The Kansas City Chiefs will be without Travis Kelce for their clash with the Pittsburgh Steelers after he failed to clear COVID-19 protocols.

Kelce - missing his first game of the season - is joined by Nick Bolton, Lucas Niang, Harrison Butker and Tommy Townsend in being ruled out, while coaches Mike Kafka, Greg Lewis and Corey Matthaei are also under coronavirus protocols.

The tight end had been pre-emptively activated in the hope that he would be cleared to play, but he must now sit the match out as the Chiefs chase the AFC West title - which they would clinch with victory over the Steelers if the Los Angeles Chargers also fail to win - without him.

The Chiefs will feel Kelce's absence particularly keenly after his career-best performance in the 34-28 victory over the Chargers last time out, catching 10 passes for 191 yards and scoring the game-winning touchdown.

He is set to be replaced in the side by Blake Bell, who has just returned from the COVID list himself.

The Pittsburgh Steelers defense showed up in bravura fashion to pave the way for a 19-13 victory over the Tennessee Titans at Heinz Field.

Despite the offense struggling, Pittsburgh forced four turnovers against a Titans side who continue to lead the AFC South but slip to 9-5 with this setback.

Linebacker T.J. Watt had 1.5 sacks to reach 17.5 for the season, establishing a new Steelers record as the home team improved to 7-6-1, getting the better of a side that blanked the Jaguars 20-0 last week.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin hailed the effort from his team to overcome their shortcomings and capitalise on their strengths, with Chris Boswell kicking four field goals and Ben Roethlisberger snatching a rare touchdown.

Roethlisberger (16-of-25 for 148 yards) also went fifth on the all-time NFL passing yards list in this game, jumping ahead of Philip Rivers with a three-yard pass to Najee Harris and boosting his career total to 63,562 yards by the end.

Tomlin said: "It's an exciting victory for us, a very necessary one. They won the battle of field position, their special teams were better than ours, but in spite of all those things I thought the guys continued to fight.

"The turnovers levelled the playing field in the second half. That was the catalyst for us to go ahead and secure victory. I like the way the guys collectively smiled in the face of adversity.

"We'll be thankful for this win. That's a really good football team we played and were able to beat today. Hopefully there's some growth associated with conquering challenges like that, and we are going to need that as we go on the road next week."

The Steelers tackle the AFC West-leading Kansas City Chiefs on December 26, while the Titans are back in action against the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday night.

Lions chew up Cardinals

Jared Goff threw three touchdown passes and kept the Arizona Cardinals waiting to nail down a playoff place as the Detroit Lions sprang a huge shock with their 30-12 win.

With just one win, Detroit headed into the game against the Cardinals, who were 10-3 for the season, as heavy underdogs, despite Arizona losing last week to the Los Angeles Rams.

Goff found Amon-Ra St Brown and Josh Reynolds for touchdowns in the first half as the Lions surge to a 17-0 lead at halfway – at that point their biggest advantage at any stage of any game all season and the Cardinals' biggest half-time deficit for three years.

The lead was even wider come the end of the game, with Goff finding Jason Cabinda for another touchdown, meaning Arizona's once-firm grip on first place in the NFC West is now far from that, as the Rams (9-4) lurk.

The NFL said the result marked only the third time since 1970 that a team with the worst record in the NFL had beaten a team with the best or joint-best record, taking into account only games when the sides had already played at least eight times in the season.

It was also the third-largest win all-time by a team with nine-plus fewer wins than an opponent, per Stats Perform.

Cowboys almost there

The Dallas Cowboys moved to the brink of a first playoff appearance since 2018 thanks to a 21-6 win over the New York Giants, improving to 10-4 as they continue to lead the NFC East.

Behind the arm of Dak Prescott (28-of-37 for 217 yards and one touchdown), the Cowboys had just enough to avoid any undue worries, with the scoring all wrapped up by the end of the third quarter.

While Prescott was far from perfect, he was streets ahead of Giants starting QB Mike Glennon (13-of-24 for 99 yards) who was picked off three times by the Cowboys. Trevon Diggs had the third of those interceptions to reach 10 for the season. Glennon was eventually benched to allow Jake Fromm (6-of-12 for 82 yards) a chance to impress.

Prescott lost both of his starts against the Giants as a rookie in 2016 but has now gone 9-0 in subsequent starts against New York.

Mike Tomlin hinted at changes after the Pittsburgh Steelers failed to recover from an awful first half in their 36-28 Thursday Night Football defeat to the Minnesota Vikings.

The Steelers fell to 6-6-1 in Minneapolis, just unable to rally after going scoreless through two quarters and trailing 29-0 in the third.

There had been 1,616 previous occasions of a team falling behind by 29 points or more in the NFL, but Pittsburgh became the first of those to then have the chance to win the game.

Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers back down the field on the final drive but ran out of time at the Vikings' 12-yard line.

Head coach Tomlin appeared to initiate the improvement with some ruthless calls, benching receiver Chase Claypool and inside linebacker Joe Schobert.

And he warned more changes could follow after the Vikings were allowed 176 rushing yards in the first half – a season high for any team before halftime.

Only twice since 1991 – 182 for the Oakland Raiders in 2013 and 179 for the Baltimore Ravens in 2020 – have the Steelers given up more rushing yards in the first two quarters of a game.

Criticism was not reserved for the defensive line alone, though, as Roethlisberger was sacked four times before halftime.

"We were 'JV' again tonight, and I'm talking up front on both sides," Tomlin said. "We've got to be better than we were. We'll turn over every stone to do that.

"We've got a long week coming up between this and our next one. We'll make good use of that time and assess not only what we're doing, but who we're doing it with."

He added: "I'd be remiss – I'd be doing that group a disservice – if I didn't look at all options."

Outside linebacker T.J. Watt, who leads the league with 16.0 sacks, sustained a groin injury in the second quarter, while Alex Highsmith went down with a knee complaint.

But the Steelers afforded themselves no excuses, as defensive end Cameron Heyward said: "The first half was horrendous.

"Guys weren't filling. We weren't getting off blocks. We weren't tackling. You name it – we did it wrong."

Dalvin Cook, just back from a torn labrum and dislocated shoulder, was the man to profit, with 205 rushing yards – one shy of his career high – and two touchdowns.

Both his scores came in that first half – only the second time Cook has had two rushing TDs heading into halftime – along with 153 yards. This was just Cook's second 100-yard first half.

"I'm just happy to be back, happy we got the win," he said. "My coaches know once I tell them I'm good, I'm good.

"There ain't no holding me back, just turn me loose. I just appreciate them for believing in me and just trusting in who I am."

The Minnesota Vikings have survived an almighty Pittsburgh Steelers comeback after blowing a 29-point lead to win 36-28 and improve to a 6-7 record in Thursday Night Football.

The Vikings had led 29-0 midway through the third quarter before Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger led a remarkable fightback that included three final quarter touchdowns but they left it too late to slump to a 6-6-1 record with only one win in their past five games.

Trailing 36-28 with three seconds on the clock, Roethlisberger threw for Pat Freiermuth in the end-zone but the tight end could not hold the pass under pressure from Vikings safety Harrison Smith despite getting two hands to the ball.

The Vikings had jumped the Steelers with three first-half touchdowns, as Kirk Cousins found Justin Jefferson wide open, before running back Dalvin Cook crossed twice in the second period.

Back-to-back Greg Joseph field goals extended their lead to 29 points in the third quarter before the Steelers responded with Roethlisberger finding Najee Harris in the corner for a TD.

Rookie Harris scored his sixth rushing touchdown of the season early in the last quarter, before Roethlisberger found James Washington down the middle to make it 29-20 with 12 minutes to play.

Minnesota immediately responded with KJ Osborn scoring in a 62-yard play from Cousins, who made 14 of 31 attempts for 216 and two touchdowns, only for Freiermuth to narrow the gap again, with Diontae Johnson completing the two-point conversion to make it a one-play game.

Pittsburgh almost completed a remarkable comeback as Freiermuth could not grasp the last-ditch throw from Roethlisberger who completed 28 of 40 attempts for 308 yards and three touchdowns with one interception.

Depending on how your fantasy league is structured, it's either the final week of the regular season or the first week of the playoffs.

Regardless of which category you fall in, if you're still in contention for the title, it is crunch time.

There's no room for error, and those line-up selections must be right.

Stats Perform is here with a helping hand once again, identifying four offensive players and a defense worthy of starter consideration in Week 14.

 

Quarterback: Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks @ Houston Texans

After a shaky start, Wilson looked more like himself in the Seahawks' surprise win over the San Francisco 49ers last week.

There was a big-play connection with D.K. Metcalf and he also found Tyler Lockett for what proved the game-winning touchdown to keep Seattle's faint playoff hopes alive.

Having prevailed despite three turnovers from the Seahawks' offense, Wilson gets to try to continue his upward momentum against a Texans defense ranked 24th in the NFL by yards per play allowed.

Running Back: Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos vs. Detroit Lions

Williams was a workhorse for the Broncos against the Kansas City Chiefs in the absence of backfield mate Melvin Gordon.

He carried the ball 23 times for 102 yards while also catching six passes for 76 yards and a touchdown in Denver's loss at Arrowhead Stadium.

With Gordon back in practice ahead of Week 14, the same share of the touches appears unlikely for Williams.

But for a rookie running back averaging 4.8 yards per attempt, that may not matter against a Lions defense that has given up 42 rushes of 10 yards or more, tied for seventh-most in the league.

Wide Receiver: Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers @ Minnesota Vikings

Trusting the Steelers' offense has been a difficult thing to do in what is expected to be the final year with an evidently declining Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback.

Yet one Steelers player fantasy managers, especially those in points per reception leagues, have had no problem believing in is wide receiver Johnson.

Johnson has double-digit targets and at least seven catches and 80 yards in each of his last four games. His 51 targets over that span are the most in the NFL.

He has topped 100 yards in two of those games and caught a pair of touchdowns in last week's win over the Baltimore Ravens.

Only six teams have given up more passing touchdowns in 2021 than the Vikings (21). If their pass coverage is as soft as it was on the final drive of their shock loss to Detroit, Johnson should thrive.

Tight End: T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions @ Denver Broncos

Back to those aforementioned Lions, for whom the pressure is off after they finally claimed that elusive first win in Week 13.

That extra freedom might see them look to open up the passing game against Denver, and Hockenson would likely be a beneficiary of such an approach.

He has a touchdown in each of his last two games and at least eight targets in five of his last seven. That could be enough for a productive fantasy outing even against a stingy Denver defense.

Defense: New Orleans Saints @ New York Jets

Injuries look like being too much to overcome for Sean Payton and the 5-7 Saints, but the Jets are an ideal opponent to face for teams looking to stay in the mix.

Even if quarterback Taysom Hill continues to struggle throwing the ball, the Saints can win this one on the defensive side. 

Their defense has forced a turnover in three successive games while no offense has committed more giveaways than the 25 racked up by the Jets.

This one is simple. If you own the Saints defense or are in a position to pick it up on the waiver wire, slot this group into your starting line-up.

Lamar Jackson blamed himself for not executing the pass for a two-point conversion that would have seen the Baltimore Ravens edge past the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Baltimore attempted the two-point conversion after Jackson had led the Ravens to a touchdown with 12 seconds remaining, only for the 24-year-old's throw to narrowly miss Mark Andrews' fingertips in the endzone.

The Steelers therefore squeezed to a 20-19 victory, snapping a two-game losing streak after being inspired by Ben Roethlisberger, who threw two fourth-down touchdowns on Sunday.

But 2019 MVP Jackson, whose 60-yard drive during the closing two minutes set up a tantalising conclusion, bemoaned his lack of cutting edge as Baltimore opted for the winner-takes-all two-pointer as opposed to kicking for a point.

"I was in the moment," Jackson told reporters. "We just scored. I was cool with it. I wanted to win. I didn't want to go to overtime anyway.

"T.J. Watt's got range. He's a long guy. I had to throw around him and try to make something happen. That's all, I just came up short.

"We're just not finishing. We're always one play away. When we get down in the red zone, we've just got to fix that. We've just got to get in the lab and find ways to keep our drives going, try not to have sacks.

"I'm very confident. You saw the last drive. We were rolling, hitting passes, guys running their routes, catching the ball and getting YAC. We just do that consistently, we'll be fine. We just have to do it early and finish the whole game like that."

Jackson continues to be Baltimore's main outlet, once again making eight carries for 55 yards as the Ravens' lead rusher.

But the quarterback's passing was slightly off, throwing an avoidable pick in Baltimore's opening drive while he has now been sacked an already career-high 37 times in 11 starts this season, compared to the last when he suffered just 29 in four more starts.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, though, believes his team and coaching staff need to do more to protect Jackson.

"We can put him in a better position too in terms of getting the ball out quick with some of those calls," Harbaugh added. "Seven sacks is too many. It's way too many. That's on us as a coaching staff to get that cleaned up."

The Ravens (8-4), despite the loss, still lead the AFC North by one game as they next prepare to face the Cleveland Browns (6-6).

Ben Roethlisberger deflected questions regarding his NFL future following the Pittsburgh Steelers' 20-19 win over the Baltimore Ravens on as rumours mount about an offseason departure.

Roethlisberger has reportedly former team-mates and people within the Steelers organisation that he expects 2021 to be his final season with Pittsburgh.

There were doubts over the 39-year-old quarterback before he committed to another campaign in Pittsburgh.

Drafted by the Steelers in 2004, six-time Pro Bowler Roethlisberger has guided the franchise to two Super Bowl victories during his career at Heinz Field.

After helping the Steelers hold off the high-flying Ravens on Sunday, Roethlisberger dismissed the report as he refused to be drawn on his future.

"I haven't told everybody that, no," Roethlisberger said at the post-game news conference after the Steelers snapped a two-game skid and three-game winless run in total. "Honestly, we've just got done with this game, I'm exhausted.

"We play in a couple hours, it feels like. That's my focus. My focus is on Minnesota and what we have to do to get ready.

"I'll address any of that stuff after the season. I've always been a one-game-at-a-time, one-season-at-a-time person. I'm going to stay that way."

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin insisted there was no distraction to manage, fresh from Roethlisberger throwing two touchdown passes, completing 21 of 31 attempts for 236 yards, to beat the Ravens.

"There's nothing to manage," Tomlin said at the news conference. "Ben doesn't allow it to become an issue.

"Ben has been pretty solid in terms of his expressions that he's singularly focused on what it is that we're doing now. He'll deal with those things on the other side of this journey, and I'm with him on it."

The Pittsburgh Steelers survived a wild finish as Ben Roethlisberger's team held on to edge Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens 20-19 in the NFL.

Baltimore went for the two-point conversion and the win after the Ravens scored a touchdown with 12 seconds remaining on Sunday, but Jackson's pass went agonisingly off Mark Andrews' fingertips with the endzone in sight.

The Steelers prevailed in another thrilling AFC North battle to snap a two-game skid after Roethlisberger (21-of-31 passing for 236 yards and two TDs) threw two fourth-down touchdowns to fuel Pittsburgh.

After a scoreless opening period, Devonta Freeman rushed for a TD as the Ravens (8-4) took a 10-3 lead into the final quarter away to the Steelers (6-5-1).

The fourth period came to life, veteran quarterback Roethlisberger started the comeback with an early 29-yard touchdown pass to Diontae Johnson before the pair combined against less than two minutes from the end.

Trailing 20-13, former MVP Jackson (23-of-37 passing for 253 yards and a touchdown) led an eight-play, 60-yard drive for his only touchdown of the game but Baltimore were unable to complete the two-point conversion at the death.

Since the 2016 season, six of Pittsburgh's seven wins against Baltimore have come by seven points or less, per Stats Perform.

 

Seahawks snap skid by sinking Niners

The Seattle Seahawks needed a victory and they got it after powering past the San Francisco 49ers 30-23.

In a mistake-filled contest, the Seahawks ended their run of three consecutive losses behind Russell Wilson's two-touchdown display in Seattle.

Future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson made his debut for the Seahawks and scored his 126th career touchdown on a one-yard rush. It broke a tie with Hall of Famer Walter Payton and moved the 36-year-old into a tie with Jim Brown for 10th in NFL history.

Jimmy Garoppolo threw two interceptions for the beaten 49ers.

The Los Angeles Rams also snapped a three-game skid, rolling over the Jacksonville Jaguars 37-7 after Odell Beckham Jr., Cooper Kupp and Van Jefferson all caught TD passes from Matthew Stafford.

Pittsburgh Steelers star T.J. Watt is clear to face the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday after being activated from the reserve/COVID list.

The push rusher had been placed on the list on Monday in the latest setback in Pittsburgh's season, the Steelers having previously seen Ben Roethlisberger and Minkah Fitzpatrick also miss time due to positive tests.

Watt had only just returned after injury kept him out of the 41-10 rout at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals, in which he recorded just two combined tackles.

The Steelers are said to have been sending practice footage to Watt all week so that he is apprised of the team's plan to face the Ravens.

Despite a difficult season for the Steelers (5-5-1) on the whole, Watt is a candidate for the AP Defensive Player of the Year, with 12.5 sacks and 41 tackles in nine games.

His 13 tackles for loss put him fourth in the NFL this season, behind Myles Garrett (15) and Micah Parsons and Nick Bosa (both 16)

The slumping Pittsburgh Steelers have been dealt a blow after placing star T.J. Watt on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Pittsburgh have been impacted by coronavirus this NFL season, with star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Minkah Fitzpatrick both missing time due to positive tests.

Steelers push rusher Watt is the latest to land on the COVID-19 list after returning from a one-week absence caused by knee and hip injuries in Sunday's 41-10 rout at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Watt recorded just two combined tackles as the Steelers suffered their first season sweep at the hands of the Bengals since 2009, stretching their winless run to three games.

The three-time Pro Bowler, who has missed two games this season, is now likely to sit out Sunday's matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.

Pittsburgh's humbling defeat left the Steelers 5-5-1 but still within striking distance of the final AFC Wild Card spot, which is currently possessed by the Los Angeles Chargers, who defeated Watt's team 41-37 in Week 11.

The Steelers' final six games are all against playoff contenders. They face the Ravens twice and also have games with the Minnesota Vikings, Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns.

T.J. Watt described the Pittsburgh Steelers' defensive performance as "absolutely embarrassing" after they were routed 41-10 by the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Steelers suffered their first season sweep at the hands of the Bengals since 2009 on Sunday, stretching their winless run to three games.

The humbling defeat leaves the Steelers 5-5-1 but still within striking distance of the final AFC Wild Card spot, which is currently possessed by the Los Angeles Chargers, who defeated Pittsburgh 41-37 in Week 11.

Bengals running back Joe Mixon gashed the Steelers for 165 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Steelers have given up an average of 180.5 yards on the ground over the last four games.

Though they are still in the mix for the playoffs, star edge rusher Watt knows that will change if they cannot stem the tide on defense.

"It wasn't something any of us are proud of," Watt said. "You never want to have that feeling coming out of a game. We put it on tape and now we have to own it, move forward and know that everybody sees what just happened and what we can expect moving forward.

"We have to stop this before it continues to unravel and become a bigger issue than what it already is. We can't keep playing like this. It's absolutely embarrassing.

"We're trying to solve it and clearly we're not doing a good enough job. We have to go back to the film and everyone has to look at the film and watch themselves critically and figure out how to stop this thing because it's continuous."

Head coach Mike Tomlin shared Watt's sentiments.

"It's alarming, it is," Tomlin said of the amount of points conceded. "We're not trying to play it cool by any stretch.

"We don't play football like that, but we have been our last couple of weeks, so some adjustments need to be made."

The Steelers' final six games are all against playoff contenders. They face the Baltimore Ravens twice and also have games with the Minnesota Vikings, Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns.

And veteran defensive lineman Cameron Heyward is under no illusion as to how those games will turn out if the Steelers cannot make said adjustments.

Asked if this is the worst Steelers defense he has been a part of since being drafted in 2011, Heyward replied: "I don't know, I'm probably going to say yes.

"I don't look at the past. All I can do is worry about the present. There's a lot of football to be played, but if we do what we did out there today, we won't win another damn game."

The New England Patriots struck another blow in the race for the one seed in the AFC, defeating the banged-up Tennessee Titans to leapfrog them with a 36-13 victory at Gillette Stadium.

New England went into Sunday's heavyweight clash having won five successive games, and their ability to produce turnovers proved key in extending that streak to six.

Tennessee, minus their top offensive playmakers in injured running back Derrick Henry and wide receiver A.J. Brown, committed four giveaways while the Patriots produced a flawless game in that regard, rookie quarterback Mac Jones recording his second 300-yard passing game of a stellar first season.

Both teams now stand at 8-4, with the Patriots' victory giving them the tiebreaker over the Titans, with another test of New England's Super Bowl credentials to come a week on Monday when they face AFC East rivals the Buffalo Bills (7-4) on the road.

Nick Westbrook-Ikhine's touchdown reception and a 68-yard rushing score from Dontrell Hilliard meant the Titans only trailed 16-13 at half-time.

But their first two drives of the second half, sandwiched by a field goal for New England, ended in a fumble and a punt and Tennessee's slow start to the third quarter was exacerbated when Kendrick Bourne's 41-yard catch and run for his second touchdown of the day gave the Patriots a 26-13 lead.

The Titans drove to New England's two-yard line in response, only for Ryan Tannehill to see a fourth-down pass to Cody Hollister tipped and intercepted by J.C. Jackson.

That allowed the Patriots to stretch the lead with Nick Folk's fifth field goal and, after another failed fourth-down attempt from Tannehill, Damien Harris capped things off for New England with a 14-yard run as they sent an emphatic message to the rest of the AFC.

FOURnette stars as Bucs win Colts thriller

Defending Super Bowl champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers trailed by 10 points at the end of the half in a see-saw battle with the Indianapolis Colts.

But five Colts turnovers tipped the balance in the favour of the Bucs, Leonard Fournette's fourth touchdown securing a 38-31 victory and a 51st game-winning drive for Tom Brady, putting him three shy of Peyton Manning's all-time record, despite a late 71-yard kickoff return from Isaiah Rodgers that almost forced overtime.

The Bucs (8-3) have a commanding lead atop the NFC South, with the Carolina Panthers' defeat to the Miami Dolphins dropping them to 5-7. The 6-6 Colts remain firmly in the Wild Card picture in the AFC.

Bengals sweep Steelers

The Cincinnati Bengals moved within half a game of the AFC North lead as they completed their first season sweep of the Pittsburgh Steelers since the 2009 season.

It was a feat they achieved in style with a 41-10 rout, running back Joe Mixon the star of the show with 165 rushing yards and two touchdowns, with Joe Burrow's lone touchdown throw to Tee Higgins his 10th of 30 or more yards this season.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger endured a miserable day, throwing two interceptions and suffering three sacks to drop Pittsburgh to 5-5-1. The 7-4 Bengals will end the day atop the division if the Baltimore Ravens, who own the top seed with Titans' defeat, lose to the Cleveland Browns later on Sunday.

The New England Patriots moved into the one seed in the AFC, defeating the banged-up Tennessee Titans to leapfrog them into top spot with a 36-13 victory at Gillette Stadium.

New England went into Sunday's heavyweight clash having won five successive games, and their ability to produce turnovers proved key in extending that streak to six.

Tennessee, minus their top offensive playmakers in injured running back Derrick Henry and wide receiver A.J. Brown, committed four giveaways while the Patriots produced a flawless game in that regard, rookie quarterback Mac Jones recording his second 300-yard passing game of a stellar first season.

Both teams now stand at 8-4, with the Patriots' victory giving them the tiebreaker, with another test of New England's Super Bowl credentials to come a week on Monday when they face AFC East rivals the Buffalo Bills (7-4) on the road.

Nick Westbrook-Ikhine's touchdown reception and a 68-yard rushing score from Dontrell Hilliard meant the Titans only trailed 16-13 at half-time.

But their first two drives of the second half, sandwiched by a field goal for New England, ended in a fumble and a punt and Tennessee's slow start to the third quarter was exacerbated when Kendrick Bourne's 41-yard catch and run for his second touchdown of the day gave the Patriots a 26-13 lead.

The Titans drove to New England's two-yard line in response, only for Ryan Tannehill to see a fourth-down pass to Cody Hollister tipped and intercepted by J.C. Jackson.

That allowed the Patriots to stretch the lead with Nick Folk's fifth field goal and, after another failed fourth-down attempt from Tannehill, Damien Harris capped things off for New England with a 14-yard run as they sent an emphatic message to the rest of the AFC.

FOURnette stars as Bucs win Colts thriller

Defending Super Bowl champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers trailed by 10 points at the end of the half in a see-saw battle with the Indianapolis Colts.

But five Colts turnovers tipped the balance in the favour of the Bucs, Leonard Fournette's fourth touchdown securing a 38-31 victory and a 51st game-winning drive for Tom Brady, putting him three shy of Peyton Manning's all-time record, despite a late 71-yard kickoff return from Isaiah Rodgers that almost forced overtime.

The Bucs (8-3) have a commanding lead atop the NFC South, with the Carolina Panthers' defeat to the Miami Dolphins dropping them to 5-7. The 6-6 Colts remain firmly in the Wild Card picture in the AFC.

Bengals sweep Steelers

The Cincinnati Bengals moved within half a game of the AFC North lead as they completed their first season sweep of the Pittsburgh Steelers since the 2009 season.

It was a feat they achieved in style with a 41-10 rout, running back Joe Mixon the star of the show with 165 rushing yards and two touchdowns, with Joe Burrow's lone touchdown throw to Tee Higgins his 10th of 30 or more yards this season.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger endured a miserable day, throwing two interceptions and suffering three sacks to drop Pittsburgh to 5-5-1. The 7-4 Bengals will end the day atop the division if the Baltimore Ravens lose to the Cleveland Browns later on Sunday.

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.

Ben Roethlisberger described Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert as a "special talent" after his display in a stunning 41-37 win against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Herbert capped off an impressive performance by throwing a 53-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams with just over two minutes remaining as the Chargers avoided a dramatic collapse after holding off Roethlisberger's rallying Steelers 41-37.

The 23-year-old became the first player in NFL history with 380-plus passing yards and 90-plus rushing yards in a game.

He finished 30-of-41 passing for 382 yards and three TDs, while he rushed for another 90 yards – the most by a Chargers quarterback in a game.

Speaking to reporters after the game, Roethlisberger said: "They're a really good football team. It starts with their quarterback. 

"He's a great young football player. Ran all over the place today, made throws. What a special talent, he's the next generation."

Chargers head coach Brandon Staley was equally effusive in his praise of his quarterback following the tight win in Los Angeles.

"He was fantastic in the game today. He was the best player on the field. He's got real instincts at the game," Staley said.

"He threw the football at a really high-level tonight, kept himself protected, stayed turnover free… it was just real quarterbacking today and I'm really really proud of him."

The Chargers were ahead 27-10 entering the final quarter before the Steelers fought back to sensationally take a 37-34 lead with just over three minutes remaining, before Herbert's throw found Williams for the winning touchdown.

"It turned into a wild ride, but we were ready for it," Staley said about his team's performance. 

"We played nine games before today where we've been preparing for a fourth quarter like that, and when the fourth quarter happened the way it did, our guys stayed connected. 

"We played our best at the end, we finished the game on our terms, and I can't say enough about our players and coaches because that's as good a win as we've had."

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