Josh Allen should be fit for the start of the 2023 NFL season, with the Buffalo Bills quarterback reportedly not needing elbow surgery.

Allen suffered a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in the Week 9 loss to the New York Jets in November, though he was able to keep playing while wearing a brace. 

A report from's Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport claims the fact that the 26-year-old has not re-injured the area means surgery will not be necessary and further rest should see him able to line up in Week 1 of the 2023 campaign.

Allen had a productive 2022, throwing 35 touchdowns – only Patrick Mahomes (41) had more – and rushing for another seven during the regular season, throwing for an average of 267.7 yards per game.

That increased to 308.0 yards per game in his two postseason outings, where he contributed to four more touchdowns (three passing, one rushing) before the Bills were eliminated in the Divisional round by the Cincinnati Bengals.

In the Week 5 thrashing of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Allen became the first quarterback in NFL history to record 250+ passing yards, 50+ rushing yards, three or more passing touchdowns, a rushing touchdown, 80 per cent completions and a win all in one game.

Play at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am was suspended shortly after midday Pacific time (PT) on Saturday after strong winds, but not before Peter Malnati had taken a two-shot lead.

The decision was taken to suspend play at all three courses in the interest of fairness, with the winds so strong that balls on the ninth green at Monterey Peninsula Country Club would not stay still.

It had been hoped the third round could resume at 2pm PT, but it was soon confirmed that play had been suspended for the day, with the third round to resume at 8am PT on Sunday.

Malnati was playing his third round at Pebble Beach Golf Links, and carded six birdies and six pars from his 12 holes before play was suspended, taking him to the top of the leaderboard heading into Sunday on 12 under par overall.

Joseph Bramlett (after 13 holes) and Keith Mitchell (after 10 holes) sit tied for second on 10 under, with the former struggling after a good start.

Bramlett – also playing at Pebble Beach on Saturday along with former footballer Gareth Bale as his amateur – was three under for the round from his first eight holes, before bogeying three of the next five, albeit with birdies on the other two.

The leaders from the first two rounds, Hank Lebioda and Kurt Kitayama, are tied fourth on nine under, with Leboda one under for the round after 11 holes at Spyglass Hill Golf Course, while Kitayama is even par after nine holes on the same course.

Winds reportedly reached 40mph on Saturday, and the suspension means play is likely to go into Monday.

Mitchell had words of praise for his amateur team-mate, Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen, saying: "The guy was out practicing in the rain and the wind this afternoon when everybody was inside. I can’t imagine him not showing up [tomorrow]. The weather's better tomorrow morning than in Buffalo right now, I can promise you that."

Another NFL star, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, heads the amateur leaderboard on 25 under par, which is made all the more impressive considering his pro, Ben Silverman, is two over. The duo lead Malnati and FedEx president Don Colleran by three shots.

Buffalo Bills receiver Stefon Diggs defended his actions on Twitter after his cantankerous display towards quarterback Josh Allen in the final minutes of Sunday's 27-10 elimination loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Diggs led both teams with a game-high nine targets, but they resulted in only four catches for 35 yards – his second-lowest yardage in a game this season.

The Allen-Diggs combination is viewed as one of the league's best as Diggs finished fifth in the NFL with 1,429 receiving yards, while his 11 receiving touchdowns tied for the third-most.

Despite how well he has been fed by his quarterback this season – also enjoying the fifth-most targets (154) – Diggs was animated and demonstrative on the sideline as the Bills' season slipped away.

When asked how he felt about Diggs' actions in the heat of battle, Allen was forgiving but said sometimes the opposition defense can dictate the action.

"Guys are competitive, we don't want to lose," he said. "It's not fun losing, and it's not fun losing that way.

"It's all understood. At the end of the day, we've got to be there for each other and continue to keep pushing forward.

"I feel like sometimes there weren't that many opportunities, and again, defenses can game-plan and try to take away your number one receiver, that's just a fact of it. Those guys on the other side of the ball get paid, too.

"It's just about continuing to find a way to get [Diggs] the ball."

He added: "I've got a lot more to learn, a lot more to grow from, and I've got a long way to go."

Hours after Allen's media availability on Monday, Diggs sent out a series of tweets defending his behaviour.

"Want me to be okay with losing? Nah," he wrote. "Want me to be okay with our level of play when it's not up to the standard? Nah.

"It's easy to criticise my reaction more than the result."

Allen will be 27 by the time the 2023 season begins, and he will enter the first year of his six-year, $258million contract extension.

Meanwhile, the 29-year-old Diggs will not begin his four-year, $96m extension until the 2024 season, meaning they are both tied to the franchise until at least 2027 unless one is cut or traded.

Josh Allen confirmed he will not undergo offseason surgery on his troublesome elbow as he reflected on the Buffalo Bills' season after crashing out of the playoffs against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

Allen suffered his elbow injury in the Bills' Week 9 loss to the New York Jets in early November, and despite trying to tough his way through it, it clearly affected his play.

The month of November was easily his worst of the season, throwing only four touchdowns with five interceptions over four games while also sporting a passer rating of 75.9 – far below the 98.8 figure he either reached or eclipsed in September, October, December and January.

Although his stats rebounded in the lead-up to and during the playoffs, Allen still appeared to be struggling with his elbow on certain throws, and he could only lead the Bills to one touchdown in the 27-10 elimination loss at home to the Bengals.

Speaking to the media on Monday, Allen acknowledged the pain in his elbow messed with his throwing mechanics but said the rehabilitation plan is simple.

"Rest and recovery is going to be really good for it," he said. "I mean, there was a period, obviously, right after, for a few weeks, where it was pretty bothersome – but again, it didn't affect me all that much.

"I just felt like maybe I was trying to throw it a little differently mechanically, had to change a few things and got away a little bit from how I'm used to throwing the ball. That's just a by-product of that.

"I think, really, two weeks ago is when I felt like I got back to mechanically what I like. Being the rotational thrower, it's very elbow prevalent, and maybe I got a little bit to more of a linear-type deal because I just couldn't really use all that much force and flicking it out there, but, again, just adapting."

When asked about what will stick with him from the 2022 season, Allen said he was proud of how his team came together during a string of traumatic events – including a deadly blizzard in Buffalo and the cardiac arrest of safety Damar Hamlin.

"The adversity that this team [has] overcome," he said. "There's a lot of stuff that happened to a football team that I don't know if it's ever happened before. 

"Just battling through that with the guys in this locker room and us trusting each other. Obviously, we want to win, make no mistake about it. But I'm proud of how this team was able to fight through some of the stuff that we went through."

That sentiment was echoed by defensive leader Von Miller, who said: "It's an honour to be a Buffalo Bill. I've never been on a team that handled as much adversity in a season."

Josh Allen thanked the Buffalo Bills defense for crucial turnovers against the Miami Dolphins that proved decisive in Sunday's 34-31 Wild Card victory.

The Bills quarterback threw two interceptions and saw a fumble recovered for a touchdown in a nervy encounter, having entered the game with just one playoff interception in 228 passing attempts.

Those turnovers allowed the Dolphins to build up steam, fighting back from a 17-point first-half deficit and then taking an early second half lead, with Allen acknowledging his mistakes after the game.

"At half time, we were just talking to ourselves, just settling down, trying to refocus," he told reporters. "The turnovers hurt us, we really let them back in the game.

"We were up 17-0 with chances and I gave them the ball two times, gave them a touchdown, they're things you can't do and you can't expect to win like that, so there's some stuff to clean up."

The Bills defense did their part though, intercepting rookie quarterback Skylar Thompson twice and making big stops to halt the Dolphins' recovery, and Allen vowed to be better for them in future games.

"Turnover margin, especially in the playoffs, is so big. It really helps us out and bails us out," he added.

"I can't praise our defense enough for playing the way they did. I put them in some tough situations today, so I've got to be better for them."

It was not just the defense who played their part in frustrating the Dolphins offense, however, with the atmosphere in Buffalo leading to errors – including a delay of game penalty that pushed Thompson's offense back to six yards instead of one in fourth down of their final drive.

Allen reserved praise for the home fans, encouraging them to be similarly effective in next week's Divisional round clash against either the Jacksonville Jaguars or the Cincinnati Bengals.

"We're going to need the Bills mafia in the building being load and disruptive, I thought they did a good job tonight causing a couple false starts and delay of games, that is such a huge momentum shift for us," he said.

"When it's fourth and one, you cause a delay, then it's fourth and six, which changes the complexity of that call, so shout out to our fans."

The Miami Dolphins are looking for a first playoff victory since 2000 when they travel to face the Buffalo Bills in Sunday's Wild Card clash, where two quarterbacks will be the talk of the town.

While the Bills will look towards Josh Allen, who has thrown just one interception in 228 career passing attempts in the postseason (0.4 interception rate, the lowest in NFL playoff history among those with a minimum 200 attempts), the Dolphins will be hoping to get by without Tua Tagovailoa.

Miami head coach Mike McDaniel confirmed ahead of the game that Tagovailoa, who has not featured since Christmas Day, remains unavailable due to concussion – an issue that has plagued a turbulent season for the Dolphins.

With Tagovailoa leading the offense, the Dolphins are 8-4 in games he has finished and 1-4 without him, while a passer rating of 105.5 leads the NFL, ahead of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback, and leading MVP candidate, Patrick Mahomes.

In Tagovailoa's absence, the Dolphins face a tough test in their bid to end a streak of four consecutive losses in the playoffs and will need Tyreek Hill to step up in their first postseason appearance since the 2016 season.

Hill smashed the franchise record for receiving yards this season, tallying 1,710 yards and becoming the first Dolphins player to register 1,400 receiving yards for the season, the next closest being Mark Clayton in 1984 with 1,389 yards.

The Dolphins' big worries for Sunday's clash will be Tagovailoa's absence and a lack of playoff experience, a complete contrast to the Bills, who have seen Allen continue to grow and have reached the playoffs in five of the last six seasons.

Only Mahomes (41) has thrown more touchdown passes than Allen (35) this season, though a tally of 14 interceptions is the joint next highest in the NFL behind Davis Mills and Dak Prescott (both 15).

Allen has thrown only one interception in his playoff history, however, with 14 touchdowns in the postseason, and averaged 10.3 yards per attempt in the 2021 playoffs – something the Bills will hope he can repeat this year.

A close game could be on the cards, though, with the Bills overcoming the Dolphins by just a three-point margin less than a month ago with a 32-29 victory in Buffalo, while the reverse clash in Week 3 saw Miami victorious 21-19.

That win was a significant one for the Dolphins, preventing a fourth consecutive series streak for Buffalo and standing as only the second win for Miami in the last 12 meetings.

It's time for the Wild Card round on the road to Super Bowl LVII.

Things kick-off on Saturday when the in-form San Francisco 49ers welcome the Seattle Seahawks to Levi's Stadium, while the Los Angeles Chargers travel to Florida to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars.

A trio of games on Sunday see the Buffalo Bills host the Miami Dolphins, the Minnesota Vikings facing the New York Giants and the Cincinnati Bengals going up against the Baltimore Ravens, before the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Dallas Cowboys bring the round to a close on Monday.

Stats Perform has taken a look at the more pertinent stats heading into what should be another exciting three days of NFL action as the playoffs begin.

Seattle Seahawks (9-8) @ San Francisco 49ers (13-4)

This will be just the second playoff game ever between the Seahawks and 49ers (Seattle won the other in the 2013 NFC Championship Game).

The 49ers are on a 10-game winning streak, the 13th team in the Super Bowl era to enter the postseason on a double-digit winning streak. The previous 12 teams to do so were 7-5 in their first playoff game that season.

San Francisco won both regular season meetings but have never beaten a single team three times in one campaign (including playoffs).

Geno Smith led the NFL in completion percentage this season, becoming just the second Seahawk ever do so after Dave Krieg in 1991. With 30 touchdown passes, Smith became the third Seahawk to lead the NFC in that category, joining Matt Hasselbeck (2005) and Russell Wilson (2017 and 2018).

Christian McCaffrey has scored an offensive touchdown in each of his last six games, tied for the second-longest streak in the NFL this season. The last Niner to have a longer streak (including the playoffs) was Terrell Owens in 1998 (nine).

Miami Dolphins (9-8) @ Buffalo Bills (13-3)

The Dolphins have lost their last four games in the postseason, scoring just 24 points over those games. Only one team has scored fewer points over a four-game span in the playoffs in postseason history, the Giants from 1939 to 1944 (16 points).

Miami's hopes of improving on that poor record were reduced when starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (concussion) was ruled out of this playoff contest.

But they still have Tyreek Hill, who caught 119 passes for 1,710 yards this season – both career highs. No Dolphin had ever had more than 1,400 receiving yards in one season, with the next closest being Mark Clayton in 1984 with 1,389 receiving yards.

For the Bills, Josh Allen has thrown one interception in 228 career passing attempts in the postseason, the lowest rate in NFL playoff history.

This season, the Dolphins' offense led the league, averaging 6.85 yards on first down plays, while the Bills were third (6.13). The teams were close on defense on first down plays as well, with the Dolphins 14th (5.27 yards allowed per play) and the Bills 15th (5.39).

New York Giants (9-7-1) @ Minnesota Vikings (13-4)

This is the Vikings' 31st playoff appearance, currently tied with the Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz for the most by any MLB/NBA/NFL/NHL team that has never won a championship.

Kirk Cousins finished with 25 or more TD passes and fewer than 15 interceptions for the eighth straight season. The only other QB in NFL history to have a streak as long is Tom Brady (10 straight, 2009-18).

The Giants are 8-2 in playoff games since the start of the 2007 season, the best record by any NFL team in that time. Four of the Giants' 16 previous playoff appearances in the Super Bowl era have ended in a Super Bowl victory (25.0 per cent), the highest percentage for any team.

Earlier this season, Daniel Jones became the second QB in NFL history to have 3000+ passing yards, 500+ rushing yards and no more than five interceptions in a season, along with Robert Griffin III in his 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year campaign.


This will be the Chargers' first playoff appearance since 2018, when they beat Baltimore before falling to New England. The Chargers have won at least one playoff game in four of their last five appearances. They are also 3-0 against AFC South teams in the playoffs since the division was created in 2002.

The Bengals have won eight consecutive games, which is tied for the longest win streak in team history. The Bengals are the only current NFL team without at least one winning streak of at least nine games in their franchise history (regular season and playoffs).

Buccaneers star Tom Brady has thrown for 13,049 yards in his playoff career, nearly 4,000 more than the combined career total for the other 13 projected playoff starting quarterbacks this season (9,184 combined passing yards).

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen is adamant his side will be ready to take the field on Sunday against the New England Patriots in honour of Damar Hamlin's request.

The Bills returned to practice on Thursday for the first time since Monday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals was suspended mid-game after Hamlin collapsed having suffered a cardiac arrest on the field.

Hamlin had to be resuscitated on the field and has been in intensive care in hospital in a critical condition since, but the Bills provided a medical update stating he was showing "remarkable improvement" on Thursday.

Hamlin's father Mario spoke to the Bills players and insisted that he and his son want them to play on Sunday.

"He didn't tell us, he demanded us," Allen told reporters. "You can't not honour his request to go out there and charge forward to the best of our abilities.

"Obviously, we'll be playing with less heavy hearts now, knowing that today's news was a lot of tears of joy. To know that's what he wants and that's what his dad wants, I think guys are excited to get out there."

Allen said "I do" when asked if he believed the Bills' players would be ready to take to the field on Sunday as scheduled.

"For every person it's going to be a little different. Putting that helmet back on today was really good for our team to go through that progress," Allen said.

"Some people are going to be changed forever after being on that field and feeling those emotions. The updates that we keep getting on Damar are lifting our spirits. Leaning on each other. We've had some open, honest and deep talks.

"We've had some unbelievable embraces as men, just hugging somebody, you need every bit of it. The fact we keep hearing good news about Damar keeps pushing us forward."

Allen conceded it would be difficult not to let the Hamlin situation enter his mind when they enter the field on Sunday, but insisted they had to shut it out.

"It's hard not to let it creep into your mind," he said. "We've been reassured this is the freakiest of freak accidents.

"The mental aspect of it, going out on that field, if you have that thought, that's putting yourself at risk even more.

"Coach [Sean McDermott] has done a great job making sure guys understand that and that mentally you need to be bought into.

"As humans, it's hard not to feel that way, but just to know the track record of the league. Obviously, there's injuries, that's part of sport and this is the worst possible case you can think of."

Damar Hamlin had the American sporting community rooting for him after the Buffalo Bills safety suffered an on-field cardiac arrest, as team-mate Josh Allen pleaded: "Please pray for our brother."

Hamlin was in a critical condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, having collapsed during Monday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Hamlin made a tackle on Bengals receiver Tee Higgins in the first quarter, and after briefly returning to his feet, he slumped to the ground.

He was administered CPR on the field, before being loaded into a waiting ambulance and rushed away.

Amid harrowing scenes, the game was suspended while the Bengals were leading 7-3 with 5:58 remaining in the first period.

Allen led the call for prayer for Hamlin, with well-wishers from across sport, entertainment and politics also sending thoughts and best wishes.

Former Chargers and Saints quarterback Drew Brees wrote on Twitter: "Damar Hamlin represents every one of us and every team-mate we've ever had.

"I've never met him, but I know him as a member of our brotherhood. My family and I pray for him and his family as he recovers. God be with him."

Michael Vick and Patrick Mahomes also said they were praying for Hamlin, the latter adding: "Please be okay man."

Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill added: "Praying for Damar Hamlin, his family and everyone in Buffalo... no words for a situation like this."

The NFL said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with Damar, his family and the Buffalo Bills."

Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt said: "The game is not important. Damar Hamlin’s life is important. Please be ok. Please."

From basketball, the NBA said: "The entire NBA family's thoughts and prayers are with Damar Hamlin, his family and the NFL community."

That was reflected in post-game comments from a number of leading stars after Monday's NBA action, with Lakers superstar LeBron James saying: "My thoughts and super prayers goes up to the skies above for that kid's family, for him, for that brotherhood of the NFL and everybody a part of the NFL family."

James said it was "definitely the right call" to abandon the game for the night.

He said of the incident: "It was a terrible thing to see and I wish nothing but the best for that kid, for the city of Buffalo, for the franchise of the Bills and like I said, for the rest of the NFL as well and also the Bengals that was there and playing in that game."

Klay Thompson, from the Golden State Warriors, added: "As athletes, sometimes the game can overshadow us as individuals or people.

"On behalf of the organisation, we wish him the best. We're keeping him in our prayers and hoping for the best possible outcome. He's a tremendous person and it's bigger than the sport."

Hollywood actor Ben Stiller, a big sports fan, wrote: "Sending good thoughts and prayers to Damar Hamlin and his family."

Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani said: "Our prayers are with Damar Hamlin."

Amid the focus on Hamlin's plight, there was a surge in donations to a Christmas fundraiser the Bills star organised in 2020, to raise money to buy toys for children hit hard by the pandemic.

The fundraiser's target had been $2,500, but its running tally passed $3million by the early hours of Tuesday.

The Buffalo Bills overturned a half-time deficit to defeat the Chicago Bills 35-13 on Saturday and clinch the AFC East title.

The freezing conditions in Chicago gave this the feel of a home game for the Bills, but they were far from comfortable early on and threatened to blow their lead in the race for home-field advantage in the AFC.

Josh Allen responded to Justin Fields' opening touchdown drive by leading Buffalo down the field and completing a 19-yard TD pass to Gabe Davis.

But the Bills missed the PAT, and the only score for the remainder of the half was a successful Bears field goal, giving Chicago a 10-6 lead through two quarters.

The hopes of the Bears – and the Bills' AFC rivals – were quickly dashed in the second half, however, as Devin Singletary dashed in from 33 yards and then James Cook followed him from 27 yards for a second score in double-quick time either side of a Chicago fumble.

An unconvincing Allen display, which included two interceptions and a recovered fumble, kept the Bears in contention, yet they could not capitalise.

And the Bills QB finished in more familiar fashion with a rushing score and a TD pass to Dawson Knox in the closing stages as Buffalo took another step towards the first seed.

Bills feel the heat in AFC

The pressure had been on the Bills because there never appeared any possibility of the Kansas City Chiefs not defeating the stumbling Seattle Seahawks. A 24-10 victory was Patrick Mahomes' first against the Seahawks, meaning the Indianapolis Colts are the only team he has now played but not beaten.

The Cincinnati Bengals also remain in contention at the top of the AFC after a dominant first half against the New England Patriots. Joe Burrow completed 28 passes – a season high for any QB in any half – for 284 yards and three touchdowns before half-time, meaning the Bengals could just about withstand a second-half pick six in a 22-18 win.

The Patriots' defeat meant the Baltimore Ravens clinched their playoff berth with a 17-9 defeat of the Atlanta Falcons.

Another manic Minnesota finish

Having claimed a record-breaking comeback win last week, the Minnesota Vikings had to hold off a rally from the New York Giants, who tied the game late on. However, a 40-yard field goal from Greg Joseph had defeated the Colts, and he topped that effort with a 61-yard conversion as time expired for a 27-24 Vikings victory.

The Detroit Lions, Minnesota's NFC North rivals, saw their three-game winning run ended by the Carolina Panthers. Both the Panthers and the New Orleans Saints improved to 6-9, firmly in contention in the miserable NFC South.

The Buffalo Bills had to give "everything" to rally past the Miami Dolphins and clinch their playoff berth, but Josh Allen's heroics were of no surprise to his team-mates.

The Bills led their AFC East rivals 21-13 at halftime but were then 29-21 down in the fourth quarter, requiring quarterback Allen to step up.

In snowy conditions, his 44-yard run ignited a drive that ended with a two-point conversion to tie the game, although Buffalo soon faced giving the ball back to the Dolphins with time on the clock.

Instead, Allen led his team 65 yards up the field on a 15-play drive that used up all of the remaining time and put Tyler Bass in position to kick the decisive field goal.

An exhausting effort was rewarded with a playoff berth and left coach Sean McDermott "humbled".

"It took everything we had to pull this one out tonight," he said. "It just makes it special.

"It's humbling. Really, that's how I feel about it. Humbled to be a part of it in this great town that doesn't get as much credit as it deserves, honestly.

"And the fans, I mean, this place is unique. So, just awesome. Awesome."

Allen is similarly unique, according to his team-mates.

"He makes plays that I've never seen before," said tight end Dawson Knox, who caught the final TD pass of the game. "Sometimes you kind of turn into a fan while you're watching him.

"Unfortunately, I was under a 300-pound 3-technique on that play that he reached the ball over on the two points, so I didn't see it until we saw the JumboTron.

"But I've talked about it before. It's not even surprising at this point. You're just like, 'oh, there's Josh being Josh again'.

"He's the best quarterback in the league, the best football player in the league. So, anytime you've got him on your team, you've got a chance to win."

The Bills have made the postseason for a fourth straight year, but they have not been back to the Super Bowl since losing four in a row in the early 1990s.

"You can't win the Super Bowl unless you make the playoffs," added Allen. "So, that's goal number one down. Goal number two now is to clinch the division. That's how we'll take it.

"We'll take it one game at a time. Be ready for next week."

There are four weeks remaining of the 2022 NFL season, meaning we are in the home stretch not only in the race for the playoffs, but also in the battle for the MVP.

Week 14 was one in which the race appeared to settle into one between four quarterbacks. Other positions are worthy of recognition, but since Adrian Peterson's win in 2012 the MVP has been solely a quarterback award, and there is a quartet who have separated themselves from the rest.

Tua Tagovailoa of the Miami Dolphins had received some hype as a potential MVP, but his successive disappointing displays against the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Chargers have likely removed him from the equation.

This has become a fight between the quarterback piloting the best team in the NFC and a trio of signal-callers each hoping to lead their respective rosters to the top seed in the AFC.

Right now, it is the former who stands as the favourite because of a near-perfect resume.

THE FRONTRUNNER: Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles

The competition with more established NFL stars has been fierce but, after recent devastating performances against the Tennessee Titans and New York Giants, it is difficult to dispute Hurts as the MVP frontrunner.

A week on from brushing past the Titans, the Eagles swatted the Giants aside at The Meadowlands with another display of effortless dominance powered by Hurts’ ability to hit the deep ball and his influence on an ultra-diverse run game.

Hurts connected with DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown for touchdowns of 41 and 33 yards, and also rushed for 77 yards and a score on seven carries. His 13 touchdown passes of at least 20 yards are the most in the NFL while his 10 rushing scores are the sixth-most, and two more than any other quarterback (Justin Fields, eight).

He now has 3,157 passing yards with 22 touchdown passes and 10 rushing touchdowns this season, becoming the the fourth quarterback ever with at least 3,000 passing yards, 20 touchdown passes & 10 rushing touchdowns in a single season, joining Kyler Murray (2020), Cam Newton (2011 and 2015) and Kordell Stewart (1997).

Newton won the MVP in 2015 by posting such numbers for a 15-1 Carolina Panthers team that went on to reach the Super Bowl. The Eagles are on course to go 16-1 thanks to Hurts’ growth as a thrower – his well-thrown rate of 82.7 percent is a substantial improvement on his mark of 77.1 per cent from 2021. If they do so, there are unlikely to be many convincing counterarguments against Hurts as the MVP.

DON'T COUNT HIM OUT: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

A three-interception performance by Mahomes against the Denver Broncos may have helped tilt the MVP race in favour of Hurts, but the 2018 MVP is still performing at a level to be worthy of regaining the award.

Mahomes has 60 completions of at least 20 yards this season. No other quarterback has even reached 50, with Joe Burrow his nearest challenger on 46.

He ranks eighth among quarterbacks with a minimum of 200 attempts with a well-thrown rate of 83.5 percent, and has been extremely accurate when going deep.

Indeed, Mahomes' completion percentage of 50 on pass attempts of at least 21 air yards is fourth among quarterbacks with at least 10 such throws. On top of his downfield explosiveness, Mahomes has done an excellent job of creating yardage for himself on the ground, his yards per carry average on scrambles of 7.44 bettered by only Justin Fields (7.98) and P.J. Walker (8.67).

Recent issues with turnovers and the fact the Chiefs lost to Josh Allen's Buffalo Bills and Joe Burrow's Cincinnati Bengals may have dented his case but, with four games to go, Mahomes has built the foundations of an MVP resume and still has the chance to earn the prize for a second time if he can lift Kansas City to the one seed.

FADING FAST?: Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

The resume in terms of achievements for Allen is pretty sparkling. If the season ended today, the Bills would be the number one seed in the AFC and he delivered the tiebreaking win over the Chiefs with a tremendous fourth-quarter performance at Arrowhead.

Allen's deep ball has been extremely impressive this season. No quarterback in the NFL has accounted for more yards on throws of at least 21 air yards than his 833. 

The Bills star is also on the right side of the ledger in terms of accuracy, delivering a well-thrown ball on 82 percent of his passes. The league average – minimum 50 attempts – is 81.4.

However, like Mahomes, Allen has 11 interceptions this season, and has a pickable pass rate of 4.89 percent that is nearly a full point above the average of 4.09%.

His carelessness with the ball has contributed to key defeats to the likes of the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings, costing the Bills wins that would have given them clear separation atop the AFC.

Allen is clearly one of the league's premier quarterbacks and will be for many years to come, but the consistency has not been there for him to be considered the MVP at this point.

THE SLEEPER: Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals

After a slow start, the man who spearheaded the Bengals' improbable charge to an AFC Championship is once again performing at a level that saw him elevate Cincinnati to the ranks of the elite.

Even in hard-fought Week 14 win over the Cleveland Browns with a Bengals' offense that has been one of the most productive in the NFL since Week 6 did not fire on all cylinders, Burrow's deadly precision was a difference-maker, most notably on a pinpoint 15-yard touchdown throw to Ja’Marr Chase on a post route to open the scoring.

Burrow delivered an accurate, well-thrown ball on 87.5 percent of his passes against the Browns. For the season, his well-thrown rate of 85.9 percent is fifth among quarterbacks with at least 200 attempts. His pickable pass rate of just 1.52 percent is the NFL's best.

Burrow is outperforming Hurts, Mahomes and Allen when it comes to delivering accurately and taking care of the ball, and has a signature win over Mahomes to his name from Week 13.

If the Bengals go on to wrest the AFC North from the Baltimore Ravens, Burrow will have an excellent case for the MVP, one that will be even stronger if 9-4 Cincinnati manage to catch Kansas City and Buffalo in the race for the one seed.

The Buffalo Bills were not rattled by an early explosive touchdown, going on to ultimately dominate the New England Patriots 24-10 in Thursday's AFC East showdown.

New England threatened to put up a strong fight against one of the Super Bowl favourites, jumping ahead 7-3 in the first quarter after rookie Marcus Jones took a wide receiver screen 48 yards to the house. 

It was just Jones' first offensive snap of his career, with the former college cornerback making a name for himself after his game-winning punt return touchdown against the New York Jets in Week 11.

But that would be the only points the Patriots would put on the board until a consolation field goal with under two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

The middle stages of the contest were entirely one-sided, with Josh Allen connecting on two touchdown passes in the second period to jump out to a 17-7 halftime lead, never looking back.

Allen's first touchdown was a simple one from the eight-yard line, identifying top receiver Stefon Diggs in man coverage before finding him in the back corner of the endzone. 

His second was more spectacular, as he left his feet for a jump-pass near the sideline, rifling it back across his body to find Gabriel Davis for another eight-yard touchdown.

Allen completed 22 of his 33 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns, with his only turnovers coming from a strip-sack by Josh Uche. Diggs caught seven of his nine targets for 92 yards and a score, while Devin Singletary carried 13 times for 51 yards and the game's final touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Buffalo are now 9-3, which their division rivals the Miami Dolphins can match with a win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

The Buffalo Bills took a number of punches in their 28-25 Thanksgiving win against the Detroit Lions on Thursday, but continued to get off the canvas to tough out a gutsy win.

Despite coming out on the losing side, the Lions took the lead in the first quarter, re-took the lead in the fourth quarter, and after the Bills were able to pull back in front, they clawed their way down the field to tie it with 23 seconds remaining.

But every time the Lions thought they had the visiting Bills on the ropes, Josh Allen and company were always able to find the answer, using those final 23 seconds to make their way into field goal range and escape with the win in regulation.

Coming into the game without two key starters on defense with linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and pass-rusher Greg Rousseau out hurt, their injury list received another unfortunate edition in the second quarter when future Hall-of-Famer Von Miller was carted off with a knee sprain.

Touching on how the Bills continued to push through all the adversity they faced, top wide receiver Stefon Diggs said it comes from everybody's belief in the next-man-up to get the job done.

"That next-man mindset is real," he said. "I hate to preach it, sound like a broken record, but guys came in and played at a high level. 

"We just preach it to everybody to do the job. You don't need to do more than your job and you do your one 11th, we'll find a way.

"I tried to tell the guys everything in the past is the past. We didn't get off to the best start, but you keep rolling with the punches. 

"Things aren't gonna be perfect; I'm riding with my guy [Allen]. We just had to try to get on the same page, every week is different… things didn't happen perfectly, but we figured it out."

Allen echoed that sentiment, and highlighted the mental fortitude of kicker Tyler Bass to come out and nail the game-winner shortly after missing an extra-point.

"Guys are resilient, the ups and downs of an NFL game, that's a good team playing very well, playing good football right now," he said. 

"But again, guys just continuing to grind, guys going down and stepping up finding a way. I'm proud of our guys for doing that.

"I don't think you understand how big it is for a guy to do that in this league, for [Bass] just to feel that rollercoaster of emotions, to go step up for our team and nail it."

Head coach Sean McDermott also made sure to praise his kicker, saying he knew he could trust him despite the previous miss.

"You're going to have some [misses]," he said. "But to be able to let a player reset after making a mistake and come out, that's how you earn trust when you do that, right? 

"When you can give a player that second chance right there. I didn't have to mess with him. I knew he's so mentally tough, and he showed it again today."

The Bills are now 8-3 and atop the AFC East, with a Thursday fixture on the road against the New England Patriots up next.

The Detroit Lions played tough, but another last-minute, game-winning drive from star quarterback Josh Allen lifted the Buffalo Bills to a 28-25 win on Thanksgiving.

Playing at home and entering the contest on a three-game winning streak, the Lions struck first with a close-range Jamaal Williams touchdown in the first quarter.

The Bills would answer straight back with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Allen to Isaiah McKenzie on the next drive, and after trading touchdowns again in the second quarter, a Tyler Bass field goal as time expired gave Buffalo a 17-14 lead at half-time.

Defensive lineman Ed Oliver tacked on two more points for the Bills early in the third quarter when he sacked Lions quarterback Jared Goff in the endzone for a safety, but the hosts would not go away, taking the lead 22-19 to begin the fourth period after a D.J. Chark touchdown catch.

The see-sawing battle would see the Bills retake the ascendancy with under three minutes remaining through a five-yard Stefon Diggs touchdown reception, but the Lions looked destined to take it to overtime when Michael Badgley tied it up at 25-25 with a clutch 51-yard field goal, with only 23 seconds on the clock.

That proved to be enough time for Allen to win it, delivering a 36-yard strike to Diggs to move within field goal range, setting up Bass for another big kick, and another big make to take the Bills to 8-3.

Allen completed 24 of 42 passes for 253 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, while top receiver Diggs snagged eight receptions for 77 yards and a score.

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