Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been crowned the NFL's MVP for a third time.

Rodgers was honoured during Saturday's awards – on the eve of Super Bowl LV between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers – as he added to his 2011 and 2014 MVPs.

The 37-year-old is now level with Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, Packers great Brett Favre, Johnny Unitas and Jim Brown with three Most Valuable Player honours – only Peyton Manning (five) has more in NFL history.

The Packers fell short in the NFC Conference Game, beaten by Super Bowl finalists the Buccaneers, but Rodgers still enjoyed a memorable campaign.

Packers star Rodgers amassed 48 touchdowns, five interceptions and a completion rate of 70.7 per cent this season.

His quarterback rating of 121.5 puts him second on the all-time list among qualifiers, behind only his 2011 campaign (122.5).

In total, Rodgers completed 372 of 526 attempts for 4,299 yards as the Packers topped the NFC North with a 13-3 record to clinch home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs for the first time since 2011.

Rodgers – a Super Bowl champion during the 2010 season – featured in his first NFC title decider at Lambeau Field, but the Packers fell to Brady's Buccaneers 31-26.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles Rams star Aaron Donald won the Defensive Player of the Year for a third time.

Pittsburgh Steelers pass rusher T.J. Watt had been tipped to win the award, but Donald maintained his dominance, having also reigned supreme in 2017 and 2018.

Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski claimed the Coach of the Year award after leading the franchise to their first postseason victory in 25 years.

Not since the 1994 season had the Browns won a playoff matchup, until upstaging the Steelers before losing to the Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Round.

 

List of NFL Honors

Rookie of the Year: Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin Herbert
Defensive Player of the Year: Los Angeles Rams DL Aaron Donald
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin Herbert
Offensive Player of the Year: Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Washington DE Chase Young
Comeback Player of the Year: Washington QB Alex Smith
Coach of the Year: Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski
Most Valuable Player: Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers

The NFL crowned its two top rookies on Saturday as Chase Young and Justin Herbert claimed deserved recognition for stunning first years in the league. 

Defensive Rookie of the Year Young, the second overall pick in the 2020 draft, had long since been the frontrunner for that award.

His case was helped substantially by the pivotal role he played in propelling the Washington Football Team to an unlikely playoff berth as part of a fearsome defensive front.

Herbert was not given the chance to test himself in the playoffs as the Los Angeles Chargers' mystifying tendency for throwing away leads condemned them to another losing season.

But the Chargers can afford to be confident that better days are ahead, Herbert looked every inch a franchise quarterback as he subverted pre-draft expectations that were not as high as those placed on former Heisman Trophy finalist Young.

Both Young and Herbert look poised to have a defining impact on the NFL over the course of the 2020s and here, using Stats Perform data, we look back on their magnificent maiden years.

Chase Young

Just like his fellow former Ohio State edge rusher Nick Bosa, drafted second overall by the San Francisco 49ers in 2019, Young emphatically lived up to his draft status, becoming the fourth ex-Buckeye to win Defensive Rookie of the Year in the last five seasons (DE Joey Bosa, 2016; CB Marshon Lattimore, 2017; DE Nick Bosa, 2019).

He did so through making the lives of opposing offensive linemen miserable, leading rookies in every metric that measures pass rush.

Young's 7.5 sacks were first among all rookies, while he also led the way hurries (37), knockdowns (12.5), quarterback hits (12) and total pressures (55).

Similarly dominant against the run, Young was first among all rookies with 10 tackles for loss and six stuffs, his performance in the latter category putting him tied-13th among all defenders.

He demonstrated a nose for the football, his four forced fumbles tied third in the NFL. Three of those resulted in turnovers, with only Myles Garrett (4) performing better in that regard.

Young's game-wrecking rookie year proved his pre-draft billing was well deserved and, in the eyes of many, vindicated taking him ahead of the other quarterbacks not named Joe Burrow.

However, the success of the Chargers' gamble on a quarterback seen as a level below Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa raises the question of whether Washington would have been better served taking a chance on Herbert.

Justin Herbert

After making his first start in Week 2 amid unusual circumstances, Herbert's rookie season was one defined by him setting rookie records.

Herbert is the only quarterback in NFL history to throw for 4,000 yards in a season having not played the opener, Week 1 starter Tyrod Taylor sidelined after a team doctor accidentally punctured his lung while administering a painkilling injection.

His 4,336 passing yards rank second all-time among rookie quarterbacks behind Andrew Luck, who racked up 4,374 with the Indianapolis Colts in 2012.

With his completion percentage of 66.6 trailing only Dak Prescott's 67.8 in 2016, Herbert set all-time leading marks for rookie quarterbacks in completions (396), passing yards per game (289.1), passing touchdowns (31) and 300-yard games, of which he recorded eight.

Just three players - Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson and Tom Brady - finished with a higher yards per game average in the regular season in 2020.

Herbert's name already being in such elite company indicates he is primed to make the leap to the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks, provided Los Angeles can build an ecosystem to make the most of his undoubted gifts, and it unquestionably makes him worthy of being the first Charger to win Offensive Rookie of the Year since Don Woods in 1974.

Few anticipated Herbert outperforming both Burrow and Tagovailoa in his rookie season. While Young's incredible first year is an endorsement for betting on freakish athleticism on defense, Herbert's record-setting start to what the Chargers hope will be a storied career serves as further evidence of the significantly more imposing challenge that comes with evaluating quarterbacks.

The Los Angeles Chargers have hired Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley as head coach. 

Staley succeeds Anthony Lynn after the Chargers endured an underwhelming 2020 season, finishing 7-9 despite four consecutive wins to conclude the campaign. 

It was a second successive losing season for the Chargers, underlining the task facing Staley. 

But president of football operations John Spanos is confident the 38-year-old is the right man for the job.

"It doesn't matter if you've known Brandon for five minutes or five years, what quickly becomes apparent is the amount of energy and passion he approaches each and every moment with," Spanos told the franchise's official website. 

"The consistency of that enthusiasm is unique and, most importantly, it drives his ability to connect with people. 

"His coaching journey to this particular moment is inspiring; if not for the sheer perseverance and determination of it all, then certainly for the dramatic results it has produced for the teams and players he has coached." 

Staley impressed as a coordinator in 2020, his maiden year with the Rams, as the team enjoyed its best defensive season since 1975, conceding just 9.6 points and 237.3 yards per game. 

He is now looking forward to leading the Chargers, describing the opportunity as "a dream come true". 

"It's hard to put into words just how excited I am for the opportunity to be the Los Angeles Chargers' head coach," he said. 

"While this is certainly a dream come true, it's also a dream that's just beginning. There's a reason this was probably the most sought after job out there – from ownership, to the fans, to the city, to the men in that locker room – it's the total package."

The Los Angeles Chargers have fired Anthony Lynn after four seasons as head coach of the franchise.

Lynn departs the day after the Chargers wrapped up the 2020 regular season by beating the understrength Kansas City Chiefs in Week 17, the team's fourth successive win to finish the campaign.

However, a 7-9 record - making it a second successive losing season - has led to owner Dean Spanos deciding to make a change, as he admitted in a statement that results had "fallen short of expectations" in the previous two years.

Lynn was 34-32 overall during his tenure. The Chargers went 12-4 in 2018 and knocked out the Baltimore Ravens in the postseason before losing to eventual Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots.

"This morning I informed Anthony Lynn that we have made the decision to part ways with him as our head coach," Spanos said on Monday.

"I'm not sure there is another person in this league more respected as a human being than Anthony, and I want to sincerely express my deepest gratitude for his leadership during a time of great change for our organisation.

"As we all know, this is a results-driven business and, simply put, the results of the past two years have fallen short of expectations.

"Moving forward, we will redouble our efforts to both build and maintain a championship-calibre program. We have been innovative in many facets of our organisation in recent years, and we need to carry that over to our entire operation.

"Our fans need to know that the Los Angeles Chargers are committed to consistent, winning football. The search for a new head coach will begin immediately."

The Chargers could be an attractive vacancy too, considering the presence of quarterback Justin Herbert on the roster.

The rookie threw for 4,336 yards, 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 15 games, having been thrust into the starting role in Week 2 when Tyrod Taylor suffered a punctured lung following a painkilling injection right before the home game against the Chiefs.

The Green Bay Packers secured the NFC's top seed on Sunday, while Derrick Henry led the Tennessee Titans to the AFC South title.

Aaron Rodgers again powered the Packers, throwing four touchdown passes in a win over the Chicago Bears.

Despite their loss, the Bears clinched a playoff spot, as did the Indianapolis Colts and Los Angeles Rams.

Meanwhile, Henry made history as the Titans won the AFC South, while the Washington Football Team claimed the NFC East.

 

RODGERS DOMINATES AGAIN AS PACKERS CLINCH TOP SEED

Rodgers completed 19 of 24 passes for 240 yards and four TDs in the Packers' 35-16 victory over the Bears.

The Packers quarterback connected for TDs with Robert Tonyan, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Dominique Dafney and Davante Adams.

Rodgers finished the regular season with 48 TD passes. Alongside Peyton Manning, they are the only players in NFL history with 45-plus TD passes in multiple seasons, according to NFL Research. They won the NFL MVP in each of the previous three instances.

While Green Bay finished with a 13-3 record, the 8-8 Bears also reached the playoffs.

 

HISTORY FOR HENRY AS TITANS WIN AFC SOUTH

The Titans claimed the AFC South for the first time since 2008 after a thrilling 41-38 win over the Houston Texans.

Henry became the eighth player in history to rush for at least 2,000 yards in a single season.

He had 250 rushing yards and two TDs against the Texans. Of the eight players to achieve the feat, Henry was the only one who needed 200-plus yards in his last game to get there, according to Stats Perform.

A.J. Brown had 151 receiving yards, but the Titans needed Sam Sloman's 37-yard field goal as time expired to edge the Texans.

The Titans became the first team in NFL history to have a 250-yard rusher and 150-yard receiver in the same game.

 

WASHINGTON WIN NFC EAST AS COLTS, RAMS REACH PLAYOFFS

The Washington Football Team claimed the NFC East thanks to a 20-14 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Alex Smith threw two touchdown passes and two interceptions as Washington (7-9) claimed the division.

The Colts (11-5) reached the playoffs thanks to a 28-14 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, while the Los Angeles Rams (10-6) are also into the postseason after beating the Arizona Cardinals 18-7.

 

Week 17 scores:

Minnesota Vikings 37-35 Detroit Lions
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 44-27 Atlanta Falcons
New England Patriots 28-14 New York Jets
Buffalo Bills 56-26 Miami Dolphins
Cleveland Browns 24-22 Pittsburgh Steelers
New York Giants 23-19 Dallas Cowboys
Baltimore Ravens 38-3 Cincinnati Bengals
Indianapolis Colts 28-14 Jacksonville Jaguars
Tennessee Titans 41-38 Houston Texans
Los Angeles Rams 18-7 Arizona Cardinals
New Orleans Saints 33-7 Carolina Panthers
Green Bay Packers 35-16 Chicago Bears
Los Angeles Chargers 38-21 Kansas City Chiefs
Seattle Seahawks 26-23 San Francisco 49ers
Las Vegas Raiders 32-31 Denver Broncos
Washington Football Team 20-14 Philadelphia Eagles

Patrick Mahomes will get a rare rest ahead of the playoffs as the Kansas City Chiefs will start Chad Henne against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Superstar quarterback Mahomes has started every Chiefs game since Week 10 in 2019, when he returned from a dislocated kneecap.

But with Kansas City having secured the top seed in the AFC, the team announced on Wednesday their decision to turn to Henne in Week 17.

That call would appear to represent a big boost to Aaron Rodgers' MVP hopes, with the Green Bay Packers QB now the favourite ahead of Mahomes following a fine run of form.

Rodgers has thrown for 4,059 yards, 44 touchdowns and just five interceptions in 15 games in 2020, adding three rushing scores.

His influential display in the 40-14 defeat of the Tennessee Titans last week was his sixth four-TD game of the year.

Meanwhile, Mahomes has thrown for 4,740 yards, 38 TDs and six picks, four of which have come in the past three weeks. He has two TDs on the ground but none since Week 5.

For Henne, the Chargers game sees a first start for the Chiefs and a first anywhere in the NFL since 2014.

The 35-year-old has attempted just nine passes across three games for Kansas City, with no touchdowns but one sack. He has had one running score on six carries, however.

The Seattle Seahawks claimed their first NFC West championship since 2016 after topping the Los Angeles Rams.

Seattle sealed a four-year first in the NFL thanks to Sunday's 20-9 victory at Lumen Field, where the Seahawks kept alive their hopes of finishing with one of the NFC's top two seeds.

Aaron Rodgers flexed his muscles and team-mate Davante Adams starred in the Green Bay Packers' rout of the Tennessee Titans.

There were also wins for the Dallas Cowboys, Carolina Panthers and Los Angeles Chargers.

 

SEAHAWKS IN NFC WEST-CLINCHING WIN

For the fifth time under head coach Pete Carroll, the Seahawks got their hands on the NFC West crown.

The Seahawks (11-4) used a resurgent defense to see off the Rams (9-6), holding Los Angeles to just six points in the second half, while sacking quarterback Jared Goff – who reportedly suffered a broken thumb – three times.

"There were times during the season where everybody had enough statistics to go ahead and blow us out, and like we weren't worth anything on defense," Carroll said.

"But this defense is good, and they've shown it and they've declared it. This is the kind of defense that we've played in years past when we really had good teams down ... the stretch."

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson was 20-of-32 passing for 225 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions, while he also rushed for a TD on three carries.

 

RODGERS' PACKERS DOMINATE

Huge performances from MVP hopeful Rodgers and wide receiver Adams fuelled Green Bay's 40-14 demolition of the Titans at Lambeau Field.

Rodgers showcased his MVP credentials by going 21 of 25 for 231 yards, four touchdowns and one interception for a 128.1 passer rating.

The Packers quarterback had his 13th game with a 100-plus passer rating this season, tying himself in 2011 and Patrick Mahomes in 2018 for the most such games in a single season in league history, per NFL Research. Both Rodgers (2011) and Mahomes (2018) finished as that season's NFL MVP.

Adams caught 11 passes for 142 yards and three touchdowns, becoming the third player in NFL history to have 100-plus receptions and 16-plus receiving TDs in a season.

He also recorded his ninth successive Sunday Night Football appearance with a touchdown – breaking a tie with Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski for the longest such streak in NFL history.

The Packers improved to 12-3 but still need to beat the Chicago Bears in their final regular-season game to clinch the NFC's number one seed.

Titans QB Ryan Tannehill completed just 11 of 24 passes for 121 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, while Tennessee star Derrick Henry was restricted to 23 carries, 98 yards and no TDs.

 

COWBOYS STAY ALIVE

The Cowboys remain in the hunt in a wide-open NFC East after defeating rivals the Philadelphia Eagles 37-17.

Coupled with the Washington Football Team's (6-9) 20-13 loss to the Carolina Panthers, the Cowboys (6-9) still have a chance to win the division.

The Cowboys need to beat the New York Giants in Week 17, while the Eagles must take down Washington in order for Dallas to top the NFC East.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert set a new single-season rookie record for touchdown passes in the 19-16 victory against the Denver Broncos.

Herbert broke the record when he threw his 28th TD of the season in the second quarter, while he joined Kansas City Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes as the only players to record 4,000 passing yards through their first 14 starts.

 

Week 16 scores:

New York Jets 23-16 Cleveland Browns
Baltimore Ravens 27-13 New York Giants
Cincinnati Bengals 37-31 Houston Texans
Chicago Bears 41-17 Jacksonville Jaguars
Kansas City Chiefs 17-14 Atlanta Falcons
Pittsburgh Steelers 28-24 Indianapolis Colts
Seattle Seahawks 20-9 Los Angeles Rams
Dallas Cowboys 37-17 Philadelphia Eagles
Green Bay Packers 40-14 Tennessee Titans
Carolina Panthers 20-13 Washington Football Team
Los Angeles Chargers 19-16 Denver Broncos

Jon Gruden is unsure of the severity of Derek Carr's groin injury, but the Las Vegas Raiders head coach was proud of Marcus Mariota's performance.

Carr suffered a groin injury and was replaced by Mariota as the Raiders' playoff chances were all but ended in a 30-27 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday.

Mariota almost inspired the Raiders to victory, completing 17 of 28 passes for 226 yards, a touchdown and an interception, while rushing for 88 yards and another score.

Asked to provide an update on Carr, Gruden told reporters: "I don't believe it's a real tear.

"But obviously if he can't finish the game it's got to be pretty significant."

Mariota became the first QB to have 200-plus passing yards and 75-plus rushing yards despite not starting the game since M.C. Reynolds in 1958.

Gruden praised the former Tennessee Titans quarterback, who joined the Raiders in March.

"It just shows the kind of player, the kind of football character he has," Gruden said.

"Our offensive coordinator [Greg Olson] isn't here either. You lose Derek and then we changed gears offensively and Marcus came in and did a great job and really proud of him.

"I think that this kind of puts an exclamation point on why we signed him and just wish we could've won the game for him."

Justin Herbert paid tribute to the Los Angeles Chargers' receivers after equalling a record in a win over the Las Vegas Raiders.

Herbert dived in for the winning touchdown in overtime in a 30-27 victory in the NFL on Thursday.

The Chargers quarterback also equalled Baker Mayfield's record for most touchdown passes thrown by a rookie in a single season, reaching 27 by throwing two against the Raiders.

Herbert, the sixth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, preferred to focus his praise on the Chargers' receivers.

"I think some pretty talented receivers that make a lot of plays and having those guys on the outside," he told NFL Network.

"Keenan [Allen], Mike [Williams], Jalen Guyton, Tyron Johnson and Hunter Henry as well, they've done such a great job this year and just so glad to be a part of their team."

Herbert was 22 of 32 for 314 yards and two touchdowns as the Chargers all but ended the Raiders' playoff chances.

He rushed over from one yard, though, for the game-winner as the Chargers responded to Daniel Carlson's field goal in OT.

Herbert became the first rookie in NFL history to throw for 300-plus yards and also score the winning TD in overtime in the same game, as per Stats Perform.

"It was all kind of a blur, went out there, Jalen Guyton made a hell of a catch, got down there and from there it was kind of a blur," Herbert said.

"We ran a couple of plays, thought we got in, thanks to my offensive line for blocking so well and we got in there."

Justin Herbert's overtime touchdown saw the Los Angeles Chargers all but end the Las Vegas Raiders' playoff chances with a 30-27 win.

Herbert dived across for the decisive score of the game in OT at Allegiant Stadium on Thursday.

It all but ended the playoff hopes of the Raiders (7-7), while the Chargers improved to 5-9.

The Chargers ended a three-game losing streak against the Raiders and 11 of the previous 14 meetings between the teams have now been decided by one score.

Herbert was 22 of 32 for 314 yards and two touchdowns, plus the rushing TD.

He equalled Baker Mayfield's record for most passing TDs by a rookie, reaching 27.

Herbert also became the first rookie in NFL history to throw for 300-plus yards and also score the winning TD in overtime in the same game, as per Stats Perform.

Replacing the injured Derek Carr, Marcus Mariota (17 of 28 for 226 yards, a touchdown and an interception and 88 rushing yards and a TD) almost inspired the Raiders to victory.

Herbert led a 12-play, 78-yard drive for the game's first score, throwing a 10-yard TD pass to Hunter Henry in the opening quarter.

The Raiders were dealt a blow when Carr came off with a groin injury, but Mariota helped them into a 10-7 lead.

He delivered a wonderful 35-yard pass to Darren Waller, a pass which had a 22.1 per cent completion probability, according to Next Gen Stats.

Herbert continued to shine for the Chargers and he equalled the rookie record with a 26-yard TD pass to Tyron Johnson before half-time.

Josh Jacobs' rushing TD brought the Raiders level before Kalen Ballage restored the Chargers' seven-point lead.

A 19-play, 75-yard drive that lasted almost 11 minutes saw the Raiders hit back once more, Mariota diving over for a TD to level the contest at 24-24 with less than seven minutes remaining.

The Chargers saw a chance go begging as Michael Badgley pulled a 47-yard field goal attempt wide – his eighth miss of the season – with three minutes, 38 seconds left.

But just as Mariota appeared to be putting the Raiders in position for victory, he was intercepted by Chris Harris Jr, who returned it 52 yards.

Badgley missed another field goal, this time from 51 yards, but the Raiders were also unable to find a score as overtime followed.

Daniel Carlson made a 23-yard field goal after a 14-play drive by the Raiders in OT, but Herbert led the Chargers' response, securing the win with his TD.

Week 15 will provide more clarity in the NFL playoff picture and see fantasy managers book their places in championship matchups.

It is semi-final week in most leagues, with a potential place in the title game contingent on the correct line-up selections.

That does not always mean going with the bonafide superstar, however, and an ageing quarterback and rookie wide receiver are both strong plays this week.

Here we look at some of the best options for Week 15 in the latest edition of fantasy picks.

 

QB: Philip Rivers - Indianapolis Colts

In the previous meeting between the Colts and the Houston Texans two weeks ago, Rivers threw for 285 yards and two touchdowns with zero interceptions.

He has at least two touchdown throws in each of his last four games and the Texans, who were thrashed 36-7 by the Chicago Bears last week, have shown nothing to suggest they can prevent him from extending that streak.

RB: Austin Ekeler - Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers face a Las Vegas Raiders defense that was gashed on the ground in Week 14 by Indianapolis Colts rookie Jonathan Taylor, who racked up 150 yards and two touchdowns.

With 37 carries and 34 targets since his return from injury in Week 12, Ekeler will be a featured part of the Chargers' offensive gameplan and, based on recent history, his workload should translate into a very productive outing.

WR: Brandon Aiyuk - San Francisco 49ers

Aiyuk has been the most productive rookie receivers in the NFL over the last five weeks, catching 36 passes for 495 yards and three touchdowns. He recorded his second 100-yard game of the season in the 49ers' loss to the Washington Football Team in Week 14 and has a touchdown in three of his last four games.

With Deebo Samuel expected to miss the rest of the season, Aiyuk is the undisputed top target on a San Francisco offense that faces a Dallas Cowboys defense surrendering the second-most points a game to opposing wide receivers.

TE: Tyler Higbee - Los Angeles Rams

Higbee has had a quiet season since his three-touchdown effort against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2, but he has a highly favourable matchup to exploit against the New York Jets.

No team in the league allows more fantasy points to tight ends than the winless Jets, making Higbee worthy of a dice roll for managers in a bind at that position.

D/ST: Cleveland Browns

Despite giving up nearly 50 points in the Monday thriller with the Baltimore Ravens, the Browns defense can have hope of a bounce-back week against the Giants.

New York had just 159 yards of total offense against the Arizona Cardinals last week and the Giants could again be without starting quarterback Daniel Jones because of injury. That is a recipe for success for Myles Garrett and Co.

Aaron Rodgers led the Green Bay Packers to another NFC North title, while Russell Wilson dominated the New York Jets.

Rodgers continued his good form as the Packers overcame the Detroit Lions 31-24 on Sunday, clinching the NFC North for the second straight year.

Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks were untroubled by the Jets, who slumped to 0-13.

Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Steelers fell to a second straight loss and Jalen Hurts inspired the Philadelphia Eagles on his first NFL start.

 

RODGERS HELPS PACKERS CLINCH

Rodgers threw three touchdown passes and went 26 of 33 for 290 yards in the Packers' win, while also rushing in for a score.

The quarterback connected with Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Robert Tonyan, Green Bay seeing out their win despite the Lions closing to within seven twice in the fourth quarter.

Adams caught a receiving TD in an eighth straight game, which is tied for the third longest streak in a single season in the Super Bowl era, as per NFL Research. Only Jerry Rice (12) and A.J. Green (nine) have had longer streaks.

As the Packers improved to 10-3, Detroit fell to 5-8 – including 1-5 at home – and saw quarterback Matthew Stafford replaced by Chase Daniel due to an upper-body injury.

WILSON WONDERFUL AGAINST WINLESS JETS

Seattle were untroubled by the Jets as Wilson completed 21 of 27 passes for 206 yards, four touchdowns and an interception in a 40-3 thrashing.

Wilson recorded his 15th career game with four-plus touchdowns, tied with Peyton Manning for the second most such games in a player's first nine seasons in the Super Bowl era, as per NFL Research. Only Dan Marino (16) has more.

The Seahawks star checked out in the third quarter for Seattle, who joined the Los Angeles Rams on a 9-4 record in the NFC West. Seattle and Los Angeles meet on December 27.

BILLS BEAT STEELERS, HURTS SHINES

The Buffalo Bills handed the Steelers a second straight loss with a 26-15 victory to close in on a first AFC East title since 1995.

Josh Allen was 24 of 43 for 238 yards, two touchdowns and an interception and Stefon Diggs had 130 receiving yards and a TD.

Now 10-3, the Bills moved clear of the Miami Dolphins (8-5) and New England Patriots (6-7) in the AFC East.

Handed their first loss of the season by the Washington Football Team last time out, the Steelers (11-2) are still clear of the Cleveland Browns (9-3) and Baltimore Ravens (7-5) in the AFC North.

In the defeat, the Steelers set an NFL record with a sack in 70 consecutive games. Pittsburgh surpassed the 1999-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers' all-time mark.

Replacing the struggling Carson Wentz, Hurts inspired the Eagles to an upset 24-21 win over the New Orleans Saints, whose nine-game winning streak was ended.

Hurts completed 17 of 30 passes for 167 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for 106 yards on 18 carries.

He became the second quarterback all-time to beat a team on a winning streak of nine-plus games on his first career start, according to Stats Perform. He joined former Ram Ron Jaworski (1975).

Week 14 scores:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26-14 Minnesota Vikings
Arizona Cardinals 26-7 New York Giants
Kansas City Chiefs 33-27 Miami Dolphins
Tennessee Titans 31-10 Jacksonville Jaguars
Dallas Cowboys 30-7 Cincinnati Bengals
Chicago Bears 36-7 Houston Texans
Denver Broncos 32-27 Carolina Panthers
Indianapolis Colts 44-27 Las Vegas Raiders
Seattle Seahawks 40-3 New York Jets
Green Bay Packers 31-24 Detroit Lions
Los Angeles Chargers 20-17 Atlanta Falcons
Philadelphia Eagles 24-21 New Orleans Saints
Washington Football Team 23-15 San Francisco 49ers
Buffalo Bills 26-15 Pittsburgh Steelers

It's time for the playoffs, at least in the world of fantasy football.

Week 14 marks the point where the fight for fantasy supremacy hots up and, as Cam Akers proved in the Los Angeles Rams' Thursday victory over the New England Patriots, unheralded players can make a big impact at this late stage.

Another running back who few people view as a fantasy star could also have a significant influence on the first week of the playoffs.

Here we identify four players and a defense worthy of consideration for your starting line-up this week.

QB: Justin Herbert - Los Angeles Chargers

Herbert endured the worst performance of his young career as the Chargers were throttled 45-0 by the New England Patriots last week.

He completed under 50 per cent of his passes, totalled just 209 yards and was intercepted twice in the shutout loss.

Such a shackling is unlikely to take place this week as he faces an Atlanta Falcons defense allowing the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing defenses.

Look for Herbert, who has six 300-yard games this season, to get back to the form that has made him the Offensive Rookie of the Year favourite.

RB: David Montgomery - Chicago Bears

Montgomery has failed to live up to his billing since being drafted in the third round in 2018. However, he has rounded into good form in recent weeks. 

He went for 111 yards on the ground against the Green Bay Packers in Week 12 and had 72 yards and two touchdowns in the Bears' loss to the Detroit Lions last week.

The Lions are the only team in the NFL allowing more fantasy points per game to running backs than the Houston Texans, whom the Bears face this week, meaning Montgomery could be in for another productive game.

WR: Mike Evans - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers' passing game has not been as consistently explosive as many hoped it would be with Tom Brady quarterbacking a team boasting a wealth of pass-catching options.

However, there have been positive signs for Brady's rapport with Mike Evans in recent times.

Evans had four touchdowns in their last three games before Tampa Bay's bye week. Facing a Minnesota Vikings defense conceding the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers, Evans is in a strong spot to add to that tally.

TE: Eric Ebron - Pittsburgh Steelers

Ebron has back-to-back games with 11 targets and seven catches and has a favourable matchup as the Steelers look to bounce back from their shock Week 13 loss to the Washington Football Team.

The Buffalo Bills present a formidable opponent for Pittsburgh, but their defense has given up the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Ebron is an intriguing play in points per reception leagues.

D/ST: San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers were shredded by Josh Allen and the Bills on Monday Night Football but their schedule in terms of opposing offenses softens over the next two games.

Washington are tied for the lead of the NFC East but their offense averages only 5.1 yards per play and could be without impressive rookie running back Antonio Gibson for a meeting with a top-10 run defense.

A low-scoring struggle looks likely in this matchup, and there is good reason to believe 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh will oversee a strong fantasy day from his injury-hit group.

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton provided a unique description of his running style after making history in the NFL.

Newton inspired Sunday's 45-0 humiliation of the hapless Los Angeles Chargers in Inglewood, California, where the Patriots kept their postseason hopes alive.

Former MVP Newton ran for two touchdowns to become the only NFL quarterback with double-digit rushing TDs in three different seasons, while he also set the league record for most multiple-touchdown games in a season by a QB with four in 2020.

Newton finished 12-of-19 passing for 69 yards and a touchdown, while he carried for 48 yards and a pair of TDs as the Patriots claimed back-to-back wins to improve to 6-6.

"Just be the hammer, not the nail," Newton told reporters when asked about his mentality of being a physical runner.

"God has blessed me with the stature that I have and anytime that I have an opportunity to create some type of force or momentum, then I'm going to do it.

"But at the same time I have to be cognisant of the position that I play and when I need to get down I have to get down."

It was the 29th shutout in New England's history and 12th under head coach Bill Belichick, who moved past Tom Landry for third-most games coached with 455.

According to Stats Perform, New England's win was the largest road shut-out victory in NFL history by a team that entered the game with a losing record.

Los Angeles (3-9) were condemned to their worst loss in franchise history, eclipsing a 49-6 demolition against Kansas City in 1964.

"We still have a long way to go," Newton said. "There are still some things that I could have been better at and I need to be better at, but each and every day for me - and I've always said it - is just learning.

"Learning in this offense and gaining the trust of the coaching staff to be able to go for it on fourth down - to be able to put the ball in the air - to be able to gain confidence in calling plays. From trick plays to regulars plays, run plays, pass plays, no plays. That's what the standard is for me and I just need to keep growing from it."

Newton added: "We just have to understand that we have to take it one game at a time. We understand what position we are in, and everything is pretty much in front of us.

"We just have to really hone in a focus on the opponents that we have to face that week and maximise each and every opportunity that we do get. If we keep that going on, we'll be in good graces."

Belichick said: "Just really proud of our football team today. Coming across the country, the guys really worked hard. Had a good week of preparation, really put a lot into it. We got a lot of great leadership from, as always, our captains, but from many of our veteran players.

"Some of our younger players have really stepped up their preparation levels, as well. It was nice to see it all come together today. I thought we had a game where all three units contributed. It was a complimentary game. We had plays on offense, defense, and special teams. We played at a good level for 60 minutes and had more consistency than we probably had in most other games. Really proud of the way the team competed."

Cam Newton made history and the New England Patriots humiliated the Los Angeles Chargers 45-0 in the NFL, while the Kansas City Chiefs booked their place in the playoffs.

Newton inspired Sunday's demolition of the hapless Chargers in Inglewood, California, where the Patriots kept their postseason hopes alive.

Reigning champions the Chiefs overcame the Denver Broncos to punch their ticket to the playoffs yet again as the New York Giants claimed a huge upset against the Seattle Seahawks.

 

NEWTON STANDS ALONE IN NFL AS PATS RUN RIOT

Patriots quarterback Newton was at the forefront of New England's ruthless demolition of the Chargers on the road.

Newton ran for two touchdowns to become the only NFL quarterback with double-digit rushing TDs in three different seasons, while he also set the league record for most multiple-touchdown games in a season by a QB with four in 2020.

The former MVP finished 12-of-19 passing for 69 yards and a touchdown, while he carried for 48 yards and a pair of TDs as the Patriots claimed back-to-back wins to improve to 6-6.

It was the 29th shutout in New England's history and 12th under head coach Bill Belichick, who moved past Tom Landry for third-most games coached with 455.

According to Stats Perform, New England's win was the largest road shut-out victory in NFL history by a team that entered the game with a losing record.

Los Angeles (3-9) were condemned to their worst loss in franchise history, eclipsing a 49-6 demolition against Kansas City in 1964.

 

CHIEFS FIRST AFC TEAM INTO PLAYOFFS

The Chiefs were far from their best but still trumped the Broncos 22-16 to secure a spot in the postseason for the sixth successive campaign – a franchise record.

Kansas City improved to 11-1 for the season after seeing off Denver for the 11th consecutive time, a streak dating back to 2015.

The Chiefs, who are yet to clinch a fifth straight AFC West title, saw star quarterback Patrick Mahomes finish 25 of 40 for 318 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions.

Mahomes has thrown for at least 300 yards in five consecutive games, having achieved the feat last season and the campaign prior. Via Stats Perform, he is the only quarterback to have a five-plus game streak in three successive seasons.

Travis Kelce caught a touchdown as he posted his fifth consecutive season with 1,000-plus receiving yards – no other tight end in league history even has five total seasons of 1,000 receiving yards, per NFL Research.

Kelce is also the first TE in the Super Bowl era with 1,100-plus receiving yards in his team's first 12 games of a season. He set the previous record in 2018.

Denver's Drew Lock completed 15 of 28 passes for 151 yards, two touchdowns and as many interceptions on the road.

 

GIANTS CLIP SEAHAWKS' WINGS, RODGERS MAKES HISTORY

In what has been described as one of Seattle's worst losses of the Pete Carroll era, the Giants stunned the Seahawks 17-12.

The Giants were 4-7 entering the clash, while the NFC West-leading Seahawks were looking to extend their advantage.

But the Giants – using backup quarterback Colt McCoy – had other ideas against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, who were outscored 14-0 in the third quarter.

Wilson struggled on home turf in Seattle, where he was sacked five times and finished 27-of-43 passing for 263 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

The Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams are now level atop the NFC West with 8-4 records after the latter beat the Arizona Cardinals 38-28.

Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers became the fastest player to throw 400 career touchdown passes in the Green Bay Packers' 30-16 success against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Rodgers reached the milestone in his 193rd NFL appearance, eclipsing Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Dan Marino, Brett Favre and Philip Rivers after finding team-mate Davante Adams in the third quarter.

After throwing three touchdown passes, Super Bowl champion Rodgers also became the first player in league history with 35-plus TD passes in five different seasons.

 

Week 13 scores:

Cleveland Browns 41-35 Tennessee Titans
Las Vegas Raiders 31-28 New York Jets
Minnesota Vikings 27-24 Jacksonville Jaguars
Miami Dolphins 19-7 Cincinnati Bengals
Indianapolis Colts 26-20 Houston Texans
Detroit Lions 34-30 Chicago Bears
New Orleans Saints 21-16 Atlanta Falcons
Los Angeles Rams 38-28 Arizona Cardinals
New York Giants 17-12 Seattle Seahawks
New England Patriots 45-0 Los Angeles Chargers
Green Bay Packers 30-16 Philadelphia Eagles
Kansas City Chiefs 22-16 Denver Broncos

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