2023 NFL Thanksgiving winners, losers: Cowboys' DaRon Bland, Packers' Jordan Love, 49ers duo steal the show



Thanksgiving Day doesn’t just bring lots of food and family. It also brings plenty of football, with three different games kicking off Week 12 on Turkey Day. The drama started early, with the Packers embarrassing the Lions out of the gate in their NFC North tilt. Then, the Cowboys blew away the Commanders as they’ve won every home game this season by at least 20 points. The 49ers wrapped up the holiday by stomping the Seahawks behind Christian McCaffrey’s two touchdowns. But which coaches, players and teams truly won the holiday slate? And which ones didn’t exactly seize the stage?

Here’s our roundup of Thanksgiving Day winners and losers around the NFL:

Trevon Diggs has the big name, and Micah Parsons has an even bigger one, but DaRon Bland is quickly making a case that he’s fan favorite No. 1 on Dallas’ play-making defense. His pick-six on Sam Howell to seal the Cowboys’ rout of Washington was his NFL-record fifth of the season, giving him 12 picks in just under two years as a pro cover man. If there aren’t No. 26 jerseys filling AT&T Stadium by the end of the year, something’s going terribly wrong in the Arlington area.

Loser: Ron Rivera’s job security

No one wants to see anyone removed from their occupation, but the reality is Rivera was already on the hot seat going into Thursday’s divisional clash, with reports indicating new team ownership will at least hold off until the end of 2023 to “evaluate” his future after what’s shaping up to be a fourth straight non-winning campaign. Then his Commanders surrendered 45 points to Dak Prescott and Co., and no one watching was remotely surprised. It didn’t help that situational ball remained a problem.

Everyone was so busy talking up Detroit’s bid for the lead in the NFC they forgot to pay attention to the ascending Packers quarterback, who’s quietly been slinging the ball well for much of November. He diced up the Lions secondary with precision passes to every level, showcasing the unteachable downfield touch that helped warrant his trial run as Green Bay’s new QB1. He may or may not be the future under center, but he looked an awful lot like it to spoil Detroit’s Thanksgiving.

Loser: The Lions hype train

Just when you thought Dan Campbell’s squad was getting all the way back on track, the Lions laid a big old egg in Motown. The box score shows a close defeat, but to fall behind 23-6 on a day the Packers were without stars like Aaron Jones and Jaire Alexander was a potential indictment of this contender’s ceiling. An 8-3 record isn’t bad by any means, but we’ve now had two examples of Detroit flopping with a chance to really gain ground in the NFC, the first coming in an October drubbing at the hands of the Ravens.

Typically, a Packers win would not be cause for celebration in Minnesota. But Green Bay upsetting the Lions suddenly pulls the Vikings within two games (!) of the NFC North lead. At the same time, of course, it renders the Packers more relevant in the NFC wild-card race. But the Lions appearing at least a bit fraudulent should give the fans in purple even more hope for a postseason bid. After all, if it’s truly “any given Sunday” in the North, then it’s fair to think Josh Dobbs and Co. can make a run.

Loser: Seahawks offense 

Seattle’s offense needs to get healthy. The unit badly missed Kenneth Walker III on Thursday night. Geno Smith, who struggled to find his rhythm until late in the first half, played through an elbow injury that had originally put his status for Thursday night’s game into question. 

Simply put, the Seahawks will need more from their offense if they are going to stay in the playoff picture. One positive was the continued emergence of Jaxon Smith-Njigba, whose one-handed catch was the play of the game. 

Winner: Christian McCaffrey/Deebo Samuel fantasy owners

The 49ers’ offensive duo put on a show during San Francisco’s 31-13 rout of Seattle. Samuel ran for a score and had 94 total yards. McCaffrey ran for 114 yards and two scores and also caught five passes for 25 yards in the win. 

San Francisco looked like the team that started the season 5-0 (and not the one that lost three straight after that). McCaffrey and Samuel feasted on Seattle’s defense, while the 49ers’ defense sacked Geno Smith six times and did not allow a Seattle offensive touchdown. 





Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top