32. Carolina Panthers
After making sweeping changes, the Panthers appeared unimproved in their first game under interim coach Chris Tabor. Of course, not much can change in less than one week, but Carolina’s effort was less than desirable in a loss to the Buccaneers. Star defender Brian Burns — an impending free agent — got himself tossed after punching a Tampa Bay player in the helmet. No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young completed 15-of-31 passes for 178 yards and an interception. On the year, Young has nine TDs and nine INTs.
31. New England Patriots
For the third-straight week, the Patriots held their opponent under 10 points. And, for the third-straight week, the Patriots lost the game. They are the only team this season to lose while holding their opponent to 10 or less — and they’ve done it three times! Just another decrepit performance from this offense. Whether it’s Bailey Zappe or Mac Jones, this is not a functional group. We can expect a similarly low-scoring affair when the Patriots take on the Steelers (sans starting QB Kenny Pickett) this Thursday.
30. Washington Commanders
Washington didn’t stand much of a chance against a surging Dolphins team. A terrible defensive rep on Miami’s third play from scrimmage resulted in a 78-yard touchdown for Tyreek Hill. On that play, RB Devon Achane could also be seen streaking down field. Miami could have had an easy score going to either option. That play was a microcosm of the season for this struggling Washington secondary. The game was essentially iced when Sam Howell threw a pick to Andrew Van Ginkel at the end of the first quarter. The Commanders have allowed 150 points over their current four-game losing streak.
29. New York Jets
The Jets suffered their fifth-straight loss in a lifeless performance versus the Falcons. New York put up eight points on the day, thanks to two Greg Zuerlein kicks and a safety. The team has not scored more than 13 points since Week 6, and have failed to score at least 10 in three of their previous five games. Things are going to get awkward in the Jets’ facility this week. Reportedly, the team wants to bring back Zach Wilson as the starter just two weeks after benching him for Tim Boyle. Wilson is reportedly uneager to reclaim his role and could potentially refuse. 2024 cannot come soon enough for the Jets.
28. Arizona Cardinals
Battling a lengthy delay, the Cardinals got their second win since Kyler Murray’s return. It was Murray’s backfield mate, James Conner, who did the heavy lifting in this one. Conner ran all over his former team, rushing for 105 yards and two scores. At 3-10, the Cardinals are firmly out of the playoff race. But, stacking wins for a young team that won just four games last year can be impactful. Arizona enters its Bye, and will end the year with the following schedule: vs. SF, @ CHI, @ PHI, vs. SEA.
27. Chicago Bears
Chicago’s defense led the team to its fourth victory of the season on Monday night. Led by a brilliant showing from T.J. Edwards, the defense intercepted four passes and held Minnesota to one touchdown — scored late in the fourth quarter — en route to a rare intra-division win. Justin Fields fumbled twice and nearly cost Chicago the game, but he did lead the Bears into field goal range on their final possession.
26. New York Giants
Two wins in a row for Tommy DeVito and the New York Giants. While New York’s offense didn’t find a ton of success on the day (220 total yards), it found a way to score enough points to win the game. DeVito finished 17-of-25 for 191 yards and one touchdown. New York’s defense came up huge as Bobby Okereke’s interception and subsequent 55-yard return gifted DeVito a short field — DeVito found Isaiah Hodgins for a 12-yard TD six plays after Okereke’s pick. The third INT of the game once again resulted in a short field for the Giants, and helped setup the game-winning field goal.
25. Tennessee Titans
Any chance the Titans had of sneaking into the playoff picture was likely dashed with a close loss to the Colts in Week 13. Tennessee had its chance to secure the win, but seemingly couldn’t get out of its own way. While several factors contributed to the loss, the Titans’ special teams had an especially rough day. The Titans had two punts blocked (one returned for a touchdown) and missed an extra point that would have given them a late lead.
24. New Orleans Saints
New Orleans’ season has been a colossal failure. A 5-7 record is a complete letdown considering how easy their schedule has been. They currently sit in third-place in the easiest division in the league. After a disappointing loss to the Falcons a week ago, the Saints came out with no energy and fell into a 21-0 hole versus Detroit. The Saints gradually battled back, but a costly Derek Carr fumble (forced by his lineman) led to a backbreaking Detroit score to make it a two-possession game. Jameis Winston ended the game under center after Carr exited with an injury. Winston was able to lead one scoring drive, but threw three-straight incompletions on New Orleans’ final possession to seal the loss.
23. Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers won the game. That’s about all that can be said about LA’s performance against a hapless Patriots squad. All it took was two field goals to take down Bill Belichick’s group. Chargers HC Brandon Staley should surely be pleased with the performance. It’s the best LA’s defense has looked since the defensive-minded Staley took over as coach. Former Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack notched two sacks on the day. He’s up to 15.0 sacks on the year — which leads the league and ties his career-high.
22. Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati’s Super Bowl hopes were dashed when Joe Burrow was ruled out for the season with a wrist injury, and it fell below .500 one week later with a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. On Monday night, however, the Bengals pulled off an unlikely upset in Jacksonville. Backup QB Jake Browning was fantastic — 32-of-37 for 354 yards and one touchdown — and Joe Mixon scored twice on the ground. With the win, Cincinnati pulled within one game of a playoff spot in the AFC.
21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay needed this win badly for its playoff hopes. It wasn’t pretty, but the Buccaneers could not afford a loss to the one-win Panthers with the NFC South race so close. Carolina took a second-half lead after a Chuba Hubbard touchdown run, but the Bucs quickly responded with a Mike Evans 75-yard touchdown pass from Baker Mayfield. Chris Godwin got in on the action to start the fourth, scampering for a 19-yard TD run. Tampa’s next game will be against the first-place Falcons. A win for Tampa Bay would force a tie atop the division.
20. Las Vegas Raiders
Through 20 minutes of action, the Raiders looked like a team on a mission. Las Vegas began the game with the ball, and Aidan O’Connell led the team 75 yards on nine plays — capping things off with a touchdown pass to Jakobi Meyers. Vegas’ defense quickly forced a three-and-out on Kansas City’s first possession, and the offense once again marched down the field on its following drive. Facing a 4th & 1 from KC’s 12-yard line, however, the Raiders opted to attempt a field goal…and Daniel Carlson missed the 30-yard kick. The defense forced another punt, and Josh Jacobs increased Vegas’ lead to 14 points two plays later with a 63-yard dash to the end zone. Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there. Vegas was outscored 31-3 following Jacobs’ electric touchdown.
19. Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons are back to .500 after fending off a reeling Jets team. Desmond Ridder didn’t put up extraordinary numbers (12-for-27, 121 yards, one TD), but was able to avoid any costly turnovers while connecting on the game’s only touchdown. Now one game ahead of the rest of the division, Atlanta holds the cards in the NFC South. They’re 3-0 in division play. If they can pull off a win over the Bucs and Week 14 and improve to 4-0, the division is all but theirs.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh may have seen its playoff hopes disappear in a tough Week 13 loss. Not only did the Steelers lose to an inferior team at home, but they also lost their starting quarterback Kenny Pickett for multiple weeks. Pickett has endured some struggles to begin his career, but has looked far more comfortable since the firing of former OC Matt Canada. And, he’s a far more reliable option than Mitch Trubisky who finished out the loss in Pickett’s absence. The Steelers should pick up another win on Thursday versus the Pats, but this loss hurts.
17. Cleveland Browns
For a moment, it seemed like Joe Flacco was going to lead the Browns to a victory just days after being summoned from the confines of his living room couch. Flacco led a pristine touchdown drive on the game’s opening possession, capped off with a pass to RB Jerome Ford for a 24-yard score. However, Cleveland’s vaunted defense struggled against Matthew Stafford and the Rams. The Browns are still currently positioned for one of the Wild Card spots, but several teams — with less problematic QB situations — are on their heels.
16. Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota will be kicking itself at the end of the year if it misses the playoffs by one game. Joshua Dobbs put up a complete stinker against the Bears. The fan favorite threw four interceptions, and was fortunate to not throw at least two more. The defense did its part — limiting Chicago to four field goals and forcing two late turnovers. Minnesota is now in a multi-team battle for the final playoff spot in the NFC.
15. Los Angeles Rams
Winners of three in a row, the Los Angeles Rams are firmly in the mix for the final playoff spot in the NFC. Los Angeles put together a solid all-around performance in its win over the Browns this past Sunday. Matthew Stafford threw for 279 yards and three touchdowns — with Puka Nacua leading the way with 105 receiving yards. Kyren Williams had another good game, as well. In his second game back on the field, Williams amassed 112 total yards and one score. If the Rams can knock off Baltimore this week, they should be favored to reach the postseason. Los Angeles’ next three games are against Washington, New Orleans and the Giants.
14. Denver Broncos
Russell Wilson picked a bad time to have his worst game of the season. Facing the 6-5 Houston Texans with a chance at jumping into a playoff position, Wilson threw three costly interceptions in a five-point loss. Wilson was intercepted on three of Denver’s final four drives. The first INT allowed Houston to increase its lead to 12 points with ease, and the final pick occurred in Houston’s end zone — ending Denver’s comeback bid. The Broncos are still in the thick of the hunt, but this loss hurts.
13. Green Bay Packers
On a night in which Jordan Love’s mannerisms clearly resembled Aaron Rodgers, the young quarterback led his team to a victory over Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. Love has played some very good football in recent weeks, and the Packers have taken their game to a new level in response. Green Bay has won three games in a row — including back-to-back wins over playoff contenders (Detroit, KC). Over his last three games, Love has eight TD passes and zero interceptions.
12. Indianapolis Colts
As a result of Sunday’s overtime victory over Tennessee, the Colts currently occupy the No. 7 seed in the AFC. Indianapolis has taken advantage of its soft schedule, winning four in a row over the likes of Carolina, New England, Tampa Bay and Tennessee — teams with a combined record of 12-36. Minshew lost one fumble, but otherwise had a strong game. The veteran QB threw for 312 yards and two touchdowns and found great success targeting Michael Pittman Jr. The stud wideout finished with 11 catches for 105 yards and one TD.
11. Seattle Seahawks
A few weeks ago, Seattle appeared to be on its way to an easy playoff berth. The Seahawks began the year 5-2 and were atop the NFC West. However, they have since lost four-of-five and are currently out of the playoff field. On Thursday, Seattle’s offense had its way with Dallas’ defense. Geno Smith threw for over 300 yards and found DK Metcalf for three touchdowns. Rookie running back Zach Charbonnet scored his first TD of the season, as well. Unfortunately, the defense couldn’t stop Dallas late and the Cowboys scored 14-straight points in the fourth quarter to win the game.
10. Houston Texans
The good news, Houston defeated Denver to improve its chances of reaching the postseason. The bad news, rookie wideout Tank Dell broke his leg in the first quarter and is now going to miss the rest of the season. Losing Dell is a huge blow. The rook was enjoying a stellar season and was getting better every week. In the second half of Sunday’s win, Houston’s defense finished the game by intercepting Russell Wilson on three of Denver’s last four possessions. Big win, but the day felt like a loss.
9. Buffalo Bills
What an absolutely brutal loss. The Bills seemingly always end up on the wrong end of memorable games. And, their battle with the Eagles was one to remember. Two of the most high-powered teams in the league battled for nearly four hours in what ended up being one of the best games of the year. The Bills relinquished a 10-point lead in the fourth, but Josh Allen and the offense responded with a clutch touchdown drive to take back the lead late. Jake Elliott’s 59-yarder sent the game to OT. Fans will remember Allen’s miscue with WR Gabe Davis on what looked to be a wide-open touchdown. Buffalo settled for a FG, and the Eagles scored a TD on the ensuing drive. The Bills get a much-needed Bye before traveling to Arrowhead in Week 14. The Bills have not been below .500 this late into the season since 2018 — Allen’s rookie year.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars
Monday was a miserable night for the Jaguars. Not only did they fail to seize control of the No. 1 seed in the AFC, but they also lost their star wide receiver and franchise quarterback to injuries. Christian Kirk left the game in the first quarter following his lone reception of the day — he is set to miss time with a core injury. Trevor Lawrence was in the midst of a great game when he injured his ankle. With Lawrence in the locker room, the Jaguars lost to Cincinnati in overtime.
7. Detroit Lions
Less than seven minutes into Sunday’s game against the Saints, Detroit led 21-0. The Lions scored on their opening drive and intercepted Derek Carr on New Orleans’ first offensive snap. Three plays later, Jared Goff found Sam LaPorta for another touchdown. Following a three-and-out, Goff found Amon-Ra St. Brown for a 25-yard TD to make it 21-0. It is possible that Detroit took its foot off the gas after that score, but it was still troubling to see the Saints make a game of it. New Orleans began the second half with 14-straight points to cut Detroit’s lead to three points, and it had a chance in the final minutes to win the game.
6. Dallas Cowboys
Dak Prescott may have vaulted himself towards the top of the MVP race with his performance on Thursday night. Prescott has played well all year, but Thursday’s showing was electric. On a night in which Dallas’ defense had no answers for Seattle’s attack, Prescott led the Cowboys to their ninth win of the season. Overall, Prescott threw for 299 yards and three touchdowns. CeeDee Lamb’s monster season continued (12/116/1), and Tony Pollard added a score on the ground. Dallas trailed 35-27 in the fourth quarter, but Prescott led the team to 14-straight points to secure the victory. With a win over Philadelphia this week, Dallas would jump into first-place in the NFC East.
5. Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes’ trip to Lambeau didn’t go so well. The NFL’s best quarterback was outplayed by his counterpart, Jordan Love, and couldn’t put together one last scoring drive in the final minutes to force an overtime. Running back Isiah Pacheco was great — 110 yards and one TD on 18 carries — until he was ejected in the fourth quarter for throwing a punch at a Green Bay defender. Kansas City is 2-3 over its last five games, and now sits in the No. 4 spot in the AFC.
4. Miami Dolphins
As things currently stand, the Miami Dolphins are the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Miami had no trouble dispatching the lowly Commanders Sunday afternoon. Tua Tagovailoa and Tyreek Hill connected for two bombs — a 78-yard strike to open the scoring, and a 60-yarder to extend Miami’s lead to 17 points in the second quarter. Hill finished with 157 yards and is on-track to become the first receiver to top 2,000 yards.
3. Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens defense came to play in Los Angeles. Baltimore is fast and explosive on that side of the ball, and it showed in a dominating performance over the Chargers. The Ravens forced three turnovers, and surrendered just 10 points to the Justin Herbert-led attack. Rookie Keaton Mitchell once again played a large role, gaining 89 total yards on 11 opportunities. Baltimore enters its Bye Week as the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC.
2. Philadelphia Eagles
In a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship Game, the host Eagles laid an egg. Philadelphia led 6-0 after the first quarter, but it was absolutely dominated the rest of the way. The defense had zero answers for San Francisco’s offense, and Jalen Hurts and Co. couldn’t get anything going against the Niners’ stout defense. The Eagles couldn’t run the ball (46 yards on 18 carries), and they allowed six-straight touchdowns to end the game (excluding the Niners running out the clock on the game’s final possession).
1. San Francisco 49ers
How’s that for a statement? The Niners clearly didn’t forget about last year’s NFC Championship. This time around, Brock Purdy remained upright and the Niners were able to actually put forth a playable offense. And, that Purdy-led offense exploded for 42 points. The first quarter was ugly (-6 total yards), but San Francisco scored on six-straight drives en route to thrashing the Eagles. Purdy finished with 314 yards and four touchdowns, Deebo Samuel registered 138 total yards and three scores, and Christian McCaffrey generated 133 yards and one score. The Niners sent the rest of the NFL a message — they are the team to beat.