In an effort to spread some Thanksgiving cheer, we wanted to sit around the NFL dinner table and take a moment to reflect on what each team is thankful for in 2015. Filip has broken down the AFC while Steven tackles the NFC.
WE ARE THANKFUL FOR... Hue Jackson.
This offense has actually improved since the departure of Jay Gruden, and it helps that the offensive line is playing very good football. Not to be a downer, but Bengals fans should start preparing for the inevitable - Hue will be a Head Coach again very soon.
WE ARE THANKFUL FOR... A consistent kicker.
The Steelers kicking woes have been well chronicled this year, starting with Shaun Suishan getting hurt, then Garrett Hartley getting hurt, the Josh Scobee (who they traded a draft pick for) missing PATs, to now UDFA Chris Boswell steadying the ship.
WE ARE THANKFUL FOR... Modern medicine.
This is the most snakebitten franchise in the NFL this year, having lost its starting QB, RB1, RB2, WR1, WR2, WR3, C & Pro Bowl OLB. Thank goodness for the evolution of orthopaedics and physicaly therapy in recent years - hopefully this team can find a way to get and stay healthy next season.
WE ARE THANKFUL FOR... whew, um, anyone got anything?
Cleaning house this offseason (again) with a #1 pick perhaps?
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
WE ARE THANKFUL FOR... Tom Brady.
The Patriots have had 13 consecutive seasons with at least 10 wins, and it's not a coincidence that Tom Terrific has been at the helm for almost all of those. While the loss of Julian Edelman is deflating, they should still find a way to make to the Big Dance.
WE ARE THANKFUL FOR... Terry Pegula.
Can you imagine if Donald Trump or Jon Bon Jovi ended up with this team? That would've been a disaster. The Bills are competing for the playoffs and this might be the first time they actually make it via Wild Card in a long time.
NEW YORK JETS
WE ARE THANKFUL FOR... Todd Bowles and Mike Maccagnan.
This dynamic duo has rebuilt dominance in the defense and savvy offseason additions like picking up Brandon Marshall for a 5th round pick have the Jets competing for the playoffs, even with Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB.
WE ARE THANKFUL FOR... Beautiful weather.
It's 73 degrees the day before Thanksgiving as I type this. Oh, football? Um... I guess thankful for Ndamokung Suh starting to play up to his contract.
WE ARE THANKFUL FOR... Peyton Manning being injured.
Never thought I would type that, but the bruised ribs and plantar fascia might be just what this team needs right now. Peyton is playing at historically bad levels, and the Brockweiler is better suited for Kubiak's offense.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
WE ARE THANKFUL FOR... The Charcnado.
Everyone thought that the season was lost after Jamal Charles' ACL injury, but Charcandrick West has filled in admirably and the Chiefs are on a 4 game winning streak.
WE ARE THANKFUL FOR... David Carr.
Nope, that's not a typo. If Derek Carr had a different last name, it's likely he would be in Houston right now, since the Texans had the pick right before Oakland in the second round. Instead, they have their franchise player and QB of the future.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
WE ARE THANKFUL FOR... Philip Rivers still being alive.
They have two wins with him - just imagine if Kellen Clemens was playing? With how terrible this offensive line is, I am shocked Rivers is still standing to tell the tale.
WE ARE THANKFUL FOR... Qualifying for the Senior Citizen's discount at AMC.
GM Ryan Grigson keeps bringing in old, broken down veterans in free agency. It's not very effective... But with all that aside, they need to be thankful for the AFC South being so bad that they are tied for first.
WE ARE THANKFUL FOR... Andy Dalton.
The win on Monday Night Football vs. the undefeated Bengals has jumpstarted this team, and getting a healthy Jadeveon Clowney back this weak can spell carnage from here on out.
WE ARE THANKFUL FOR... The Allens.
The Jaguars haven't had an explosive passing offense since Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell. Good thing "Thunder & Lightning" have reincarnated into Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns in Duval. Honorable mention: Bold City Brigade/Teal Street Hooligans. Some of the most ardent and passionate fans in the NFL.
WE ARE THANKFUL FOR... Marcus Mariota.
Lots of people were saying that they should take Amari Cooper or Leonard Williams because "they had Zach Mettenberger." That would have been tragic in hindsight.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
WE ARE THANKFUL FOR... Eddie Lacy just being hurt, not bad.
The wheels were falling off the Packers wagon after two straight losses (even though they were against two great teams). The loss of Jordy Nelson is felt every game, but it's much more noticeable when Lacy is averaging 2 yard per carry. Hello 100 yard game vs. division rival Vikings... Steady Eddie's back.
WE ARE THANKFUL FOR... Adrian Peterson being timeless.
Will he ever be bad? 30 is supposed to the end of the road for running backs, but someone forgot to tell that to All Day. He is on pace for 1,600 yard 10 TDs and is averaging 4.8 yards per carry. He's still so fast that Father Time might not be able to catch him.
WE ARE THANKFUL FOR... Jay Cutler.
Yeah, I said it. Don't @ me. He's having one of his best seasons of his career under Adam Gase and has the Bears in the mix still for a Wild Card spot. His decision making has noticeably improved and he's playing with less playmakers than he's had in the past.
WE ARE THANKFUL FOR... A Top 5 pick.
They need a lot of help, and this draft in particular is front loaded with top end talent. We have them taking Joey Bosa at #5 who is so talented that he can have the Lion's Den forgetting quickly about Suh taking his talents to South Beach.
NEW YORK GIANTS
WE ARE THANKFUL FOR... The Madden Curse not being real.
Odell Beckham Jr. is having another Pro Bowl year, and the Giants are somehow in first place in their division.
WE ARE THANKFUL FOR... Nick Foles playing just as terribly as Sam Bradford.
Chip Kelly immediately checks the box score after every Rams game and sighs in relief. If Foles had produced anywhere near as well as people thought he would, Chipper would be in the hot(ter) seat.
WE ARE THANKFUL FOR... Jordan Reed not being completely made of glass.
When this guy is on the field, he's a game changer. He's on pace for 100 catchs 700 yards and 10 TDs this year... if he stays healthy. Honorable mention: Also thankful for Ryan Kerrigan being content drinking warm milk and playing for a subpar franchise.
WE ARE THANKFUL FOR... Our Lord and Savior, Tony Romo.
They honestly have a shot at the division title... at 3-7. They're just two games back with a bunch of division games remaining and Tony is finding Dez like it's 2014.
WE ARE THANKFUL FOR... Carson Palmer.
It's pretty much a given that Palmer is going to win Comeback Player of the Year this year. He has been the best QB in the NFL (some have him above Brady) and it's unreal what he's done after TWO ACL injuries. He's on pace to throw for 5,000 yards with 43 TDs in his 13th season. He's revived Larry Fitzgerald and Chris Johnson back from the grave, helping them play like their younger selves.
WE ARE THANKFUL FOR... Thomas Rawls.
The UDFA's monster performances can help Seahawks fans forgot about Marshawn Lynch's injury woes. Rawls is running for 6 yards per carry behind a bottom 3 offensive line in football and just refuses to step out of bounds. Rawls could be special.
ST. LOUIS RAMS
WE ARE THANKFUL FOR... Todd Gurley.
He might not just be the next Adrian Peterson - he might be better. Even Peterson's teammates were saying that after the Vikings faced TGII in Week 8. Just Todd Gurley is on pace for 1,200 yards and 10 TDs in 14 games. Don't forget he's also doing this less than a year removed from an ACL tear. He's your OROY without a doubt.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ers
WE ARE THANKFUL FOR... Discounted Dungarees.
They had to have gotten a sweet deal on jeans thanks to the Levi's sponsorship, right? Listen, things are BAD in San Francisco. The coach punts it late in the 4th quarter down 2 scores, injuries have destroyed them, and Kaep has mentally checked out. Their starting RB is Shaun Draughn, who has been cut about 8 times in his career. If I had to pick something, I guess I'd say that Navorro Bowman looks healthy and somewhat back to his old self.
WE ARE THANKFUL FOR... Dabbing.
Cam Newton is making Corey Brown, Theodore Ginn Jr. and Jerricho Cotchery look like starting NFL wide receivers, and he's having fun doing it. They are 10-0 despite Ginn leading all Panthers wideouts with 4 TDs.
WE ARE THANKFUL FOR... Devonta Freeman.
Freeman's production is overshadowing how bad Matt Ryan looks in critical situations in games. Freeman's 13 TDs through 10 games has been a pleasant surprise for Hotlanta, despite 3 straight losses to bad teams.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
WE ARE THANKFUL FOR... Jameis Winston not being Jamarcus Russell.
Jaboo got off to a shaky start this year, but he is starting to show signs of being a great NFL QB. This isn't a knee jerk reaction to a 5 TD day, either. He might just give the Bucs a shot at making the playoffs.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
WE ARE THANKFUL FOR... Rob Ryan collecting unemployment checks.
Ryan has left this defense in absolute disarray and without an identity. Hopefully Dennis Allen can fix Ryan's problems well enough to keep his job, but even that may not be enough is the Saints clean house and send Sean Payton to the streets.