NFL Week 14 takeaways – Lessons, massive questions for each sport

The Los Angeles Rams received in dramatic trend Thursday evening when Baker Mayfield — who was claimed off waivers two days prior — led the workforce to a comeback victory over the Las Vegas Raiders.

On Sunday afternoon, the Buffalo Payments and Philadelphia Eagles overpowered their divisional rivals, the Detroit Lions received for the fifth time of their previous six video games and the Dallas Cowboys almost misplaced to the last-place Houston Texans at residence.

Within the late-afternoon window, the San Francisco 49ers and rookie quarterback Brock Purdy rolled over Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Carolina Panthers stayed alive with an upset of the Seattle Seahawks, whereas the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs held off the Denver Broncos for the 14th straight time.

On Sunday evening, quarterback Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers’ protection proved an excessive amount of for the Miami Dolphins.

The Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears, Inexperienced Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints and Washington Commanders are on a bye and can return to motion in Week 15.

Our NFL Nation reporters react with the most important takeaways and lingering questions off this week’s matchups and stay up for what’s subsequent. Let’s get to it.

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What to know: The Chargers are exterior the AFC playoff image trying in, however quarterback Justin Herbert and the Bolts’ protection proved they continue to be within the battle for his or her first playoff berth since 2018. Herbert accomplished daring performs when wanted, with broad receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams each accessible. Nevertheless it was the protection — with out star security Derwin James Jr. — that clamped down and proved it may be a reliable unit regardless of a season of struggles.

When will the Chargers’ injured gamers return? The win improved the Bolts’ possibilities of incomes a playoff berth to 73%, in line with ESPN’s Soccer Energy Index (FPI), and with 4 video games remaining, they’ve an opportunity to get stronger down the stretch. However that may rely upon the timetable for returns of James, defensive deal with Sebastian Joseph-Day and proper offensive deal with Trey Pipkins III — in addition to the doable return of edge rusher Joey Bosa off injured reserve. — Lindsey Thiry

Subsequent sport: vs. Titans (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)


What to know: If the NFL common season have been a college yr, December could be the time for last exams. Two weeks into the month, the Dolphins are bombing their finals. Final week’s struggles towards the 49ers may very well be written off as a byproduct of enjoying the most effective protection within the league, however Sunday evening’s dud towards the Chargers is a respectable trigger for concern. Earlier than the month started, we figured we might study lots a few Dolphins workforce that tore by way of an admittedly straightforward portion of its schedule. Consecutive losses to playoff-caliber groups aren’t inspiring a lot confidence in a squad that has removed from locked up a playoff berth.

How a lot bother is that this offense in? Looking forward to subsequent week — lots. The Payments are more healthy than they have been the final time these groups confronted off in Week 3, and Buffalo is sizzling, the winners of 4 straight video games. Moreover the Payments, Miami additionally must face the New England Patriots and New York Jets over its subsequent 4 video games; these three AFC East opponents all rank within the high 10 for fewest yards allowed per play this season. The Dolphins have seemed out of sync for the previous 9 quarters, courting again to their Week 12 win over the Texans. If the Fins do not determine it out, shortly, the remainder of the AFC will move them by. — Marcel Louis-Jacques

Subsequent sport: at Payments (Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET)


What to know: Rookie quarterback Brock Purdy has had just one begin with the 49ers, but it surely’s secure to say the strain of taking on a respectable Tremendous Bowl contender is not an excessive amount of for him. Purdy was 16-for-21 and threw for 185 yards and two landing passes. Purdy did not simply handle Sunday’s sport — he took it over within the first half, changing into simply the second quarterback since 1950 (together with Don Strock) to throw for 2 touchdowns and rush for one within the opening half of his first profession begin. Purdy nonetheless has lots to show, however this was an almost flawless first impression.

What is going to the offense seem like with WR Deebo Samuel’s left ankle harm? Samuel was emotional because the cart took him to the locker room, indicating he was anticipating the worst. Nevertheless it was an ankle harm, not a knee subject as initially indicated, which provided some hope. If he has to overlook a big period of time, the Niners produce other playmakers — Christian McCaffrey, Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle — who can fill the void, however they’re going to want others, corresponding to wideout Jauan Jennings and working again Jordan Mason, to play greater roles, as a result of no person else provides Samuel’s versatility. — Nick Wagoner

Subsequent sport: at Seahawks (Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET)


What to know: In his return to the Bay Space, Tom Brady was picked off twice (he banged his throwing hand on one in every of them) and could not discover the tip zone till 2 minutes, 56 seconds to go within the third quarter off a deflected move caught by Russell Gage. The Bucs’ protection — with out nickelback Antoine Winfield Jr., security Mike Edwards and cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting, along with cornerback Jamel Dean and deal with Vita Vea leaving the sport with toe and calf accidents, respectively — surrendered 5 touchdowns to the 49ers and Brock Purdy, snapping Brady’s 7-0 streak towards rookie signal-callers.

How does this have an effect on the Bucs’ place within the NFC South? At 6-7, the Bucs are nonetheless in first place within the NFC South by one sport. The Falcons (5-8) and Saints (4-9) are on a bye. The Panthers improved to 5-8 with a win over the Seahawks. The Bucs are actually simply the seventh workforce in NFL historical past to steer their division with a shedding document after Week 14. However at this level, do the playoffs really matter? The offense, even with a number of future Corridor of Famers, has been dysfunctional all season, and their solely hope has been their protection pitching a close to shutout each week, they usually’re now down a number of key gamers. — Jenna Laine

Subsequent sport: vs. Bengals (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)


What to know: Do not look now however the Panthers are answerable for their very own playoff future. At 5-8, they’re solely a sport behind Tampa Bay (6-7) within the NFC South and would seize the division title in the event that they win their last 4 video games as a result of they’d personal the tiebreaker over the Bucs and Atlanta at 9-8. They obtained right here by successful their first highway sport of the season Sunday and sticking to their method — management the clock with the run and let the protection do the remaining.

Can Carolina maintain serve the following two weeks at residence and maintain the strain on division foes? The Panthers are 3-0 at residence beneath interim coach Steve Wilks, with their subsequent two video games at Financial institution of America Stadium towards the Steelers (5-8) and Lions (6-7). Make it 5-0, and Wilks has a powerful case for the full-time job subsequent season and units Carolina up for a New 12 months’s Day showdown at Tampa Bay. Heck, he may need a case for NFL Coach of the 12 months if he can pull this off. — David Newton

Subsequent sport: vs. Steelers (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)


What to know: The Seahawks nonetheless have a superb likelihood to make the playoffs, however they do not seem like contenders in any respect. They’ve performed 4 straight video games towards groups that have been beneath .500. They’ve misplaced three of them and barely received the opposite one. Sunday’s loss to Carolina was their worst but. The Panthers entered with a 4-8 document and the Twenty seventh-ranked scoring offense, but they gashed Seattle on the bottom to the tune of 223 dashing yards. With their backfield lacking Kenneth Walker III and DeeJay Dallas, the Seahawks wanted Geno Smith at his greatest. As an alternative, he performed one in every of his worst video games of the season. If the Seahawks cannot beat a nasty Carolina workforce at residence, how can they make any noise within the playoffs in the event that they get there?

Do the Seahawks have an opportunity towards San Francisco? The 49ers hammered Tampa Bay on Sunday to enhance to 9-4, giving them a two-game lead over Seattle within the NFC West heading into Thursday evening’s showdown at Lumen Discipline. The Seahawks have to win that sport to have any shot at catching the 49ers, they usually would possibly get a break with Niners star receiver Deebo Samuel struggling an ankle harm Sunday. — Brady Henderson

Subsequent sport: vs. 49ers (Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET)


What to know: The Chiefs should be extra conservative with an enormous lead, significantly towards struggling opponents just like the Broncos. After taking a 27-0 lead within the second quarter, there was just one method the Broncos have been getting again into the sport and that was by arising with turnovers. Two Patrick Mahomes interceptions helped carry the Broncos again. With a large lead, working the ball and punting aren’t unhealthy issues because the Chiefs chase the AFC’s high playoff seed.

What obtained into the move rush? The Chiefs made getting strain on Russell Wilson a precedence with frequent blitzes and it paid off with six sacks. However getting the opposing quarterback on the bottom will not at all times be really easy. The Chiefs took benefit of a Broncos offensive line full of backups. The Chiefs had been doing a pleasant job of pressuring the quarterback earlier than final week’s sport in Cincinnati, with 21 sacks within the earlier 5 video games. However six sacks is a season excessive. — Adam Teicher

Subsequent sport: at Texans (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)


What to know: Rather a lot has been stated concerning the Broncos’ injury-riddled lineup on this misplaced season. That they lack the firepower on offense to compete, make too many errors at essential occasions and that, after six consecutive playoff misses earlier than this yr, they merely do not know the right way to win anymore. However whereas their flaws have been nonetheless straightforward to see a lot of the time Sunday, they’re nonetheless enjoying for coach Nathaniel Hackett and his employees, evidenced by Jerry Jeudy’s first profession three-touchdown sport in addition to two interceptions from the protection. And with a brand new possession group confronted with its first massive choice following a disappointing season, effort down the stretch may matter when it is time to determine the following transfer.

What does Russell Wilson’s harm imply for the Broncos’ offense? The Broncos’ outburst Sunday however — their 28 factors was a season excessive — they could should make some robust decisions if Brett Rypien has to get them by way of a sport or two. Wilson was knocked from the sport with a concussion within the fourth quarter and can now be within the league’s concussion protocol. It would push a Broncos offense that has struggled to constantly run the ball to seek out methods to get the run sport revved up just a little extra. Rypien will want it if he has to minimize the stretch. — Jeff Legwold

Subsequent sport: vs. Cardinals (Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET)


What to know: An announcement efficiency from Jalen Hurts helped clinch a playoff berth for the Eagles. His final sport on the Meadowlands was the worst of his profession, as he threw three interceptions with no touchdowns. His development was showcased Sunday, as he threw two 30-plus-yard touchdowns and added a 10-yard landing run to rout the Giants. He did not put any added significance on final yr’s efficiency, however we have discovered he is good at righting earlier wrongs. No one performs the quarterback place higher than Hurts proper now.

Is that this the best offense in Eagles historical past? It is making a powerful case. The Eagles set a brand new document for dashing touchdowns in a season with 27. A.J. Brown surpassed the 1,000-yard mark and is the fourth Eagle to have 1,000 receiving yards and 10 receiving touchdowns. Hurts and Miles Sanders every have no less than 10 dashing TDs, marking the primary time in Eagles historical past a number of gamers have reached that benchmark. This unit can do no matter it desires — a pleasant high quality to have for a workforce with championship aspirations. — Tim McManus

Subsequent sport: at Bears (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)


What to know: That was a catastrophe. The Giants, who’ve received as soon as in six video games, did little proper and have been outclassed by the Eagles in a sport wherein they allowed 253 yards dashing. It was additional proof that they are not able to compete with the massive boys, particularly in their very own division. The Giants are 0-3 towards the Cowboys and Eagles this season, which magnifies their matchup with the Commanders subsequent week. That sport will in all probability decide whether or not they make the playoffs following a 7-2 begin.

Is Saquon Barkley wholesome going into subsequent week’s sport at Washington? Barkley was a game-day choice Sunday with a neck harm that occurred this week throughout follow. He seemed OK at occasions towards the Eagles, however his utilization was undoubtedly restricted (20 snaps and 9 carries). The Giants haven’t got sufficient playmakers to outlive with out Barkley being a significant component. They want him Sunday evening towards the Commanders. The excellent news is it seems Barkley made it out of Sunday no worse than he was when he began. — Jordan Raanan

Subsequent sport: at Commanders (Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET)


What to know: The Payments’ defensive ends made it an extended day for Mike White, with Greg Rousseau, AJ Epenesa and Shaq Lawson all getting no less than one sack within the second full sport with out Von Miller. The trio additionally mixed for 4 of eight quarterback hits, and the protection obtained strain with out blitzing, pressuring White 46.7% of dropbacks with simply 4 rushers. With the success up entrance, the Payments restricted the Jets to fewer than 300 complete yards. A majority of these performances will go a great distance with out Miller.

How can the Payments keep away from sluggish offensive begins? Whereas the Jets have a superb protection, the Payments needed to punt on 5 straight drives to start out a sport for the primary time since Allen’s third profession begin, which is unacceptable. As an alternative, the sluggish begin was reflective of the issues that the offense has had for the reason that bye. The Payments did not get the working sport going with their backs and completed with their fewest web yards in a sport this season (232) by virtually 100 yards. The offense has to seek out methods to get the ball extra constantly into the fingers of their playmakers exterior of Allen. — Alaina Getzenberg

Subsequent sport: vs. Dolphins (Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET)


What to know: Quarterback Mike White took an absolute pounding because the Jets’ offensive line suffered main breakdowns. That he completed the sport was a testomony to his toughness. He was sacked thrice, hit seven occasions and pressured 21 occasions, and he went to the sideline twice (lacking six snaps) due to blows to the ribs/midsection. The Payments aren’t generally known as a blitzing workforce, however they appeared to shock the Jets with a barrage of five- and six-man rushes. With awful move safety and two turnovers, the Jets had no likelihood on offense.

The Jets have their first shedding streak. Time to panic? The Jets have misplaced two in a row for the primary time this season, and their greatest participant, defensive deal with Quinnen Williams, is iffy for subsequent Sunday with a calf harm. So, yeah, it is time to fear concerning the Jets and their playoff possibilities. At 7-6, they in all probability should win three of their final 4 to safe a wild card. Their offense (solely two TDs prior to now two video games) has gone chilly, they usually cannot maintain the quarterback upright. This is not the December they envisioned. — Wealthy Cimini

Subsequent sport: vs. Lions (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)


What to know: Quarterback Trevor Lawrence has just about answered each query this season, and Sunday’s rout of the Titans confirmed that the second-year participant is greater than able to placing the franchise on his shoulders and carrying it. The run sport was ineffective, and Lawrence threw it 40-plus occasions and set a profession excessive with 368 yards passing to snap the workforce’s eight-game shedding streak in Nashville. He is the primary QB in franchise historical past with 300 move yards, a number of passing TDs and a rush TD in a single sport. Lawrence had rallied the Jaguars from a nine-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Baltimore Ravens, however Sunday was his “go away it to me” second.

Did the protection snap out of its stoop? It kind of appears to be like that method after it compelled 4 turnovers, however the Titans are a banged-up workforce — they have been with out their greatest receiver, Treylon Burks — that does not have a lot by way of offensive threats exterior of working again Derrick Henry. Getting an enormous lead allowed the move rush to have some success (4 sacks), however Henry nonetheless had greater than 100 yards dashing, and the protection gave up a fourth-quarter landing to make the sport nearer than it ought to have been. What the protection did Sunday will not be wherever near adequate towards Dallas subsequent week. — Mike DiRocco

Subsequent sport: vs. Cowboys (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)


What to know: The Titans’ loss to the Jaguars is not essentially the most lopsided defeat points-wise beneath coach Mike Vrabel, but it surely’s in all probability their most humiliating. Tennessee misplaced three consecutive video games for the primary time beneath Vrabel since Weeks 5-7 in 2018. The Titans turned the ball over 4 occasions and did not generate any themselves. Jacksonville transformed the turnovers into 20 factors. All of this comes on the heels of basic supervisor Jon Robinson being fired Tuesday. Vrabel stated the Titans have been at a crossroads after final week’s loss to the Eagles. One can solely think about the depths Tennessee has fallen to after shedding to the Jaguars.

Are the Titans slipping towards an offseason implosion? Sunday’s displaying was the third consecutive humiliating loss. This time it was towards a workforce that hasn’t received in Nashville since Nov 10, 2013. The offense seemed inept for a lot of the sport, particularly the second half. Tennessee’s protection could not cease tight finish Evan Engram, who had 11 receptions for 162 yards and two touchdowns. Titans controlling proprietor Amy Adams Strunk wished to ship a message by firing Robinson. The Titans’ uninspired play could not have sat nicely with Adams Strunk, who was in attendance and stated the ultimate weeks of the season might be an analysis alternative. — Turron Davenport

Subsequent sport: at Chargers (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)


Brock Purdy locations an ideal move to Christian McCaffrey for a landing to widen the 49ers’ lead over the Buccaneers.


What to know: Maybe the Cowboys will look again at this win because the one which obtained their heads on straight for a drive to the Tremendous Bowl. It will not matter that they needed to scratch their technique to victory towards a workforce that had not received since October — simply that they obtained the win. What might be remembered: a fourth-quarter goal-line stand by a protection that didn’t do very a lot towards a restricted Houston offense for a lot of the sport. Dak Prescott got here to life on the ultimate drive, finishing 6 of seven passes and scrambling twice for first downs on a 98-yard march that ended with Ezekiel Elliott’s 2-yard game-winning landing run with 41 seconds to play. Following the decisive rating, there was a noticeable sigh of reduction from all people related to the Cowboys. At 10-3, they’re no less than preserving tempo with the Eagles (12-1) and nonetheless have a shot to win the division. Additionally they have received double-digit video games in consecutive seasons for the primary time since 1995-96. However they know they cannot play like this and be thought-about a real contender.

If RT Terence Steele’s knee harm retains him out, how will the Cowboys shuffle their line? The Cowboys have Professional Bowl left deal with Tyron Smith able to return from injured reserve after struggling a torn hamstring that required surgical procedure in August, in order that they have choices. They went with Josh Ball towards the Texans, however do they slide rookie Tyler Smith to proper deal with after he has had snaps solely on the left facet (deal with and guard) all season? Do they go along with veteran Jason Peters, who has performed solely on the left facet this yr? After Ball was overwhelmed for a play, Peters took over late within the fourth quarter. Smith performed proper deal with as a rookie again in 2011. The excellent news is that they have choices, however they’ve to decide on properly. — Todd Archer

Subsequent sport: at Jaguars (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)


What to know: The Houston Texans deployed a two-quarterback system and got here near pulling off an upset. The Texans began quarterback Davis Mills, and after the primary collection of the sport, he was changed by backup Jeff Driskel. However Mills wasn’t benched. It was solely the begin to the two-quarterback rotation the Texans deliberate on utilizing. Driskel’s first snap got here proper after the Cowboys’ KaVontae Turpin muffed a punt within the first quarter and the Texans took over on the Cowboys’ 24-yard line. Driskel and Mills every performed 50% of the snaps, and the Texans scored their second-highest level complete of the season.

Can the protection proceed forcing turnovers? The Texans’ protection compelled three turnovers towards the Cowboys, a season excessive, and scored on their drives following two of these turnovers. It was a decent effort from the Texans’ protection that held a Cowboys offense that averaged 27 factors per sport in test till the final drive of the sport. The Cowboys needed to produce a 98-yard game-winning drive to lastly remedy the Texans’ protection and win. — DJ Bien-Aime

Subsequent sport: vs. Chiefs (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)


What to know: Quarterback Jared Goff is locked in and the Lions stay one of many hottest groups within the league, successful 5 of their previous six video games. Goff has entered among the best stretches of his profession, hitting the 300-yard mark for the second straight week. He hasn’t thrown an interception in his previous 5 video games, and on Sunday he displayed his deep-ball capacity with lengthy landing passes to Jameson Williams and DJ Chark, marking the primary time in his profession he has had two landing passes of no less than 30 air yards in the identical sport.

Can Jameson Williams change into a constant deep-ball menace? After Williams tore an ACL within the nationwide championship sport with Alabama, the Lions have been extraordinarily affected person along with his restoration course of. The group sees him blossoming into one of many faces of the workforce for a few years to return. So I do not assume they’re going to put an excessive amount of strain on Williams this season to change into the popular deep-ball menace, however he’ll definitely be getting alternatives — which grew to become obvious along with his 41-yard landing catch on his first profession NFL reception. — Eric Woodyard

Subsequent sport: at Jets (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)


Joe Mixon will get the ball and tosses it again to Joe Burrow, who finds Trenton Irwin broad open down the sphere for a landing.


What to know: The Vikings missed out on clinching the NFC North for the second consecutive week. They’re nonetheless in an awesome place to win the division. Even with the loss, ESPN’s Soccer Energy Index offers them a 99.9% likelihood to do it. It will have been a powerful assertion to clinch with 4 weeks left to the season, towards a divisional rival on a sizzling streak. However the Vikings — who entered the sport as 2.5-point underdogs — knew it will be robust towards a the Lions, particularly after security Harrison Smith, left deal with Christian Darrisaw and middle Garrett Bradbury have been all dominated out due to harm.

Was that Kirk Cousins’ greatest sport of the season? Sure, and it is probably not shut. Cousins has had a bizarre season, main the Vikings to 10 wins of their first 12 video games regardless of statistically being one of many worst performances of his profession. However Sunday, he was throwing darts from the beginning towards an admittedly porous Lions protection. He accomplished 31 of 41 passes for 426 yards and two touchdowns, and it is truthful to ask whether or not the end result Sunday would have been completely different if the Vikings had not been so dedicated to establishing a working sport that went nowhere. — Kevin Seifert

Subsequent sport: vs. Colts (Saturday, 1 p.m. ET)


What to know: Cincinnati exorcised one in every of its largest demons in a win over the Browns. Cincinnati had misplaced 5 straight to its Ohio rivals, with QB Joe Burrow enjoying in 4 of these defeats. The Bengals overcame accidents and a sluggish begin to win their fifth straight sport and enhance the momentum of their playoff push.

Do the Bengals have the depth to resist accidents to Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd? Depends upon how lengthy they’re collectively out. Depth at broad receiver was an enormous query coming into the season. With Boyd and Higgins lacking on Sunday, Cincinnati leaned on Trent Taylor and Trenton Irwin, who every made key catches towards the Browns. It is a tall order to ask that duo to fill in long run for Boyd and Higgins, who together with Ja’Marr Chase type among the best WR trios within the league. — Ben Child

Subsequent sport: at Bucs (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)


What to know: Myles Garrett and the Browns’ protection hung in robust to maintain Cleveland within the sport. However three devastating miscues — Tony Fields II’s roughing the punter penalty, Ronnie Harrison Jr.’s defensive holding on what would’ve been a third-down cease and Grant Delpit turning a receiver free on a flea-flicker — all led to Cincinnati TDs and in the end proved an excessive amount of for the Browns to beat.

The place does the offense go from right here? The Browns have scored one offensive TD with Deshaun Watson at quarterback. One. After its eighth loss, Cleveland is probably going out of the playoff dialog. Getting its $230 million franchise passer acclimated is all this misplaced season figures to be about now. — Jake Trotter

Subsequent sport: vs. Ravens (Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET)


Trevor Lawrence will increase the Jaguars’ lead along with his 1-yard dashing landing.


What to know: The AFC North-leading Ravens confirmed they’ll win in December with out Lamar Jackson. They did so with their third-string quarterback enjoying your entire fourth quarter. Baltimore rolled up its sleeves and went old-school, counting on protection and its floor sport. The Ravens picked off three passes inside their very own 20-yard line and produced 214 yards dashing, together with 120 by J.Ok. Dobbins — enjoying for the primary time since a six-game injured reserve stint. It was determined occasions, particularly when quarterback Tyler Huntley left late within the third quarter with a concussion and undrafted rookie Anthony Brown was pressed into his first NFL sport. This was a important win for the Ravens, who had misplaced their earlier 4 video games when Jackson did not begin. Baltimore (9-4) is now a 74% favourite to win the AFC North, in line with ESPN’s Soccer Energy Index.

Who’s beginning the following sport at quarterback for the Ravens? Ravens coach John Harbaugh may not even know at this level. Baltimore has two banged-up quarterbacks and faces a brief week with a Saturday sport in Cleveland. Jackson missed his first sport of the season on Sunday with a knee harm and isn’t anticipated to return till the Dec. 24 sport towards the Atlanta Falcons, league sources informed ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Huntley, who was filling in for Jackson, then left the sport within the concussion protocol after taking a tough hit on a third-down run with 7:26 left within the third quarter. The Ravens could also be compelled to go along with Brown, who would make his first NFL begin in Week 15. — Jamison Hensley

Subsequent sport: at Browns (Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET)


What to know: The Steelers’ already slim odds for a playoff bid are microscopic after their loss to the division-rival Baltimore Ravens, who completed the sport with out Lamar Jackson or backup quarterback Tyler Huntley. Earlier than Sunday’s loss, the Steelers have been quietly constructing momentum with three wins of their previous 4 video games, however Sunday, that progress floor to a halt because the Ravens went up 10-0 early on a two-play scoring drive arrange by a 44-yard run by J.Ok. Dobbins on the primary play of the drive. The run protection, which seemed to have improved for the reason that bye, gave up a season-high 214 yards — 5.1 yards per play. Taking part in with out Kenny Pickett (concussion protocol), the Steelers’ offense surged with a fast scoring drive late within the fourth quarter, however could not get the ball again. The Ravens snapped their four-game shedding streak to the Steelers.

What is the plan at quarterback subsequent week? Pickett was thrown to the bottom exhausting by Roquan Smith on the finish of the Steelers’ first drive, and although he initially cleared the concussion protocol and returned for yet another drive, he was dominated out for the remainder of the sport with a concussion late within the the primary quarter. Mitch Trubisky gave the workforce a spark in reduction with a few deep completions to George Pickens and a late fourth-quarter landing drive, however he additionally threw three pink zone interceptions, together with on back-to-back drives. Pickett beforehand landed within the concussion protocol within the Week 6 win towards Tampa Bay, however he returned for the following sport. Nonetheless, two concussions in lower than two months is one thing to watch. — Brooke Pryor

Subsequent sport: at Panthers (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)



What to know: After placing on a present within the last 4 minutes of the sport, QB Baker Mayfield goes to make the remainder of the season attention-grabbing for the Rams. The Rams are probably going to be with out each star participant exterior of Jalen Ramsey for the remainder of the season. They will use these last video games as an opportunity to guage their youthful or less-established gamers for subsequent season and past. Mayfield is not amongst that group, however he undoubtedly provides a sure little bit of intrigue. If the 2018 No. 1 total choose’s comeback win over the Raiders is any indication, the Rams will stay a workforce to look at.

Does Mayfield have a future with the Rams? This probably relies on whether or not Mayfield can have a possibility to start out some place else. If he’s prepared to start out subsequent season because the Rams’ backup quarterback, it is a pairing that is smart for each events. The Rams wish to use the ultimate 4 video games to guage Mayfield, however McVay made it clear how impressed he was with the quarterback in his first sport. — Sarah Barshop

Subsequent sport: at Packers (Monday, Dec. 19, 8:15 p.m. ET)


What to know: Sure, the Raiders’ protection surrendered a 98-yard drive to Mayfield — who coming into Thursday evening’s sport had been with the Rams for under 48 hours. However the offense bears a big a part of the blame as nicely in blowing a 16-3 lead with greater than 4 minutes to play. QB Derek Carr, whose ill-attempted move into the tip zone on the finish of the primary half was picked off, accomplished simply 2 of seven passes for 11 yards after halftime and had a career-low 36.9 passer ranking for the sport.

Is the Raiders’ playoff dream now useless? To cite Professional Bowl DE Maxx Crosby, “There may be zero respiratory room, in order that’s unlucky.” At 5-8, the Raiders subsequent face the Patriots at residence earlier than touring to face the Steelers after which closing out at residence towards the 49ers and Chiefs. The Raiders ran off 4 straight wins to pressure their method into the playoffs final season, however the locker room after this devastating loss to the Rams had a way of finality to it — no less than for this week. — Paul Gutierrez

Subsequent sport: vs. Patriots (Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET)