NFL Game Recaps: Week 16, 2023

Tua Tagovailoa




NFL Game Recaps of previous weeks and seasons can be found via links at the bottom of the page.


Rams 30, Saints 22
  • It’s en vogue to be aggressive on fourth downs in the NFL these days, but that sort of aggression hurt the Saints in this game. New Orleans opted to go for it on fourth-and-5 with a minute to go prior to halftime. They failed on the conversion, and the ensuing short field allowed the Rams to quickly score a touchdown. A 10-7 game turned into a 17-7 lead when Matthew Stafford found Demarcus Robinson in the end zone.

    This touchdown ended up being the margin of victory (plus a two-point conversion), though the Saints eventually found themselves down 30-7. They scored a couple of touchdowns, with one aided by a blocked punt, but they ultimately couldn’t get off the field after drawing to within 30-22. The loss bumped them down to 7-8, making it more difficult for them to win the NFC South.

    Conversely, the Rams improved to 8-7, taking a major step toward qualifying for the playoffs. Stafford, who was hot entering this game, continued to thrive against a Saints defense that had enjoyed some great performances this year. New Orleans had no answer for Stafford, who went 24-of-34 for 328 yards and two touchdowns.

  • Stafford threw to Cooper Kupp more than anyone, but the two had trouble converting. Of Kupp’s 12 targets, he reeled in only five of them for 52 yards. Kupp had a couple of chances at touchdowns, but he couldn’t quite bring in Stafford’s passes. The greatest producer was Puka Nacua, who snatched nine of his 11 targets for 164 yards and a touchdown. Robinson, who caught six balls for 82 yards and a touchdown, was right behind him. Oddly enough, Kupp, Nacua, Robinson and Tyler Higbee (3-30) were the only Rams players to catch passes in this game.

  • The Rams have improved exponentially since Kyren Williams made his return from injury. Williams was once again brilliant in this game, dashing for 104 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. Williams would have enjoyed a greater performance had a 26-yard rush of his not been negated by a holding penalty that had nothing to do with the play.

  • While Williams was a huge force on the ground, Alvin Kamara was barely a factor. For reasons unknown, the Saints gave Kamara just six carries in the opening half. Kamara finished with just 19 yards on nine attempts. He caught five passes, but for 16 receiving yards.

  • Derek Carr had a great statistical performance, though the bulk of his numbers came in garbage time. Carr went 27-of-40 for 319 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.

  • Chris Olave was the top receiver for the Saints, catching nine of his 13 targets for 123 yards. He didn’t get a touchdown, as Carr’s scores went to Rashid Shaheed (5-70), Juwan Johnson (4-48) and A.T. Perry (1-35).


  • Steelers 34, Bengals 11
  • Jake Browning had been hot with three consecutive wins entering this game. The Steelers, conversely, had been coming off defeats to the Cardinals, Patriots, and Colts. It was reasonable to suspect that the Bengals would prevail in convincing fashion over Pittsburgh. This game ended up being a blowout, but it wasn’t the Bengals that triumphed.

    The Steelers made a long overdue move to switch from Mitchell Trubisky to Mason Rudolph. Trubisky was a turnover machine who sabotaged some potential victories. It wasn’t clear what Pittsburgh would get with Rudolph, but it was evident from the start that it was a big upgrade. Rudolph hit George Pickens on a strike on the team’s opening drive, with Pickens going to the house for an 86-yard score. Rudolph completed other deep passes to his receivers as the game progressed. It was a terrific showing, at least relative to the other quarterback play on the team. Rudolph finished the game 17-of-27 for 290 yards and two touchdowns. As the final seconds ticked down, the Steelers crowd chanted his name, as Pittsburgh kept its playoff hopes alive.

    The Bengals, conversely, took a huge blow to their postseason aspirations. They would have had a decent chance to make the playoffs had they won this game, but they are now worse than 20 percent to get there. A big decline in Browning’s play was one of the catalysts for this loss. Browning drove Cincinnati down the field on the second possession, but made a foolish decision to heave the ball into the end zone as he was heading toward the sideline. The pass was easily picked. Browning was intercepted a second time shortly later, with this one being the result of a telegraphed pass. There was one other interception much later, but that was in desperation time.

    Browning went 28-of-42 for 335 yards, one touchdown and the three picks. This was a major step backward for him, but it should have been an expected one, given that the Steelers have a highly ranked defense compared to the other teams Browning has battled thus far.

  • Two receivers had monster games in this contest. Pickens led the way with four catches for 195 yards and two touchdowns, redeeming himself from the criticism he received for not blocking on a play last week. By comparison, Diontae Johnson (2-15) did nothing. Meanwhile, the other receiver who thrived was Tee Higgins, who snatched five passes for 140 yards and a touchdown. Tyler Boyd was next on the team with five grabs for 59 yards.

  • The Steelers had more success on the ground, as they were winning and battling the softer run defense of the two. Najee Harris rushed for 78 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries, while Jaylen Warren (8-24) caught five passes for 30 yards. Conversely, Joe Mixon was limited to 43 yards on 11 attempts.


  • Bills 24, Chargers 22
  • This seemed like an obvious trap game for the Bills. After all, they were coming off a statement win versus Dallas and had a game against a Charger team that fired their head coach after surrendering 63 points in a zero-effort performance last Thursday. And yet, it still seemed unlikely that the Bills would struggle to win as 13-point favorites. They outmatched the short-handed Chargers in every regard.

    And yet, all the matchup edges went out the window early on when the Chargers established a 10-0 lead. The Bills couldn’t get anything going whatsoever, converting just one first down on their first few drives. The Chargers, meanwhile, looked great offensively with Easton Stick completing passes to his backup receivers. This suddenly looked like an upset in the making.

    The Bills, however, fought back after going down 10-0, with Josh Allen hitting Gabe Davis for a 57-yard touchdown. Allen and the Buffalo defense then took over the game, establishing leads of 14-10 at halftime and 21-13 following the third quarter. Just when it looked like this would end up being a double-digit victory, the Bills gave the Chargers some life with sloppy turnovers. Allen was picked on a deep shot to Stefon Diggs, while James Cook lost a fumble in his own territory. The latter give-away set up a 53-yard field goal to give the Chargers a 22-21 lead.

    Allen had to come up big in the clutch, and he did just that with completions to Diggs and Dawson Knox. A chip-shot field goal in the final minute made it 24-22, leaving the Chargers without enough time to score again.

  • Allen went 15-of-21 for 237 yards, one touchdown and the interception. That stat line makes it look like Allen had a poor fantasy performance, but he was able to score twice on the ground with five scrambles for 15 rushing yards.

  • The star receiver wasn’t Diggs, who was inexplicably limited to just five catches for 29 yards. It was Davis, who hauled in four passes for 130 yards and a touchdown. Diggs was stuck on three catches for 10 yards for most of the second half, and he even spent some time on the sideline while the offense was on the field despite not suffering an injury.

  • Another odd thing concerns Cook, who nearly killed his team with the aforementioned fumble. Cook rushed for 70 yards on 20 carries, but didn’t see a single target in the passing game. Cook’s receiving had been one of the reasons why the Bills were more potent offensively, yet coordinator Joe Brady completely went away from that.

  • Speaking of running backs underutilized in the passing game, Austin Ekeler caught only three balls for 21 yards. He handled the majority of the workload with 65 yards on 15 carries.

  • Stick had a great game for someone of his talent level. Staring down Buffalo’s top-10 defense, Stick went 23-of-33 for 215 yards to go along with 25 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground.

  • Stick threw to a pair of players eight times each. Joshua Palmer caught five passes for 47 yards, while Gerald Everett hauled in seven of those balls for 42 yards.


  • Lions 30, Vikings 24
  • The Vikings had a chance to make a deep playoff run with Kirk Cousins, given the great supporting cast that was around him before his season-ending injury. There was still a possibility that Minnesota would qualify for the postseason with one of their backups, but things have fallen apart for them recently.

    There was some hope that Nick Mullens would be the answer after Joshua Dobbs crashed down to Earth following his impressive start with the team. Mullens performed well last week versus Cincinnati, but he transformed into a turnover machine, much like Dobbs, except less fun because there was no astronaut angle to him.

    Mullens crushed his team’s chances to pull the upset. He threw four interceptions in this game, and that number easily could have been five when he launched a pass into the end zone that was up for grabs. This was a harbinger of things to come, as his first pick was made in a similar fashion shortly afterward. Mullens’ second interception was an underthrown deep shot. The third was another deep pass launched into double coverage. The final pick, which was the real killer because it occurred deep in Detroit territory with the Vikings being down six in the final minutes. Mullens stared down his receiver and heaved an inaccurate ball that was snatched by a Detroit defender to win the game.

    Mullens’ stats look good until you get to the final number. He was 22-of-36 for 411 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions. Mullens looked great when he wasn’t giving the ball to the other team, which was exactly the case last week. This was exactly the opposite of what the Vikings got out of Case Keenum six years ago, which is why they won’t be making any sort of playoff push.

  • While Minnesota’s playoff hopes were dashed, the Lions were able to clinch their division in the wake of this victory, meaning they’ll be hosting a playoff game for the first time in Ford Field history.

    Aside from taking advantage of Mullens’ carelessness with the football, the Lions were able to prevail primarily via Jared Goff’s passing. Goff overcame his struggles against the blitz to complete 75 percent of his passes. He went 30-of-40 for 257 yards and a touchdown, doing well to convert half of his third-down attempts.

  • Jahmyr Gibbs and Amon-Ra St. Brown had monster games for the Lions. Gibbs dashed for 80 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. He also caught four passes for 20 receiving yards. He actually had fewer rushes than David Montgomery (17-55), who scored once. It wasn’t too much of a surprise that Gibbs was more productive with his workload.

    St. Brown, meanwhile, reeled in 12 of his 14 targets for 106 yards and a touchdown. He had a wicked spin move on a play to move the chains in the second half. He was the leading receiver by a wide margin, with Jameson Williams (5-43) coming in second.

  • Justin Jefferson was the top receiver in this game with six catches for 141 yards and a touchdown. He made a ridiculous 28-yard catch on a third-and-27 on the final drive. K.J. Osborn (5-95) also found the end zone. A big injury occurred to T.J. Hockenson (4-58), who wasn’t available to punish Detroit’s weakness versus tight ends.

  • The Vikings predictably couldn’t run the ball versus Detroit’s stout run defense. Ty Chandler scored a touchdown, but was limited to 17 yards on eight carries. Surprisingly, Chandler didn’t receive a single target.


  • Seahawks 20, Titans 17
  • The sentiment for this game was that the Titans wouldn’t have much of a chance with Ryan Tannehill, as this spread moved across a key betting number in the wake of the news that Will Levis would be sidelined. This was certainly not the case, as Tennessee led for the majority of this contest. The Titans were up 10-3 at halftime and 10-6 entering the fourth quarter, but some heroics from Geno Smith saved Seattle’s season.

    Smith couldn’t get anything going in the first three quarters, stalling in the red zone on the rare occasions in which he would reach that area. He had accumulated only 69 passing yards by intermission, looking hindered by his groin injury. Whatever struggles Smith had in the first three frames completely vanished in the final quarter, engineering two touchdown drives to ultimately win the game in the final minute. Smith went 25-of-36 for 227 yards and two touchdowns.

    The Titans still had a chance after Seattle’s decisive score, but that opportunity quickly ended when Tannehill took a sack. Tannehill couldn’t rely on Derrick Henry for once, so he naturally couldn’t complete the comeback. Tannehill had a decent game overall – 18-of-26, 152 yards – but the final drive was a disappointment.

  • Henry had a solid performance, which was hardly a surprise. Henry was bottled up against Houston’s run defense last week, but had the luxury of battling a pedestrian Seattle defense that can’t stop the run at all. Henry rumbled for 88 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. He also threw a touchdown to Chig Okonkwo.

  • Speaking of Okonkwo, he led the Titans in receiving by a wide margin. He caught all six of his targets for 63 yards and a touchdown. No one else had more than 27 receiving yards. DeAndre Hopkins was a huge disappointment with two grabs for 25 yards.

  • Seattle’s receivers were more productive as a whole, thanks to the incompetence of the Tennessee secondary. Tyler Lockett led the way with eight catches for 81 yards, while D.K. Metcalf (4-56) scored a touchdown. He also drew an interference flag near the goal line. Jaxon Smith-Njigba also played well with six grabs for 61 yards. He appeared to suffer an injury during the midpoint of the game, but he was able to return to action.

  • The Titans are much tougher versus the run than the pass, so it made sense that they were able to limit Kenneth Walker after having no luck versus the receivers. Walker was limited to 54 yards on 16 carries.


  • Jets 30, Redskins 28
  • Because the Jets were eliminated from the playoffs last week, it was fair to question if they would put forth effort in this game. They did, while the Redskins certainly did not, at least to begin the game. Washington self destructed with so many mistakes that this game quickly became a blowout.

    The Redskins kicked things off with an interception. This wasn’t Sam Howell’s fault, as the ball bounced off Logan Thomas’ hands. The Jets kicked a field goal off the turnover, then scored a touchdown after blocking a punt. Howell was nearly picked again after that, while the Jets scored a touchdown on a 36-yard Breece Hall touchdown. And if all of this wasn’t bad enough, the Redskins fumbled a punt return and then saw Mayfield throw a second interception.

    For the second week in a row, the Redskins pulled the plug on Jacoby Brissett, and for the second week in a row, Brissett led a great comeback. While Howell was a dreadful 6-of-22 for 56 yards and two interceptions, Brissett went 10-of-13 for 100 yards and a touchdown. He helped give the Redskins a 28-27 lead, completing the comeback this time. The Jets were able to prevail on the back of Hall, who made some great plays to put Greg Zuerlein in position to kick a 54-yard field goal, which he converted to give the Jets their sixth win of the season.

  • Hall had a huge game, rushing for more than 40 yards for the first time since Week 9. Hall dashed for 95 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. If that wasn’t good enough, he also led the team in receiving with 12 catches for 96 receiving yards.

  • Aside from Hall, Garrett Wilson paced the Jets in receiving. He hauled in nine of his 15 targets for 76 yards. Wilson suffered an injury early in this game, but he didn’t miss much action.

  • Trevor Siemian was the victorious quarterback, but he was rather pedestrian. He was 27-of-49 for 217 yards, one touchdown and an interception. His score came after his team blocked an early punt.

  • Going back to the Redskins, they had some nice runs from Chris Rodriguez in the second half. He rushed for 58 yards on just 10 carries, scoring twice in the process. Antonio Gibson (9-30) also reached the end zone.

  • Terry McLaurin led Washington in receiving with three grabs for 50 yards. Logan Thomas, who was responsible for one of Howell’s picks, was next with five grabs for 36 yards and a score.


  • Packers 33, Panthers 30
  • The Panthers have severe problems scoring with Bryce Young, so when the Packers led 30-16 in the fourth quarter, it seemed as though Green Bay would prevail easily. Young, however, looked like a legitimate NFL quarterback for the first time as he engineered two touchdown drives to tie the game. Young torched Green Bay’s secondary mercilessly with D.J. Chark and Adam Thielen to eventually tie the game.

    The Packers easily could have easily folded after that, but “No Cookie” Jordan Love answered with a game-winning drive after that. The big play was connecting with Romeo Doubs for a 36-yard completion to set up the decisive field goal.

    Despite the loss, there was a glimmer of hope from Young, albeit in a very easy matchup. Young went 23-of-36 for 312 yards and two touchdowns. He had a shaky start – he missed open receivers and completed just 7-of-15 passes in the opening half – but he caught fire toward the end. Young was 16-of-21 in the second half to finish 23-of-36 for 312 yards and two touchdowns overall.

  • Love didn’t post the same sort of numbers, though he still played well. He went 17-of-28 for 219 yards and two touchdowns. He also scrambled twice for 12 rushing yards and a third score.

  • Love would have enjoyed a much better game had Christian Watson and Jayden Reed been available. Instead, Love had to rely mostly on Doubs, who led the team with 79 receiving yards on four catches. He also cored a touchdown. Tucker Kraft (4-60) and Bo Melton (4-44) were next on the stat sheet, while Dontayvion Wicks (2-29) would have been a big disappointment had he not scored a touchdown.

  • Aaron Jones was the top overall performer on Green Bay’s offense. Jones dashed for 127 yards on 21 carries, though he was vultured by A.J. Dillon (7-12) early in the game. Dillon acknowledged this, handing Jones the ball once he jogged back to the sideline.

  • Chuba Hubbard didn’t run nearly as well. He was limited to 43 yards on 16 carries, though he scored a touchdown. For some reason, he was targeted only once.

  • Chark and Thielen had huge fourth quarters, as referenced earlier. Chark snatched six of his eight targets for 98 yards and two touchdowns, while Thielen reeled in six balls for 94 yards.

  • Bryce Young misses Sanders in flat Jones drop

    Browns 36, Texans 22
  • Backup quarterbacks like Joshua Dobbs and Jake Browning have given their teams short-term hope at times this year. They, among others, have been terrific at times before regressing to the mean. This phenomenon, however, has not applied to Joe Flacco, at least not yet. Flacco continued to play at a high level as a replacement for Deshaun Watson, prevailing in a game in which he torched the Texans.

    Flacco couldn’t miss when targeting Amari Cooper in this game. He hit Cooper for deep passes on numerous occasions. It was so frequent that Cooper approached 250 receiving yards prior to the end of the third quarter. It seemed like Cooper would even have a chance to reach 334 receiving yards, which is the single-game NFL record. The Texans, however, weren’t competitive enough for Flacco to keep throwing to Cooper in the final frame.

    Cooper didn’t break Flipper Anderson’s record, but he still had a huge performance with 11 catches for 265 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught a two-point conversion. No one else on the Browns even eclipsed 50 receiving yards. David Njoku was next in the box score with six receptions for 44 yards and a score.

  • With Cooper producing huge numbers, it’s only reasonable to expect that Flacco would post big stats as well. That was the case, as Flacco went 27-of-42 for 368 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. One pick was on a deep shot, while the second was a desperation heave into the end zone prior to halftime. The second pick never would have occurred if the Browns were able to kick a field goal, which was not the case because their kicker suffered an injury in this game.

  • All of Cleveland’s production came aerially. Jerome Ford scored a touchdown, but he mustered only 25 yards on 15 carries. Kareem Hunt also scored, but had an even worse stat line with 11 yards on seven attempts.

  • The Texans couldn’t run either, thanks to the matchup and the constant deficit. Devin Singletary once again handled the entire workload with 44 yards on nine carries. Dameon Pierce, who rushed for six yards on three attempts, scored on a kick return.

  • Case Keenum struggled in this game and was ultimately benched in favor of Davis Mills, who also struggled. Keenum went 11-of-17 for 62 yards and two interceptions. His first pick wasn’t his fault because the ball was tipped at the line of scrimmage, but the second was a foolish decision in which he threw the ball up for grabs. Fortunately for the Texans, C.J. Stroud should be back next week.

  • Dalton Schultz was the leading receiver for the Texans, catching eight of his 11 targets for 61 yards, followed by Noah Brown (3-38).


  • Falcons 29, Colts 10
    By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

  • EDITOR’S NOTE: The Falcons finally win convincingly when they gave Bijan Robinson an appropriate workload. Coincidence?

  • This was a must-win game for both teams, with the Colts needing a victory to maintain a wild-card spot in the competitive AFC, while Atlanta entered on the brink of elimination. The Falcons benched Desmond Ridder and gave Taylor Heinicke the start, and this game illustrated that the Falcons probably would be in the playoffs if Heinicke had been the starter all year, as their offense came alive despite taking on a quality Indianapolis defense.


  • The Colts took the opening drive down the field, seeing Gardner Minshew connect with Will Mallory (4-47) and Alec Pierce for chunk conversions. Jonathan Taylor then ripped off a 12-yard run, and he pounded the ball into the end zone to grab a 7-0 lead. Atlanta responded quickly by having Bijan Robinson rip off a 32-yard run, and on the next play, Heinicke found Kyle Pitts open for a 24-yard touchdown. After those drives, the defenses settled in and forced a series of punts. Midway through the second quarter, the Falcons sprung a screen to Tyler Allgeier and a 15-yard penalty tacked on yielded a total gain of 34 yards. Heinicke hit a 19-yard completion to Drake London that set up a first-and-goal, but Atlanta settled for a field goal. In the final seconds of the second quarter, the Falcons added another field goal to go up 13-7.

    The Atlanta offense stayed hot in the third quarter, with the opening possession resulting in a 31-yard touchdown run from Allgeier. Indianapolis finally got moving when Minshew threw a couple of good passes before taking off on a 24-yard run. A Calais Campbell sack, however, forced the Colts into a field goal that cut the Falcons’ lead to 20-10. Atlanta responded with a field goal drive to make the score 23-10 entering the fourth quarter.

    After Minshew converted one fourth down, the Falcons tipped a pass away on the next fourth-down attempt. Midway through the fourth quarter, Jessie Bates had his sixth interception of the season, and that play essentially clinched the win for Atlanta. Robinson and the ground game kept rumbling for the Falcons, and Younghoe Koo drilled two more field goals to make the final score 29-10.


  • Heinicke completed 23-of-33 passes for 229 yards and a touchdown.


  • Robinson ran for 72 yards and 12 carries. He also brought in seven receptions for 50 yards. Tyler Allgeier had 69 yards and a touchdown on nine carries.


  • Pitts (3-49-1) and London (3-39) made some clutch plays


  • Minshew completed 20-of-37 passes for 201 yards and an interception.


  • Jonathan Taylor ran for 43 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries.


  • Kyle Granson (5-62) led the Colts in receiving.



  • Buccaneers 30, Jaguars 12
    By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

  • EDITOR’S NOTE: Trevor Lawrence was so bad in this game that C.J. Beathard nearly had as many fantasy points in the brief action he had in garbage time at the very end.

  • Tampa Bay continues to march toward winning the NFC South after blowing out the Jaguars. Jacksonville was down by 30 points before finally scoring thanks to the Bucs’ defense dominating Trevor Lawrence. Mike Evans destroyed the Jacksonville secondary, and turnovers set up some easy drives for Baker Mayfield. As the Buccaneers are playing their best football of the season in December, they look poised to win the divison and host the Cowboys or Eagles in the opening round of the playoffs. A win next week against the Saints will clinch the NFC South for Tampa Bay.

    Jacksonville, meanwhile, was fortunate the Colts and Texans lost in Week 16, so the Jaguars are still in the lead for the AFC South.


  • The Bucs struck first with a field goal drive, and then Devin White picked off Trevor Lawrence to set up the Buccaneers near midfield. Mayfield moved into Jaguars territory with passes to Mike Evans for 24 yards. A fourth-down conversion set up a short touchdown pass to Evans that left Tampa Bay up 10-0 early in the second quarter. Lawrence later converted a third-and-long with a 23-yard completion to Elijah Cooks, but Brandon McManus missed a 52-yard field goal. Tampa Bay, on the other hand, drove the ball for another field goal to make the score 13-0. Late in the first half, Lawrence had a bad overthrow that was picked off by Antoine Winfield Jr. A few plays later, Mayfield found Evans on the skinny post for a 22-yard touchdown, leaving the Bucs with a 20-0 lead at half time.

    In the first 90 seconds of the third quarter, Devin White and YaYa Diaby combined for a strip-sack that Diaby recovered. Mayfield lofted in a 25-yard completion to Payne Durham, and on the next play, Rachaad White plunged into the end zone. Late in third quarter ,Tampa Bay added a field goal to go up 30-0. The Jaguars finally got on the board after Lawrence lofted in an 18-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Ridley. They failed on the two-point try, so Tampa Bay entered the fourth quarter with a 30-6 lead. In garbage time, Evan Engram (10-95) fumbled the ball away and Lawrence threw another touchdown pass to Ridley.


  • Mayfield completed 26-of-35 passes for 284 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions.


  • White took 20 carries for 38 yards and a touchdown.


  • Evans caught seven passes for 86 yards and a touchdown.


  • Lawrence completed 17-of-29 passes for 211 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. He also lost a fumble.


  • Travis Etienne Jr. ran for just 12 yards on six carries.


  • Ridley caught six passes for 90 yards and two touchdowns.



  • Bears 27, Cardinals 16
  • The Bears were effectively eliminated from the playoffs with the loss to Cleveland a week ago, but the team still put forth effort in this contest because they have a lot to build for next year. Plus, many of the players may want Justin Fields to remain the starting quarterback, although that is an unlikely scenario.

    Fields had a mixed performance. He danced around the bewildered Arizona defense very effectively, nearly eclipsing the century plateau on the ground. Fields scrambled nine times for 97 rushing yards and a touchdown. He also made some nice deep throws to keep the chains moving. He converted more than half of his third-down opportunities, going 8-of-15. Conversely, Fields missed some passes and threw a horrible interception in the red zone on an underthrown pass. It didn’t affect the result, but the pick gave the Cardinals some life in the fourth quarter.

    Fields finished 15-of-27 for 170 yards, one touchdown and the interception to go along with his great rushing yardage, which could have been even greater had a 26-yard scamper of his not been negated by a holding penalty. Something that must be noted is that Fields lost D.J. Moore and Cole Kmet at various times in this game. Moore got hurt right away and missed some action before returning. Kmet got hurt just prior to intermission and didn’t play at all in the second half.

  • Despite Kmet missing a half of action, the talented tight end had a huge performance with four catches for 107 yards. Moore, conversely, didn’t do much with his three receptions for 18 yards. Moore had the second-most receiving yards of all the Chicago players.

  • D’Onta Foreman missed this game. It was expected that there would be something close to a 50-50 split between Khalil Herbert and Roschon Johnson, but that was hardly the case. Herbert handled 20 carries, which he turned into 112 yards and a touchdown. Johnson, conversely, gained 37 yards on nine attempts. Johnson was used more as a receiver; he caught three balls for 16 receiving yards.

  • The Cardinals couldn’t get anything going on the ground. James Conner was limited to 45 yards on 12 carries, but he did some nice work as a receiver out of the backfield. He actually led Arizona in receiving with five catches for 67 yards and a touchdown.

  • Aside from Conner, Greg Dortch paced the Arizona receivers with Marquise Brown sidelined. Dortch caught two passes for 45 yards and a touchdown, which was a 38-yard play in which he danced around bewildered Chicago defenders. Trey McBride chipped in with six receptions for only 31 yards. Michael Wilson, who was expected to be a great DFS value, failed to reel in any of his four targets.

  • Kyler Murray finished with a decent stat line, going 24-of-38 for 230 yards and two touchdowns. He also scrambled five times for 32 rushing yards.


  • Dolphins 22, Cowboys 20
  • Both of these teams have been criticized for beating up on soft competition this year, so it’s only natural that a battle between the two would come down to the wire. These teams also made numerous mistakes to prevent them from scoring more frequently in this game.

    Dallas began the game with some antics, as Mike McCarthy foolishly gave the ball to someone named Hunter Luepke at the goal line. Luepke predictably lost a fumble. The Dolphins then began screwing up. Tyreek Hill dropped a deep pass, while Tua Tagovailoa missed De’Von Achane on third down.

    Despite these blunders, as well as some ineptitude deep in Dallas territory, the Dolphins were able to establish a 19-10 lead entering the fourth quarter. The Cowboys drew to within six and then retained possession. They drove to the Miami 1-yard line, but Dak Prescott took a horrible sack for a loss of 11 yards on first-and-goal at the 1-yard line. Prescott then failed to connect with CeeDee Lamb in the end zone, but just when all hope was lost, Prescott found Brandin Cooks for a touchdown to go up 20-19.

    The Dolphins had one more chance, and they made the most of it. Naturally, Dallas made one more mistake to help ensure the victory, as a face mask penalty set up the Dolphins near midfield. Following a completion to Hill and some runs, Miami was in position to hit the game-winning field goal, and Jason Sanders delivered.

  • Tagovailoa finished 24-of-37 for 293 yards and a touchdown. He made a number of impressive strikes, but he wasn’t as accurate as usual. The pass protection was not very good because of multiple absent offensive linemen.

  • Despite the aforementioned drop, Hill led the team in receiving with nine catches for 99 yards. Jaylen Waddle shockingly made just one catch, but it was for 50 yards.

  • Neither Raheem Mostert nor Achane did much on the ground. Mostert rushed for 46 yards on 11 carries, while Achane picked up 24 yards on seven attempts. Mostert was at least able to catch a 4-yard touchdown.

  • The Cowboys didn’t run well either. In fact, Mostert outgained Tony Pollard, who was restricted to 38 yards on 12 carries. He was tackled inches shy of the goal line on one occasion. Pollard wasn’t much of a factor in the passing game, catching one ball for five yards.

  • Prescott had a decent game overall, going 20-of-32 for 253 yards and two touchdowns. He didn’t have much time in the pocket with Tyron Smith sidelined.

  • Lamb was the best fantasy producer in this game, catching six of his 10 targets for 118 yards and a touchdown. Jake Ferguson chipped in with four catches for 45 yards. Cooks caught what appeared to be the decisive touchdown, but he had just two receptions overall for 14 yards.


  • Patriots 26, Broncos 23
  • The Broncos were the only team to have the Patriots’ number when Tom Brady was with New England. Thus, it was fitting that the Patriots, who are now one of the worst teams in the NFL, would go into Mile High and pull the upset when Denver is desperate for a win to keep its playoff hopes alive.

    It certainly didn’t look like the Patriots would win throughout the first half. The initial play from scrimmage saw Bailey “Ben” Zappe lose a fumble on a strip-sack. The Broncos couldn’t convert, however, going four-and-out on the ensuing possession. This was the story for the Broncos in this contest, as they shot themselves in the foot for most of the night. Javonte Williams lost a fumble in field goal range, while Marvin Mims Jr. fumbled a kickoff return that was brought back for a touchdown. This gave the Patriots a 23-7 lead, and all hope seemed lost for Denver.

    Russell Wilson, however, led a great charge in the fourth quarter. The Patriots couldn’t move the chains at all offensively, and they had no answer for Wilson, who was playing without a concussed Courtland Sutton. The Broncos eventually tied the game, but this didn’t faze Zappe, who completed a terrific back-shoulder pass to DeVante Parker to set up Chad Ryland for a 56-yard field goal. Ryland missed an extra point and a chip-shot field goal earlier in this game, but he was able to convert from 56 yards to win the game.

  • Wilson had some rough stretches in this game, but he was incredible in the two fourth-quarter scoring drives. He went 25-of-37 for 238 yards and two touchdowns to go along with four scrambles for 20 rushing yards. He fumbled the ball on a strip-sack but was able to recover.

  • Wilson, as mentioned, didn’t have Sutton at his disposal for most of this game. With Sutton out, Mims led the Broncos in receiving with three grabs for 63 yards. Jeudy reeled in three receptions for 44 yards.

  • The Broncos predictably couldn’t run the ball on New England’s defense. Javonte Williams was restricted to 24 yards on 11 carries. He scored a touchdown to salvage his fantasy output.

  • Surprisingly, the Patriots didn’t run well on the Broncos’ terrible ground defense. Ezekiel Elliott mustered just 27 yards on 12 carries, but he was able to catch nine passes for 33 receiving yards and a touchdown.

  • Zappe was highly efficient in this game. He went 25-of-33 for 256 yards and two touchdowns. One of his incompletions was a drop by Demario Douglas.

  • Speaking of Douglas, he paced New England in receiving with five catches for 74 yards. He barely edged out DeVante Parker (4-65).


  • Raiders 20, Chiefs 14
  • If you were to go back in time and tell every single bettor that the Raiders would not complete a single pass in the final three quarters and score just six total offensive points, everyone would have likely jumped on the Kansas City moneyline at the very least. It’s a good thing that can’t happen because there would be many poor gamblers.

    The Chiefs lost in embarrassing fashion to the Raiders. Their defense was terrific, but the offense did absolutely nothing against the Raiders. The blocking was a huge issue, while the receivers continued to make mistakes. Fourteen of the Raiders’ 20 points came via Kansas City’s offense. A botched exchange was returned for a touchdown, and then a pick-six occurred on the very next play. The Chiefs, who were up 7-3 before the twin turnovers, suddenly trailed 17-7, which was too much of a deficit for their defunct offense to overcome.

    Mahomes wasn’t blameless in this defeat, as he missed some open receivers. Still, the supporting cast was the catalyst for the loss, as Mahomes went 27-of-44 for 235 yards, one touchdown and the pick-six. He also scrambled 10 times for 53 rushing yards. Mahomes spent most of the afternoon yelling at his terrible wideouts.

  • Rashee Rice was the Chiefs’ best receiver, catching six passes for 57 yards. However, he made mistakes as well, running a wrong route on a third down, for instance. Travis Kelce (5-44) continued to struggle. It’s clear that Kelce is either washed up or distracted by his alleged girlfriend.

  • Making matters worse for the offense, Isiah Pacheco was knocked out with a concussion in the fourth quarter. Pacheco was limited to 26 yards on 11 carries, but he scored a touchdown.

  • The leading rusher in this game was Josh Jacobs’ injury replacement, Zamir White, who dashed for 145 yards on 22 carries. He broke free for a 43-yard sprint on the final drive to seal the victory for the Raiders.

  • Aidan O’Connell, as mentioned earlier, didn’t have a completion after the first quarter. He went 9-of-21 for 62 yards. He couldn’t get the ball to Davante Adams – one catch, four yards – because of L’Jarius Sneed’s shutdown coverage. Jakobi Meyers (3-42) was the only Raider with more than 13 receiving yards.


  • Eagles 33, Giants 25
  • The Eagles lost three in a row entering this game, so they needed a bounce-back performance to stop the bleeding. An eight-point victory over the Giants may not seem very convincing, but this was a very misleading score of a contest that wasn’t close whatsoever. The Eagles outgained the Giants, 465-292 while averaging 1.4 more yards per play. They had 14 more first downs and won the time of possession by nearly 10 minutes.

    The only reason this game was close was because of two sloppy turnovers by the Eagles. They were up 20-3 to begin the third quarter when one special-teamer ran into the return man, causing a fumble and an ensuing touchdown on a short field. The second was a Jalen Hurts pick-six, which occurred because Dallas Goedert slipped. These two turnovers, plus a two-point conversion, gave the Giants 15 of their 25 points.

  • Hurts had a solid game, going 24-of-38 for 301 yards, one touchdown and an interception that wasn’t his fault. He also scrambled eight times for 34 rushing yards and a score on the ground via the Brotherly Shove.

  • A.J. Brown led the Eagles in receiving despite being stuck on one reception that may have seemed like an eternity for his fantasy owners. He ended up with six catches for 80 yards. DeVonta Smith was right behind him with four grabs for 79 yards and a touchdown.

  • D’Andre Swift found the end zone as well, rushing for 92 yards and the touchdown on 20 carries. He had another score that was negated by penalty.

  • Like Swift, Saquon Barkley was also able to secure a touchdown. He dashed for 80 yards on 23 attempts, plus the touchdown. He also caught three passes, but for only four receiving yards.

  • The Giants’ quarterbacking was abysmal in the first half. Tommy DeVito went 9-of-16 for 55 yards in one half of action before being benched at intermission. Tyrod Taylor was better, but still couldn’t complete half of his passes. He finished 7-of-16 for 133 yards, one touchdown and an interception on the final play of the game.

  • Taylor’s touchdown was a 69-yard bomb to Darius Slayton, who caught three balls for 90 yards and the score. Wan’Dale Robinson had three receptions for 16 yards. He reached that catch count by the early stages of the second quarter, but couldn’t add another reception to spoil our prop bet.


  • Ravens 33, 49ers 19
  • Brock Purdy entered the final Christmas game as the favorite to win MVP. After this double-digit loss, he may not get a single vote.

    Purdy was a disaster in this game. He threw four interceptions and had a potential fifth picked dropped. The first interception was horrible, as Purdy telegraphed a pass into the end zone. The second was the result of poor accuracy off a deflection. The third saw Purdy force the issue even though there was a penalty flag that would have negated any sort of positive play anyway. And the fourth was a horrible pass on what should have been a routine completion.

    Purdy eventually found himself down 33-12 early in the fourth quarter when he suffered a stinger. Sam Darnold played the rest of the way.

    Purdy finished 18-of-32 for 255 yards and the four interceptions. This disastrous performance will certainly knock him out of the MVP race, as it will leave too much of a bad taste in the mouths of voters too close to the deadline.

  • The 49ers had one other MVP candidate, and that was Christian McCaffrey. Unlike Purdy, the stud back thrived in this game, rushing for 103 yards and a touchdown on just 14 carries. He also caught six passes for 28 receiving yards. McCaffrey was great, but couldn’t do anything when his team was down 33-12. This is why it’s difficult for running backs to win MVP.

  • The MVP front-runner might just be Lamar Jackson, who made no mistakes in this game. Jackson went 23-of-35 for 252 yards and two touchdowns. He also scrambled seven times for 45 rushing yards. Jackson, as usual, led his team in rushing, though Gus Edwards (9-31) scored a touchdown.

  • Jackson’s top receiver was Zay Flowers, who hauled in nine passes for 72 yards and a touchdown. Nelson Agholor (3-10) caught the other score. Jackson thrived without his top weapon, Mark Andrews, as Isaiah Likely chipped in with three receptions for 56 yards.

  • Speaking of tight ends, George Kittle paced the 49ers in receiving with seven catches for 126 yards, followed by Brandon Aiyuk (6-113). Deebo Samuel was limited to four receptions for 47 yards.


  • For more thoughts, check out my updated NFL Power Rankings, which will be posted Tuesday morning.



    Fantasy Football Rankings - May 23


    2025 NFL Mock Draft - May 21


    NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22


    NFL Picks - Feb. 12








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