Week 11 featured arguably the most effective particular person efficiency of the 2021 NFL season. Colts operating again Jonathan Taylor ran for 185 yards and 4 touchdowns, and he added 19 extra yards and a fifth rating on three catches. Indianapolis pulled off the upset of the Payments, 41-15, behind Taylor’s efficiency. The Vikings additionally upset the Packers on a final-play discipline objective, and receiver Justin Jefferson helped them get there with 169 receiving yards and a pair of TDs.
However maybe the most important upset of the week was the Texans’ 22-13 victory over the Titans. Tennessee quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw 4 interceptions. Washington coach Ron Rivera gained in opposition to his former group in Carolina, and the Dolphins gained their third straight sport. The Browns narrowly prevented a loss to the winless Lions, and the Ravens — enjoying with out quarterback Lamar Jackson — held on to beat the Bears after Justin Fields was pressured to depart the sport with a rib damage.
The Eagles’ run sport continued to look good in a 40-point outburst in opposition to the Saints, with three dashing scores from Jalen Hurts and 94 dashing yards from Miles Sanders, and the 49ers took care of enterprise in Jacksonville. Oh, and the Patriots regarded dominant Thursday in a shutout of the Falcons.
Within the afternoon video games, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs obtained by the Cowboys, the Bengals stopped a two-game dropping streak by beating the Raiders and the Cardinals gained with out Kyler Murray. The Los Angeles Chargers hung for a wild win over the Pittsburgh Steelers within the evening sport.
Our NFL Nation reporters react with the takeaways and lingering questions. Plus, they every have a look at the larger image with their present group confidence score — a 0-10 grade of how they really feel about every group’s outlook popping out of the week. Let’s get to it.
What to know: What a distinction every week of apply makes. Final week vs the Vikings, the Chargers might barely do something proper, however on Sunday evening, the offense got here alive. Austin Ekeler scored 4 touchdowns, and Justin Herbert threw for 3. The Chargers managed the sport for 3 quarters however almost blew it within the fourth after having a punt blocked and a cross intercepted. A Mike Williams‘ 53-yard TD with 2:09 left put the Chargers forward, and the their protection lastly held to seal the win as Los Angeles stays within the AFC West hunt. — Shelley Smith
How can the Chargers win two in a row? Subsequent week is a large rivalry sport in Denver. The Broncos, who have been dealt with by the Eagles on Nov. 14, will likely be coming off a bye. The Chargers, who have not gained two in a row since Oct. 10, want to ascertain consistency and construct off the momentum they generated in snapping Pittsburgh’s five-game unbeaten streak. No one has extra momentum than Ekeler, who turned the primary participant in Chargers historical past with two receiving touchdowns and two dashing touchdowns, in line with ESPN Stats & Info analysis. — Smith
Smith’s confidence score (0-10): 6.2, up from 4.5. They got here again large time, and whereas they faltered within the fourth quarter, the Chargers nonetheless had sufficient to drag out the win.
Subsequent sport: at Broncos (Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET)
What to know: Lacking a few of their largest gamers, the Steelers mounted an unbelievable fourth-quarter comeback, rallying from a 17-point deficit to take a three-point lead with lower than 3:30 to play, however it wasn’t sufficient within the 41-37 loss. A skinny protection could not cease another aerial assault from Justin Herbert, who additionally carved up the Steelers’ protection along with his legs. And the Chargers’ protection got here up large within the last minutes to maintain Pittsburgh from making one other comeback. For almost all of the sport, the Steelers’ protection, lacking Joe Haden, T.J. Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick, could not do something to gradual the Chargers’ assault. And although Ben Roethlisberger regarded stable in his return from the reserve/COVID-19 listing, it wasn’t sufficient. — Brooke Pryor
What’s up with the purple zone playcalls? For the second week in a row, the Steelers seemingly ignored first-round operating again Najee Harris in objective line and purple zone conditions. The Steelers scored touchdowns on simply two of their 5 purple zone journeys Sunday evening, settling for 2 discipline objectives and leaving one journey fully empty handed. On the second drive, they obtained all the way in which to the Chargers’ 2-yard line, and Harris obtained one contact in opposition to the league’s worst run protection. Relatively than making an attempt one other discipline objective, the Steelers went for it on fourth-down with a cross to Pat Freiermuth that went for no acquire. Within the fourth quarter, the Steelers had the ball on the Chargers’ 3-yard line. Harris was focused on the primary play, however he did not get a contact on the subsequent three. The Chargers have been whistled for a PI on fourth down, giving the Steelers a contemporary set from the 1, and utilizing an additional lineman, Pittsburgh crowd surfed Harris into the top zone on the primary play. Then, when the Steelers obtained the ball again in Chargers territory because of a Cam Sutton interception with lower than 4 minutes on the clock, the Steelers threw the ball 3 times and needed to accept a discipline objective, taking simply 19 seconds off the clock. — Pryor
Pryor’s confidence score (0-10): 4.5, up from 4.3. The Steelers’ protection was woeful with out its stars, however Ben Roethlisberger turned in a near-vintage efficiency and helped hold the Steelers in a bizarre sport.
Subsequent sport: at Bengals (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
What to know: The Cardinals obtained by way of Kyler Murray’s ankle damage 2-1 and now head into their bye week atop the NFC West and the NFC. The bye will give Murray two extra weeks to get wholesome and prepared for the ultimate six video games and the playoffs. Colt McCoy did his job as Murray’s backup, with 328 yards passing in opposition to the Seahawks. — Josh Weinfuss
How essential is the addition of tight finish Zach Ertz? He had eight catches for 88 yards and two scores in opposition to the Seahawks, proving he’s among the many NFL’s largest midseason additions after coming over in a commerce from Philadelphia. Ertz provides the Cardinals a risk at tight finish that they have not had. He has been particularly essential with Arizona down a receiving risk in DeAndre Hopkins. — Weinfuss
Weinfuss’ confidence score (0-10): 8.5, no change from 8.5. It wasn’t at all times a dominant efficiency, however the Cardinals did what they needed to do in an intimidating environment with a backup quarterback.
Subsequent sport: at Bears (Dec. 5, 1 p.m. ET)
What to know: The Seahawks’ offense is damaged and their playoff hopes are all however useless. These are the arduous truths after they wasted a golden alternative at house in opposition to a Cardinals group that was with out quarterback Kyler Murray and receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Their resurgent protection ought to have been so significantly better in opposition to backup QB Colt McCoy, however it’s their offensive ineptitude that’s most galling. Russell Wilson (14-of-26, 207 yards) reiterated this week that his surgically repaired finger is okay, simply as he mentioned after final week’s shutout loss in Inexperienced Bay. So what’s it: Rust from his monthlong absence? First-year coordinator Shane Waldron‘s scheme or playcalling? It is arduous to fathom how a quarterback who has been so good for thus lengthy and an offense with so many weapons might be this ineffective. — Brady Henderson
Is there any hope left? Mathematically, positive. However with a view to squeeze into the playoffs because the NFC’s third wild-card group, the Seahawks most likely have to complete 9-8. That may require them to win the 5 video games they’ve left in opposition to their most beatable opponents — Washington, Detroit, Chicago, San Francisco and Houston — and steal one other win in opposition to a greater group in one in every of their two video games in opposition to Arizona or their rematch with the Rams. Going through the Cardinals with out their two finest offensive gamers made this their finest shot at that upset win. The Seahawks’ offense is just too dangerous, their protection is just too untrustworthy and their gap is just too large to have any confidence that they’ll make one thing of this season. Their solely relevance now could be the uncertainty over what’s going to occur with Wilson as soon as it ends. — Henderson
Henderson’s confidence score (0-10): 3.1, down from 5.1. At 3-7 and with a mixed 13 factors in two weeks, there’s not a lot to be assured about.
Subsequent sport: at Washington (Nov. 29, 8:15 p.m. ET)
What to know: The Chiefs’ protection is for actual and ok to assist get the Chiefs deep within the playoffs. Kansas Metropolis was that spectacular in opposition to the Cowboys, who entered the sport main the league in scoring and because the solely group within the high 5 in dashing and passing. The revival of the Chiefs’ cross rush, which was unproductive the primary a number of video games of the season, and the play of Chris Jones are main the defensive turnaround. — Adam Teicher
Will the Chiefs win the AFC West? At 7-4 and alone in first place, they’re positioned nicely. They’re additionally enjoying nicely sufficient that it is troublesome to image any of their AFC West rivals catching them. The subsequent three video games are large in that regard. After subsequent week’s bye, they play the Broncos and Raiders at house and the Chargers in L.A. In the event that they sweep these three video games, they’re going to win it with loads of room to spare. — Teicher
Teicher’s confidence score (0-10): 9, up from 8. If the Chiefs can deal with the Cowboys this manner, who cannot they beat?
Subsequent sport: vs. Broncos (1 p.m. ET, Dec. 5)
What to know: Perhaps the Denver Broncos didn’t have the blueprint on find out how to decelerate the Cowboys’ offense. Perhaps the Kansas City Chiefs did. For the second time in three video games the Cowboys’ offense struggled with a bodily AFC West protection, dropping 19-9 at Arrowhead Stadium. Not like in opposition to the Broncos, once they scored two touchdowns after they have been down 30-0, the Cowboys didn’t attain the top zone in opposition to the Chiefs. They hardly regarded just like the No. 1 offense within the NFL. They didn’t have Professional Bowl left deal with Tyron Smith for a 3rd straight sport and have been with out Amari Cooper (COVID-19), however that they had no solutions. The reconfigured offensive line struggled in safety (Dak Prescott was sacked 3 times within the first half) and the quarterback struggled getting the ball down the sphere. He didn’t full a cross of greater than 10 air yards till the second half. The Cowboys missed an opportunity to make an announcement when it comes to confidence and the race for home-field benefit, though the protection was ok. Perhaps enjoying on Thanksgiving will give the Cowboys a fast likelihood to get such a nasty style out of their mouths. — Todd Archer
Will CeeDee Lamb be able to play on Thanksgiving? Troublesome to know at this level, however Lamb should clear the concussion protocols in a fast method with a view to be out there in opposition to the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday. The Cowboys know they will not have Amari Cooper out there to play in opposition to his former group with him being on the reserve/COVID-19 listing. Not having Lamb can be an enormous loss since he leads the Cowboys in receptions, yards and landing catches. The Cowboys have answered questions all season, like profitable with out Dak Prescott at Minnesota on Halloween. This could be much more troublesome with out their high two receivers. — Archer
Archer’s confidence score (0-10): 8.4, down from 9. It is not that they misplaced to the Chiefs — Arrowhead Stadium is a troublesome place to play — it is how they misplaced even with out key performers on offense. They obtained pushed round and had no solutions, which makes these subsequent two video games in opposition to the Raiders and New Orleans Saints much more essential if the Cowboys are going to be legit contenders in January.
Subsequent sport: vs. Raiders (4:30 p.m. ET, Thursday)
What to know: The Bengals are within the thick of the AFC playoff hunt. Each Cincinnati and Las Vegas desperately wanted to finish two-game dropping streaks and hold tempo within the convention’s crowded playoff discipline. It wasn’t fairly for many of Sunday, however the Bengals did sufficient to select up an enormous victory initially of a three-game run that would determine their playoff possibilities. Cincinnati hasn’t made the postseason since 2015. — Ben Child
Is the offense ok to make this playoff push? For the time being, most likely not. The Bengals wanted three discipline objectives of fifty yards or extra to remain forward of the Raiders early earlier than scoring two late touchdowns to drag away. Happily, they drafted Evan McPherson, who booted every kick with room to spare. However the offensive inconsistencies proceed to be an issue that should be sorted out. — Child
Child’s confidence score (0-10): 5.8, up from 5.5. Cincinnati did sufficient to squeak out a win however left loads to be desired for a lot of the sport.
Subsequent sport: vs. Steelers (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)
What to know: The Raiders’ offense usually, quarterback Derek Carr specifically, is just too tentative, too conservative early in video games, and it contributes mightily to a winded protection fading late. And because of that method enjoying out Sunday in a 32-13 loss to the visiting Bengals, it could be too late for the Raiders to save lots of their season. Certain, the Raiders’ self-inflicted wounds on protection within the first half — third-down penalties that stored Cincinnati scoring drives alive — did not assist, however one other gradual begin/no present by Carr & Co. set the stage. — Paul Gutierrez
Can the Raiders save their season in Dallas on Thanksgiving, or is it over? Not as at the moment constructed. And never if Carr and the offense are simply as stagnant for a fourth sport in a row. In truth, it could be time to play Marcus Mariota to see if he can jump-start issues. Then once more, you would possibly lose Carr mentally by benching him. However would that be a nasty factor? — Gutierrez
Gutierrez’s confidence score (0-10): 5.5, down from 6. The offense is stagnant. The protection is worn out. What leads you to imagine something will change on a brief week at a troublesome opponent?
Subsequent sport: at Cowboys (4:30 p.m. ET, Thursday)
What to know: Quarterback Tyrod Taylor provides the Texans the most effective likelihood to win. Coach David Culley mentioned it time and again whereas Taylor was injured and rookie Davis Mills was beginning, however on Sunday, Taylor confirmed why Culley had confidence in him, finishing 14 of 24 passes for 107 yards and dashing for 2 touchdowns. Taylor turned the third quarterback in Texans franchise historical past with a number of dashing touchdowns in a sport, becoming a member of David Carr and Deshaun Watson. Taylor struggled in Week 9, his return from his left hamstring damage, however he didn’t flip the ball over in opposition to the Titans. Each group offers with accidents — the Titans have been with out operating again Derrick Henry and receiver Julio Jones — however it’s simple to surprise how aggressive the Texans would have been had Taylor stayed wholesome. — Sarah Barshop
Did the Texans price themselves the No. 1 draft decide? Houston entered the sport a half-game again of the Lions for the worst report this season, however an enormous victory in Nashville for the Texans places Detroit within the driver’s seat for the highest decide. The second half of the Texans’ schedule is way simpler than the primary, and if Taylor can keep wholesome, Houston appears like a group that would win just a few extra video games. The Texans have two extra essential video games for draft place: Week 12 in opposition to the New York Jets (2-8) and Week 15 in Jacksonville (2-8). — Barshop
Barshop’s confidence score (0-10): 1, up from 0.5. The Texans performed their finest sport since Week 1 and in opposition to a group that entered the sport tied for the most effective report within the NFL.
Subsequent sport: vs. Jets (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)
What to know: The Titans tend to play as much as their competitors and, on this case, all the way down to it as nicely. Tennessee was 7-0 in opposition to playoff groups getting into the sport in opposition to Houston, and the Titans have been favored by 10 factors in opposition to the Texans, who got here into Sunday with one win. Beginning with the primary drive, although, sloppy play price them. Houston managed the sport after leaping out to a 12-0 lead. — Turron Davenport
Is it formally time to fret in regards to the offense? The Titans’ offense confirmed little life immediately. The dearth of playmakers to take over the sport continues to harm them. However Ryan Tannehill‘s interceptions harm Tennessee’s likelihood to win the sport. Tannehill threw an interception after a defensive cease late within the fourth quarter that each one however ended an opportunity at one other comeback win. The query stays, can the Titans win with Tannehill carrying the majority of the offensive load? His 4 interceptions in opposition to the Texans make it appear unlikely. — Davenport
Davenport’s confidence score (0-10): 8.5, down from 9. Shedding to the Texans is inexcusable. The Titans got here out flat and by no means recovered. The protection can do solely a lot to maintain them within the sport. Tennessee’s offense merely did not carry its share of the load, and it confirmed. The accidents proceed to mount with A.J. Brown being knocked out of the sport with a chest damage. The Titans simply haven’t got many playmakers left on the offense.
Subsequent sport: at Patriots (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)
What to know: When it was gut-check time, the Vikings’ offense answered the bell in a wild back-and-forth sport that places the group at .500 (5-5). Minnesota constructed off its win over the Chargers by persevering with to ascertain an id by getting the ball to its playmakers, and Justin Jefferson retains taking his sport up a notch. The second-year receiver caught eight passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns and was at 100 yards receiving on the finish of the primary quarter. Groups will at all times throw added defenders Jefferson’s approach, however the Vikings obtained inventive in getting him open by lining him up within the backfield earlier than sending him out on a shallow route over the center on his first landing. Jefferson additionally drew a 37-yard cross interference within the first half that arrange Adam Thielen‘s landing. Cousins utilized his high two receivers, with Thielen contributing eight catches for 82 yards and the TD. — Courtney Cronin
Why cannot the Vikings defend a double-digit lead? Minnesota is 2-2 when main by no less than 13 factors. The Vikings have constructed double-digit leads as simply as they’ve misplaced them; they threw punch after punch on offense by staying aggressive and taking pictures down the sphere, but their protection nonetheless allowed the Packers to return again within the sport. After Inexperienced Bay took a 24-23 lead within the fourth quarter, Minnesota thundered again behind Jefferson’s second landing catch and Dalvin Cook dinner’s 2-point conversion, solely to have Rodgers hit Marquez Valdes-Scantling on the primary play of the Packers’ subsequent drive to take the lead. Minnesota’s protection let Rodgers scramble for six-plus seconds on two of his landing throws, in line with NFL Subsequent Gen Stats. It is as much as the Vikings’ protection to guard leads in the event that they need to land one of many last two seeds within the NFC playoffs. — Cronin
Cronin’s confidence score (0-10): 7, up from 4.5. The Vikings beat the most effective group within the NFC by hanging on late and staying aggressive on offense. If they’ll beat San Francisco in Week 12, the remainder of their schedule is favors them securing one other postseason bid.
Subsequent sport: at 49ers (4:25 p.m. ET, Sunday)
Vikings get the win over the Packers after Greg Joseph kicks the deciding discipline objective as time expires.
What to know: Properly, possibly the Packers do not fairly have a championship-level protection but. Certain, the unit made performs, notably a pair of sacks by Preston Smith, however when it wanted another cease, it could not come by way of. Not like within the Oct. 28 win at Arizona, there was no miracle interception ultimately zone from Rasul Douglas. This was merely a protection that gave up 10 factors on the Vikings’ last two possessions, together with the profitable discipline objective on the gun. They’d no reply for Justin Jefferson, the Vikings receiver who caught eight passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns. The second was a lovely 23-yard fade that gave the Vikings a 31-24 lead with 2:17 left. The issue was the Packers then scored too quickly, when Aaron Rodgers hit Marquez Valdes-Scantling for a 75-yard landing to the tie it with 2:08 left. The Packers’ protection, which got here in ranked third in fewest yards allowed and third in fewest passing yards allowed, let Kirk Cousins throw for 341 yards and three touchdowns. — Rob Demovsky
How dangerous will Elgton Jenkins‘ knee damage harm the Packers? They will most likely deal with dropping Jenkins, assuming it is as dangerous because it regarded when he limped off unable to place a lot strain on his left knee, if David Bakhtiari is able to play. However that is nonetheless an enormous if, particularly after Packers coach Matt LaFleur would not say a lot final week about why Bakhtiari seems to have taken a step again in his return from ACL surgical procedure in January. Bakhtiari appeared on observe to play a few weeks in the past when he got here off the PUP listing, however then he did not apply final week. With Bakhtiari again, the Packers might have moved Jenkins again to left guard, the place he was a Professional Bowler final 12 months. Now, they could possibly be all the way down to their No. 3 left deal with for some time. — Demovsky
Demovsky’s confidence score (0-10): 7, down from 7.5. It is waning partially as a result of the Packers desperately must get to their bye week, they usually will not get it for one more two weeks. First, they should cope with the Rams (7-3), who must be rested coming off their bye.
Subsequent sport: vs. Rams (4:25 p.m. ET, Sunday)
What to know: The Browns might have gained the sport. However as soon as once more, they did not resemble something near a playoff-caliber group whereas slogging their strategy to victory over the winless Lions. Even with the return of Professional Bowl operating again Nick Chubb, who closed out Detroit on the ultimate drive, the offense stays a multitude. Quarterback Baker Mayfield is ailing. And so too is the passing sport. In flip, Cleveland has scored greater than 17 factors in a sport as soon as since Oct. 10. To have any likelihood of creating a run to the playoffs, the Browns should produce a direct and drastic turnaround offensively. — Jake Trotter
How can the Browns get Mayfield going once more? Sadly for Cleveland, Mayfield goes to be enjoying injured the remainder of the season. He was noticeably limping within the second half — his knee and foot accidents compounding the torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder. Reestablishing a operating sport that when rolling is among the many finest within the NFL, ought to assist put Mayfield in additional favorable conditions. Finally, although, Mayfield goes to have be sharper than he was Sunday, regardless of the accidents. Getting again to taking higher care of the ball can be a begin. — Trotter
Trotter’s confidence score (0-10): 6, up from 5.9. Cleveland’s season finally hinges on what it does in its subsequent two video games — each in opposition to the Ravens.
Subsequent sport: at Ravens (8:20 p.m. ET, Sunday)
What to know: Working again D’Andre Swift confirmed why he is the Lions’ finest offensive risk with a career-best 136 dashing yards, marking his second straight sport of 100 or extra. Within the third quarter, Swift ran for a career-long 57-yard landing, which was the longest dashing landing by a Lions participant since Jahvid Finest had an 88-yarder in opposition to the Chicago Bears in Week 5 of 2011. The play was the lone shiny spot on offense. — Eric Woodyard
Ought to the Lions proceed to start out quarterback Tim Boyle when Jared Goff will get wholesome? No. Though he did not play terribly, Boyle would not seem like the long-term reply for this group, both. He ended with 77 passing yards and did not do something spectacular sufficient to take over Goff’s job on a everlasting foundation. His method was very similar to Goff’s, too, choosing check-down passes and never experiencing a lot success on throws of 10 or extra yards. — Woodyard
Woodyard’s confidence score (0-10): 2.3, down from 2.5. The efficiency in Cleveland was one other instance of what we already knew about this group: What they lack in expertise, they attempt to make up for in competitiveness. However they simply haven’t got sufficient firepower on the roster.
Subsequent sport: vs. Bears (12:30 p.m. ET, Thursday)
What to know: The Eagles have formally entered the playoff dialog. With their win over New Orleans, they now have a 40% likelihood of creating the playoffs, in line with ESPN’s Soccer Energy Index. It will have dropped to 11% with a loss, exhibiting the importance of this sport. Each side of the ball have hit its stride. Coach Nick Sirianni’s offense rushed for 175-plus yards for the fourth straight sport — their longest streak because the 1950 season, in line with the Eagles — whereas the protection triggered three turnovers and performed profitable soccer for the third time in 4 video games. The Eagles entered Week 11 with the second-easiest closing schedule within the NFL, and with tiebreakers over the Saints, Falcons and Panthers, they’re in good place to make a cost at a wild-card spot. — Tim McManus
Is Jalen Hurts on his strategy to securing the QB job long-term? He is making a reasonably compelling case. Hurts rushed for 71 yards and three touchdowns in opposition to the highest rush protection within the NFL, capping his day with an Allen Iverson-like cutback en path to a 24-yard TD run that put the house crowd in a frenzy. He now has three video games with a number of dashing TDs this season. Previously 20 years, Cam Newton is the one different QB to drag that off, per ESPN Stats & Info. With as many as three first-round picks in April’s draft, a lot of the speak has been about utilizing that capital to usher in a top-end QB. Hurts is attempting to show they have already got one in-house. — McManus
McManus’ confidence score (0-10): 5.9, up from 4.8. The Eagles took their lumps early within the season beneath first-year head coach Sirianni, however with the enamel of their schedule behind them, the momentum ought to proceed to construct.
Subsequent sport: at Giants (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)
Darius Slay scores his third landing in 4 video games with this 49-yard interception return.
What to know: The Saints’ season is on the brink after dropping three straight video games — for the primary time since 2016 — and falling to 5-5. The schedule would not get simpler with the Payments and Cowboys coming into New Orleans over the subsequent two Thursday nights. The hope is the magnitude of Sunday’s flop was considerably of an anomaly since they have been with out operating again Alvin Kamara and offensive tackles Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk (all of whom must be again quickly). However the Saints’ passing offense has struggled even at full power this 12 months, and this was additionally a step again for the protection. — Mike Triplett
Are we getting nearer to seeing Taysom Hill at quarterback? The Saints have to contemplate something that can shake up this sagging offense. For the third straight week, QB Trevor Siemian completed robust within the fourth quarter after he struggled mightily early. He accomplished 22 of 40 passes for 214 yards and three touchdowns, with one TD run and his first two interceptions of the season. Hill’s well being is an element, too. He barely practiced all week with a foot damage, then he was held out of his regular function as a runner/receiver Sunday whereas serving as New Orleans backup. And the Saints have solely three days between video games this week. — Triplett
Triplett’s confidence score (0-10): 5.5, down from 6.5. The one glimmer of hope right here is that the Saints confirmed how excessive their ceiling might be earlier this season. However they’ve now squandered the top begin they constructed in opposition to the remainder of the NFC’s playoff contenders (together with Philly).
Subsequent sport: vs. Payments (8:20 p.m. ET, Thursday)
What to know: The Ravens can win with out quarterback Lamar Jackson. For a lot of the sport, it wasn’t fairly or thrilling. However with Jackson out with an sickness, backup Tyler Huntley led Baltimore on a profitable drive within the last minute. His 30-yard cross to Sammy Watkins arrange Devonta Freeman’s go-ahead, 3-yard landing with 22 seconds remaining. This was an unbelievable and gutsy win contemplating the Ravens have been with out an MVP candidate in Jackson and high vast receiver in Marquise Brown (thigh) they usually have 13 gamers on injured reserve. — Jamison Hensley
Will the Ravens’ protection ever resolve its big-play points? It is almost the identical script each sport. Baltimore performs shutdown protection earlier than a expensive mistake ruins it. On Sunday, the massive performs almost price the Ravens the sport. Ravens cornerback Chris Westry allowed a 49-yard landing on fourth-and-11 with beneath two minutes left within the sport. The opposite Bears landing got here on a 60-yard vast receiver display to Darrell Mooney. Baltimore has given up 11 passes of 40 yards or extra, tied for probably the most within the NFL. — Hensley
Hensley’s confidence score (0-10): 7.6, up from 7.5. The Ravens know they should play higher heading into the hardest a part of their schedule, the place they do not face one other group with a dropping report within the last seven weeks.
Subsequent sport: vs. Browns (8:20 p.m. ET, Sunday)
What to know: Ugly, ugly, ugly. The Bears discovered a strategy to lose to a Ravens group with out quarterback Lamar Jackson. Chicago’s protection allowed Baltimore backup Tyler Huntley to do sufficient to arrange Justin Tucker for 3 discipline objectives, after which lead a last-second scoring drive to squeeze out the victory. Too dangerous, as a result of it ruined Andy Dalton’s memorable afternoon. Dalton, who entered the sport within the third quarter after Justin Fields left with a rib damage, promptly hit Darnell Mooney on a large receiver display early within the third quarter and let the speedster do the remainder. Mooney broke a pair of tackles after which turned on the jets to outrace the Ravens’ protection for a 60-yard landing. Dalton later tossed what seemed to be the profitable landing cross to Marquise Goodwin on fourth down with beneath two minutes left, till Chicago’s protection collapsed on the finish. The sport represented a type of redemption for Dalton, who misplaced his beginning job to Fields when he obtained harm early within the season. However this was a sport the Bears needed to win. At 3-7, the Bears’ season has all however slipped away. — Jeff Dickerson
Is there one other quarterback controversy in Chicago? Most likely not. The job belongs to Fields when he is wholesome. In fact, there’s a state of affairs the place subsequent week’s tight turnaround — the Bears play on Thanksgiving Day at 12:30 p.m. ET in Detroit — makes it troublesome for Fields to play, relying on the severity of his damage. Dalton is good insurance coverage, however the group is targeted on growing Fields for the longer term. The second Fields receives the medical clearance to play, the rookie will likely be again on the market, and Dalton will return to the bench. — Dickerson
Dickerson’s confidence score (0-10): 2, down from 2.5. The Bears cannot even beat the Ravens with out Lamar Jackson. Good luck the remainder of the way in which.
Subsequent sport: at Lions (12:30 p.m. ET, Thursday)
What to know: Washington continues to lose our bodies but one way or the other win video games. It was lacking its high two tight ends and each beginning defensive ends and wanted to show to its third middle through the sport. But it stored discovering a strategy to stick round. Plenty of credit score goes to quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who performed a wise and gutsy sport. The day was presupposed to be in regards to the Panthers’ Cam Newton, however Heinicke threw three landing passes, accomplished 16 of twenty-two throws and ran for 31 yards. On the game-winning drive, he accomplished a fourth-down cross by which he needed to scramble and was almost sacked. Working again Antonio Gibson was benched for a few collection after a fumble, but he responded with 95 yards. Washington has confidence and can make the ultimate stretch much more attention-grabbing. — John Keim
Can Washington maintain this stage of play? Why not? Washington’s protection is enjoying nicely — it has held three consecutive opponents beneath 300 yards. It should get finish Montez Sweat again in just a few weeks, which can assist. However an enormous key has been the play of the secondary, particularly Kam Curl and Landon Collins. Curl’s capacity to cowl Christian McCaffrey helped on a few throws, together with a late deal with on fourth down. The offense has discovered a rhythm and, extra essential, an id. Washington’s dedication to the run sport has allowed it to play extra bodily and restrict Taylor Heinicke’s dropbacks. His effectivity the previous two weeks has been terrific — a mixed 12 incompletions. — Keim
Keim’s confidence score (0-10): 5.9, up from 5. The flexibility to beat errors and dangerous performs occurs whenever you play with confidence. Washington is enjoying with a number of confidence; it has had quite a few possibilities to buckle the previous two weeks, but it retains overcoming, because of its mindset.
Subsequent sport: vs. Seahawks (8:15 p.m. ET, Nov. 29)
Taylor Heinicke finds Terry McLaurin ultimately zone to even the rating simply earlier than the top of the half.
What to know: Cam Newton did his half. He introduced vitality and playmaking, throwing two landing passes and dashing for one more (24 yards). The league’s No. 2 protection that this group is being constructed round did not do its half. The Panthers (5-6) have been crushed by Taylor Heinicke, one other former Carolina quarterback, who threw three landing passes and engineered the game-winning discipline objective with a clutch fourth-down cross. Newton’s largest mistake was throwing a late fourth-down cross in need of the road of scrimmage. — David Newton
Can the Panthers be an actual playoff contender and have a dropping report at house? Newton mentioned the objective this week was to reclaim Financial institution of America Stadium, the place the Panthers have been dominant throughout their previous playoff runs beneath the quarterback. He gave away 50 tickets to assist the trigger. As a substitute, Carolina misplaced its fourth straight at house to fall to 2-4 there this season. The Panthers now have misplaced to the Eagles, Vikings, Patriots and Washington. Not a very good résumé for a critical playoff contender. — Newton
Newton’s confidence score (0-10): 4.9, down from 5.4. The schedule will get more durable after subsequent week’s sport at Miami, with two video games in opposition to the Bucs and street video games in opposition to Buffalo and New Orleans making it arduous to think about the Panthers can win sufficient to be an element within the NFC.
Subsequent sport: at Dolphins (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)
What to know: In basketball, generally shooters must see the ball undergo the ring to finish a chilly streak — completely different sport however similar idea right here. The Dolphins have now gained three straight after a seven-game dropping streak, and it seems that the repair to their chilly streak was merely getting one other win beneath their belts. For the primary time this season, Miami’s offensive line did not seem like a sieve, and for the third time, its run sport topped 100 dashing yards (115). Security Eric Rowe mentioned profitable video games validated the group’s efforts and constructed up its confidence, which was fading after they did not see optimistic outcomes for a month and a half. The Dolphins are making large performs on each side of the ball and ending video games; there’s hope but. — Marcel Louis-Jacques
Has Miami’s offense been too reliant on large performs these previous two weeks? Over the previous two video games, the Dolphins have hit on performs of 52, 64 and 65 yards. Exterior of these three performs, they’ve averaged 4.5 yards per play. Getting into Week 11, the Bears rank final within the NFL in that class at 4.7 yards. Look, a part of soccer is capitalizing in your opponents’ errors — which is what Miami has been in a position to do these previous two weeks. But it surely should determine methods to maneuver the ball successfully between these large performs. — Louis-Jacques
Louis-Jacques’ confidence score (0-10): 6.5, up from 6. It wasn’t fairly, however the Dolphins did sufficient to win a sport that they need to have gained; they’re rolling as they put together for a 32-day stretch of not having to depart South Florida.
Subsequent sport: vs. Panthers (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)
What to know: Coach Robert Saleh made the proper name by changing Mike White with Joe Flacco at quarterback. Too dangerous he could not change a bunch of different gamers, together with kicker Matt Ammendola (two FG misses). Flacco, the shock selection to start out, did what was anticipated. For probably the most half, the savvy professional dealt with the Dolphins’ prolific blitz. He made a few errors, however he did not stall the offense and fed the ball to rising rookie Elijah Moore (eight catches, 141 yards, one TD). Flacco completed with 291 yards and two TD passes. The Jets have been doomed by dumb penalties and a serious protection breakdown within the secondary, leading to a 65-yard landing. What they want now could be to get rookie QB Zach Wilson (knee) again within the lineup. If he is wholesome, he ought to begin. Interval. No controversy. — Wealthy Cimini
Will the Jets lose the remainder of their video games? Do not snicker; it is a legit query. The Dolphins (4-7) have been presupposed to be one of many smooth spots on the schedule, however the Jets have been dealt with at house. In the event that they fall to the pathetic Houston Texans (2-8) subsequent Sunday on the street, the place will they get a win? They face the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-8), however you’ll be able to’t win if you cannot cease anyone. Proper now, the Jets’ protection, gutted by accidents, is a shell of its former self — and its former self wasn’t too good. — Cimini
Cimini’s confidence score (0-10): 3.5, up from 2.5. Properly, no less than they did not get blown out. That is what this season has deteriorated to.
Subsequent sport: at Texans (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)
What to know: Lastly. It took almost a 12 months, however the Colts have lastly ended their eight-game dropping streak in opposition to playoff groups from final season. They did not simply finish it — the Colts did it within the vogue that confirmed they’re proper within the thick of the AFC playoff race whereas transferring above .500 for the primary time all season. The Colts led from begin to end and had some Buffalo followers heading to the door with about 4 minutes left within the third quarter after they pressured three turnovers and have been main 31-7. Wanting forward, the problem would not get any simpler for the Colts, who’re nonetheless on the surface trying in. 4 of their remaining six video games are in opposition to groups with a profitable report, beginning with Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Indianapolis in Week 12. — Mike Wells
Is Jonathan Taylor the most effective operating again within the league? Sure, particularly with Tennessee’s Derrick Henry doubtlessly sidelined for the remainder of the season with a foot damage. Taylor racked up 185 dashing yards and 5 touchdowns (4 dashing, one receiving). It marked the 18th time in NFL historical past a participant scored 5 touchdowns in a single sport. He now leads the NFL with 1,122 dashing yards, and barring any type of damage, he’ll possible stay on the high of the listing the remainder of the season as a result of the Colts will proceed to lean on him down the stretch. — Wells
Wells’ confidence score (0-10): 5, up from 3.9. Sunday’s victory over the Payments was the Colts’ most spectacular win since they gained at Kansas Metropolis in October 2019.
Subsequent sport: vs. Buccaneers (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)
What to know: The Payments’ No. 1 protection regarded removed from it in opposition to a Colts offense that has been inconsistent this 12 months and got here into the sport ranked twelfth within the league. The protection was with out beginning defensive deal with Star Lotulelei, who’s on the COVID-19 listing, and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (hamstring), however even whereas preserving these absences in thoughts, Buffalo’s run protection has had a tough time stopping the sport’s finest operating backs. Coming into the sport, it was clear that the Colts would attempt to run the ball with the success Derrick Henry had (143 yards) in opposition to this protection in Week 6. Even with that data, Jonathan Taylor scored 5 touchdowns and rushed for 185 yards. The Payments entered Sunday having allowed 5 TDs to operating backs this season (tied for fourth fewest). Taylor reached that in three quarters. The Colts’ 264 dashing yards are probably the most by a Payments opponent within the final three seasons. — Alaina Getzenberg
Do the Payments have a significant issue on particular groups? One thing has to get corrected, as a result of the rain-soaked turf wasn’t the reason for all of the particular groups woes. The worst play of the day — on a day with many tough moments — was returner Isaiah McKenzie fumbling the soccer untouched on a kickoff return within the second quarter. The Colts recovered the soccer on the Payments’ 2-yard line and took it in for a landing on the subsequent play. Kicker Tyler Bass additionally missed two discipline objectives (from 57 and 49 yards) on a moist discipline. Bass had made 16 straight discipline objective makes an attempt getting into the day, and it is the primary time he has missed two discipline objectives in a sport since Week 7 of final 12 months. Going ahead, Bass will possible get issues corrected, however this wasn’t McKenzie’s first time dropping the soccer. For a group that locations such significance on particular groups, there have been too many clumsy performs this 12 months. — Getzenberg
Getzenberg’s confidence score (0-10): 7.2, down from 7.8. This confidence score has been so up and down for the Payments over the previous few weeks — good performances have been rapidly erased by disasters, together with this loss to the Colts with all three phases falling brief — and the Payments have loads to show earlier than this score can go considerably up once more.
Subsequent sport: at Saints (8:20 p.m. ET, Thursday)
What to know: The 49ers have gained two straight in dominating vogue and more and more seem like a reputable NFC playoff contender. A convincing win in opposition to the Jaguars is not an enormous feat in itself, however it’s precisely the kind of efficiency a group with actual postseason aspirations would have. And it should not be bought brief contemplating the Niners have been coming off a brief week and touring throughout the nation for an early physique clock begin. At 5-5 with seven video games to play, the true assessments await, together with subsequent week in opposition to fellow wild-card contender Minnesota, however the 49ers dealt with enterprise as they need to have, one thing that hadn’t occurred a lot previous to Sunday. — Nick Wagoner
Are the 49ers on their strategy to an offensive drive that eats up a whole quarter? It positive appears prefer it. On Sunday, the Niners opened the sport with a drive that ate up a whopping 13:05, the longest drive by a group this season and the longest of any group up to now 20 years, in line with ESPN Stats & Information. In consecutive weeks, San Francisco’s offense has posted the 2 longest drives of the season (11:03 final week). Is it a coincidence? To some extent, sure, however the Niners are clearly wonderful with utilizing the opening drive to claim bodily dominance and rolling from there. The one drawback on Sunday was it ended with a discipline objective as a substitute of a landing. Both approach, these sorts of drives set a tone that’s troublesome to beat. — Wagoner
Wagoner’s confidence score (0-10): 5.8, up from 5.3. The Niners’ embarrassing loss to Arizona two weeks in the past looks like a distant reminiscence, and they look like rounding into kind with some key video games arising.
Subsequent sport: vs. Vikings (4:25 p.m. ET, Sunday)
Jimmy Garoppolo stands within the pocket and throws a dart to Brandon Aiyuk for the 7-yard landing.
What to know: An already restricted Jaguars offense is useless within the water with no wholesome James Robinson, and sadly he will be battling his knee/heel accidents the remainder of the 12 months. He simply would not have the identical burst he did earlier than the accidents. Meaning the offense goes to be all on Trevor Lawrence‘s shoulders. That is an unfair ask for a rookie, particularly with the Jaguars’ unimpressive group of receivers, and it is a burden for which he is not prepared. — Mike DiRocco
What do the Jaguars do at cornerback? Shaquill Griffin left the sport with a concussion and Tyson Campbell suffered a shoulder damage. That left Nevin Lawson and Chris Claybrooks as the highest two corners — presumably for the close to future. The Jaguars have the Falcons and Rams the subsequent two weeks. The Jaguars had been comparatively wholesome all 12 months till Sunday, when 5 key gamers obtained harm. — DiRocco
DiRocco’s confidence score (0-10): 1.5, down from 3. Penalties and turnovers, inept offense, failure to get off the sphere on third down … simply an terrible efficiency in opposition to a group that performed on Monday evening, flew throughout nation, and kicked off at 10 a.m. PT.
Subsequent sport: vs. Falcons (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)
What to know: The Patriots’ protection is legit. In every of the previous three video games, the unit has allowed not more than seven factors and 250 yards. They’re solely the third protection up to now 15 seasons with a streak that lengthy, and the opposite two groups made the Tremendous Bowl — the 49ers in 2019 and Seahawks in 2014. A bodily defensive entrance makes it powerful to run in opposition to them, and the defensive backs are ballhawks. The Patriots intercepted a cross on 4 straight drives to finish Thursday’s sport, which is the second time beneath Invoice Belichick they’ve recorded an interception on 4 straight drives, with the final time coming in 2001. — Mike Reiss
Are the Patriots the most effective group within the AFC? Nobody would have been asking that query 5 weeks in the past once they have been 2-4. However winners of 5 in a row, the Patriots are actually one of many hottest groups within the NFL, enjoying complementary soccer with a hard-hitting D, an environment friendly offense, and stable particular groups. The Titans and Payments are among the many groups that may stake a declare to top-of-the-AFC standing, and because it seems, the Patriots play them in three of their subsequent 4 video games (Titans on Oct. 28, Payments on Dec. 6 and Dec. 26). That will likely be telling. — Reiss
Reiss’ confidence score (0-10): 6.5, up from 6. 5 wins in a row, and enjoying such a bodily sport on a Sunday-to-Thursday turnaround, highlights a group that has discovered its id.
Subsequent sport: vs. Titans (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)
What to know: The Falcons are in a nasty place in the intervening time. They have not scored a landing in additional than 130 minutes of soccer and offensively there are issues. The offensive line is struggling to dam. The operating sport is basically nonexistent. Matt Ryan threw two interceptions and had his second straight subpar sport. Sure, these losses have been in opposition to good groups, however that additionally tells you the place the Falcons are as a group. — Michael Rothstein
How does Atlanta resolve its offensive issues? Falcons coach Arthur Smith mentioned they’ve to guage all the things through the group’s mini-bye over the weekend, and whereas there are no simple solutions, there must be some solutions. Whether or not that is shaking up the inside of the offensive line or so simple as getting a wholesome Cordarrelle Patterson again, one thing has to shift — in any other case Atlanta won’t win many extra video games this season. — Rothstein
Rothstein’s confidence score (0-10): 3.4, down from 4. Two video games with no landing results in a franchise in flux.
Subsequent sport: vs. Jaguars (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)