A wild week in the NFL concluded on Monday Night Football with the Pittsburgh Steelers heaping more misery on the beleaguered Indianapolis Colts. Elsewhere, the Kansas City Chiefs emerged as the dominant force in a tightly packed AFC playoff race while the Philadelphia Eagles juggernaut continued to set the standard in the NFC.
Read on as we look at some of the key takeaways of Week 12 of the NFL. We’ll analyze some of the results and discuss the latest NFL news, injury reports and updated NFL odds.
NFL Week 12 Highlights & Lessons Learned
Quarterback Controversy for Gang Green
Is a quarterback controversy brewing in New York? Robert Saleh made the bold decision to bench Zach Wilson in Week 12 after the No. 2 overall draft pick in 2021 accounted for negative two yards in the New York Jets’ 10-3 loss to the New England Patriots.
In his stead, Saleh started backup Mike White against the Chicago Bears on Sunday. And with the Jets romping to the 31-10 victory, the stark contrast between the quarterbacks and how they utilized the potential of the Jets offense was on full show.
White, a fifth-round pick in 2018 for the Dallas Cowboys, went 22 of 28 for 315 yards and three touchdowns, leading successive offensive drives that accounted for 24 unanswered points to rally the Jets from a 10-7 deficit to victory.
It remains to be seen what decision Seleh comes to this week regarding the quarterback position. It’s going to be key with the Jets sitting just inside the AFC playoff frame in seventh place.
Reports suggest the Jets fully intend to start Wilson after last week’s reset, but nothing has been officially confirmed as yet. The Jets next face the Minnesota Vikings (9-2), who bounced back with a big win over the Patriots on Thursday Night Football on Thanksgiving Day.
FOX did Zach Wilson dirty by posting this. pic.twitter.com/4NsSHDLUKq
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) November 27, 2022
Bengals have Titans’ Number
For a second straight meeting, the Cincinnati Bengals (7-4-0) overcame the Tennessee Titans (7-4-0) to improve their record against the AFC stalwarts to 2-0 over the past two seasons.
The Bengals famously upset then-No. 1 seed Tennessee in the AFC Divisional Round last season, kicking a last-gasp field goal to take the 19-16 win. In their much-anticipated rematch in Week 12, the high-flying Bengals’ passing offense, led by Joe Burrow and Co, toppled the gritty Titans 20-16, thanks to key adjustments and savvy play-calling in the second half that outwitted the Titans’ defense.
On the flip side, the Bengals’ offense rose to the challenge of the Titans’ ground game, holding elite running back Derrick Henry to just 38 yards and zero touchdowns – his second-lowest account this season after the Bills held him to a paltry 25 yards on the ground,
On the back of Week 12’s victory, the Bengals closed the gap on the Baltimore Ravens (7-4-0) in the AFC North table. They also improved their position in the AFC playoff race, climbing to sixth place in the standings. Thus, setting up a fascinating contest down the stretch for AFC seeding.
Scoop on Free Play from the Locker Room
Raiders Win Two in Row, Are We Buying?
The Las Vegas Raiders (4-7) strung together the first winning streak of the season after clinching their second straight win in overtime in as many weeks. Running back Josh Jacobs was the key instigator as he tore the Seattle Seahawks’ defense to shreds for a whopping 229 rushing yards and two touchdowns, including the game-deciding 86-yard score in overtime that lifted the Raiders to the 40-33 win.
On the heels of their second straight win, the Raiders improved to third place in the AFC West, leapfrogging ahead of the Denver Broncos, who suffered their third straight defeat (shocker!) and slipped to a woeful 3-8-0 record.
Darnold Ignites Panthers Offense
Few would have ever predicted that Sam Darnold would outplay Russell Wilson in a matchup between their respective teams. But that’s exactly what happened on Sunday when the Broncos slipped to a third successive defeat in Carolina.
Darnold’s 2022 debut as the Panthers’ starter couldn’t have gone better had he scripted it himself. He went 11 of 19 for 164 yards and a touchdown in Carolina’s 23-10 win over the Broncos at Bank of America Stadium.
— NFL (@NFL) November 29, 2022
Wilson couldn’t get the offense moving through the better part of the four quarters, and had it not been for a late-game touchdown in garbage time, the margin of defeat would have been much worse.
Brissett Bests Bestie Brady in Final Start
The book on Jacoby Brissett’s 11-game sojourn with the Cleveland Browns is at its end by all accounts, with Deshaun Watson ready to take over in Week 13. But as far as endings go, Brissett couldn’t have had a happier or a more meaningful one, beating his friend and former mentor, Tom Brady.
The Browns rallied from 13 points down, scoring a last-gasp touchdown in the process, to level the game at 17-17 and force overtime. Then, in the final minutes of added time, Brissett led a scoring drive that was capped off by a Nick Chubb rushing score.
If there’s a takeaway from this game, it’s how Brissett’s teammates battled for him in his last start and the legacy he leaves behind. The respect that they have for the affable 29-year-old in the locker room is undeniable. He took on an impossible situation with the kind of professionalism, integrity and positive attitude that speaks volumes about his character and commitment to the team. He’s a credit to the Cleveland organization, the game and to wider sports in general.
— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) November 28, 2022
Lawrence Shows Flash of Golden Boy Potential
Trevor Lawrence was the Golden Boy of the 2021 NFL draft, the No.1 overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars that was touted by scouts as a generational talent, a once-in-a-lifetime football prodigy. And at the tail end of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ game against the Baltimore Ravens, Lawrence flashed that Golden Boy potential for the first time since his debut two years ago.
The Ravens led 12-10 in the final quarter before both sides erupted offensively and combined for 33 points. The Ravens scored the go-ahead touchdown to take the 27-20 lead but Lawrence countered with a 75-yard touchdown-scoring drive with just 14 seconds left on the clock. Then, the second-year quarterback converted on a two-point conversion to lift the Jaguars to the improbable 28-27 win.
— NFL (@NFL) November 27, 2022
The Ravens had barely two handfuls of seconds left to attempt a game-winning field goal, but the best Lamar Jackson could do was set up Justin Tucker for a 67-yard field goal attempt that fell just short of the mark.
“The odds and predictions in the article are based on the time of writing and publication. They may differ as to when the actual event takes place.”