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.

 

JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner both practiced in full for the Pittsburgh Steelers as they prepare for a crucial Week 15 clash with the Buffalo Bills.

Wide receiver Smith-Schuster (knee) and running back Conner (shoulder) have each missed the Steelers' last three games through injury.

"[I did] a couple of reps here and there," said Conner. "I got a couple of reps with the offense this week. I am still taking it day by day.

"I just want to be out there competing. These games are crucial, they are critical for us in the position we are in. We are just trying to control our own destiny."

Despite the absence of the duo, the Steelers have won their last three games to significantly improve their chances of reaching the playoffs.

Mike Tomlin's team are 8-5 and in possession of the AFC's sixth and final playoff berth with three games remaining. The Steelers have the tiebreaker over the 8-5 Tennessee Titans by virtue of their win percentage in conference games.

Pittsburgh host the 9-4 Bills, who are the fifth seeds as it stands, on Sunday, with the game likely to have a significant impact on a tight race for the two AFC Wild Card berths.

Conner has rushed for 390 yards and scored six total touchdowns in an injury-hit year. Smith-Schuster has 524 receiving yards and three touchdowns in 10 games.

The Kansas City Chiefs clinched another division title by overcoming the New England Patriots, while the Seattle Seahawks' winning streak was ended.

The Chiefs handed the Patriots a second straight loss and secured the AFC West crown for the fourth consecutive NFL season.

Seattle's winning streak came to an end at five after losing to NFC West rivals the Los Angeles Rams.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Chargers and Tennessee Titans posted big wins and the Pittsburgh Steelers edged the Arizona Cardinals.

 

CHIEFS CLINCH

Patrick Mahomes helped the Chiefs past the Patriots 23-16 at Gillette Stadium.

Mahomes was 26 of 40 for 283 yards, a touchdown and an interception as the Chiefs improved to 9-4.

The Patriots dropped to 10-3 and had two TDs taken away by controversial officiating calls.

Tom Brady's right elbow was heavily wrapped after the loss, the quarterback finishing 19 of 36 for 169 yards, a TD and an interception.

 

SEAHAWKS' RUN SNAPPED BY RAMS

The Rams stopped the Seahawks' run with a 28-12 victory.

Jared Goff went 22 of 31 for 293 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, while Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (22 of 36 for 245 yards and an interception) struggled.

The Seahawks are now 10-3 and second in the NFC West, while the Rams (8-5) are chasing a wildcard.

 

CHARGERS, TITANS CRUISE

The Chargers ended a three-game losing run by thrashing the Jacksonville Jaguars 45-10.

Philip Rivers led the Chargers, completing 16 of 22 passes for 314 yards and three touchdowns.

However, the Chargers were eliminated from playoff contention.

The Titans extended their winning streak to four by crushing the Oakland Raiders 42-21.

Titans QB Ryan Tannehill threw three touchdown passes, completing 21 of 27 for 391 yards for Tennessee (8-5), who are in the wildcard chase.

GAROPPOLO EARNS PRAISE, RAVENS ROLL ON

Jimmy Garoppolo threw four TDs in the San Francisco 49ers' thrilling 48-46 win over the New Orleans Saints, earning praise from head coach Kyle Shanahan.

"He's unbelievable. No matter what happens," Shanahan said. "He's had a lot of good games this year.

"He has had some times where he's made some mistakes. But he's the same guy every day. Just to be able to deal with that crowd noise and to deal with adversity that went in and out throughout the game, to be able to deal with me, he's the same and a lot of fun to coach."

The Baltimore Ravens booked their spot in the playoffs thanks to a 24-17 win over the Buffalo Bills.

However, tight end Mark Andrews (knee), linebacker Chris Board (concussion) and safety Anthony Levine Sr. (ankle) suffered injuries.

"Mark is not serious, maybe a thigh bruise type of thing," Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said.

"Anthony is not serious, ankle. Both those guys told me they'd be back Thursday. We'll see how that goes as the week goes on."

 

WEEK 14 SCORES:

Atlanta Falcons 40-20 Carolina Panthers
Baltimore Ravens 24-17 Buffalo Bills
Cleveland Browns 27-19 Cincinnati Bengals
Green Bay Packers 20-15 Washington Redskins
Denver Broncos 38-24 Houston Texans
Minnesota Vikings 20-7 Detroit Lions
San Francisco 49ers 48-46 New Orleans Saints
New York Jets 22-21 Miami Dolphins
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38-35 Indianapolis Colts
Los Angeles Chargers 45-10 Jacksonville Jaguars
Pittsburgh Steelers 23-17 Arizona Cardinals
Kansas City Chiefs 23-16 New England Patriots
Tennessee Titans 42-21 Oakland Raiders
Los Angeles Rams 28-12 Seattle Seahawks

The Baltimore Ravens became the first AFC team to qualify for the playoffs after beating the Buffalo Bills to earn a franchise-record ninth win in a row.

MVP contender Lamar Jackson threw three touchdown passes and closed in on Michael Vick's single-season rushing record for a quarterback.

Boasting an 11-2 record, the Ravens will prove a threat to any challengers in the postseason.

Elsewhere, the San Francisco 49ers and the New Orleans Saints produced a 94-point thriller and Drew Lock starred for the Denver Broncos against the Houston Texans.

RAVENS STAR JACKSON IN A RUSH TO CATCH VICK

Jackson showed his class once again in a stellar display as he became only the second QB in NFL history to go past 1,000 rushing yards.

He is now just 23 shy of Vick's record, having managed 40 on Sunday, though his collection of touchdown throws proved more valuable. 

The Bills squandered the opportunity to tie the game with their final play as Josh Allen's pass into the end zone was incomplete.

WORTH HIS WEIGHT IN GOULD

Robbie Gould held his nerve to kick the 49ers to glory, providing the perfect tonic to their rare loss against the Ravens last time out.

In a match between two playoff hopefuls, it was the Niners who got the job done in a thrilling 48-46 triumph sealed by Gould's 30-yard field goal.

The result ended a five-year winless streak for the Niners in New Orleans, giving them their highest tally of victories in a season since 2013.

LOCK HAS THE KEY

Quarterback Lock entered the history books as he became the first rookie in the Super Bowl era to total at least 300 passing yards and three touchdown passes in his first start on the road.

That telling contribution from the 2019 second-round pick laid the foundations for the Broncos' 38-24 victory over the Houston Texans, improving the visitors to 5-8.

It was also a result that eased the frustration of a long-running theme for Denver, who had scored 24 points or fewer in 21 consecutive games prior to Sunday's clash.

BROWNS, JETS AND VIKINGS PREVAIL

Elsewhere in the early games on Sunday, the Cincinnati Bengals were brought back down to earth with a 27-19 loss against the Cleveland Browns.

The Bengals had won for the first time in Week 13, beating the New York Jets, who themselves bounced back to secure a last-gasp 22-21 victory over the Miami Dolphins.

And the Minnesota Vikings tamed the Detroit Lions in a 20-7 success, making it five wins on the bounce against the same opponents.

 

Week 14 scores:

Carolina Panthers 20-40 Atlanta Falcons

Indianapolis Colts 35-38 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Miami Dolphins 21-22 New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers 48-46 New Orleans Saints

Detroit Lions 7-20 Minnesota Vikings

Denver Broncos 38-24 Houston Texans

Baltimore Ravens 24-17 Buffalo Bills

Cincinnati Bengals 19-27 Cleveland Browns

Washington Redskins 15-20 Green Bay Packers

Wide receiver Antonio Brown has apologised to "the organisations I offended" as he bids to return to the NFL and "repair what I broke".

Brown is without a team after he was released by the New England Patriots earlier in the season amid allegations of sexual assault against him, which he strenuously denies, and misconduct.

The 31-year-old's departure from the Patriots in September was the latest move of a chaotic 12 months, with the player having also left the Pittsburgh Steelers and then the Oakland Raiders.

Brown clashed with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger before getting a trade away from the Steelers, joining the Raiders.

However, he never played for Oakland, ultimately calling for the team to release him - and getting his wish - after numerous controversies, including a holdout with the NFL and a fine from the Raiders.

A stint with the Patriots was cut short, too, but Brown hopes to make amends - despite previously saying he would not return to the league.

"First and foremost, I'd like to apologise to my family, friends and anyone who I offended," he wrote on Instagram on Friday.

"I never once meant to make anyone feel like I wasn't thankful and appreciative of the opportunity that I was afforded to play the game I love. I've worked hard over the years to earn a chance to compete in the greatest game on earth.

"Over the years I was met with challenges and I can honestly say I didn't handle those challenges in the manner that I should have.

"Over the past few weeks I've had the opportunity to think about everything that's transpired and I am deeply sorry to all who I've offended.

"While my behaviour was inexcusable, sometimes when people are coming at you with false information and allegations, we handle ourselves in ways that we sometimes regret.

"I do take full responsibility for my actions and I'm working everyday to repair what I broke.

"I do know that if I'm ever given the opportunity to play the game that I love, I'm going to work extremely hard to show the world how much I appreciate another chance.

"To the organisations that I offended, I offer my sincere apology to you and my hope is that you forgive me and help me move on from this minor setback. I look forward to competing and helping a team reach their goals."

Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner will miss Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals due to a shoulder injury.

Conner announced his absence after he was limited in practice for the second consecutive day on Thursday.

The 2018 NFL Pro Bowler has missed two straight games following a shoulder injury sustained against the Cleveland Browns on November 14.

Conner, who has missed five of the past six games hampered by injuries, told reporters: "I don't want to look too far ahead.

"It's still going to take some time. We'll see. Hopefully I can get out there as soon as possible, but this week, no."

"Just don't want to take none of the game reps away from some guys that are going to be active," Conner added. "Nice to get out there and just run around."

The Steelers are 7-5 for the season and second in the AFC North – in contention for the final wildcard spot amid a two-game winning streak.

"Honestly, taking it day-by-day," Conner said. "So whatever that may be, I'm not going to count it out until I'm done for sure."

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.

 

Justin Tucker's 49-yard field goal as time expired meant the Baltimore Ravens edged past the San Francisco 49ers to win an eighth straight game.

On a quiet day for red-hot Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, Tucker kept his cool and showed why he is considered one of the NFL's best kickers.

Baltimore's AFC North rivals the Cincinnati Bengals were also victorious, while the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans claimed key wins to boost their wildcard hopes.

 

NIP AND TUCKER AS RAVENS KICKER DELIVERS VICTORY

Sunday's most hotly-anticipated encounter saw the Ravens face the 49ers in a repeat of Super Bowl XLVII.

MVP favourite Jackson was kept to 105 yards passing in a contest where both teams gained more yards through rushing than passing.

Jackson had a rushing score to go along with 101 yards on the ground, though, and his team were victorious thanks to Tucker's field goal.

With the 20-17 victory Baltimore improved to 10-2, the same record that the 49ers have with four games to go.

 

DALTON ENJOYS VICTORIOUS RETURN AS BENGALS BEAT JETS

The last remaining winless team in the NFL claimed their first victory as Andy Dalton returned to lead the Bengals past the New York Jets 22-6 and give rookie head coach Zac Taylor a maiden win.

Cincinnati were 0-11 heading into Sunday's game and turned back to ninth-year quarterback Dalton having benched him following their Week 9 bye.

The move paid dividends as Dalton went 22-for-37 passing and threw one touchdown against a Jets team that had won their previous three games.

Two other struggling franchises, the Redskins and Dolphins, claimed their third wins of the season, Washington beating the Carolina Panthers 29-21 and Miami defeating the Philadelphia Eagles 37-31.

 

STEELERS CLAIM REVENGE OVER BROWNS

Two weeks after losing to the Cleveland Browns in an ill-tempered Thursday night encounter, the Steelers exacted a measure of revenge with a 20-13 success at Heinz Field.

Their previous meeting was marred by the ugly scenes which saw Myles Garrett rip off Mason Rudolph's helmet and hit the Pittsburgh quarterback with it.

Rudolph has since been benched, while Garrett is serving a suspension, and there was no sign of the bad blood on Sunday as the Devlin Hodges-led Steelers improved to 7-5.

Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, who was sacked five times, completed the game despite suffering a hand injury but it was his interception which ultimately sealed the win for Pittsburgh.

FOLES BENCHED, RODGERS THROWS FOUR TDs

Two former Super Bowl MVPs had contrasting afternoons, with Nick Foles benched by the Jacksonville Jaguars while Aaron Rodgers lit up the New York Giants secondary in the snow.

Foles, a big free-agent signing by the Jags in the offseason, was replaced by Gardner Minshew having committed three first-half turnovers as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers cruised to a 28-11 triumph.

The Green Bay Packers bounced back from their loss to the 49ers last time out, Rodgers throwing four touchdowns - two of which went to Davante Adams - in a 31-13 win over the Giants.

Elsewhere, the Titans beat the Indianapolis Colts 31-17.

 

Week 13 scores:

Tennessee Titans 31-17 Indianapolis Colts
Cincinnati Bengals 22-6 New York Jets
Washington Redskins 29-21 Carolina Panthers
Baltimore Ravens 20-17 San Francisco 49ers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 28-11 Jacksonville Jaguars
Pittsburgh Steelers 20-13 Cleveland Browns
Green Bay Packers 31-13 New York Giants
Miami Dolphins 37-31 Philadelphia Eagles

Safety Damarious Randall will not play against the Pittsburgh Steelers due to a "coach's decision", the Cleveland Browns have announced.

The two AFC North rivals will meet for the first time since their ill-tempered Week 11 encounter, when Myles Garrett ripped off Mason Rudolph's helmet and stuck the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback with it in shocking scenes.

Rudolph, who had appeared to attempt to rip off Garrett's own helmet, has since been benched in favour of Devlin Hodges and will not start on Sunday.

Garrett, who accused the Steelers quarterback of using a racial slur - something Rudolph's agents denied, is serving a suspension.

Pittsburgh offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey is also banned having thrown punches and kicked Browns defensive end Garrett during the melee, and Cleveland have now confirmed Randall will not be involved either.

The safety was ejected in the third quarter two weeks ago for leading with his helmet when he hit Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson.

Randall, who claimed he did not intend to hurt Johnson, later claimed he received death threats online following the game.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph said he has taken a "team-first attitude" after being dropped for the upcoming NFL clash with the Cleveland Browns.

The Steelers have turned to Devlin Hodges over struggling QB Rudolph for Sunday's visit of the Browns at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

Hodges came on to win the game for the Steelers after Rudolph was benched at half-time during a 16-10 success over the Cincinnati Bengals last week.

Rudolph, however, told reporters on Thursday: "You handle it with a good attitude, with a team-first attitude.

"I can only control how I react and how hard I prepare, knowing that I'm one play away. I'm going to support the guy, knowing that this is a crazy game and you've got to be ready when your number is called. I will be ready, for sure."

"I'd been benched once in college for a half and once in high school," Rudolph continued. "So yeah, there's some past experiences you do draw from. I conquered that, and I think I'll conquer this the same way. Just going to be a matter of staying true to myself and believing in myself and staying in the fight."

Rudolph's demotion comes after he was involved in an ugly melee during a Week 11 loss to the Browns.

Browns defensive end Myles Garrett was handed an indefinite suspension – ruling him out until the rest of the season at least – after he ripped Rudolph's helmet off and hit him over the head with it in the closing stages of the game.

On Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin's decision to start with Hodges, Rudolph added: "He said this isn't his final decision, and any player wants a chance to play every week.

"That's the way I'm going to look at it and continue to work and grow and learn from mistakes and continue to play well and practise hard."

The Buffalo Bills can take another step towards the play-offs on Thanksgiving Day, while the San Francisco 49ers' clash with the Baltimore Ravens is among the standout Week 13 NFL match-ups.

Buffalo are 8-3 after back-to-back wins over the Miami Dolphins and the Denver Broncos and can make it a happy holiday for their supporters with another victory on the road against the Dallas Cowboys.

The struggling Detroit Lions host the Chicago Bears in the first Thanksgiving Day showdown, with NFL South leaders the New Orleans Saints making a trip to take on bottom side the Atlanta Falcons later in the day.

Baltimore will be out to inflict just a second defeat on the rampant Niners on Sunday before the New England Patriots come up against AFC South front-runners the Houston Texans.

We take a look at the Week 13 schedule using Stats Perform data.

THURSDAY (all times Eastern)

Bears (5-6) at Lions (3-7-1) 12:30pm

- This is the 180th meeting between the Bears and Lions and the 18th on Thanksgiving Day. The Bears have won the past three meetings and are looking to win four in a row against Detroit for the first time since 2008-10 (six straight wins).

- The Lions started the season 2-0-1 but have lost seven of their past eight games and four in a row. 

- The Bears have not led at the end of the first quarter since Week 4 (7-0 versus Minnesota); the Lions have trailed at the end of the first quarter only once in their past eight games.

 

Bills (8-3) at Cowboys (6-5) 4:30pm

- Including Super Bowl wins in the 1992 and 1993 seasons, the Cowboys are 8-4 all-time against the Bills, though Buffalo won their previous meeting 16-6 in 2015 at Orchard Park. 

- The Bills' 8-3 record is their best through 11 games since 1996, and the team's 15.7 points allowed per game is its lowest in 20 years. 

- The Cowboys were held to their season-low point total in Sunday's 13-9 defeat against the Patriots.

 

Saints (9-2) at Falcons (3-8) 8:20pm

- The Saints have a league-low seven turnovers this season; the fewest they have ever had in a full season was 16 in 2018. 

- The Saints have not allowed an opposing player to rush for 100 yards in 33 straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL. 

- The Falcons are looking to halt a four-game home losing streak, their longest since dropping their final four home matches of the 2006 season and the 2007 home opener. 

 

SUNDAY

Titans 6-5 at Colts (6-5) 1pm

- The Colts won the first meeting with the Titans this year 19-17 in Tennessee back in Week 2. Indianapolis have won three straight meetings with Tennessee and 14 of the past 16.

- The Titans started the season 2-4, but have won four of their five most recent matches to get right back into the playoff race. 

- Since the beginning of last year, Derrick Henry has 2,050 rushing yards and 22 rushing touchdowns. He is the only player in the NFL with at least 2,000 rushing yards and at least 20 rushing TDs.

 

Jets (4-7) at Bengals (0-11) 1pm

- The Bengals have won their past two games against the Jets, in 2013 and 2016, both with Andy Dalton at the helm. Dalton has thrown for 691 yards and six touchdowns across those two games.

- New York have held their past three opponents to under 300 yards of total offense, the longest active streak in the NFL and the Jets' most impressive run since 2015 - three straight games.

- The Bengals have allowed 69 plays of 20 or more yards this season, including at least four in every game. The Jets are 4-0 when they have four or more plays of 20+ yards this season.

 

Redskins (2-9) at Panthers (5-6) 1pm

- The Redskins have lost their four most recent road games against the Panthers. No team has ever lost five straight matches at Carolina since the franchise began in 1995.

- Christian McCaffrey is averaging 102.1 rushing yards and 53.3 receiving yards per game this season. He would be only the second player in NFL history to average 100+ rushing and 50+ receiving yards per game in a season, along with Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell in 2016.

- Washington have scored fewer than 20 points in nine straight games, the longest streak by any NFL team since the Cardinals had a nine-game run in 2012

 

49ers (10-1) at Ravens (9-2) 1pm

- These teams have met five times in the regular season, and once in Super Bowl XLVII. Baltimore hold a 4-2 edge from those matches.

- The 49ers beat the Packers 37-8 at home on Sunday - their fourth win by 24 or more points this season. That is tied for their second-most in franchise history.

- Baltimore beat the Rams 45-6 in Los Angeles on Monday and have now won three successive games by at least 34 points.

 

Buccaneers (4-7) at Jaguars (4-7) 1pm

- The Jaguars lost to the Titans 42-20 in Tennessee on Sunday and have been beaten in three consecutive games by 20+ points for the first time in franchise history. 

- Leonard Fournette has accounted for all three of Jacksonville's rushing touchdowns this season, the only player in the league with all of his team's rushing TDs. 

- Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston had three touchdown passes and two interceptions in a 35-22 win over the Falcons last weekend, his second consecutive game with at least two of each and third in total this season.

 

Packers (8-3) at Giants (2-9) 1pm

- The Packers and Giants last played in the wild-card Round in January 2017 when Green Bay beat New York 38-13. The Giants have won the past two meetings at the Meadowlands after dropping their previous four home games against the Packers.

- Green Bay have lost two of their past three games after going 7-1 to start the season, both defeats coming on the road.

- New York have lost seven straight matches after winning two in a row in Weeks 3 and 4. The Giants have not had an eight-game losing streak in a single season since 2004.

 

Eagles (5-6) at Dolphins (2-9) 1pm 

- The Eagles lost 17-9 at home to the Seahawks on Sunday and now have had three games this season scoring 10 points or fewer - including each of their past two.

- The Dolphins went down 41-24 to the Browns last weekend, but they have now scored 20+ points in four of their past six games after failing to do so in any of their first five. 

- Carson Wentz was sacked three times by the Seahawks, the fifth straight game in which he has been taken down at least three times - tied for the longest streak in the league this season.

 

Browns (5-6) at Steelers (6-5) 1pm

- The Steelers have won 15 straight home games against the Browns, the longest active streak in the NFL and tied for the fourth-longest home winning run by any team against any opponent all-time.

- After starting the season 2-6, the Browns have won three consecutive games. They have only won four in a row once since the franchise was resurrected and that was a decade ago.

- Pittsburgh have committed a turnover in 18 straight games, tying the team's longest such streak under Mike Tomlin (2008-09). 

 

Rams (6-5) at Cardinals (3-7-1) 4:05pm

- The Rams have won four in a row against the Cardinals, their longest run in the match-up since reeling off five on the bounce from November 2002-September 2004. 

- Jared Goff completed 70.3 per cent of his passes in his team's loss to Baltimore on Monday, but threw two interceptions and averaged just 5.73 yards per attempt. 

- The Cardinals have stopped 39 rushing plays for negative yardage, second most in the NFL this season to the Jets (42, excludes kneel downs).

 

Chargers (4-7) at Broncos (3-8) 4:25pm

- The Broncos have won four of the last five games at home to the Chargers, outgaining them in total offense 388.6-303.4 on average.

- The Chargers are the first team in NFL history to lose at least seven of their first 11 games with all of the defeats coming by seven points or fewer.

- Denver put up just 134 total net yard in a loss at Buffalo last week. It was their fewest yards in a single game since 1992 Week 6 at Washington (128). 

 

Raiders (6-5) at Chiefs (7-4) 4:25pm

- Patrick Mahomes has thrown 69 career touchdown passes in 26 games. With one touchdown pass on Sunday, he will become the fastest player in NFL history to reach 70. Dan Marino reached that tally in his 29th match.

- Oakland's five losses this season have been by an average of 18.0 points; the only team in the NFL with a larger average margin of defeat this term is the Dolphins (21.7). 

- The Chiefs have won six consecutive home games against the Raiders. Kansas City's average margin of victory in those six games is 15.3 points per game.

 

Patriots (10-1) at Texans (7-4) 8:20pm

- The Patriots are 8-1 versus the Texans in the regular season, including wins in each of the past six meetings. The only team that New England have a longer active win streak against is the Jets (eight).

- Houston have won three consecutive home games and boast a 4-1 home record this season.

- In his past five starts against the Texans, Tom Brady has averaged 309.6 passing yards per game with 16 touchdown passes to just two interceptions. 

 

MONDAY

Vikings (8-3) at Seahawks (9-2)

- The Vikings have won two games in a row and six of their past seven dating back to Week 5. 

- Over his five most recent games, Kirk Cousins has thrown for 12 touchdown passes and zero interceptions. Cousins has a 7.0 touchdown-interception ratio (21/3) for the season, on pace to be the highest single-season mark in franchise history. Brett Favre holds the current record: 4.7 TD/INT in 2009.

- Russell Wilson is 8-2 (.800) in his career on Monday night, tied with Randall Cunningham (also 8-2) for the best record by a QB on Mondays in the Super Bowl era (min. 10 games).

Devlin Hodges will replace a struggling Mason Rudolph as the Pittsburgh Steelers' starting quarterback against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

Hodges came on to win the game for the Steelers after Rudolph was benched at half-time during a 16-10 success over the beleaguered Cincinnati Bengals last weekend.

Coach Mike Tomlin on Tuesday announced that the undrafted rookie will start the Week 13 showdown against the 5-6 Browns at Heinz Field.

Asked why he had selected Hodges, Tomlin simply replied: "He has not killed us."

Tomlin added: "We met as a staff, and we decided we're going to start Duck [Hodges' nickname] this week," said Tomlin.

"And really, the decision is clear for us, and there are some really clear reasons why. Like I talked about after the Bengals game, I thought he provided us a spark in-game, and I'm hopeful he’s capable of continuing to provide that spark as we step into this stadium."

Rudolph's ineffective display on Sunday came after he was involved in an ugly melee during a Week 12 defeat to the Browns.

Browns defensive end Myles Garrett was handed an indefinite suspension - ruling him out until the rest of the season at least - after he ripped Rudolph's helmet off and hit him over the head with it in the closing stages of the game.

Rudolph was fined $50,000 for his part in the altercation, but denied accusations from Garrett that he directed a racial slur at him.

The second-placed Steelers are 6-5 in the AFC North, with five wins from their last six games. 

 

 

Mason Rudolph said he "couldn't believe" Myles Garrett accused him of making a racial slur prior to the brawl between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns.

The NFL suspended Browns defensive end Garrett for at least the rest of the season after he hit Rudolph over the head with the Steelers quarterback's helmet in the closing seconds of the Week 11 encounter between the teams.

Garrett reportedly claimed in a disciplinary hearing that Rudolph made a racial slur against him in the build-up to their altercation.

An NFL investigation found no evidence to support the allegation but Garrett stood by his assertion in a social media statement, writing: "I know what I heard".

Rudolph addressed reporters after Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals and insisted the allegation was unfounded.

"It's totally untrue," the 24-year-old said.

"I couldn't believe it and I couldn't believe that he would go that route after the fact. It is what it is. I think I've moved on."

Asked if he had said anything that Garrett could have interpreted as a racial slur, Rudolph responded: "Absolutely not. There was nothing. Not even close."

Rudolph was benched after throwing eight of 16 for 85 yards and one interception during the Steelers' 16-10 win over the Bengals.

Pittsburgh's next game is against the Browns at Heinz Field.

Carson Wentz had a Sunday to forget as the Philadelphia Eagles were beaten 17-9 in an NFC battle with the Seattle Seahawks, while Frank Gore moved third on the all-time NFL rushing list.

The injury-hit Eagles really needed a win to put pressure on NFC East leaders the Dallas Cowboys, but fell to 5-6 after quarterback Wentz and the Philadelphia offense failed to fire in Week 12.

Second-placed Seattle are 9-2 in the NFC West after improving their perfect record on the road to 6-0, Rashaad Penny playing a huge part in their fourth consecutive win.

Gore moved past Barry Sanders on the list of the leading rushers in a 20-3 victory for the Buffalo Bills over the Denver Broncos. 

Wil Lutz's last-gasp field goal snatched a 34-31 win for the New Orleans Saints over the Carolina Panthers, while Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph was benched in a 16-10 success against the Cincinnati Bengals.

There were also victories for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Chicago Bears, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins. 

 

WENTZ UNABLE TO GET EAGLES SOARING

Eagles signal caller Wentz's critics were out in force again after he was 33 of 45 for 256 yards, with one touchdown.

There were also two interceptions and a couple of lost fumbles for the 26-year-old, who was also reportedly checked out for a hand injury.

Wentz threw a TD pass to Zach Ertz in the final minute, but the damage had already been done.

Seattle running back Rashaad Penny ran for a career-best 129 yards, including a 58-yard touchdown, while MVP contender Russell Wilson was sacked six times but was 13 of 25 for 200 yards, with one TD and one pick.

 

GORE THE MERRIER

Star running back Gore moved beyond Hall of Famer Sanders' tally of 15,269 yards with a seven-yard dart in the fourth quarter of a victory for the Bills.

Gore made 65 yards in 15 carries and took his career total to an astonishing 15,289 yards.

Buffalo are 8-3 in the AFC East behind the New England Patriots, while the struggling Broncos are 3-8 at the foot of the AFC West.

 

LUTZ SEALS DRAMATIC SAINTS WIN

Lutz stepped up as time expired to give the Saints a four-game lead over the Panthers at the top of the NFC South

Joey Slye missed a field goal at the other end from 28 yards out with two minutes to play, but Lutz held his nerve with a 33-yard kick.

Two attempts from Christian McCaffrey were in vain as Drew Brees completed 30 of 39 passes for 311 yards and three touchdowns in a captivating contest.

 

MORE PAIN FOR RUDOLPH

Rudolph was fined $50,000 for his part in an ugly brawl late in a defeat to the Browns last week.

Browns defensive end Myles Garrett ripped off Rudolph's helmet and hit him on the head with it as things got out of hand in Week 11.

Steelers quarterback Rudolph escaped a ban, but he was sidelined during the clash with the sorry Bengals when Devlin Hodges replaced him during the third quarter.

Hodges wasted no time in making an impact, picking out James Washington for a 79-yard catch-and-run touchdown as the Bengals suffered yet another loss to go 0-11.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph received a $50,000 fine for his role in the brawl with the Cleveland Browns.

Browns defensive end Myles Garrett was suspended for at least the rest of the season by the NFL after he hit Rudolph over the head with the Steelers QB's helmet in the closing seconds of last Thursday's Week 11 encounter between the two teams.

Rudolph, who escaped suspension, was slapped with the largest sum as 33 players were fined by the NFL on Saturday.

Garrett was fined $45,623, while Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey – who had a three-game ban reduced to two – received a $35,096 fine.

Both the Browns and Steelers were fined $250,000 each.

Earlier this week, Rudolph said: "Should have done a better job of keeping my cool in that situation and in retrospect I put Maurkice Pouncey - probably one of the best team-mates I've ever had - in a tough spot, as well as my team-mates.

"The way I saw it, on the final play of the game, with the game in hand the way it was, we had already lost two of our players for targeting penalties and as I released the ball, I took a late shot, did not agree with the way he took me to the ground and my natural reaction was just to get him off from on top of me.

"Again, I should have done a better job handling that situation. I have no ill-will towards Myles Garrett, great respect for his ability as a player and I know if Myles could go back, he would handle the situation differently. 

"As for my involvement last week, there is no excuse, the bottom line is I should have done a better job keeping my composure in that situation and I fell short in what I believe it means to be a Pittsburgh Steeler and a member of the NFL."

The Browns face the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, while the Steelers take on the Cincinnati Bengals.

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