Rick’s Pigskin Piñata (Thanksgiving Edition): Taking a Swing at the Week 12 NFL Power Rankings

Welcome to the party, gang. Are you ready for some football?

I said…ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?!? (I’m shouting, because it’s not even noon and you’re already sleeping. That damn tryptophan (checks spelling)…it never fails!)

Yes, few things highlight Thanksgiving awesomeness better than football and the NFL. First established by an alliance between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans, the original game was broadcast by a youthful, 23-year-old Al Michaels and was neither athletic or organized. As the historical chronicles tell it, the opening kickoff took 275 attempts, because men would fire on the ball with their muskets and bows—mistaking it for a flying game hen of some sort—every time it was kicked. To makes matters worse, several of the footballs shot down were consumed by spectators as they watched the game, filling themselves to an unaware level of gluttony—and this, as it was later opined by historians, was the first time anyone ever said, “Christ, I can’t wait until the commercial break, so I can finally go, you know, relieve…this.”

But about that game.

The Native Americans’ quarterback was a smaller lady—yes, she was a female—and, much like Drew Brees today, had to tilt her head upward to see over the 15 linemen—oh yeah, 15 linemen. Again, the rules were different back then: What we know today as 11-on-11 football was originally 22-on-22. Which is why, presently, both Pilgrims and Native Americans look at Seattle’s 12th man and simply say, “You mean the second center?”

Anyhow, her dismal completion percentage earned her the title “Aaron Rogers in October of 2016,” and left the Native Americans’ coaching staff with few options. Mind you, the west coast had not been discovered yet, so the idea there could be an offense of the same name was just crazy-man speak.

They had to do something, though, and one of the elders had an idea…

Skeptical of the Pilgrims’ rules explanation—among other things—that the ball was only meant to be tossed (possibly facing banishment if the tactic wasn’t followed), they took a chance and instead handed it to a fellow who was convinced it was his job to stand behind the QB and protect her.

He was a great man, this fellow, but also easily sidetracked. When the QB explained she would drop back like she was going to pass, but then hand the ball to him…it was met with a grunt and a shrug of the shoulders. Luckily this gal was quick-minded—a real leader—so she drew the play in the dirt and, as it goes, the fellow finally understood—it’s why, today, that play is called “the draw.”

And, man, did they draw:  The Native Americans rushed for 540 yards on 220 carries, over the nine quarters of football played that day…unfortunately, though,  it wasn’t enough.

The Pilgrims were a powerhouse. Coached by a curmudgeonly man, Lord William Belichooch, the Old England Patriots moved up and down the circular field with ease, passing the entire time to three men whose combined height was just over 4-feet-7. The obscure stature of these three left the Native Americans confused, unsure if it was a field mouse scurrying out of stampede-ducking fear, or if was an actual person carrying the ball.

And the defense was just as confusing. At times, only one man would line up near the Demarcation of Offense and Defense—later called the line of scrimmage— with 21 of his teammates randomly scattered behind him, moving about and jockeying for the best spot to make a play (sort of the origination of the garter toss at a wedding).

When the game finally ended, the score was 49 Lines in the Tree Trunk to 2 Lines in the Tree Trunk. It was historical—although, at the time, they didn’t have a clue. They didn’t even know what to call this…game.

Afterward, of course, there was a big feast between the two teams—and it was said that a man (possibly young Al Michaels) stood up, one of the footballs in his hand, and yelled to the gatherers: “I love this pigskin…but let’s not make this game just about the men and women who battled on the field…instead we should allow everyone—even the writers—to enjoy it. So, my friends—he tied the pigskin on a string and hung it above the dancing circle near the DJ booth—let each of us take a swing at this pigskin, after each game, each week, and whoever splits it open, wins a gift certificate to the general store that Bob just invented!”

The crowd went bananas.

“For how long should this fun continue?” shouted one attendee.

“Yes, how many weeks?” shouted another.

“I have the number 17 stuck in my head,” he replied.

And so…the early makings of the Pigskin Piñata went as such.

Some 395 years later—powered by the invention of the internet—we have arrived at this exact moment in history. Welcome to Week 12! What do we know? Well, nothing really. You’d think the new trend of two-point conversions would make the kickers want to up their game—but 12 missed field goals in Week 11? Come on, guys! Next thing you know, you’ll be in the same conversation as the penny.

But let’s not allow that to spoil the party. You’re invited to this smorgasbord, too, just like the rest of the football world. It’s BYOB and see you near the TV—so pay attention and plan accordingly.

For you.

For your team.


It’s the Pigskin Piñata: Thanksgiving Edition!

Stick, please.

Let’s rank!

32. Cleveland Browns: 0-11 (last week: 32)

The Browns are pretty much that guy or gal who is tasked with bringing something simple to the party—like ice or napkins—but shows up with nothing. Zilch. Nada.

And then they clog the toilet…

31. San Francisco 49ers: 1-9 (last week: 31)

Yep, Chip brings the same shit every year, along with a tee-shirt that has this superimposed on it:


Eventually—you’d think, anyway—this repetitive act would get old and people would ask for a change.

30. Chicago Bears: 2-8 (last week: 30)

Always good for bringing something that will clog an artery like a baseball stuck in a coffee straw, a Bears fan at your Thanksgiving bash is a must.

This year, however, is different. Somber. Sober. The Malort is dried up with the hopes of each Bears fan…who isn’t also a Cubs fan.

I would imagine John Fox will bring his famous pudding—but I would also imagine that Jay Cutler will flick cigarette ash in it (or worse) when no one is looking.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars: 2-8 (last week: 29)

Yep, the Yaguars brought a coffee maker and a can of Folgers. They will definitely go into the kitchen and inevitability unplug something important as they hook up this thoughtful necessity that they believe will save the day. (And no, they didn’t see your coffee pot sitting on the counter.)

28. New York Jets: 3-7 (last week: 28)

All  night long people will ask Ryan Fitzpatrick to pass them something, and it will get intercepted by somebody else.

27. Cincinnati Bengals: 3-6-1 (last week: 26)

If you’re wondering when someone will bring something questionable to the party, then look no further than the Bengals and their cake that has Joe Flacco’s face on it.

Yep…the eyebrows are made of shaved dark chocolate.

26. Los Angeles Rams: 4-6 (last week: 25)

Eventually  you will have to explain to Jeff Fisher that the gluten-free steak he brought didn’t have gluten in the fist place.

25. New Orleans Saints: 4-6 (last week: 19)

Sean Payton’s Super-Secret Gumbo is excellent…then it’s terrible.

Actually, it’s OK…

Well, wait, it’s good cold, too.

No, definitely terrible.

Well, now, hold it…

24. Carolina Panthers: 4-6 (last week: 27)

Sometimes, all you have to bring is the fashion.

23. Green Bay Packers: 4-6 (last week: 20)

Aaron Rogers brought a 20-pound frozen turkey…one hour before dinner.

22. San Diego Chargers: 4-6 (last week: 22)

It was Phillip River’s turn to use the oven, Aaron.

21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 5-5 (last week: 24)

Of course, Jameis Winston brought crab legs to the party—so you will need other guests to stand guard at the window to make sure the police don’t arrive with a pissed-off grocery store owner at their side.

20. Arizona Cardinals: 4-5-1 (last week: 16)

The entire party will congratulate head coach Bruce Arians on landing the United States Men’s Soccer Team gig…then, sheepishly, will spend the rest of the party apologizing to him after he tells everyone that guy’s name is Bruce Arena.

19. Tennessee Titans: 5-6 (last week: 15)

Just like when people start eating before Grace, hey Titans fans?!?

18. Pittsburgh Steelers: 5-5 (last week: 21)

Yinz show me a party that isn’t made better with Iron City beer and pierogies, and I’ll show Yinz that twenty-dollar bill n’my wallet n’at.

17. Indianapolis Colts: 5-5 (last week: 23)

Don’t forget: Scott Tolzien is on the team—he’s Andrew Luck’s backup, and now, your starter—so don’t throw him out of the party because he’s not on the guest list. Not cool, man.

16. Baltimore Ravens: 5-5 (last week: 13)

As a counter-punch to the Bengals, Joe Flacco will bring a large container of pumpkin and turn the cake into an Andy Dalton masterpiece.


15. Philadelphia Eagles: 5-5 (last week: 12)

The Eagles brought seven dishes this year, and six of them are covered in cream cheese. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it could weigh a man down during crunch time—and it’s also symbolically negative, as the Cheeseheads of Green Bay are always game for that type of menu.

14. Buffalo Bills: 5-5 (last week: 18)

The #BillsMafia had planned on bringing that meatloaf in the shape of a penis since last Thanksgiving.

13. Houston Texans: 6-4 (last week: 11)

Tough loss for the Texans last week in Mexico, but that doesn’t mean the marshmallow salad will be any less delicious.


Wash it down with a Coca-Cola…my gosh, what a combo.

12. Minnesota Vikings: 6-4 (last week: 17)

To heck with grandma and her goddamn reindeer…what about this!?!

11. Miami Dolphins: 6-4 (last week: 14)

No one—well, maybe except within the Dolphins community—thought this team could cook. Sure they’ll bring a large bucket of KFC and act like it took hours to prep (order). No question, they’ll show up with Dunkin’ Donuts, their tan faces covered in an extreme amount of baking flour. What else ya’ got? Oh, hmm, those burritos look a lot like Chipotle—and now I have a case of the Mexican Trots.


However, this year, this team, will show up with a perfectly cooked ham and a nice apple pie. It’s marvelous. They will even give pointers to some of the other folk who didn’t fare so well.

Then, Jay Ajayi shows up with a half-pound Told-Ya-So Casserole.

Game. Over.

10. Atlanta Falcons: 6-4 (last week: 9)

Turkey vs. Duck isn’t the only interesting Battle of the Birds this week…

The Cardinals and Falcons should make for some delicious, must-win action, too.

9. Detroit Lions: 6-4 (last week: 10)

Top 5 favorite Faygo flavors:

  • Grape
  • Blue
  • Redpop
  • Orange Dye #6
  • Yuk!

8. Kansas City Chiefs: 7-3 (last week: 5)

There’s always that one guy who offers you a bite from the same area he just chomped. I get it, Andy. It looks like you make a fine burger, sir.

7. Washington Redskins: 6-3-1 (last week: 8)

You can always tell who started drinking before they came over to the party…

6. New York Giants: 7-3 (last week:7)

I don’t know, Eli, maybe the cat did it.

5. Denver Broncos: 7-3 (last week: 6)

Every party has the guy who gives awkward kisses—to everyone!

4. Oakland Raiders: 8-2 (last week: 4)

Jack Del Rio is the kind of classy gent’ who explains to you that yams are not sweet potatoes…that traditional yams are from the Caribbean region…that all you really need is a little salt, some pepper, and a good olive oil…that, hey, where in the hell’d you go!?!

3. New England Patriots: 8-2 (last week: 3)

Though you can’t tell by his expressions, Bill Belichick actually makes one hell of a sausage-based stuffing.

He also loves—loves!—Cards Against Humanity. It’s been said that, even before all the guests have arrived and your wife is fully dressed, he’ll show up, excited as hell, and will start rummaging through drawers looking for the deck.

Loves. That. Game.

(And I’m pretty sure it was him, Eli.)

2. Seattle Seahawks: 7-2-1 (last week: 1 2)

Pete Carroll thought that last year’s party was a wedding so he brought candlesticks. He also spilled the cranberry sauce and left before he could take any of the blame.

You know what, give me my list please.

  • Steve Buscemi
  • The 11th Man
  • Virgin Russell Wilson
  • Zooey Deschanel
  • The 12th Man
  • The Second Center
  • Pete Carroll

There. Solved.

1. Dallas Cowboys: 9-1 (last week: 2 1)

Coming off the greatest switcheroo in blogging/power ranking history, the Cowboys are still strong at No. 1.

And this week, they have a special correspondent, a regular guy who is willing to debate you the entire party about all-things Cowboys. He’s opinionated. He’s certain.

He’s… Colt Dallas Colt:

With that, I wish you all a happy and safe Thanksgiving. You can now go back to sleep.

Until next week, enjoy the games.

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