The dust is settling on a typically fast and furious start to NFL free agency.

While the new league year is still in its infancy, most of the major players on the open market have found new homes or opted to stay put.

A string of blockbuster trades have also changed the landscape of the league.

Here we look at the winners and losers from free agency.


WINNER: Indianapolis Colts

The Colts have been aggressive in addressing their needs in response to a disappointing 7-9 season in 2019, with the signing of Philip Rivers and the acquisition of DeForest Buckner in a trade from the San Francisco 49ers the headline moves.

Rivers comes across from the Los Angeles Chargers following 16 seasons with that franchise. He threw 591 times last season and was intercepted on 20 of those attempts.

A Colts running game led by the dynamic Marlon Mack that finished seventh in the NFL last year along with a bruising offensive line should ensure Rivers does not have to chance his arm as much in Indianapolis.

Rivers also has great familiarity with Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni from his time as the Chargers quarterback coach. The fit could hardly be better.

The Colts gave up a first-round pick (13th overall) to land defensive tackle Buckner and then pay him $21million a year. If he delivers the same kind of performances he produced for San Francisco – he had 28.5 sacks and 74 quarterback hits in four seasons for the 49ers – the Colts defense will be significantly improved in 2020.

LOSER: Houston Texans

The NFL universe is collectively still trying to wrap its head around the Texans' decision to trade DeAndre Hopkins, one of the league's premier receivers, and a late-round pick to the Arizona Cardinals for just a second-round pick and running back David Johnson.

Hopkins' departure means quarterback Deshaun Watson loses his most reliable weapon in the passing game. Johnson's arrival hardly upgrades the running attack, as he was an afterthought for the Cardinals last year.

Houston also lost defensive tackle D.J. Reader, who signed with the Cincinnati Bengals, and overpaid for veteran wide receiver Randall Cobb, giving him a three-year deal worth $27m.

Head coach Bill O'Brien's presence as the de-facto general manager looks more ludicrous by the day.

WINNER: Teddy Bridgewater

Bridgewater's career appeared in jeopardy when he suffered a gruesome knee injury prior to the start of the 2016 season.

However, after making an emotional return to the field for the Minnesota Vikings, he has revived his career with the New Orleans Saints – going 5-0 during Drew Brees' spell on the sideline last season – and his comeback story reached his peak when he received a reported three-year, $63m deal from the Carolina Panthers to be their starting quarterback.

Expectations will be low with the Panthers in rebuild mode under Matt Rhule. Bridgewater, though, still has arguably the league's best running back in Christian McCaffrey and worked with Carolina offensive coordinator Joe Brady in his time in New Orleans.

Don't be surprised if he lives up to a deal some believed was too rich for the former first-round pick.

LOSER: Nick Foles

The author of the most remarkable comeback story in recent league history will get another chance to earn a starting job after a short-lived spell with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

However, in being dealt to the Chicago Bears, Foles is not landing in a situation where he can succeed.

The Bears took a step back on both sides of the ball last year and on offense Foles will find limited options at the offensive skill positions beyond Allen Robinson.

Chicago overpaid a declining tight end in Jimmy Graham who is unlikely to help the Bears improve their production on offense.

Even if he eventually takes the quarterback job from Mitchell Trubisky, Foles will have an uphill battle to guide the Bears to supremacy in a division also featuring Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Kirk Cousins.

WINNER: Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys have not yet managed to reach a long-term deal with quarterback Dak Prescott, instead using the franchise tag on him, and lost cornerback Byron Jones, who signed with the Miami Dolphins.

Defensive tackle Maliek Collins and pass rusher Robert Quinn were further departures, but the Cowboys were able to sign wide receiver Amari Cooper to a lucrative five-year deal and replaced Collins with a superior player in Gerald McCoy. HaHa Clinton-Dix's signing gives the Cowboys a reliable starter at safety, too.

The Cowboys still have a strong roster with which to contend in the NFC, and they should be in the mix for years to come if they can eventually come to a more concrete arrangement with Prescott.

LOSER: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bucs' signing of Brady from the Patriots was unsurprisingly met with tremendous excitement from the Tampa Bay fanbase, while there have been reports of free agents showing desire to sign with them following the six-time Super Bowl-champion's arrival.

Yet it is debatable whether Brady will improve the Bucs' offense, which led the league in passing yardage with Jameis Winston at the helm but was undermined by the former first-overall pick's tendency to commit crushing turnovers.

The 42-year-old has the velocity to excel on the downfield throws that are a pivotal part of Bruce Arians' passing attack, but Brady lacks Winston's ability to escape pressure that helped mask the deficiencies of the Bucs' offensive line.

If Tampa Bay cannot improve up front, it could be a painful few years in Florida for Brady. For all the buzz around his signing, the Bucs would have been better served investing in a more mobile free-agent quarterback and looking to the draft for a long-term answer.

A day after Tom Brady's exit from the New England Patriots was confirmed, a deal was struck to send the last quarterback to defeat him in a Super Bowl to pastures new.

Brady is expected to be announced as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer after deciding to end his 20-season association with the Patriots.

However, his change of scenery is far from the only transaction affecting the NFL landscape. Here, we wrap up the significant moves reported to have been agreed as the new league year began on Wednesday.

 

Nick Foles, who got the better of Brady in Super Bowl LII, is reportedly headed to the Chicago Bears after the Jacksonville Jaguars agreed to trade him in exchange for a fourth-round pick.

The Jags are parting with Foles just a year after signing the former Philadelphia Eagle to a four-year, $88million contract. He will now provide competition for Mitchell Trubisky, whose role as the Bears' starter is under threat after a disappointing 2019.

Foles' departure allows Gardner Minshew to step in as the starter in Jacksonville. Sixth-round pick Minshew outplayed Foles, who was limited to four games because of injury, last year and will now get the chance to prove he is the Jaguars' franchise quarterback.

Brady's last game as a Patriot came in a playoff defeat to the Tennessee Titans, who made the surprising decision to deal defensive lineman Jurrell Casey to the Denver Broncos in exchange for a seventh-round pick. Casey has at least five sacks in each of the last seven seasons.

The Detroit Lions were also involved in the trade market, acquiring safety Duron Harmon from the Patriots. Detroit agreed to a two-year deal with defensive linemen Danny Shelton. Both players have a connection with Lions head coach Matt Patricia from his time as New England's defensive coordinator.

Another former Patriot, center Ted Karras, is staying in the division, signing a one-year deal with the Miami Dolphins.

The New Orleans Saints are said to have agreed a deal to bring back safety Malcolm Jenkins after he was let go by the Eagles. Jenkins was drafted by the Saints in 2009 before leaving for the Eagles in 2014.

Their NFC South rivals the Carolina Panthers released safety Eric Reid, while the Atlanta Falcons inked edge rusher Dante Fowler to a three-year contract.

Leonard Floyd will fill the void Fowler's exit left for the Los Angeles Rams, who have re-signed guard Austin Blythe and veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth.

Elsewhere in the NFC West, the Seattle Seahawks have brought back former first-round pick Bruce Irvin, the pass rusher who played a key role in their Super Bowl-winning 2013 season. Reigning NFC champions the San Francisco 49ers re-signed center Ben Garland to a one-year deal.

The Los Angeles Chargers may have missed out on Brady, but they have bolstered their defense with the signing of defensive tackle Linval Joseph. Cornerback Chris Harris also intends to sign with the Chargers.

Cornerback Eli Apple will play a part in the Raiders' first season in Las Vegas, while safety Sean Davis is headed to the Washington Redskins on a one-year deal.

Jimmy Graham has agreed a two-year deal with the Chicago Bears following his release from their NFC North rivals the Green Bay Packers.

According to widespread reports, Graham has struck a deal with the Bears that will pay him a total of $16million across the 2020 and 2021 seasons, with $9m guaranteed.

The 33-year-old gives the Bears another option at tight end, a position from which they struggled for production last season.

Graham spent two seasons with the Packers, not missing a game as he posted 100 receptions for 1,191 yards with five touchdowns in 34 outings, including two appearances in the playoffs.

The five-time Pro Bowler previously played for the New Orleans Saints and the Seattle Seahawks.

Graham got a headstart on free agency when he was released on Thursday with a year left on his deal with the Packers, who he will now face twice a year.

"The last two years have certainly been interesting! A lot of memories, friendships and humbling moments that I will carry with me into the next opportunity," Graham wrote on Twitter after his release.

"Thank you for the support during our exciting run this year toward that ever so elusive ring."

There was another Packers departure as linebacker Blake Martinez agreed a three-year, $30m deal with the New York Giants.

The Packers replaced him with Christian Kirksey while also bringing in offensive tackle Rick Wagner.

Danny Trevathan will not hit the open market after the Chicago Bears signed the linebacker to a three-year contract extension.

The Bears have confirmed Trevathan, 29, has signed fresh terms on a deal reportedly worth $21.75million, with $14m guaranteed.

Initially drafted by the Denver Broncos - with whom he won the Super Bowl - as a sixth-round pick in 2012, he has spent the past four years in Chicago.

"Bringing Danny back is a key re-signing for us," said Bears general manager Ryan Pace.

"Not only is he a great inside linebacker and great leader on our team, he is a big part of our culture. We are proud to have him under contract in Chicago for three more seasons."

Trevathan added: "You never know what's going to happen in free agency but luckily they brought to me a good offer and they took good care of me.

"I feel like it's something special when you have people having your back. It makes you want to work hard for the common goal, which is to get to the Super Bowl. My work here is not done."

Elsewhere, the New England Patriots have agreed to a two-year extension with special teams star Matthew Slater, who made his eighth Pro Bowl last year.

Deals are increasing in frequency as NFL teams finalise their plans ahead of the start of free agency on March 18.

Mitchell Trubisky avoided paying the price for an underwhelming NFL season after it was confirmed he will remain the Chicago Bears' starting quarterback in 2020.

But general manager Ryan Pace acknowledged, when announcing the decision, that Trubisky must show greater consistency going forward.

The 25-year-old was the second overall pick in the 2017 draft but has so far played only one postseason game, failing to make the playoffs this term.

Trubisky threw for 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions for the 8-8 Bears, who finished third in the NFC North despite their impressive defense.

The former North Carolina WB will get another opportunity in his fourth year, though, Pace told reporters on Tuesday.

"Yes, we do [feel confident with Trubisky]," Pace said. "With Mitch, we need more time in the coming months to evaluate things, but the first thing that comes to mind for me is just consistency.

"You see moments, you see games, but for him, it's [about] stringing together better consistency.

"You know with a young quarterback it's never going to be a straight line, be linear. There are going to be ups and downs."

However, Pace confirmed Chicago would look at the quarterback position in the offseason, with back-ups Chase Daniel and Tyler Bray soon to become free agents.

Trubisky is not the only man retaining the franchise's faith, as coach Matt Nagy will also continue to lead the Bears.

"We have extreme confidence in our head coach and the leader of our team in Matt Nagy," Pace said.

The GM appeared to suggest not all decisions would be so straightforward, however.

Pace began the news conference by saying: "We sit here today disappointed in our season. Obviously we expect more from ourselves, from our team. We didn't hit the goals we set out to achieve.

"The next four or five months are about hard decisions, decisions that require real honest assessment of our roster and our entire football operations."

The Kansas City Chiefs pipped the New England Patriots to a first-round bye in the NFL playoffs, while Mason Crosby's last-gasp field goal ensured the Green Bay Packers did not miss out.

With the Patriots suffering a surprise 27-24 loss to the Dolphins, a 31-21 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers saw the Chiefs snatch the number two seed in the AFC.

Unlike New England, the Packers were able to get the win they needed to head straight to the Divisional Round with a 23-20 comeback victory over the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.

The New Orleans Saints did enough to remain in contention for a first-round bye with a resounding 42-10 triumph over the Carolina Panthers, who saw Christian McCaffrey make history.

 

CHIEFS MAKE MOST OF PATS SHOCK

The Patriots looked to have staved off a potential upset against the Dolphins at Gillette Stadium when James White ran into the end zone on third and goal to give them their first lead with 3:53 remaining in the fourth quarter.

However, New England were unable to stop Ryan Fitzpatrick leading a 13-play drive that ended with a five-yard touchdown reception for Mike Gesicki with 24 seconds left.

Tom Brady, who went 16 of 29 for 221 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, moved beyond 4,000 yards in a season for the 11th time in his career and surpassed Peyton Manning for the second-most career touchdown passes in NFL history with his 540th, but was unable to conjure a miracle and help force overtime.

Defeat for the Patriots meant the Chiefs were able to deny them the final bye in the AFC.

After rookie Mecole Hardman's 104-yard kickoff return and an 84-yard rushing touchdown from Damien Williams for the Chiefs in their clash with the Chargers, Hunter Henry made it a three-point game. However, Williams' second score of the day locked up the win.

 

PACKERS MAKE SAINTS WAIT

Against the league's worst passing defense, Aaron Rodgers only had one completion for the Packers in a first quarter that saw his Lions opposite number David Blough take in a 19-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Danny Amendola.

The Packers trailed by 14 points at half-time but were level when Allen Lazard reeled in a 28-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers with just over five minutes remaining in the final period.

A tremendous play from Aaron Jones got Green Bay into field-goal range and Crosby did not let them down at the death, making his attempt from 33 yards.

That meant the Saints had to wait to find out their fate, with a loss for the San Francisco 49ers against the Seattle Seahawks required to send them through as the second seed behind the Packers.

Drew Brees (253 yards) was key to New Orleans' victory over the Panthers as he became just the fourth player with at least three touchdown passes and no interceptions in four consecutive games in a single NFL season.

 

MCCAFFREY'S RECORD HUNT

The Panthers may have been blown out by the Saints, but McCaffrey did enough for a slice of history.

The third-year tailback joined Roger Craig and Marshall Faulk as the only players in NFL history with 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in a single season.

McCaffrey finished the season with 2,392 scrimmage yards, the third-most in history and 117 shy of Chris Johnson's record.

 

WINSTON MAKES HISTORY

Jameis Winston's future is a source of great uncertainty and he did himself few favours against the Atlanta Falcons.

The fifth-year quarterback threw his 30th interception of the season in overtime for Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Deion Jones returned it for a game-winning touchdown.

It was the seventh pick six Winston has thrown this season – a new NFL record.

 

Week 17 scores:

New York Jets 13-6 Buffalo Bills
Cleveland Browns 23-33 Cincinnati Bengals
Green Bay Packers 23-20 Detroit Lions
Los Angeles Chargers 21-31 Kansas City Chiefs
Chicago Bears 21-19 Minnesota Vikings
Miami Dolphins 27-24 New England Patriots
Atlanta Falcons 28-22 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (OT)
New Orleans Saints 42-10 Carolina Panthers

The NFL regular season comes to a close this week, with plenty still on the line.

Defending Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots, need a win against the Miami Dolphins to lock up the second seed in the AFC playoffs, though they are guaranteed a spot in the postseason.

The Tennessee Titans' postseason hopes are in their own hands – a win against the Houston Texans will see them through. Meanwhile, a victory over the Seattle Seahawks for NFC West leaders the San Francisco 49ers will ensure their place in the playoffs as the top seed and give them home advantage throughout.

However, the 49ers know that if they slip up then Seattle will win the division and the Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints or Seahawks will take top spot in the conference.

The Philadelphia Eagles will clinch a playoff berth and the NFC East title if they win against the New York Giants. A shock defeat would give the Dallas Cowboys the opportunity to atone for last week's loss in Philadelphia and reach the postseason ahead of them by beating the Washington Redskins.

Using data from Stats Perform, we take a closer look at all the Week 17 fixtures.

SUNDAY (all times Eastern)

Chargers (5-10) at Chiefs (11-4) 1pm

- The Chiefs have won 10 of the last 11 meetings with the Chargers, but the last time these teams met at Arrowhead Stadium, 2018 Week 15, the Los Angeles triumphed 29-28.

- With Keenan Allen at 1,117 receiving yards and Mike Williams (963) and Austin Ekeler (950) within striking distance of 1000 receiving yards, the Chargers have a realistic chance of becoming the sixth team in NFL history with three players with 1,000+ yards receiving.

- The Chargers have already suffered their third 10+ loss season in the last five years, after going 11 seasons (from 2004-14) without a single 10-loss season.

 

Bears (7-8) at Vikings (10-5) 1pm

- The Bears have won three successive games against the Vikings, their longest streak since winning six straight over Minnesota from 2009-12.

- Entering 2019, Kirk Cousins had four straight seasons of at least 4000 passing yards, trailing only Matt Ryan and Philip Rivers for the longest active streaks in the NFL. Cousins needs 397 passing yards for a 4000-yard season in 2019, something he's never done in a home game in his career.

- Minnesota's 139 total net yards against the Packers last week were the fourth-fewest by any team in any game this season – only the Jets (twice) and Broncos have had fewer.

 

Jets (6-9) at Bills (10-5) 1pm

- Josh Allen has accounted for 29 total touchdowns this season (20 passing, nine rushing). Jim Kelly in 1991 is the only Buffalo player ever to account for at least 30 total touchdowns in a season (33 passing, one rushing).

- The Bills are 5-2 at home versus the Jets since 2012, with a +81 point differential over these seven games.

- The Jets have the second-fewest rushing yards in the NFL and have allowed the second-fewest rushing yards. They would be the first team since the 1954 Eagles to rank bottom two and top two in rushing yards and opponent rushing yards, respectively.

 

Saints (12-3) at Panthers (5-10) 1pm

- The Saints defeated the Panthers at home in Week 12. New Orleans have also won the last two meetings in Carolina.

- New Orleans have never had back-to-back 13+ win seasons and the 25 wins over the past two seasons are already the most by the Saints in a two-season span all-time.

- Having won the division title for the third straight season, the Saints have tied the longest NFC South title streak that was set by the Panthers from 2013 to 2015.

 

Browns (6-9) at Bengals (1-14) 1pm

- The Browns' home win over the Bengals in Week 14 was a third straight win over their in-state rivals. Cleveland have not managed four consecutive wins over Cincinnati since a seven-game streak from 1992 to 1995.

- Cleveland were eliminated from playoff contention with a loss to the Ravens. Their streak of 17 seasons without a playoff berth is tied for the fifth-longest in NFL history.

- The Bengals locked up the first pick in the 2020 NFL draft after a 38-35 overtime loss to the Dolphins in Miami last week. Cincinnati has drafted first overall three times in its history, taking defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson in 1994, running back Ki-Jana Carter in 1995 and quarterback Carson Palmer in 2003.

 

Packers (12-3) at Lions (3-11-1) 1pm

- The Packers clinched the division title with their win over the Vikings in Week 16. Green Bay has won the NFC North title six times this decade, the most division titles by any NFC team.

- Davante Adams hauled in 13 receptions for 116 yards in that triumph, bringing his career receiving yards to 5,101.

- Green Bay holds a 99-72-7 advantage in the all-time series against the Lions and could become the third franchise to win 100 games against another franchise.

 

Dolphins (4-11) at Patriots (12-3) 1pm

- New England will be trying to earn a first-round bye for the 10th consecutive season. Since the playoffs expanded to 12 teams in 1990, no other team has earned a first-round bye in more than four straight seasons.

- Tom Brady has 3,836 passing yards this season. If he can reach 4,000 passing yards, it would be the third time he has thrown for 4,000 yards in a season at age 40 or older.

- Ryan Fitzpatrick leads the Dolphins with 228 rushing yards this season. No team has finished a 16-game season without a player having at least 300 rushing yards.

 

Falcons (6-9) at Buccaneers (7-8) 1pm

- Since 2015, the Falcons and Buccaneers have combined for 55.1 points per game against one another, the highest-scoring matchup between divisional opponents in the NFL.

- The Buccaneers rank third in the NFL in points (436) and third-worst in the NFL in points allowed (421).

- The Falcons have 19 touchdowns in the fourth quarter, tied with the Titans for most in the NFL.

 

Cardinals (5-9-1) at Rams (8-7) 4:25pm

- The Rams won 34-7 when these teams met in Week 13 and have outscored the Cardinals 164-32 during their five-game winning streak against Arizona.

- Tyler Higbee had his first career game with at least 100 receiving yards in Week 13 against Arizona, and has now had at least 100 yards in each of the three games since.

- Arizona beat the Seahawks 27-13 in Week 16, their second straight win following six consecutive losses. Both wins came by 14 points – the first time they have won back-to-back games by at least 14 since December 2015.

 

Raiders (7-8) at Broncos (6-9) 4:25pm

- The Broncos have won six of the last seven home games against the Raiders.

- Oakland has gone 17 straight seasons without winning the AFC West, tied for the fourth-longest streak not winning their division.

- The Broncos will finish with a losing record for the third consecutive season, the second-longest streak of losing seasons in franchise history (10 straight from 1963-1972).

 

Redskins (3-12) at Dallas Cowboys (7-8) 4:25pm

- The Cowboys have won six of their last seven over the Redskins, including three straight in Dallas.

- Last week, the Redskins became the third team in the NFL this season to allow 300+ passing yards and 200+ rushing yards in a game.

- Dallas have had at least 400 total net yards in all seven home games. No team since at least 1950 has had eight home games with 400+ total net yards in a season.

 

Titans (8-7) at Texans (10-5) 4:25pm

- Following their 24-21 win at Tennessee two weeks ago, the Texans look to secure the first season sweep by either team since 2015, and to square the all-time series at 18 wins each.

- The Texans clinched their second straight AFC South title with a 23-20 win at Tampa Bay – Houston's fifth victory this season by three points or fewer.

- Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson did not throw a touchdown pass last week; his season total sits at 26, matching the number he threw one season ago.

 

Steelers (8-7) at Ravens (13-2) 4:25pm

- Since John Harbaugh became head coach in 2008, the Ravens are 12-11 against the Steelers, and 14 of the 23 meetings have been decided by three points or fewer.

- Pittsburgh has lost back-to-back games after winning seven of its previous eight games. The Steelers have failed to score a fourth-quarter touchdown in eight straight games.

- The Ravens have clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, and they have tied a franchise record with 13 wins.

 

Colts (7-8) at Jaguars (5-10) 4:25pm

- Jacksonville have won four straight home games against Indianapolis, tied for its third-longest home winning streak against any opponent in the team's history.

- The Jaguars lead the NFL with a 96.8 field-goal percentage this season (30-for-31), all attempted by Josh Lambo.

- Chris Conley had 56 receiving yards and a touchdown catch in Jacksonville's Week 16 loss to the Falcons, his third touchdown reception in the last two games.

 

Eagles (8-7) at Giants (4-11) 4:25pm

- The Eagles got a 23-17 overtime win at home when these teams met in Week 14, their sixth straight win over the Giants and 10th in the last 11.

- Philadelphia has converted 57.1 percent of its red zone third downs this season, the highest mark in the league.

- The Eagles' six-game winning streak is tied for their second-longest all-time against New York – they won 12 straight between 1975 and 1981.


49ers (12-3) at Seahawks (11-4) 8:20pm

- Seattle got a 27-24 overtime win in San Francisco when these teams met in Week 10. Including their win in the 2014 NFC Championship Game, the Seahawks have won 13 of their last 15 games against the 49ers.

- Indeed, San Francisco have not won in Seattle since Week 16 in 2011.

- The 49ers beat the Rams on Saturday, reaching 12 wins for the first time since 2013. With another victory, they will clinch the NFC's top seed for the first time since 1997.

The Philadelphia Eagles denied the Dallas Cowboys the NFC East title as they boosted their postseason chances, while the Seattle Seahawks endured a forgettable outing against the Arizona Cardinals.

Philadelphia used a 17-9 victory over NFL rivals the Cowboys on Sunday to take a big step towards the playoffs.

The injury-hit Seahawks were left licking their wounds after a damaging 27-13 defeat to the Cardinals in Seattle in the race for the number one seed in the NFC.

 

EAGLES FLYING TOWARDS PLAYOFFS

The Eagles are one game away from a trip to the playoffs after topping the Cowboys in Philadelphia.

Sidney Jones sealed a vital win when he broke up Dak Prescott's fourth-down pass to wide receiver Michael Gallup with just over a minute remaining.

A victory would have sealed back-to-back NFC East titles for the Cowboys (7-8), instead the Eagles (8-7) are in the box seat heading into their final regular-season game against the New York Giants.

"You can see the sense of belief that each of these guys have," said Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, who was 31 of 40 for 319 yards and a touchdown as his team celebrated a third straight win.

Cowboys QB Prescott – who carried a shoulder issue into the contest – was 25 of 44 for 265 yards, with Dallas needing to beat the Washington Redskins and hope the Eagles lose.

 

SEAHAWKS' TOP SEED HOPES FADE AS INJURIES MOUNT

Already playoff bound, the Seahawks' hopes of clinching the top seed in the NFC potentially vanished after going down to the Cardinals.

The Seahawks dropped to 11-4 for the season, behind leaders the San Francisco 49ers (12-3), New Orleans Saints (12-3) and Green Bay Packers (11-3).

Seattle, who entered the week as the top seed, can seal the NFC West with victory over the 49ers. But they are set to be without running back Chris Carson (hip) and backup C.J. Prosise (broken arm), for the rest of the season.

Kenyan Drake led the Cardinals, rushing for 166 yards and two touchdowns, while Kyler Murray left in the third quarter due to a hamstring injury.

 

MAHOMES PUTS ON A SHOW

Reigning MVP and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes inspired a 26-3 rout of the Chicago Bears with three scores on the road.

Mahomes – who was 23 of 33 for 251 yards – threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as the Chiefs (11-4) stayed in contention for a first-round playoff bye. He also became the first player in NFL history to record 9,000 passing yards and 75 passing touchdowns in his first 30 games.

The streaking Chiefs, coming off a fifth consecutive win, are a game behind the New England Patriots for the AFC's second seed.

Elsewhere, the Oakland Raiders kept their postseason hopes alive by trumping the Los Angeles Chargers 24-17, while the Detroit Lions fell to an eighth consecutive defeat after losing 27-17 to the Denver Broncos.

 

HARBAUGH REVELS IN RAVENS SUCCESS

The Baltimore Ravens clinched the top seed in the AFC playoffs for the first time thanks to an 11th successive win – a 31-15 victory over the Cleveland Browns.

"It feels good," Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said after locking up homefield advantage.

"The players deserve a tremendous amount of credit for it. It's hard to win any game in the NFL. When you put together this kind of season, it's quite an accomplishment."

 

Week 16 scores:

Atlanta Falcons 24-12 Jacksonville Jaguars
Baltimore Ravens 31-15 Cleveland Browns
Indianapolis Colts 38-6 Carolina Panthers
Miami Dolphins 38-35 Cincinnati Bengals (OT)
New York Jets 16-10 Pittsburgh Steelers
New Orleans Saints 38-28 Tennessee Titans
New York Giants 41-35 Washington Redskins (OT)
Denver Broncos 27-17 Detroit Lions
Oakland Raiders 24-17 Los Angeles Chargers
Philadelphia Eagles 17-9 Dallas Cowboys
Arizona Cardinals 27-13 Seattle Seahawks
Kansas City Chiefs 26-3 Chicago Bears

The Houston Texans can seal the AFC South title with a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday before the New Orleans Saints face a huge battle with the Tennessee Titans in the penultimate week of the regular season.

Houston won a crunch clash with the Titans last weekend to give themselves the edge in the division and could get the job done this weekend, with another showdown against Tennessee to come in Week 17.

The Titans host NFC South winners the Saints on Sunday, while the New England Patriots and the San Francisco 49ers have home advantage in the other two Saturday encounters.

Using data from Stats Perform, we take a closer look at all the Week 16 fixtures.

 


SATURDAY (all times Eastern)

Texans (9-5) at Buccaneers (7-7) 1pm

- The Texans have won all three meetings with the Buccaneers since losing the first one in 2003. Tampa Bay have averaged just 12.0 points in those matchups – the lowest all-time average against any opponent other than the Patriots (11.9).

- Houston need four touchdowns to tie the single-season franchise record of 46, set in 2009 and matched in 2012. 

- The Bucs are looking to match their longest winning streak of the past 15 years – a five-game run in 2016. They have scored at least 28 points in every game during the current winning sequence.

 

Bills (10-4) at Patriots (11-3) 4:30pm

- Of teams to square off at least 10 times since 2000, the Patriots-Bills series is the most lopsided in the NFL, with New England owning a 34-5 record.

- The Patriots are seeking a 13th season with a least 12 wins, which would tie Dallas and San Francisco for the most in NFL history.

- Josh Allen needs 50 passing yards to reach 5000 for his career in what would be his 27th NFL game. He would join Robert Griffin III (22) and Cam Newton (23) as the only players to reach that mark and 1000 rushing yards in fewer than 30 games.

 

Rams (8-6) at 49ers (11-3) 8:15pm

- The Rams have won their last two matches in San Francisco, totalling 80 points, after going 2-9-1 in their previous 12 visits and scoring no more than 25 points in any of them.

- The 49ers have allowed more than 20 points in five of their last seven games after not doing so once through their first seven outings of the season. 

- Jared Goff is two passing yards shy of becoming the first Rams quarterback to throw for 4000 yards in back-to-back seasons. 

 

SUNDAY

Bengals (1-13) at Dolphins (3-11) 1pm

- Miami are 15-7 all-time against Cincinnati, including 6-2 at home. Cincinnati could tie a franchise record of 14 losses, which they also suffered in 2002.

- The Dolphins have not scored a touchdown in any of their last eight red-zone drives – only the Redskins (10) have had a longer streak this season.

- Cincinnati have failed to score a touchdown in the second half of seven consecutive games. The last team to have a longer such run was also the Bengals, in eight straight spanning the 1999-00 seasons. 

 

Steelers (8-6) at Jets (5-9) 1pm

- The Steelers are 20-5 (.800) against the Jets all-time, tied for the best winning percentage between any current franchises that have played at least 20 times. 

- The Jets allowed a season-high 42 points in last week's loss at Baltimore and were undone by five touchdown passes for only the second time in the last 30 years.

- Devlin Hodges is on pace to have the highest completion percentage by a rookie all-time at 67.8 percent (minimum 100 attempts), but 28.8 per cent of his completions have been behind the line of scrimmage. 

 

Giants (3-11) at Redskins (3-11) 1pm

- The Giants are 9-4 in their last 13 games in Washington, dating back to the 2006 season. They have scored at least 17 points in all nine of their wins, and 16 or fewer in each of their four losses. 

- New York beat the Dolphins 36-20 at home last week, snapping a nine-game losing streak, which was the longest in franchise history.

- The Redskins went down 37-27 to the Eagles on Sunday, the most points they have allowed this season. 

 

Panthers (5-9) at Colts (6-8) 1pm

- The Panthers are 5-1 all-time versus the Colts and Carolina have never lost at Indianapolis (3-0). All five of Carolina's victories have come by eight points or fewer, including two in overtime.

- The Colts were 5-2 after seven games, but have lost six of their last seven. Indianapolis have lost four straight games and have allowed 31 or more points in each of the last three.

- Indianapolis have allowed an NFL-high 34.3 points per game this month, while the Panthers have conceded 33.0 points per game, third-most in the competition.

 

Ravens (12-2) at Browns (6-8) 1pm

- The Ravens' last loss came at the hands of the Browns, a 40-25 defeat in Week 4. Cleveland have not swept Baltimore in a season, or won consecutive games against the Ravens, since 2007.

- Baltimore's 10-game winning streak is the longest in the team's history; no team has won 11 straight games in a single season since the 2016 Cowboys.

- The Browns have won four consecutive home games for the first time since they won seven in succession in 2007.

 

Jaguars (5-9) at Falcons (5-9) 1pm

- This will be just the seventh meeting between the Jaguars and Falcons, with both winning three so far. The Jaguars have lost in their last two visits to Atlanta, winning in Georgia only once in 1999.

- Jacksonville snapped a five-game losing streak with a 20-16 win last week in the Raiders' final home game in Oakland. The Jaguars have scored 20 points or fewer in six consecutive games, the longest ongoing streak in the NFL.

- The Jaguars have not turned the ball over or forced a turnover in their last two games. No NFL team in the Super Bowl era have done this in three consecutive games.

 

Saints (11-3) at Titans (8-6) 1pm

- The Titans have won five of their last six games against the Saints, including a 34-28 overtime win in their most recent meeting in Week 9 of 2015.

- The Saints defeated the Colts 34-7 at home on Monday. That was New Orleans' ninth game scoring 30 or more points this season, which is tied for the third-most 30-point games in a season in team history and one short of their single-season high (2011 and 2018).

- Since Week 10, the Titans are scoring 34.2 per game, the second-highest average in the NFL. Over that same period, the Saints are averaging 30.5 points per game.

 

Raiders (6-8) at Chargers (5-9) 4:05pm

- Either the Chargers or Raiders have swept the season series between these teams in every campaign since 2014. The Raiders won the first meeting this year.

- The Chargers have scored at least 10 points in 65 straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL and the second-longest in franchise history (98 straight from 2006-12).

- Philip Rivers has thrown a TD pass in 24 consecutive games against the Raiders, tied for the second-longest run all-time against a single opponent behind Brett Favre's 26 versus the Bears.

 

Lions (3-10) at Broncos (5-9) 4:05pm

- The Lions have lost seven in a row after starting the season 3-3-1. Detroit have had seven seven-game losing streaks since 2000.

- Danny Amendola had eight catches for 102 yards in the Lions' loss to the Bucs last time out. It was his third 100-yard receiving game of the season, the most he has had in a campaign since matching that feat in 2013.

- Courtland Sutton surpassed 1000 receiving yards for the season in a Week 15 loss to the Chiefs. He is the first Broncos player with 1000-plus receiving yards in a season since 2016.

 

Cardinals (4-9) at Seahawks (11-3) 4:25pm

- Seattle have won three in a row versus Arizona. The Seahawks have only won four on the bounce against the Cardinals once, a streak that spanned from 2004 to 2006.

- The Cardinals beat the Browns 38-24 last week, snapping a six-game losing streak. It was their first victory by more than six points this season.

- Kenyan Drake ran for 137 yards on 22 carries against Cleveland, scoring four rushing touchdowns in Arizona's win. He became the fourth player in franchise history to score at least four rushing touchdowns in a game and the first since Ronald Moore in 1993.

 

Cowboys (7-7) at Eagles (7-7) 4:25pm

- Dallas have won four straight games against Philadelphia, its longest streak versus the Eagles since a six-game winning run that stretched from November 1992 to November 1995. 

- Carson Wentz was 11-for-11 in the fourth quarter in a defeat of the Redskins last week, just the second time in his career he's had a perfect quarter with at least 10 attempts.

- The Cowboys defense have allowed just 10 broken tackles this season, tied with Tennessee for second fewest in the league behind Washington (nine).

 

Chiefs (10-4) at Bears (7-7) 8:20pm

- These teams last met in Week 5, 2015, when the Bears trailed 17-6 late in the game but scored two touchdowns in the final 3:05 to win 18-17.

- The Chiefs beat the Broncos 23-3 at home last week, their fourth consecutive win. They have conceded 17 or fewer points in each of those four games.

- Kansas City are averaging 6.4 yards per first down this season, third most in the league – only San Francisco and New Orleans (6.5 each) have averaged more. 

 

MONDAY

Packers (11-3) at Vikings (10-4) 8:15pm

- The Vikings have won the last three contests played in Minneapolis and hold a 29-28 lead in home contests against Green Bay.

- The Packers were 21-13 winners at home to the Bears last week, improving their record against NFC North teams to 4-0 this season. Green Bay have not gone undefeated against all division rivals since 2011.

- Aaron Jones had two more rushing touchdowns against the Bears, giving him 17 scrimmage TDs this season. That is the third-most scrimmage touchdowns in a single season by a Packers running back behind Ahman Green in 2003 (20) and Jim Taylor in 1962 (19).

It is advantage the Houston Texans in the AFC South after they held on for a 24-21 win over the Tennessee Titans, while the New England Patriots sealed a playoff spot with victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. 

The Texans and the Titans were locked at 8-5 before doing battle in Week 15 on Sunday, but Houston now have the edge with two rounds of the regular season remaining.

New England responded to back-to-back defeats with a 34-13 success over the Bengals, while the Seattle Seahawks stood on the brink of joining the reigning Super Bowl champions in the postseason following a 30-24 win over the Carolina Panthers.

NFC North leaders the Green Bay Packers were also poised to seal a playoff spot after Aaron Jones scored two touchdowns in a 21-13 defeat of the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field.

Travis Kelce became the first tight end in NFL history to record 1,000 receiving yards in four consecutive seasons as the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Denver Broncos 23-3 in the snow.

Eli Manning guided the New York Giants past the Miami Dolphins, throwing 20-of-28 for 283 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.

Meanwhile, it was a mixed day for Adrian Peterson, another veteran, who tied Walter Payton for the fourth-most rushing touchdowns (110) in NFL history as the Washington Redskins' loss at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles.


TEXANS HALT TITANS RUN IN BLOCKBUSTER SHOWDOWN

Tennessee had won four in a row to join the Texans at the summit of the AFC South, but they were beaten in their own backyard in a titanic battle.

Deshaun Watson threw two touchdown passes for Kenny Stills in the second quarter to give Houston a 14-0 halftime advantage.

But Ryan Tannehill went in for a touchdown on a fourth-and-goal play in the third quarter and then picked out AJ Brown for another to level it up.

Ka'imi Fairbairn's 29-yard field goal with just over three minutes to go ultimately proved the difference after a TD from Carlos Hyde, with the response from Dion Lewis not enough.
 

NORMAL SERVICE RESUMED AS BELICHICK BREAKS ANOTHER RECORD

The Patriots were reeling from defeats to the Texans and the Chiefs, but normal service was resumed as they marched into the playoffs yet again.

Head coach Bill Belichick can add another unprecedented achievement to his list, with his record of masterminding 11 consecutive postseason spots taking him beyond a tally he shared with Tony Dungy.

Tom Brady threw for a season-low 128 yards but laid on two scores in an emphatic victory against the 1-13 Bengals, with the Patriots now 11-3.
 

PACKERS SWEEP BEARS

The Packers beat the Bears again in the 200th meeting between the old rivals. 

Green Bay started the season by defeating Chicago, and they pulled off a repeat to go 11-3 at the top of the NFC North.

Two rushing TDs from Jones in the third quarter left the Bears with a mountain to climb and, although they fought all the way, with Anthony Miller scoring in the final quarter, Chicago fell short and are now 7-7.
 

Week 15 scores:

New England Patriots 34-13 Cincinnati Bengals
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38-17 Detroit Lions
Houston Texans 24-21 Tennessee Titans
Denver Broncos 3-23 Kansas City Chiefs
Miami Dolphins 20-36 New York Giants
Philadelphia Eagles 37-27 Washington Redskins
Seattle Seahawks 30-24 Carolina Panthers
Chicago Bears 13-21 Green Bay Packers

The Tennessee Titans take on AFC South rivals the Houston Texans in the stand-out match of the NFL schedule in Week 15.

With both teams holding an 8-5 record, there are huge playoff implications to Sunday's meeting with just three matches left of the regular season.

But that is far from the only game to keep an eye on in the coming days, with the under-pressure Dallas Cowboys hosting the Los Angeles Rams and the Buffalo Bills on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The New England Patriots are also looking to bounce back after suffering back-to-back defeats when they play the Cincinnati Bengals.

Using data from Stats Perform, we take a closer look at all the Week 15 fixtures.

 

Linebacker Roquan Smith's season is over due to a pectoral injury suffered in the first quarter of the Chicago Bears' win over the Dallas Cowboys.

The Bears feared the worst in the aftermath of Thursday's clash and on Monday coach Matt Nagy confirmed Smith's campaign had come to a premature halt.

Smith, who is set to undergo surgery, has been placed on injured reserve and will miss the Bears' final three games.

Nagy's team have won three in a row to remain in the hunt for a playoff spot in the NFC, but the coach conceded after the win over the Cowboys that losing Smith would constitute a "big loss".

Smith had arguably the best game of his career in Week 13, having contributed 16 tackles and two sacks in the Thanksgiving win over the Detroit Lions.

The Chicago Bears are fearful linebacker Roquan Smith's pectoral injury may be serious.

Smith, the eighth overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, left Chicago's 31-24 win over the Dallas Cowboys in the first quarter after trying, unsuccessfully, to stop Ezekiel Elliott scoring a touchdown.

It was the Bears' third straight victory, keeping them in the mix for a playoff berth in the NFC, but head coach Matt Nagy hinted Smith could be missing for his team's final three games.

The linebacker had arguably the best game of his career in Week 13, having contributed 16 tackles and two sacks in the Thanksgiving win over the Detroit Lions.

"He has a pec[toral injury]. We'll get more details here in the next couple of days," Nagy told reporters.

"It doesn't look real good for him.

"It could be a big loss. The way that Roquan has been playing the last couple of weeks, flying around, making plays, you just love that confidence that he's bringing to the defense.

"The depth that Ryan [Pace, Bears general manager] and his guys have created on this roster allows someone like Kevin Pierre-Louis to step up and make plays. You feel bad for Roquan but we know we have guys that can fill in."

The Bears season appeared to be heading south when they were beaten by the Los Angeles Rams in mid-November to drop to 4-6.

However, much-maligned quarterback Mitchell Trubisky's recent good form has helped to turn their campaign around, with the 25-year-old throwing six touchdowns and just two interceptions over the past two weeks.

"Right now, the identity between the defense and offense, it doesn't feel like one of those deals where if we don't hold them to under 14 points, we don't have a chance to win," Nagy added.

"We feel like we're finally, in all three phases, working together.

"When you have that, you know going into most games you're going to have a chance to win."

Mitchell Trubisky led the way as the Chicago Bears boosted their NFL playoff hopes with a 31-24 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

Bears quarterback Trubisky had four total touchdowns to help Chicago (7-6) to a third consecutive win on Thursday.

Trubisky – who finished 23 of 31 for 244 yards – threw three TD passes, while he also rushed for one against the slumping Cowboys in Chicago.

After being held scoreless in the second and third quarters, the Cowboys (6-7) rallied to outscore the Bears 17-7 in the final period.

However, the Bears held on to see off the Cowboys at Soldier Field and heap further pressure on under-fire head coach Jason Garrett following a third straight loss.

The Cowboys struck first on the road – running back Ezekiel Elliott rushing for a two-yard touchdown with six minutes remaining in the opening quarter for a 7-0 lead.

That was as good as it got for the Cowboys, with the Bears taking control courtesy of Trubisky's arm.

Trubisky connected with Allen Robinson on a five-yard touchdown pass to level the game at 7-7, after the Bears QB had highlighted the drive by throwing a 30-yard pass to JP Holtz.

The Bears settled for a 36-yard field goal, which Eddy Pineiro converted, before they moved 17-7 ahead thanks to Trubisky's pass to Robinson with 10 seconds remaining in the half.

That lead stretched out to 24-7 in the third quarter when a 14-yard touchdown pass from Trubisky found Anthony Miller, though Elliott's two-yard TD run reduced the deficit with 15 minutes remaining.

But Trubisky dashed the Cowboys' hopes after he ran for a 23-yard TD of his own to give the Bears a 31-14 advantage, with Dak Prescott's touchdown pass to Amari Cooper not enough for Dallas.

Cowboys quarterback Prescott was 27 of 49 for 334 yards and a touchdown.

The Buffalo Bills against Lamar Jackson's Baltimore Ravens is the stand-out match-up of the Week 14 NFL schedule.

Orchard Park plays host as the Ravens chase a ninth straight win, having moved to top spot in the AFC last week.

But that is far from the only game to keep an eye on in the coming days, with the New Orleans Saints and the San Francisco 49ers meeting, while the New England Patriots take on the Kansas City Chiefs.

As division rivals the Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks also face one another, there is plenty to look forward to.

Using data from Stats Perform, we take a closer look at all the Week 14 fixtures.

 

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