A couple of first-place teams took it on the chin this past week and one was knocked from the top. And a few clubs remained hot after a slow start.
Week 12 comes to a close tonight when the Houston Texans host the Tennessee Titans. And that means there will be five weeks remaining in the NFL’s 99th season. It also means no more off-weeks for any of the 32 clubs. Things are just starting to get interesting as teams vie for playoff spots.
AFC East: All four teams returned to action on Sunday after having Week 11 off. And once again, the New England Patriots are the only team in the AFC East with a winning record after the team’s 27-13 win at MetLife Stadium over the New York Jets. The Buffalo Bills did make it two straight victories as they held off the Jacksonville Jaguars, 24-21. And the Miami Dolphins slipped to 5-6 after squandering a fourth-quarter lead at Indianapolis in a last-second 27-24 setback.
AFC North: The mistake-prone Pittsburgh Steelers saw their six-game winning streak snapped in the Mile High City to the improving Denver Broncos. Mike Tomlin’s club coughed up the football four times in a 24-17 setback. Meanwhile, the Ravens and Browns notched impressive wins while the Cincinnati Bengals continued their slide. The club fell at home to Cleveland, 35-20, meaning Baker Mayfield and company ended the franchise’s 25-game road losing streak.
AFC South: The Tennessee Titans visit the Houston Texans on Monday night as Mike Vrabel’s club looks to end the AFC South leader’s seven-game winning streak. Speaking of being hot, make it five consecutive victories for the Indianapolis Colts as they rallied to defeat the visiting Dolphins, 27-24. And speaking of not, the Jacksonville Jaguars fell for the seventh straight game – this time to the Buffalo Bills, 24-21.
AFC West: While the Kansas City Chiefs were spending their off week catching their breaths after that 54-51 Monday night loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 11, the Los Angeles Chargers were rolling the Arizona Cardinals, 45-10, and the Denver Broncos were surprising the Pittsburgh Steelers, 24-17. As for the Silver and Black, Jon Gruden’s team saw the Baltimore Ravens pull away in the second half as the Raiders fell, 34-17.
NFC East: On Thanksgiving Day at Arlington, the Dallas Cowboys had an opportunity to grab the top spot in the NFC East and they came away with a 31-23 win over the Washington Redskins. The teams are tied with 6-5 records but Jason Garrett’s club has a better divisional record (3-1) than the ‘Skins (2-1). The other two members of the division also went head-to-head and the Eagles rallied from a 16-point deficit to complete a sweep of the visiting New York Giants, 25-22.
NFC North: The Chicago Bears continue their turnaround season and are on course for the franchise’s first division title since 2010. After losing 10 straight divisional games, the clubs has now defeat three straight NFC North foes, the latest a 23-16 win at Detroit on Thanksgiving. Like the NFC East, all four teams in this division were facing each other. And on Sunday night, the Minnesota Vikings kept the Green Bay Packers winless on the road this season (6-0) courtesy of a 24-17 prime time triumph.
NFC South: The New Orleans Saints feasted on Falcon(s) rather than turkey at the Superdome last Thursday night. Sean Payton’s team won its 10th straight game, 31-17, over the slumping Falcons. Speaking of skids, the Carolina Panthers also dropped their third straight contest and their first at home this season when they fell to the Seahawks, 30-27. On the other hand, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ended a four-game skid with a 27-9 win over the San Francisco 49ers.
NFC West: The Los Angeles Rams had the week off. Meanwhile, the Seattle Seahawks kept delaying the seemingly inevitable by winning at Carolina, 30-27. That means Sean McVay’s club still hasn’t wrapped up the NFC West. On the other hand, the Arizona Cardinals were rolled in Los Angeles by the Chargers, 45-10. And the San Francisco 49ers returned from their off-week only to be pushed around at Tampa by the Buccaneers, 27-9.