The Carolina Panthers are taking their time to evaluate their options after trading up for the NFL Draft's number one pick but new head coach Frank Reich says height will not play a major role.

Reich was officially unveiled by the Panthers on Monday having been appointed in late January, after Matt Ruhle was fired five games into the 2022 season which ended with a 7-10 campaign.

The Panthers since traded up for the number one pick, giving up several picks including their first and second-rounders in this year's draft along with wide receiver D.J. Moore as they look to access the best available quarterback to help resolve their offensive issues.

Alabama's Bryce Young is viewed as the best quarterback prospect in the upcoming NFL Draft, along with Ohio State's C.J. Stroud, Florida's Anthony Richardson and Kentucky's Will Levis.

But Young's height, at 5-foot-10, is seen as his biggest drawback and Reich has a history with taller quarterbacks.

"Don't read anything into it,'' Reich told reporters. "I'm just saying that because all these people are putting this label on me that I only look at big quarterbacks.

"We're, first and foremost, just looking for playmakers. You look at everything. Every trait that a guy has, and you weigh it. Right? You weigh it.

"The thing is – if there’s 10 categories that you look at in a quarterback, or any player for that matter, the real question is not how to evaluate each of those categories. A big part of the question is how much are you going to weigh each of those categories.

"So, everything’s a factor. But, ultimately, it really comes down to being a playmaker. Being a guy who can make plays all over the field and that happens a lot of different ways."

When asked about which categories he viewed most importantly, Reich laughed: "That'd be like giving the proprietary formula for Kentucky Fried Chicken."

Reich added that the evaluation process was ongoing, with the Panthers having nothing to hide given their position in the draft, scheduled for April 27.

"When you have the number one pick you don't have to play games, right?" Reich said. "It's not like we're trying to fool anybody. What we're trying to do is take all the time we can on the evaluation.

"There's a lot of conviction, as [general manager] Scott [Fitterer] said, on some of these top quarterbacks. The old adage, 'don't make a decision before you have to' – we're going to take every second every day, or every hour every day, to make this decision. And we've still got plenty of time left."

Reich hailed Fitterer for trading up to get the top pick, stating their previous first pick at nine was a "hard spot" given their resolution to solve their QB issues of the past few years.

"Is there more pressure with that? I guess so," Reich said. "But I don't feel it like that. I feel more freedom. We can actually get the guy that we want. We can take the time. We're in the driver's seat."

The Carolina Panthers have signed Adam Thielen to a three-year deal as they look to prepare a strong offense for their expected number one pick quarterback.

Thielen spent 10 years with his hometown team, the Minnesota Vikings, before being released in early March.

The 32-year-old was voted to two Pro Bowls in his time with Minnesota and was an All-Pro Second Team selection in 2017.

Starting all 17 games last season, Thielen finished with 70 catches for 716 yards and six touchdowns, though he was not used as often towards the end of the campaign, making just seven catches in the Vikings' final four games.

He had previously expressed a desire to play his entire career with the Vikings, but their offense has shifted towards younger players like T.J. Hockenson and K.J. Osborn to support All-Pro Justin Jefferson.

Overall, Thielen recorded 534 catches for 6,682 yards and 55 touchdowns in 135 appearances for Minnesota.

The Panthers will get the number one pick in the NFL Draft after trading wide receiver D.J. Moore to the Chicago Bears, with Thielen providing plenty of experience in his place, which should aid whichever young starting quarterback they presumably acquire in late April.

It continues a busy time for Carolina, who have also recently added running back Miles Sanders, tight end Hayden Hurst and backup quarterback Andy Dalton.

The Carolina Panthers have agreed terms to bring in former Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders as they continue to reshape their offense in the offseason.

Sanders was a second-round pick for the Eagles in 2019, and he will head to Carolina after enjoying the best season of his career as Philadelphia were beaten by the Kansas City Chiefs at Super Bowl LVII.

The 25-year-old ran for 1,269 yards and 11 touchdowns in his final year with Philadelphia, while he had 3,708 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns in the last four seasons.

Reports from ESPN said Sanders' deal with the Panthers will run for four years, with the team looking to end a stretch of five consecutive campaigns without making the postseason.

Sanders' arrival continues a busy few days for Carolina, who agreed to send DJ Moore to the Chicago Bears as part of a blockbuster trade last week, receiving the number one overall pick in April's draft in exchange.

That trade has put the Panthers in position to take a leading quarterback after Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold and P.J. Walker all failed to impress as the team's starter last year.

Carolina have also agreed three-year contract with center Bradley Bozeman, along with deals for tight end Hayden Hurst and backup quarterback Andy Dalton.

The Carolina Panthers are set to draft their quarterback of the future next month, and they have identified the veteran who will serve as the placeholder for the number one overall pick.

Carolina agreed to a one-year, $10million deal with Andy Dalton, according to multiple reports.

While it remains to be seen whom the Panthers will select after trading up to the first overall pick, Dalton gives them an experienced and reliable signal-caller who can hold the fort if the quarterback they take is not ready to start as a rookie.

Dalton spent last season with the New Orleans Saints and was quietly impressive in a campaign that saw him start 14 games.

He completed 66.7 per cent of his passes for 2,871 yards, 18 touchdowns and nine interceptions. 

Those numbers do not reflect the accuracy he demonstrated. He delivered an accurate, well-thrown ball on 86.5 per cent of his passes, according to Stats Perform data, the second-best ratio among quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts.

The keys to the Panthers' offense will at some point be handed to one of C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young, Anthony Richardson or Will Levis. Dalton provides Carolina a quarterback who can either keep the seat warm or serve as a high-floor backup if the new face of the franchise quickly ascends to the starting job.

The Carolina Panthers have agreed a blockbuster trade with the Chicago Bears to put them in position to take a leading quarterback with the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

It had already been reported the Bears would be open to offers for the number one pick.

And ESPN's Adam Schefter said on Friday an agreement had been reached with the Panthers.

In return, the Bears are set to receive two first-round picks – number nine this year and a first-round selection next year – along with this year's 61st pick, a further second-round pick in 2025 and wide receiver DJ Moore.

The Bears look to already have their QB of the future in Justin Fields but will now have the opportunity to build around him.

Meanwhile, the Panthers will likely look at either Bryce Young of Alabama or C.J. Stroud of Ohio State.

Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold and P.J. Walker each had opportunities as the Panthers' starter in 2022, yet none of the trio impressed.

Whoever Carolina take with the first pick will head into their rookie season without the team's top target from last year as Moore instead links up with Fields.

Moore led the team in receptions (63), receiving yards (888) and receiving touchdowns (seven). No Bears receiver topped any of those marks.

Those seven TDs were a career high, although Moore had topped 1,100 receiving yards in each of the previous three seasons.

Carolina Panthers founder Jerry Richardson has died aged 86.

Richardson brought the Panthers to Carolina and the NFL in 1995, reaching Super Bowls in the 2003 and 2015 campaigns.

He left the franchise in 2018 after allegations of sexual and racial workplace misconduct.

Panthers owners David and Nicole Tepper paid tribute to Richardson after his death was announced on Thursday, saying: "Jerry Richardson's contributions to professional football in the Carolinas are historic.

"With the arrival of the Panthers in 1995, he changed the landscape of sports in the region and gave the NFL fans here a team to call their own.

"He was incredibly gracious to me [David Tepper] when I purchased the team, and for that I am thankful.''

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also saluted Richardson, saying in a statement: "The NFL community is deeply saddened by the passing of Jerry Richardson.

"The Carolina Panthers are a testament to his extraordinary and tireless dedication to the community. But his league-first attitude as seen through his leadership of numerous NFL committees... helped pave the way for a series of public-private stadium partnerships throughout the country, and collective bargaining agreements that continue to support the growth of the game.

"As a former player himself, Jerry cared deeply about the welfare of players and the labour agreements he helped negotiate have led to improved pay and benefits for generations of players. From a personal perspective, he was a wise and caring advisor to me, his fellow owners, and many Panthers players and coaches over the years."

New Panthers head coach Frank Reich was the franchise's first quarterback under Richardson, and said: "I will always be thankful to Mr Richardson for the Panthers. Being a part of the inaugural [season] is something that I will never forget.

"It was truly a special experience to play a part in the culmination of his efforts to bring football to the Carolinas."

Steve Wilks will be hired as the San Francisco 49ers' new defensive coordinator.

The move was reported by ESPN and NFL Network on Tuesday as the 49ers moved quickly to replace DeMeco Ryans.

With Ryans as DC, the 49ers fell painfully short of this year's Super Bowl following a remarkable run of misfortune that saw the team robbed of four quarterbacks through injury by the end of the NFC Championship Game loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Ryans' impressive work saw him land the Houston Texans' head coaching job, leaving the 49ers with a hole to plug on Kyle Shanahan's staff.

Shanahan is turning to Wilks, who was available after the Carolina Panthers hired Frank Reich as their new head coach.

Wilks had been the Panthers' interim coach last year, taking over after Matt Rhule was fired and finishing the season with a respectable 6-6 record.

Rhule's final game as coach, with Wilks his defensive passing game coordinator and secondary coach, was a defeat to the 49ers.

Wilks described himself as "disappointed but not defeated" when the Panthers instead hired Reich for the 2023 season.

But if Wilks has ambitions of landing another top job, his new role with the 49ers looks a good fit.

Ryans' predecessor Robert Saleh also departed for a head coaching role with the New York Jets.

Before his 12 games at the helm of the Panthers, Wilks had a single season as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals in 2018, when they were a miserable 3-13 in the 49ers' NFC West.

The Carolina Panthers are hiring Ejiro Evero as their new defensive coordinator following his exit from the Denver Broncos.

Earlier on Sunday, Evero was released from his post with the Broncos following Sean Payton's arrival as the franchise's head coach.

The 42-year-old has swiftly found his feet elsewhere, with Carolina confirming his appointment – where he previously interviewed for the head coaching job.

A Super Bowl winner as secondary and passing game coordinator with the Los Angeles Rams last year, Evero has impressed despite the Broncos' disappointing campaign in 2022.

The Broncos ranked seventh in the league for total defense and 14th in points allowed, an impressive feat for a franchise that finished the year with a 5-12 record.

Evero was heavily linked with a move to the Minnesota Vikings, who are also on the hunt for a defensive coordinator ahead of the 2023 season.

Steve Wilks was left "disappointed but not defeated" after the Carolina Panthers appointed Frank Reich as head coach.

Wilks missed out on landing the job on a permanent basis after guiding the team to a 6-6 record following Matt Rhule's firing in October.

Reich was installed on Thursday, but Wilks took the blow of being overlooked on the chin.

"The sun rose this morning and by the grace of God so did I," Wilks tweeted on Friday. "I'm disappointed but not defeated.

"Many people aren't built for this but I know what it means to persevere and see it through.

"It was an honour for me to coach those men in the Carolina Panthers locker room as the interim head coach.

"I do wish Frank Reich all the best. I will always be a fan of the Carolina Panthers Football Team."

Wilks took over after the Panthers fired Rhule following a 1-4 start to the season.

He was Carolina's defensive pass game coordinator and secondary coach at the time.

Wilks went 3-13 in 2018 with the Arizona Cardinals in his only previous head coaching experience in the NFL.

The Carolina Panthers have reached an agreement with Frank Reich to take over as their new head coach.

Reich, a former Panthers quarterback who started the first three games of the franchise’s inaugural season in 1995, spent four seasons as the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts before being fired nine games into the 2022 campaign.

The 61-year-old becomes the sixth permanent head coach in Panthers history and the first with an offensive background, a likely selling point for an organisation that has been marred by instability at quarterback since it last reached the playoffs in 2017.

Reich compiled a 40-33 regular-season record with Indianapolis and reached the playoffs in 2018 and 2020.

The Colts finished 9-8 in 2021 but failed to make the postseason after a stunning loss to a 2-14 Jacksonville Jaguars team in the finale, and got off to a 3-5-1 start this season when Reich was dismissed on November 7.

Prior to taking over the Colts, Reich served as the offensive coordinator during the Philadelphia Eagles' 2017 championship season and was instrumental in the development of quarterback Carson Wentz, who finished third in MVP voting after throwing for 3,296 yards and 33 touchdowns in his second NFL campaign.

The Panthers own the number nine pick in this year's draft and are expected to strongly consider taking a young quarterback after finishing 27th in the NFL in passer rating while starting three players (Baker Mayfield, P.J. Walker, Sam Darnold) at the position.

Mayfield was ultimately released in December and Darnold is an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Reich fills a void created when Matt Ruhle was fired five games into the season after going 11-27 in two-plus years.

Interim coach Steve Wilks, who went 6-6 after Ruhle's ousting to move Carolina within one game of NFC South champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, reportedly was a finalist for the permanent job before team owner David Tepper decided on Reich.

According to NFL.com, Wilks is expected to pursue other opportunities and will not remain on staff.

The Panthers are the first of five teams that let go of head coaches during or after the 2022 season to name a replacement. The Colts, the Arizona Cardinals, the Denver Broncos and the Houston Texans are still looking to fill vacancies. 

The New England Patriots are aiming to fend off the Cleveland Browns and the Carolina Panthers by extending inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo's contract.

While Cleveland are looking for a new defensive coordinator after firing Joe Woods, while the Panthers want a new head coach.

There appears little appetite from the Patriots' side to let linebackers coach Mayo leave, however, with a team statement confirming talks on a contract extension were under way.

"The Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick have begun contract extension discussions with Jerod Mayo that would keep him with the team long-term," read a statement released to the media.

Mayo has spent his entire senior career with the Patriots since he was drafted by New England in the 2008 draft.

He retired in 2016 after three successive seasons derailed by injury, but joined the coaching staff in 2019.

New England also confirmed they are on the search for an offensive coordinator after a disappointing campaign saw them miss out on the playoffs.

Tom Brady believes the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a knack for making life tough for themselves after coming from behind to beat the Carolina Panthers and claim the NFC South division on Sunday.

A 20-point fourth-quarter performance at Raymond James Stadium saw the Florida outfit storm home to take a 30-24 win, improving to 8-8 for the season.

It is a second straight division title for the Buccaneers, who will have the chance to finish the season with a winning record when they face the Atlanta Falcons in Week 18.

Brady, who threw for 432 yards and delivered three long touchdowns to Mike Evans, saw his side dig themselves out for the second week in a row, leaving him to ponder if they bring their struggles upon themselves.

"NFL games are tough to win, and we always figure out a way to keep them somehow exciting," he said afterwards. "I wish they wouldn't be as exciting as we made them.

"We've battled through a lot of tough things this year [but we are] happy to win the division. It's always tough to do it."

Head coach Todd Bowles concurred his team like to make things difficult, but acknowledged their success proved to be the ultimate prize, regardless of how they claimed it.

"Every year, you try to win the division, and we won the division," he added. "It doesn't matter how you win the division. My heart ain't got much left in it, but it feels great.

"We're in one spot we need to be. We can't get where we want to be unless we win the division. We won the division."

The Philadelphia Eagles again missed the chance to clinch the number one seed in the NFC as they were stunned 20-10 at home by the New Orleans Saints.

Philadelphia's offense was again without quarterback Jalen Hurts because of a shoulder injury and, after coming up short in a thriller with the Dallas Cowboys last week, the Eagles saw their attack sputter with backup Gardner Minshew under center.

The Saints, who went into the game still in the mix to win the NFC South, dominated time of possession in the first half and led 13-0 at the long break thanks a Taysom Hill one-yard touchdown run and a pair of Will Lutz field goals.

Philadelphia looked to have found the necessary spark when, after a Jake Elliott field goal got them on the board, Minshew and A.J. Brown connected for a 78-yard catch and run.

However, it proved a false dawn for the Eagles, whose defeat was essentially confirmed when Marshon Lattimore intercepted Minshew and returned the pick 11 yards for a touchdown as the four-time Pro Bowl corner returned from a 10-week injury absence.

The Saints' victory means the Eagles drop to 13-3, giving the Minnesota Vikings (12-3) and San Francisco 49ers (11-4) hope they could yet catch Philadelphia and win the race for the NFC's only first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

New Orleans can still reach the postseason, but the NFC South title is out of reach.

BUCS CLINCH SOUTH

The South is beyond the Saints because the Tampa Bay Buccaneers clinched it with a 30-24 victory over the Carolina Panthers.

Tampa Bay knew they would win the division with triumph, but trailed 21-10 after Sam Darnold's third touchdown pass of the game. However, having tossed a 63-yard touchdown to Mike Evans in the first half, Tom Brady hit on two further deep shots of 57 and 30 yards to complete a turnaround for the Bucs.

Evans' decisive hat-trick came after a run of 11 games without a touchdown, exploding for 207 yards from his 10 catches.

GIANTS BACK IN THE DANCE

The New York Giants will join NFC East rivals the Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs after they clinched a postseason berth for the first time since 2016 by routing the Indianapolis Colts 38-10.

Their win leaves just one NFC playoff berth up for grabs, and the Detroit Lions will be confident of grabbing it following their 41-10 blowout of the Chicago Bears. Meanwhile, Carson Wentz threw three interceptions as the Washington Commanders' hopes suffered a blow with a 24-10 home loss to the Cleveland Browns.

On the AFC side, the New England Patriots' held a Tua Tagovailoa-less Miami Dolphins offense in check in a 23-21 win that kept their Wild Card hopes, as well as those of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Las Vegas Raiders, alive.

The 2022 NFL season heads into its final two weeks with battles for the postseason and for playoff seeding set to go right to the wire.

Nine teams have already clinched their place in the postseason, and there are seven teams with clinching scenarios in Week 17.

That should make for a fascinating slate of games in which the finer details that often prove decisive will be even more critical.

In a week where so many have so much to play for, Stats Perform has picked out the biggest games of the week and used its advanced data to break down the key matchups that could settle their outcomes.

Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Win Probability: Buccaneers 72.9 per cent

Key Matchup: Panthers' run game vs. Tampa Bay defense

The Buccaneers know the task in front of them at Raymond James Stadium: win and, despite an extremely underwhelming season, and they are in the playoffs as champions of the dismal NFC South.

Lose and the Panthers will have the lead of the division with the tiebreaker over Tampa Bay heading into the final week of the regular season.

Carolina stunningly prevailed 21-3 over Tampa Bay in Week 7 and the key to that win will again likely determine whether the Panthers can complete the sweep.

The Panthers averaged 6.4 yards per rush in that victory and head into this game on the back of racking up 320 yards on the ground in a dominant win over the Detroit Lions.

While Carolina had success running the ball against Tampa Bay in the previous meeting, the Buccaneers remain one of the better teams in the NFL defending the ground game. Indeed, their run success rate allowed of 33.7 per cent is tied for the fourth-best in the NFL.

If the Bucs can take away the Carolina ground game and force Sam Darnold to win the game on his arm, Tampa Bay figure to be excellently positioned to claim victory and the fourth seed in the NFC playoffs.

Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers

Win Probability: Vikings 56.3 per cent

Key Matchup: Justin Jefferson vs. Jaire Alexander

Way back in Week 1, the Vikings cruised to a 23-7 win over the Packers that set the tone for hugely contrasting seasons. The Vikings have usurped the Packers as the dominant force in the NFC North, though each of their 11 wins since the season-opening defeat of Green Bay have been by one score.

Though the Vikings' ability to close out tight games has been extremely impressive, their inability to put teams away earlier gives them an air of vulnerability that Green Bay will look to exploit as the 7-8 Packers aim to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Still looking over their shoulders at the hottest team in football, the San Francisco 49ers, in the race for the second seed in the NFC, and within touching distance of the Philadelphia Eagles in the fight for the one seed, the Vikings have no shortage of motivation to make it two wins out of two against their biggest rivals this season.

Their simplest route to claiming a comfortable win over the Packers is to feed the man who shredded Green Bay in the season opener. Justin Jefferson had nine catches for 184 yards and two touchdowns in that contest and has continued to embellish his resume as arguably the best wide receiver in football in 2022.

No receiver in the NFL has more receptions of 20 yards or more than Jefferson's 27 this season, and the Packers will be desperate to try to limit his impact at Lambeau Field.

The debate in Week 1 surrounded whether the Packers should have had cornerback Jaire Alexander shadow Jefferson and he will surely look to match up with the Vikings star this time around.

While not performing at his All-Pro level of 2020, Alexander is 23rd among outside cornerbacks with at least 200 coverage snaps for burn rate, which measures how often a receiver wins his matchup with a defender on a play where he is targeted. Alexander has allowed receivers to win their matchup on 33 of his 72 targets for a burn rate of 45.9 per cent.

Jefferson will still fancy he can get the better of Alexander and, coming off a strong performance against the Miami Dolphins, the latter's ability to contain one of the NFL's premier offensive weapons may have a significant bearing on whether the Packers are playing postseason football in the second full week of January.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Buffalo Bills

Win Probability: Bills 61.5 per cent

Key Matchup: Joe Burrow vs. Buffalo pass rush

The Bengals and Bills square off in one of the most significant Monday Night Football games in recent memory with both teams firmly in the mix for the one seed in the AFC.

Defeat for the Bills would likely give the Kansas City Chiefs, who face the Denver Broncos on Sunday, top spot going into Week 18, but it would also see the Bengals leapfrog them and put Cincinnati in position to potentially host two home playoff games. The Bengals also hold the tiebreaker over the Chiefs but are a game back on Kansas City.

Even with a win in Buffalo, the Bengals would likely need help from the Las Vegas Raiders against the Chiefs in Week 18 to top the AFC. Their path to keeping those hopes alive with victory in Orchard Park surrounds the man who propelled Cincinnati to the Super Bowl last season, Joe Burrow.

Though the Bengals' offensive line has improved this year, it still ranks 24th in pass block win rate. Buffalo's defense, missing Von Miller following his season-ending knee injury, is fourth in pass rush win rate.

It is a mismatch on paper, but one Burrow can negate with his ability to get the ball out quickly and accurately.

Only Tom Brady (2.35 seconds) has a quicker average time to throw from snap to release than Burrow (2.45 seconds) among quarterbacks with at least 200 pass attempts, and the Cincinnati quarterback has again been devastatingly accurate with his ball placement. He has delivered an accurate, well-thrown ball on 87.5 per cent of attempts, the third-best ratio in the league (min. 200 throws).

Burrow is a quarterback who in his still young pro career has shone while under the biggest spotlights. Both he and a Buffalo defense minus the player recruited in the offseason to help put the Bills over the top, will hope to prove they are ready to deliver in the pressure cooker of the playoffs by producing a decisive performance in a game that will go a long way to deciding how complicated each team's path becomes.

A host of teams can start 2023 on a high note by clinching an NFL playoff place in an eagerly awaited Week 17.

There are also divisional titles to be won on New Year's Day, with Tom Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers within touching distance of winning the NFC South ahead of a clash against the Carolina Panthers.

The Seattle Seahawks and the New York Jets lock horns scenting a spot in the postseason, while the Miami Dolphins could seal a playoff berth when they do battle with the New England Patriots.

Here Stats Perform used its data to preview the biggest games with plenty at stake at the beginning of a new year.


SUNDAY (all times EST)

Panthers (6-9) at Buccaneers (7-8) 1pm

The Buccaneers can clinch the NFC South title for a second straight season if they beat the Panthers, a feat they have never previously achieved.

After a 21-3 win in Week 7, the Panthers are going for the season sweep of the Buccaneers for the first time since 2017. That was also the last season they made the playoffs.

Tampa Bay beat the Arizona Cardinals 19-16 in their final game of 2022. The Buccaneers have scored 21 or fewer points in all seven of their wins this season. 

Carolina overcame the Detroit Lions 37-23 in Week 16 behind 320 yards rushing and 250 yards passing. They were the first NFL team with 300 rush yards and 250 pass yards in a game since the San Francisco 49ers in Week 12, 2012.

Jets (7-8) at Seahawks (7-8) 4.05pm

The Seahawks have dominated the Jets in recent years, winning all four games against them since 2005 and conceding only 30 points in the process. That is just 7.5 points per game, which is the fewest allowed by any NFL team against a single opponent over that time.

Pete Carroll is in his 17th season as an NFL head coach and has never missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons. The Seattle boss is the only head coach in NFL history to coach at least 15 seasons in the league and never have consecutive seasons in which he did not lead his team to the playoffs.

DK Metcalf has had at least five receptions in eight straight games, tied with John L. Williams (1989-90) and Brian Blades (1995) for the longest streak in Seahawks franchise history.

The Jets are allowing 10.8 fewer points per game than they did last season (29.6 to 18.8), on pace to be the second-largest season-to-season improvement in the NFL in the past 40 years behind the 2000-01 Rams (29.4 to 17.1, -12.3). 

Dolphins (8-7) @ Patriots (7-8) - 1pm

New England are due a win over the Dolphins, who have beaten them in four consecutive games - the last of which was a 20-7 success in Week 1.

Miami are the only team to beat the Patriots four times in a row since Bill Belichick took over as head coach of the Patriots in 2000. With a loss this week, Miami would join Tennessee as the only teams this season with a winning streak of at least five games and a losing streak of at least five games.

Tua Tagovailoa posted a career-high 12.4 yards per pass attempt in last week's loss to the Green Bay Packers. It was the highest yards-per-attempt in a loss by a starting Dolphins quarterback in team history. He misses out this week due to concussion, though, so Teddy Bridgewater steps in.

New England’s comeback bid fell short in a 22-18 loss to the Bengals last week. The Patriots have lost nine straight games when trailing after three quarters, with only the Panthers (41 straight losses) and Seahawks (13 straight) having longer active streaks.

MONDAY

Bills (12-3) @ Bengals (11-4) - 8.30pm

The Bills know they will get a first-round bye in the playoffs if they see off the Bengals and the Kansas City Chiefs lose to the Denver Broncos. Following Cincinnati's win over the Bills in the 1988 AFC Championship Game, the Bills won 10 straight in this series. Since then, Cincinnati are 4-2 against Buffalo, with the most recent meeting resulting in a 21-17 Buffalo win in Week 3, 2019.

The Bills beat the Bears 35-13 in Chicago last week, extending their winning run to six games. Buffalo have scored at least 20 points in each of those wins – they have just two longer streaks of wins with 20+ points – a nine-game streak in 1964 and a seven-game streak in 1990.

The Bengals' road win over the Patriots extended their winning streak to seven games, one shy of tying the franchise record of eight – achieved in the first eight games of the 2015 season (also an eight-game streak spanning the 1970 and 1971 seasons).

Joe Burrow had 375 passing yards last week, his second-highest total of the season. It was his seventh career game with at least 350 passing yards, fourth most in the NFL since 2020 behind Tom Brady (13), Patrick Mahomes (12) and Josh Allen (9). 

Elsewhere...

The Denver Broncos start life after Nathaniel Hackett with a tough trip to take on the Kansas City Chiefs in their first game since the head coach's firing. The Chiefs have won 14 straight games against the Broncos dating back to the 2015 season. Just five teams in NFL history have beaten another team 15 times in a row, with the last team to do so being the Patriots against the Bills from 2003 to 2010.  

The Philadelphia Eagles host the New Orleans Saints knowing they can clinch the NFC East and the number one seed in their conference with a win.

The Eagles are 11-3 (.786) all-time at home against the Saints, which includes an active three-game winning streak. That is the Eagles' third-best home record against any opponent all-time (3-0 versus the Texans and 6-1 versus the Broncos). 

A playoff place is in the New York Giants' sights as they prepare to take on the Indianapolis Colts. 

The Colts have won four straight games against the Giants, with the most recent win coming in Week 16 of 2018 with a 28-27 home victory.

There appears to be no stopping the San Francisco 49ers, who can win a ninth game in a row when they take on the Las Vegas Raiders. The 49ers are the only NFL team in the Super Bowl era to win eight straight games in a single season while holding their opponents to fewer than 80 rushing yards in each victory.

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