NFL News

NFL suspends Antonio Brown 3 games for violating protocols

NFL suspends Antonio Brown 3 games for violating protocols

The NFL suspended Tampa Bay wide receiver Antonio Brown and safety Mike Edwards three games each without pay Thursday for misrepresenting their vaccination status.

A league investigation found that Brown, Edwards and free agent John Franklin III violated NFL-NFLPA COVID-19 protocols.

Per an NFL release, all three players waived their right to appeals. The suspensions are effective immediately. Brown was likely to miss at least the next two games anyway with a lingering ankle/heel injury.

"The health and safety of players and personnel is our top priority," the NFL and NFLPA said in a joint statement. "The protocols were jointly developed working with our respective experts to ensure that we are practicing and playing football as safely as possible during the ongoing pandemic. The NFL-NFLPA jointly reinforce their commitment and further emphasize the importance of strict adherence to the protocols to protect the well-being of everyone associated with the NFL."

The NFL didn't say specifically how Brown and the others violated protocols.

But the review came after Brown's former live-in chef accused Brown last month of obtaining a fake COVID vaccination card to avoid NFL protocols. Steven Ruiz told the Tampa Bay Times that Brown, through his girlfriend, offered Ruiz $500 to obtain a fake vaxx card. Ruiz couldn't get one but said Brown showed him fake vaxx cards he purchased for himself and his girlfriend.

At the time, the Bucs released a statement saying, in part, "All vaccination cards were reviewed by Buccaneers personnel and no irregularities were observed."

The Bucs released this statement Thursday:

"We appreciate the League's timely handling of this matter and recognize the importance of the health and safety protocols that have been established. We will continue to implement all league COVID-19 protocols."

Brown, 33, has 29 receptions for 418 yards and four touchdowns in five games this season.

Brown's attorney Sean Burstyn, as he did last month, released a statement maintaining that Brown is vaccinated.

"Mr. Brown is vaccinated and continues to support the vaccine for any person for whom it is appropriate," Burstyn said. "The NFL made its determination and, instead of going through the drawn out an distracting process of challenging the outcome, Mr. Brown wrapped this up promptly and he will make this (sic) most of this time by treating his ankle injury. Mr. Brown will be motivated, well rested and in the best shape of his life when he returns in week 16."

Edwards, 25, has three interceptions in 11 games (three starts) for the Bucs this season. He returned two INTs for touchdowns in Week 2 against the Atlanta Falcons. He's played in 42 games (10 starts) overall for the Bucs.

If Franklin is signed by another team, he will have to miss the first three games.

Raiders WR DeSean Jackson limited by calf injury

Raiders WR DeSean Jackson limited by calf injury

Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver DeSean Jackson is battling a calf injury that could affect his status for Sunday's game against the Washington Football Team.

After appearing on Wednesday's injury report as a limited participant, reporters in Las Vegas did not see him at Thursday's practice.

NFL Network reported that Jackson's injury was considered "minor."

Jackson, 35, signed with the Raiders last month after the Los Angeles Rams agreed to release him. In three games for Las Vegas, Jackson has caught four passes for 140 yards, including a 56-yard touchdown in the Raiders' 36-33 Thanksgiving Day win over the Dallas Cowboys.

Tight end Darren Waller (back, knee) also did not practice Wednesday due to injuries he picked up in the Cowboys game.

Broncos activate LT Garett Bolles off COVID list

Broncos activate LT Garett Bolles off COVID list

The Denver Broncos activated starting left tackle Garett Bolles off the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday and it's expected he'll be ready to play on Sunday.

Bolles, 29, has been on the COVID list since Nov. 22 and had missed time prior to that with an ankle injury. He hasn't played since Week 8 against Washington.

The Broncos (6-5) are also hopeful that right tackle Bobby Massie will be back for the game against the AFC West-leading Kansas City Chiefs (7-4) on Sunday night. Massie has been out since Week 9 with an ankle injury.

Bolles has been a stalwart on the offensive line for Denver, starting all 71 games he's played in since being taken No. 20 overall in the 2017 draft. He had missed just one game in four seasons before 2021.

The Broncos also put offensive tackle Calvin Anderson on injured reserve. Anderson, who appeared in all 11 games (three starts) this season, left Denver's Week 12 matchup in the first quarter after sustaining an ankle/knee injury.

Vikings activate DT Dalvin Tomlinson from COVID list

Vikings activate DT Dalvin Tomlinson from COVID list

The Minnesota Vikings activated defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday.

The Vikings (5-6) have had several players miss time due to COVID protocols and Tomlinson was their last player remaining on the list.

He landed there on Nov. 23 and missed the first game of his five-year career last week, a 34-26 loss at San Francisco.

Tomlinson, 27, has recorded 26 tackles, 1.5 sacks, three quarterback hits and a fumble recovery in 10 games (all starts) this season, his first in Minnesota.

He played in all 64 games (all starts) with the New York Giants from 2017-20.

Tomlinson's return coincides with that of fellow DT Michael Pierce, who was designated to return from injured reserve on Wednesday.

Pierce, 27, has missed the past seven games with an elbow injury. He had nine tackles -- two for loss -- and two sacks in four games (all starts) before the injury.

Steelers add LB Robert Spillane to COVID list

Steelers add LB Robert Spillane to COVID list

Steelers linebacker Robert Spillane on Thursday became the third Pittsburgh player placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list this week.

Fellow linebacker T.J. Watt landed on the list Monday and offensive lineman Joe Haeg was added Wednesday.

Winless since Nov. 8, the Steelers (5-5-1) host the AFC North rival Baltimore Ravens (8-3) on Sunday afternoon.

Spillane, 25, has 26 tackles in 10 games (one start) this season.

Spillane has tallied 82 tackles, two sacks and one interception in 32 games (eight starts) with the Tennessee Titans (2018) and Steelers.

Report: Saints RB Alvin Kamara (knee) won't play Thursday

Report: Saints RB Alvin Kamara (knee) won't play Thursday

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara and two starting tackles will miss Thursday night's game against the visiting Dallas Cowboys, multiple outlets reported.

Kamara, right tackle Ryan Ramczyk and left tackle Terron Armstead are all dealing with knee injuries and had been listed as questionable for the Saints (5-6) against the Cowboys (7-4).

Kamara, 26, will miss his fourth straight game. The four-time Pro Bowl selection has posted 530 rushing yards, 310 receiving yards and seven touchdowns from scrimmage in eight games this season.

Ramczyk, 27, is out for the third straight contest. The former All-Pro has started all 72 of his games since the Saints drafted him in the first round in 2017, including nine starts this season.

Armstead, 30, will miss his sixth game this season. The three-time Pro Bowl selection has started 92 of his 96 games with the Saints since they made him a third-round pick in 2013.

Seahawks nearly in spoiler mode ahead of 49ers game

Seahawks nearly in spoiler mode ahead of 49ers game

The Seattle Seahawks find themselves in an unfamiliar position entering December, as an also-ran with little to play for over the season's final six weeks.

The stretch run starts Sunday when the Seahawks (3-8) play host to the San Francisco 49ers (6-5).

In the 10 seasons since the Seattle Seahawks drafted linebacker Bobby Wagner and quarterback Russell Wilson in the second and third rounds, respectively, in the 2012 draft, the franchise has been a regular contender.

Not this year, though, as Seattle limps into the San Francisco matchup on a three-game losing streak.

The 49ers (6-5) have won three consecutive games, and another win this week would all but end the Seahawks' flickering playoff hopes.

"It's frustrating. We're frustrated," Wagner said. "Obviously, this is not how we wanted things to go. We've just got to figure out how to get some wins."

It might help if Seattle's offense could stay on the field. The Seahawks' past three opponents have averaged more than 40 minutes of possession. The Washington Football Team held the ball for 41:40 on Monday night in a 17-15 victory against the visiting Seahawks.

With starting running back Chris Carson out for the season due to a neck injury and Rashaad Penny and Travis Homer both missing the last game, the Seahawks signed veteran Adrian Peterson to the practice squad on Wednesday.

"I gotta wait and see how he does out here," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "I've watched the film and seen him play. He plays just as aggressive and tough as he ever has, so I'm anxious to see what he adds to the club, and he's fired up about it, too."

Carroll said the Seahawks are hopeful Penny (hamstring) and starting left guard Damien Lewis (elbow) can return Sunday.

The 49ers' winning streak has come with a renewed commitment to run the ball.

San Francisco has averaged 41.7 rushing attempts over the past three games to amass 178.3 yards per game. Rookie Elijah Mitchell gained 133 of San Francisco's season-high 208 yards on the ground last week in a 34-26 victory against the visiting Minnesota Vikings.

"You always have it in the back of your head, the position where you're at and everything and the other teams around you," San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said. "But I think we've been taking a week-by-week mentality and just trying to get one win at a time and it's done well for us the last three weeks."

The 49ers will be without leading receiver Deebo Samuel (groin), who has also rushed for five touchdowns and caught five TD passes this season, and linebacker Fred Warner (hamstring) on Sunday after both were hurt last week.

"(Samuel has) been a big part of our offense, but I think we're in a spot right now that we can overcome that," 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said.

The Seahawks defeated the 49ers 28-21 on Oct. 3 in Santa Clara, Calif., as Wilson threw two touchdown passes and rushed for another score. Garoppolo left at halftime of that game due to a calf injury.

Rams' Jalen Ramsey to face Jaguars, whom he couldn't wait to leave

Rams' Jalen Ramsey to face Jaguars, whom he couldn't wait to leave

Jalen Ramsey has three interceptions this season, and you can rest assured the standout cornerback would like to add to that count when the Los Angeles Rams host the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

The 27-year-old Ramsey will be suiting up for the Rams (7-4) for the 36th time when he faces his former club for the first time.

Ramsey's antics were often over the top during his three-plus seasons with the Jaguars, and things got ugly when he clashed with then-coach Doug Marrone early in the 2019 season. He requested a trade and repeatedly criticized the franchise until Jacksonville dealt him to the Rams in mid-October.

He was a two-time Pro Bowl selection for the Jaguars and has added two more to the resume with the Rams. First-year Jacksonville coach Urban Meyer isn't surprised after viewing film of Ramsey.

"I asked the question, you know that I would like to have him," Meyer said of Ramsey. "When he left here, I was like, I didn't follow it that closely, but 'What in the world?' I see what I see on videotape."

What Ramsey views on video is Jacksonville (2-9) struggling to put points on the board.

The Jaguars have averaged 11.4 points while losing four of their past five games, including their last three. Jacksonville ranks 31st in scoring offense at 15.7 points per game.

Meyer said the team will switch to a faster up-tempo style that is pleasing to quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The No. 1 overall draft pick threw three touchdown passes in his NFL debut against the Houston Texans on Sept. 12, but hasn't thrown for more than one in a game since then.

In fact, Lawrence's touchdown pass in last Sunday's 21-14 loss to the Atlanta Falcons was his first since Oct. 31.

"The last few weeks, we've kind of been a little stagnant offensively," Lawrence told reporters. "We've had a few good possessions here and there, but it's not as consistent as we want to be. I really felt like last week was the first game in a couple of weeks where we really got in a flow and it felt good."

The loss to Atlanta was the Jaguars' 15th straight against NFC teams. Their last such win came against the New York Giants 20-15 in Week 1 of the 2018 season.

The Rams have their own issues with three straight setbacks. Los Angeles allowed an average of 31.7 points in the defeats and scored 16 or fewer points in two of the games.

"I still got all the money on this Rams rush," Los Angeles outside linebacker Von Miller said. "I'm really excited to see what we do in the future. We've got six games left."

The Rams fell 36-28 to the Green Bay Packers last Sunday in a game they trailed by 19 after three quarters. Los Angeles coach Sean McVay said he was looking past the football aspect when examining what has gone on during the skid.

"These things present a rare opportunity to really learn about people, and you almost appreciate them even more in the way that our guys came in today," McVay said Wednesday.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford has thrown five interceptions during the slide after tossing just four through the first eight games. Stafford did throw three touchdown passes against Green Bay to raise his season count to 27, second in the NFL.

The Rams are still working on getting Odell Beckham Jr. acquainted with the offense to be a complementary option behind star Cooper Kupp, who leads the NFL with 92 receptions and 1,237 yards and is tied for the league lead with 10 touchdowns.

Beckham (hip) was limited during Wednesday's practice. Running back Darrell Henderson Jr. (thigh) and cornerback David Long Jr. (non-COVID illness) sat out.

As for Jacksonville, linebacker Myles Jack (knee) and cornerback Shaquill Griffin (concussion) were among the five players who sat out.

Quarterbacks take center stage in Chargers-Bengals matchup

Quarterbacks take center stage in Chargers-Bengals matchup

Considering where they were drafted, Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert were always going to be compared with one another. Now, they'll square off for the first time on Sunday when the Los Angeles Chargers visit the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Bengals (7-4) and Chargers (6-5) are both thinking playoffs, and it's due in large part to those young quarterbacks. Burrow, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, leads the AFC with a 101.6 passer rating this season. Herbert, the No. 6 pick in 2020, ranks fourth in the NFL with 3,230 passing yards and fifth with 24 touchdown passes.

Cincinnati is gunning for the postseason for the first time since 2015, while the Chargers are trying to secure a playoff spot for the first time since 2018. Both trail their respective division leaders by one game; LA trails Cincinnati by one game in the wild-card hunt.

But for all the stakes, and the emphasis on the QBs, Burrow said it's just another game for him.

"Everybody likes to talk about the quarterback matchups, but we're playing on offense against their defense and their defensive coach," Burrow said. "I'm excited to watch (Herbert) play, he's a fun player, but we're going to go out and execute."

The Bengals have won two in a row and are playing the second of three straight home games. And they have more than just Burrow. Defensive end Trey Hendrickson (10.5 sacks) has at least one sack in seven straight games and leads a revamped and effective defense.

In the backfield, running back Joe Mixon (924 rushing yards, 11 TDs) has scored at least once in eight straight games and has two touchdowns apiece in each of the last four. That will be as much of a concern as Burrow for a Chargers squad that is last in the NFL in rushing defense (145.3 yards per game) and 29th in scoring defense (26.6 ppg).

"It's Dec. 1 today, and now there's a different level when you're in the hunt," Chargers coach Brandon Staley said. "There's another level of focus, there's another gear that you have to get to. ... When you're in the hunt now you've got to make those improvements."

Herbert was the 2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, but has been up and down this season. He was picked off twice in last week's 28-13 loss at the Denver Broncos despite throwing for 303 yards. Austin Ekeler (604 rushing yards, 14 total TDs) was held to 31 yards rushing in the loss as well.

It's time for Los Angeles, which has split its last four games, to put it all together, Keenan Allen said. He leads the Chargers with 81 catches for 895 yards, but just two touchdowns.

"It's different in the room when you are playing for something; it means something obviously. We got the right team, the right coaches. Everything is going good so we just have to put it together," he said.

The Chargers lead the all-time series 21-14 and have won two straight against the Bengals, including 16-13 in the 2020 season opener. Herbert was the backup and didn't play in that matchup.

Neither team has serious injury concerns. The Bengals rested seven players on Wednesday, but coach Zac Taylor believes both offensive tackle Riley Reiff (ankle) and center Trey Hopkins (ankle) will be available. For the Chargers, cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. (concussion) and safety Alohi Gilman (quad) did not participate in practice on Wednesday.

Buccaneers face Falcons while pushing for NFC's top seed

Buccaneers face Falcons while pushing for NFC's top seed

The calendar has flipped to December, which means one thing to Leonard Fournette and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"We know what's at stake," he said. "Coach BA (Bruce Arians) tells us every day in the meetings in the morning what we're playing for. Just coming out knowing that each individual plays a part on this team and that will make us whole -- to come out and do our job."

No Tampa Bay player did his job better last week than Fournette. He rushed for 100 yards and scored four touchdowns, including the game-winner in a 38-31 decision over Indianapolis that strengthened the Bucs' hold on the NFC South.

The Buccaneers aim to improve their seeding for the playoffs Sunday when they visit division rival and playoff hopeful Atlanta.

At 8-3, Tampa Bay is three games clear of the Falcons and New Orleans, so a division title seems inevitable. But the Bucs would still like to catch 9-2 Arizona and 9-3 Green Bay for the top seed so that they could stay at home and get a first-round bye.

"The expectations for us are to go out there and win the division," said defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. "That's the first step, especially getting into the playoffs. You do that and take care of business -- you know that you're going to be at home for your first playoff game and go from there."

Tampa Bay didn't need home field to win the NFC last year, taking road victories over Washington, New Orleans and Green Bay before it became the first home team to win a Super Bowl by routing Kansas City.

While precisely no one believes Atlanta (5-6) is the team to dethrone the Buccaneers, the Falcons are in the picture going into Week 13, which no one would have forecast in August. The Falcons would actually be in the playoffs if they started now had they not surrendered a late lead earlier this year against Washington, which presently holds the final spot.

As it is, Atlanta put itself in better position last week with a 21-14 win at Jacksonville, getting 108 yards and two touchdowns on the ground from Cordarrelle Patterson plus 190 yards and a score in the air from Matt Ryan.

Few players in the league are having a better all-around season than Patterson. The veteran receiver has become the Falcons' leading rusher with 411 yards and their second-leading receiver with 41 catches for 500 yards.

The continued absence of receiver Calvin Ridley, who has played only five games this year while dealing with a personal matter, has hampered Ryan. He's checked in at under 200 yards in four of the last five games with just four touchdowns and seven interceptions.

"It's part of sports," Ryan said. "You miss, but you can't let it linger. You get back to work and have a great week of practice, and that's what I'm focused on right now."

Ryan threw for 300 yards in Week 2 at Tampa Bay, but also tossed two fourth-quarter pick-sixes to Mike Edwards that capped the Buccaneers' 48-25 win. Tom Brady accounted for five touchdowns and 276 yards in the air for Tampa Bay.

Chiefs seek fast fix to turnovers with Broncos visiting

Chiefs seek fast fix to turnovers with Broncos visiting

Patrick Mahomes declines to attribute his 11 interceptions to a common thread. He also will not blame his targets.

The truth, however, is several picks have come on catchable balls that bounded off receivers' hands. The issue will be one the Chiefs (7-4) again look to correct Sunday, while also attempting to maintain their AFC West lead against the Denver Broncos (6-5) at Kansas City, Mo.

"There's some (interceptions) where I'm pressing the issue a little bit more, some are just bad luck," Mahomes said. "So, I'll try to do whatever I can to try to limit those as much as possible, because we know turnovers are such a big deal in this league."

Especially for the Chiefs, who rank 31st in the NFL with 22 giveaways.

In Denver, they face an opponent geared toward pressuring quarterbacks and altering pass attempts. Kansas City coach Andy Reid even called out the Broncos' Shelby Harris as a defender adept at disrupting rhythm by deflecting passes.

"(Mahomes) owns everything, that's how he's wired," Reid said, defending his generational talent. "However, there are a lot of things that go into it, and we're playing a team that has been a leader at tipped balls. They had four tipped balls against us last year, so as an offense we've got to make sure we're aware of that and take care of business on that."

In other words, don't provide additional help when receivers fail to latch on to good throws.

Still, Mahomes accepts blame for that too, noticing that his deliveries have not always been in ideal spots.

"Just because it hits them," said Mahomes, "it doesn't necessarily mean it's in the spot for them to make the catch, so I got to make sure I'm putting it in the right spot every time."

Even then, it could be difficult circumventing Patrick Surtain II, the reigning AFC defensive player of the week.

Surtain snagged an interception in the end zone and returned another one 70 yards for a touchdown as the Broncos moved into a three-way tie for second in the balanced AFC West by beating the Los Angeles Chargers last week.

Broncos coach Vic Fangio doesn't see Mahomes being easier to defend.

Although Kansas City opponents have played deep safeties to take away long connections, Fangio sees the Chiefs becoming more patient while getting solid play from running backs Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Darrel Williams.

"They're actually calling more runs than you're seeing statistically, because they're calling runs that turn into passes with the RPOs," Fangio said. "They do have more balance. They've got good backs, they've retooled their offensive line from last year and they're really good."

As for receivers led by Tyreek Hill, Surtain acknowledges, "they've got speed; world-class speed. We'll put our track shoes on."

The Chiefs have dominated the series since 2015, winning 11 straight by a collective margin of 323-180.

"It's extremely personal," said the Broncos' Justin Simmons. "No matter what I say, no matter how good it sounds, bad it sounds, you gotta go do it. No one cares what it looks like. All anyone cares about is that win-loss column."

After using backups as tackles in the win over the Chargers, regulars Garett Bolles (COVID-19 list) and Bobby Massie (ankle) could return for Denver.

Rashad Fenton appears to be the leading injury concern for Kansas City while dealing with a strained knee. Kyle Long has been activated, though Reid will wait to determine if Long can help along the offensive line.

Winning ugly meets losing ugly in Ravens-Steelers I

Winning ugly meets losing ugly in Ravens-Steelers I

The Baltimore Ravens enter December with the best record in the AFC, but their recent performances have been anything but pretty.

The Ravens may be destined for another low-scoring affair Sunday when they visit the Pittsburgh Steelers in a matchup of AFC North rivals.

Baltimore (8-3) heads into the weekend a half-game ahead of the New England Patriots (8-4) and Tennessee Titans (8-4) for the top spot in the conference. Only the No. 1 seed gets a first-round playoff bye, so the Ravens certainly cannot afford many slip-ups over their final six games.

However, Baltimore -- and quarterback Lamar Jackson, in particular -- need to play better than they have of late.

Jackson threw a career-high four interceptions Sunday night in a 16-10 win over the Cleveland Browns. He also threw for a season-low 165 yards and was sacked multiple times for the ninth time in 10 games.

"Bad passes, inaccurate, underthrown passes. That's all I've seen. Bad reads," Jackson said. "I looked like a rookie."

Jackson, of course, is highly accomplished as an NFL quarterback, as is Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers' QB also has had some forgettable performances this season, including Sunday's 41-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Roethlisberger was picked off twice and completed just 58.5 percent of his passes in that one -- his second-lowest total of the season. He also was sacked three times, raising his total to 10 sacks absorbed over the last three games.

"Someone once said, ‘Games like this are like bubblegum. You chew ‘em for a little bit and you spit ‘em out.' That's kind of what I'm doing, so I'm moving on. I have no comments about last week because it's bubblegum that's been spit out."

The Steelers (5-5-1) have a three-game winless streak that began with a tie against the lowly Detroit Lions and continued with road defeats to the Los Angeles Chargers and Bengals.

Pittsburgh, which currently sits alone in last place in the AFC North, is running out of time to earn some victories. The Steelers have a challenging upcoming schedule that includes matchups with the Titans and Kansas City Chiefs, as well as a tough regular-season finale in Baltimore.

"It is (a must-win)," Roethlisberger said. "Everything moving forward has to be that way. That's the hole we've put ourselves in. Every game has to be the most important game of the year. We all need to approach it that way."

As for the Ravens, they have averaged only 14 points over the last three games. Still, Mark Andrews has been a bright spot, ranking second among NFL tight ends in catches (60) and receiving yards (761).

On the other side of the ball, standout defensive lineman Calais Campbell is in concussion protocol after exiting early against Cleveland. He warmed up Wednesday before heading indoors and could be available to face Pittsburgh.

"We'll just see where it goes," coach John Harbaugh said.

Pittsburgh likely will be without star linebacker T.J. Watt, who was placed on the COVID-19 list on Monday. Watt, who has battled knee and hip injuries this season, ranks second in the NFL with 12.5 sacks.

The Steelers activated receiver/returner Ray-Ray McLeod from the COVID list and expect to have him on the field Sunday as a complement to Diontae Johnson, who leads the team in catches (68) and receiving yards (809).

Pittsburgh leads the all-time series 27-23 and won both matchups last season.

Washington brings three-game winning streak into Las Vegas

Washington brings three-game winning streak into Las Vegas

The Washington football team has a good feeling after a strong stretch. The Las Vegas Raiders could be on the upswing as well.

One of these teams is bound to keep the momentum when they meet Sunday in Las Vegas.

"When you win a game, you have to be careful with the win masking your problems," Raiders coach Rich Bisaccia said. "Sometimes the tendency is to kind of skim over the things you didn't do well."

The Raiders (6-5) snapped a three-game skid by defeating the Dallas Cowboys in overtime on Thanksgiving.

Washington (5-6) holds a three-game winning streak.

"It's awesome winning now," Washington safety Landon Collins said.

The team's most recent victory came Monday night at home against Seattle, so it's a short gap between games, plus travel, for Washington.

This looks like how coach Ron Rivera thought the Washington team could evolve.

"I think we're coming together and being the kind of team that we envisioned," Rivera said. "If we can continue to work and play the way we've played, we'd give ourselves a chance."

The Raiders have the second-best passing offense in the league with 296.5 yards per game. Washington rates 30th in passing defense, giving up 266.6 yards per game.

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has thrown for about 800 more yards than Taylor Heinicke, but his 17 touchdown throws are just one more than Heinicke.

Carr could reach a milestone Sunday. He needs 22 completions to reach 300 in each of his first eight NFL seasons, something only Peyton Manning has accomplished.

Despite Carr's production, there has been a theme when the Raiders have had success.

"What you've seen from us in the games we've won here, we've played well in the run game and it has opened up our play-action packages," Bisaccia said.

The ability to hit big plays is something the Raiders tend to count on. That worked in defeating Dallas.

"I'm so excited that we executed at such a high level," Carr said.

Carr could be without one of his main weapons as tight end Darren Waller left the Thanksgiving game with a knee injury. Waller has 53 catches and two touchdowns this year.

With six games left, the Raiders have optimism, so that makes the visit from Washington even bigger.

"We're playing meaningful games," Carr said. "We're right there. Not where we want to be, but we're right there with a chance. We know what's at stake. We know what we have to do."

Said Bisaccia: "We've played well enough at times to be right in the thick of it."

That's all the Washington team is aiming for as well.

"All we can focus on is winning the next game," Washington defensive tackle Jonathan Allen said.

Washington was in the market for a new kicker after Joey Slye exited Monday's game with a hamstring injury. Reports have surfaced that Brian Johnson will become the team's fourth kicker of the season.

Washington is 0-3 so far against opponents in the AFC West. This will be Washington's final game against an opponent outside of the NFC East.

"If we take care of our business, we give ourselves a chance," Rivera said.

Washington will play in Las Vegas for the first time. The Raiders lead the series between the franchises by an 7-6 margin, although Washington has won the last three meetings.

While Colts focus on 60 minutes, Texans zero in on No. 28

While Colts focus on 60 minutes, Texans zero in on No. 28

The Indianapolis Colts have grown maddeningly familiar with the concept of frenzied finishes, with their close loss last Sunday to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the latest in a series of them.

In falling 38-31 to the Buccaneers, the Colts (6-6) recorded their fourth loss by one score. The Colts' last three losses, dating to Oct. 11, have come by one score, with overtime setbacks to the Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans in that mix.

With the calendar flipped to December and the stretch run of the regular season ahead, Colts coach Frank Reich is taking a pragmatic approach toward doing what is required to qualify for the playoffs. That means a self-reflective focus on the remaining five games, starting Sunday when the Colts visit the Houston Texans (2-9).

"We acknowledged today the margin of error in these last five games is slim," Reich said. "So what do you do about that? You prepare and you focus and you keep getting better and build the momentum so that we're playing our best football in December and going into January.

"Just do what it takes to get in (to the playoffs) and feel like we've got the kind of team that can go somewhere."

In order for the Colts to meet that challenge, they have to improve at closing games. Indianapolis has enjoyed success early in games this season only to falter late, a routine that has Reich contemplating scripting plays late in the second half to match the proficiency shown in the first.

The chore of improving late in games isn't an extraordinary one. In fact, the approach is basic.

"It's just doing ordinary things and doing them very well, in whatever phase we're in," Reich said. "I think that's really our focus."

For the Texans and their 31st-ranked run defense, the challenge ahead is simple: Prevent Colts running back Jonathan Taylor from dominating the game.

Taylor leads the NFL in rushing yards (1,205), rushing touchdowns (14), yards per attempt (5.8), and is one of just two players averaging 100-plus yards rushing per game. The other is Derrick Henry, who is out for the season.

Taylor has the longest run from scrimmage this season (83 yards), and he produced 145 yards and two touchdowns in the Colts' 31-3 victory over the Texans in Week 6.

"J.T.'s been balling, and props to that guy," Texans defensive lineman Jacob Martin said. "He's been running his tail off all year. I think for us to be successful on defense, it comes to us playing gap-sound defense and limiting those big yards in the run game and those big shots on the play-action. I think us staying sound in the run game will lead us to playing their play-actions well, and trying to make the Colts as one-dimensional as possible."

That objective might seem too simple, but the stats are clear. Slow Taylor and triumph.

"We saw a stat this morning that when he rushes for 100 yards this year, they've won every game. When he hasn't rushed for 100 yards, they've lost," Texans coach David Culley said. "Obviously, it's very important for our defense to have gap control, especially run gap control. Stay in our gaps more so than any time this year, not that it's not as important as always, but obviously, this guy's playing very well right now."

Eagles need win at Jets, with or without hobbled QB

Eagles need win at Jets, with or without hobbled QB

Both the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Jets hope they have found their quarterbacks of the future in Jalen Hurts and Zach Wilson.

But for Philadelphia, the present matters just a little more as the teams prepare for their game in East Rutherford, N.J., on Sunday.

Philadelphia (5-7) is only a half-game out of the final wild-card spot in the NFC as it enters its final game before the bye.

New York (3-8) is not a factor in the AFC playoff chase but is trying to get Wilson valuable experience after he sat out four games because of a knee injury. He returned last week for a 21-14 victory at Houston.

The Eagles are dealing with some uncertainty regarding Hurts, who suffered a sprained ankle in the 13-7 loss to the New York Giants last Sunday. Hurts practiced on a limited basis Wednesday, and both he and first-year head coach Nick Sirianni expressed confidence that he would be good to go.

"I'll be ready to go," Hurts said. "You guys (media) obviously know I'm dealing with a little something but it's business as usual."

Said Sirianni: "He's as tough as they get. Obviously, you want that out of your quarterback. ... I think in his and my mind, we're both saying, ‘Yeah, he's going.'"

If Hurts has a setback, or if Sirianni and the Eagles change their plans, backup Gardner Minshew would get the start. How would that affect Philadelphia's offensive game plan?

"I don't want to say it's different game plans," Sirianni said. "It's different styles a little bit because you tweak everything for each individual player. So it is, but again, we're playing (against) a certain style of defense. So, there will be some similarities regardless of who's playing quarterback."

"The quarterback (Hurts) is dynamic with the ball in his hands," Jets coach Robert Saleh said. "Whenever the quarterback is involved in the run game, it's 11-on-11 football."

But if Hurts is ailing, will he be able to run as much? Hurts, who threw three interceptions against the Giants, has rushed for at least 55 yards in each of his last six games.

Wilson was a lackluster 14-for-24 for 145 yards and no touchdowns and one interception, with a passer rating of 58.5 in the victory over the Texans.

"Was it his best game? No," Saleh said. "Did he do a lot of things? Did he get comfortable as the game went on? Absolutely. ... He orchestrated three pretty long drives and did enough to win the football game and that's what's most important."

Wilson also had a 4-yard touchdown run when he audibled on a third quarter read-option. He admitted his right knee isn't 100 percent, but both he and Saleh said he can't damage it further by playing.

"No excuses," he said after the game. "You've got to be able to come out and play well. I've had this whole time to watch and learn from everybody else. I thought I had my best week of practice, so now I've just got to put it to the field and just get better."

For the Eagles, right guard Jack Driscoll (sprained ankle) is out for the season but it appears center Jason Kelce (knee) should play.

Jets wide receiver Corey Davis (groin) could miss a second straight game. He did not practice Wednesday.

Philadelphia is 11-0 all-time against the Jets in a series that began in 1973, but as Saleh said when informed of the stat, "That's history."

The last meeting was Philadelphia's 31-6 romp on Oct. 6, 2019, when the Jets started third-string quarterback Luke Falk.

Resurgent Dolphins draw improving Giants’ defense

Resurgent Dolphins draw improving Giants’ defense

When the Miami Dolphins play host to the New York Giants on Sunday, it will feature two teams desperately trying to get into the playoff race.

The Dolphins (5-7), who opened as 2.5-point favorites, have won four straight games.

It's an impressive comeback for a team that started the season 1-7.

"We finally look like the team we wanted to be at the beginning of the year," Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa said.

Even so, the Dolphins trail the New England Patriots by three games in the AFC East. Miami is just 3-3 at home.

Meanwhile, the Giants (4-7) are 1-4 on the road, and they trail the first-place Dallas Cowboys by three games in the NFC East.

However, the Giants are coming off a home win over the Philadelphia Eagles. The Giants forced four turnovers and held the Eagles to a season-low 7 points.

The Giants and Dolphins have several similarities -- suddenly hot defenses, Pro Bowl cornerbacks, rookie pass-rushers, young quarterbacks and rookie wide receivers from the SEC.

The Giants terrorized Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, intercepting him three times and sacking him once. The Giants also stopped Philly on both of its fourth-down tries.

"We're going to fight on every down," Giants safety Xavier McKinney said. "That's how we play. We want to go out and dominate."

The Giants are allowing 23.0 points per game and Miami is allowing 23.3 points. That puts both teams right in the middle of the league average.

In the past five weeks, however, the Giants have put up some impressive defensive performances, allowing an average of just 15.2 points. That includes holding Carolina to three points and the potent Kansas City Chiefs to 20 points.

The Dolphins have been even better during their four-game streak, allowing just 11.5 points.

Giants defensive stars include defensive lineman Leonard Williams and rookie outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari, who are tied for the team lead in sacks with 5 1/2.

Linebacker Tae Crowder leads the Giants with 79 tackles, and McKinney (five picks) and Pro Bowl cornerback James Bradberry (three picks) have combined for eight interceptions.

Miami's defensive stars include linebacker Jerome Baker, who leads the team with 63 tackles; Pro Bowl cornerback Xavien Howard, who tops the team with three interceptions; and rookie outside linebacker Jaelan Phillips, who is No. 1 on the Dolphins with 6 1/2 sacks. Defensive lineman Emmanuel Ogbah has six sacks.

Offensively for Miami, Tagovailoa is completing 70.5 percent of his passes and has 10 touchdowns and six interceptions. The second-year passer, 23, is 3-4 as a starter this season.

Dolphins rookie receiver Jaylen Waddle leads Miami in receptions (77) and yardage (759).

Giants quarterback Daniel Jones is completing 64.3 percent of his passes for 10 TDs and seven interceptions. The third-year quarterback, 24, is 4-7 as a starter.

Giants rookie receiver Kadarius Toney has started just four games but has made 35 catches for 392 yards. He has caught 72.9 percent of his targets.

Waddle, taken 14 spots higher than Toney in the 2021 draft, has caught 74.8 percent of his targets.

Cardinals hoping to get top playmakers back at Chicago

Cardinals hoping to get top playmakers back at Chicago

Fresh off their bye week and anticipating the return of quarterback Kyler Murray and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, the NFC-leading Arizona Cardinals enter Sunday's visit to the Chicago Bears with plenty of optimism.

"I know over the bye week they did what they needed to do, and I know what they'll do this week to prepare and be ready," Cardinals running back James Conner said. "I'm not worried about Hop and K1 at all."

While Arizona coach Kliff Kingsbury expressed caution early in the week, the team is hopeful that Murray (ankle) and Hopkins (hamstring) each will end their three-game absences as the Cardinals aim to stay atop the conference.

Since opening the season 7-0, Arizona (9-2) has alternated between losing and winning over the past four games. The Cardinals are coming off a 23-13 road victory against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 11 that saw backup quarterback Colt McCoy throw for 328 yards and two touchdowns, by far his best effort as Murray mends.

Arizona went 2-1 with McCoy under center, topping NFC West rival San Francisco on the road before a lopsided home loss to the Carolina Panthers.

Keeping the passing game clicking behind Murray and Hopkins sounds good on paper but count Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson among those who'd welcome the return of Hopkins as a measuring stick.

"It's easy to say what somebody can do on film or somebody is this or somebody is not that," Johnson said. "At the end of the day, you gotta go out there and you gotta line up. I'm looking forward to it."

The Cardinals have won each of their six road games this season by at least 10 points. According to the team, that makes them the third club in NFL history to prevail in their first six road games by double figures, following the 1968 Dallas Cowboys and 1936 Bears.

The current Chicago outfit snapped a five-game losing streak by edging the host Detroit Lions 16-14 on Thanksgiving Day. Cairo Santos kicked a 28-yard field goal as time expired as the Bears improved to 4-7 while quelling -- at least briefly -- questions regarding the job status of coach Matt Nagy.

The Bears benefited from the solid play of backup quarterback Andy Dalton, who was 24-of-39 passing for 317 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Rookie Justin Fields missed the game after injuring his ribs during a Week 11 home loss to Baltimore.

Fields practiced Wednesday, but Nagy offered no further update while adding that Dalton would take the starter's reps to begin the practice week.

"With Andy being able to come out here and get these reps ... it'll allow us to really continue each day to see, ‘Justin, where you at? What's your pain today? How is it when you're throwing?'" Nagy said. "We've got to be able to say, ‘Is this something that we feel that he's going to be the best he can be for us to help win us that game?' Or is it going to hurt him more or hurt us? As the week goes on, we're working through all that."

Chicago is hoping to reclaim its late-season resolve from 2020. Rallying from a six-game skid earlier in the season, the Bears rallied to win four of their last six to claim the seventh and final spot in the expanded NFC playoff field.

Entering Week 13, the Bears sat a game back of Washington for the final NFC playoff spot while contending with six other teams with four or five wins.

Vikings, Lions likely missing top RBs in rematch

Vikings, Lions likely missing top RBs in rematch

A couple of NFC North clubs will likely lean on their backup running backs to shoulder the load this Sunday after their starters injured those particular joints.

Minnesota's Dalvin Cook and Detroit's D'Andre Swift are not expected to play after suffering shoulder injuries in their team's most recent game. The Vikings and Lions will go to Plan B, C and maybe D on the depth chart in Detroit.

Cook was injured during the third quarter of Minnesota's 34-26 loss to San Francisco on Sunday. Cook has rushed for 773 yards and four touchdowns, along with catching 39 passes this season,

"We'll just see how Dalvin's doing," coach Mike Zimmer said. "It'll be day-to-day and we'll see where it goes."

Cook didn't practice on Wednesday, so it's likely Alexander Mattison and Kene Nwangwu will be the ball carriers. Mattison has been the primary backup for three seasons.

"He does so many great things at running back, whether it's running the football, protecting, catching the ball, running routes," quarterback Kirk Cousins said of Mattison. "It's a great comfort for me to have him back there."

Cousins is also eager to see what Nwangwu can bring to the offense.

"He certainly has the athletic ability to be a great player," Cousins said. "I'm looking forward to giving him more opportunities and letting him show the kind of player he is."

If the run game falters, the Vikings (5-6) can always fall back on their aerial attack, featuring Cousins throwing the ball to Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. They have combined for 130 receptions, 1,713 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Minnesota has provided plenty of drama this season. All but one of its games was decided by eight points or less.

"As Coach Zimmer has said, the preference is to not even make it close," Cousins said. "That's certainly the first coaching point -- let's not leave it to the last play. But I know our opponent this week, the Lions, they're saying the same thing."

Minnesota defeated Detroit 19-17 on a last-second field goal in their first meeting on Oct. 10. The Lions (0-10-1) have lost three games in that fashion.

Quarterback Jared Goff toughed it out through an oblique injury, but Swift didn't play after spraining his shoulder late in the first half against the Bears. Jamaal Williams, Jermar Jefferson and Godwin Igwebuike are the Lions' other running backs.

Swift has rushed for 555 yards, caught 56 passes and scored a combined six touchdowns this season. Williams is averaging 4.2 yards per carry on 93 attempts and has scored two touchdowns.

"(Swift) is one of the most dynamic guys in the league," Goff said. "Having him on the ground and in the pass game is always helpful. I know he wants to be out there but Jamaal is ready to step up even more than he has. And so are J.J. and Godwin, so we'll be ready to go on that front."

After missing a game, Goff passed for 171 yards and two scores against the Bears. He feels healthier after getting extra time off before this Sunday's contest.

"It was a good 5-6 days after the game to recover and get my body right," he said. "I don't want to make excuses but having that minor oblique deal, that was bothering me."

Linebacker Anthony Barr (knee/hamstring) was among the other Vikings who missed Wednesday's practice.

Linebacker Trey Flowers (knee) and offensive tackle Penei Sewell (illness) joined Swift on the sidelines in Detroit.

Report: Antonio Brown out at least 2 more weeks

Report: Antonio Brown out at least 2 more weeks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown is expected to miss at least two more weeks, ESPN reported Wednesday.

Officially, Bucs coach Bruce Arians said Wednesday that Brown is doubtful for Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons. It was originally thought that Brown was dealing with an ankle injury.

"It was more a different injury than originally thought," Arians said. "A sprain. There's some issues in the heel -- that's what he's having problems with."

Brown, 33, hasn't played since Week 6 against the Philadelphia Eagles. In five games (two starts), Brown has 29 catches for 418 yards and four touchdowns.

Brown is a seven-time Pro Bowl selection and four-time All-Pro.

Report: RB Adrian Peterson visiting Seahawks

Report: RB Adrian Peterson visiting Seahawks

Running back Adrian Peterson visited with the Seattle Seahawks on Wednesday, NFL Network reported.

The Tennessee Titans waived the 36-year-old veteran on Nov. 23 after three games with the team.

The Seahawks are short-handed in the backfield. Week 1 starter Chris Carson (neck) is out for the season, while Rashaad Penny (hamstring), Travis Homer (calf) and Alex Collins (abdomen) are banged up.

Peterson is the fifth-leading rusher in NFL history with 14,902 yards, including 82 yards on 27 carries for the Titans.

The seven-time Pro Bowl selection and 2012 league MVP is fourth all-time with 119 career rushing touchdowns.

The Seahawks (3-8) bring a three-game losing skid into Sunday's game with the visiting San Francisco 49ers (6-5).

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