Football Outsiders
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Thanksgiving Day Open Discussion

Washington Football Team RB J.D. McKissic
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

With Baltimore-Pittsburgh postponed until Sunday, there are only two games on Thanksgiving this year, and they feature four pretty lousy teams

First, we get Houston (3-7) at Detroit (4-6). Our playoff odds give the teams a combined chance of less than 5% to make the postseason, so why should you watch? Well, there's always the chance Deshaun Watson will do something amazing. Plus, hey, another loss for the Lions could finally mean the end of the Matt Patricia era. 

The second game pits Washington (3-7) against Dallas (3-7), and there's actually very good reason to watch that one: the winner will temporarily move into a tie for first place in the NFC East, and they could be alone atop the division once the weekend is done, pending the Giants-Bengals game on Sunday and Seahawks-Eagles on Monday night. 

Use this thread to discuss them both. 


42 comments, Last at 29 Nov 2020, 11:48am

3 About 5-7 years ago, Lamar…

About 5-7 years ago, Lamar Hunt made some noise made some noise about a rotating different teams, but none of the other owners showed any interest.  

I for one would love to not have the Lions ruin my Thanksgiving more often than not.

10 Which was preceded by each…

Which was preceded by each team fumbling away to the other one.  This game will apparently feature “things poorly coached teams do” bingo.  Can’t wait for the delay of game right after a timeout.

12 I'm still salty

that the Pats didn't do this run-heavy attack last week.  Lions are doing very well with it.  

14 The Lions are in desperation…

The Lions are in desperation mode and calling for trick plays that call for throwing 50-50 balls to their quarterback....against a 3-7 team.

16 Patricia watch

I think the Lions will fire him at the end of the season.  My friend thinks he may be fired as early as this weekend.  Thoughts?

18 His buddy Bob Quinn won’t…

In reply to by RickD

His buddy Bob Quinn won’t fire him, and the Fords themselves generally don’t do midseason firings.  They’ll probably wait until after the season.

25 The Lions aren’t…

In reply to by RickD

The Lions aren’t sufficiently competent to fire him in-season.

Remember, they were dumb enough to hire him.

40 Firing HC/GM

In reply to by RickD

Well, your friend was right. 

IMO, hope the Fords make a run at Eric Bienemy for your next HC, and get a decent DC.

24 Even so, they were 8th in…

Even so, they were 8th in passing DVOA before tonight (and will surely only have improved). That's by far the most important facet of the modern game. There are no excuses for the rest of the team being this bad.

19 This is just as bad as the…

This is just as bad as the Millen days.  Even during Patricia’s first two years, they weren’t routinely getting blown out week after week by bad teams.

26 Unprecedented

My question is: have more people ever watched worse teams with more on the line than this Dallas-Washington clash of titans?  I bet not.

27 Teams equally bad or worse…

In reply to by Xote

Teams equally bad or worse have no doubt met many times with a higher draft pick on the line, and likely at some point the #1 draft pick (though I can't recall a specific instance).

But a game where it was better to be the winner?  No, I suspect not.  (Assuming for these purposes that winning the division is a good thing for the organization).


28 Alex Smith

Despite how bad these teams are, it would be cool to see Alex Smith move one step closer to the playoffs and add to the comeback story.

29 linnemen with pick-sixes

First JJ Watt, now Montez Sweat.

I think I can say with confidence I've never seen two pick-sixes in one day before, much less in one day with only two games. 

33 Welp, Lamar just got the…

Welp, Lamar just got the Rona...and Ravens/Steelers will have to probably be moved back again.

Why not do another Tuesday game for it, then move the Ravens/Cowboys game from TH to SUN? Cracking open the Week 18 can of worms will create problems that are still unnecessary.

34 Shout out to the "Little Giants"

While seeing the Allas Cowboys getting run out the building usually brings a smile to my face, it hasn't exactly been rare this year.  It would have been nice to see some more competitive teams playing.  Perhaps a team that wouldn't get fooled by "The Annexation of Puerto Rico".

35  It would have been nice to…

 "It would have been nice to see some more competitive teams playing.  Perhaps a team that wouldn't get fooled by The Annexation of Puerto Rico"

The Danny O'Shea coached Little Giants may have offered more resistance than either the Cowboys or the Lions but alas, they were unavailable .

36 Observations

I would have liked to have given McCarthy the benefit of the doubt after 2 O-lineman went down on the first drive.  But 3 failed 4th downs later, I still hope there is no Year 2 of the McCarthy era.  Not that I completely disapproved of the decisions; especially the 1st one. However, the execution was terrible.  Hindsight what it is, I would have rather a QB sneak or hand off to the $16M RB.

Given it's looking like a lost season, am I a bad person to admit that I enjoy watching Jerry's expression get worse and worse as the game goes on?  Mind you, they only cut to him these days after something bad has happened on the field.   He's wearing a mask and you can still tell he's pissed!   I really wish he would get out of the Operations of the team but we all know that is not happening.    

Chase Young is going to be a very good player but I am glad he does not appear to be the 2nd coming of LT (excellent pickup by Pollard on the lone TD).  That D-line is going to be enough of a problem if they manage to stick around together for 4 - 5 years.





37 McCarthy surely sticks…

In reply to by edholiday

McCarthy surely sticks around next season, unless he's done something to particularly upset Jerry. Some truly abysmal years from Jason Garrett were tolerated when Romo was hurt. I don't like it, but that's the way it is.

Provided Dak makes a full recovery Dallas should be favorites for the NFC East year. None of the competition appear to have a viable solution at QB (unless Wentz manages to reverse this year's horrid decline).. 

38 Dak made Dallas better

He didn't make them good though.  Talented sure, but what else is new?  They haven't lived up to their hype before, why would they start now with a recovering Prescott, a washed Zeke, a deteriorating O-line and a has been for a coach?  Are they going to lean on their defense lead by LB's that can't stay healthy?

I'm looking at Alex Smith with WFT.  I mean sure he isn't going to scare you on his own, but he is more than capable of being a consistent game manager.  They also have some quality at skill positions on offense.  That just may be enough in that division when paired with a budding defense.

39 Dallas' offense was really…

Dallas' offense was really very good last season, and this season until Dak was hurt (fumbles absolutely killed them in the early weeks). Zeke's contract is horrific, but he shouldn't drag the team down on his own. Their receiving group is as good as any in the league. The O-line may have deteriorated from past years, but they shouldn't have injury luck this bad again. This is an explosive offence if Dak returns healthy. 

Granted the defense is likely to still be bad, but I'm talking about them winning the NFC East, not the Super Bowl.

Alex Smith has been awful this season (-230 DYAR, -35.3 DVOA before Thursday). Is it possible he returns to his former game-manager extraordinaire glories? Yeah, but I wouldn't want to bet on it. They'll have to win a lot of games with defense.