Reed was part of a Super Bowl-winning squad whereas Bailey never reached that height.
For the time being, Ed Reed gets my vote for Canton. Perhaps, after the next article, I’ll re-visit Bailey.
But for now, I’ve used three of my maximum five slots: Ed Reed joins Kevin Mawae and Alan Faneca.
With the recent news about Washington Wizards guard John Wall, Wizards fans don’t have much hope left. I hope you’re not a super fan of the teams in D.C. If you are, you’re in for a lot of disappointment.
It’s been a problem that was bothering Wall last season as well. Though the Wizards aren’t in the playoff picture, Wall is a huge piece to their success. His injury prone season last year was a prime example of what to expect this season. The Wizards are currently 14-23 and have lost three of their last four games. That places them 11th in the East standings. However, they may not be able to recover from it.
In fact, the D.C. area teams are disappointing all the fans, and they have no control of it. With the Wizards losing Wall for the season and possibly not making the playoffs, the D.C. fans can only wait and watch what the other teams do.
One team that will not be watched, is the NFL’s Washington Redskins. They have faced a lot of different injuries all over the offensive side.
They lost rookie running back Derrius Guice before the regular season even started. All though, they signed veteran running back Adrian Peterson to fill that void and also take over the role as the primary back, with teammate Chris Thompson battling through his own injuries.
Their wide receivers have battled through injuries all season long. They ultimately lost receivers Paul Richardson and Jamieson Crowder. Though Crowder did return from injury, it was too late, as quarterbacks Alex Smith and Colt McCoy were also injured and placed on the injured reserved list.
The Redskins went from being 5-2 to 7-9 and missing the playoffs.
How about the Nationals? Though they haven’t had to worry about the any issues with injuries, they are at risk of losing the best player on their team, Bryce Harper.
By the looks of it, Harper’s days as a National are over. He turned down a 10 year, $300 million dollar contract with the Nationals, and it doesn’t look like he’s ready to return to the D.C. or settle for that contract.
The Nationals could be losing Harper, and it’s not going to help them if they want to be a competitor in the National League.
Speaking of the National League, Harper is reportedly open to joining the Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals, all of which are NL rivals to the Nationals. Harper is also expecting to get a nice contract, like the ones the outfielders Giancarlo Stanton and Mark Trout received from their clubs. So hopefully Harper and the Nationals can work at deal, because all the teams in D.C. are going through a rough patch.
That rough patch includes Washington’s hockey team, the Washington Capitals, despite their successful season last year.
Yes, the Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup in the NHL, but it took their beloved Alexander Ovechkin 13 seasons to do so. The Capitals are looking good now, as they lead the Metropolitan division, but it’s still a long season and we might not see a repeat.
That’s one of the hardest things to do in any sport, especially Hockey. Let’s also remember that Ovi is 33 years old and has two years left on his current contract. He may be reaching the end of his career sooner than later. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look good for the Capitals and their future.
In fact, I think the only team of these four who has a brighter future is the Redskins. If Alex Smith would have stayed healthy, there’s no saying what would’ve happened over the stretch of those final eight games without him.
How do you feel about the D. C. area teams? Will one or more teams be able to keep the hope alive? Or is it really time to rethink the situations that have been presented? Tell us more in the comment section below!
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us here at Fourth Quarter Sports! We hope you enjoy your day with family, friends and football. Can’t forget about the food! Thanksgiving day features three NFL games for us to enjoy. We’ve got the Bears vs Lions, Redskins vs Cowboys and Falcons vs Saints.
While not every fan base gets to enjoy watching their team play on Thanksgiving, every fan base has something to be thankful for. For a team like the New Orleans Saints, it’s easy to pick out what their thankful for. You could pick a whole lot of things! For other teams such as the Arizona Cardinals, finding something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving could be a little harder. Whether it’s easy or hard, every NFL fan base can find something.
If you’re a fan of one of those struggling teams and aren’t sure how to be thankful, let our team help you out. We’ve worked together to name one thing every NFL fan base should be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Teams are listed in their current spot for the playoffs. Let’s find out what your favorite NFL teams fanbase has to be thankful for this year!
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Andy Reid
From 2007-2012, the Chiefs had five losing seasons in six years. Before the 2013 season, the Chiefs made a splash, hiring Andy Reid to lead the team. Since then, he’s gone 62-29, winning the AFC West twice. True, he’s only got one playoff victory in that time, but much more importantly, he’s changed the culture within the Chiefs organization. He’s led them out of the darkness from the final years of Carl Peterson and the entire Scott Pioli tenure.
With Reid at the helm, the Chiefs were confident enough to move on from veteran Alex Smith and hand over the starting quarterback gig to Patrick Mahomes II. The result, so far, has been great. A 9-2 record while first in the AFC. If Reid manages to win that elusive Super Bowl, he’s a lock for Canton and will forever be remembered in Kansas City. Even if he falls short, he’ll be remembered as the coach who turned around a moribund franchise and made it into a yearly contender. – Cullen Jekel
2. Pittsburgh Steelers: An Elite Defensive Line
Despite the Steelers being 7-2-1, this has been a rough season for them. It started with the Le’Veon Bell drama. That has put a distraction on this team all season long. It even resulted in a 1-2-1 start. After being winners of six straight, that seems to be behind them.
How have the Steelers been able to win six in a row? There are several reasons, but I’d argue the top reason is because of their defensive line. The defense hasn’t always been great as a whole, but they do have 37.0 sacks on the year. That leads the NFL. Their defensive line is putting constant pressure on opposing QBs, making things easier on the offense. Without this defensive line, the Steelers likely wouldn’t be where they are now. – Joel Deering
3. New England Patriots: WR Julian Edelman
Patriots fans are some of the lucky ones who can look back on the season so far and automatically receive positive memories before the negative. Rather than having to say “this could’ve been done better” or “that didn’t go the way it should’ve”, it is hard to pinpoint where the Patriots could have gone wrong.
Behind the Chiefs, their offense is arguably the best in the AFC, as both their running and passing game has been performing consistently. However, the passing game stands out this season with one major performer, that being WR Julian Edelman. Statistics alone speak louder than everything else, as in Edelman’s six games, he’s had 40 catches, resulting in 426 yards, which is an average of 71 per game. He’s also added two TDs. Brady’s favorite weapon is back. – Aman Huda
4. Houston Texans: Defense
After a terrible 0-3 start to the season, the Houston Texans have got themselves seven wins in a row. Now sitting at 7-3, Houston is leading their division and is currently in the fourth spot for the playoffs. How did they turn their season around? Defense.
In their first three games, the Texans allowed 20 points or more in every one. Since then, the Texans have only allowed 20 or more points three times in seven games. Two of the three times they did allow more than 20 points, they allowed 23 and 21. Their defense currently ranks sixth in points allowed per game, allowing an average of 20.5 points. Their defense has gone a long way so far this season, and a defense like that can go a long way when the playoffs come around. – Joel Deering
5. Los Angeles Chargers: QB Philip Rivers
Philip Rivers just doesn’t age. At 36 years of age, he’s having a career year and the end is far from sight. What keeps Rivers playing so well? His front office cares about winning. They’ve given him the tools to get the job done. This fan base is thankful for his many years of servitude and incredible records. They’re also thankful he’s having an MVP worthy season. – Christan Braswell
6. Baltimore Ravens: Rookie QB Lamar Jackson
There’s only one day a year the favorite birds of a Baltimore fan aren’t an Oriole and a Raven, and that day is today. Thanksgiving is a day of giving thanks and enjoying a big turkey dinner. This year the biggest thing the Ravens have to be thankful for is Lamar Jackson. In all honesty, this is a mix between thankfulness and hope, because his first NFL start on Sunday was far from perfect.
Yet, Ravens fans can point to Jackson’s 68% completion percentage, 267 total yards and tremendous athleticism as areas to be thankful for. Last and certainly not least, Jackson did just enough to get a win over the Bengals to keep Baltimore in the hunt for the last AFC Wild Card spot. There’s not a whole lot to be thankful for in Baltimore (aside from not being the Cleveland Browns), but Lamar Jackson has provided a new spark of hope in what looked to be a dying ember of a franchise. – Kevin Dannaher
7. Cincinnati Bengals: Depth at TE
Bengals fans should be thankful for depth at tight end. Year after year, we talk about the Bengals and their offense with QB Andy Dalton, RB Joe Mixon, WR A.J. Green and TE Tyler Eifert. But there’s always an injury issue with one or two players. The one who’s always injured is Tyler Eifert. He hasn’t played a full season in the NFL since like, never.
This season has been cut short for him again. That’s no problem for the Bengals, because they have depth to fill in. Both C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Kroft have done a good job filling the void Eifert left with his injury. Although they are not at the same skill level as Eifert, their presence has helped Dalton open up the play book and get everyone more involved. – RahimAli Merchant
8. Miami Dolphins: RB Frank Gore
The Miami Dolphins are a desperate franchise with no sense of direction. This fan base is thankful for the consistency that is Frank Gore. Multiple injuries couldn’t stop this man if they tried. He takes the pressure off of Brock Osweiler and can get the first down they need in crunch time. Gore is one of the greatest running backs of all time. – Christan Braswell
9. Indianapolis Colts: QB Andrew Luck Returning to Form
Andrew Luck didn’t have the best start to his return from injury. Over the first six weeks of the season, Luck completed 64.4% of his passes for 1,792 yards, 16 TDs and 8 INTs. Those numbers aren’t bad, but the INTs were a little high and were one of the reasons the Colts started off 1-5.
Since then, the Colts have won four straight games and have improved to 5-5. What changed? Over the last four games, Andrew Luck has completed 74.2% of his passes for 977 yards, 13 TDs and just one INT. Andrew Luck is playing his best football right now. The Colts have an uphill battle for a playoff spot, but Andrew Luck is doing everything he can to get them in. – Joel Deering
10. Tennessee Titans: Zigging While the Rest of the League Zags
Kudos to the Titans front office for zigging while the rest of the league zags. In this case, the Titans have heavily leaned on a ground-and-pound game while the league went toward a high-scoring-offense-while-praying–the-defense-gets-a-stop game. Sure, Tennessee is two games back of the Houston Texans, but they beat Houston in Week Two and get another crack at them this week.
Win this game in Houston and the AFC South is suddenly crowded at the top. First-year head coach, Mike Vrabel, didn’t make any big changes when he took over for Mike Mularkey. It’s because of that the Titans remain in contention. The recipe for victory in Nashville remains the same: control the clock with the ground game and suffocate the opponent with a relentless pass-rush. So far, that’s equaled a 5-5 record with a manageable schedule the rest of the way. – Cullen Jekel
11. Denver Broncos: LB Von Miller
The Denver Broncos are terrible this year, but no one expected it to be this tragic. Case Keenum isn’t living up to his contract and John Elway seems to be losing his magical touch when it comes to his most recent personnel decisions.
What these fans do have to be thankful for, is Von Miller. The consummate professional and incredible defender, he is the heart and soul of the team. Without him, the defense would be lost and the offense would never get on the field. – Christan Braswell
12. Cleveland Browns: Rookie QB Baker Mayfield
After winning once in two seasons, who thought the Browns could even win a game this year? No one. I bet you not even Browns’ fans themselves thought much of the team. The first three games of this season were eye-opening. They drew their first game 21-21 with the Steelers, nearly defeated the high powered Saints, and then finally found that win against the Jets.
What happened in that 21-17 win over the Jets? QB Baker Mayfield replaced QB Tyrod Taylor and belief was restored. Although the Browns have not been a serious contender to make the playoffs, when the Browns do perform well, Mayfield’s involved. In their shocking win over the Atlanta Falcons, Mayfield completed an astounding 85% of his passes. If the Browns keep hold of Mayfield, only more wins are to come in the future. At the Thanksgiving table, Browns fans should either thank Mayfield himself, or perhaps fate itself for bringing Mayfield to them. – Aman Huda
13. Jacksonville Jaguars: Bad Play By QB Blake Bortles
Why would a fan base be thankful for bad play from their starting QB? Well, with every bad game Blake Bortles has, the higher the chances are they finally get rid of him. Blake Bortles wasn’t the answer at QB when he was drafted, and he’s still not the answer now.
His best season statistically came in 2015, when he ended with a passer rating of 88.2. This season his passer rating is 84.3. His career passer rating is 81.2. Does that look like a passer rating of a franchise QB? No. They got away with it last season, but the defense hasn’t been able to carry Blake Bortles again this year. Jacksonville will be picking at the top of the draft, and they should really consider drafting a replacement for Bortles. – Joel Deering
14. Buffalo Bills: QB Nate Peterman Being Gone
This team has had nothing but poor QB play this season. It hasn’t mattered if the QB was rookie Josh Allen or a seasoned veteran in Derek Anderson, the QB play has been bad. One of those QBs to give bad performances was QB Nate Peterman.
In his short NFL career, Peterman has a completion percentage of 52.3%, while throwing for 548 yards, three TDs and 12 INTS. While the Bills still have problems at QB, at least the fans don’t have to worry about ever seeing Nate Peterman suit up for them again. – Joel Deering
15. New York Jets: Being Favorites to Sign RB Le’Veon Bell
After getting destroyed by the Bills 41-10 in their last game, the Jets have hit rock bottom. The team is 3-7, Sam Darnold hasn’t looked like a franchise QB in his rookie season and Todd Bowles is on the verge of losing his job. So what’s there to be thankful for? Well it’s not something to be thankful for this season.
With former Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell not being able to play the rest of the year, there have already been several predictions as to where he may end up next season. One of the favorites to land Bell has been the Jets. When you’re team has been given one of the best chances at landing a talent like Bell, you should be thankful. – Joel Deering
16. Oakland Raiders: Three First-Round Draft Picks in 2019
There hasn’t been much to be thankful for for the Raiders this season. They’re a terrible team who has been heavily scrutinized for shipping away their best players. While the Raiders’ season is lost, the fans have the NFL Draft to look forward to. In the 2019 NFL Draft, the Raiders have three first-round selections to build their team.
The question is, will Jon Gruden make the right picks with those three first-rounders? We won’t know until much later, but just having three picks in the first-round should make Raiders fans excited for the NFL Draft. – Joel Deering
1. Los Angeles Rams: Sean McVay
Rams fans are thankful for Sean McVay…. That’s all we need to say! If they didn’t decide to move on from Jeff Fisher, they would be wasting all the talented, young players they have right now. Plus, having McVay allows the players to feel like he is one of their own, with him being so young.
The Rams’ front office has even given into the idea of McVay. They made several different moves on the offensive and defensive sides to make this Rams team one of the best in franchise history, including the greatest show of turf! – RahimAli Merchant
2. New Orleans Saints: The Drew Brees and Sean Payton Combo
The Saints should be thankful for the Brees and Payton combo. Since these two have been together, they have always been one of the league’s top teams. They haven’t always won the division or conference, but they have won a Super Bowl together. Frankly, I think this could be the year they do it again.
After losing in Week One to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Brees and Payton have put the pedal to the medal and never looked back. Although I think they are beatable, Saints fans have to love how their team is playing right now. – RahimAli Merchant
3. Chicago Bears: Matt Nagy
The Bears have Head Coach Matt Nagy to be thankful for. While their defense is one of the hot topics in the league, Nagy has turned the Chicago Bears’ offense into a unit that can consistently put up points. The fact that Nagy worked as an offensive coordinator under Andy Reid for the last 10 seasons, both in Philadelphia and Kansas City, shows he means business and knows what he’s doing.
The Chiefs’ offense was fifth in the NFL with Nagy as the sole offensive coordinator in 2017. Since coming to Chicago, Nagy has really seemed to give the offense the confidence it lacked last year. Mitchell Trubisky throws the ball at all ranges, so much more confidently than his rookie season under John Fox, and boy does it ever show. The Bears have wide receivers and a line that helps keep Trubisky off the ground. The offense he’s built has put the Bears in position to win now and in the future. – Dan Piersma
4. Washington Redskins: Veteran Leadership
Currently sitting atop the NFC East at 6-4, Washington wouldn’t be there without veteran leadership. Over the offseason, Washington let quarterback Kirk Cousins walk, replacing him with Alex Smith. After rookie running back Derrius Guice tore his ACL in the pre-season, the team signed future Hall-of-Famer Adrian Peterson off the scrap heap.
Sixth-year tight end Jordan Reed leads the team in receptions and receiving yards, while tied for the lead in receiving touchdowns. On defense, vets like safety D.J. Swearinger, linebacker Mason Foster and pass-rusher Ryan Kerrigan have led Washington to the fifth-ranked defense in the league (points against). Now, Peterson, Reed and the defenders must keep the rest of the team together and focused in light of Smith’s season-ending leg injury. – Cullen Jekel
5. Carolina Panthers: Superman
Panthers fans are grateful for Superman. QB Cam Newton is the Panthers Superman. He lets the whole world know it when he runs for a touchdown, it’s kind of became a part of the type of player he is. Newton is a former league MVP and has continuously fought his way into the postseason.
They’re looking like they could very well be on their way there again this season, but hopefully it’s more than just a wild card game. I’m sure Cam Newton will do everything in his power to avoid his opponents kryponite and make this year another one to remember. – RahimAli Merchant
6. Minnesota Vikings: WRs Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs
Vikings fans are thankful they have played the 49ers, Jets, Lions, Cardinals and Eagles this season to get five wins this year – teams with a combined 15-35 record. Oh, and let us not forget about how thankful we should be for Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs playing receiver. Both will likely eclipse 100 catches to become the first duo to each go over 100 since 2009 (Reggie Wayne/Dallas Clark, Colts), and just the fifth duo to ever do so. Kirk Cousins is definitely thankful. – Adam Hatlan
7. Seattle Seahawks: The Twelve
Seahawks fans are grateful to be part of “the twelve.” Whether it’s during the time of back-to-back Super Bowl runs or just pure dominance of their division, Seahawks fans have been their for them. They cheer for the Seahawks through all the tough times, even if that means the Seahawks miss the playoffs for the first time in five years like they did last year.
Or even with all the players on defense getting traded, retiring, or repeatedly hurt. That has also been one thing that is constant about Seahawks fans. It is something to always be grateful for, even if they miss the playoffs again this season and the team starts to decline. Seahawks fans know they have one of the best fan bases in the NFL. – RahimAli Merchant
8. Dallas Cowboys: WR Amari Cooper
Dallas has struggled for the majority of the season to get something consistently going on offense. They’ve had Ezekiel Elliott, but teams were so focused on him because they knew nobody was on the outside as a receiving threat. That’s why the Cowboys made the trade for WR Amari Cooper. Since joining Dallas, Cooper has 14 receptions for 169 yards and one TD. Those numbers aren’t huge, but his impact has been.
Cooper gives the Cowboys a downfield threat they didn’t have before. This has opened everything up for Ezekiel Elliott in the run game and Dad Prescott in the passing game. Against the Atlanta Falcons last week, Cooper was frequently double teamed. That took away a stacked box against Zeke, while also clearing more space for WRs such as Cole Beasley. Even if Cooper doesn’t put up big numbers, his presence is something every Cowboys fan should be thankful for as the Cowboys try to take the division lead today. -Joel Deering
9. Green Bay Packers: RB Aaron Jones
The Packers are thankful for Aaron – wait for it – Aaron…Jones? Yes, Aaron Jones. The recent emergence of Aaron Jones as an explosive player in the Packers’ offense gives the Packers their own version of Kareem Hunt and someone to take some pressure off Aaron Rodgers. Maybe he helps them rattle off six wins in a row and make the playoffs. Now if only he had a head coach who knew how to utilize him properly… – Adam Hatlan
10. Atlanta Falcons: QB Matt Ryan
Falcons fans are thankful for Matt Ryan! I know there’s always been questions of whether or not Matt Ryan is one of the elite QBs in the league, but let’s be honest with ourselves. After all the defensive injuries the Falcons have had, Ryan has done whatever he could to help the Falcons win.
The 4-6 Falcons have been one of the best offenses in the league. Ryan has done a great job getting all his weapons involved, especially rookies Ito Smith and Calvin Ridley. He hasn’t let the injury of Devontae Freeman impact him or the offense. Falcons fans can finally say it wasn’t his fault, but rather it was the defense. – RahimAli Merchant
11. Detroit Lions: Matt Patricia
The Lions are 4-6 on the year with six games left to play. Albeit a disappointing season so far, Matt Patricia is doing a great job with what he’s been given. The franchise and fans have him to be thankful for. He has his defense playing hard and fast, and it’s shown as of late.
Not only did they beat a high powered Carolina Panthers offense, they stopped them from converting a two point conversion to end the game. He was the right choice for that city in particular. – Christan Braswell
12. Philadelphia Eagles: A Weak NFC East
The reigning Super Bowl champs are 4-6. Not exactly ideal when you just won the Super Bowl one season ago. It’s even less ideal with their starting QB back from injury. The good news for the Eagles is, the NFC East is a weak division this year. The division leaders are the 6-4 Redskins, with the Cowboys at 5-5.
Washington just lost QB Alex Smith, which puts them in a bad spot. If Dallas wins today against them, they’ll both be 6-5. The week after that, the Cowboys play the Saints, likely dropping them to 6-6. If the Redskins also lose and the Eagles win their next couple of games, they’ll be tied for the division lead. Even though they’re two games back in the division and are 4-6, there’s still hope to make the playoffs. – Joel Deering
13. New York Giants: Rookie RB Saquon Barkley
While the Giants are having a bad year, rookie RB Saquon Barkley is not. Barkley has shown why he was picked number two overall in the NFL Draft. He’s carried the ball 158 times for 728 yards and seven TDS. He’s also added 64 receptions for 540 yards and three TDs.
Saquon Barkley is already one of the better RBs in the league, and he’ll continue to be for years and years. While the Giants don’t have a QB, fans should be thankful they have Barkley to make many many plays for them over the course of his career. – Joel Deering
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: QB Ryan Fitzmagic
Reading this may feel like a satirical piece based on Tampa Bay’s three wins this season, but those three wins had magic. Two of them had Fitzmagic. Looking at QB Ryan Fitzpatrick’s stats this season may cause one’s eyes to roll, but when compared to his previous seasons, there’s actually improvement. Valuable improvement.
His completion rate has gone up about eight percent, resulting in ten more touchdowns than last season and about 1,200 more passing yards! Also, those two wins in which Fitzpatrick was involved? They were against the team currently first in the NFC South (Saints) and last seasons Super Bowl winners (Eagles). So although Tampa Bay’s season may end before the playoffs, they can look to Ryan Fitzpatrick for the positives so far. – Aman Huda
15. Arizona Cardinals: RB David Johnson
Though the Cardinals are 2-8, the fans should be thankful they still have one of the more exciting playmakers in the league in running back David Johnson. Johnson floundered at the start of the year under the now-fired offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, but he’s gotten back into the mix under Byron Leftwich.
Despite playing behind a porous offensive line, Johnson can turn any play into a big play, and he’s a great weapon for rookie quarterback Josh Rosen. It’s obviously a lost season in the desert, but the Cardinals should be bullish in the near future (with whomever the head coach may be), with Johnson under contract for the next two seasons. – Cullen Jekel
16. San Francisco 49ers: QB Nick Mullens
Nick Mullens has been nearly perfect for the franchise thus far. First, he wows with a breakout performance against the Oakland Raiders, just to show the future of the 49ers is bright and he is a capable quarterback. Then, to preserve the 49ers tanking status this season (which began the moment Jimmy Garoppolo tore his ACL), he throws two interceptions against the New York Giants.
Mullens is like that guy at work who doesn’t want to be too good at his job, but good enough to raise some eyebrows and keep his name in conversations at the water cooler. So far, the man is hitting the right notes…as long as his tanking act against the Giants was just that – an act. But hey, if not? Garoppolo will return and the Niners will make it back to the postseason. That’s something for which every 49ers fan would be thankful. – Joshua Cartwright
It honestly wasn’t that great of a week for us last week, so hopefully Week 12 will be better. Our leader remains Cullen after Week 12. Adam is the top challenger to Cullen’s top spot. Will he be able to catch up this week? Don’t forget about the rest of us either. Anything can happen! Let’s see who we’ve all picked for every Week 12 game!
Bears vs Lions (Thursday)
The Lions currently have the 20th ranked offense in points per game (22.2). This week they’ll have a tough time against the fourth ranked defense in points allowed per game (19.5). The Bears are coming off a week in which they established themselves as the top team in the NFC North. Look for their defense to take control of Stafford and the Lions.
Although the Bears’ defense is expected to take care of the Lions, they’re coming off an upset victory over the Panthers. It will be much tougher for them to pull off an upset over the Bears, but this is a division game. Don’t count them out.
Redskins vs Cowboys (Thursday)
This game is for the NFC East division lead! Last time these two teams faced each other, Dallas missed a kick to tie the game, giving the Redskins the victory. This time around, Washington will be without QB Alex Smith due to an unfortunate injury. How will the Redskins deal with his loss?
What may be more important, is how the Dallas offense will deal with the defense of the Redskins. Last time the Redskins defense got the best of Dallas, but over the last two weeks, Dallas has looked different offensively. They’ve responded in the biggest moments. This game is bigger than any moment they’ve faced, because if they win, they become division leaders. How will they deal with pressure?
Falcons vs Saints (Thursday)
Anytime you get to watch a game between the Falcons and Saints, you should get excited! Although the Falcons are coming off a game in which they failed to outduel the offense of the Dallas Cowboys, their offensive potential is waiting to come out against the Saints.
In their previous meeting, the Saints won, but the Falcons took them to OT. This may not be another OT game, but expect the Saints to at least be challenged by their division rivals looking to knock them off.
Giants vs Eagles
This game is a must win for the Philadelphia Eagles if they want any chance of winning the division. At 4-6, they’re not out of it yet. If Dallas beats the Redskins, they’ll both be 6-5. Dallas plays the Saints the week after, which will likely drop them to 6-6. The Redskins could have a tough time without Alex Smith, which makes the next couple of games very important for the Eagles. If they win the next two games, they’ll be right back in the thick of things in the NFC East.
For the Giants, this game is about playing spoiler to the Eagles and gaining momentum after winning two in a row. The Eagles are better than the two teams they’ve beat in the last two weeks, but their momentum may carry them.
Jaguars vs Bills
In the Bills’ last game, they put a beat down on the Jets, beating them 41-10. I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect that from them again this week. The Jaguars’ played much better last week despite giving up the lead at the end. They put pressure on Ben Roethlisberger and forced him to make a lot of bad throws. There’s a good chance they’ll do the same thing against rookie QB Josh Allen, who is making his return from injury.
Seahawks vs Panthers
This game could be one of those that goes back and forth. Seattle is feeling confident after their win over the Packers last week. Russell Wilson continues to carry them and perform when they need him most.
On the other side, there’s Cam Newton and the Panthers, who have lost two straight games. It could be tough for them against this Seattle defense, but they’ll be hungry for a win. They need this one to stay ahead in the Wild Card race.
Raiders vs Ravens
Lamar Jackson is likely getting the start against the Raiders this week. How will he follow up his 117 rushing yard performance? Last week he was able to lead the Ravens to a win over the Bengals. Can he lead the Ravens to a win over the lowly Raiders, who just failed to out tank the Cardinals?
Baltimore’s defense leads the NFL in points allowed per game, giving up an average of just 18.1 points. If they’re that tough against the Raiders, expect Jackson to have the ball a lot. Could we see another 100-yard rushing performance from him?
49ers vs Buccaneers
Here’s what scares me about the Buccaneers: They can’t choose who they want at QB. How many times now have they made the switch from Jameis Winston to Ryan Fitzpatrick and back? Too many to count. There’s no stability there. Despite that, the Bucs seem to put up a decent amount of points most games.
Their biggest problem is their defense, who ranks dead last in the league by allowing an average of 32.9 points per game. The 49ers aren’t a great offensive team, but they should be able to score some points on this Tampa Bay defense.
Browns vs Bengals
Is Baker Mayfield still feeling dangerous? The Browns were impressive in their last game, but will they carry that over to this game against their division rivals? The Bengals have faltered recently after a strong start. I think they’re still trying to recover from the beating they took from the Saints.
Fellow rookie QB Lamar Jackson just rushed his way to a win over the Bengals. If the Browns are smart, they’d try to do something similar with Mayfield and Chubb. Mayfield is nowhere near the rusher Jackson is, but he’s a capable rusher. They could try to take a page out of Jackson’s book, just with a better passer under center.
Patriots vs Jets
The Jets are at the bottom of the bowl right now after getting beat 41-10 by the Bills in their last game. Do we really expect them to beat the Patriots? No. It’s even less likely after the Patriots lost their last game. They’ll be hungry to get back on the winning side of things.
Cardinals vs Chargers
Both teams are coming of games in which their opponents hit game winning FGs. Which team will rebound? It looks like the Chargers are the clear favorite in this game, which makes sense. Philip Rivers is having a great season, and now he’s matched up against Josh Rosen, a struggling rookie QB.
The Chargers are deeper pretty much all around than the Cardinals. After getting knocked off last week, the Chargers need this win if they want any chance at winning their division. The Cardinals are a tank job, so I don’t see them beating the Chargers in this one.
Steelers vs Broncos
Jacksonville picked off Big Ben three times last week, which led to a 16-0 lead. Unfortunately, they couldn’t hold on to that lead and lost 20-16. Roethlisberger stepped up when the game mattered most.
Can the Broncos defense try to duplicate what the Jaguars did to Ben Roethlisberger? If they can, can they sustain that level of play throughout the whole game? The Steelers have so many weapons on offense, it will be hard to cover them all game long. Don’t expect the Steelers to have as poor of an offensive showing as they had a week ago.
Dolphins vs Colts
Andrew Luck is on fire right now! Over the last four games, Luck has completed 74.2% of his passes for 977 yards, 13 TDs. He’s only thrown one INT in that same time frame. If the Colts want a shot at making the playoffs, they’ll be relying on Luck to carry them there. Will he continue to stay hot against the Dolphins? I’ll believe it!
Packers vs Vikings (Sunday Night)
Last time these two teams faced off was back in Week Two. The result of that game was a tie. I doubt we’ll be seeing that again, although this could be a back and forth game. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers need this win to get back into the playoff hunt, while the Vikings need it to stay close to the Bears in the NFC North.
Both teams are different this time around. Green Bay seems to have found a running with RB Aaron Jones, while the Vikings have been playing much better defensively. This one should be exciting!
Titans vs Texans (Monday Night)
Last time these two AFC South division rivals faced off was back in Week Two. The Titans won that game 20-17. That was part of the Texans’ 0-3 start, but since then they’re 7-0. This is a different Texans team in Week 12.
After getting injured in last week’s big loss to the Colts, who knows if Marcus Mariota will be good to go? If he does play, he won’t be at full strength. This Titans team has been inconsistent this season. Which version of the Titans will the Texans get? The Titans who beat the Patriots 34-10 or the Titans who lost to the Colts 38-10?