NFL Week 13
Follow along here for frequent updates and developments from all of Sunday’s NFL games. Check back after “Sunday Night Football” for a look at the biggest moments and trends to watch.
This is only going to trigger snark about benching Eli Manning, but here we go.
Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. threw a gorgeous touchdown bomb, a 49-yard scoring pass to Russell Shepard in the third quarter of the game against the Bears. That gave the Giants a 17-14 lead.
Manning added to it, making it 24-14 after this fourth-down pass under pressure:
Harris, Green, Olsen hurt: Injuries to some prominent players marked the early going of the first games.
Broncos cornerback Chris Harris is believed to have broken his fibula in the game against the Bengals. Cincinnati wide receiver A.J. Green was carted off the field with a non-contact right foot injury in his first game back after missing three with a toe injury.
In Tampa, Panthers tight end Greg Olsen limped off the field with a foot injury.
RGIII moment: With Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson being checked for a concussion after being kicked in the head by a teammate, Robert Griffin III takes over. (Joe Flacco is inactive with a hip injury.) Jackson returned early in the fourth quarter.
Happy birthday? If ever there were a sure thing, you’d think it would be the Packers, undefeated at home this season, playing the Cardinals at Lambeau Field on a Sunday in December that also happens to coincide with the birthday of Aaron Rodgers.
But this is anything but an ordinary season for the 4-6-1 team, needing a stretch run and help from other teams if it is to make a playoff run. Rodgers turns 35 Sunday, a reminder that as Rodgers put it, “football mortality catches up to everybody.”
“Obviously, I always talk about wanting to play into my 40s, but it’s going to take a lot to get there,” Rodgers told Jason Wilde of the La Crosse Tribune. “I know what my contract situation is. And this is my 14th year. That’s a long time. I’d love to get to 19, 20 [years]. But 70 percent of my career is over. So yeah, of course, I know the end is a lot closer than the beginning.”
This has been an odd season for the Packers, winless on the road, with an evident disconnect between the quarterback and Coach Mike McCarthy. Still, the Post’s Neil Greenberg gives the Packers an 81-percent chance of getting a badly-needed win against the 2-9 Cardinals.
Fat guy TDs: Akiem Hicks has scored for the Bears. He’s only the fourth player weighing 330 pounds or more to score. (The others? William “Refrigerator” Perry, B.J. Raji and Dontari Poe.)
Lions left tackle Taylor Decker caught a screen pass and ran 11 yards into the end zone, cutting the Rams’ lead to 16-13.
Chiefs move on from Hunt: The Kansas City Chiefs are moving on without their best running back after cutting Kareem Hunt last week when devastating video of a domestic violence incident surfaced.
The Chiefs, who are seeking their third straight AFC West title as they play the Raiders in Los Angeles, will turn to Spencer Ware as their feature running back and it’s a position he and the team have been in before. Two years ago, Ware stepped in for Jamaal Charles and he led the team in rushing with 921 yards.
The Hunt matter will continue to draw scrutiny, particularly given a live interview with ESPN Sunday morning. He said the NFL never spoke to him or to the alleged victim, who didn’t respond to the league’s request, and confirmed that he had lied to the team. “I just want to let the world know how sorry I am,” he said in the interview. “It’s been a tough time for me and I’m extremely embarrassed because of that video.”
Playoffs??? Let’s look: Like the Packers, a bunch of teams will be reduced to jockeying for draft position and pride after this week’s games while others look to solidify their postseason footing. If the playoffs started today, here’s how things stand for 12 lucky teams.
The current AFC playoff field: 1. Kansas City (9-2); 2. New England (8-3, owns tiebreaker over Houston via head-to-head win); 3. Houston (8-3); 4. Pittsburgh (7-3-1); 5. Los Angeles Chargers (8-3); 6. Baltimore (6-5, owns tiebreaker over 6-5 Colts via better conference record).
The current NFC playoff field: 1. Los Angeles Rams (10-1) can take the No. 1 overall seed with a victory Sunday; 2. New Orleans (10-2); 3. Chicago (8-3); 4. Dallas (7-5); 5. Minnesota (6-4-1); 6. Washington (6-5).
Read all the elimination scenarios here.
The more you know: The Patriots, at 8-3, are assured of finishing with at least a .500 record for the 18th consecutive season. Just how ridiculous is that? Only the Cowboys have had a longer streak (21 seasons from 1965 to 1985). … The Saints were scoring on a league-leading 61 percent of their plays, a figure that Elias Sports says would be the highest rate for any team since the schedule went to 16 games in 1978. The record (53 percent) was set by the Patriots in 2007. But they lost their second game of the season by an anomalous 13-10 score Thursday night. Is the Cowboys’ win a sign that defenses are finally asserting themselves?
Sending a message: It’s “My cause, my cleats” week, when the NFL allows players to violate its sacred uniform rules by letting their feet send a message about their pet causes.
Still struggling with domestic violence: The Chiefs released stellar running back Kareem Hunt after video of a domestic violence incident from February surfaced, but it’s a situation that shows that the NFL still doesn’t really handle the issue properly. (Read more.)
A Redskins apology: Doug Williams apologizes for radio interview about Reuben Foster. (Read more.)
No Fournette, again: This time, Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette will miss a game for a reason unrelated to injury. His one-game suspension for an ugly fight with the Bills’ Shaq Lawson was upheld, meaning he will not play against the Colts.
Washington makes a controversial move: By claiming Reuben Foster, the Redskins show they’re numb, indifferent and reckless. (Read more.)
Don’t count on Foster: Placing Reuben Foster on paid leave means he’s unlikely to play anytime soon. (Read more.)
‘I’m not playing any different’: Aaron Rodgers defends his fundamentals. (Read more.)
Baker’s still hot: Baker Mayfield doesn’t regret calling ex-coach Hue Jackson a ‘fake.’ (Read more.)
The cycle begins: Here’s a look at the top NFL coaching candidates for the upcoming hiring cycle. (Read more.)
Google some of these QBs: You really do need a program to identify some of the guys who will may well start at quarterback. Joe Flacco practiced last week, but is inactive as the Ravens go with Lamar Jackson again. The Buccaneers went back to Jameis Winston rather than Ryan Fitzpatrick (at least for the moment); the Jaguars started Cody Kessler, with Blake Bortles benched; Chase Daniel got another start for the Bear, with Mitchell Trubisky recovering from a shoulder injury; and Jeff Driskel started for the Bengals with Andy Dalton on IR because of a thumb injury he suffered last week. In a later game, Josh McCown will again fill in for Sam Darnold.
Diggs active: Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs did not practice all week because of a knee injury but will play against the Patriots. Cornerback Xavier Rhodes, who has a hamstring injury, also is active.
Jackson out: Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson is out against the Panthers because of a thumb injury.
Talib expected back: Rams cornerback Aqib Talib is playing for the first time since having surgery for an ankle injury he suffered in Week 3.
Gordon a no-go: Chargers running back Melvin Gordon has been ruled out of the game in Pittsburgh with a knee injury. Tackle Joe Barksdale is also out.
Chiefs report: Wide receiver Sammy Watkins is out with a foot injury as the Chiefs return from their bye. Safety Eric Berry is inactive as well.
The players you need: Tight end has been a wasteland this season, but Tampa’s Cameron Brate should have a golden opportunity against Carolina. (Read more.)
Week 13 cheat sheet: Dig in and dominate as the regular season comes to an end for most fantasy leagues. (Read more.)
Start/Sit: With Leonard Fournette out, backup running backs take center stage. (Read more.)
Week 13 player rankings: See who’s set for big games, as many fantasy leagues enter the final week of their regular seasons. (Read more.)
This week’s betting tips: The Redskins’ playoff odds look grim, but the Ravens’ are taking off. (Read more.)
The Ravens’ defense makes them a strong play. (Read more.)