• Allison Verrino

Week 12 Contenders vs Pretenders

Let’s be thankful that we’ve made this far through the NFL season. With Thanksgiving behind us and only 5 mores weeks to go it’s time to separate the men from the boys. That being said let’s play contenders and pretenders as we recap the week.

We’ll start on Thanksgiving Day where the early game both participants are definitely pretenders. Texans blew out the Lions on Thanksgiving, but doesn’t everybody? I’ll admit the Texans have looked much better since they fire Bill O’Brien, but they are still pretenders.

Game number two on Turkey Day saw the Cowboys get steamrolled by the Washington Football Team, who all of the sudden have become contenders in the dumpster fire called the NFC East. The Cowboys on the other hand, though still mathematically alive are certainly pretenders.

We all know by now that the Falcons are pretenders this season. And it pains me to say this because I really want them to be contenders, but the Raiders are also pretenders. Every time they have traveled east this year they’ve lost and this Sunday they got smoked by an inferior Atlanta team. They didn’t take care of the football, which shows me they were feeling themselves a little too much, were not focused, and now they find themselves on the outside of the playoffs and I don’t think they will be getting back in.

The Bills bounced back well from the Hail Mary loss in the Desert and handled their business on Sunday against the Chargers. Herbert had over 300 yards passing against the Bills defense, but he’s done that against almost every defense his faced this season. Justin Herbert is a contender, the Chargers as a whole are pretenders. The Bills are still boss on the AFC East and are certainly contenders.

The Bengals without Joe Burrow are absolutely pretenders, even with Joe they are. The Giants without Daniel Jones and with Colt McCoy are pretenders. Especially this week going up against the Seahawks and Russell Wilson at home. If Jones only misses one game the Giants are contenders because after all they are in first place in the worst division in football.

Both the Titans and Colts are contenders in my book. The Colts mainly because of the defense. The Titans mainly because of King Henry, who reminded the rest of the league this week that he is the best RB in football, and the rest of the RBs should bow a t his feet. It’s December, winter’s coming, this is when a guy like Henry thrives.

Remember the hot girl in high school who always flirted, but gave it up? That’s who the Carolina Panthers are this year. They play great in most of their games but never quite make it over that hump. That’s the girl she’ll kiss buy never hump you. Panthers, pretenders. The Viking will always be pretenders to me as long as Kirk Cousins is their starting QB.

It’s really hard to figure the Cardinals and the Patriots at this moment in time. But since this is contender/pretender, I’ll classify them both as pretenders for now.

Whether lead by Fitzmagic or Tua this Dolphins’ team led by Brian Flores is a contender. They’re very good in all three phases of the game and are right on the Bills’ heels for the division crown. I don’t know what they Jets are, but they are neither a contender nor a pretender. They are in a standalone class, call it whatever you want Jets fans.

Browns are probably the trickiest team in this whole classification system, if you will. Their record of 8-3 has contender written all over it. However, those loses were to the Ravens, and we all know what frauds they are, the Steelers, and the Raiders. Their only noteworthy wins are against the Colts and the WFT. So, what really are the Browns? The great Bill Parcells say you are what your record says you are. I guess that means the Browns are contenders and that the Jags are pretenders.

I know everyone is hot the 49ers right now, but I still think they’re pretenders. They just don’t have enough healthy talent, or time to make a run. I think after last we all know Jimmy G isn’t a Super Bowl winning QB, maybe nest year they’ll be contender when Matt Ryan is their starting QB. The Rams are a contender. They just have no idea how to beat the 49ers.

The Chiefs are far and away a contender, they look like a well-oiled machine right now, gearing up for a title defense. The Bucs, who have not looked so good over the past few weeks are slowly sliding themselves into pretender status, but for now we’ll leave them as contenders because they still have the GOAT on their roster.

Saints have won 8 straight games, 2 without Brees. They are unquestionably contenders. Even with their 3 QBs off Covid list the Broncos are pretenders.

Packers are a contender, Bears not so much.

The Seahawks have become a major contender over these last two weeks. Their defense is getting healthy and so is their running game. If they start clicking on all cylinders like I expect them to, having the easiest remaining schedule left, what a Super Bowl we are in for with Mahomes vs. Wilson. Stick a fork in the Eagles they’re pretenders.

The Steelers remain undefeated beating the Ravens practice squad on Wednesday afternoon. We all know they are contenders. The Ravens are pretenders, they have been since this season started.

That wraps up Week 12, it’s on to lucky 13.

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