The neutral has plenty to be thankful for in this thrilling 2021 NFL season.

But all that drama, driven by a series of stunning against-the-odds upsets, can make life miserable for fantasy players, even at this celebratory time of year.

Want to maintain your cheer through another seemingly unpredictable slate of games this Thanksgiving week? Turn to Stats Perform for the below data-powered picks.

Quarterback: Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants

The Eagles head into Week 12 rejuvenated, having won three of their past four games to improve to 5-6 ahead of a big NFC East matchup. Those three wins have all had one thing in common: Philadelphia have exceeded 200 yards rushing.

This run-heavy approach – with a league-high 49.6 rush percentage – wisely plays to the strengths of quarterback Hurts, who had three rushing scores last week against the New Orleans Saints as he surpassed 50 yards on the ground for the fifth straight game.

That was Hurts' 15th QB start. He ranks second through 15 QB starts since 1950 for rushing touchdowns (11 – behind Cam Newton, 14) and second through 15 QB starts since 1960 for rushing yards (890 – behind Lamar Jackson, 1,193).

The Giants – reeling from a bad defeat to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – have given up 4.38 yards per rush play, ranking a mediocre 19th, and have not yet played any of the six best offenses in that regard. The Eagles' offense (4.99 yards per rush), led by Hurts, sits third and will be eyeing further big gains.

Running back: Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Mixon is already enjoying a career year with nine rushing TDs, and the 2021 season might be about to get a whole lot better for the running back – and any fantasy players who can count on him – as the Bengals face an injury-ravaged Steelers defense.

Pittsburgh have now given up the most yards per rush play (4.76) after a tough two weeks in which their roster was hit by absences and it showed on the field. The winless Detroit Lions tallied 229 rushing yards and two TDs in their Week 10 tie, before the Los Angeles Chargers averaged 6.12 yards per rush as Austin Ekeler's two scores headlined a Week 11 win.

Mixon, who has rushing TDs in four straight games and last week ran for over 100 yards for the first time since Week 1, should get free rein against a Steelers defense that successfully disrupts the run on just 24.62 per cent of attempts.

Even if Pittsburgh can fix a problem that has persisted throughout the season and got worse of late, Mixon ranks 12th among running backs (min. 10 carries) with 3.74 yards per carry on disrupted runs.

Wide receiver: Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers vs. Minnesota Vikings

A significant shift towards a run-heavy approach – the 49ers averaged 25.6 rushes per game through Week 9 but 43.0 per game since – would be an issue for most wide receivers, but Samuel is not most wide receivers.

It is his versatility that has helped accommodate a change that has potentially brought San Francisco back into contention.

Samuel caught only one pass against the Jacksonville Jaguars last week but rushed for 79 yards and a TD in the absence of injured rookie Elijah Mitchell. The previous week, with Mitchell involved against the Los Angeles Rams, Samuel had rushing and receiving scores in the same game for the first time in his career.

With the Vikings' rush defense matching the Steelers' in giving up 4.76 yards per rush, expect Samuel and the Niners to run the ball again and do it well.

Tight end: Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Pitts is the sixth-most targeted tight end this season (69) but has the third-most receiving yards (635), boosted massively by 100-yard games against the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins either side of the Falcons' Week 6 bye.

The schedule slowed that momentum somewhat – Atlanta were held to three points across defeats to the Dallas Cowboys and the New England Patriots – but a trip to Jacksonville gives Pitts the opportunity to put his name up in lights once again.

The Jaguars have given up 7.20 yards per pass play in 2021, meaning this is unlikely to be the defense to keep Pitts in check. He has got open on 34.41 per cent of his 93 matchups, up on the tight end average of 18.10 per cent.

Defense: New England Patriots vs. Tennessee Titans

The Titans head into this week as the top seed in the AFC, but the Patriots may well take that spot from them over the next two weeks, hosting Tennessee before going to the Buffalo Bills in Monday Night Football.

While Mac Jones is enjoying a fine rookie year at QB, it will be New England's defense that puts them in contention, having given up only 5.07 yards per play while securing 21 total takeaways – ranking third in both regards.

And the Pats will expect to dominate the Titans, whose injury list has only grown since Derrick Henry went down. A.J. Brown is the latest offensive weapon to be unhealthy, while Julio Jones is not expected back for another two weeks.

These problems contributed to a woeful defeat to the Houston Texans last time out, when Ryan Tannehill threw four picks. Elsewhere in Week 10, New England caught four interceptions against the Falcons.

Josh Allen vowed the Buffalo Bills will be better for their stunning loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, for which he placed the blame on his shoulders.

The Bills were heavy favourites to move to 6-2 against a Jaguars team that came into the game 1-7 and without a win in the United States since Week 1 of last season.

But Allen and the Bills' offense were stifled by a superb performance from a much-maligned Jaguars defense as Jacksonville claimed a remarkable 9-6 win.

Allen was part of an unwanted piece of history for the Bills quarterback, who saw Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen sack him, intercept a pass and recover one of his fumbles.

It was the first time any such plays had taken place between two players with the same name.

And Allen felt the Jaguars and his namesake were worthy of the victory in a game in which he was sacked four times and intercepted twice.

"Credit to them, they wanted it more. I put the ball in danger too often, bit us in the butt," Allen told a media conference. 

"We played like s*** and it starts with me. This loss stings, but I'll tell you that this one makes the other games feel better, having this pit in our stomach right now puts things into perspective.

"It's a week-to-week league, any given Sunday any team can come out here and play well and beat the other team, that's just how it goes, it's life sometimes, we'll use this to our advantage, we'll be better from it.

"I don't want to lose, I don't want to lose games. I feel like I could have played better. I could have helped our team and put us in better situations, and I didn't.

"So, I'm frustrated with myself more so than anything. I gotta be better for this team."

Trevor Lawrence and Urban Meyer celebrated the Jacksonville Jaguars' drought-ending triumph and "software engineer" Matthew Wright, who ended the team's 20-game skid.

Wright kicked a 53-yard field goal as time expired to lift the embattled Jaguars to a dramatic 23-20 win over the Miami Dolphins at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Sunday.

The Jaguars had not won since their 2020 season-opening victory against the Indianapolis Colts amid the second-longest losing streak in NFL history, second only to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' run of 26 straight defeats in 1976-77.

But Wright emerged the unlikely hero in the final play of the game in the United Kingdom, where rookie Jaguars quarterback Lawrence set up the field goal after the kicker also nailed a 54-yard attempt with just under four minutes remaining.

"Obviously we've had a rough start to the year, been through a lot of adversity even in this game, just having to fight back, battle back and find a way to win," Lawrence – the number one draft pick – told reporters after completing 25 of 41 passes for 319 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions.

"It means a lot, and obviously, like I said, we've struggled a little bit, but to get this win, have this momentum going into the bye week, to do it here in London, it's all just special. I'll always remember this one."

Jaguars head coach Meyer added: "Someone asked me last week if we were desperate for a win, and we are desperate for a win, and we came close a few times.

"There were a lot of things to fix, but you saw a young quarterback make a big-time play at the biggest time of the game, and then a young kicker that we just signed a couple weeks ago pop two 50-plus yarders, so it was a great win."

According to Stats Perform, Wright became the fourth kicker in NFL history to make two 50-yard field goals in the fourth quarter, including the game winner as time expired, joining Greg Joseph (Week 5), Brandon McManus (2019) and Mason Crosby (2016).

"I think [Matthew Wright] was telling me he was like a software engineer like a month and a half ago, and now he snapped our 20-game losing streak and made the game winner from 52, 53, I don't know," Lawrence said. "But just crazy."

"It feels awesome. Just happy they both went in. Happy I could help the team come out with a win," added Wright.

Urban Meyer is increasingly encouraged by Trevor Lawrence's work in the NFL and hopes his rookie quarterback can lead the Jacksonville Jaguars to a much-needed first win of the year.

The Jaguars are 0-5 heading into Sunday's NFL London game, although opponents the Miami Dolphins have also struggled to 1-4.

This was always likely to be another tough season for the Jags, who went 1-15 last year to secure the first overall pick in the draft.

Jacksonville used that first-round selection on outstanding college QB Lawrence, a key step on their path to turning around a franchise with only one winning season since 2007.

Facing NFL opposition on a poor team has represented a steep learning curve for Lawrence, whose debut against the Houston Texans brought an entertaining, erratic three-touchdown, three-interception display.

Week 2 saw only 14 of 33 pass attempts completed for a passer rating of 37.2 – the fifth-lowest of the season through five weeks.

But there has been steady improvement across the past two games, in which Lawrence has thrown one TD pass, been picked once and rushed for two more scores.

In Weeks 1 through 3, Lawrence completed only 57.7 per cent of his passes, tossed an accurate, well-thrown ball with 71.2 per cent and offered up a pickable pass with 6.3 percent. Among QBs with 10 or more attempts, he ranked in the bottom four in all categories.

Across Weeks 4 and 5, however, with 74.1 completion percentage, 83.3 well-thrown percentage and 1.9 per cent pickable pass percentage, Lawrence has operated above the league average in each metric.

"[Quarterbacks coach] Brian Schottenheimer and [offensive coordinator] Darrell Bevell have had experience with young quarterbacks – from Andrew Luck to Russell Wilson – and they've done really a great job," Meyer said ahead of the Dolphins game.

"I love the progress, I love the chemistry between the coaches and Trevor, and you can see it on the field.

"You can see his familiarity now with the offense and the people around him. It's really exciting to watch him grow."

Coach Meyer, who is also in his first year in the NFL, is seeing "steady progress" from the entire team and said: "We have really good leadership on the team, a really good locker room on this team, and they want to win in the worst way."

Meyer needs a win as badly as Lawrence, having come in for criticism this season. He also apologised following the team's Week 4 defeat after a viral video showed him sitting on a bar stool while a woman, who was not his wife, danced close to his lap.

But Lawrence said of the Jags coach: "I think he has done a good job of handling the situation. He has had conversations with the team, one-on-one and with all of us.

"[It is] just him being the same guy and coming to work, you know, a super hard worker.

"[He] really cares about this team and no one can deny that, so we are in a good spot and we all respect him. We are just ready to go win some games."

The Miami Dolphins could have Tua Tagovailoa back for Sunday's NFL London game against the Jacksonville Jaguars after the quarterback returned to practice on Wednesday.

Second-year QB Tagovailoa has been out since fracturing his ribs in the Week 2 shutout loss to the Buffalo Bills.

Tagovailoa had led the Dolphins to an opening win against the New England Patriots, yet the team are now a miserable 1-4.

The imminent return of the former Alabama star represents a boost, although Brian Flores may be reluctant to throw him straight back in behind an offensive line that has given up 98 pressures this season – tied for third in the NFL.

That includes 31 QB hits, one of which from the Bills' A.J. Epenesa put Tagovailoa out in the first place.

"We're excited to get him back. I know he's excited to be out there," Flores said. "We'll take it one day at a time, still.

"We're moving enough in the right direction that he'll be out there. He'll have the opportunity to practice and hopefully play in the game."

The coach added: "This is really just let's [see] how this goes in practice. Can he make the throws? Can he roll to his left, roll to his right, step up in the pocket?

"The one thing we won't know is just taking a hit. We won't know that until the game. I think we'll try to do as much as we can to get a feel for what that'll look like or what that'll feel like without having a setback obviously.

"So I'd say this: he's a tough kid."

Tagovailoa is going to have to show improvement if he is to lift spirits on his return, though.

His rookie season ended with a painful Week 17 defeat to Buffalo, in which he threw three interceptions, and his early form this year was far from convincing.

Tagovailoa has tossed a well-thrown, accurate ball on just 63.3 per cent of his attempts – the worst rate of any player with 10 or more attempts – and his pickable pass rate of 6.67 per cent betters only this underwhelming group: Davis Mills, Geno Smith, Zach Wilson and Mike Glennon.

Miami will face winless Jacksonville at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, a venue that last week hosted the Atlanta Falcons' victory over the New York Jets.

The Jacksonville Jaguars cannot believe their 20-game losing streak as the embattled NFL franchise closes in on an unwanted record following Sunday's 37-19 defeat to the Tennessee Titans.

Not since the 2020 season opener – a 27-20 victory against the Indianapolis Colts – have the Jaguars celebrated a win in the league as they are currently in the midst of the second-longest losing streak in NFL history.

After dropping to 0-5 this season, the Jaguars face the threat of breaking the record for the longest drought since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, which is held by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (26 straight games from 1976 to 1977).

"You can't wrap your head around that," Jags running back James Robinson said afterwards. "We've got to find a way to win.

"We're a really good team. Obviously, our record doesn't show it, but we've got a lot of great guys in the locker room and we've just got to find something that's going to work for us."

Jaguars rookie Trevor Lawrence threw a touchdown and an interception in finishing 23-of-33 passing for 273 yards and two sacks, while the number one draft pick rushed for a TD on seven carries.

"We don't really talk about that [losing streak]," Jacksonville quarterback Lawrence said. "I don't think that's good to talk about that. You can't get desperate. You've got to just keep going to work. We're going to win some games.

"We're going to turn it around, and we all thought today was the day we were going to get that first win and it wasn't.

"We didn't execute enough down the stretch, but we're going to figure it out. We're going to turn this thing around. It's going to be a lot of fun when we do. We want to win. All the guys.

"We've got so many hard workers and everyone's so invested. It's not a team where you've got guys that aren't really committed or don't care. Everyone's all-in, so it'll come."

Shad Khan says under-fire head coach Urban Meyer must regain the Jacksonville Jaguars' "trust and respect" after his "inexcusable" conduct in a bar.

Meyer issued an apology on Monday after a video of him sitting on a bar stool while a woman, who was not his wife, dance close to his lap went viral.

The 57-year-old was on a night out in Ohio on Friday, a day after the 0-4 Jaguars' 24-21 defeat to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Meyer apologised to his team and staff for being a "distraction" with his "stupid" behaviour.

Jaguars owner Khan says Meyer must build bridges but expects the under-pressure head coach to "deliver."

Khan said in a statement released by the franchise on Tuesday: "I have addressed this matter with Urban. Specifics of our conversation will be held in confidence.

"What I will say is his conduct last weekend was inexcusable. I appreciate Urban's remorse, which I believe is sincere.

"Now, he must regain our trust and respect. That will require a personal commitment from Urban to everyone who supports, represents or plays for our team. I am confident he will deliver."

Meyer told reporters on Monday: "I just apologised to the team and staff for being a distraction. Stupid,

"I explained everything that happened, and owned it. Just stupid. Should not have had myself in that kind of position."

Meyer said he should have left the establishment earlier after he had been spotted and asked for selfies.

"They wanted me to come over and take pictures, and I did," Meyer said.

"They're trying to pull me out on the dance floor, screwing around, I should have left."

Shad Khan says under-fire head coach Urban Meyer must regain the Jacksonville Jaguars' "trust and respect" after his "inexcusable" conduct in a bar.

Meyer issued an apology on Monday after a video of him sitting on a bar stool while a woman, who was not his wife, dance close to his lap went viral.

The 57-year-old was on a night out in Ohio on Friday, a day after the 0-4 Jaguars' 24-21 defeat to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Meyer apologised to his team and staff for being a "distraction" with his "stupid" behaviour.

Jaguars owner Khan says Meyer must build bridges but expects the under-pressure head coach to "deliver."

Khan said in a statement released by the franchise on Tuesday: "I have addressed this matter with Urban. Specifics of our conversation will be held in confidence.

"What I will say is his conduct last weekend was inexcusable. I appreciate Urban's remorse, which I believe is sincere.

"Now, he must regain our trust and respect. That will require a personal commitment from Urban to everyone who supports, represents or plays for our team. I am confident he will deliver."

Meyer told reporters on Monday: "I just apologised to the team and staff for being a distraction. Stupid,

"I explained everything that happened, and owned it. Just stupid. Should not have had myself in that kind of position."

Meyer said he should have left the establishment earlier after he had been spotted and asked for selfies.

"They wanted me to come over and take pictures, and I did," Meyer said.

"They're trying to pull me out on the dance floor, screwing around, I should have left."

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver D.J. Chark has been ruled out indefinitely with a broken ankle.

Chark was injured early in the Jaguars' 24-21 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday Night Football.

Jags head coach Urban Meyer suspected Chark had suffered an ankle fracture after the game and NFL Network have reported the diagnosis has now been confirmed.

"Tough one," said Meyer. "I heard it's a broken ankle. He was starting to play well - that's a big one."

Chark suffered the injury on what was just Jacksonville's third offensive play of the game and had to be carted off the field.

As he was being tackled, running back James Robinson inadvertently rolled on top of Chark's leg. The wide receiver had been attempting to set a block for Robinson.

It is a big blow to the struggling Jags, who fell to 0-4 despite leading 14-0 at the interval. They have now suffered 19 straight losses dating back to last season.

Chark, who is in the final year of his contract, racked up 1,714 receiving yards across 2019 and 2020, with Trevor Lawrence now losing a top target for the foreseeable future.

Number one overall pick Lawrence has had a rocky start but produced his most solid game so far against the Bengals, rushing for one touchdown and having no turnovers as he completed 17 of 24 passes for 207 yards.

But he was hurt that a first NFL win was taken away from him, with the Bengals launching a comeback before kicking a 35-yard field goal as time expired to go 3-1 for the season.

"We'll have to regroup a little bit, this one hurts," said Jaguars quarterback Lawrence. "We're up 14-0 at half-time and come back out and just somehow come up on the wrong side of it, that's tough. 

"We're going to bounce back, no doubt, I know what we're made of. 

"Just seeing how we've handled the first three weeks, I know nothing is going to change but damn, I really want to get a win with these guys. 

"We've just got to finish, collectively. It's everybody. It's not one side of the ball or anything like that. 

"It's all of us finishing. I'm not even going to say it's going to take time, we're right there and you guys have seen it the last few weeks."

One year later, the Cincinnati Bengals are getting exactly what they had hoped for out of Joe Burrow. 

The top pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Burrow led a second-half comeback that gave Cincinnati a 24-21 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday. 

The Bengals are now 3-1, their best start since 2018, and their second-year quarterback is looking more confident with every game he plays. 

He put up his best numbers of the young season Thursday, completing 25 of 32 passes (78.1 per cent) for 348 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. 

"I think I've gotten better and better each week," Burrow told reporters. "Last week, the defence played so well that I didn't have to do a lot and then tonight, you know, there's going to be games like that where you have to step up and make plays. 

"I'm really happy with my performance tonight, I'm just going to keep building on this and keep getting better and better."

After the Bengals went into the locker room at half-time trailing 14-0, all four of their second-half drives ended in points.

The first three resulted in touchdowns – two of them on passes from Burrow to tight end C.J. Uzomah – and the last produced a game-winning field goal by Evan McPherson as time expired. 

Burrow was 17-of-20 passing after the break and completed all five of his pass attempts on the crucial final drive. 

For a player who missed the end of his rookie season after suffering a serious knee injury last November, the progress has been remarkable. 

"Joe is just seeing the field really well right now," said Bengals head coach Zac Taylor. "You just kind of put it in his hands."

That is exactly what Burrow wants, and he is pleased with what he is seeing from everyone around him after four games. 

"It's not gonna be perfect," Burrow said. "You're gonna have to find ways to win when everything's against you, your back's against the wall, and that's what we did today and I'm proud of the way we fought."

A matchup of the last two number one overall picks in the NFL Draft went to the veteran Thursday, as Joe Burrow led the Cincinnati Bengals to a 24-21 victory over Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

Rookie kicker Evan McPherson's 35-yard field goal at the buzzer gave Cincinnati the win after the Bengals went the entire game without a lead. 

Burrow completed 25 of 32 passes for 348 yards and a pair of touchdown passes to C.J. Uzomah as the Bengals improved to 3-1. 

Lawrence was 17-of-24 for 204 yards as he and first-year head coach Urban Meyer will have to wait at least another week for their first NFL victory after falling to 0-4. 

Jacksonville took a 14-0 lead on touchdown runs by James Robinson and Lawrence in the first half, and just missed another TD after they were stopped on fourth-and-goal at the Cincinnati one-yard line just before the break. 

The momentum swung the Bengals' way after the break, though, as Burrow hit rookie receiver Ja'Marr Chase for a 44-yard gain, then found Uzomah for a 22-yard touchdown on the opening drive of the second half. 

Cincinnati's next two drives also ended in TDs, on a one-yard run by Joe Mixon and a 31-yard Burrow-to-Uzomah strike.

After the Bengals' defence got the ball back with 5:40 to play, Burrow bled out the rest of the clock on a 10-play, 73-yard drive that culminated in McPherson's game-winning field goal. 

 

Jacksonville Jaguars rookie Trevor Lawrence vowed to not "play timid" after his rough start to the NFL season continued against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

Number one draft pick Lawrence has seven interceptions through three games following a 31-19 loss to the Cardinals in Jacksonville.

Lawrence threw a pair of interceptions, including a throw that was returned for 29 yards and a touchdown, and lost two fumbles as the Jaguars fell to 0-3.

The 21-year-old became the fifth quarterback since the 1970 merger to throw multiple interceptions in each of their first three games, joining Blake Bortles (2014), Peyton Manning (1998), Troy Aikman (1989) and Jim Zorn (1976).

"You learn from all of them, but you can't let it change the way you play," Lawrence said afterwards, having completed 22 of his 34 attempts for 219 yards, a touchdown and three sacks.

"As far as making better decisions, that does need to change for sure, but I've got to be the same guy. I still have to go play. I can't play timid, and not take any shots or chances."

Lawrence's seven interceptions from his first three starts is tied for the third most in NFL history by a number one draft pick, behind only Manning (eight) and Alex Smith (eight).

"I'm the same person," he continued. "Like I said, that's not going to change. I think that's part of the reason why I'm here. I'm going to be the same person every day."

 

The Kansas City Chiefs have a losing record for the first time in over five years, suffering a second successive defeat as they were stunned 30-24 by AFC West rivals the Los Angeles Chargers.

Kansas City trailed 14-0 in the second quarter at Arrowhead Stadium and were behind 14-3 at half-time, however, a lead is rarely safe against the Chiefs and quarterback Patrick Mahomes and, when they went 17-14 ahead with fewer than four minutes left in the third quarter, the outcome seemed inevitable.

But reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert continues to polish his increasingly impressive resume and he outdueled Mahomes in a bewitching fourth quarter that could prove pivotal in their division and the AFC playoff race.

Herbert connected on the first of two touchdown passes to Mike Williams and, after Mecole Hardman found the endzone for the Chiefs, led a field goal drive to tie the game at 24-24.

Mahomes still had over two minutes to work with to potentially win it for Kansas City but threw a critical interception and the Chargers' gamble to eschew a game-winning field goal paid off as Herbert hit Williams for another touchdown and, despite a missed extra point, Los Angeles held on as a late Hail Mary from the Chiefs came up short.

That missed extra point was the second of the day for the Chargers, the first coming after Keenan Allen caught a four-yard pass from Herbert, who then found Austin Ekeler for a 16-yard score.

Harrison Butker's 34-yard field goal was all the Chiefs could muster in the first half but Jody Fortson caught a high two-yard pass from Mahomes to narrow the gap and Clyde-Edwards Helaire scampered into the endzone to give Kansas City the lead on a 10-yard reception.

Herbert and Williams responded quickly but the Chiefs were in front again after Hardman scooted in on a six-yard pop pass. Tristan Vizciano's field goal levelled matters and, after Mahomes was picked off for the second time – Alohi Gilman snatching an ill-advised throw –  the Chargers were rewarded for their aggressive approach.

A fourth down was converted via a pass interference penalty and Herbert then hit Williams on a four-yard back-shoulder throw. Vizciano's errant extra point gave Kansas City a chance but 32 seconds and a timeout was not enough for Mahomes as the Chiefs dropped to 1-2, their first losing record since Week 11 of the 2015 season.

Tucker's record kick gives Ravens remarkable win

The Baltimore Ravens, winners over the Chiefs last week, avoided a stunning loss in the most improbable fashion thanks to the leg of Justin Tucker.

Baltimore trailed the winless Detroit Lions 17-16 with 64 seconds left and faced a fourth down and 19 with 26 seconds left.

However, Lamar Jackson hit Sammy Watkins for 36 yards to keep their hopes alive and Justin Tucker's 66-yard field goal bounced off the top of the crossbar and over, his kick from an NFL-record distance sparing the Ravens in an incredible finish.

Bills roll, Steelers slump

There was no such drama in Buffalo, where the Bills routed the Washington Football Team 43-21 behind quarterback Josh Allen's 358-yard, five-touchdown performance.

The team the Bills lost to in Week 1, the Pittsburgh Steelers, suffered a second straight defeat as they were beaten 24-10 by the Cincinnati Bengals.

Justin Fields was sacked nine times in his Chicago Bears debut, which saw them lose 26-6 to the Cleveland Browns, while Jamal Agnew tied the record for the NFL's longest play with a 109-yard return of Matt Prater's missed field goal but the Jacksonville Jaguars still lost 31-19 to the unbeaten Arizona Cardinals.

Urban Meyer has no intention of quitting his NFL coaching career after just one game with the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

Meyer has been a hugely successful long-time college coach, winning national championships with Florida in 2006 and 2008 and Ohio State in 2014. 

But the 57-year-old is taking his first steps in the NFL with the Jaguars, who finished 2020 with a miserable 1-15 record. 

Meyer's Jacksonville bow did not go according to plan, though, as his new team went down 37-21 to a poor Houston Texans side on Sunday. 

When USC fired coach Clay Helton the following day, meaning an attractive college opening became available, there was some talk Meyer could already be tempted back to the FBS. 

The coach was not entertaining such speculation on Wednesday, however, as he told the media: "No chance. I'm here, committed to try to build an organisation." 

That build represents a significant challenge. The Texans appeared to be one of the Jags' few winnable match-ups in 2021, but they have now lost a franchise record 16 consecutive games – there have only been 11 previous streaks of 17 defeats or more in the NFL. 

Meyer will hope to make first overall pick Trevor Lawrence a cornerstone of his team, but the rookie quarterback contributed to that difficult opener. 

Trusted to throw the ball, with only the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers rushing less often than the Jags (23.5 per cent), Lawrence tossed a league-high three interceptions. 

Although there were also three touchdown passes, only Aaron Rodgers (36.8) had a worse passer rating than Lawrence (70.1), whose pass completion of 54.9 per cent the third worst. 

Meyer has already lost Travis Etienne, who starred alongside Lawrence at Clemson, to a season-ending injury. 

Trey Lance threw his first NFL touchdown and Jimmy Garoppolo excelled but the San Francisco 49ers were forced to hold off a near-miraculous rally from the Detroit Lions in a 41-33 thriller.

Rookie third overall pick Lance was not able to win the starting quarterback job from Garoppolo, yet he still made his regular-season debut at Ford Field on Sunday, and he took his first snap with the Niners on the Detroit 16-yard line on their second drive of the day.

His second snap saw him hit Trent Sherfield for a five-yard touchdown pass and, though Detroit responded with Jared Goff connecting with tight end T.J. Hockenson, Garoppolo's 314-yard performance, which included a 79-yard touchdown throw to Deebo Samuel, scores on the ground from rookie Elijah Mitchell and JaMycal Hasty and a Dre Greenlaw pick-six appeared to have put the game beyond all doubt.

San Francisco led 41-17 with under five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, but a Jamaal Williams short-yardage plunge followed by a two-point conversion provided Detroit a glimmer of hope that grew brighter when George Kittle was unable to field an onside kick.

The Lions subsequently drove down the field and Goff found Quintez Cephus for a two-yard touchdown and another two-point conversion. They then had a chance to tie the game following a fumble from Samuel, but Detroit could not complete an incredible comeback to force overtime.

Samson Ebukam's pressure forced Goff into an errant throw, allowing the Niners to breathe a huge sigh of relief.

It was, however, a pyrrhic victory for San Francisco, who lost cornerback Jason Verrett to what head coach Kyle Shanahan believes is a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Though the 49ers took defensive starters out of the game following Verrett's injury with what eventually proved an insurmountable lead, the ease with which the Lions moved the ball late in the game should be of concern to San Francisco, especially with two of their NFC West rivals enjoying excellent days.

The Arizona Cardinals and the Seattle Seahawks each won comfortably. Kyler Murray threw for four touchdowns and ran for another while defensive end Chandler Jones had five sacks in the Cardinals' easy 38-13 win over the Tennessee Titans, while Russell Wilson had four touchdown passes for the Seahawks as they saw off the Indianapolis Colts 28-16.

Steelers stun Bills

While not quite as dramatic as events in Detroit, the Pittsburgh Steelers' win over the Buffalo Bills at Orchard Park was certainly unexpected.

The Bills led 10-0 at the end of the first half, but Josh Allen was sacked three times as the Steelers held a usually explosive offense in check.

And, after a pair of field goals from Chris Boswell, Diontae Johnson's spectacular catch at the back of the endzone in the fourth quarter gave them a lead they would not relinquish.

Ulysees Gilbert III recovered a blocked punt to make it 19-10 Steelers, Mike Tomlin's men going on to close out a 23-16 win that deals an early blow to a Bills team seen as Super Bowl contenders.

Burrow makes winning return

Last year's number one overall pick Joe Burrow made his return from a serious knee injury in the Cincinnati Bengals' clash with the Minnesota Vikings, and it proved a successful one in a thriller at Paul Brown Stadium.

He connected with college team-mate Ja'Marr Chase, the fifth overall pick by the Bengals this year, for a 50-yard touchdown in the first quarter to give Cincinnati a lead that they eventually let slip late in the fourth quarter when Vikings kicker Greg Joseph tied matters at 24-24 with a 53-yard field goal.

That forced overtime, but a Dalvin Cook fumble in Bengals territory handed Burrow and the Bengals the chance to clinch it, and he did just that with a drive that set up Evan McPherson's 33-yard field goal and sealed a 27-24 success.

This year's number one overall pick, Trevor Lawrence, endured a very different day. He threw for 332 yards and three touchdowns with three interceptions as the Jacksonville Jaguars were beaten 37-21 by the Houston Texans.

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