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Week 12 of the 2021 NFL season started on Thursday with the Chicago Bears and embattled coach Matt Nagy a success on the final play of the game over the winless Detroit Lions.

The afternoon saw the Las Vegas Raiders destroy a 3-sport losing coast and retain themselves in the thick of the AFC playoff flee with an past authorized time desire over the Dallas Cowboys, who secure swiftly dropped three of four after a 6-1 delivery. The Buffalo Bills bought wait on on the a success music in the nightcap with a dominating desire over the New Orleans Saints.

Our NFL Nation reporters react with the takeaways and lingering questions. Plus, they each study the bigger image with their recent crew self belief rating — a 0-10 grade of how they truly feel about each crew’s outlook coming out of the week. Let’s obtain to it.

Soar to a matchup:


Buffalo 31, New Orleans 6


What to know: The Bills had any other dominating victory with out playing their most efficient football. Quarterback Josh Allen threw two interceptions, along with the principle of his career in the pink zone, but also executed the game with a career-excessive 82.1% completion fee. In a mode, it is a ways representative of a Bills’ season that has featured inconsistent play but, at 7-4, tranquil has them primed for an AFC East combat with the New England Patriots down the stretch. A mountainous section of that success has come courtesy of the Bills protection that has now restricted five opponents to 12 aspects or less. All three phases had success, with coach Sean McDermott even giving particular recognition to the kickoff coverage after the game. When the Bills are rolling like this, they are hard to beat. Doing so constantly is principally the foremost. — Alaina Getzenberg

What’s the impression on this protection if cornerback Tre’Davious White misses critical time? White left the game with a knee injury in the second quarter and did now now not return. McDermott mentioned that they would know more regarding the injury in the approaching days. Backup Dane Jackson stuffed in for White and performed neatly overall, but there is no one on the roster that will perhaps sub in for the All-Expert corner, who is among the many tip five coverage corners in the league this season, per Subsequent Gen stats. “[White’s] this kind of mountainous teammate,” Allen mentioned. “He talks to each person the appropriate scheme. He precise does the cramped issues neatly that now now not many folks witness, but that is why he is so correct.” If he is out for more than one weeks and even the season, the Bills’ mighty protection — which has handiest allowed eight passing touchdowns this season (fewest in the league) — will purchase a success, but must tranquil be ready to adapt to an extent beneath coordinator Leslie Frazier. — Getzenberg

Getzenberg’s self belief rating (0-10): 7.9, up from 7.2. The roller coaster continues, but the Bills put collectively an all-spherical dominant desire — even supposing it became against a banged-up crew — on a immediate week and showed an ability to proceed to jump wait on from great losses, even supposing stacking wins shall be required to stretch this rating.

Subsequent sport: vs. Patriots (Monday, Dec. 6, 8: 15 p.m. ET)


What to know: It be getting uglier by the week for the Saints and their depleted offense — now 0-4 since Trevor Siemian changed the injured Jameis Winston at QB. They had been also with out RBs Alvin Kamara and Designate Ingram II and RT Ryan Ramczyk on Thanksgiving night, and the replacements weren’t practically about correct ample. They may perhaps perhaps perhaps all be wait on by subsequent Thursday against Dallas — and the Saints may perhaps perhaps perhaps purchase into memoir a QB commerce to Taysom Hill. But at 5-6, they’re dangerously shut to “too cramped, too leisurely.” — Mike Triplett

New week, same quiz: Will they provide belief to a transformation to Hill at QB? Siemian’s performance has regressed each week after a promising delivery. And even supposing Sean Payton made it sure he became one among many complications on an night when the Saints also may perhaps perhaps perhaps now not flee, pass provide protection to or return kicks, Payton acknowledged, “We are going to study every thing correct now. Obviously now we secure to.” But Hill has been restricted by a foot injury since Week 10 (which is why he has been relegated to the emergency backup characteristic the past two weeks). But he practiced fully this week, so his characteristic have to extend ASAP in one invent or any other. — Triplett

Triplett’s self belief rating (0-10): 4.5, down from 5.5. A elephantine point drop for the second straight week. Each person is aware of a better version of this crew exists after its 5-2 delivery. But even a Week 8 desire over the Buccaneers, when Winston left in the second quarter, looks like a miles off memory.

Subsequent sport: vs. Cowboys (Thursday, Dec. 2, 8: 20 p.m. ET)

Las Vegas 36, Dallas 33


What to know: The Raiders are now now not done. No longer yet, anyway. As receiver Hunter Renfrow mentioned, “I felt like we showed the coronary heart of the crew this day.” Indeed, it became as shut to a have to-desire scenario as one may perhaps perhaps perhaps obtain, and in ending a 3-sport publish-bye losing coast, the Raiders improved to 6-5. “But I mediate we felt it a cramped bit [because] 5-6 is hundreds worse than 6-5,” Renfrow added. “And, to beat a correct Cowboys crew, on Thanksgiving, in prime time, it supplies us a couple of self belief going ahead … now we secure a prolonged avenue earlier than us, but we took a step in the appropriate route this day.” — Paul Gutierrez

Is DeSean Jackson truly a section of the offense now? He higher be. No longer handiest did he purchase the tip off the protection with three catches for 102 yards, along with a vintage 56-yard steal-and-flee TD down the left sideline, Jackson’s mere presence opened issues up below for the likes of Renfrow, who had eight catches for a sport-excessive 134 yards. And with any other 10 days earlier than Las Vegas’ subsequent sport, Jackson, who turns 35 subsequent week, has that powerful more time to marinate in the Raiders’ machine. “It sure is enjoyable to throw him the ball,” mentioned quarterback Derek Carr. — Gutierrez

Gutierrez’s self belief rating (0-10): 7.5, up from 5.5. A elephantine two-point jump from final week’s nadir? Sure, must you retain in thoughts how powerful the NFL truly is a week-to-week season. Beating the heavily-liked Cowboys on the avenue and in prime time must tranquil be a gargantuan self belief boost. The Raiders also getting their working sport going to the tune of 143 yards is a correct omen as neatly, especially Josh Jacobs going for 87 yards on 22 carries. Cease tuned, even supposing, for an replace on Expert Bowl tight end Darren Waller‘s injured left knee.

Subsequent sport: vs. Washington (Sunday, Dec. 5, 4: 05 p.m. ET)


What to know: The Cowboys secure lost three of four and two straight following their past authorized time loss to the Raiders. The offense may perhaps perhaps perhaps now not obtain going till the fourth quarter. The protection allowed too many enormous performs. Complaining regarding the officers is pointless. Merely, the Cowboys secure to play higher. Ezekiel Elliott became asked if this crew has lost its lumber. “No,” he mentioned, adding, “Proper gotta focal point. We gotta high-tail recuperate, we gotta high-tail repair what occurred this day and become a better crew by subsequent week.” — Todd Archer

How can the Cowboys limit the penalties? The most efficient hope is to now now not secure Shawn Hochuli’s crew again the remainder of the model, but penalties secure been a scenario all season. They’ve been flagged now now not lower than seven instances in eight games this season, along with 14 for 166 yards against the Raiders. Micah Parsons mentioned he doesn’t are searching to witness the protection commerce its play model. There is a beautiful line between being aggressive and careless. Invoice Parcells archaic to claim he doesn’t coach penalties. No coach does, but that is a scenario that needs to be rectified. “Now we secure bought to self-reflect and retain the officers out of the game,” Dak Prescott mentioned. “A technique or any other, we secure now bought to be higher.” — Archer

Archer’s self belief rating (0-10): 7.9, down from 8.4. They may be able to discuss about Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory returning all they want, but there is one thing off with the crew for the time being. The offense can not obtain the flee sport going. The protection can not end permitting enormous performs. The Cowboys secure to flip this spherical rapidly.

Subsequent sport: at Saints (Thursday, Dec. 2, 8: 20 p.m. ET)


0: 20

Cairo Santos kicks a 28-yard field aim in the game’s final second to give the Bears a 16-14 desire over the Lions.

Chicago 16, Detroit 14


What to know: Andy Dalton performed neatly in reduction of Justin Fields. The 34-twelve months-outmoded grew to become the principle Bears quarterback to pass for 300-plus yards (317 vs. the Lions) since Slit Foles in Week 9 of final twelve months. Dalton led Chicago on an 18-play power to space up Cairo Santos‘ sport-a success 28-yard field aim. Dalton performed with poise and self belief — exactly what you are going to quiz from a participant with that level of abilities. Fields is anticipated to reclaim the starting job when his ribs heal, but Dalton proved on Thanksgiving that he can tranquil obtain the job done. — Jeff Dickerson

Are the Bears going to fireplace coach Matt Nagy? No. Or, somewhat, now now not yet. The Bears secure never fired a head coach one day of a season in the ancient past of the franchise. The Bears let Marc Trestman attain out his final season. Same with John Fox. Nagy became named coach of the twelve months three years ago. He’s led the Bears to the playoffs in two of his three seasons. Nagy deserves higher. Indirectly, he may perhaps perhaps perhaps obtain fired after the season, but there is tranquil a couple of football left to play. With any luck, Thursday’s desire over Detroit enables Nagy and the Bears to regroup earlier than a critical sport versus Arizona on Dec. 5. — Dickerson

Dickerson’s self belief rating (0-10): 3.5, up from 2. A desire is a desire, but the Lions are 0-10-1.

Subsequent sport: vs. Cardinals (1 p.m. ET, Sunday, Dec. 5)


What to know: The Lions suffered yet any other heartbreaking loss, falling for the third time this season on a stroll-off field aim. It occurred in Week 3 against the Baltimore Ravens, nonetheless Week 5 vs. the Minnesota Vikings and now on Thanksgiving against the Bears. — Eric Woodyard

Must tranquil the Lions be stupefied about coach Dan Campbell’s playcalling? Absolutely. The Lions bought off to a sizzling delivery Thursday with quarterback Jared Goff finding an early groove, completing his first five passes, but the conservative vogue of immediate passes and immediate positive aspects since Campbell took over playcalling from offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn in Week 10 continued in entrance of the national viewers, with some fans even booing internal Ford Field. Campbell may perhaps perhaps perhaps are searching to purchase into memoir letting Lynn purchase wait on playcalling tasks if the crew needs to desire a sport. — Woodyard

Woodyard’s self belief rating (0-10): 2, down from 2.3. As constantly, the Lions play hard but penalties and mistakes are too powerful to beat since they fabricate now now not secure ample ability avid gamers to bail them out.

Subsequent sport: vs. Vikings (1 p.m. ET, Sunday, Dec. 5)

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