Thanksgiving Day 2013 has been and gone, and left in it’s trail was a destruction in Detroit, a comeback in Dallas, and a bruising encounter in Baltimore. All teams that played were all in the thick of playoff scenarios, so there was everything to play for before they could tuck into their Turkey dinner.
Packers @ Lions
Detroit completely mauled Green Bay in the first game of the day to the point that if it was a boxing match the referee would have stepped in and stopped the contest during the third quarter. The total net yards gained of 561-126 in favour of the Lions, was reflected in the final score of 40-10, Detroit strengthening their position on top of the NFC North. QB Matthew Stafford threw for 330 yards and three touchdowns, all to different receivers. Green Bay need to get Aaron Rodgers healthy and quick otherwise what promised to be a good season is going to be wasted. His current replacement, Matt Flynn was hurried and harassed all afternoon and was sacked seven times. It’s hard to believe that the Packers held a 10-3 lead early in the second quarter, once the Lions were ahead though they just kept on steamrolling their divisional opponents.
Raiders @ Cowboys
Dallas faced a must win game last week and came through it, this week Oakland were in a similar position and they jumped out early when they scooped up a fumble on the opening kickoff and ran it back. The Raiders were dominant early and through the first 25 minutes had all the momentum, leading 21-7 off the back of a good game from Matt McGloin. The game shifted when Tony Romo engineered a touchdown drive in the waning moments of the first half. The eventual final score of 31-24 was a fair result though as the Cowboys simply ran over the Raiders, Lance Dunbar proving to be a spark. His 12 carries for 82 yards was only outdone by the scoring ability of DeMarco Murray. It’s clear the Cowboys are a better team when Murray is healthy and his three trips to the end zone ultimately was the difference in the game.
Steelers @ Ravens
The AFC Wild Card race is wide open and these two teams are in the thick of it, and also coming into the game harboured ambitions of overturning the Bengals at the top of the AFC North. Baltimore is playing strong defensively again this year and with Joe Flacco thrown a good deep ball they soon established a healthy 13-0 lead. Pittsburgh though are never one to quit and so it showed again as they started to fight their way back into the game and when rookie Le’Veon Bell went in untouched from a yard out, they had narrowed the lead to five points. Ravens kicker Justin Tucker booted his fifth field goal of the day to extend the lead, and a late Steelers rally was stopped when they couldn’t recover an onside kick with 35 seconds left, after scoring another touchdown. The Ravens win 22-20 in what was the best contest of the day, but both teams are still very much in the hunt.