Bengals 30, Browns 16— Cleveland is first team since ’76-’77 Buccaneers to start 0-11 two years in a row, but Bucs were an expansion team. Bengals have won 7 games in a row vs Cleveland. Browns are 0-11, 2-9 vs spread- they did have eight plays of 20+ yards- they had total of 13 in their previous five games. 5-6 Bengals are only a game out of AFC’s second Wild Card.
Eagles 31, Bears 3— Chicago is paying its two QB’s $36M this year; they didn’t have a first down in the first half, trailing 24-0. Eagles have now won nine games in a row, covered last eight, as they head out on an odd, late-season road swing (Seattle-Rams-Giants). Playing a rookie QB can get a coach fired; Bears had total of 8 first downs, only 140 yards- their longest play: 19 yards.
Patriots 35, Dolphins 17— Patriots have a 3-game lead in AFC East with five games to play; they won their last seven games (6-1 vs spread). Miami lost its last five games (0-3-2 vs spread); they’ve made playoffs twice in last 16 years- last time they won a playoff game was after the ’00 season. Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross is a Michigan alum; rough week for him all around.
Bills 16, Chiefs 10— Third year in a row, a team that started out 5-0 went 1-5 or worse in its next six games (’15 Falcons/’16 Vikings). KC scored 32.8 pts/game in its 5-0 start; they’ve scored 18 pts/game in the 1-5 skid. Despite that, Chiefs lead an awful AFC West by a game over the surging Chargers. Bills won field position by 13 yards; they’re -7 in turnovers in their losses, +13 in wins.
Falcons 34, Buccaneers 20— Julio Jones caught 15 passes for 253 yards; he caught 54 passes in his first ten games. Atlanta won four of its last five games overall; they’re tied with the Seahawks for 2nd Wild Card in NFC, and they beat the Seahawks. Falcons outgained Tampa 516-373; they had 10 plays of 20+ yards. Average total in last nine games with Tampa Bay is now 55.8.
Panthers 35, Jets 27— Carolina scored TD’s on defense, special teams in this game. If playoffs started today (they don’t), NFC South would get three teams in playoffs, with Panthers being #5 seed. Carolina won/covered its last four games; they’re 5-1 on road, winning by 20-3-3-14-8 points away from home. Jets lost four of last five games; this was first time they trailed at half since Week 2.
Titans 20, Colts 16— Indy had ball up 16-6 with 2:30 left in 3rd quarter, but lost fumble deep in their own territory and imploded from that point on. This was Tennessee’s first win in 10 visits to Lucas Oil Stadium; they swept the Colts this year. Titans are now tied for first with Jaguars in AFC South; they host Jacksonville on New Year’s Eve in the season finale.
Seahawks 24, 49ers 13— Seahawks won their last four road games; they’re tied with Atlanta for last Wild Card spot and play Eagles-Rams-Jaguars the next three weeks. Seattle won last nine games against the 49ers, winning last four visits to Santa Clara, by 16-17-2-11 points. Niners finally put new QB Jimmy Garoppolo in a game- he was 2-2 passing and threw a TD pass- if they want fans to buy tickets for 2018, how about playing him the last five weeks?
Rams 26, Saints 20— Rams threw for 354 yards despite their leading WR Woods being out; of course, it didn’t hurt that the Saints’ top two CB’s were also out.
Here are Rams’ receiving numbers Sunday:
Kupp caught 8 balls for 116 yards
Watkins caught 4 balls for 82 yards
Gurley caught 4 balls for 54 yards
Reynolds caught 4 balls for 37 yards and a TD
Higbee caught 3 balls for 48.
Except for Gurley, none of those guys were on the Rams two years ago; kudos to GM Les Snead, who at this time last year was taking a ton of grief. Now he is the GM of a contending team.
Cardinals 27, Jaguars 24— Blaine Gabbert went 5-22 as Jacksonville’s QB, from 2011-13; he dealt the Jaguars’ playoff hopes a blow here- Phil Dawson cranked a 57-yard FG as time expired to give Arizona the win. Jaguars are at home the next three weeks (Colts-Seattle-Texans); they are tied with Tennessee for first in AFC South. Jaguars visit Nashville in Week 17.
Raiders 21. Broncos 14— There was a brawl in first quarter of this game; Talib/Crabtree both got tossed. Broncos lost their last seven games (0-7 vs spread); they’re 0-5 on road (0-5 vs spread) losing by 10-21-10-28-7 points. Paxton Lynch got hurt, so Denver is back to Siemian at QB. Raiders were only NFL team in 83 years to have zero INTs in their first 10 games- they finally got one in this game.
Steelers 31, Packers 28— Green Bay scored four TD’s, three on plays of 39+ yards, but in the end, the Steelers kicked a 53-yard FG on last play of the game to move to 9-2. Pittsburgh hosts the Patriots in Week 15, with #1 seed in AFC likely at stake. Packers lost five of their last six games, are two games out of Wild Card.
1) College hoop tournament finals—
Wooden Legacy: Washington State 93, San Diego State 86
PK80: Duke 87, Florida 84;
Michigan State 63, North Carolina 45
AdvoCare Tourney: West Virginia 83, Missouri 79
Elsewhere, Texas A&M won 75-59 at USC.