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The good, bad, and ugly of NFL’s 2021 Thanksgiving games: Bills are back, cowboys in trouble, lions listless




Six different NFL teams take to the field on Thanksgiving for early action in Week 12. All three visiting teams went on to win. And two of the three games ended on the wire. But who won and lost Turkey Day? Who should make themselves a plate to celebrate their day, and who should cram food from grief into their esophagus? We’re here to tell you.

Let’s identify the good, the bad, and the ugly from the NFL’s Thanksgiving action:

The good

The accounts looked a lot like contenders again, bringing the Saints into the Superdome turf with Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, Dawson Knox and their defense all popping up. Buffalo still needs more of the ground game, which could help take some pressure off Allen, but this was a big step in the right direction. The Saints are beat up, yes, but to send them out with 25 in a short week? That will inspire confidence.

Josh Allen is not out of the MVP conversation yet. He still forced one pitch too many, but he was efficient for most of the Bills’ big win, finishing with four scores through the air and leading Buffalo in haste.

DeSean Jackson finally made some (good) noise for the Raiders, making the most of his three catches against Dallas: 102 yards and a big score that helped Vegas beat the Cowboys in a much-needed win. Jackson may be a one-trick pony, but when he canters at full speed, this is the damage he can do.

Hunter Renfrow has balled this year, and it continued against the Cowboys. He is up to 658 receiving yards – a career high – with six games left. Keeping him healthy will be key to the Raiders’ stretch run.

Derek Carr definitely a step forward in the Cowboys’ defense. He has had some early retirements in recent years, and that seemed to be the case this season. But he was the most confident in weeks on Thursday.

The Cowboys In general, they may be concerning, but the one thing they don’t have to worry about is a lack of talent. Without Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb, they would still have found a way to score big pieces in a firefight, with Cedrick Wilson, Michael Gallup and Dalton Schultz showing up through the air. In full health, they cannot be taken lightly.

The bad

Matt Nagy He may have been able to avoid a more intense call for his job leading the Bears to victory over the victory-less Lions, but the boy did it with his team in an ugly, unconvincing way. On a day when Detroit begged Chicago to walk away with things thanks to an excess of penalties and ill-advised decisions, the Bears needed a field goal as time passed to seal the deal.

The Cowboys have the talent (see above), but they may not have the fortitude. After starting 6-1 and looking like a potential NFC favorite, they lost three out of four. Worse yet, their defense, backed by stars like Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs, had the Raiders consistently move the ball when needed, yielding a season-worst 36 points. Suddenly, in the grand scheme of things, the Cowboys are no longer a slot to win the NFC East.

Tre’Davious White Leaving the Bills’ big win with a knee injury doesn’t bode well for the Buffalo defense, especially considering it won’t be meeting Trevor Siemian and the deranged Saints every week. White was ruled doubtful to return soon after the departure and later relegated to out.

the ugly one

the bears cannot be celebrated for their 16-14 win over the Lions. They just can’t. And the reason they’re ugly is because there’s just no light at the end of the tunnel. Thursday’s performance is not sustainable. You could say the same about most of their games this year. Blame Nagy, blame Ryan Pace’s roster construction, blame whoever you want. But they came dangerously close to 3-8 against a porous and blatantly rebuilding rival, and they weren’t built to get much better anytime soon.

The Lions fell to 0-10-1 despite leading the Bears well into the fourth quarter. What else do we have to say here? Dan Campbell, for all his impassioned speeches, is increasingly becoming part of the problem in Detroit, where mental abuses match the lack of budding talent. Send help right away.

The Saints are still in the NFC wildcard hunt for 5-6, but where in the world can they turn for help when they are violating? Getting Alvin Kamara back will obviously increase their chances. But Trevor Siemian can’t bear the burden they’re putting on him, Taysom Hill is either ill or ready to take over the quarterback, and the only other option (other than Philip Rivers retiring) seems to be rookie Ian Book . Sean Payton better get creative fast.




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