Three thoughts on the Cowboys’ 31–23 victory against the Redskins on Thanksgiving Day...
1. Who wants to win the NFC East?
Dallas and Washington are now both tied at 6–5 atop the NFC East, and at this point it’s still anyone’s division. Washington’s playoff hopes took a major hit when Alex Smith suffered a season-ending compound leg fracture against the Texans last Sunday, leading to Colt McCoy’s Thanksgiving start. The Cowboys, meanwhile, have rattled off three straight wins, and right now, they look like the strongest team in the division. Their offense has come alive with the addition of Amari Cooper, whose two-TD, 180-yard performance was his best in more than a year, and their defense, which picked off McCoy three times, also seems to be hitting its stride with young playmakers like Demarcus Lawrence and Leighton Vander Esch. But next week, Dallas hosts the Saints, the best team in the league. The 4–6 Eagles could very much stay in the race with wins against the 3–7 Giants and Washington, setting up a Week 14 division showdown between the Cowboys and Eagles in Dallas.
2. FOX broadcast doesn’t address Adrian Peterson admission
On the eve of the Dallas-Washington game, Bleacher Report published an article in which Washington RB Adrian Peterson said that he still at times uses a belt to discipline his son. The admission was especially notable because Peterson was suspended by the NFL in 2014 after being charged with felony child abuse for spanking his then four-year-old son with a switch, leaving cuts and bruises across the child’s backside and scrotum. Peterson’s agent, Ron Slavin, responded to the story with a statement in which he said Peterson had learned “several valuable lessons” from the suspension and counseling he received, adding that “there is nothing more important” to Peterson than being a good father. Peterson started the game, rushing 12 times for 35 yards, but the FOX broadcast did not address his comments, the possible implications of them or the fact that they drew national attention in the hours leading up to the game.
3. How will the NFL handle the Salvation Army kettle celebrations?
Ezekiel Elliott didn’t jump into the Salvation Army red kettle himself, like he did in a game two years ago, but he made sure his favorite prop figured prominently on Thanksgiving. After a 16-yard TD run on the Cowboys’ opening drive, Elliott was handed $21 by a photographer who appeared to be a Cowboys staffer and dropped the cash into the kettle. Later, after Dak Prescott’s TD run put the Cowboys up 31–13 early in the fourth quarter, Elliott lifted his QB into the kettle. The second celebration drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty, assessed on the ensuing kickoff. Earlier this season, Saints WR Michael Thomas was fined a cool $30K for his Joe Horn moment against the Rams, which involved his retrieving a throwback cell phone out of the goalpost, where he’d hidden it before the game. His fine was both for using a prop in his celebration and having a mobile device in the bench area. On the other hand, Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill was flagged but not fined for his TD celebration in which he took over a broadcast camera and focused it on his teammates (Pro Football Talk reported he did receive a warning letter). Elliott wasn’t fined for his use of the kettle in 2016; here’s betting he’ll be spared again.