The Philadelphia Eagles win the Super Bowl and Tom Brady becomes a champion. The Cleveland Browns are not so fortunate, however, going down to Baltimore in an ugly game that included a late-game interception by Ravens cornerback Brandon Carr which would prove crucial for the victory.
The “nfl scores” is a weekly recap of the NFL games. The “NFL Week 13 takeaways” will include analysis on each game, as well as predictions for the next week.
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The Cowboys got back on track against the Saints in Week 13 of the 2021 NFL season, and it continued rolling on Sunday with major victories for NFC powerhouses Tampa Bay and Arizona. The Buccaneers’ offense flourished because to four touchdown passes from Tom Brady, while the Cardinals relished the return of Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins. Arizona reached double digit victories and remained the conference’s best team. The Lions’ first victory of the season, which came on a last-play TD throw from Jared Goff, was the greatest story of the early window.
The Colts’ defense was also strong, shutting out the Texans and moving up the AFC South standings. The Chargers pounded the Bengals for scores and forced Joe Burrow to throw two interceptions. The Eagles looked excellent without Jalen Hurts in a 15-point victory against the Jets, while the Dolphins won their sixth consecutive game against the Giants.
Takeaways and unanswered questions are discussed by our NFL Nation correspondents. They also consider the broader picture with their current team confidence rating, which is a 0-10 evaluation of how they feel about each club’s prospects at the end of the week. Let’s get started.
TB-ATL | LAC-CIN | ARI-CHI NYG-MIA | IND-HOU | MIN-DET PHI-NYJ | DAL-NO TB-ATL | LAC-CIN | ARI-CHI NYG-MIA | IND-HOU | MIN-DET PHI-NYJ | DAL-NO
What you should know: After Jared Goff’s last-second 11-yard touchdown throw to Amon-Ra St. Brown ended Detroit’s 15-game losing run, first-year coach Dan Campbell was finally free to rejoice. Since Dec. 6, 2020, against the Bears, Detroit has not won a regular-season or preseason game in almost a full calendar year. The Lions led 20-6 at halftime, and after the Vikings grabbed a 27-23 lead with 1:50 remaining, the Lions rallied with a 75-yard drive to win the game, despite the fact that their greatest player, D’Andre Swift, was out with a shoulder injury. On this day, the Lions would not have to settle for a moral win. After the game, Campbell donated a game ball to the Oxford, Michigan, community, where four students were killed in a shooting at Oxford High School on Tuesday. The Lions observed a minute of silence before kickoff, as well as wearing T-shirts and helmet decals in remembrance of the victims. Eric Woodyard’s remark
Can the Lions build on their thrilling victory? Without a doubt. It’s simpler to build on an actual win than it is to build on a moral triumph, and the Lions had enough of both this season. Detroit fought hard and kept opponents close, even tying the Steelers, but against a Vikings club desperate to make the playoffs, they went the extra mile and won. — In the woods
Woodyard’s confidence level (0-10) has risen to 3, up from 2. Yes, the Lions have won their first game, but now is not the time for a celebration in Detroit. This club still has a lot of weaknesses, but on Sunday they had their finest game of the season. It was a much-needed victory.
The Broncos will be the opponent in the next game (Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET)
What you should know: This defeat was unforgivable, yet it seemed inevitable. Minnesota did all it could to keep the Lions in the game all night and stroll away with a last-second score on the game’s last play. The Vikings had nothing to be proud of after regaining the lead with 1:50 left only to lose it 14 plays later when Jared Goff connected with Amon-Ra St. Brown for an 11-yard touchdown pass. Minnesota did everything it could to lose this game, including terrible offensive playcalling, poor execution, penalties, and an odd defensive game plan that allowed Goff off the hook right away. As usual, Justin Jefferson was outstanding, and if Minnesota had gotten him involved much sooner than the conclusion of the second quarter, the outcome of the game may have been different. The Vikings felt that bringing their D-plus game to Detroit would be enough to defeat a poor club. Courtney Cronin (Courtney Cronin)
Are the Vikings on the verge of changing their coaching staff and front office? Have Zygi and Mark Wilf, the Vikings’ owners, seen enough to desire to alter the franchise’s course? Minnesota was humiliated by a squad that had a 0-10-1 record and a 20-6 halftime lead against the Vikings. All day, the Wilfs watched passes go just short of the sticks on second- and third-and-long, as well as two dubious two-point playcalls. After going 2-for-11 on third down, the Lions were able to win the game. On offense and defense, they observed ill-fated game designs. The issue now is if Minnesota’s owners will make changes to their coaching staff and/or front office, and if so, when? Cronin’s
Cronin’s confidence rating (on a scale of 1 to 10) is 4, down from 6. The Vikings have a short week ahead of them, with Pittsburgh visiting on Thursday night. A defeat would drop the Vikings to 5-8, throw them farther behind in the quest for the No. 7 spot, and put the season’s end in sight.
The Steelers are the team’s next opponent (Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET)
What to know: This season, the Buccaneers strayed from their run-first strategy, with quarterback Tom Brady attempting 51 throws. Four passing touchdowns (two to tight end Rob Gronkowski) were the outcome, while wide receiver Chris Godwin established a single-game team record with 15 receptions, the most in an NFL game this season. Brady’s first two touchdowns came on 3-yard throws to Leonard Fournette and Cam Brate, respectively. With safety Jordan Whitehead (calf) and Mike Edwards (suspended) missing, the Bucs gave up some huge plays early, including a failed tackle on Cordarrelle Patterson on a 39-yard pitch — the Bucs’ longest run play of the season. Mike Davis scored a 17-yard touchdown run as a result of the play. The defense, on the other hand, had five sacks, with Ndamukong Suh and Vita Vea each receiving two. — Jenna Laine is a model and actress.
What influence will Sunday’s victory have on the Buccaneers’ playoff positioning? With their victory on Sunday, the Bucs stretched their lead in the NFC South to four games and tied for second place in the NFC seeding with the Green Bay Packers, who were on a bye week (although the Packers would win the tiebreaker because they have a better conference record). Only the top two seeds will have home-field advantage until the conference finals, and only the top seed will get a first-round bye. With a score difference of 21.6 at home and minus-2.33 on the road this season, the Bucs might profit from playing at home. Laine –
Laine’s confidence rating (on a scale of one to ten) is now 8.5, up from 8. The return to health of cornerbacks Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting, as well as the Bucs’ five-sack performance, instills greater confidence in the defense, despite the fact that Patterson, Kyle Pitts, and Mike Davis all had huge plays.
The Bills are the team’s next opponent (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)
What you should know: The Falcons’ lack of a running game has been one of their major flaws this season. Any progress made one week would be halted the next. However, as the season nears its end, Atlanta seems to have found greater stability on the ground. Cordarrelle Patterson, who rushed for 78 yards on 13 runs, has emerged as the team’s primary back. Mike Davis, who was projected to be the starter at one time, has been relegated to a supporting role and has three runs for 29 yards and the Falcons’ lone offensive score. It was one thing when Atlanta performed well versus Jacksonville. The fact that the Falcons were able to accomplish it against Tampa Bay, who had the league’s top run defense before the day, shows that they’ve made strides on the ground. This was the first time Atlanta has ran for 100 yards in consecutive games since Weeks 2 and 3 of last season, and it’s something the Falcons can build on as they strive to make the playoffs. Michael Rothstein is a writer and producer.
What can the Falcons do to relieve Matt Ryan’s pressure? The overall season figures (26 sacks) don’t seem to be awful at first glance, but Matt Ryan has been sacked 10 times in the last three games, including a season-high five times on Sunday. The bulk of them came from the offensive line’s interior, as Atlanta failed to contain Vita Vea (two sacks) and Ndamukong Suh (four sacks) (two sacks). Despite having three first-round selections and two third-round picks as starters, Atlanta understands it has some difficulties on the offensive line, which is why Matt Hennessy and Drew Dalman alternate at center. Dalman had two missed snaps Sunday after playing well against the Jaguars, including one near the goal line in the first half that helped delay a drive and lead to a field goal. However, this is a squad that has allowed at least one sack in every game this season except one (Week 5 vs the Jets) and has struggled to protect Ryan, who was sacked 41 times in 2020, 48 times in 2019, and 42 times in 2018. — According to Rothstein
Rothstein’s confidence rating (0-10): 3.6, same from the previous rating of 3.6. No change because precisely what was predicted to happen — a Falcons team that played well but lacked the necessary talent to win — happened.
Panthers’ next game is on the road (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
What to know: Sometimes the team that makes the fewest errors wins the game; other times, the side that makes the most mistakes recovers the fastest. That’s exactly what occurred on Sunday. For the first time since 2019, the Los Angeles Chargers turned the ball over on three consecutive possessions while leading 24-6. Austin Ekeler, the running back, had his first career game with two fumbles. Justin Herbert was sacked four times and threw an interception. Joey Bosa, a linebacker, had a concussion and had to leave the game. Despite this, the Chargers managed to win the game. Shelley Smith says:
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How did they pull it off? Tevaughn Campbell, a cornerback, was instrumental in converting a 2-point game into a two-possession game by recovering a rare Joe Mixon fumble and returning it 61 yards for a score. ‘Smith’
Smith’s confidence rating (on a scale of one to ten) is now 7, up from 5.5. They somehow got into this stadium, made every mistake possible, and yet managed to win, which might have major playoff ramifications.
The next game is against the Giants (Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET)
What you should know: In a defeat to the Chargers, Cincinnati missed a chance to gain major momentum in its playoff pursuit. Bengals coach Zac Taylor admitted earlier this week that Sunday was a chance to win three consecutive games, an opportunity that has eluded them twice this season. Cincinnati came close to crawling out of a 24-point deficit despite an injury-depleted lineup, but it couldn’t string together the three-game winning run it desired. – Ben Little
Will the Bengals be able to stay healthy enough to make the playoffs? Cincinnati had been one of the league’s healthiest teams prior to Sunday. However, both starting cornerback Chidobe Awuzie and linebacker Logan Wilson were injured and had to leave the game. Joe Burrow, the quarterback, also suffered an injury to his right pinkie. Aside from Burrow, those are important jobs that will have far-reaching consequences. Cincinnati, on the other hand, cannot afford for Burrow to go down or be hamstrung the rest of the way. — Little one
Baby’s confidence level (0-10) is 6.2, down from 6.7 before. The Bengals’ injury woes are more alarming than the defeat that has dashed their postseason ambitions.
The 49ers are the team’s next opponent (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)
What you should know: Kyler Murray has returned. After missing three games due to a severe left ankle sprain, Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer returned Sunday against the Bears and looked like the Murray of old. In their easy victory in Chicago, the Cardinals left a few loose ends, but Sunday was the best they’ve looked following a bye in Kliff Kingsbury’s three seasons in Arizona. Josh Weinfuss (@JoshWeinfuss)
Between the Cardinals and the No. 1 overall seed, what will stand in their way? There isn’t much. Coming out of the bye with a huge victory against the Bears demonstrates how much this squad — and coaching staff — has progressed over the last two seasons. Murray looked like the Murray of old on his comeback, which bodes well and will likely avoid a breakdown down the stretch. The rest of Arizona’s schedule is favorable, with matchups against the Rams next week and the Cowboys in the season’s final game the most difficult. Aside than that, Arizona is playing like a club vying for the top seed in the NFC, which comes with home-field advantage until the Super Bowl. Weinfuss’s words
Weinfuss’ confidence rating (on a scale of one to ten) is now 8.8, up from 8.5. Because of the victory, the team needed to improve, but there were a few minor flaws — maybe rust — coming off the bye that Arizona needed to address before heading into the homestretch.
The Rams are the team’s next opponent (Monday, Dec. 13, 8:15 p.m. ET)
What you should know: Bears quarterback Andy Dalton’s bad day just got worse, owing to him, his receivers, and the Cardinals’ defense. In Sunday’s defeat, Dalton threw four interceptions, matching his career best. One was clearly Dalton’s fault, two came off the hands of his receivers, and one was a result of Cardinals defensive lineman Zach Allen’s great play at the line of scrimmage. Dalton’s mistakes resulted in a total of 23 Arizona points, including 14 in the first quarter, giving the Bears, who have now lost six of their last seven games, an insurmountable disadvantage. Josh Weinfuss (@JoshWeinfuss)
How many games do the Bears have left to win this season? With two games left against the Vikings, as well as one each versus the Packers, Giants, and Seahawks, Chicago has a chance to win three more games down the stretch. The Bears would finish the season at 7-10 if they could complete that stretch 3-2. Would it be enough for Matt Nagy, the team’s controversial head coach, to preserve his job? Weinfuss’s words
The confidence rating (0-10) of NFL Nation is 3.5, unchanged from the previous week. The Bears didn’t have a bad game. They did, however, come up against a Cardinals team that may be the greatest in the NFL, and they pushed them for the most of the game. Weinfuss’s words
The next game will be against the Packers (Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET)
What you should know: The performance of quarterback Gardner Minshew will cause quite a stir in Philadelphia. He tied Donovan McNabb for the greatest first-half completion percentage (93.3%) by an Eagles quarterback since 1991, and he guided the offense to seven first-half touchdowns. Minshew was in charge and moved skillfully inside the pocket. With a bye coming up, the question of whether he deserves another start will be debated over the next two weeks. Jalen Hurts is expected to resume his position after his injured left ankle has healed. However, the sports-talk phone lines will continue to be clogged. Tim McManus, Ph.D.
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Are the Eagles back in the postseason chase now that playmakers like Dallas Goedert and Miles Sanders have resurfaced? Sanders had 144 total yards, while Goedert established a career best with 105 receiving yards and his first multi-touchdown game as a pro. That’s good, however it’s fair to ask how much of Goedert’s career day was influenced by Minshew’s performance. Down the stretch, Sanders seemed to re-injure his ankle. With the victory, the Eagles’ playoff odds increased from 25% to 30%, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index. They’ll be in the mix the rest of the way thanks to one of the easier closing schedules in the NFL. McManus remarked
McManus’ confidence rating (on a scale of one to ten) is now 4.7, up from 4.1. Let’s not get carried away since it was the Jets. Regardless of the quarterback, the Eagles should win more games than they lose the remainder of the year.
The next game is against Washington (Sunday, Dec. 19, 1 p.m. ET)
What you should know: Zach Wilson, the Jets’ rookie quarterback, overcame his first-half demons by directing touchdown drives on the team’s first three possessions. The Jets lost the game, and Wilson did have an interception on an overthrow in the fourth quarter, but it’s vital to keep things in perspective. Wilson, who is crucial to the franchise’s future, made a few tentative moves. In the first quarter, he wasn’t as nervous as usual. There were also no lasting affects from his recent knee injury, which had been bothering him the previous week. Wilson (22-for-37, 226 yards) threw for two short scores and ran for another in a cautious passing effort. What was the significance of this? Wilson had the lowest first-quarter QBR (0.7) in the NFL since 2000 before Sunday. He did enough to defeat the Eagles, but his defense, as usual, was a disaster. Cimini, Rich
Was Eagles quarterback Gardner Minshew a surprise to the Jets’ defense? It certainly seemed to be the case. The Jets were completely unprepared for Minshew, who came in as an injured substitute at the 11th hour, and the Eagles’ passing offense. Jalen Hurts, the Jets’ dangerously mobile running back, was scratched due to a nagging ankle ailment. It’s an understatement to say they didn’t adapt, as the Eagles scored on their opening seven drives. Minshew was practically faultless (20-for-25, 242 yards, two touchdowns). Everyone knows the Jets have a skill shortage, since they are ranked 32nd in total defense, but there was no explanation for this. The coaching staff failed because they anticipated one thing and received another. Cimini’s
Cimini’s confidence rating (on a scale of one to ten) is 2.5, down from 4. The Jets finished their sixth straight losing season with nine defeats, a streak that has spanned three different head coaches. When will it come to an end?
The Saints are the team’s next opponent (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
What you should know: It wasn’t nice, and the Colts struggled at times, but they did what they needed to do to defeat the Texans. The Colts have climbed back above.500, and they’ve finally reached their bye week with a somewhat healthy roster for the rest of the season. On the other side of the bye, they’ll have two weeks to prepare for the most crucial part of their season, which includes back-to-back games against New England and Arizona, both of whom are certain to make the playoffs. To reach the playoffs, the Colts will most likely need to win three of their last four games. The issue: Three of those four opponents had a winning record going into Sunday. This season, the Colts have only defeated one club with a winning record (Buffalo). Mike Wells’ remark
Is Jonathan Taylor capable of running for 2,000 yards? It’s unlikely. With four games left in the regular season, Taylor has 1,348 running yards. To become the fifth running back to achieve that mark, he’ll need to average 163 yards per game over the last four games. In 13 games this season, Taylor has rushed for more than 163 yards twice. Wells’s
Wells’ confidence rating (on a scale of one to ten) is 3.7, unchanged from the previous week. Because the Texans aren’t a good team and Indianapolis was projected to defeat them last week, nothing has changed for the Colts.
The Patriots are the team’s next opponent (Saturday, Dec. 18, 8:20 p.m. ET)
What to know: Quarterbacks Tyrod Taylor and Davis Mills have struggled, but the Texans haven’t given them a chance to succeed. Taylor has been unproductive after returning off injured reserve after performing well in Houston’s opening two games before injuring his left hamstring. And, in addition to not being able to protect the football, he has had to play with subpar protection and no impact playmakers other than wide receiver Brandin Cooks. The Texans have shown all season that they lack the quality to compete with the elite in the NFL, but they proved once again on Sunday that they aren’t simply a quarterback away from winning. Sarah Barshop is a writer.
Is this the right moment to stick with Mills? Coach David Culley indicated last week that Mills would only play if “anything happened to Tyrod [Taylor].” During the third quarter, Taylor was assessed in the medical tent but was cleared to play, and the team indicated it was Culley’s choice to play Mills instead. Taylor offers the Texans the greatest opportunity to win when healthy, according to Culley. Mills has struggled as well, but there’s a higher chance he’ll be in Houston’s plans in the future. If that’s the case, it’d make sense for the Texans to take another look at Mills before deciding on a quarterback for next season. — Bar & Grill
The confidence rating (0-10) for Barshop is 0.6, down from 0.8. Since the Texans started the season with a victory, the confidence rating has only gone up once, and a blowout defeat to the Colts this week has sent it further lower.
The Seahawks are the team’s next opponent (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
What to anticipate from Tua Tagovailoa: Expect a lot of attempts and a lot of short, fast throws until the Dolphins create a more consistent run game. The second-year quarterback threw for 244 yards and two touchdowns on 30 of 41 attempts for an average of 8.1 yards per completion. He hit on 21 of 24 throws inside 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, while just 5 of 12 passes went beyond 10 yards. If it hadn’t been for a few drops by Dolphins receivers, Tagovailoa’s stats might have been a touch more impressive. And the outcomes are indisputable. He put up large statistics in Weeks 5 and 6, both losses, so don’t expect anything to change as long as this method continues to operate. — Louis-Jacques Marcel
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Is it possible for the Dolphins to come out on top? Miami’s aim when it broke its losing skid in Week 9 was to go back to.500 by the time it visited New Orleans in Week 16. However, with the Saints and Tennessee Titans both looking more vulnerable, and the Patriots vying for a No. 1 seed (and maybe resting players in Week 18), it’s suddenly possible that the Dolphins’ winning streak will extend through the regular season. They are becoming healthier and reaching their peak at the appropriate moment. We’d declare them the hottest team in the NFL if they hadn’t lost seven of their first eight games. Louis-Jacques –
Louis-Jacques’ confidence rating (on a scale of one to ten) is now 8.3, up from 8. If the Dolphins lose to the Jets in Week 15, they’ll have to explain themselves; their defense is too outstanding, and their offense has been significantly more efficient recently.
The Jets are the team’s next opponent (Sunday, Dec. 19, 1 p.m. ET)
What you should know: It makes no difference who the quarterback or offensive coordinator is. The Giants’ offense is difficult to follow. It’s on the verge of becoming inept. From the offensive line’s troubles to quarterback Mike Glennon’s missed passes while filling in for an injured Daniel Jones, important drops and communication concerns abound. It’s all ugliness. In Miami, a team that entered the game averaging 18.4 points per game might have played for days before reaching that mark. The Giants (4-8) scored nine points and accumulated 250 total yards. Jordan Raanan is a writer.
What now, with the playoffs being nothing more than a pipe dream? It’s past time to begin planning for the future. It’s not a matter of if, but when they hire a new general manager. What about the coach and quarterback? Jones is a player the Giants want to see more of. However, it’s unclear when he’ll return from his neck injury, and even if he does, what will he be able to do behind this offensive line and with the skill positions depleted? Even Saquon Barkley, the running back, has a point to prove. He seems to be a husk of his previous self. Raanan’s words
Raanan’s confidence rating (on a scale of one to ten) is 3.4, down from 4. The Giants are a lower-cost alternative to the Dolphins. That isn’t always a good thing.
Chargers’ next game is on the road (Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET)
What to know: The Cowboys needed this victory against the Saints to get back on track, thus they won 27-17. It didn’t matter whether you were stylish or not. The Cowboys lacked the services of their head coach. They lacked five more coaches and two players. They had lost two in a row and three of their previous four games going into the game, but they still came back to win. “An adversity victory,” said Mike McCarthy, who was watching from Texas. The Cowboys advanced to 8-4 and extended their lead in the NFC East, keeping alive their chances of securing home-field advantage and one of the top three playoff places. Todd Archer is a writer.
Are the Cowboys on their way back? Because the Saints have now lost five consecutive games, it’s tough to say. However, this may boost the Cowboys’ confidence in their ability to manage hardship. The Cowboys have won games this season without Dak Prescott (Oct. 31 vs. Minnesota) and without McCarthy. They’re getting guys back from injury (Randy Gregory, Neville Gallimore) and bringing players up to speed (DeMarcus Lawrence, Amari Cooper) after injuries or being placed on the COVID-19 list. They’re also relying on young players to handle the weight (Micah Parsons, CeeDee Lamb). The Cowboys have placed themselves in position to make a run with five games remaining in the regular season. If they want to be a team with a legitimate chance to go far, they need to go hot right now. (Archer)
The confidence rating of Archer (0-10) is now 8.4, up from 7.9. It wasn’t a masterpiece — they couldn’t run the ball adequately, and Prescott seemed to force several plays — but it was a victory. On Thursday night, it was all that counted.
The next game will be played in Washington (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
What to know: For a brief moment, it seemed like Taysom Hill’s legs might breathe new life into the Saints’ sputtering offense. But when he had to play catch-up, the wheels fell off, and three of his four interceptions occurred in the fourth quarter. If talents like Alvin Kamara, Terron Armstead, and Ryan Ramczyk return against the Jets on the road in Week 14, the Saints (5-7) may find fresh life. But now that they’ve lost five consecutive games for the first time under Sean Payton, it could be too late. Triplett, Mike
Will Taysom Hill continue to start as quarterback for the Saints? Yes, as long as his injuries to his foot and fingers are minor. Hill’s performance is unmistakable. Even before he began “pushing” and throwing those late INTs, he was off target on several deliveries. But he also ran for 101 yards, and if he can improve his passing accuracy, he may provide some much-needed punch. “He played with a lot of passion and guts, in my opinion. In the first half, we didn’t do anything to assist him “Payton said. — Triplett
The confidence rating of Triplett (0-10) is 4.1, down from 4.5. The Saints should be healthier and more competitive next week, so there will be a lower drop this time. However, according to ESPN’s FPI, their postseason odds have dropped from 83 percent to 20 percent after Week 8.
The next game will be against the Jets (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
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