NFL Week 15: Chaos Reigns! 5 Burning Questions That’ll Blow Your Mind

NFL Week 15: Chaos Reigns! 5 Burning Questions That’ll Blow Your Mind

Week 15 in the NFL kicked off on Thursday night with a dominating performance by the Las Vegas Raiders, who crushed the Los Angeles Chargers 63-21. This game marked the end of Chargers coach Brandon Staley’s tenure with the team, as both Staley and general manager Tom Telesco were fired the following day.

On Saturday, the Cincinnati Bengals kept their playoff hopes alive with an exciting 27-24 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in overtime. Following that, the Indianapolis Colts scored 30 unanswered points, securing a 30-13 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. In Saturday’s nightcap, the Detroit Lions made easy work of the Denver Broncos, sealing a convincing 42-17 blowout.

Sunday’s action featured the Tampa Bay Buccaneers improving their playoff chances, the Carolina Panthers securing their second win of the season, and the Houston Texans winning a divisional game in overtime without QB C.J. Stroud. The Buffalo Bills had a standout day on the ground against the Dallas Cowboys, while the San Francisco 49ers clinched the NFC West with a victory over the Arizona Cardinals.

Our NFL Nation reporters have analyzed all the games, addressing lingering questions and identifying who or what is rising and falling for each team. Let’s dive into the reactions and insights from a thrilling Week 15.

Bills

The Bills are riding high after a historic rushing performance led by James Cook, leaving fans eager to see if this newfound ground dominance will carry them through the crucial final stretch of the season. The team delivered a resounding statement against the Cowboys, showcasing an offensive strategy that hasn’t been a hallmark for years – a nearly unstoppable running game. Cook shone with a career-best 221 scrimmage yards, marking the most by a Bill since Fred Jackson in 2010. Notably, they achieved this against a Cowboys team that had yet to allow a 100-yard rusher this season. The team’s impressive 266 rushing yards set a new record under coach Sean McDermott. With the Bills heating up at a pivotal moment, sustaining this momentum in the upcoming weeks will be key.

Stock up after the win: The passing defense demonstrated its prowess, successfully pressuring Dak Prescott with an effective four-man rush. All three sacks came on crucial third downs, a significant achievement considering Prescott hadn’t been sacked three times on third or fourth down since 2021. The defense also limited Prescott to his lowest passing yards in a first half start since 2018 (43), all while missing key players like defensive end AJ Epenesa and starting safety Micah Hyde.

Stock down after the win: The only minor hiccup in the Bills’ performance was in the receiving department. Though overshadowed by the overall success, dropped passes are worth keeping an eye on in the future. Cook, who had a standout game, dropped a potential touchdown in the third quarter, repeating a similar mistake from the Eagles game. Additionally, wide receiver Stefon Diggs seemed to fall short on a crucial third-down play early in the game. – Alaina Getzenberg

Next game: at Chargers (Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ET)

Cowboys

The Cowboys are facing questions after a notable loss, leaving fans wondering if this defeat is a glimpse of challenges to come. Starting with the positive, the Cowboys secured a playoff spot before kickoff, benefiting from losses by Green Bay and Atlanta, coupled with a Saturday win by Detroit. However, the downside was evident as the Bills exposed a vulnerability in the Cowboys’ defense – a susceptibility to a strong running game. With Miami, the second-best rushing team, up next, and subsequent matchups against Detroit, ranked third, as well as potential playoff contenders like San Francisco (ranked fourth) and Philadelphia (ranked eighth), all eyes in the NFC are on how teams might exploit this weakness.

Stock up after the loss: Kicker Brandon Aubrey emerges as a bright spot. With 31 consecutive made field goals to start his career, Aubrey’s performance included a crucial 32-yarder in the second quarter, setting a Cowboys record for the most consecutive made field goals. This achievement surpasses Dan Bailey’s record of 30 straight over the 2013-14 season.

Stock down after the loss: The run defense takes a hit. While defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins was notably absent due to a knee injury, the Cowboys struggled to contain the Bills’ running game, allowing them to run at will. This marked the first time the Cowboys conceded a 100-yard rushing game this season, a feat that James Cook accomplished in the first half. – Todd Archer

Next game: at Dolphins (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)

49ers

The 49ers are gearing up for a Christmas night showdown against the Baltimore Ravens, but recent health scares have added a layer of uncertainty. In Sunday’s win, key players like running back Christian McCaffrey, quarterback Brock Purdy, and defensive end Nick Bosa faced injuries, causing some concern. Fortunately, all three returned relatively quickly and were able to finish the game. With six players already inactive due to injuries, the team faces a crucial week-plus to ensure everyone is ready for the highly anticipated Monday night matchup. This game holds significant importance for the 49ers, as a win can secure the NFC’s top seed and home-field advantage.

Stock up after the win: Cornerback Charvarius Ward emerges as a standout. Quietly performing at a Pro Bowl level throughout the season and leading the league in passes defended, Ward showcased his skills with a 66-yard interception return for a touchdown, marking the first score of his career. He later added a second interception.

Stock down after the win: The run defense faced challenges. Missing starting defensive tackles Javon Hargrave (hamstring) and Arik Armstead (foot, knee), the 49ers struggled to contain Arizona’s diverse rushing attack. This marked the first time since 2017 that San Francisco conceded over 200 yards on the ground.

Next game: vs. Ravens (Monday, Dec. 25, 8:15 p.m. ET)

Cardinals

Following Sunday’s loss, the Cardinals are assessing areas for improvement in the upcoming 2024 season. While initially showing promise against the NFC-leading 49ers, the game revealed specific areas that need attention in the offseason, primarily the need for at least one more dynamic receiver and experienced cornerbacks.

Stock up after the loss: The Cardinals’ run game demonstrated strength and efficiency, capitalizing on the 49ers’ absence of two defensive tackles. Arizona ran for an impressive 234 yards, with James Conner leading the charge with 86 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, including a notable 44-yard run.

Stock down after the loss: The pass defense faced challenges containing the 49ers’ key playmakers. Despite a solid effort against the run game, the Cardinals struggled to cover players like Deebo Samuel and Christian McCaffrey, leading to wide-open touchdowns. Addressing coverage issues and bolstering the cornerback position will likely be priorities in the offseason. — Josh Weinfuss

Next game: at Bears (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)

Rams

Cooper Kupp’s resurgence is undeniably making the Rams a serious contender. After a slower stretch where he battled through an ankle injury, Kupp has bounced back with consecutive 100-yard receiving games, reminiscent of his performance in Weeks 5 and 6. Kupp is now resembling the receiver the Rams have come to rely on, showcasing his prowess with his 23rd career game featuring 100 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown. This achievement ties him for the fifth most through a player’s first 100 career games in NFL history, an impressive feat considering Sunday marked only Kupp’s 90th career game. The Rams’ offense is flourishing, and Kupp’s resurgence adds a dynamic element that elevates them to contender status. The defense, which performed well against the Commanders, will play a pivotal role in determining the Rams’ playoff fate.

Stock up after the win: The Rams’ third-down defense shone in Sunday’s game. Despite struggles earlier in the season, the defense effectively shut down the Commanders on third down, limiting them to a 3-of-14 conversion rate.

Stock down after the win: Running back Kyren Williams had a rare “stock down” moment despite a 100-yard rushing game. Williams lost two fumbles in the first half, displaying uncharacteristic ball security issues. While Williams remains the Rams’ lead back, addressing this issue will be crucial as they continue their playoff push. — Sarah Barshop

Next game: vs. Saints ( Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET)

Commanders

The Washington offense has faced regression, evident in their scoring output of only 45 combined points in the past three games. The struggles extend beyond quarterback Sam Howell, who, despite initially appearing as the team’s quarterback of the future, has faced challenges in making plays on schedule. This resulted in his replacement by Jacoby Brissett on Sunday. Coordinator Eric Bieniemy’s offense has been lacking in explosive plays, and the limited outlets for Howell contribute to the overall offensive struggles. Additionally, the offensive line has been unable to provide adequate support, further compounding the challenges. Addressing these issues includes fortifying the skill positions with a legitimate threat at tight end and a substantial receiver.

Stock up after the loss: Wide receiver Terry McLaurin had a standout performance, benefiting from the insertion of backup quarterback Brissett. McLaurin finished with six catches for 141 yards and a touchdown, marking his first 100-yard game since December 5, 2022.

Stock down after the loss: The secondary faced difficulties against the Commanders, making it easy for quarterback Matthew Stafford to exploit blown coverage, resulting in a 62-yard touchdown. Poor coverage at other times contributed to Stafford throwing for two touchdowns. This highlights a key area that needs improvement for Washington moving forward. — John Keim

Next game: at Jets (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

Browns

The Browns managed to overcome mounting injuries in a stunning comeback victory, showcasing the resilience of their backups. In the face of adversity, several key plays in the fourth quarter turned the tide for Cleveland. Nickelback Cameron Mitchell played a crucial role by tripping up QB Justin Fields on a fourth-and-short stop. Receiver Marquise Goodwin’s 57-yard reception from Joe Flacco set up a field goal, bringing the Browns within a touchdown. Additionally, defensive end Alex Wright’s pivotal stop against Chicago’s Tyler Scott forced a punt, contributing significantly to the comeback.

Stock up after the win: Tight end David Njoku emerged as a standout player, finishing with a game-high 10 receptions. Njoku’s performance included a toe-tap touchdown and a critical reception on third down during the game-winning drive in the late fourth quarter.

Stock down after the win: The Browns faced challenges on the offensive line, especially after left guard Joel Bitonio exited the game early with a back injury. With only one healthy starter, right guard Wyatt Teller, the offensive line struggled to establish dominance at the line of scrimmage throughout the game. — Jake Trotter

Next game: at Texans (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

Bears

The Bears’ postseason push took a significant hit with the recent loss, reducing their chances from a potential 9% to 3%, according to ESPN Analytics. While the defense, leading the league with 18 interceptions, had fueled talks of a playoff push, the limitations of the Bears’ offense and Sunday’s defeat should likely put an end to any postseason aspirations.

Stock up after the loss: Safety Eddie Jackson made a notable contribution, securing his first interception of the season, nearly turning it into a pick-six. This play positioned the Bears inside Cleveland’s 5-yard line, leading to a subsequent scoring drive.

Stock down after the loss: Wide receiver Darnell Mooney faced challenges in building chemistry with quarterback Justin Fields throughout the season. Despite receiving eight targets, Mooney managed only two catches for 14 yards. His inability to secure a potential game-winning Hail Mary pass on the last play further highlighted the ongoing struggles. — Courtney Cronin

While the defense’s impressive performance has been a catalyst, the limitations on the offensive end and missed opportunities indicate that a postseason push for the Bears might not be a realistic scenario. As they reflect on the season, addressing offensive challenges and enhancing player chemistry will be crucial for future success.

Next game: vs. Cardinals (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)

Texans

The Texans secured a win without quarterback C.J. Stroud, relying on Case Keenum’s performance as Stroud’s replacement. Keenum finished 23-for-36 for 229 yards with one touchdown and one interception. However, the offense faced challenges, scoring their first touchdown with less than four minutes remaining in the game. Looking ahead, the offense’s ability to navigate another week without Stroud will be put to the test, especially against the Cleveland Browns, who entered the week with the top-ranked total defense.

Stock up after the win: Cornerback Steven Nelson had a standout performance, tying his career-high in interceptions with his fourth of the season. This key play set up a field goal, contributing to the team’s success.

Stock down after the win: Wide receiver Robert Woods, signed in the offseason to enhance the passing game, faced challenges, finishing with only 30 yards. With the top two receivers sidelined, Woods’ impact was limited, and he has surpassed 60 receiving yards in a game only once this season. — DJ Bien-Aime

Next game: vs. Browns (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

Titans

Despite being eliminated from playoff contention, the Titans still have significant motivations to play for in the remaining games. Will Levis, their quarterback of the future, has the opportunity to finish his rookie season on a high note, gaining momentum that could prove beneficial for the team’s future. With ample cap space (a projected $91.87 million) and 20 players set to hit free agency, including running back Derrick Henry, the Titans can use the remaining games to assess their roster, make strategic decisions for the offseason, and set the stage for future success.

Stock up after the loss: Wide receiver Treylon Burks showcased improvement, contributing three receptions for a team-high 62 yards against Houston. His 37-yard catch played a crucial role in setting up a touchdown on the opening drive, indicating potential for positive developments in the passing game.

Stock down after the loss: Running back Derrick Henry and the offensive line faced challenges against Houston. Despite Henry’s previous success against the Texans, the offensive line struggled to create running lanes, limiting Henry to only 9 yards on 16 carries. The Titans’ rushing offense averaged just 2.2 yards per rush, and Levis was sacked seven times, underscoring areas for improvement. — Turron Davenport

As the Titans look to the future, these remaining games provide an opportunity to evaluate and make strategic decisions that will shape the team’s direction in the offseason and beyond.

Next game: vs. Seahawks (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

Panthers

Despite the current struggles with a 2-12 record, the Panthers could be optimistic about competing for the NFC South title next season. The division currently lacks a team with a winning record, and none possess a franchise quarterback. Rookie quarterback Bryce Young showed promise by leading a game-winning drive, providing a glimmer of hope. With ample salary cap room to bolster the roster around Young and a competitive defense, the Panthers have the potential to make strides in the upcoming season.

Stock up after the win: Quarterback Bryce Young performed well despite challenging weather conditions, avoiding turnovers in a rainy game. Notably, he orchestrated a game-winning drive starting from the Carolina 5-yard line, showcasing his ability to lead under pressure.

Stock down after the win: Right guard Gabe Jackson, who replaced starter Nash Jensen in the second half, had a mixed performance. While he contributed positively with a couple of good run blocks, he also surrendered a sack and was called for holding, negating a deep pass to the Atlanta 13-yard line. — David Newton

As the Panthers look ahead, the combination of a promising rookie quarterback, financial flexibility, and a solid defense positions them to be competitive in the NFC South next season, especially given the current state of the division.

Next game: vs. Packers (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

Falcons

Coach Arthur Smith’s seat with the Atlanta Falcons appears to be getting warmer, especially considering the expectations set by owner Arthur Blank for improvement this season. The recent loss to the league-worst Carolina Panthers, scoring only seven points, adds pressure on Smith as the team aims to compete in the NFC South. The nature of the defeat, marked by critical offensive errors and a late-game defensive lapse, echoes a pattern seen in many of the team’s losses this season, further intensifying scrutiny on the coaching staff.

Stock up after the loss: Edge rusher Lorenzo Carter had one of his best games of the season, stepping up in the absence of Bud Dupree. Carter contributed significantly with four tackles, one tackle for loss, and one quarterback hit, showcasing his impact on the game.

Stock down after the loss: Quarterback Desmond Ridder, while not playing poorly overall, faced a critical moment in the game where he threw a crucial interception on the Carolina 3-yard line. This mistake set up the Panthers’ game-winning drive, contributing to the disappointment of the loss. — Michael Rothstein

As the Falcons assess their season and coaching performance, the recent struggles, particularly against a struggling opponent, increase the scrutiny on Arthur Smith and the coaching staff. The remainder of the season will likely play a crucial role in determining the future direction of the coaching staff.

Next game: vs. Colts (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

Dolphins

Mathematically, the Miami Dolphins have the opportunity to clinch the AFC East before their Week 18 showdown with the Buffalo Bills. With a two-game lead heading into Sunday’s action, if the Dolphins win each of their next two games against the Cowboys and Ravens, they would maintain at least a two-game lead even if the Bills win against the Cowboys. Furthermore, if the Dolphins win all three remaining games, including the one against the Bills, they would secure the top overall seed in the AFC, a first-round bye, and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Stock up after the win: Wide receiver Jaylen Waddle stepped up in the absence of Tyreek Hill, delivering a standout performance with 142 yards and a touchdown on eight catches, contributing significantly to the Dolphins’ success.

Stock down after the win: Tyreek Hill’s pursuit of 2,000 receiving yards faces challenges with three games remaining and needing 458 yards to reach the milestone. Additionally, the remaining matchups include teams with top-10 pass defenses, adding complexity to Hill’s pursuit. — Marcel Louis-Jacques

As the Dolphins navigate the final stretch of the season, their playoff positioning and potential division clinch depend on continued success in upcoming matchups against strong opponents.

Next game: vs. Cowboys (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)

Jets

With the New York Jets eliminated from playoff contention and Aaron Rodgers likely to be medically cleared this week, there’s a discussion about whether it’s time to shut down Rodgers’ comeback bid. The Jets, currently at a 5-9 record, have clinched their eighth straight losing season, and there’s no urgency to rush Rodgers back into the lineup. Rodgers himself has stated that it wouldn’t make sense to play in a game with no playoff implications. Given the team’s situation and the need for Rodgers to focus on the 2024 season, it might be in the best interest of both parties to prioritize his health and recovery.

Stock up after the loss: Punter Thomas Morstead emerged as a standout performer, averaging 53.4 yards on an otherwise challenging day for the Jets. Morstead’s performance stood out in a less-than-ideal situation.

Stock down after the loss: Coach Robert Saleh faced criticism for an embarrassing performance in all three phases of the game. The Jets were outgained 290-103 by an injury-depleted Miami offense, marking one of the worst losses of the Saleh era. With a 16-32 record, Saleh’s seat is reportedly getting warmer. — Rich Cimini

As the Jets assess the remainder of the season, the focus may shift to evaluating players, prioritizing health, and making strategic decisions for the future, especially considering the team’s playoff elimination.

Next game: vs. Commanders (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

Saints

The New Orleans Saints seem to be sustaining positive momentum, winning two straight games and executing well against the Giants. In their recent victory, the Saints’ pass rush recorded a season-high seven sacks, quarterback Derek Carr achieved his highest passer rating of the season, and the offense moved effectively despite missing key players like wide receiver Chris Olave and starting right tackle Ryan Ramczyk. Looking ahead, the Saints face a short week before a crucial matchup against the Rams on Thursday night, highlighting the need for continued success to stay competitive in the NFC South.

Stock up after the win: Quarterback Derek Carr had an impressive performance, throwing a season-high three touchdowns to three different players and compiling a season-high quarterback rating of 134.8. Carr’s ability to lead the offense effectively was a key factor in the Saints’ success, especially considering the absence of key offensive pieces.

Stock down after the win: Offensive lineman Andrus Peat faced challenges with two offensive holding penalties in an otherwise complete win. While it’s a minor issue in the context of the victory, it stands out as an area for improvement moving forward. — Katherine Terrell

As the Saints continue their season, sustaining positive momentum will be crucial, especially with upcoming matchups that carry significant implications for their standing in the NFC South. The team’s ability to overcome injuries and execute well on both sides of the ball will likely determine their success moving forward.

Next game: at Rams (Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET)

Giants

The blowout loss for the New York Giants raises questions about Tommy DeVito and the team’s quarterback position moving forward. DeVito’s performance in the game, going 20-of-34 for 177 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions, coupled with being sacked seven times and having to be checked for a concussion, adds challenges to the narrative of his potential as the starting quarterback. While DeVito may still have a role in the Giants’ future, the dream of him overtaking Daniel Jones for the starting spot next season seems unlikely, especially with tough matchups against the Eagles in two of the final three games.

Stock up after the loss: Punter Jamie Gillan, who has been solid this season, showcased versatility by nailing a 40-yard field goal on the final play of the first half. Gillan’s ability to contribute as a fill-in kicker adds to his value.

Stock down after the loss: The receiving corps struggled in the game, with Darius Slayton, Jalin Hyatt, and Wan’Dale Robinson combining for three catches and 9 yards in the first half, along with three drops. The lack of production from the receiving group contributed to the offensive challenges. — Jordan Raanan

As the Giants evaluate their quarterback situation and overall performance, tough decisions lie ahead. While DeVito may compete for a backup spot next season, the focus may shift towards addressing key areas of improvement, including the receiving corps, to ensure a more competitive future for the team.

Next game: at Eagles (Monday, Dec. 25, 4:30 p.m. ET)

Chiefs

Despite a comfortable victory, the Kansas City Chiefs might not feel entirely reassured about their trajectory. Offensive sloppiness allowed the Patriots to remain competitive for an extended period, and the Chiefs recognize that they may not encounter an opponent of New England’s caliber in the playoffs. The defense played well, but the quality of the opponent is a factor to consider. To make a strong playoff run, the Chiefs acknowledge the need to address and clean up various aspects of their offense.

Stock up after the win: Running backs Jerick McKinnon and Clyde Edwards-Helaire played crucial roles in the absence of Isiah Pacheco. McKinnon caught a touchdown pass and threw one, showcasing versatility, while Edwards-Helaire made a notable leaping touchdown grab.

Stock down after the win: The wide receivers faced challenges, with Rashee Rice committing a costly penalty that impacted a drive, and Skyy Moore benefiting from a Patriots penalty to avoid a potential fumble. Kadarius Toney’s drop resulted in a Patriots interception and subsequent touchdown, emphasizing the need for improvement in the receiving corps. — Adam Teicher

As the Chiefs reflect on the win, the focus remains on addressing offensive challenges and ensuring a more polished performance in preparation for the playoffs. The upcoming games will be crucial for refining their gameplay and building momentum for a successful postseason run.

Next game: vs. Raiders (Monday, Dec. 25, 1 p.m. ET)

Patriots

The New England Patriots’ loss, bringing their record to 3-11 with three games remaining, has implications for their draft position. Before the game, the Patriots held the No. 2 pick and only a 3% chance of drafting No. 1, according to ESPN Analytics. The loss increased their odds to 10%. However, it’s important to note that the Carolina Panthers, currently at 2-12, are assured of maintaining the top draft spot regardless of the day’s results, as their pick goes to Chicago via trade. The Patriots’ final three games are against Denver, Buffalo, and the Jets, while the Panthers face the Packers, Jaguars, and Buccaneers in their remaining matchups.

Stock up after the loss: Tight end Hunter Henry, a free agent after the season, was a bright spot with seven catches for 66 yards and a touchdown.

Stock down after the loss: Kicker Chad Ryland, a rookie fourth-rounder, missed a 41-yard field goal in the first quarter and is now 12-of-19 on field goals for the season. — Mike Reiss

As the Patriots navigate the remainder of the season, attention turns to draft positioning, and the final three games will play a role in determining their standing for the upcoming NFL Draft.

Next game: at Broncos (Sunday, 8:15 p.m. ET)

Buccaneers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offensive production in their recent win has raised questions about whether they can sustain this level of performance. The victory, described as the team’s signature win of the season, featured quarterback Baker Mayfield’s standout performance, throwing for 381 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. The fact that Mayfield connected with four different targets for touchdowns, including Chris Godwin surpassing 100 receiving yards, indicates positive momentum for the Buccaneers’ offense. With this win, the team has a 66% chance of reaching the playoffs, according to ESPN Analytics.

Stock up after the win: Wide receiver Chris Godwin had a standout performance, recording 155 receiving yards, the most in any game over the past two seasons. Godwin’s contributions have been crucial in key moments for the Buccaneers.

Stock down after the win: The pass rush faced challenges, with Packers quarterback Jordan Love escaping sacks multiple times and making throws on the move. Despite finishing with two sacks and six quarterback hits, the pass rush showed room for improvement in containing the opposing quarterback. — Jenna Laine

As the Buccaneers aim to secure a playoff spot, sustaining the positive aspects of their offensive performance while addressing areas of concern, such as the pass rush, will be key in the final stretch of the season.

Next game: vs. Jaguars (Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET)

Packers

The Green Bay Packers are facing challenges with their defense, and the recent performance against Baker Mayfield has raised concerns. Despite addressing issues with their run defense, the Packers allowed Mayfield, who struggled in completion percentage in the past two games, to excel with 22 completions on 28 attempts for 381 yards and four touchdowns. The defense now seems to lack a reliable aspect, posing a broader challenge for the team.

Stock up after the loss: Wide receiver Jayden Reed showcased his playmaking abilities, recording a toe-dragging touchdown in the third quarter. With six touchdown catches this season, Reed has become a notable playmaker for the Packers, adding depth to the receiving corps.

Stock down after the loss: Head coach Matt LaFleur faced criticism for a surprising challenge flag after Aaron Jones fell a yard short of a first down on a second-and-5 run in the fourth quarter. The decision risked a timeout and was ultimately unsuccessful, raising questions about strategic choices in critical moments. — Rob Demovsky

As the Packers navigate defensive challenges, decisions on coaching adjustments and strategic choices will be crucial in addressing weaknesses and ensuring a competitive performance in the remaining games of the season.

Next game: at Panthers (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

Lions

The Detroit Lions showcased a strong offensive performance in their recent win against the Denver Broncos, suggesting a potential resurgence in their offensive swagger. Following a disappointing 13-point performance in the previous week, the Lions’ offense responded with an impressive showing on both sides of the ball. Wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, who had described the previous performance as “disappointing” and “frustrating,” rebounded with 102 receiving yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Jared Goff, who had struggled with turnovers in previous games, threw five touchdown passes without a turnover.

Stock up after the win: Rookie tight end Sam LaPorta had a standout performance, setting the franchise record for rookie tight ends with nine touchdowns on the season, including three in the game.

Stock down after the win: The third quarter remains a challenge for the Lions, as they were outscored 10-7 for the third consecutive week. While it didn’t impact the outcome in this game, addressing execution and focus in the third quarter is an area the team aims to improve. — Eric Woodyard

Next game: at Vikings (Sunday, Dec. 24, 1 p.m. ET)

About Author

Emily Johnson

Meet Emily Johnson, a rising star in the world of news reporting. Armed with a Communications degree from Harvard University, Emily's writing is a perfect blend of creativity and fact-based journalism. She specializes in human-interest stories, bringing the personal touch that makes every story relatable. Whether it's heartwarming tales or societal issues, Emily is your guide to the trending news you won't want to miss.

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