Green Bay Packers v New York Giants
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The 2023 NFL season may not have the most exciting games for 60 minutes, yet the parity in the league is at an all-time high. Six teams are sitting at 7-6 and fighting for an AFC playoff berth, while five teams are tied for the No. 7 spot in the NFC at 6-7 (and two other teams are one game out of the final playoff spot). 

The races for the top seed in both conferences are coming down to the wire too, with three teams tied for the best record in the NFC and the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins battling for the top spot in the AFC. 

As the homestretch of the season is unfolding, here's what we learned about every team that played in Week 14. 

*Arizona Cardinals and Washington Commanders were on bye this week

Atlanta Falcons

Offensive line getting decimated by injuries: The Falcons were without center Drew Dalman and right tackle Kaleb McGary to start the game, already thin on the biggest strength of their football team. Jake Matthews and Chris Lindstrom also were injured at various points in the game, as the Falcons were down four of their five starting offensive linemen at one point. The Falcons had just 96 yards on 26 carries (3.7 yards per carry) for a reason, significantly hurting the continuity of the offense. 

Baltimore Ravens

Isaiah Likely getting job done for Mark Andrews: Every Ravens pass catcher has stepped up since Andrews was likely lost for the season, but Likely has played well at tight end. He was targeted a season-high seven times, while also recording a season-high five catches for 83 yards and a touchdown. Likely was wide open on his 54-yard touchdown for Baltimore's first score of the game, a play that freed up the wideouts in the second half. The Ravens are finding out Likely can play. 

Buffalo Bills

Defense didn't blow a fourth-quarter lead: On four separate occasions this season, the Bills couldn't hold a lead in the fourth quarter -- one of the many reasons they entered Sunday's game against the Chiefs at 6-6 in the first place. The Bills did give up a score to give the Chiefs the lead on the ensuing possession after taking a 20-17 lead, but Kansas City was offsides on the play (the Kadarius Toney play) and Buffalo held on for the win. This was a game the Bills had to have, and the defensive stand kept the season alive. The Bills still have the most blown fourth-quarter leads this season (four), but Sunday's hold was a huge one. 

Carolina Panthers

The run game put out its best performance: At least the Panthers got something going on the ground, rushing for a season-high 204 yards and averaging 5.2 yards per carry. Chuba Hubbard had 23 carries for 87 yards and Miles Sanders was impressive with 10 carries for 74 yards -- including a 48-yard run. Carolina can't pass the ball well at all and Bryce Young looks lost, but at least the Panthers can rely on the running game to try and help out their young quarterback. 

Chicago Bears

Justin Fields may be the long-term QB after all: Fields has been written off since his poor start, yet finished with 223 yards and a passing touchdown (88.3 rating) while rushing for 58 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's win. This has been a trend for Fields, who is third in the NFL in passer rating dating to Week 4 and he leads all quarterbacks in rush yards per game (58.2) in that span. His touchdown-to-interception ratio (10-2) is tied for first in the NFL and his 104.5 passer rating during that span is third (Fields did miss four games). The Bears are in line or the No. 1 pick, but they might not need a quarterback. 

Cincinnati Bengals

Jake Browning can get this team to playoffs: Browning has been way better than expected in his last three starts for the Bengals, injecting life into a franchise that needed it with Joe Burrow lost for the season. Browning saved the Bengals' season last Monday against the Jaguars, and he threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns (with an interception) in Sunday's win over the Colts. In Browning's three starts he's completed 69 of 87 passes for 856 yards with four touchdowns to two interceptions for a 113.4 quarterback rating. The Bengals are 2-1 in Browning's three starts, more than alive in the AFC playoff race. They can win games with Browning. 

Cleveland Browns

They are a much better passing team: The Browns are the first team in the Super Bowl era with a winning record through Week 14 despite ranking last in the NFL in turnovers and passer rating. That passer rating will increase during the homestretch thanks to Joe Flacco, who threw for 311 yards and three touchdowns in Sunday's win. The Browns put up 30 points for the first time in a month with Flacco, who is 38 by the way. In Flacco's two starts, he has completed 55.1% of his passes for 565 yards with five touchdowns to two interceptions for an 83.8 passer rating. The Browns have a competent passing game thanks to Flacco. 

Dallas Cowboys

Brandon Aubrey is a Pro Bowl kicker: Aubrey hasn't missed a single field goal attempt this season, as the rookie is 30-for-30. Aubrey hit four field goals on Sunday night against the Eagles, three from 50-plus yards out. He's the first player in NFL history to convert two 59+-yard field goals in a game, part of a season in which he's 8 of 8 from 50+ yards and 10 of 10 from 40+ yards. The Cowboys had so many kicking woes at the end of last season, which doesn't appear to be the case in 2023. 

Denver Broncos

Sean Payton continues to seek the deep ball: The Broncos insist on becoming a passing team and connecting on the deep pass, finally connecting on a 46-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to Courtland Sutton in the third quarter. Wilson was 2 of 4 on passes that went 25-plus air yards with a touchdown for a 135.4 passer rating. On the season, Wilson has completed 14 of 37 passes that traveled for 25-plus air yards with four touchdowns to an interception for a 110.5 rating. Wilson still can throw the deep ball and Payton wants to utilize that strength. 

Detroit Lions

Defense has fallen off a cliff: The Lions defense allowed 28 points in Sunday's loss to the Bears, continuing a disturbing trend with this unit. Since Week 7, the Lions are in the bottom two in the NFL in points per game allowed (28.7) and turnover differential (-8). They've allowed 355.9 yards per game and 5.9 yards per play in that stretch. From Weeks 1 to 6, the Lions allowed 18.8 points, 285.8 yards per game, and 4.7 yards per play. The defense has pulled a complete 180 since then, which is costing the Lions the top seed in the conference. 

Green Bay Packers

They do lose in December: Heading into Monday's game against the Giants, the Packers have never lost a game in December under Matt LaFleur (16-0 in December since 2019). They appeared to stage a late comeback to pull it off until Tommy DeVito and Wan'Dale Robinson had their late heroics to set up Randy Bullock's game-winning kick. The Packers had too many miscues (fumble, interception, missed field goal) to overcome, and now they sit at 6-7 in a logjam for the final playoff spots in the NFC. Not a good time for a December loss. 

Houston Texans

Offense missed Tank Dell and Nico Collins: Both of the Texans top wideouts were out Sunday with injuries (Colins left midgame with a calf injury), leaving the offense struggling to throw the ball -- when C.J. Stroud was on the field or not. Brevin Jordan was the leading receiver with three catches for 35 yards. Collins and John Metchie had just two catches for 19 yards and Robert Woods had one catch for -2 yards. With Dell lost for the season, Collins need to get healthy soon if the Texans are going to have a chance at the playoffs. 

Indianapolis Colts

Run game disappeared against one of league's worst run defenses: The Bengals entered Week 14 ranked 27th in rush yards per game (133.9), yet the Colts could only muster 46 yards against the unit. Jonathan Taylor wasn't available, so Zack Moss only had 13 carries for 28 yards (2.2 yards per carry). Trey Sermon also played, only getting three carries for 13 yards. Getting only 2.6 yards per carry against the Bengals isn't ideal, which contributed to the offense being nonexistent on third down (3 of 11) and in the red zone (1 of 2). 

Jacksonville Jaguars

Christian Kirk is missed: Since Kirk injured his groin on the team's first play last Monday against the Bengals, the team is 0-2 and Trevor Lawrence is having trust issues with his wideouts. Lawrence was 9 of 27 for 82 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions when targeting Calvin Ridley and Marvin Jones on Sunday. Ridley and Lawrence miscommunicated on a route that led to an interception and Jones had a drop on one of his 14 targets (just five catches). Parker Washington has filled in admirably, but this passing game is different with Kirk in the system.  

Kansas City Chiefs

Another slow start hurts offense: For the third consecutive game, the Chiefs found themselves in a pickle. The Chiefs trailed by double digits for the third consecutive game, a stretch where Kansas City has averaged just 9.0 points per game in the opening 30 minutes. The Chiefs have a -15-point differential in the first half over the last three games, part of the reason why wins are heard to come by (1-2 in that stretch). Fastest starts going forward are paramount. 

Las Vegas Raiders

Maxx Crosby closing in on franchise single-season sack record: Crosby had two sacks in the shutout loss to the Vikings, raising his total to 13.5 on the season. With four games to go, Crosby is just 2.5 sacks shy of Derrick Burgess' record of 16. Crosby is tied for third in sacks and fourth in pressures with 72. Crosby has 26 sacks and 153 pressures over the last two years, proving he's among the top-five pass rushers in the game.

Los Angeles Chargers

Offense struggled to pick up the extra blitzer: The Chargers gave up six sacks on nine quarterback hits on Sunday, but only one was from the front four. The other sacks came from linebackers (two), safeties (two) and a slot cornerback. Denver continued to send extra rushers and Los Angeles had no answers for it, not a good recipe for a backup quarterback to have success. Didn't help the offensive line gave up a pressure rate of 7.5% and the running backs were credited for three sacks allowed. 

Los Angeles Rams

They're in every game Matthew Stafford plays: While Sunday's loss to the Ravens was a rough one, the Rams will always be in the playoff race with Stafford. He threw for 294 yards and three touchdowns (103.1 rating) in the loss, giving Stafford 10 touchdowns to one interception over the last three games. The Rams are 6-6 in Stafford's starts, which is good enough to make the playoffs in the NFC. Stafford's hot stretch has made Los Angeles a tough out for any team, as Baltimore can attest. 

Miami Dolphins

Comeback may have cost the No. 1 seed: The Dolphins led by 14 points with 4:34 left in Monday's game, yet found a way to lose. All Miami's defense, which has been excellent the past few weeks, had to do was make two stops and the Dolphins would have the No. 1 seed with four games left. Now the Dolphins are a game behind the Ravens for the top spot, needing to beat Baltimore in Week 17 for the tiebreaker. This loss to the Titans could loom large with the Cowboys, Ravens and Bills on the schedule the final free weeks. The Dolphins missed a golden opportunity at home against a bad team. 

Minnesota Vikings

Brian Flores should be assistant coach of the year: The Vikings don't just have a legitimate defense, they have a good defense. Flores has transformed this unit in just 11 months, culminated with a shutout of the Raiders on Sunday. The Vikings are fifth in points allowed, 10th in yards allowed, and seventh in red zone defense allowed. Last season, the Vikings were 28th in points allowed, 31st in yards allowed, and 21st in red zone defense. The Vikings are in the playoff hunt because of Flores, who has made that defense a top-10 unit already. 

New England Patriots

Bailey Zappe is the quarterback: Wasn't going to take much for Zappe to win the job as Patriots quarterback, yet Thursday's performance sealed the job. Zappe led the Patriots to 21 first-half points in the victory over the Steelers, while completing 19 of 28 for 240 yards and three touchdowns (115.2 rating). He went 14 of 21 in the first half for 196 yards with three touchdowns and a 136.1 passer rating. Hunter Henry had two touchdown catches and four Patriots caught three-plus passes in the game. For one night at least, the offense looked decent. Let's see what Zappe does this week. 

New Orleans Saints

Use Jimmy Graham in the red zone more: The Saints are 22nd in the league in red zone offense and have struggled to score touchdowns inside the 20 all year. There needs to be a reason why Graham was active for just nine of the 13 games. Graham has four catches for 30 yards and three touchdowns, clearly the red zone option this team needs. He had a red zone score late in Sunday's win too. Perhaps the Saints need to keep Graham active for red zone install only. 

New York Giants

Tommy DeVito has this team in the playoff hunt: Believe it or not, the Giants are one game out of the final playoff spot in the NFC. They have a three-game winning streak thanks to DeVito's play over the past three games, going 52 of 72 (72.2%) for 595 yards with five touchdowns to zero interceptions for a 119.9 passer rating. DeVito has played better football over the last three weeks than Daniel Jones did all season. The Giants may not make the playoffs, but DeVito has salvaged the season and made it interesting. He is also making the case to be the quarterback in 2024. 

New York Jets

Offense did a 180 in second half: The Jets went 18 consecutive games without three offensive touchdowns, until the second half in which they scored 30 points -- including three offensive touchdowns. New York had 247 yards and averaged 6.3 yards per play in the half. The Jets didn't score a point heading into halftime and punted every possession, but put up 30 points in the final 30 minutes after scoring 27 points total in their previous three games combined. Zach Wilson went 18 of 21 for 209 yards and two touchdowns in the second half (139.9 rating) in what may have been his best half of football ever. 

Philadelphia Eagles

Back seven can't stop anyone: Teams can make a Pro Bowl quarterback against the Eagles pass defense. Opposing quarterbacks against the Eagles secondary have completed 64.6% of their passes for 3,379 yards with 29 touchdowns to just six interceptions for a 98.4 rating. The passer rating allowed is 29th in the NFL and the touchdown passes allowed are the second-most in the league. The Eagles have the third-fewest interceptions and the fourth-most passing yards per game allowed. The Eagles have allowed 10 touchdown passes over the last four games, most in the NFL. This secondary just can't stop anyone right now. 

Pittsburgh Steelers

George Pickens continues to remain frustrated: Pickens had five catches for 19 yards on six targets, not being used as the downfield threat he needs to excel in an offense. The Steelers have a handy tool in the tool belt, yet fail to use it correctly. Perhaps the tool would be better used with another owner? Maybe Pickens needs a quarterback not named Kenny Pickett or Mitchell Trubisky throwing the ball to him. Pickens has 49 catches for 767 yards (15.7 yards per catch), but just three touchdowns. His numbers should be better than what they are. 

San Francisco 49ers

Team continues to win in dominant fashion: Seems as if the 49ers just blow out everybody these days. The 49ers recorded their 19th 12-point win since the start of last season, tying the 1941-1942 Chicago Bears for the most in any two-year span in NFL history. Those Bears teams went to consecutive NFL Championship Games (and won in 1941), blowing out teams along the way. This is what the 49ers are doing recently, winning five straight games by 12-plus points. Since the bye week, the 49ers have outscored opponents 162-65 (+97), including 557-255 when Brock Purdy, Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel are healthy. 

Seattle Seahawks

They didn't close the gap on the 49ers: San Francisco blew out Seattle in the wild card round last season, a sign that the Seahawks needed to improve in certain areas in order to close the gap. The 49ers outscored the Seahawks 59-29 in their two meetings this year, and both games weren't even close. The Seahawks only led the 49ers in one quarter throughout the series, the first quarter on Sunday. Seattle has a lot of work to do to catch San Francisco down the road -- if the Seahawks catch the 49ers at all. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Rachaad White is heating up: Another week, another strong game for White. The Buccaneers RB1 finished with 25 carries for 102 yards and had a 31-yard touchdown catch to give him 133 yards from scrimmage on the day. White has 60 carries for 286 yards and a rushing touchdown over the last three games (4.8 yards per carry), while also having a receiving touchdown. The Buccaneers have been struggling on offense, but White has overcome his early-season struggles. Putting in Aaron Stinnie at left guard has certainly helped White. 

Tennessee Titans

Mike Vrabel has to be back in 2024: One bad season shouldn't result in Vrabel being relieved in his duties as Titans head coach, not after that late 14-point comeback to upset the Dolphins. Tennessee is just the fourth team to win a game down 14-plus points in the final three minutes in the last 20 years, and the first since 2017. Teams down 14 points in the last 3:00 were 0-767 since 2016, until Vrabel and the Titans found a way to pull off the improbable. Vrabel seems to find a way to win a game or two like this a year, no matter the talent level. One poor season (which is a rebuilding year) shouldn't result in Tennessee moving on from Vrabel. Monday's comeback was proof.