- DJ Gallo, ESPN.com
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It’s Thanksgiving. Let us give thanks for snap judgments and freaking out about whatever just happened on our TVs with some Week 11 power rankings!
1. Talking to Random People About Sports (Last week: NR)
More than turkey, more than giving thanks, more than old-timey people so unevolved they put shoe buckles on their hats, Thanksgiving is about having to watch NFL games with relatives who know absolutely nothing about football, yet try to sound like they do. It’s similar to the Super Bowl, only at a Super Bowl party, your uninformed relatives are replaced by uninformed neighbors and co-workers.
This year’s Thanksgiving games are Texans-Lions, Redskins-Cowboys and Patriots-Jets.
Here are your relatives’ scouting reports on each team.
Cowboys: “Extremely talented Super Bowl contenders.”
Texans: “Is that a team?”
Patriots: “They’ve won several Super Bowls over the past seven years. Dynasty.”
Redskins: [A really lame, possibly racist joke relating the Redskins to the Native Americans at the first Thanksgiving]
Lions: “They stink.”
Those last two are actually pretty accurate. Good job, uninformed relatives.
2. Colin Kaepernick (Last week: NR)
You think rookie quarterbacks like Andrew Luck, RG3 and Russell Wilson are great? Ha! Get with the times, man. You’re as hopeless as (104.1 quarterback-rating-owner) Alex Smith! Second-year quarterbacks are the new hotness! Colin Kaepernick: Greatest Young Quarterback of 2012 Week 11 Since RG3’s Game on Sunday Afternoon EVER.
3. The rolling calamity that is the Kansas City Chiefs (Last week: 3)
Romeo Crennel on his team’s chances to beat Peyton Manning and the Broncos this week: “We need to be perfect -- because that's the only way that we have a chance.” Sweet mercy. Little has ever been more opposite of perfect than the 2012 Chiefs. If Roger Goodell truly cares about player safety and the reputation of “the shield,” he needs to cancel this week’s Chiefs-Broncos game.
4. Andy Reid’s farewell tour (Last week: 6)
The Eagles played their worst game of the season in Washington. While it’s true that Andy Reid is one the world’s foremost experts on inexplicably keeping a job year after year, taking a bad team and making them progressively worse seems like a doomed approach.
5. Injuries (Last week: 2)
This week, injuries will give us Charlie Batch throwing to Plaxico Burress. Injuries are never funny, but their impact can be fairly hilarious.
6. RG3 (Last week: 29)
Remember how he was figured out? The Eagles apparently missed class that day.
7. Norv Turner’s inevitable dismissal (Last week: 4)
Two years ago, who could have predicted that Norv Turner’s best shot at saving his job would be telling Chargers general manager A.J. Smith: “How do you expect me to win with a team quarterbacked by Philip Rivers?”
8. TV ratings (Last week: 8)
The NFL’s ratings are about to take a huge uptick among the coveted "Relatives Snoozing Because of Beer and Tryptophan and Exhaustion from Plane Travel 18-100" demographic.
9. Peyton Manning (Last week: 9)
He moved passed Dan Marino on the all-time touchdown passes list and Papa John’s is now giving away 2 million free pizzas AND now a free large pizza to anyone with just 18 points. What a season!
10. NFL prospects (Last week: 12)
All of the Notre Dame players are getting drafted, Manti Te’o will redefine the linebacking position and none of the Kansas State and Oregon players are getting drafted. It’s all over the news.
11. Naughty language (Last week: 22)
Naughty language takes a big jump this week because the Eagles are playing at home.
12. The Jets’ car crash (Last week: 1)
Mark Sanchez having a semi-competent game doesn’t mean the Jets’ car crash is over. It just means that they missed slamming into the guardrail and now -- uh-oh -- now they’re going full-speed over the cliff.
13. Scoring (Last week: 14)
The Patriots scored 59 points and Houston and Jacksonville combined for 80. Many defensive players have finally gotten the message that tackling people can result in a fine, especially if the offensive player slightly moves his body or head at the last moment. It’s best to just let those people run into the end zone so you can continue making your mortgage payments.
14. Putting the Patriots in the Super Bowl (Last week: 17)
Sure, they may still have issues on defense, but their pass-heavy offense looks unstoppable! The Super Bowl is theirs to lose “But ... but ... how is this different than any title-less Patriots team of recent vintage?” Goodness, man! These are power rankings. Take your stupid “history” and “context” and scram.
15. Fantasy waiver-wire crap (Last week: 10)
Wait a minute. So last week’s fairest waiver-wire player in all the land, Danario Alexander, had another good game? [trades entire roster for the rights to this future Hall of Famer]
16. Putting the Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl (Last week: 15)
Matt Ryan threw five interceptions to the Cardinals. Now even Arizona’s defensive backs catch more passes than Larry Fitzgerald.
17. Putting the Houston Texans in the Super Bowl (Last week: 16)
Matt Schaub put up a lot of passing yards last week, but he kept the opponent in the game with two bad interceptions. The state of Texas already has Tony Romo, Schaub. Stay in your lane.
18. Freaking out about the Cowboys (Last week: 18)
What are the Cowboys thankful for this Thanksgiving? Getting to play the Browns last Sunday, the only team in the NFL who can out-fail them late in a game.
19. Putting the 49ers in the Super Bowl (Last week: 19)
Heads up: If the 49ers don’t win the Super Bowl this year, it’s because they played the wrong quarterback in the playoffs. Who should they play? I have no idea. I just know my analysis is foolproof.
20. Doug Martin (Last week: 20)
Doug Martin was back to his Doug Martin ways on Sunday with 138 yards against the Panthers. Carolina needs to fix its run defense before the Super Bowl.
21. Andrew Luck (Last week: 5)
22. Jay Cutler being Jay Cutler (Last week: 19)
Not much happened in the world of Cutler this week, what with him not playing. But a picture of his lady friend, Kristin Cavallari, surfaced, and she holds a baby exactly how you would expect Cutler to hold a baby.
23. Random Steelers running backs (Last week: 27)
In Sunday’s episode of Random Steelers Running Backs, Isaac Redman and Baron Batch got hurt, giving carries to other random Steelers running backs. Tune in this week to see who plays now and if any of them are willing to fill in and throw some passes for Random Steelers Quarterback.
24. Saying Joe Flacco is ELITE (Last week: 23)
After his most “best quarterback in the NFL” performance of the season in Week 10, he went into Pittsburgh and led the Ravens to zero offensive touchdowns on 200 yards of total offense. But he’s definitely moved passed Byron Leftwich on the list of top NFL quarterbacks. Only a few dozen more to go.
25. Weather (last week: 13)
No major weather issues in Week 11, but according to a song I heard while buying groceries yesterday, the weather outside is frightful. Teams should dress accordingly, unless they play in a dome.
26. Things that can’t be unseen (Last week: 7)
Jacksonville linebacker Paul Posluszny has his face covered in blood on Sunday. That’s surprising because I assume all of the blood in his body was used operating his neck.
27. Putting the New York Giants in the Super Bowl (Last week: 26)
Last week’s bye means the Giants haven’t won a game since Oct. 28, and that was against the Cowboys. It seems they dressed up as the Jets for Halloween and are refusing to take off their costume.
28. Tim Tebow (Last week: 30)
Tebow completed one pass on Sunday (for minus-1 yard). For those who question his accuracy, know this: He has completed 85.7 percent of his passes this season and is 4 for his last 4, for a total of 7 yards. In your FACE (from a very short distance), haters!
29. “Madden” curse (Last week: 28)
Don’t do it, Madden. Don’t do it. Calvin Johnson is too good for you to destroy before a huge national audience. The only bone we want to see broken on Thanksgiving is a wishbone. (Note: When breaking the wishbone, wish for Calvin Johnson’s continued health.)
30. Defense (Last week: 21)
Ed Reed was suspended for a game, but then won his appeal and had it reduced to only a fine. This is the first time in Roger Goodell’s tenure that a defensive player has won an appeal. (Note: This may not be true. But it feels true.)
31. Unnecessary rudeness (Last week: 11)
Philadelphia fans take a lot of criticism. Deservedly so sometimes. But this Monday night’s boo-fest will be entirely justified. The rudeness will be necessary.
32. Bye weeks (Last week: 24)
Bye weeks are over. RIP resting in peace.
Dropping out: Rams kicking things, Chris Johnson being the worst player ever