Thanksgiving Day Game Observations


As expected, two of the three Thanksgiving Day games were close, and then there was the outmanned Indianapolis Colts.  It’s time to give some observations after watching roughly 10 hours of football yesterday.

Detroit 16, Minnesota 13

  • Matt Stafford has transformed himself into the quarterback that the Lions hoped he would be when they selected him with the No. 1 overall pick.
  • Detroit did the right thing by not firing Jim Caldwell after he rallied the team in the second half of last season.
  • The Lions just might win the NFC North, but they’re not a real contender in the NFC.  They don’t have the defense to stop a team like Dallas or the offensive firepower to keep up with Seattle. It’s still a major step up from what was expected of them.
  • The Vikings have seen Sam Bradford return back to being…Sam Bradford.  He’s a band-aid type of quarterback and if he wasn’t once selected No. 1 overall he wouldn’t keep getting starting opportunities.
  • Mike Zimmer has built a great defense, but there’s so much pressure on them to be perfect from week to week it’s tough to expect that kind of performance.
  • Minnesota has done a poor job of drafting playmakers on offense.  They spent a pair of first-round picks on the wide receiver position on Cordarelle Patterson is simply a special teams player and Laquon Treadwell isn’t part of the game plan yet.  With as poor as they’ve drafted on that side of the ball it makes a little more sense why GM Rick Spielman shipped a first round pick for Sam Bradford (which was a waste).  They would’ve wasted the pick anyway.

Dallas 31, Washington 26

  • Owner/GM/Czar/Tycoon Jerry Jones isn’t given nearly the credit he deserves for putting together the best team in the NFL right now.  Jones built the team from the inside out and they have a dominant offense that can play anywhere.
  • The Dallas offense truly complements each other.  The great offensive line makes the great running back huge holes and the great rookie quarterback rarely sees any pass rush.  This should be the formula for success for a lot of teams and I believe you’re going to see a greater emphasis on drafting big guys.
  • Dak Prescott is truly special.  He’s unflappable, deadly accurate and uses his mobility to throw first.  It’s not just that he’s special and a fourth round pick, he would be special if he were selected first overall.
  • The Redskins left two field goals on the board in a five point game.  It’s not a huge consolation, but they can certainly hang with Dallas.
  • Kirk Cousins was excellent again in a nationally televised game.  He’s going to get every bit of Andrew Luck money and he may or may not deserve it, but it really doesn’t matter.
  • DeSean Jackson is still a game breaker and he needs to be paid in the offseason.
  • Washington should dedicate their entire 2017 draft to defense.
  • Josh Norman may get criticized, but he played a very good game against Dez Bryant.  He’s been really good all season long.

Pittsburgh 28, Indianapolis 7

  • The Steelers might have the most explosive offensive trio in the NFL in Ben, Bell and Brown.  Each of them are unstoppable in their own way.
  • The Pittsburgh defense is still their Achilles heel and there really can’t be too much that can be taken from Thursday’s win over a backup quarterback.
  • It seems incredible that roughly 20 wide receivers were taken before Antonio Brown in the draft.
  • If you were wondering just how bad the Colts roster is, Thursday was a perfect example.  The Steelers were a .500 team, and they were outclassed from the opening kickoff.
  • Indy never had a chance to win with Scott Tolzien at quarterback, but that’s an indictment of the supporting cast.
  • The fact that Andrew Luck gets hit a lot has more to do with the terrible offensive line than his own play.  We saw that on Thursday night.
  • Even with Luck these guys aren’t real contenders.



About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.