Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes told reporters on Tuesday he is confident in Jared Goff's ability to be the team's starting quarterback going forward.

Goff arrived in Detroit prior to the 2021 season as the Los Angeles Rams attached him to two first-round draft picks and a third-rounder to swap quarterbacks, bringing Matthew Stafford to the Rams where he guided them to a Super Bowl win in his first season.

The Rams were essentially dumping Goff – who has a Super Bowl appearance himself – but he has reinvigorated his career with a stunning bounceback campaign.

Starting all 17 games, Goff threw for 4,438 yards with 29 touchdowns and seven interceptions, setting new franchise-records for lowest interception rate (1.2 per cent) and highest touchdown-to-interception ratio (4.14).

League-wide, Goff finished fifth in QBR (61.2), fifth in touchdown passes, sixth in passing yards, tied for sixth in yards-per-completion, and 27th in sacks taken.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Holmes indicated the Lions will not look for a new starting quarterback in the offseason.

"I think it's a lot easier to get worse at quarterback than to get better in this league," he said. 

"So, I think what Jared has done this year, he captained the ship of a top-three offense, and he was top-10 statistically in most of the passing categories.

"Again, you know how we approach the draft, we're never going to turn down a good football player, so if it's a football player we love, we're going to make sure every stone is turned. But I do think that Jared has proven to everybody that he is the starting quarterback for us."

Lions head coach Dan Campbell provided similar commentary after defeating the Green Bay Packers in their season finale on Sunday.

"[Goff has] played great," he said. "He's really a perfect fit for what we do and what we ask.

"I think the true sign of a pro is somebody who can take the coaching. He can look at himself in the mirror, he knows where he needs to improve, he listens to what recommendations you have to get better, and he goes at it now. 

"He doesn't shy from it; he doesn't get sensitive. He just wants to be good. That's our quarterback."

On locker clean-out day Monday, Goff told reporters "I've loved my time here" and that while he has not been approached by the front office about his future with the franchise as he enters the final two years of his deal, he knows he is appreciated internally.

"It feels great, because I've been on the flip side of that," he said. "To be in a place where you are appreciated, it feels good. And again, these people here, it's just a special place and I'm proud to be a part of it."

Quay Walker has apologised for shoving a member of the Detroit Lions' training staff in the Green Bay Packers' season-ending loss on Sunday.

Needing only to win to reach the playoffs, the Packers suffered a surprise 20-16 defeat to the Lions at Lambeau Field.

Walker was disqualified on the Lions' go-ahead scoring drive in the fourth quarter after pushing a trainer as he attempted to tend to Detroit running back D'Andre Swift.

Former Packers running back Jamaal Williams scored his second rushing touchdown three plays later to put the Lions up for good, with Aaron Rodgers then intercepted on the next drive, allowing Detroit to kill the clock and Green Bay's hopes of an unlikely Super Bowl run.

Walker's show of ill-discipline was not his first of his rookie year, the first-round pick having also pushed a member of the Buffalo Bills' practice squad on the sideline after a play in the Packers' Week 8 loss.

In a post on Twitter, Walker wrote: "I want to apologise publicly about what happened Sunday night. I reacted off of my emotions again and take full responsibility of making another stupid decision.

"Since then I've questioned myself on why did I do what I did when the trainer was doing his job!! I was wrong!!

"I understand I have to face everything that comes with the decision I've made and I'm definitely paying for it now.

"Also to explain my frustration in the tunnel. I wasn't upset about being kicked out, I just knew I messed up again and was wrong for what I did and couldn't believe I did it again.

"To the Detroit Lions and to the entire training staff including the person I did that to. I'm sorry."

Four-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers will not rush into any decisions on his playing future after the Green Bay Packers missed the playoffs.

The Packers lost 20-16 to the Detroit Lions on Sunday at Lambeau Field.

The Packers had rallied from a 4-8 record by winning four straight games to set up a win-and-in situation against the Lions.

But Rodgers and Green Bay failed to uphold their end of the bargain, with the 39-year-old throwing a fourth-quarter interception on their last drive after the Lions had re-claimed the lead with Jamaal Williams' second rushing TD.

Rodgers is under contract for next season, but given his age and public comments, retirement has been a constant topic of discussion. The quarterback opted against being drawn on it in the immediate aftermath of the season-ending defeat.

"It's a little raw right now," Rodgers told reporters.

"It's just a little bit after the game, so I want to take the emotion out of it and have the conversation and see where the organisation is at and see how I feel after some time has passed.

"At some point, the carousel comes to a stop and it's time to get off, and I think you kind of know when that is.

"That's what needs to be contemplated. Is it time? Also, what’s the organisation doing? That's part of it as well. But the competitive fire is always going to be there. I don’t think that ever goes away."

Green Bay's loss was dotted with miscues including Rodgers' interception, along with a second-quarter Aaron Jones fumble and Quay Walker's inexplicable fourth-quarter ejection for pushing a Lions physician in the lead-up to Williams' game-winning TD.

The Packers missed the playoffs for the first time under head coach Matt LaFleur, who said: "Obviously very disappointed right now.

"To have an opportunity to go to the playoffs at home and not be able to get it done in that fashion is extremely disappointing.

"I do commend our locker room and our guys for their ability to overcome adversity throughout the course of the season.

"Ultimately, we dug ourselves too big of a hole and the margin for error in this league is so small, so if you don't capitalise on opportunities and make mistakes, then you're going to lose, especially against good football teams.

"You've got to give Detroit a tonne of credit, they came here and they beat us tonight. Certainly, like I said, [I am] extremely disappointed, but it's going to be a big offseason for us obviously to make sure we all improve.

"We've got to look inward to figure out what it is we need to do to get better, because the expectations here are very high and they should be. Really disappointed right now."

The Detroit Lions have denied the Green Bay Packers a place in the playoffs as Jamaal Williams broke the franchise rushing touchdowns record in a 20-16 victory at Lambeau Field on Sunday.

The result means the Seattle Seahawks will go into the Wild Card round as the seventh seed in the NFC where they will face the San Francisco 49ers.

Seattle's overtime win over the Los Angeles Rams shortly prior to kickoff meant the Lions were out of postseason contention but the Packers had a simple win-and-in scenario yet they could not complete the job.

The Packers, who had won four straight games coming in, miss the playoffs for the first time under head coach Matt LaFleur.

Veteran Packers QB Aaron Rodgers threw a fourth-quarter interception to Kerby Joseph after the Lions had re-taken the lead from Williams' second rushing TD. Lions quarterback Jared Goff sealed the win on a fourth-and-one with 1:15 remaining when he found D.J. Chark for first down.

Rodgers finished the game with one touchdown pass and one interception, completing 17 of 27 passes for 205 yards, while Goff threw for 224 yards on 23-of-34 passing.

Williams' game-winning touchdown, which was his 17th rushing TD for the season to surpass Barry Sanders' franchise record, came after Quay Walker was inexplicably ejected after pushing a Lions training staff member attending to the injured De'Andre Swift. It was the second time Walker has been ejected this season.

Lions running back Williams, who ran for 72 yards on 16 carries, had put the Lions ahead with a third quarter TD after Goff found Kalif Raymond for 43 yards, before Rodgers found Allen Lazard on a 13-yard TD pass to immediately re-claim the lead. Rodgers had linked up with Christian Watson for a 45-yard pass two plays prior, with the rookie having 104 yards from five receptions for the game.

The Packers were left to rue Rodgers' interception, Walker's disqualification and a second-quarter Aaron Jones' fumble.

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell is over the moon to be heading on the road next week to take on the Green Bay Packers with a spot in the playoffs potentially up for grabs.

The Lions bounced back from a loss last week to trounce the Chicago Bears 41-10 on Sunday, making it seven wins from their past nine fixtures and improving their record to 8-8.

There was also some history made by the second overall selection from the 2022 NFL Draft, with Lions edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson snagging his third interception to tie the record for the most by a defensive lineman in a season in the Super Bowl era.

Hutchinson also shared a sack with teammate Ifeatu Melifonwu, one of seven total sacks on Bears quarterback Justin Fields.

Speaking to reporters after the game, Campbell pointed to a fully padded practice on Wednesday as the rallying point for his side facing a tricky quarterback matchup with their season on the line.

"We went full pads on Wednesday and said we were going to get our identity back, and we're going to recalibrate, and those guys did that," he said.

"They trusted us, and they came out and it looked like that. It looked like we were ready to go, it looked like we were more physical. I was proud of them.

"Here's the hard thing with playing a guy like [Justin] Fields, man. If you just come barrelling off the edge, and you're out of control, then he's gone.

"So you have to be able to bring a little bit of force and close the pocket in on him, but you can't commit one way or another because he'll break contain again.

"While all this is happening, our back-end is having to cover their rear off for five, six, seven seconds at a time. You give up a couple of holding calls, that's not an easy task there.

"But all-in-all, I thought we snapped back on defense. We were much more physical, we got takeaways, we got sacks, we were disruptive."

Detroit's win keeps their season alive for at least one more week, and Campbell said he feels blessed to get a chance to play a massive January game at the famous Lambeau Field.

"I think it means everything," he said. "I think it's just so special – it's as good as it can get, seriously.

"You get to go to Lambeau – historic Lambeau – where the top of this division has been Green Bay every year for years, with a chance to earn your right to potentially get in.

"Even if we do get the win, it doesn't mean we're guaranteed to get in. But I know this, we're guaranteed to get one more week, and so I just think this is as special as it gets. I don't think you'd want it any other way."

The Lions will be relying on another strong performance from quarterback Jared Goff, who Campbell said is "extremely hot" after his three-touchdown effort.

"He has a ton of confidence right now, and he's had that for a while," he said. "He's played pretty well all year.

"You can just tell he's in this mode right now where you feel like every time you dial up a pass, he's going to find somebody. He's going to find the throw, he's going to get it to the guy that's open.

"That's a great feeling, man. To feel your quarterback is in that mode, and he's been there, that's a great feeling."

Goff himself has played in playoff games and took the Los Angeles Rams to a Super Bowl appearance, but he still acknowledged how meaningful it still is to just have a chance at making the postseason.

"It's huge," he said. "Not every team, players, young guys get an opportunity to play in games like this.

"There are a bunch of guys here who, for the first half of their careers, have not had a chance to play a game in January that means something, and we're going to get that chance next week.

"Whether it gets us in or not, that's not up to us, but we're going in there and trying to win, and see where everything falls at the end."

The Philadelphia Eagles may have already won the NFC East and will enter Week 16 without quarterback Jalen Hurts, but a clash with the Dallas Cowboys remains the standout game on the slate.

While the Cowboys' attempts to stick with the Eagles this year were hampered by their road form, Dallas are strong at home and will hope to send a warning to their division rivals ahead of a playoff campaign in which both teams will hope to feature prominently.

Elsewhere, the Kansas City Chiefs have work to do still as they aim, like the Eagles, to secure a bye with the number one seed in the AFC.

But it is not all about the NFL's leading lights, with the battle for position ahead of the postseason ongoing – with a big game in store in Charlotte.

Stats Perform picks out the key facts ahead of a busy Christmas weekend...
 

Philadelphia Eagles (13-1) @ Dallas Cowboys (10-4)

In beating the Chicago Bears last week, the Eagles secured a 13th win in a single season for only the third time in franchise history. On the two previous occasions, Philly finished with a 13-3 record and reached the Super Bowl, losing to the New England Patriots in the 2004 season and beating the same team in 2017.

The Eagles have never won 14 games in a regular season and will be without injured QB Hurts as they aim to end a four-game losing streak in Dallas.

But the Cowboys are coming into this big home game on a downer, having blown a 17-point lead against the Jacksonville Jaguars last week for their first loss in five.

That game also again showed big QB performances can sometimes prove immaterial, with Dak Prescott throwing for 256 yards and three touchdowns. The Cowboys are 1-2 this season when Prescott has thrown three or more TD passes and only 7-6 since 2020. Prior to that, they were 13-3 in such games.

Seattle Seahawks (7-7) @ Kansas City Chiefs (11-3)

Patrick Mahomes and Geno Smith each earned Pro Bowl selections this week – a fifth for Mahomes but only a first for Smith. Both were well deserved, with the pair third and second respectively for passer rating among qualifying players this year (Smith, 105.3, and Mahomes, 105.0).

However, Mahomes will look to do something he has never done before on Saturday: beat the Seahawks. Having lost 38-31 to Seattle in his only previous such clash in 2018, they are one of just two teams Mahomes has played but never beaten (also 0-2 against the Indianapolis Colts).

Smith, who has never faced the Chiefs, leads the NFC with 26 touchdown passes as he aims to follow Russell Wilson (2017 and 2018) and Matt Hasselbeck (2005) as the only Seahawks to lead the conference across a season. However, with eight interceptions and four fumbles lost by Smith, Seattle are the sole team in the league to have committed a turnover in every game this year.

Detroit Lions (7-7) @ Carolina Panthers (5-9)

The Lions' stunning 6-1 run, including an active three-game winning streak, has them firmly in playoff contention in the NFC. The last time they won six out of seven games in a single season, back in 2016, was also the last time they made the postseason.

However, the Lions have a miserable history against the Panthers. Their 3-7 record in this matchup is their worst against any current NFC franchise, while Detroit are 0-5 on the road against the Panthers since winning on their first trip in 1999.

With Jared Goff in the best form of his career, the Lions will hope to snap that streak. He has gone six games without an interception, which ties the longest such streak by a Lions QB since the statistic was first tracked in 1960. Goff had never previously gone more than three games without throwing a pick.

Elsewhere...

The Bears this week face the Buffalo Bills, the only team in the Super Bowl era to have lost more consecutive games with 125 or more rushing yards in each loss. Chicago have lost seven in a row, but the 1976 Bills were defeated in 10. With 2,616 rushing yards but a 3-11 record, the Bears are on course to become the first team to lead the league in rushing yards yet have one of the worst two records since the 1932 Staten Island Stapletons.

Recent history suggests the Minnesota Vikings will follow up last week's record-breaking comeback against the Colts with another win over the New York Giants. The Vikings' 7-2 record against the Giants since 2005 is their best against NFC opposition and New York's worst.

The Patriots will have to upset the Cincinnati Bengals to get their playoff bid back on track, yet they have won their past seven home games in this matchup, including the last four while scoring at least 35 points. The last team to win five in a row at home to any one team while scoring 35 points or more were the San Francisco 49ers against the Atlanta Falcons between 1992 and 1996.

Tua Tagovailoa will be relieved this week's game against the Green Bay Packers is in Miami and not Wisconsin. Following last week's defeat to Buffalo, the Dolphins QB is 0-4 in starts when the weather is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit; he is 17-7 when the temperature is at least 50 degrees.

Quarterback Jared Goff was happy to "win ugly" after the Detroit Lions beat the New York Jets 20-17 on Sunday for a sixth victory in seven games.

The win improves the Lions' record to an improbable 7-7 after beginning the season 1-6, and they are now even in the win column with the Washington Commanders (7-5-1) and New York Giants (7-5-1) in the NFC Wild Card race.

Against the Jets – who also fell to 7-7 with their loss – the Lions scored the winning touchdown with under two minutes remaining when Brock Wright found himself wide open for a 51-yard catch-and-run.

It was the sixth game in a row without an interception for Goff, who tossed his 23rd touchdown of the season in the win for his best return since his 32 in 2018. He also boasts the second-best QBR of his career, with his 62.8 figure also only trailing his 2018 mark of 63.6.

Speaking to the media after the game, Goff said the Lions have turned a corner and now have complete faith in their ability to win close games.

"A lot of these close games are starting to lean more towards us than they are towards them," he said. "And that hasn't always been the case around here.

"We fully believe in each other, we just know someone is going to make a play and do something right and that's half the battle.

"They're [the Jets] really good – they're one of the top five or six defenses in the league for a reason. They're really good at creating pressure with just four guys, really good at mixing up coverages, really aggressive. Both corners are really good, both safeties are really good – it's a good group.

"They challenged us for most of that game, and we're happy to be able to come away with it."

He went on to talk about the optics of the result, Goff insisting he is only concerned with the final score.

"You'd rather win ugly than lose pretty," he said. "There were times earlier in the year where we were winning pretty in certain situations, and then kind of let it fall away from us at the end.

"I think that's totally flipped to where we're at now. We've won some games recently pretty handily, but we've also won some close games, and some games on the road that we had to pull out.

"Things had to go our way – is it going our way, or are we making a play? I lean towards making a play… we're starting to learn how to win, and how to win consistently. This is a good, mature team now."

Head coach Dan Campbell made sure to point out the efforts of pass rusher Romeo Okwara, who finished with two sacks after returning from a torn Achilles last week.

"It means a lot to have Romeo back," he said. "Just to have him in the fold with us. 

"He's an unbelievable locker room guy, hard worker and then on top of that to have his length. He plays the run well and he can rush the passer. He was better than he was last week... and I'd anticipate him even better next week."

The Lions will have a chance to continue their terrific form when they travel to take on the 5-9 Carolina Panthers next week.

Quarterback Jared Goff was happy to "win ugly" after the Detroit Lions beat the New York Jets 20-17 on Sunday for a sixth victory in seven games.

The win improves the Lions' record to an improbable 7-7 after beginning the season 1-6, and they are now even in the win column with the Washington Commanders (7-5-1) and New York Giants (7-5-1) in the NFC Wild Card race.

Against the Jets – who also fell to 7-7 with their loss – the Lions scored the winning touchdown with under two minutes remaining when Brock Wright found himself wide open for a 51-yard catch-and-run.

It was the sixth game in a row without an interception for Goff, who tossed his 23rd touchdown of the season in the win for his best return since his 32 in 2018. He also boasts the second-best QBR of his career, with his 62.8 figure also only trailing his 2018 mark of 63.6.

Speaking to the media after the game, Goff said the Lions have turned a corner and now have complete faith in their ability to win close games.

"A lot of these close games are starting to lean more towards us than they are towards them," he said. "And that hasn't always been the case around here.

"We fully believe in each other, we just know someone is going to make a play and do something right and that's half the battle.

"They're [the Jets] really good – they're one of the top five or six defenses in the league for a reason. They're really good at creating pressure with just four guys, really good at mixing up coverages, really aggressive. Both corners are really good, both safeties are really good – it's a good group.

"They challenged us for most of that game, and we're happy to be able to come away with it."

He went on to talk about the optics of the result, Goff insisting he is only concerned with the final score.

"You'd rather win ugly than lose pretty," he said. "There were times earlier in the year where we were winning pretty in certain situations, and then kind of let it fall away from us at the end.

"I think that's totally flipped to where we're at now. We've won some games recently pretty handily, but we've also won some close games, and some games on the road that we had to pull out.

"Things had to go our way – is it going our way, or are we making a play? I lean towards making a play… we're starting to learn how to win, and how to win consistently. This is a good, mature team now."

Head coach Dan Campbell made sure to point out the efforts of pass rusher Romeo Okwara, who finished with two sacks after returning from a torn Achilles last week.

"It means a lot to have Romeo back," he said. "Just to have him in the fold with us. 

"He's an unbelievable locker room guy, hard worker and then on top of that to have his length. He plays the run well and he can rush the passer. He was better than he was last week... and I'd anticipate him even better next week."

The Lions will have a chance to continue their terrific form when they travel to take on the 5-9 Carolina Panthers next week.

The Dallas Cowboys missed the chance to clinch a playoff berth as they suffered a stunning overtime loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, who claimed a thrilling 40-34 win on a pick-six from Rayshawn Jenkins.

Dallas led 27-10 in the third quarter with a postseason place within their grasp, and had the chance to punch their ticket late in regulation despite 2021 first overall pick Trevor Lawrence leading a Jaguars turnaround with touchdown passes of 59 yards and three yards to Zay Jones, which were sandwiched by a 10-yard toss to Marvin Jones Jr.

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott spun out of the pocket and found a diving Noah Brown for a 13-yard connection that marked Brown's second touchdown catch of the day and restored the Cowboys' lead with just over three minutes remaining.

Lawrence then fumbled on an 11-yard scramble as the Jaguars tried to respond to seemingly gift the game to Dallas, only for the Cowboys to quickly go three and out and hand the Jags a final chance to tie the game.

They did just that as Lawrence hit Zay Jones again for 19 yards with five seconds remaining to set up a 48-yard Riley Patterson field goal, which levelled matters at 34-34.

An engrossing quarterback duel between one of the NFL's best and one of its future stars was settled by an interception as Prescott's short third-down pass bounced off Brown's hands and into the grasp of Jenkins, who sprinted 52 yards the other way to seal a remarkable win.

The Jags improve to 6-8, just a game back in the win column of the AFC South-leading Tennessee Titans, while the 10-4 Cowboys are still likely to make the playoffs but have a mountain to climb to win the NFC East, where they trail the Philadelphia Eagles by three games.

Chiefs, Eagles survive scares

The Kansas City Chiefs stunningly struggled to put away the one-win Houston Texans with the chance to clinch a seventh successive AFC West title.

It looked as if they may fall victim to the biggest upset of the season when Harrison Butker missed a game-winning 51-yard field goal to force overtime and Patrick Mahomes was sacked to give Houston the ball. However, Davis Mills fumbled the ball back to Kansas City on Houston's first offensive snap of the extra period, setting up Jerick McKinnon to seal a 30-24 win with a 26-yard walk-off touchdown run.

The Eagles were not pushed quite as far by the Chicago Bears, but another impressive dual-threat showing from Justin Fields meant the NFC's number one seed had to work hard for a 25-20 win, their 13th of a spectacular campaign, which was secured when A.J. Brown made his ninth catch of 181-yard display to convert on third down and allow Philadelphia to kill the clock.

Lions' surge continues as Jets let time run out

The Detroit Lions' hopes of an unlikely playoff berth were boosted once again as they claimed a dramatic sixth win in seven games to improve to 7-7.

Detroit dented the New York Jets' postseason prospects with a 20-17 win at MetLife Stadium, Jared Goff's 51-yard touchdown pass to Brock Wright on fourth down with 109 seconds remaining proving decisive.

The Jets, starting Zach Wilson once more in place of the injured Mike White, were left to rue poor clock management on the final drive, with Wilson's improvised 20-yard cross-field completion to Elijah Moore only progressing them to Detroit's 40-yard line with one second remaining. Greg Zuerlein's 58-yard field goal attempt drifted well wide, dropping the Jets to 7-7 after a 6-3 start.

Ever since Dan Campbell took to the podium for his introductory press conference in Detroit and made eyebrow-raising statements about biting the kneecaps of opponents, the Lions have had a strong following as the 'second favourite team' of many in the NFL world.

Their reputation in that regard has been furthered by Campbell's aggressive decision-making and the impressive way in which he and his staff have developed their young talent.

But eventually, rebuilds – like the one the Lions started when they traded franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams for a host of draft picks – must yield results.

When the Lions dropped to 1-6 with a home defeat to the Miami Dolphins in Week 8, it was fair to question if Campbell was the right man to lead a rebuild.

Since then, the Lions have won five of their last six games and, in a top-heavy NFC, are now in with a shout of sneaking into the playoffs as a Wild Card.

With only one of their final four opponents owning a winning record, the Lions look well-placed to complete an unlikely run to the postseason. However, if they get there, will Detroit be a threat?

Looking solely at the offense, there is plenty of reason to suggest the Lions can challenge to spring a first-round upset.

The Lions rank seventh in the NFL by yards per play (5.86) and possess an exciting combination of a well-rounded running back room and an explosive downfield passing game.

Detroit's offense has produced 46 pass plays of 20 or more yards, the fourth-most in the NFL, while the running back combo of D'Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams has delivered both efficiency and potency. Swift's average of 5.36 yards per carry is the fifth-best among backs with at least 50 carries and Williams leads the league with 14 rushing touchdowns.

The mix of an effective ground game and an aerial attack featuring a legitimate number one receiver in Amon-Ra St. Brown, whose presence is supplemented by that of D.J. Chark and the return of rookie speedster Jameson Williams from a knee injury suffered in his final college game has turned the Lions' offense into an extremely difficult one to stop, with quarterback Jared Goff - acquired as part of the Stafford trade - facilitating their outstanding production with a remarkable renaissance.

Cast off by the Rams when viewed as a quarterback Los Angeles won in spite of, Goff has been one of the best signal-callers in the NFL when defenses know he is passing.

Indeed, as of Week 14, Goff was averaging 0.96 yards over expected in expected passing situations, putting him sixth among quarterbacks with at least 100 such plays.

The Lions can run the ball well and they can produce through the air when everyone knows what is coming, but there are clear weaknesses that figure to be exploited in the postseason.

Detroit's offensive line, was 23rd in pass block win rate heading into Week 15. In a postseason where they could face the fearsome defensive lines of the San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles, an inability to protect Goff would obviously be a huge detriment to the Lions.

And the Lions' defense would also be a massive concern heading into a potential postseason campaign. The Lions rank last in the NFL in yards per play allowed, giving up an average of 6.22.

But that defense has stiffened in recent weeks and has shown a habit for making game tilting plays. Since firing their defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant on October 31, the Lions are second in takeaways (11) and tied-fourth in points off takeaways (28), with rookie second overall pick Aidan Hutchinson, who has seven sacks on the season, enjoying an increasing influence in stopping the drives of opposing offenses as he did in last week's victory over the 10-win Minnesota Vikings.

The defeat of Minnesota represents the signature win of a team few had anticipated would be in position to play in the second week of January. The Lions were also unfortunate not to beat the Buffalo Bills on Thanksgiving, but that narrow 28-25 loss arguably represented a more accurate representation of where they are in their evolution.

The Lions can trouble the league's elite, but they still have too many holes to be considered a threat to do damage in the postseason. Still, in year two of the Campbell era, that is a place Detroit should be more than happy to be.

Doctors with the New York Jets will not clear quarterback Mike White from his rib injury, forcing the team to turn back to Zach Wilson as the starter under center this week.

White suffered an unspecified injury to his ribs during last week’s 20-12 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

After undergoing treatment and practising all week, he had planned to play in Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions, but he will instead be held back by the team’s medical staff.

On Thursday, White was asked by reporters if he had any doubts that he would be starting on Sunday, and replied: "No, no, none at all."

Speaking on Friday, however, Jets coach Robert Saleh said: "Mike White, who is an absolute warrior and has been doing everything he can this week to find another option to get him on the football field, to find someone who will clear him for contact, has exhausted every measure he can because he wants to be out there for his team-mates."

With White ruled out, the Jets turn to Wilson, who has been inactive for the last three games after being benched.

Wilson has started 20 games for the Jets since being selected No. 2 overall out of BYU in 2021. New York are 8-12 in those games, and Wilson has completed just 55.6 per cent of his passes, with 13 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.

The 7-6 Jets remain in the playoff hunt in the AFC but are looking to end a two-game skid on Sunday when they host the Lions, who have won five of their last six games and are also fighting for a playoff spot at 6-7.

Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell says he did not realise he had called their match-sealing play against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday as he was distracted by the crowd's wave.   The Michigan outfit moved second in NFC North, improving to a 6-7 record, with a 34-23 win over their high-flying rivals at Ford Field.   The game was sealed by offensive tackle Penei Sewell's catch two minutes into the fourth quarter, following a trick play to outsmart the defense.   But Campbell has now revealed he initially had not called the move, having been caught up in the atmosphere when offensive coordinator Ben Johnson pressed him for his approval.   "These things happen during the game," he told The Pat McAfee Show. "We're in that situation and the fans are doing the wave around the stadium.   "I'm just watching and I hear Ben Johnson's like, 'Hey Coach, do you want to brr, brr, brr ...'. I'm so focused on the wave and I said, 'Yeah, that's fine.'

"I look up, and we're throwing it to Penei, and I'm like, 'What the f*** are we doing?' They said, 'Coach, you said it was fine.' But it worked out great. It was unbelievable."

With back-to-back wins for just the second time this season, the Lions have overseen a dramatic turnaround in recent weeks, winning five of their last six games to bolster their playoff hopes.

They next make the trip to face the New York Jets on Sunday, before a Christmas Eve clash with the Carolina Panthers.

Aidan Hutchinson hailed the Detroit Lions' "unmatched" chemistry as they furthered hope of what once looked an unlikely playoff push with victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

Eyebrows were raised in the build-up to the Week 14 encounter when the Lions were installed by bookmakers as the favourites against a 10-win Vikings team that would have clinched the NFC North title with a win.

But the Lions backed up that status with a hugely impressive display in a 34-23 win that improved their record to 6-7.

The Lions are 1.5 games back on the New York Giants in the final Wild Card spot and hold the tiebreaker over New York having beaten the Giants in a run that has seen them win five of their last six after a 1-6 start.

Hutchinson was the second overall pick of the Lions in this year's draft and produced another strong showing, registering a sack to take him to seven for his rookie year.

"The chemistry we've got right now, it's kind of unmatched," Hutchinson told Peter King for Football Morning in America.

"We're so complementary right now offensively and defensively and we never flinch at the end."

The Lions have long since been something of an NFL punchline, having failed to win a playoff game since the 1991 season.

But Hutchinson, who was born in nearby Plymouth, Michigan and played his college football at the University of Michigan, believes this Lions team is shedding that tag.

"It's no longer the same old Lions," Hutchinson added. "We've overcome that. Now we're on our way to becoming a really good football team.

"I got the chance to come somewhere and be part of coming alive and building a great team.

"I just wanted to come into the season and learn something every single game and make strides every game. I'm happy with my development so far."

The Dallas Cowboys were the biggest favourites on Sunday, but they needed a touchdown drive in the final minute to defeat the Houston Texans 27-23.

Dallas entered the game at 9-3, coming off a 54-19 pounding of the Indianapolis Colts, while the Texans were 1-10-1 and coasting towards the number one pick in the NFL Draft.

The Cowboys entered the game as 17-point favourites, but the game did not follow the script, with Houston hanging 20 points on one of the league's best defenses in just the first half.

They did it with a touchdown run from rookie Dameon Pierce, before backup quarterback Jeff Driskel came in and threw a 28-yard score to Amari Rodgers, and a pair of Ka'imi Fairbairn field goals gave them a 20-17 lead at the break.

Tony Pollard had both of the Cowboys' first-half trips to the end zone – one through the air and one on the ground – before the second half turned into a defensive struggle, with no touchdowns until the final 46 seconds.

Trailing by three, the Cowboys got the ball back on the two-yard line with 3:20 on the clock, marching 98 yards down the field in 11 plays, culminating in a two-yard, game-winning rushing touchdown from Ezekiel Elliott to spare his side any embarrassment.

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott ended up completing 24 of his 39 passes for 284 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, while receiver Chris Moore was a standout for the Texans with 10 catches for 124 yards.

Eagles run up the score

The Philadelphia Eagles showed no mercy on their way to a dominant 48-22 demolition of the New York Giants, improving their league-best record to 12-1.

All of the Eagles' offensive stars got in on the act, starting with potential MVP Jalen Hurts, who threw for 217 yards and two touchdowns, while adding a rushing touchdown with his seven carries for 77 yards.

Running back Miles Sanders racked up 144 yards and two touchdowns from his 17 carries, while their two top receivers – A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith – were on the receiving end of both of Hurts' touchdown passes.

The Eagles' defense also collected seven sacks, with three to Brandon Graham, to leave the Giants (7-4-1) with three losses and a tie from their past four outings.

Lions keep their playoff hopes alive

The Detroit Lions have now won five of their past six after defeating the NFC North-leading Minnesota Vikings 34-23.

Jared Goff played arguably his best game of the season, taking no sacks and committing no turnovers while passing for 330 yards and three touchdowns, with D.J. Chark enjoying a terrific day on the outside for 94 yards and a touchdown from his six catches.

It was a day to remember for first-round draft pick Jameson Williams, as the first catch of his NFL career went for a 41-yard touchdown, having only made his debut last week after beginning the season with a torn ACL.

The Lions are now 6-7, and are well and truly in the NFC wildcard hunt, only one game off the pace.

Two-time Super Bowl champion Von Miller is expected to undergo an MRI after exiting Thursday's 28-25 Buffalo Bills win over the Detroit Lions with a knee injury.

Miller appeared to bend his knee awkwardly after he had his foot stepped on as he tried to get to Lions quarterback Jared Goff.

The Pro Bowl outside linebacker was able to limp off but spent time in the medical tent before being carted to the locker room.

Bills head coach Sean McDermott was unclear about the extent of Miller's knee issue, which forced him out of the game with less than three minutes left in the first half.

"I don't know," McDermott told reporters when asked about Miller's status. "I only connected with [head athletic trainer] Nate [Breske] at half-time, so I don't have anything to give you on that."

Miller was spotted leaving the X-ray room at Ford Field but was not wearing a moon boot nor using crutches.

The 33-year-old, who joined the Bills in the offseason from the Los Angeles Rams, has a team-high eight sacks this season. He entered Week 12 ranked second in the NFL with 37 pressures.

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