Monday, December 30, 2019

NFL - Week Seventeen Review

The Philadelphia Eagles (9-7) clinched the NFC East division title with a 34-17 road win against the New York Giants (4-12) as running back Boston Scott scored three touchdowns while the defense recorded four quarterback sacks and got two turnovers to help send the Eagles to the playoffs for the third consecutive season.
The Eagles have been decimated by injuries this season, but have persevered and beat out the Dallas Cowboys, who finished 8-8 in the division race this year. Philadelphia will host the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Wild Card round next Sunday.
The Dallas Cowboys finished the season by blowing out the visiting Washington Redskins, 47-16 behind a pair of touchdowns by RB Ezekiel Elliott (122 rushing yards) and three receiving scores by wide receiver Michael Gallup. The Cowboys owner Jerry Jones isn't committed to keeping Head Coach Jason Garrett after this season, but it's likely Garrett will be fired soon.
The Tennessee Titans blasted the Houston Texans, 35-14 to finish 9-7 and secure the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC. The Titans will play at New England (12-4) next Saturday night in the wild card game. The Texans (10-6) were resting starting players as they had already clinched the AFC South division and had the AFC's number-four seed locked up.
Derrick Henry led the NFL in rushing this season.
Titans RB Derrick Henry, the Heftyinfo NFL Player of the Week, rushed for 211 yards and scored three touchdowns to lead the way. Henry also finished the 2019 season as the NFL's leading rusher, gaining 1,540 yards. 
The Miami Dolphins stunned the host New England Patriots, 27-24 as QB Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a five-yard scoring pass to tight end Mike Gesicki with 24 seconds left to play. The Patriots (12-4) blew the chance to wrap up the number-two seed in the AFC and a first round bye as QB Tom Brady threw a "pick six" interception in the second quarter as Miami (5-11) built a ten-point lead.
The San Francisco 49ers (13-3) wrapped up "home field advantage" throughout the NFC playoffs as they toppled the host Seattle Seahawks, 26-21 as they scored three rushing touchdowns and then saw their defense make a goal line stand in the closing seconds of the game.
The Seahawks (11-5) battled back from a 13-0 deficit to close within 19-14 in the fourth quarter when running back Marshawn Lynch scored a one-yard rushing touchdown. Lynch was signed earlier in the week leading up to the game when the top two Seahawks running backs were injured last week.
The Kansas City Chiefs (12-4) won their sixth consecutive game as they beat the Los Angeles Chargers, 31-21 to move into the AFC's number two-seed spot (and a first round bye in the AFC playoffs) as running back Damien Williams scored two touchdowns while going for 124 yards on just 12 carries. Mecole Hardman took a kickoff back 104 yards for another score as the Chiefs took a 17-14 lead and never looked back.
The Chargers finished a very disappointing 5-11 season as QB Philip Rivers passed for two scores but also threw two interceptions in what may have been his last game as Chargers quarterback. Rivers has made 224 consecutive starts for the 'Bolts since the 2006 season.
The Green Bay Packers will get a first round bye in the NFC playoffs as they finished 13-3 this season following a 23-20 nail biting win at Detroit. Kicker Mason Crosby drilled the game winning 33-yard field goal as time expired. The Lions (3-12-1) finished the 2019 season on a nine-game losing streak.
The New Orleans Saints (13-3) blasted the host Carolina Panthers, 42-10 as QB Drew Brees had three TD passes and RB Alvin Kamara scored two rushing touchdowns as the Saints built a 35-3 halftime lead. The Saints will host the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Wild Card round next Sunday.

                                                     Elsewhere Around the NFL  . . . . . . . .  

The Denver Broncos (7-9) finished strong as they beat the visiting Oakland Raiders, 16-15 as Brandon McManus kicked three field goals and the defense stopped the Raiders two-point conversion attempt to win the game with just seven seconds remaining . . .  The Chicago Bears (8-8) defeated the host Minnesota Vikings, 21-19 as kicker Eddy Pineiro made his fourth field goal of the game with ten seconds left to play. The Vikings (10-6) rested many starting players, including QB Kirk Cousins as they had already clinched a playoff spot . . .  The Baltimore Ravens (14-2) won at home, 28-10 against the Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8) as their defense scored a touchdown (fumble recovery in end zone) and also a safety while kicker Justin Tucker made four field goals as many starters rested. The Ravens have the NFL's best record and will have the "home field advantage" throughout the AFC playoffs . . .  The Atlanta Falcons (7-9) beat the host Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 28-22 in overtime when linebacker Deion Jones took an interception back 27 yards for the winning score. Tampa Bay QB Jameis Winston threw his seventh "pick six" INT this season as he became the first QB in NFL history to have both 30 (33 TD passes) touchdown passes and 30 interceptions in the same season . . .  The Cincinnati Bengals (2-14) beat their in-state rival Cleveland Browns, 33-23 as QB Andy Dalton had a TD pass and TD run while RB Joe Mixon scored two rushing touchdowns. The Browns finished the season at 6-10 and fired Head Coach Freddie Kitchens immediately following the game . . .  The New York Jets (7-9) topped the host Buffalo Bills, 13-6 as a TD pass by QB Sam Darnold proved to be the difference. The Bills (10-6) rested many players as they were already playoff bound and will face the Houston Texans in the AFC Wild Card round next Saturday . . .  The Los Angeles Rams finished a 9-7 season with a 31-24 home victory against Arizona (5-10-1) as QB Jared Goff had three TD passes . . .  The Jacksonville Jaguars (6-10) beat the visiting Indianapolis Colts, 38-20 behind three TD passes by QB Gardner Minshew and a defensive score on a fumble recovery by Calais Campbell.

Week Seventeen Results
Chicago 21, Minnesota 19
Green Bay 23, Detroit 20
Miami 27, New England 24
N.Y. Jets 13, Buffalo 6
Tennessee 35, Houston 14
Jacksonville 38, Indianapolis 20
Dallas 47, Washington 16
Philadelphia 34, N.Y. Giants 17
Kansas City 31, L.A. Chargers 21
Denver 16, Oakland 15
New Orleans 42, Carolina 10
Atlanta 28, Tampa Bay 22 (OT)
Cincinnati 33, Cleveland 23
Baltimore 26, Pittsburgh 10
L.A. Rams 31, Arizona 24
San Francisco 26, Seattle 21

Friday, December 27, 2019

NFL - Week Seventeen Preview

Here we are at Week 17 in the 2019 NFL season and all but two playoff spots are already clinched.
Five each in the AFC and NFC are locked up and it comes down to a few football games to determine which two teams will make it to the post-season which begins next weekend with the Wild Card round.
In the AFC, the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers are 8-7 and if the Titans can beat the Houston Texans (in Houston), they are in as the sixth seed in the AFC. However, if they lose and the Steelers can beat the Baltimore Ravens (13-2) on the road, then the Steelers make it in. Keep in mind also the Ravens are resting many starters this Sunday because they have already clinched "home field advantage" throughout the AFC playoffs.
The Oakland Raiders (7-8) still have a shot at the sixth seed as well, but that would take a four way tie at 8-8 between them, the Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers. The odds are definitely stacked against them, but stranger things have happened on the final Sunday throughout the years for teams to qualify for the NFL playoffs.
In the NFC, it's really simple . . . if the Philadelphia Eagles (8-7) beat the New York Giants (on the road) they will win the NFC East division title and get the fourth seed. If they lose, the Dallas Cowboys (7-8) would have to beat the visiting Washington Redskins to get in.

The capsule previews offer a look at every game for the final Sunday of the 2019 NFL season and are followed up by the Heftyinfo game picks.

N.Y. Jets (6-9) at Buffalo Bills (10-5) - The Bills are already in (fifth seed) the AFC playoffs, so look for a mild upset as the Jets look to finish the season on a high note.

L.A. Chargers (5-10) at Kansas City Chiefs (11-4) - The Chiefs could still get a second seed in the AFC and a first round bye, so they should beat the Chargers like a drum.

New Orleans Saints (12-3) at Carolina Panthers (5-10) - Panthers have lost seven straight games and the Saints can still get the top seed in NFC, so look for them to get after it this Sunday.

Cleveland Browns (6-9) at Cincinnati Bengals (1-14) - Bengals could spring a surprise here as the Browns are already out of the playoff chase and the Bengals have locked up the top draft pick in 2020 so they have nothing to lose.

Miami Dolphins (4-11) at New England Patriots (12-3) - Patriots definitely want the first round bye in AFC playoffs, so look for them to crush Miami.

Green Bay Packers (12-3) at Detroit Lions (3-11-1) - The Packers can lock up the top seed in the NFC playoffs with a win against the Lions, who have dropped eight straight games. Book It !

Chicago Bears (7-8) at Minnesota Vikings (10-5) - Vikings are already in the playoffs and the Bears are hoping to avoid a losing season.

Atlanta Falcons (6-9) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-8) - This should be a shootout . . . Bucs win a wild one at home.

Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7) at Baltimore Ravens (13-2) - Steelers could pull this one out, but they could still miss the playoffs even if they do win. Ravens are looking toward the playoffs with "home field advantage" guaranteed as long as they keep winning in January.

Tennessee Titans (8-7) at Houston Texans (10-5) - If the Titans win this road game then they are in the AFC playoffs. The Texans can still get a third-seed spot in the AFC if they win this game and the K.C. Chiefs somehow lose at home vs. the L.A. Chargers, so both teams have incentive here.

Washington Redskins (3-12) at Dallas Cowboys (7-8) - MUST WIN game for Dallas.

Philadelphia Eagles (8-7) at N.Y. Giants (4-11) - Eagles have too much at stake to cough up this game to the lowly Giants.

Indianapolis Colts (7-8) at Jacksonville Jaguars (5-10) - The Colts can finish at .500 this season with a win. Not bad considering how things started this season with quarterback Andrew Luck's sudden retirement.

Oakland Raiders (7-8) at Denver Broncos (6-9) - The Broncos are looking to finish strong after a dismal start this season. Raiders have to win and get a lot of help to make the playoffs.

Arizona Cardinals (5-9-1) at L.A. Rams (8-7) - Don't be surprised if the Cardinals win this game. Rams have been a huge disappointment this year.

San Francisco 49ers (12-3) at Seattle Seahawks (11-4) - This game is for all the marbles in the NFC West division in the "prime time" Sunday night game. Plus, the Seahawks have "Beast Mode" (running back Marshawn Lynch) back in the fold against a strong 49ers defense. This game should go down to the wire and could very well go to overtime just like the game in San Francisco back in November.

The Heftyinfo predictions for Week Seventeen  . . . . . . . .   (Home teams are listed in bold; Lock of the Week is listed in BOLD CAPS)

N.Y. Jets over Buffalo 
Kansas City over L.A. Chargers
New Orleans over Carolina 
Cincinnati over Cleveland
NEW ENGLAND over Miami
Green Bay over Detroit 
Chicago over Minnesota
Tampa Bay over Atlanta
Baltimore over Pittsburgh
Tennessee over Houston
Dallas over Washington
Philadelphia over N.Y. Giants 
Indianapolis over Jacksonville 
Denver over Oakland
Arizona over L.A. Rams 
Seattle over San Francisco

Last Week's Record -  10-6

SEASON RECORD -  160-79-1

Lock of the Week Record -  14-2

Monday, December 23, 2019

NFL - Week Sixteen Review

The Baltimore Ravens (13-2) defeated the Cleveland Browns, 31-15 and that road win clinched home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs for the Ravens.
Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson had three touchdown passes and also rushed for 103 yards in the win. Tight End Mark Andrews hauled in two of the scoring passes. Browns QB Baker Mayfield had two TD passes and one interception in defeat, which eliminated the Browns (6-9) from playoff contention.
The Philadelphia Eagles (8-7) took a huge step toward wrapping up the NFC East division crown with a 17-9 win over the visiting Dallas Cowboys, who dropped to 7-8 as they lost for the fourth time in five games to fall out of contention for the NFC playoffs with only one game remaining this season.
Eagles QB Carson Wentz completed 31 of 40 pass attempts, including a six-yard TD pass to tight end Dallas Goedert. Eagles running back Miles Sanders scored on a one-yard run late in the third quarter to increase the Eagles lead to 17-6.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia defense stymied the Cowboys offense, limiting them to just 54 rushing yards. The Eagles will clinch the NFC East crown with a win at New York next week. Dallas needs to defeat Washington and hope the Giants can beat Philadelphia to win the division title.
Record setting day for Saints WR Michael Thomas
The New Orleans Saints (12-3) beat the Tennessee Titans (8-7) on the road, 38-28 as QB Drew Brees passed for 279 yards and three touchdowns, including a two-yard TD pass to wide receiver Michael Thomas, the Heftyinfo NFL Player of the Week, with 2:10 remaining in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach. Thomas had 12 receptions for 136 yards and the one score, but he set a new NFL record for most receptions in a season with 145, breaking Marvin Harrison's record of 143 set with the Indianapolis Colts in the 2002 season.
Saints RB Alvin Kamara scored two rushing touchdowns to help in the win while Titans QB Ryan Tannehill threw for three touchdowns in the loss.
The Arizona Cardinals (5-9-1) stunned the host Seattle Seahawks, 27-13 for a road win that dropped Seattle (11-4) from the top playoff spot in the NFC down to the fifth seed. Cards running back Kenyan Drake (24 carries for 166 yards) ran for two scores, including an 80-yard burst to lead the way. The Big Red attack gashed the 'Hawks defense for 412 yards, including 253 rushing yards while their defense limited Seattle to 224 yards of total offense.
The Kansas City Chiefs (11-4) routed the host Chicago Bears, 26-3 on Sunday Night Football as QB Patrick Mahomes threw for two touchdowns and also ran 12 yards for another score. The Chiefs built a 17-0 halftime lead and their defense limited the Bears (7-8) to just one field goal in the game. Kansas City's defense has allowed just 48 points during their current five-game winning streak.
The Green Bay Packers (12-3) clinched the NFC North division crown with a 23-10 road victory against the Minnesota Vikings (10-5) as running back Aaron Jones (23 carries for 154 yards) scored on a 56-yard run to seal the game for the Packers. Jones also had a 12-yard TD run that gave Green Bay a 17-10 lead in the third quarter.
Minnesota had a 10-9 halftime edge thanks to a 21-yard TD strike from QB Kirk Cousins to WR Stefon Diggs. The Green Bay defense took over in the second half as they recorded five QB sacks and limited the Vikings to a paltry 139 yards in total offense.

                                                       Elsewhere Around the NFL  . . . . . . . . .   

The Oakland Raiders (7-8) kept alive slim playoff hopes with a 24-17 road win against the Los Angeles Chargers as QB Derek Carr threw a TD pass and also ran for a touchdown while Oakland's defense held the Chargers (5-10) to a meager 19 rushing yards . . .  The New York Jets knocked off the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers, 16-10 in a defensive struggle to keep the suspense in the AFC playoff race going. The Steelers (8-7) are still tied with Tennessee (8-7) for the sixth and final playoff spot . . .  The Denver Broncos (6-9) won at home, 27-17 against the Detroit Lions (3-11-1) as rookie QB Drew Lock had a TD pass and running back Phillip Lindsay (109 rushing yards) scored on a 27-yard run to seal the game late in the fourth quarter. The loss was the eighth straight for the Lions . . .  Indianapolis (7-8) won at home, blasting the Carolina Panthers, 38-6 as Nyheim Hines ran back two punts for touchdowns while the Colts defense picked off three passes to help pace the rout . . .  The Miami Dolphins (4-11) escaped with a 38-35 overtime victory against the Cincinnati Bengals (1-14) as Jason Sanders made a 37-yard field goal as time expired. The Bengals scored 16 points in the final 29 seconds to force the OT session as QB Andy Dalton (396 passing yards) had four TD passes. Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick also threw four scoring passes along with 419 yards through the air . . .  The New York Giants (4-11) beat the host Washington Redskins, 41-35 in OT as QB Daniel Jones (five TD passes) hooked up with Kaden Smith for the game-winning three-yard scoring pass. Giants RB Saquon Barkley ran for 189 yards and scored on a 67-yard romp in the win . . .  The Atlanta Falcons (6-9) beat the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars, 24-12 as RB Devonta Freeman scored twice (one rush TD, one TD reception) while gaining 127 combined yards to help his team win their third consecutive game.

Week Sixteen Results
Houston 23, Tampa Bay 20
New England 24, Buffalo 17
San Francisco 34, L.A. Rams 31
Baltimore 31, Cleveland 15
Miami 38, Cincinnati 35 (OT)
N.Y. Jets 16, Pittsburgh 10
N.Y. Giants 41, Washington 35 (OT)
Atlanta 24, Jacksonville 12
Indianapolis 38, Carolina 6
New Orleans 38, Tennessee 28
Oakland 24, L.A. Chargers 17
Denver 27, Detroit 17
Philadelphia 17, Dallas 9
Arizona 27, Seattle 13
Kansas City 26, Chicago 3
Green Bay 23, Minnesota 10 

Sunday, December 22, 2019

NFL - Patriots, Texans Clinch Another Division Title, Rams Eliminated From Playoff Chase

There were three games played on Saturday in Week Sixteen as the NFL nears the end of the season.
The New England Patriots beat the visiting Buffalo Bills, 24-17 to clinch their 11th consecutive AFC East division title. The Patriots (12-3) can clinch at least a first round bye in the AFC playoffs with a win over Miami next week. The Bills (10-5) are assured of a wild card spot.
Pats quarterback Tom Brady (pictured left) had a touchdown pass and threw for 271 yards and running back Rex Burkhead rushed for another score while kicker Nick Folk made three field goals to pace the offensive attack as New England gained 414 total yards. Bills QB Josh Allen had two TD passes in the loss.
The San Francisco 49ers (12-3) beat the Los Angeles Rams, 34-31 on Saturday night as kicker Robbie Gould made a 33-yard field goal as time ran out to eliminate the Rams (8-7), who made the Super Bowl last season, from playoff contention.
Four different players scored touchdowns for San Francisco, including Fred Warner, who had a 46-yard INT return for touchdown. Deebo Samuel and Raheem Mostert scored rushing touchdowns and QB Jimmy Garoppolo connected with tight end George Kittle on a seven-yard TD pass.
Rams QB Jared Goff passed for 323 yards and a pair of touchdowns while RB Todd Gurley ran for two scores, but it wasn't enough to prevent the defeat and the Rams will be out of the playoffs for the first time in three years.
The Houston Texans (10-5) clinched their fourth AFC South division title in the last five seasons with a 23-20 nail biting win against the host Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-8), snapping the Bucs four-game win streak.
The Texans defense forced five turnovers, including four interceptions by Tampa Bay QB Jameis Winston, which included a "pick-six" on the first pass attempt in the game by Winston. Houston defensive back Bradley Roby took the interception back 27 yards for a score as the Texans built a 17-3 first half lead.
The Bucs rallied to tie the game 17-17 at halftime, but in the second half, Houston kicker Kai Faribairn made two more field goals (three total for the game), including the deciding 37-yard boot with 7:11 left to play.

Friday, December 20, 2019

NFL - Week Sixteen Preview

Big games that will determine division races in the NFL are on tap this weekend, which will include three Saturday games.
The New England Patriots host the Buffalo Bills in a battle for the top spot in the AFC East division. The Patriots (11-3) have struggled of late, but did win a tight game in Buffalo back in September. The Bills are 10-4 and have been playing well on both sides of the ball and could pose a challenge for the mighty Patriots, who have dominated the division for the past decade and then some.
Two other Saturday games include the Houston Texans (9-5) playing at Tampa Bay (7-7) and the Los Angeles Rams (8-6) facing the San Francisco 49ers (11-3) in the Bay area.
The Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles are both 7-7 and face off in Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon to decide the division winner. The Cowboys blasted the Eagles in Dallas back in Week Seven and could clinch the division title with a road win. The Eagles have been up and down all season and need this game or they will be eliminated from post-season contention.
One other key game with huge playoff implications will feature the Tennessee Titans (8-6) hosting the New Orleans Saints (11-3) on Sunday. The Titans lost at home last weekend to the Houston Texans and face them again next week in the season finale, but they need this game against the Saints if they want to make the playoffs at all. They will know whether or not they will face possible elimination from the AFC playoffs because the Texans play on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Saints have already locked up the NFC South title, but would like to get a first round bye in the NFC playoffs. Along with Green Bay, San Francisco and Seattle, the Saints have the same 11-3 record but right now it is Seattle and Green Bay enjoying the number one and two spots respectively and those byes.
The final Monday Night Football game of the 2019 season should be a great game as the Minnesota Vikings (10-4) host the Green Bay Packers (11-3) in a huge game in the NFC North. A win for Minnesota or a loss by the L.A. Rams on Saturday will clinch a playoff spot for the Vikings. If Green Bay wins, they would clinch the NFC North title and at least maintain the number-two seed in the NFC playoff race.

The rest of the games are previewed in the capsule style and the Heftyinfo predictions for all the games follows up.

Detroit (3-10-1) at Denver (5-9) - Two teams finishing up the 2019 schedule. Take the Broncos at home.

Oakland (6-8) at L.A. Chargers (5-9) - Two disappointing teams face each other. Toss up in this one.

Jacksonville (5-9) at Atlanta (5-9) - Falcons won an exciting game last week on the road against the 49ers while the Jaguars stunned the Oakland Raiders in the closing minutes in the Raiders last home game in Oakland. Falcons should win this one.

Baltimore (12-2) at Cleveland (6-8) - With a win, the Ravens not only get some revenge for an early season loss to the Browns, but they would also clinch home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

Carolina (5-9) at Indianapolis (6-8) - Two teams trying to shake lengthy losing streaks.

Cincinnati (1-13) at Miami (3-11) - The Bengals can lose this game and guarantee they get the top  pick in next year's NFL draft.

Pittsburgh (8-6) at N.Y. Jets (5-9) - The Steelers need this game to stay in the last playoff spot in the AFC race. Jets would love to play spoilers in this one.

N.Y. Giants (3-11) at Washington (3-11) - The winner of this game avoids the NFC East basement this season.

Arizona (4-9-1) at Seattle (11-3) - The Seahawks should roll in this one.

Kansas City (10-4) at Chicago (7-7) - The Chiefs could still get a first round bye in the AFC playoffs, so they have late season incentive. Bears are reduced to possible spoiler role in the final two games.

The Heftyinfo predictions for Week Sixteen  . . . . . . . .   (Home teams are listed in bold; Lock of the Week is listed in BOLD CAPS)

Tampa Bay over Houston
New England over Buffalo
San Francisco over L.A. Rams
Atlanta over Jacksonville
Baltimore over Cleveland 
New Orleans over Tennessee
Indianapolis over Carolina
Miami over Cincinnati
Pittsburgh over N.Y. Jets 
Washington over N.Y. Giants
Philadelphia over Dallas
SEATTLE over Arizona
L.A. Chargers over Oakland
Denver over Detroit
Kansas City over Chicago 
Minnesota over Green Bay

Last Week's Record -  10-6

SEASON RECORD -  150-73-1

Lock of the Week Record -  14-1

Monday, December 16, 2019

NFL - Week Fifteen Review

Wild finishes out west dominated the late afternoon action in the NFL on Sunday as the Atlanta Falcons (5-9) won in the most ridiculous way, 29-22 against the host San Francisco 49ers (11-3) as the game was decided by a video review that resulted in a five-yard touchdown pass from Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan to wide receiver Julio Jones with two seconds remaining in the game.
That touchdown gave Atlanta a 23-22 lead, but they added another score as time expired when the 49ers multi laterals on the ensuing kickoff resulted in the Falcons' Olamide Zaccheaus scooping the ball up for an easy score to provide the final outcome, which dropped the 49ers out of first place in the NFC West division.
Last game for Raiders in Oakland was played on Sunday.
The 49ers had a 22-17 lead with with 1:48 remaining when kicker Robbie Gould made a 43-yard field goal but then Ryan and company drove downfield to get the dramatic touchdown and win the game.
The other wild finish was the game between Oakland and Jacksonville which marked the final home game being played by the Raiders in Oakland. The Raiders (6-8) coughed up a ten-point lead in the final five minutes and lost, 20-16 to the Jaguars (5-9) when Jags QB Gardner Minshew threw two TD passes to wide receiver Chris Conley, including the go ahead four-yard scoring pass with just 31 seconds remaining.
Earlier on Sunday, Seattle (11-3) beat Carolina on the road, 30-24 to improve to 11-3 and they now have the top spot in the NFC West race. Seahawks running back Chris Carson scored twice and rushed for 133 yards while QB Russell Wilson had a pair of TD passes to lead the way. Carolina (5-9) lost their sixth straight game as QB Kyle Allen was intercepted three times.
The Houston Texans (9-5) took over sole possession of first place in the AFC South with a 24-21 road victory at Tennessee (8-6) as QB Deshaun Watson hooked up with WR Kenny Stills for two touchdowns to build a 14-0 halftime lead.
The Titans came back to tie the game 14-14 when QB Ryan Tannehill ran for a score and passed for another before the Texans' Carlos Hyde (104 rushing yards) scored on a ten-yard run to put his team ahead for good. These two teams meet again in Houston in two weeks in the last game of the regular season.
The NFC East remains deadlocked with both Dallas and Philadelphia having 7-7 records as they both won their games. The Cowboys blasted the Los Angeles Rams, 44-21 behind a big offensive performance (475 total yards), including two rushing touchdowns for Ezekiel Elliott (117 rushing yards) and two TD passes from QB Dak Prescott. The Dallas defense limited the Rams (8-6) to a paltry 22 rushing yards.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Eagles beat the host Washington Redskins, 37-27, setting up a huge game in Philly next week against Dallas. Eagles QB Carson Wentz had three TD passes as they used a balanced offense (415 total yards with 258 passing and 157 rushing) to make the difference.
The Green Bay Packers (11-3) clinched a playoff spot for the first time in three years as they held off the Chicago Bears, 21-13 in Lambeau Field. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers had a touchdown pass and running back Aaron Jones rushed for two scores to lead the way for the Packers. The Bears (7-7) were eliminated from post-season contention despite out gaining Green Bay by a 429-292 count.
In the Sunday night game, the Buffalo Bills (10-4) beat the host Pittsburgh Steelers, 17-10 to clinch their second playoff berth in three seasons. Bills QB Josh Allen ran for a score and had a 14-yard TD pass to tight end Tyler Kroft to seal the win. The Steelers (8-6) had five turnovers as the Bills defense intercepted four passes in the win.
The Baltimore Ravens (12-2) continued to dominate the NFL with their tenth straight victory, 42-21 against the visiting New York Jets (5-9) on Thursday night. Ravens QB Lamar Jackson, the Heftyinfo NFL co-Player of the Week, threw five touchdown passes while also passing for 212 yards and rushing for an additional 86 yards, which helped him break the NFL record for rushing yardage by a quarterback in a single season.
In the Monday Night Football game, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees broke the NFL record (held by Peyton Manning) for career touchdown passes as the Saints (11-3) pounded the visiting Indianapolis Colts, 34-7, which eliminated the Colts (6-8) from playoff contention.
Brees, the Heftyinfo NFL co-Player of the Week, completed an astounding 29 of 30 pass attempts for 307 yards and four touchdowns, with the record breaker going to tight end Josh Hill that gave the Saints a 27-0 lead in the third quarter.

                                               Elsewhere Around the NFL . . . . . . . .  

The Minnesota Vikings (10-4) dominated the host Los Angeles Chargers, 39-10 as their defense scored a touchdown while forcing seven turnovers, including three interceptions. Vikings RB Mike Boone scored twice and kicker Dan Bailey made four field goals to pace the rout . . .  The New England Patriots (11-3) clinched a playoff spot for the 11th consecutive season as they crushed the host Cincinnati Bengals, 34-13 with defensive back Stephon Gilmore taking an interceptions back 64 yards for a touchdown. Pats QB Tom Brady had two TD passes in the win . . .  The New York Giants (3-11) snapped a nine-game losing streak as they won at home, 36-20 against the Miami Dolphins (3-11) as QB Eli Manning threw for two touchdowns and RB Saquon Barkley rushed for 112 yards and a TD as well . . .  The Kansas City Chiefs (10-4) won at home in a snow storm against Denver, 23-3 as QB Patrick Mahomes and WR Tyreek Hill hooked up for two scoring passes . . . Arizona (4-9-1) snapped a six-game losing streak with a 38-24 trouncing of the visiting Cleveland Browns (6-8) as Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake (pictured right), the Heftyinfo NFL co-Player of the Week, scored four touchdowns and rushed for 137 yards. Browns QB Baker Mayfield had two TD passes and RB Nick Chubb had 127 rushing yards and a touchdown in defeat . . .  The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-7) won their fourth consecutive game, 38-17 in Detroit, sending the Lions to their seventh straight setback. Bucs QB Jameis Winston had four TD passes and 458 passing yards and he leads the NFL in passing yardage.

Week Fifteen Results
Baltimore 42, N.Y. Jets 21
Green Bay 21, Chicago 13
Tampa Bay 38, Detroit 17
New England 34, Cincinnati 13
N.Y. Giants 36, Miami 20
Houston 24, Tennessee 21
Kansas City 23, Denver 3
Philadelphia 37, Washington 27
Seattle 30, Carolina 24
Minnesota 39, L.A. Chargers 10
Atlanta 29, San Francisco 22
Jacksonville 20, Oakland 16
Dallas 44, L.A. Rams 21
Arizona 38, Cleveland 24
Buffalo 17, Pittsburgh 10
New Orleans 34, Indianapolis 7

Thursday, December 12, 2019

NFL - Week Fifteen Preview

The NFL schedule for the 2019 season is down to the final three games and it starts tonight with the New York Jets playing at Baltimore, where the Ravens will be going for their tenth consecutive victory.
The call here is they will most definitely get it against the up and down Jets, who limp into this one with a 5-8 record. The Ravens (11-2) lead the NFL in scoring and also are among the league leaders on both offense and defense. Plus they have perhaps the greatest kicker (Justin Tucker) in NFL history.
But all eyes will be on Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (if he plays tonight) who has been hampered by a quad injury and might not be available for this game. Even if the Ravens have to go with backup Robert Griffin III, they will beat the Jets. No doubt about this one.
The games on Sunday that should peak interest include the Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans, Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams at Dallas Cowboys and the Sunday night tilt between the Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers in the The Steel City.
The host Titans (8-5) have been rolling with four straight wins and six in seven games. Ryan Tannehill has been stellar at quarterback and running back Derrick Henry has been a beast as well as the Tennessee offense has scored 220 points in those seven games (31.4 points per game average) and is tied for first place in the AFC South with Houston.
The Texans got blown out at home (inexplicably) against Denver last week, so they need to get things right in a big hurry for this one. These two teams will square off again in two weeks in the season finale in Houston, but a win here will go a long way to getting the division crown.
The Green Bay Packers (10-3) host the Chicago Bears (7-6), who are fighting for their playoff live, in this one. The Bears have won three straight and their much maligned quarterback Mitch Trubisky has been playing better in recent weeks. The Packers need to keep winning because the Minnesota Vikings are just one game behind them.
The Rams have looked much better since they were thoroughly dominated by the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football three weeks ago and at 8-5 are still in the thick of the NFC playoff picture (wild card that is) and need this game in Dallas in the worst way. The Cowboys (6-7) have dropped three straight games and are tied for first place in the NFC East race with the Philadelphia Eagles. This is a huge game for them as well and they cannot be looking ahead to Week Sixteen when they will be on the road to play the Eagles for all the marbles in the division race.
The Sunday night game between Buffalo and Pittsburgh was "flexed" to the "prime time" slot over the Minnesota Vikings and Los Angeles Chargers. The Bills (9-4) lost a tough one at home last week to Baltimore while the Steelers (8-5) won their third consecutive game, beating Arizona on the road last Sunday. Both teams play solid defense but the Bills rate a slight edge on offense as they have more steady play at the quarterback spot. This game should come down to the wire in what will  likely be a low scoring affair.

The rest of the action this week is featured in the capsule style previews with the Heftyinfo picks for Week Fifteen following up.

Seattle (10-3) at Carolina (5-8) - Seahawks need this one after getting blown out last weekend and falling out of top spot in NFC West division.

New England (10-3) at Cincinnati (1-12) - Did the Patriots camera staff really need to film the Bengals sideline last week?

Tampa Bay (6-7) at Detroit (3-9-1) - Can the Lions snap their six-game skid? It's very possible against the Bucs, who are definitely due for a road loss.

Denver (5-8) at Kansas City (9-4) - Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes has a bad throwing hand and it might be wise to rest him this week as K.C. has already clinched the AFC West title.

Miami (3-10) at New York Giants (2-11) - The Stinker Bowl . . . loser will be in line for perhaps the number one or at least second or third pick in the 2020 NFL draft.

Philadelphia (6-7) at Washington (3-10) - The Eagles are banged up big time (especially on offense) but need to win this game to stay atop the NFC East. Redskins have been playing better football in recent weeks. Toss up here.

Jacksonville (4-9) at Oakland (6-7) - The Raiders are on life support as far as playoff contention goes, but this is the final game for them in Oakland. Just win baby.

Cleveland (6-7) at Arizona (3-9-1) - The Cardinals could win this game and end the misery that has been the 2019 season for the Browns.

Minnesota (9-4) at L.A. Chargers (5-8) - The Vikings better be ready this Sunday and not looking ahead to the game next weekend against Green Bay.

Atlanta (4-9) at San Francisco (11-2) - 49ers should bury the Falcons, but then again on any given Sunday.

Indianapolis (6-7) at New Orleans (10-3) - Saints should serve a beat down on the slumping Colts on Monday Night Football.

The Heftyinfo predictions for Week Fifteen  . . . . . . . .    (Home teams are listed in bold; Lock of the Week is listed in BOLD CAPS)

BALTIMORE over N.Y. Jets
Seattle over Carolina 
Green Bay over Chicago
New England over Cincinnati 
Tennessee over Houston
Kansas City over Denver
Detroit over Tampa Bay
Philadelphia over Washington 
N.Y. Giants over Miami
L.A. Chargers over Minnesota
Dallas over L.A. Rams
Arizona over Cleveland
Oakland over Jacksonville
San Francisco over Atlanta
Pittsburgh over Buffalo
New Orleans over Indianapolis

Last Week's Record -  12-4

SEASON RECORD -  140-67-1 

Lock of the Week Record -  13-1

Monday, December 9, 2019

NFL - Week Fourteen Review

In the wildest game of the day, the San Francisco 49ers (11-2) went into New Orleans and came away with a 48-46 victory against the Saints (10-3) as kicker Robbie Gould (number 9, pictured at left) made a 30-yard field goal as time ran out.
The Saints had gone ahead, 46-45 when quarterback Drew Brees (349 passing yards and a rushing touchdown as well) threw for his fifth touchdown pass of the game with just 53 seconds remaining in the game when he connected with wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith from 18 yards. The 49ers then drove downfield to set up the winning kick, which included a fourth down conversion when quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (349 passing yards and four TD tosses) connected with tight end George Kittle for a huge 39-yard gain, which also included a 15-yard face masking penalty against New Orleans.
Two teams looking toward the post-season in the AFC battled it out in Buffalo, where the Baltimore Ravens (11-2) earned a hard fought 24-17 decision against the Bills (9-4), snapping their three-game win streak. The win was the ninth consecutive for the Ravens as QB Lamar Jackson had three touchdown passes in this one that clinched a playoff spot for the Ravens.
The Bills had a chance to tie the game late, but the Baltimore defense responded on a fourth-and-eight from the Ravens 16-yard line by defending the pass attempt by Buffalo QB Josh Allen to wide receiver John Brown in the end zone.
The Kansas City Chiefs (9-4) got a huge win at New England late Sunday afternoon, 23-16 as QB Patrick Mahomes  had a scoring pass and tight end Travis Kelce scored on a four-yard run to go with three field goals by kicker Harrison Butker. The win, coupled with the Oakland Raiders losing against Tennessee, allowed the Chiefs to clinch the AFC West.
The Patriots slipped to 10-3 for the season, but still have a one game lead in the AFC East as QB Tom Brady had just 169 yards passing along with a touchdown pass and one interception while also getting sacked three times.
The Minnesota Vikings (9-4) won at home, 20-7 against the Detroit Lions (3-9-1) as they built a 17-0 halftime lead on a TD pass by Kirk Cousins and a three-yard scoring run from Dalvin Cook and then rode the defense, which had five QB sacks and limited the Lions to 231 yards in total offense.
Vikings defensive lineman Danielle Hunter, the Heftyinfo NFL Player of the Week, had three of
Vikings DL Danielle Hunter had three sacks in big win
the sacks for the Vikings, who stayed within a game of the Green Bay Packers for first place in the NFC North division.
In the surprise of the day, the Denver Broncos (5-8) won 38-24 on the road against the Houston Texans (8-5) as rookie QB Drew Lock threw for three scores and the defense scored a touchdown while also forcing three turnovers, including the 70-yard TD fumble score by Kareem Jackson, who also had an interception. Texans QB Deshaun Watson had two rushing touchdowns in the loss, which dropped the Texans into a first place tie with the Tennessee Titans in the AFC South.
In the Thursday night game, the Chicago Bears (7-6) beat the Dallas Cowboys, 31-24 as QB Mitch Trubisky had three touchdown passes and also scored a rushing TD to lead the offense. Dallas QB Dak Prescott passed for 334 yards and one touchdown in defeat as the Cowboys dropped to 6-7 this season.
The Los Angeles Rams (8-5) throttled the visiting Seattle Seahawks, 28-12 on Sunday Night Football to keep alive their playoff hopes in the NFC chase. Rams QB Jared Goff had two TD passes and running backs Malcolm Brown and Todd Gurley each scored a rushing touchdown. The Seahawks (10-3) fell out of first place in the NFC West as their five game win streak was snapped.

                                                Elsewhere Around the NFL  . . . . . . . .  

The Green Bay Packers (10-3) rolled past the visiting Washington Redskins, 20-15 as RB Aaron Jones scored on a four-yard run and a scoring pass by QB Aaron Rodgers  . . .   The Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5) won in Arizona, 23-17 as wide receiver Diontae Johnson scored twice, including an  85-yard punt return to make the difference . . .  The Tennessee Titans (8-5) won at Oakland, 42-21 to keep pace with the Steelers for the final AFC playoff spot as QB Ryan Tannehill passed for 391 yards and three TD while the Titans offense torched the Raiders (6-7) for 552 yards in total offense in the blowout win . . .  The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7) rolled up 542 yards in offense as they won a 38-35 shootout at home against the Indianapolis Colts (6-7), who blew a 14-point lead in the final quarter. Bucs QB Jameis Winston had four TD passes and three interceptions in the win. Colts QB Jacoby Brissett had a pair of TD tosses and linebacker Darius Leonard an 80-yard score on an interception return in the loss . . .   The Atlanta Falcons (4-9) used a balanced offense (461 total yards with 159 rushing and 302 passing) as QB Matt Ryan had two TD passes to crush Carolina, 40-20 as the visiting Panthers turned the ball over four times while losing their fifth straight game  . . .  The Los Angeles Chargers (5-8) snapped a three game skid with a resounding 45-10 win at Jacksonville as QB Philip Rivers had three TD passes, including an 84-yard score to RB Austin Ekeler, who had 101 yards rushing and 112 receiving yards as L.A. gained 525 yards in offense . . .  Cleveland (6-7) outlasted the visiting Cincinnati Bengals, 27-19 as Browns defensive back Denzel Ward had a 61-yard "pick six" INT score . . .  The New York Jets (5-8) edged the visiting Miami Dolphins, 22-21 as kicker Sam Ficken made a 44-yard field goal as time expired. The Dolphins (3-10) took a short lived 21-19 lead when kicker Jason Sanders (7-for-8 in field goals in this game) made a 37-yard boot with 1:33 remaining . . .  In the Monday Night Football game, the Philadelphia Eagles rallied back from a 14-point halftime deficit to defeat the New York Giants, 23-17 in overtime. Eagles QB Carson Wentz hooked up with tight end Zach Ertz on a two-yard scoring pass in the overtime session to win  the game. It was the second time that duo connected for a two-yard scoring pass in the game. Wentz had 325 passing yards and the two TD passes while the Giants (2-11), losers of nine consecutive games now, saw QB Eli Manning throw for a pair of scoring passes to WR Darius Slayton (five receptions for 154 yards) in defeat. The win put the Eagles (6-7) into a first place tie with Dallas in the NFC East.

Week Fourteen Results
Chicago 31, Dallas 24
Tampa Bay 38, Indianapolis 35
San Francisco 48, New Orleans 46
Baltimore 24, Buffalo 17
Cleveland 27, Cincinnati 19
N.Y. Jets 22, Miami 21
Denver 38, Houston 24
Green Bay 20, Washington 15
Minnesota 20, Detroit 7
Atlanta 40, Carolina 20
L.A. Chargers 45, Jacksonville 10
Tennessee 42, Oakland 21
Pittsburgh 23, Arizona 17
Kansas City 23, New England 16
L.A. Rams 28, Seattle 12
Philadelphia 23, N.Y. Giants 17 (OT) 

Saturday, December 7, 2019

College Football Top Ten

Heftyinfo College Football Top Ten                     (Week ending December 8) 

1.  Clemson (13-0)
2.  LSU  (13-0)
3.  Ohio State (13-0)
4.  Oklahoma (12-1)
5.  Georgia (11-2)
6.  Alabama (10-2)
7.  Florida (10-2)
8.  Oregon (11-2)
9.  Baylor (11-2)
10.  Utah (11-2)

Thursday, December 5, 2019

NFL - Week Fourteen Preview

The NFL season is down to the final month with just four games remaining and it kicks off on Thursday night in Chicago where the Bears (6-6) host the Dallas Cowboys (6-6) in a game that will have bigger impact for the Bears as far as playoff hopes are concerned.
The Cowboys lead the weak NFC East division by one game over the Philadelphia Eagles (5-7) and even if they lose the game, they would still be tied for first place at worst case. The Bears trail the Minnesota Vikings (8-4) by two full games for the sixth and final NFC playoff spot, so a loss for them would all but mathematically eliminate them from playoff contention.
The game should be a close one as neither team has achieved what many fans and so called experts were expecting from them this season. The Cowboys have lost three of their last four games while Bears have done just the opposite in the past four weeks.
As for the rest of the games this weekend, five games stand out as primary matches with big playoff position implications.
The Kansas City Chiefs (8-4) travel to play the New England Patriots (10-2) in a game that features the two teams from last season's AFC Championship Game. The Chiefs have been cruising along this season and have a two-game lead over Oakland in the AFC West while the Patriots have the surprising Buffalo Bills (9-3) breathing down their necks in the AFC East race. The Bills will be hosting the hottest team in the NFL this weekend as the Baltimore Ravens (10-2 and winners of eight straight games) come to town looking to stay on top of the AFC playoff standings.
Buffalo still has a lot of skeptics it seems, so they will look to their stout defense to try and take down the high scoring Baltimore offense, led by quarterback Lamar Jackson, who could break Michael Vick's record for rushing yardage by a quarterback in a single season. The Bills offense is led by QB Josh Allen, who has shown steady improvement in his second season as the starter in Buffalo.
The San Francisco 49ers (10-2) play at New Orleans (10-2) after losing to the Ravens last weekend and slipping from the NFC's top spot to the number-five seed. The Saints are now the top dogs in the NFC playoff hunt and would like to continue the momentum they have been building in recent weeks.
The Sunday night game features the Los Angeles Rams (7-5) hosting the Seattle Seahawks (10-2) in a big NFC West battle. The Rams need this game to stay in the thick of the wild card chase while the Seahawks will look to stay on top of the division (they own the tie breaker with the 49ers for now after beating them three weeks ago) and could move into the top spot of the playoff race should they win and the Saints lose their game against San Francisco.
Back in the AFC, the game between the Tennessee Titans (7-5) and Oakland Raiders (6-6) in the famed "Black Hole" in Oakland looms large as neither team can afford a loss at this point in the season. They both trail the Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5) for the last two playoff spots and need to stay close to Pittsburgh with only four games left to go.

All of the action this weekend is featured in the capsule previews and the Heftyinfo predictions for Week Fourteen follow.

Dallas (6-6) at Chicago (6-6) - The Bears need this game more than the Cowboys do, but the 'Pokes have been struggling and need to get things right for the December stretch run.

Washington (3-9) at Green Bay (9-3) - Packers roll !

Indianapolis (6-6) at Tampa Bay (5-7) - Bucs Head Coach Bruce Arians used to be the Colts Head Coach on an interim basis and led them to the AFC playoffs . . . so now he would like to see his team win and keep the Colts out of the playoffs.

San Francisco (10-2) at New Orleans (10-2) - This game should go down to the wire . . . 'Niners win a tight one on the road.

Carolina (5-7) at Atlanta (3-9) - This game could go either way. Panthers just fired Coach Ron Rivera in what has become a disastrous season. Falcons have struggled as well all season long.

Detroit (3-8-1) at Minnesota (8-4) - Vikings should win this game, but the Lions always seem to play them tough. 

Denver (4-8) at Houston (8-4) - Broncos cannot be taken lightly by the Texans, who are jockeying with Kansas City for the AFC's number-three playoff spot.

Baltimore (10-2) at Buffalo (9-3) - The Bills will be looking to serve notice they are for real, so Lamar Jackson and the Ravens better be ready.

Miami (3-9) at New York Jets (4-8) - Who cares?

Cincinnati (1-11) at Cleveland (5-7) - Browns are angry after falling out of playoff contention. Bengals coming off their first win of the season.

L.A. Chargers (4-8) at Jacksonville (4-8) - Perhaps the AFC's two most disappointing teams this season go at it in this one.

Pittsburgh (7-5) at Arizona (3-8-1) - Can the Steelers keep things going in a positive direction? The Cardinals have lost five in a row and looked awful last week in a blowout loss at home.

Tennessee (7-5) at Oakland (6-6) - The Raiders are looking to right the ship at home against a resurgent Titans team riding on the backs of (running back) Derrick Henry and (QB) Ryan Tannehill.

Kansas City (8-4) at New England (10-2) - Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs still remember last year's bitter playoff defeat against Tom Brady and the Patriots. Toss up in this one.

Seattle (10-2) at L.A. Rams (7-5) - The first place Seahawks will be in for a tough one here as the Rams are a very desperate team at this point in the season.

New York Giants (2-10) at Philadelphia (5-7) - The Monday night game in Philly and the big question is whether the Eagles can avoid another bad loss.

The Heftyinfo picks for Week Fourteen  . . . . . . . .    (Home teams are listed in bold; Lock of the Week is listed in BOLD CAPS)

Chicago over Dallas
GREEN BAY over Washington
Tampa Bay over Indianapolis
San Francisco over New Orleans 
Atlanta over Carolina
Minnesota over Detroit
Houston over Denver
Buffalo over Baltimore
N.Y. Jets over Miami
Cleveland over Cincinnati
L.A. Chargers over Jacksonville 
Pittsburgh over Arizona
Oakland over Tennessee
New England over Kansas City
L.A. Rams over Seattle
Philadelphia over N.Y. Giants

Last Week's Record -  9-7 

SEASON RECORD -  128-63-1

Lock of the Week Record -  12-1 

Monday, December 2, 2019

NFL - Week Thirteen Review

The Baltimore Ravens (10-2) made it eight wins in a row on Sunday afternoon with a 20-17 home victory against the San Francisco 49ers (10-2) when Justin Tucker kicked a game winning 49-yard field goal as time expired.
Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson passed for a touchdown and ran for another score while also leading the offense to set up the game winning field goal. 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo had a TD pass and running back Raheem Mostert (19 carries for 146 yards) scored on a 40-yard run in a game that turned into a defensive struggle in the second half after the Ravens took a 17-14 lead at the half.
With the win, the Ravens took over the top spot in the AFC playoff race as the New England Patriots (10-2) lost at Houston, 28-22 in the Sunday Night Football game.
Texans QB Deshaun Watson had a big game to beat the Patriots
The Texans (8-4) took over the game from the start as QB Deshaun Watson, the Heftyinfo NFL Player of the Week, passed for three touchdowns and also caught a scoring pass from wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins on the option play to help make the difference in the final outcome. Pats QB Tom Brady passed for 326 yards and had three TD passes and an interception in defeat.

On Thanksgiving Day, the Buffalo Bills (9-3) went into Dallas and beat the Cowboys, 26-15 as QB Josh Allen had both a scoring pass and run to lead the way. Allen passed for 231 yards and also had 43 rushing yards while the Bills defense forced two turnovers and also getting four QB sacks. The Cowboys (6-6) racked up 436 yards of offense, but struggled in the red zone.
The Kansas City Chiefs (8-4) rolled the visiting Oakland Raiders, 40-9 to open up a two-game lead in the AFC West. Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes had a scoring run and pass and LeSean McCoy and Darwin Thompson also scored rushing touchdowns to pace the rout. The Raiders (6-6) turned the ball over three times and didn't score a touchdown until the final 39 seconds of the game, ending a seven quarter drought.
The Tennessee Titans came back from a 17-7 deficit in the third quarter to win at Indianapolis, 31-17 to improve to 7-5 as QB Ryan Tannehill threw two scoring passes while Tye Smith ran a blocked field goal back 63 yards for another score to provide the final score. The Colts dropped to 6-6 with the loss.
The Green Bay Packers (9-3) got back on track with a road win in snowy New York as they throttled
Aaron Rodgers had four TD passes in rout of the Giants
the Giants, 31-13 behind four TD passes by QB Aaron Rodgers. The Green Bay defense intercepted Giants rookie QB Daniel Jones three times to help secure the easy win.
In the grudge game following the debacle in Cleveland recently, the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5) beat the visiting Browns, 20-13 with a balanced offense, gaining 124 rushing yards and 199 passing yards while the defense registered five QB sacks and forced two turnovers to snap the Browns (5-7) winning streak at three games. Pittsburgh QB Devlin Hodges had a scoring pass as he got the start ahead of Mason Rudolph, who was at the center of the fracas two weeks ago with Browns suspended defensive player Myles Garrett.
In the most bizarre game this week, the Miami Dolphins (3-9) stunned the visiting Philadelphia Eagles, 37-31 with the difference in the game being a fake field goal that saw holder Matt Haack throw a one-yard scoring pass to the kicker Jason Sanders late in the second quarter. The Eagles (5-7) blew a chance to tie Dallas for the NFC East lead as they coughed up a 14-point lead in the second half when Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (three TD passes and 365 yards passing) threw for two scores.
The Seattle Seahawks (10-2) used a balanced offense (226 passing yards, 218 rushing) to down the visiting Minnesota Vikings, 37-30 on Monday Night Football. Seattle QB Russell Wilson had a pair of touchdown passes while Chris Carson (102 rushing yards) scored a touchdown and Rashaad Penny (74 rush yards) also scored a rushing touchdown to lead the way as the Seahawks took over first place in the NFC West.
The Vikings (8-4) had a 17-10 lead at halftime, but had three turnovers while QB Kirk Cousins had a pair of TD passes and one interception along with 276 passing yards in the loss, dropping them one game behind the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North race.

                                                         Elsewhere Around the NFL  . . . . . . . .     

The Chicago Bears (6-6) beat the Detroit Lions, 24-20 on Thanksgiving Day as QB Mitch Trubisky had three TD passes and the Bears defense made a critical stop in the red zone in the final minute when Eddie Jackson intercepted Lions QB David Blough, sending the Lions (3-8-1) to their fifth consecutive loss . . .  The Thanksgiving night cap saw the visiting New Orleans Saints (10-2) clinch the NFC South division title with a 26-18 win against the Atlanta Falcons (3-9). Saints QB Drew Brees threw a TD pass to Taysom Hill, who also scored a rushing touchdown . . .  The Cincinnati Bengals (1-11) won their first game this season, 22-6 against the visiting New York Jets (4-8) as QB Andy Dalton had a TD pass and RB Joe Mixon scored on a five-yard run . . .  The Los Angeles Rams (7-5) blasted the host Arizona Cardinals, 34-7 as QB Jared Goff had two TD passes and Todd Gurley scored a rushing TD while safety Taylor Rapp had a "pick six" 31-yard INT return . . .  The Denver Broncos (4-8) got a game winning 53-yard field goal as time expired from kicker Brandon McManus thanks to a pass interference penalty with nine seconds remaining against the Chargers (4-8) to win 23-20. The Bolts had tied the game 20-20 with 14 seconds left when Mike Badgley made a 46-yard field goal . . .  The Carolina Panthers (5-7) were stunned at home, 29-21 against the Washington Redskins (3-9) as the 'Skins rushed for three touchdowns and amassed 248 rushing yards, including Derrius Guise (129 yards on ten carries, two TD) and 99 yards and a 12-yard scoring run from Adrian Peterson . . .  The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-7) won a road game, 28-11 against Jacksonville (4-8) as RB Peyton Barber scored twice on the ground while linebacker Devin White scored on a 14-yard fumble return. Jaguars starting QB Nick Foles was benched as Gardner Minshew took over and directed the lone scoring drive for the Jags with a TD pass in the final quarter.

Week Thirteen Results
Chicago 24, Detroit 20
Buffalo 26, Dallas 15
New Orleans 26, Atlanta 19
Baltimore 20, San Francisco 17
Miami 37, Philadelphia 31
Washington 29, Carolina 21
Green Bay 31, N.Y. Giants 13
Cincinnati 22, N.Y. Jets 6
Pittsburgh 20, Cleveland 13
Tennessee 31, Indianapolis 17
Tampa Bay 28, Jacksonville 11
Kansas City 40, Oakland 9
Denver 23, L.A. Chargers 20
L.A. Rams 34, Arizona 7
Houston 28, New England 22
Seattle 37, Minnesota 30