NFL Week 12 takeaways - classes, large questions for every sport

Welcome to Week 12 of the 2022 NFL season, which opened on Thanksgiving Day with three video games.

The Detroit Lions have been internet hosting Thanksgiving video games for 88 years however have not had pretty a pair of success of late. The Buffalo funds accomplished a late comeback to beat the Lions, who’ve acquired simply six Thanksgiving video games since 2000. The Dallas Cowboys then ended a three-sport shedding streak on the journey by outlasting the NFC East rival the ny Giants. inside the ultimate Thanksgiving contest, the Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots battled forwards and backwards till the Vikings pulled away late to earn the victory.

On Sunday, the Miami Dolphins put up 30 factors on the Houston Texans inside the predominant half and triumphed, the the ny Jets started QB Mike White and acquired, the Cleveland Browns bought here from behind to drop the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in overtime and the Jacksonville Jaguars topped the Baltimore Ravens in dramatic, come-from-behind vogue.

Elsewhere, the Washington Commanders notched their seventh win by defeating the Atlanta Falcons, the Cincinnati Bengals took down the Tennessee Titans and Sam Darnold made his season debut and led the Carolina Panthers to a win over the Denver Broncos.

inside the late-afternoon window, the Kansas metropolis Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers continued to roll, whereas the l. a. Chargers‘ gutsy name to go for two late pushed them previous the Arizona Cardinals. The Las Vegas Raiders additionally acquired on a stroll-off, overtime touchdown (for the second straight week) in opposition to the Seattle Seahawks.

Capping off the day of video games was the Philadelphia Eagles getting their tenth win of the season in a matchup in opposition to the inexperienced Bay Packers.

Our NFL Nation reporters react with the largest takeaways and lingering questions off this week’s matchups and look forward to what’s subsequent. Let’s get to it.

soar to a matchup:
BUF-DET | NYG-DAL | NE-MIN
TB-CLE | CIN-TEN | CHI-NYJ | BAL-JAX
HOU-MIA | ATL-WSH | DEN-car
LAR-KC | LAC-ARI | NO-SF | LV-SEA | GB-PHI

Eagles

What to know: Quarterback Jalen Hurts is rewriting the report books. He set a mannequin new franchise extreme with 158 speeding yards — a mark beforehand held by Michael Vick (a hundred thirty yards) — and since of a monster first half, grew to become the predominant participant in not decrease than the previous 30 seasons to have a hundred twenty five go yards and a hundred twenty five rush yards in a half. Hurts’ speeding duties have elevated over the previous two weeks inside the absence of definitely one of his prime receiving targets, tight finish Dallas Goedert. it would not matter what the state of affairs requires, Hurts continues to show he can adapt and ship. that is a scary factor for the the rest of the NFL.

Will the mounting accidents meet up with them? safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson, who entered Week 12 as a outcome of the league chief in interceptions (6), left as a outcome of of a rib harm inside the predominant quarter following a collision with Packers receiver Christian Watson and did not return. The Eagles are being hit by accidents at positions with questionable depth of late, collectively with tight finish (Goedert), slot nook (Avonte Maddox) and now safety. If Gardner-Johnson misses prolonged time, it may spell factors for the again finish. — Tim McManus

subsequent sport: vs. Titans (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)


Packers

What to know: a approach or one other, it regarded like Jordan Love would get his shot in 2022. Welcome to primarily the most consideration-grabbing storyline for the the rest of this season. When Aaron Rodgers left Sunday’s loss inside the third quarter as a outcome of of an oblique harm, it opened the door for Love, the third-yr backup and doable inheritor apparent. it is on an everyday basis doable Rodgers may return subsequent week, however when not, the Packers will get the have a look at Love they want to decide his future. He gave them one factor to suppose about immediately, hitting Christian Watson on a slant for a sixty three-yard, catch-and-run touchdown after which main a area objective drive with 1:08 left. Love by no means bought a third possession as a outcome of the Packers’ protection may not get a cease inside the ultimate minute.

Why did anyone suppose the Packers’ run protection could be any good? Forgotten in all of the self-congratulation the Packers did this offseason about how good their protection was final yr and the approach good it was going to be this yr was the fact that they ranked thirtieth inside the NFL final season in speeding yards allowed per rush at 4.7. As spectacular as a outcome of the Eagles’ dynamic duo of Hurts and Miles Sanders was (Hurts with 17 rushes for 157 yards and Sanders with 21 for 143 and two TDs), defensive coordinator Joe Barry’s unit was simple pickings. — Rob Demovsky

subsequent sport: at Bears (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

Raiders

What to know: The Raiders have righted their ship and are inside the midst of one other unlikely worthwhile streak after Sunday’s overtime choice in opposition to the Seahawks. The stunning house loss to the Colts seems to be like a distant reminiscence; Denver and Seattle handing the Raiders video games will try this. It hasn’t been the prettiest of streaks, nonetheless the Raiders acquired 4 straight to power their approach into the playoffs late final season. Can they do it as quickly as extra? particularly with Josh Jacobs carrying the offense at Seattle with 303 whole scrimmage yards — primarily the most in a sport in Raiders historic previous — and the protection doing simply sufficient.

How prolonged can this streak final? effectively, the Raiders’ subsequent 4 video games are in opposition to teams which have a mixed report of 18-25 inside the Chargers (6-5), Rams (three-eight), Patriots (6-5) and Steelers (three-7), earlier than closing out in opposition to the 49ers (7-4) and Chiefs (9-2). Plus, 4 of the Raiders’ final six video games are at house. A six-sport worthwhile streak and a report of eight-7 heading into the ultimate two contests? The Raiders, who acquired in Seattle for the predominant time since 1998, would take that. — Paul Gutierrez

subsequent sport: vs. Chargers (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)


Seahawks

What to know: The Seahawks are going inside the flawed course after a disheartening overtime loss. you may presumably chalk up their defeat to Tom Brady and the Bucs in Munich to getting beat by the right QB of all time on a sloppy area. however how do you clarify shedding at house after a bye to a three-win Raiders staff? The Seahawks have been on the flawed finish of some questionable calls, however in addition they benefited from some conservative selections by the Raiders, collectively with one which gave Geno Smith and the offense an alternative to win it in OT. The Seahawks can not afford to lose to teams they want to beat when the 49ers are hitting their stride, having already overtaken Seattle inside the NFC West.

Why is the Seahawks’ protection regressing? Their turnaround on protection was key to their 4-sport worthwhile streak, however they’ve struggled in opposition to the run since. And whereas they underestimated Tampa Bay’s run sport, that wasn’t the case in opposition to Josh Jacobs and the Raiders. Jacobs’ 86-yard touchdown run in overtime was a becoming finish to a sport all by way of which Seattle repeatedly bought overpowered to the tune of 283 speeding yards. The Seahawks’ go protection bought here up with two interceptions from Quandre Diggs, nonetheless the go rush did not get virtually sufficient strain on Derek Carr. — Brady Henderson

subsequent sport: at Rams (Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET)

49ers

What to know: The 49ers’ offense was asleep for lots of Sunday’s sport, which was simple to see coming due to a quick journey week following an prolonged preserve in Colorado and Mexico metropolis. nonetheless the protection dominated, and the Niners bought their fourth win in a row and first shutout since October 2019. It was sufficient to get the job achieved in opposition to New Orleans, however San Francisco can not afford such a flat offensive efficiency subsequent week with outdated pal Mike McDaniel and the Dolphins coming to metropolis.

Will the Niners ever permit a second-half level as quickly as extra? the reply is sure, nonetheless the 49ers have not yielded a second-half rating since per week 7 loss to the Chiefs, a streak of 4 video games. This protection’s skill to close video games ought to are accessible in useful as a outcome of the Niners make their postseason push. — Nick Wagoner

subsequent sport: vs. Dolphins (Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET)


Saints

What to know: The Saints proceed to play like a foul staff in every approach. working again Alvin Kamara fumbled twice, Wil Lutz missed a area objective, a takeaway was negated by a penalty and the Saints merely may not get into the prime zone. the identical factors that plagued the Saints earlier inside the season proceed to level out up now, and it feels uncertain at this level they’re going to flip issues round.

What occurred to the Saints’ run sport? It was clear the Saints have been going to have trouble working the ball in opposition to the 49ers’ rush protection, nonetheless the outcome was even worse than anticipated, with quarterback Andy Dalton main New Orleans with 21 yards. The Saints have solely amassed larger than one hundred web speeding yards as quickly as beforehand six video games. Even the return of two starting linemen did nothing to assist, and Kamara’s fumbles put his whole at 4 this season, tying a profession extreme. — Katherine Terrell

subsequent sport: at Buccaneers (Dec. 5, eight:15 p.m. ET)

Chargers

What to know: The Chargers’ playoff hopes are alive after a daring choice by coach Brandon Staley to go for a two-level conversion for the win over the Cardinals barely than kicking an extra level and settling for added time. After dropping again-to-again video games and slipping out of the AFC playoff picture, Sunday’s matchup in opposition to the struggling playing cards was a should-win. The victory improved the Chargers’ probability of a postseason berth to 60%, based mostly on ESPN analytics, whereas a loss would have dropped it to 36%.

How can the Chargers repair their sluggish begins? The Chargers have flip into synonymous with sluggish begins, digging themselves proper into a double-digit hole in six video games this season however managing to go 4-2 in such cases. The Bolts nonetheless face an uphill battle to make the postseason, with video games remaining in opposition to the Dolphins (eight-three) and Titans (7-4), and should uncover a approach to get rid of their inconsistent begins in the event that they want to make a run down the stretch. — Lindsey Thiry

subsequent sport: at Raiders (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)


Cardinals

What to know: Sunday’s efficiency was a snapshot of what may’ve been had the Cardinals been in a place to place huge receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Marquise Brown on the sector collectively forward of Week 12. the two mixed for 133 yards and a touchdown on 10 catches. nonetheless it was the unpredictability they delivered to the Cardinals’ offense in a ultimate-second loss to the Chargers that sparked primarily the most marvel about what may’ve been had Hopkins not been suspended for six video games and Brown not damaged his foot.

At 4-eight, is the Cardinals’ season over? It constructive seems to be that approach. Wilders issues have occurred, nonetheless the hill to get into playoff opponents simply bought a full lot steeper for Arizona, which now sits shut to the underside of the NFC. — Josh Weinfuss

subsequent sport: vs. Patriots (Dec. 12, eight:15 p.m. ET)

Chiefs

What to know: The Chiefs can not be tempted to make the most of rookie huge receiver Skyy Moore as their punt returner as quickly as extra. Moore’s fumble, his third on a punt return this season, did not value the Chiefs of their win over the Rams. however turnovers are one factor that will convey the Chiefs down, to permit them to’t afford to hazard it with Moore as quickly as extra. The Chiefs have some sufficient selections to return punts, collectively with Justin Watson and, when he returns from injured reserve later this season, Mecole Hardman.

ought to the Chiefs proceed to make the most of the three-participant working again rotation for the the rest of season? sure. The Chiefs acquired significant contributions from Isiah Pacheco, Jerick McKinnon and Ronald Jones in opposition to l. a. of their first sport with out the injured Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Getting regular play from all three backs hasn’t occurred a lot this season. The Chiefs ought to transfer forward with the sturdy working from Pacheco and Jones and the go-catching from McKinnon, even after Edwards-Helaire returns. — Adam Teicher

subsequent sport: at Bengals (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)


Rams

What to know: At three-eight, the Rams are using this ultimate stretch to get your hands on out if any of the depth they’ve needed to make the most of this season may be an ingredient of their future. as a outcome of of accidents, l. a. has been compelled to rely upon gamers it did not anticipate to make the most of. collectively with lacking quarterback Matthew Stafford and huge receiver Cooper Kupp, the Rams have started eleven completely different offensive line mixtures in eleven video games. The Rams entered Sunday’s contest with a zero.9% probability to make the playoffs, so their focus going forward should be to see if gamers similar to working again Kyren Williams or huge receivers Van Jefferson, Tutu Atwell and Brandon Powell can have roles going forward.

Will Stafford play as quickly as extra this season? Sean McVay mentioned he is undecided whether or not Stafford, who’s inside the concussion protocol, could be again on the sector for any of the Rams’ six ultimate video games. Stafford missed two video games in three weeks inside the concussion protocol, and McVay was clear final week that the staff wouldn’t do something “reckless” with its quarterback’s well being. The smarter play may be to shield Stafford from these meaningless video games and maintain him out for the the rest of the season. — Sarah Barshop

subsequent sport: vs. Seahawks (Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET)

Jaguars

What to know: Trevor Lawrence constructive regarded like a franchise quarterback on Sunday. He led the Jaguars to a sport-worthwhile touchdown drive and two-level conversion with 14 seconds remaining in what’s unquestionably the signature victory in his two seasons. Not solely did he come up large when it mattered, it seems to be like he found the consistency that head coach Doug Pederson has mentioned was the subsequent step in his progress. that is the third sport in a row all by way of which he is accomplished larger than 70 % of his passes and had a passer rating larger than one hundred — the predominant time in his two-yr profession he is achieved that.

Have the Jaguars found out one factor behind RB Travis Etienne Jr.? The fear when the staff traded James Robinson on Oct. 25 was what occurs if Etienne will get harm? JaMycal Hasty hadn’t achieved a lot — 24 yards on thirteen touches as a outcome of the commerce — and Snoop Conner had performed simply two snaps. nonetheless, Hasty bought here up large after Etienne went down inside the predominant half in opposition to the Ravens, accounting for ninety five whole yards and a touchdown. He confirmed in opposition to an excellent protection that he may be an environment nice function participant and the state of affairs will get larger as quickly as Darrell Henderson Jr., claimed off waivers final week, will get on prime of issues, particularly if Etienne is out for any time interval. — Mike DiRocco

subsequent sport: at Lions (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

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zero:28

Marvin Jones Jr. will get his ft down in bounds inside the waning seconds for a touchdown. The Jaguars elect to go for two for the win and convert.


Ravens

What to know: Down by one level with 4 minutes remaining, Lamar Jackson transformed a second-and-20 collectively with his most interesting go of the season. He uncorked a sixty two-yard throw to 35-yr-outdated huge receiver DeSean Jackson, who had gotten behind two defenders. earlier than that throw, Jackson was having definitely one of his worst passing video games (thirteen-of-29 for 168 yards). Jackson entered this sport ending simply 24% of his throws that traveled larger than 20 yards inside the air (which was larger than solely the benched Zach Wilson inside the NFL). Jackson then accomplished off the drive hitting Josh Oliver for a 12-yard rating, his first touchdown go since Nov. 7. The Ravens have now misplaced three video games when main by a quantity of scores inside the fourth quarter, tied for primarily the most in a season in NFL historic previous.

what goes on on with the Ravens inside the pink zone? The Baltimore offense is retaining lesser teams in video games by failing to full off drives. The Ravens are three-of-9 inside the pink zone the final two video games, collectively with 2-of-5 on Sunday. Jackson is struggling contained in the 20-yard line after excelling there for years. over the previous two weeks, Jackson is 2-of-10 passing for 17 yards inside the pink zone. From 2018 to 2021, Jackson had accomplished 60.2% of his pink-zone passes, throwing fifty nine touchdowns and two interceptions. — Jamison Hensley

subsequent sport: vs. Broncos (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

Commanders

What to know: all by way of teaching camp, Washington envisioned Brian Robinson excelling on vitality carries and serving to administration the clock. He suffered a shut to-tragic setback after getting shot in late August, and it took time for him to return to his outdated methods. however Robinson has continued to slowly progress, surpassing one hundred yards for the predominant time in his profession in opposition to Atlanta. Robinson’s working has been a key set off Washington has acquired six of its previous seven video games.

How does this have an effect on Washington’s playoff probabilities? Washington is in an excellent place for the ultimate stretch, climbing two video games above .500 for the predominant time since 2018. They’re now a half-sport behind the Giants — and in addition they play them twice inside the subsequent three weeks. Washington shall be in command of a playoff spot with a sweep. it is going to be consideration-grabbing to see which quarterback takes the reins down the stretch: They’ve caught with Taylor Heinicke as a outcome of they have been worthwhile, however Carson Wentz additionally wasn’t ready to return from a fractured proper ring finger. however as quickly as they preserve worthwhile, Heinicke probably continues to get the begins. — John Keim

subsequent sport: at Giants (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)


Falcons

What to know: It regarded so, so acquainted. a large quantity of working backs punishing an opposing entrance seven, working no matter the down and distance. using play-movement and quarterback movement to protect defenses from stacking an extreme quantity of in opposition to the run. the draw again for the Falcons on Sunday? It was Washington that was executing Atlanta’s offensive sport plan, and pulling it off with extra precision. Even so, the Falcons have been inside the pink zone with an alternative to win it earlier than a batted Marcus Mariota go was intercepted.

the place does this staff stand by approach of the playoff race? The loss to the Commanders does harm to any potential wild-card hopes as Washington would now maintain the pinnacle-to-head tiebreaker. Atlanta nonetheless holds tiebreakers over Seattle and San Francisco, nonetheless the Falcons have additionally misplaced three of their previous 4 video games. The loss additionally hurts their probabilities to win the NFC South — although Tampa Bay’s loss to Cleveland retains the Falcons inside a half-sport of the lead inside the weirdest division in soccer. — Michael Rothstein

subsequent sport: vs. Steelers (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

Browns

What to know: Jacoby Brissett went out a winner. In what’s going to probably be his ultimate start as Cleveland’s starting quarterback, Brissett led the Browns on a sport-tying touchdown drive on the prime of regulation. Then, he arrange the sport-worthwhile touchdown — which working again Nick Chubb punched in from three yards out in overtime — to defeat the Bucs. Brissett has exceeded all expectations in his eleven video games as Cleveland’s starter. His late-sport heroics in a win over Tom Brady may finally be a becoming finale.

Can the Browns construct off this victory? regardless of being 4-7, Cleveland isn’t fully out of the AFC playoff race. The Browns can afford simply one other loss, and likely will nonetheless want assist. however Cleveland has the expertise to reel off wins. — Jake Trotter

subsequent sport: at Texans (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)


Buccaneers

What to know: due to the Falcons’ loss to the Commanders, Tom Brady and the Bucs stay in first place inside the NFC South, however shedding All-professional proper sort out Tristan Wirfs for any size of time and presumably the the rest of the season after he was carted off the sector with a left leg harm can have devastating ramifications. The offense has already struggled to place factors on the board, and shedding him creates an excellent thinner margin for error.

What do you make of the Bucs’ protection? the factors that plagued the protection earlier inside the season surfaced in opposition to the Browns — a sluggish start, lack of hole administration, overpursuit and costly penalties. Linebacker Joe Tryon-Shoyinka’s aggressiveness was exploited on the reverse to Anthony Schwartz that resulted in a 31-yard touchdown on the opening drive, and as quickly as as quickly as extra, linebacker Devin White was slapped with a costly penalty that resulted in a fifty one-yard area objective. They buckled down for rather a lot of of the second half, however they nonetheless can not put collectively a full efficiency. — Jenna Laine

subsequent sport: vs. Saints (Dec. 5, eight:15 p.m. ET)

Panthers

What to know: The merry-go-spherical at quarterback is over. The job is Sam Darnold ‘s for the foreseeable future. Darnold did precisely what interim coach Steve Wilks envisioned — and what former coach Matt Rhule needed. He performed all by way of the system, bought the ball to receiver DJ Moore, did not make any errors and let the protection do the relaxation. His one mistake, a fumble, he recovered and scored on. With an excellent schedule, Carolina (4-eight) may even make a run inside the weak NFC South.

Will Baker Mayfield be on the roster in two weeks? Carolina has seen all it wants of Mayfield, 1-5 as a outcome of the starter. So shifting forward, search for PJ Walker to be the backup and Mayfield to be inactive at most interesting. That Mayfield has continued to exhibit management may preserve him on the roster. however with the Week thirteen bye, this might be an excellent time to launch him, signal a youthful quarterback to the observe squad and get him ready for an emergency state of affairs. — David Newton

subsequent sport: at Seahawks (Dec. eleven, 4:25 p.m. ET)


Broncos

What to know: It turns into clearer with every dismal exhibiting on offense that with a league-main quantity of gamers on injured reserve, the Broncos proceed to name performs for the staff they want that they had on the sector as a alternative of the one actually in uniform. When the sport was nonetheless inside the stability, they continued to play with the formation huge open, as if their left sort out and starting center aren’t on injured reserve — and as if three of the receivers in uniform aren’t undrafted gamers, with two being rookies.

Have the Broncos’ offensive woes lastly damaged the staff’s protection as effectively? it is one factor when it is Raiders receiver Davante Adams romping by way of the protection, however when the offensively challenged Panthers, with their third completely different starting quarterback of the season and an interim head coach, line up and administration the highway of scrimmage, it ought to sound the alarm. With the run-heavy Ravens subsequent week, the Broncos want some complementary soccer — as in an offense that not decrease than eats a whereas when it would not rating any factors — or their protection will get pulled down into the shedding swirl as effectively. — Jeff Legwold

subsequent sport: at Ravens (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

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zero:22

Sam Darnold finds DJ Moore for the quarterback’s first touchdown go of the season.

Bengals

What to know: Cincinnati picked up a key win to start its hardest stretch of the season. moving into Sunday, 5 of the Bengals’ ultimate seven opponents have been ranked forward of Cincinnati inside the AFC standings. In a rematch of their divisional spherical sport final yr, Cincinnati’s victory in a low-scoring sport at Tennessee confirmed the identical mettle that helped the Bengals make a deep postseason run final season.

ought to Samaje Perine be extra involved inside the offense? When working again Joe Mixon returns after being out with a concussion, Perine has earned the right for a pair of extra carries. The numbers might not counsel it (fifty eight yards on 17 makes an try), however Perine was environment nice all by way of the sport, scoring a touchdown. Between Perine, Trayveon Williams and Chris Evans, Cincinnati has some reliable depth at working again. — Ben youngster

subsequent sport: vs. Chiefs (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)


Titans

What to know: The Titans’ second-half woes resurfaced. Tennessee added to its poor second-half scoring common by scoring six factors Sunday. the lack to discover a rhythm on offense past the second quarter has plagued the Titans all season. This event was notably alarming as a outcome of the Bengals beat the Titans at their very personal sport. They have been the extra bodily staff on every side. consequently, the Titans misplaced a third straight sport to the Bengals. Cincinnati simply seems to have their quantity.

Is Treylon Burks positioned to be the No. 1 receiver going forward? Burks’ leaping fifty one-yard reception late inside the third quarter marked the second week all by way of which he is had a catch of fifty yards or extra. although they misplaced the sport, Burks seems to have emerged as a outcome of the Titans’ No. 1 receiver after a stint on injured reserve. Burks’ emergence is well timed contemplating Tennessee will face former Titans No. 1 receiver A.J. Brown and the Eagles subsequent week. — Turron Davenport

subsequent sport: at Eagles (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

Dolphins

What to know: Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel mentioned he was pleased collectively with his staff’s focus and work ethic following its Week eleven bye. His gamers proved him proper by taking a 30-zero lead by halftime. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was pulled midway by way of the third quarter after ending 22 of 36 passes for 299 yards and a touchdown, pushing his streak with out an interception to 5 video games. The win areas the Dolphins again atop the AFC East and retains them in command of their very personal future as they search their first division title since 2008.

Will three straight highway video games in December reveal who the Dolphins actually are? Ever as a outcome of the schedule bought here out in might, this upcoming stretch was circled as a outcome of the one which might outline the Dolphins’ season. They’re on the 49ers, on the Chargers and on the funds to start out the month earlier than internet hosting the Packers on Christmas. There aren’t any extra pushovers remaining on the Dolphins’ schedule and, contemplating the AFC East race, they will ailing afford to drop a quantity of of their upcoming video games. Miami has just recently been spoken of as prime-of-the-line teams in each the AFC and NFL — this ultimate stretch may take away all doubt. — Marcel Louis-Jacques

subsequent sport: at 49ers (Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET)


Texans

What to know: one other season misplaced for the Texans, who’re 1-9-1 and headed in the direction of the No. 1 decide inside the 2023 NFL draft. they want to discover an prolonged-time period reply at quarterback. The group had hoped that 2021 third-spherical decide Davis Mills may blossom proper into a franchise quarterback after a formidable rookie yr. however Mills threw eleven interceptions by way of his first 10 begins and was benched. Backup Kyle Allen wasn’t any larger in his first start, as he produced a passer rating of sixty seven.eight with an interception and a touchdown. Now the Texans’ offseason will focus on discovering which quarterback coming out inside the 2023 draft can pace up this rebuild. Alabama’s Bryce youthful, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and Kentucky’s Will Levis are amongst the various selections.

Will Lovie Smith be one-and-achieved as head coach? The Texans regarded worse than final week in opposition to the Washington Commanders as quickly as that they had solely 5 yards at half. in opposition to the Dolphins, the Texans barely had extra yards (32) inside the predominant half than the Dolphins had factors (30). The Texans’ schedule would not get any simpler. They face the Cleveland Browns with former Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson subsequent week. They then face the Cowboys, Chiefs, Jaguars, Titans and Colts to full the season. If Smith finishes 2-14-1 or three-thirteen-1, it is not assured he’ll return. — DJ Bien-Aime

subsequent sport: vs. Browns (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

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zero:27

Texans tight finish Jordan Akins loses the ball, and Xavien Howard recovers for a Dolphins touchdown.

Jets

What to know: New starting quarterback Mike White did not simply current a spark; he launched a full-blown inferno in his season debut. changing the demoted Zach Wilson, White delivered the Jets’ most interesting passing day of the season. He threw three touchdowns, linked with 10 completely different receivers and did all of it with out a lot assist from the underside sport for three quarters. as a alternative of taking half in to not lose — the most interesting approach they do with Wilson — the Jets utilized a vertical passing assault. The offense had a persona transplant, all as a outcome of of White, who made coach Robert Saleh appear to be a genius for making the change.

Can Elijah Moore be an X challenge for the playoff push? fully. It took a whereas, however this was Moore’s breakout sport of the season, with two catches for sixty 4 yards and his first touchdown. Moore, who requested a commerce in October as a outcome of he was unhappy collectively with his utilization, was an absolute nonfactor with Wilson at quarterback. We’re talking solely two catches for 17 yards in his earlier 4 video games. He bought here alive with White, who sees the sector larger than Wilson and will get everyone involved. Welcome again, Elijah Moore. — rich Cimini

subsequent sport: at Vikings (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)


Bears

What to know: effectively, that was dramatic. Trevor Siemian ended up getting the start in opposition to the Jets rather than Justin Fields (shoulder) after the veteran backup injured an oblique in warmth-ups and the Bears introduced Nathan Peterman as QB1. Siemian led again-to-again drives that resulted in Chicago’s solely 10 factors of the sport and had a pair of fantastic moments, getting Chase Claypool and Byron Pringle involved, however that was brief lived.

When will Justin Fields return? The Bears open December with inexperienced Bay at house earlier than lastly reaching their bye in Week 14. Giving Fields the subsequent two weeks to heal his separated left shoulder may be the smartest play. however when that is strictly a ache administration challenge, and if Fields can do extra in observe this week, the Bears might decide to let him play in opposition to the Packers. in the meantime, the Bears suffered an onslaught of accidents Sunday (safety Eddie Jackson, huge receiver Darnell Mooney and offensive linemen Riley Reiff and Larry Borom). — Courtney Cronin

subsequent sport: vs. Packers (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

Thursday

Vikings

What to know: The Vikings reversed the dangerous karma of their historic Week eleven loss to the Cowboys by beating the Patriots, their second victory over a worthwhile staff beforehand three weeks. At 9-2, closing in on an NFC North title and nonetheless inside differ of the NFC’s No. 1 general seed, the Vikings are again inside the dialogue as definitely one of many NFL’s prime teams. They’ve now acquired all eight video games they’ve performed which have been decided by one possession, tied for the longest worthwhile streak in such video games for one season in league historic previous.

Is there something the Vikings can not do with Justin Jefferson? At this level, it is arduous to take into consideration one factor! Thursday night, he caught 9 of the eleven passes thrown his approach for 139 yards and a touchdown in opposition to a protection that blended its coverages in opposition to him as effectively as to any opponent this season. Quarterback Kirk Cousins mentioned the Patriots have been altering up the variety of double teams they used in opposition to him and solely sometimes left him in true single safety. — Kevin Seifert

subsequent sport: vs. Jets (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)


Patriots

What to know: The Patriots have been zero-for-three inside the pink zone, three-of-10 on third down and dedicated 5 penalties that led to Vikings first downs. that is not a system for worthwhile soccer. The Patriots entered the sport as a outcome of the NFL’s thirty first-ranked pink zone offense and have been going up in opposition to the league’s final-rated pink zone protection. The pink zone stays a extreme concern.

If the Patriots may not cease Justin Jefferson, what’s going to they do in opposition to Stefon Diggs subsequent week? As Devin McCourty mentioned after the sport, “We play like that in opposition to No. 1 guys, it may be an prolonged yr.” The Patriots’ protection stepped up in faculty, going by way of quarterback Kirk Cousins and Jefferson, and the outcomes regarded rather a lot completely different from the prior weeks in opposition to much less-threatening offenses. they are going to be going by way of pretty a pair of offensive firepower the the rest of the most interesting approach — starting with Buffalo subsequent week. — Mike Reiss

subsequent sport: vs. funds (Thursday, eight:15 p.m. ET)

funds

What to know: The funds offense has some factors, however their stars carried out as quickly as they needed them which is an important step. Coming into the sport, Buffalo was 1-9 when trailing inside the fourth quarter over the previous two years. however quarterback Josh Allen and receiver Stefon Diggs led the unit downfield on again-to-again drives, connecting on 5 targets for sixty five yards and a rating on the ultimate two drives to win the sport. however bettering inside the pink zone stays a precedence for the offense.

What’s subsequent at cornerback? Cornerback Tre’Davious White was lively for the predominant time since tearing his ACL on Thanksgiving final yr, however performed simply the predominant two sequence (15 snaps). After that, Buffalo principally performed rookie Christian Benford and Dane Jackson. Coach Sean McDermott mentioned White performed all by way of the differ of snaps they anticipated. With a large sport developing in opposition to the Patriots, White’s availability may be key as a outcome of the protection continues permitting opposing No. 1 receivers to surpass one hundred yards in video games. — Alaina Getzenberg

subsequent sport: at Patriots (Thursday, eight:15 p.m. ET)


Lions

What to know: The Detroit Lions have proved they will compete with the league’s most interesting after a detailed loss to the Buffalo funds. Now they want to get your hands on out a approach to win these tight video games by way of larger clock administration and choice-making down the stretch. The Lions are 2-7 in opposition to teams at present .500 or larger. All of their video games have been in opposition to teams at present .500 or larger aside from his or her wins in opposition to the inexperienced Bay Packers and Chicago Bears.

Is linebacker James Houston‘s debut efficiency for exact? To an extent, however let’s not get carried away. he is not anticipated to place up two sacks with a fumble restoration in every sport, nonetheless the Lions can uncover a job for him. He grew to become the predominant participant with two sacks in his NFL debut since 2017 (Myles Garrett and T.J. Watt). nobody’s asking him to level out into these gamers, nonetheless the Lions’ protection, which ranks final in go rush win price (29.1%), may use a defensive playmaker subsequent to fellow rookie Aidan Hutchinson. — Eric Woodyard

subsequent sport: vs. Jaguars (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

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Rob Ninkovich weighs in on how Von Miller’s harm can have an effect on the funds’ large Bowl hopes.

Cowboys

What to know: this might be 12 days that variety the Cowboys’ season. After shedding to inexperienced Bay in overtime Nov. thirteen, the Cowboys responded with two wins in 4 days by beating Minnesota and the the ny Giants. They have been virtually good vs. the Vikings and fewer so in opposition to the Giants, however they bought to eight-three and swept their divisional rival. “It was a win,” mentioned Dak Prescott, who rebounded from two first-half interceptions with two second-half touchdowns. “It was a win in opposition to a division opponent and typically all that issues is the win.”

Do the Cowboys want to signal Odell Beckham Jr.? maybe they do not. CeeDee Lamb has two one hundred-yard receiving video games inside the final three video games. Michael Gallup is exhibiting indicators that his surgically repaired knee is not an challenge. And the tight finish group of Dalton Schultz, Jake Ferguson, Peyton Hendershot and Sean McKeon is exhibiting they might be a featured an ingredient of the offense. Beckham may even be a Cowboy, however they will not want him to be their lead receiver. He can are accessible in, after an prolonged layoff from a torn ACL, and be a contributor. — Todd Archer

subsequent sport: vs. Colts (Sunday, eight:20 p.m. ET)


Giants

What to know: So maybe making the playoffs goes to be a battle for this Giants staff, particularly with all of the accidents. they are not gifted or deep sufficient and it reveals as quickly as they play larger opponents. the ny (7-4) overachieved inside the predominant half of the season however that is now consecutive losses, and their schedule isn’t about to get simpler. The matchups with Washington are going to be enormous. they look simply like the Giants’ biggest menace for the NFC’s ultimate wild-card spot.

Will the Giants be healthful for the stretch run? After Thursday’s loss coach Brian Daboll indicated he did not suppose any of the latest accidents have been going to be future. The Giants have been already anticipating starting exterior linebacker Azeez Ojulari, left guard Ben Bredeson and proper sort out Evan Neal again for his or her subsequent sport in opposition to Washington. Daboll’s suggestions appear to insinuate cornerback Fabian Moreau may be again, as effectively. these are 4 pretty crucial gamers that should be returning comparatively quickly for the Giants’ stretch run. — Jordan Raanan

subsequent sport: vs. Commanders (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

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