Thanksgiving 2022: 10 Things NFL Fans Should Be Thankful For This Holiday Season

Nov 21, 2022; Mexico City, MEXICO; San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey (23) carries the ball against Arizona Cardinals safety Jalen Thompson (34) during the first half at Estadio Azteca. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports43
Nov 21, 2022; Mexico City, MEXICO; San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey (23) carries the ball against Arizona Cardinals safety Jalen Thompson (34) during the first half at Estadio Azteca. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports43 /

The NFL is a gift that keeps giving, with three games slated for Thanksgiving Day. In the spirit of the holiday, I compiled a list of 10 things that NFL fans should be thankful for this season. Well… most of them at least. This is all in good fun, so keeping that in mind, let’s kick things off with No. 1!

1. Meaningful Football Is Being Played On Thanksgiving

Too often, the games on Thanksgiving are uninspiring and better served as background fodder during your first, second, and third naps of the day. Thankfully, this is not the case for Thanksgiving 2022.

The slate opens with the Buffalo Bills playing their second game in Detroit in five days. After being forced to move their home game vs. the Browns to the Motor City, the Bills will look to secure a second straight victory at Ford Field. The Lions return home, currently on a three-game winning streak, and they will not go down without a fight.

The second game features an NFC East showdown between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys. Both teams check in at 7-3 on the season, and a win Thursday afternoon will be crucial in the chase for better playoff seeding. Saquon Barkley and Co. will aim to knock off Micah Parsons and the Cowboys at JerryWorld.

The nightcap features the New England Patriots traveling to Minnesota to take on the Vikings. While Kirk Cousins is not the best player in prime time — to say the least — the Vikings are a strong squad. The Patriots are not a sexy team in terms of play style, but they are an effective team nonetheless. The Vikings’ high-powered offense vs. the Patriots’ juggernaut of a defense. I cannot wait!

2. Parity Across The League

Not only will there be meaningful football played on Thanksgiving Day, but the standings also look like they will come down to the final week. The Chiefs, Eagles, and Bills are the heavy favorites to hoist the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the season, but any team can go on a run this year.

As good as those three teams are, all 32 NFL teams possess a major weakness. We only have to look back to last season to see the blueprint the Cincinnati Bengals laid. Could a squad like the Miami Dolphins do the same in 2022?

3. Not Being Stuck With Josh McDaniels (Sorry, Raiders fans).

It was reported, but not confirmed, a week or two ago that the Raiders could not afford to fire Josh McDaniels, even if they wanted to. You can decide for yourself, but Mark Davis squashed the talk by informing McDaniels he will be retained in 2023. As disastrous as the 2022 season has been thus far, it makes sense to give McDaniels some more time on paper.

The problem is, the real world is full of human beings. Maybe things will turn around in Las Vegas, but McDaniels has a history of losing the locker room, and — using context clues during Derek Carr’s impassioned press conference — there is a chance the first-year head coach is already suffering the same fate as his last stint in Denver.

If you buy the report, it is a pretty tough corner to be pained into. Knowing that you made a poor investment but not being able to get out of it is the thing of nightmares. I give Raiders fans full permission to roast me if your team is on the right path next season. Until then… I am sorry!

4. A Healthy Christian McCaffrey

Other NFC West fans may disagree with this one, but collectively as a group of NFL fans, seeing Christian McCaffrey at 100% is a sight for sore eyes. CMC has always been one of the most exciting players when healthy, but the past two campaigns were marred with injury. NFL running backs have a short shelf life, so there were real questions about whether or not McCaffrey could still impact the game the same way.

The answer? He absolutely can. Since being traded to the San Francisco 49ers, McCaffrey looks energized and as good as ever. In the Kyle Shanahan scheme, McCaffrey is seeing holes in the offensive line he has never had open for him in the NFL. Additionally, CMC is dominating as a pass catcher out of the backfield for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

If the Niners go on a Super Bowl run, Christian McCaffrey will be a catalyst behind it. Thank goodness CMC got his game back; the league is a better place with him on the field. Fantasy football managers rejoice this Thanksgiving Day.

5. Not Having A High School Coach As Your Teams Head Coach (Sorry, Colts fans).

Okay… okay… I am picking low-hanging fruit right now, but I do not care! As the resident Colts fan here at NFLMocks, I had to poke fun at myself and the fandom in order to keep things fair. Half the fan base has rallied behind the Jeff Saturday hire, and the other half is still convinced that the simulation glitched.

To Saturday’s credit, he has clearly lit a fire under a roster that had grown stagnant under Frank Reich. The only experience that Saturday has as a head coach is a short stint with a high school football team. His hiring is one of the single most stunning decisions in the history of the sport. But, with a win in his debut against the Raiders and a narrow defeat against the 9-1 Philadelphia Eagles, maybe Jim Irsay knows something we don’t.

Or… it was actually a hasty, poor decision that is covered up by a win vs. an even more dysfunctional team. Jeff Saturday seems like a great guy, truly. I would have a beer (or 10) with him and talk football all day. I am not sure he is the guy to lead an NFL team long-term, though. At a minimum, the label of a high school coach dressed up as an NFL coach makes the team a laughingstock around the league.

6. Mike McDaniel Press Conferences

Mike McDaniel is one of my favorite coaches in the NFL. It goes far beyond his advanced analytical approach and brilliant offensive game planning. No, the best part about Mike McDaniel is his press conference prowess. Each presser features an all-time quote.

My personal favorite is the infamous shower quote. McDaniel stated that he used to be able to skip showers during the middle of the week because he never had to be interviewed as an assistant in San Fran. Mike McDaniel is just one of the boys, and I am thankful that he shows that it is okay to be your wonky self. Imagine the stories he tells around the Thanksgiving table.

7. Your Team Did NOT Trade 2 1sts & Pay $245 Million For Russell Wilson (Sorry, Broncos Fans)

I am going to have every fan base in the AFC trying to break down my door. When the Denver Broncos made a blockbuster deal to acquire Russell Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks, he was thought to be the final piece of the puzzle in Denver. Everything bad in 2022 isn’t Wilson’s fault, but the star quarterback has not played up to par in his first year with the Broncos.

On top of that, the franchise not only invested multiple day-one picks in the trade, but they also had to turn around and hand the signal-caller a check worth a quarter of a billion dollars. Now, their roster is still strong, but with a few glaring holes and minimal draft capital and cap space, things are looking rough for the future. Wilson is a hall-of-fame candidate for a reason, so maybe he bounces back in year two. As of Thanksgiving Day 2022, he is the worst investment in the sport.

8. You Do Not Have The Los Angeles Chargers’ Injury Curse

Am I roasting ANOTHER AFC team? Sheesh. Talk about asking for it!

Unless you sprain your ankle every time you walk down the street or break your jaw any time you chew bubble gum, you luckily do not have the Chargers’ injury curse. Unfortunately, anyone who dons the Bolt on their helmet seemingly is subject to injury at a higher clip than any other team. Okay, so I don’t have the facts to back that up, but doesn’t it just FEEL that way?

Justin Herbert is still dealing with injured ribs and will continue to do so for the remainder of the season. The receiving corps is struggling to stay healthy, with their top two options (Mike Williams and Keenan Allen) each missing multiple games in 2022. Left tackle Rashawn Slater has been out all year, too, and defenders like JC Jackson and Joey Bosa have been regulars on the inactive list.

There is nothing I hate more than injuries in sports. Let us all rejoice and be thankful that we are not under the curse that the Los Angeles Chargers have been under my entire life.

9. Zach Wilson Is NOT Your QB

I originally had a “sorry, Jets fans” included in the title of this section, but news broke soon after starting this piece, announcing that Zach Wilson has been removed as the starter for the Jets. More than that, Wilson isn’t even dressing for the team and will be a healthy inactive this weekend. It is never fun to see a youngster’s dream come crashing down, but the move is necessary for a squad with playoff aspirations.

The QB wins club won’t understand the decision, but the Jets are not winning because of Zach Wilson… they are winning despite him. The New York fandom has watched poor quarterback play for years, but at least the days of watching Zach Wilson run around aimlessly and lob balls into triple coverage are over. For that, be happy this year on Thanksgiving!

10. Your NFL Team Name Is Not The Commanders (Sorry, Commanders Fans… Actually, I’m Not)

I initially felt bad about this one, but after reflecting on it for a while, I do not feel bad at all. Of all the names available, the Washington franchise settled on… the COMMANDERS??? On purpose??? That is like passing on the Reese’s or Sour Patch Kids and picking up black jelly beans instead.

The Red Wolves (my personal favorite), the Red Hogs, the Armada, and even the Football Team are better than the COMMANDERS! Dan Snyder stinks for more reasons than I can get into right now, but allowing the franchise to be called the Commanders with a slew of better options on the finalist list, is egregious. All 31 other teams can be thankful to root for a franchise with a cooler name and less problematic owner.