1. Who is superior to the Philadelphia Eagles? “Noooooobody,” to quote Jim Harbaugh. Philadelphia became the first team this season to clinch a playoff berth, defeating NFC East rival New York Giants 48-22, and now has two more wins than any other team. The Eagles will be extremely difficult to catch, and the Dallas Cowboys (10-3) may be the only realistic chance.
2. One reason for Philadelphia’s dominance is the variety of weapons available. The Eagles are making the playoffs for the fifth time in the last nine seasons, but this is the first time in that span that they will have either a 1,000-yard rusher (Miles Sanders) or a 1,000-yard wide receiver (Jordan Matthews) (A.J. Brown). However, QB Jalen Hurts’ options are much broader given his own dual threat ability, as well as the presence of WR DeVonta Smith and the expected return of TE Dallas Goedert – not to mention what is likely the league’s best offensive line. At this point, there is no way to consider Philadelphia anything less than the NFC’s Super Bowl 57 favourite.
2a. Hurts became the first quarterback in NFL history to rush for double-digit touchdowns in consecutive seasons on Sunday, adding to his growing MVP résumé. 2b. Sanders also rushed for his 10th touchdown of 2022, becoming the first Philadelphia RB to do so in 11 years (LeSean McCoy).
Every game should be followed: NFL Scores and Schedules Up to Date 3. And don’t forget about the NFC champions’ defence. The Eagles’ defence ranked second in the league entering Week 14 before sacking the Giants, who got a late cosmetic touchdown after pulling their starters.
4. In the other conference, the Kansas City Chiefs are on the verge of winning their seventh straight AFC West title, with one more win or loss by the Los Angeles Chargers (who beat Miami on Sunday night). When it becomes official, the Chiefs’ divisional dominance will trail only the New England Patriots’ 11-year dominance of the AFC East (2009-19).
5. The Chiefs defeated the Broncos 34-28, extending their winning streak against Denver to 14 games, matching the Patriots’ 14-game advantage over the New York Jets for the league’s longest current streak of superiority by one franchise over another.
TE for the Chiefs Travis Kelce’s 71 receiving yards on Sunday brought his career total to 10,045 yards. Only four other tight ends have surpassed the 10,000-yard mark in the NFL’s 103-year history: Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez, Shannon Sharpe, and Jason Witten.
6a. Kelce also surpassed 1,000 yards for the seventh consecutive season, breaking his own tight end record.
7. Despite this, Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes matched a career high with three interceptions on Sunday.
8. Mahomes was outplayed by Broncos counterpart Russell Wilson, who was having his best game in a Denver uniform (247 yards and three touchdowns passing, 57 yards rushing) until he was knocked out in the fourth quarter after being driven headfirst into the turf at the end of a 14-yard scramble that appeared to leave him dazed.
Wilson’s day was ruined by an untimely injury. The San Francisco 49ers ruined Tom Brady’s return to Northern California almost from the start. The Niners defeated the NFC South-leading Buccaneers 35-7, giving them a one-game lead over the Carolina Panthers and the idle Atlanta Falcons. Brady threw two interceptions… and, dare we say, looked like a player who should consider retiring in 2023.
10. TB12’s loss to Niners rookie Brock Purdy on Sunday was his first to an opposing quarterback making his NFL debut. Brady was 6-0 in such situations prior to the game.
10a. Brady suffered his first loss to a top-ranked defence after winning his first seven games.
While Brady’s emotional outbursts persisted, he did sign the footballs intercepted by Niners LB Dre Greenlaw and S Tashaun Gipson following the game. “He’s a good guy to sign that ball after throwing those picks,” Greenlaw said. “He is the best. He truly is the GOAT. That’s very kind of you.”
12. Purdy, for his part, continued to perform admirably as a capable replacement for injured QB1 Jimmy Garoppolo. He completed 16 of 21 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns in his first NFL start, keeping an efficient and occasionally devastating Niners offence on track.
12a. In his first start, Purdy became the first rookie in the Super Bowl era (since 1966) with multiple touchdown passes, a rushing touchdown, and a passer rating of at least 125.0.
“It was surreal standing there like, man, that’s Tom Brady talking to guys and dapping guys up.” 12b. It was pretty cool for him to respect what I did. “I’m not lying,” Purdy said. “Being a little kid and watching that guy kill it in Super Bowls for all these years, being able to give him a high five at the end was pretty cool.”
13. Despite what appeared to be a painful injury that left All-Pro playmaker Deebo Samuel in tears on a medical cart, San Francisco appears to have avoided a second catastrophic injury in two weeks, with coach Kyle Shanahan indicating after the game that Samuel likely has a high ankle sprain.
14. The Minnesota Vikings (10-3) lost to the Detroit Lions on Sunday, effectively ending their chances of joining Philadelphia in the NFC playoff field. The Vikings will almost certainly win the division, but their Week 2 loss to the Eagles effectively puts them three games back in the race for home-field advantage and a first-round bye. 15. Individually, Vikings WR Justin Jefferson had a big day, catching 11 passes for a career-high 223 yards – his first 200-yard game in the NFL.
16. Jefferson now has 1,500 yards on the season and needs to average 125 yards per game over the next four weeks to become the league’s first 2,000-yard receiver. He has yet to play three full NFL seasons, but he already has 13 games of 125 yards or more.
16a. Jefferson set a record by receiving at least 1,400 yards in each of his first three seasons.
17. And welcome back Lions rookie wide receiver Jameson Williams, who caught his first NFL pass and took it 41 yards to the end zone on Sunday. The former Alabama star was the 12th overall pick in this year’s draught and would have been selected sooner if he hadn’t torn his ACL in last season’s national championship game against Georgia. Keep a close eye on Detroit (6-7). The Lions, who have won five of their last six games, have a chance to become the first team since the playoffs were expanded in 1990 to reach the postseason despite a 1-6 start. OPINION: The Detroit Lions are adopting ‘gutsy’ Dan Campbell’s personality as their hot streak continues.
19. The Cincinnati Bengals defeated Cleveland Browns coach Kevin Stefanski for the first time in six tries.
20. Also, congratulations to the Jacksonville Jaguars, who won for the first time in Nashville in nine years.
21. Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence’s expected rise continues, with the top pick in the 2021 draught throwing for a career-high 368 yards on a bad wheel and matching his personal best with a trio of touchdown strikes in the win over the Tennessee Titans.
22. The Titans’ 36-22 loss to the Jaguars capped an abysmal week in which they had five turnovers, four of which came on Sunday, to go along with the AFC South leaders’ surprise firing of GM Jon Robinson.
23. Given the continued presence of former No. 2 overall draught pick Zach Wilson and White’s own expiring contract, it’s far too early to tell if QB Mike White is the Jets’ long-term answer under centre. But there’s no denying White’s toughness. He took a slew of vicious shots on Sunday, two of which folded him like a cheap Bills Mafia table and sent him to the hospital after the game as a precaution. Despite his barbecued ribs, he recovered from both hits and missed only a few snaps.
24. The Buffalo Bills’ 20-12 victory over the New York Jets was otherwise forgettable. In fact, it was the first game in six years to begin with ten consecutive punts, with both teams’ offensive offences hampered by rain and snow.
25. In a game between former Jets quarterbacks, Sam Darnold’s Carolina Panthers defeated Geno Smith’s Seattle Seahawks 30-24.
25a. Darnold only passed for 120 yards in a ground-and-pound Carolina offence that held the ball for nearly 40 minutes, but he improved to 2-0 as the Panthers’ starting quarterback in 2022.
26. Now in control of their playoff destiny, the Panthers (5-8) will win the NFC South if they win their final four games. Darnold and Smith, a leading candidate for Comeback Player of the Year, will both be free agents in about two months. Perhaps the Jets should consider signing one of them, especially if White is still treated like a tackling dummy.
28. The Washington Commanders had a beautiful Sunday. During their bye week, they jumped from eighth to sixth place in the NFC standings, good for the second wild card, thanks to the Giants and Seahawks’ losses. 28a. If the season ended today – which it does not – the entire NFC East would be in the playoffs.
29. (10 points) On Sunday, Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker passed another great kicker, Matt Stover, to become the franchise’s all-time leader with 1,473.
30. Perhaps we’ve been overly generous to Hall of Famer John Elway all these years. In Week 14, both the Cowboys and Baker Mayfield’s Los Angeles Rams used 98-yard fourth-quarter drives to lead their teams to come-from-behind victories. 30a. But perhaps not. According to the NFL, this was the first time in 45 years that multiple game-winning touchdown drives of at least 95 yards occurred, with the game-winning score coming with less than two minutes remaining in regulation.
30b. In Mayfield’s case, it also helped to play against the Las Vegas Raiders, who blew a 13-point lead for the fourth time this season, tying an NFL record. 31. Mayfield’s two-day stint with the Rams was the shortest for a new starting quarterback in at least 27 years, according to NFL Research.
31a. It’s also worth noting that Los Angeles QB John Wolford was credited with the victory despite only taking the first three offensive snaps (and not throwing a pass) before giving way to Mayfield on Thursday night.
32. Week 14 sees the end of bye weeks for a half-dozen teams (Atlanta, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, and Washington).