One club has wrapped up its division. The playoff race in both the AFC and NFC remains intriguing. And guess who the hottest team in the NFL is these days?
Week 13 wraps up on Monday night with an NFC East showdown between the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles. Meanwhile, it was another interesting installment of this wild 2018 season. One team clinched the top spot in their division. But there was an end to a few of the longest winning streaks in the league this year.
AFC East: The New England Patriots appear to be getting their act together at the right time, especially on defense. They dominated the Minnesota Vikings, 24-10. And with a win this Sunday at Miami over the Dolphins (who defeated the Buffalo Bills, 21-17), the league’s reigning dynasty can wrap up the AFC East for the 10th consecutive year. As for the opposite end of the spectrum, the New York Jets lost their sixth consecutive game, squandering a 16-0 lead in a 26-22 setback at Tennessee.
AFC North: Don’t look now, but the Baltimore Ravens are just one-half game behind the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC North. John Harbaugh’s team has won three straight games – including a 26-16 victory at Atlanta on Sunday – while the division leaders have dropped consecutive games to the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Chargers, respectively. The Ravens were the only team in the AFC North to win this week as the Bengals fell at home to Denver (24-10) and the Browns were rolled at Houston (29-13).
AFC South: The hottest team in the NFL resides in the Lone Star State and it’s not the Dallas Cowboys. The Houston Texans have won nine in a row, the latest a 29-13 triumph over the improved Cleveland Browns. Elsewhere, the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars managed to come up with ugly wins. The former rallied to beat the visiting Jets and Doug Marrone’s club shut out the Indianapolis Colts, 6-0 – snapping that team’s five-game winning streak.
AFC West: It was a big Week 13 for this division as the Kansas City Chiefs (40-33), Denver Broncos (24-10) and Los Angeles Chargers (33-30) all won on the road (at Oakland, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, respectively). The latter is back in the playoff hunt thanks to three straight wins. As for the Raiders, it’s another 10-loss season for a franchise that has been to the playoffs just once (’16) since 2003.
NFC East: The defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles take the field tonight against the Washington Redskins. And even with a victory, the Birds will still be looking up at the rejuvenated Dallas Cowboys, winners of four straight games – the latest a 13-10 victory on Thursday night against the Saints. Meanwhile, the New York Giants won for the third time in four games by surprising the first-place Chicago Bears in overtime, 30-27.
NFC North: The Bears saw their five-game winning streak end at East Rutherford in an overtime loss to the Giants. On the other hands, the other three teams in the division all fell as well. The Vikings were stifled by the New England Patriots (24-10) and the Lions lost at home to the Los Angeles Rams, 30-16. But the big news came at Lambeau Field as the Packers lost to the Cardinals, 20-17, and then fired head coach Mike McCarthy.
NFC South: Late last week, the New Orleans Saints saw their 10-game winning streak end at Dallas. Sean Payton’s team was limited to 176 total yards in the 13-10 prime time setback. The Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons both dropped their fourth consecutive contest, the former at Tampa Bay (24-17) and the latter at home to the surging Baltimore Ravens, 26-16.
NFC West: The Los Angeles Rams are NFC West champions for the second straight year as the team returned from its off week and won at Detroit, 30-16. The rejuvenated Seattle Seahawks rolled the San Francisco 49ers, 43-16, while the Arizona Cardinals stunned the Packers at Lambeau Field, 20-17.