Week 12 NFL takeaways: Playoff hopes dim for Raiders, Eagles

Sanchez not buying Colts or Texans as playoff threats (1:18)

Mark Sanchez doesn't see either the Colts or the Texans making a deep run in the AFC playoffs. (1:18)

The Raiders were blown out by the Jets, and the Eagles couldn't get anything going against the Seahawks. The Panthers-Saints and Lions-Redskins matchups both ended with game-winning field goals, and the Bills got to eight wins and earned some cushion in the AFC playoff race. In the afternoon slate, the Cowboys failed to make a statement in a loss to the Patriots. In the night game, the Niners rolled the Packers.

All that and more in Week 12's biggest takeaways from NFL Nation.

Jump to a matchup:

Baltimore Ravens 45, Los Angeles Rams 6

The Baltimore Ravens are perhaps the best team in the league. Lamar Jackson again showed why he's the leading candidate for NFL Most Valuable Player. In a 45-6 rout of the Los Angeles Rams, Jackson led Baltimore to scores on all six of his drives in his Monday Night Football debut, throwing five touchdown passes and rushing for 95 yards. The Ravens are the fourth team in the last 15 seasons to win four straight games against winning teams by at least 14 points. Baltimore (9-2) is now within one game of the New England Patriots for the top seed in the AFC. -- Jamison Hensley

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

The Rams have no answers on either side of the ball. The Ravens embarrassed the Rams (6-5). The Rams' defense had no answer for Jackson, who passed for 169 yards and rushed for 95 yards on eight carries. The offense continued its season-long regression in Sean McVay's third season. Jared Goff passed for 212 yards, with two interceptions, as questions about the fourth-year quarterback's record-breaking $110 million guaranteed contract must now be raised. -- Lindsey Thiry

Next game: at Arizona (4:05 p.m. ET, Sunday)

Seattle Seahawks 17, Philadelphia Eagles 9

The Seahawks' defense is hitting its stride. Over the past two games, that group has allowed a combined two touchdowns and four field goals, and one of the TDs was during garbage time in the win over the Eagles on Sunday. The pass rush was effective for the second consecutive game, even with Jadeveon Clowney inactive and Jarran Reed missing the second half. It was a reversal of the first half of the season, when Russell Wilson and the offense had to bail out the defense. Said linebacker K.J. Wright: "This defense can be the best in the league. I'm proud of us ... I believe this defense is a Super Bowl-caliber defense [and this is a] Super Bowl-caliber team." -- Brady Henderson

Next game: vs. Minnesota (8:15 p.m. ET, Dec. 2)

Quarterback Carson Wentz committed four turnovers, all part of an awful offensive performance that puts the Eagles (5-6) in a precarious position. Wentz (33-of-45 passing, 256 yards, TD) threw two interceptions and had three fumbles -- two of which Seattle recovered -- in what proved to be one of his worst performances as a pro. The Eagles have two things going for them: a resurgent defense and the easiest closing schedule in the NFL, starting with a trip to Miami next week. But with the offense sputtering this badly, nothing is guaranteed. -- Tim McManus

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

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 35, Atlanta Falcons 22

After failing to match the Saints' sense of urgency last week, the Bucs overcame two early interceptions from quarterback Jameis Winston to win on the road and improve to 4-7. While this is not a playoff-caliber team, and Winston continues to be wildly inconsistent (he became the first player since Jon Kitna to turn the ball over 100 times in 67 games), the Bucs do have a realistic shot to better their matching 5-11 records of the past two years, as only two of their final five opponents -- the Colts and Texans -- have a winning record, and three of their final five games are at home. -- Jenna Laine

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

The Falcons blew a golden opportunity to build off the momentum from a two-game winning streak. When the Falcons failed to score touchdowns after Matt Ryan's early 53-yard connection to tight end Jaeden Graham and after defensive back Desmond Trufant's interception, you knew it was going to be a long day. The Falcons looked more like the team that started the season 1-7 than like a team on a mission to save its season and coach Dan Quinn's job. Now at 3-8, the playoffs are a far-fetched possibility. -- Vaughn McClure

Next game: vs. New Orleans (8:20 p.m. ET, Thursday)

New Orleans Saints 34, Carolina Panthers 31

The Saints can't feel good about the way they kept letting the Panthers back in the game. But ugly or not, they do have to feel good about essentially slamming the door shut on the NFC South race. The Saints (9-2) now have a four-game lead over Carolina (5-6). But they will need to play a lot cleaner over the next five weeks, especially when it comes to their continued penalty woes, if they want to last into February. -- Mike Triplett

Next game: at Atlanta (8:20 p.m. ET, Thursday)

Kickers were 134-for-134 on field goals of 28 yards or less before Carolina kicker Joey Slye missed with 1:56 left. He also missed two extra points in a game the Saints won on a last-second field goal. Slye, who said he felt terrible after the game, knows he let a lot of people down and all but ended Carolina's playoff hopes. He also could have put coach Ron Rivera's job in jeopardy unless the Panthers (5-6) win their final five games and make the playoffs. -- David Newton

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

Cleveland Browns 41, Miami Dolphins 24

Baker Mayfield might finally be finding a groove with his wide receivers. He tossed a season-high three touchdown passes Sunday -- two to Jarvis Landry and another to Odell Beckham Jr. It was the first time Mayfield had found Beckham and Landry for touchdowns in the same game, with all three coming in the first half. Mayfield set a season-high passing efficiency of 118.1, while OBJ and Landry combined for 232 receiving yards, also a season high. "They executed today at a high level," coach Freddie Kitchens said. Next up is an emotional trip to Pittsburgh, which figures to be tense given last week's melee with the Steelers. The rematch will be the dominant storyline. Yet quietly, Cleveland is playing its way back into playoff contention. -- Jake Trotter

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

The Dolphins' feel-good progress is at a halt, and the needs to be addressed this offseason are growing by the game. Giving up 41 points and season-best performances to Mayfield and Landry exposed just how much work Miami has to do with its pass rush and secondary. At 2-9, it's about time to officially turn the page to the offseason and draft. -- Cameron Wolfe

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

Buffalo Bills 20, Denver Broncos 3

Everyone at New Era Field witnessed history, as Bills running back Frank Gore passed Barry Sanders for third place on the NFL's all-time rushing list. But as Gore, himself, would say, the most important takeaway of the day was the notch in the win column. Buffalo (8-3) is now two games ahead of the glut of teams vying for the second AFC wild-card spot. It was a much-needed win for the Bills with a Thanksgiving Day matchup against the Cowboys on deck and games against the Ravens, Steelers and Patriots awaiting in the following weeks. -- Marcel Louis-Jacques

Next game: at Dallas (4:30 p.m. ET, Thursday)

The Broncos' struggles on offense go well beyond who plays quarterback. Sunday's loss means they have now scored 16 or fewer points six times this season and have scored 16 or fewer points 13 times in the past 27 games (48% of the time). Since the start of the 2017 season, the Broncos are now on their sixth quarterback -- rookie Drew Lock will be the seventh if the Broncos choose to activate him off injured reserve and play him before season's end -- their third offensive coordinator and second head coach. They're basically playing out the string, headed for their fourth consecutive losing season under John Elway. -- Jeff Legwold

Next game: vs. L.A. Chargers (4:25 p.m. ET, Sunday)

Chicago Bears 19, New York Giants 14

The Giants made a serious mistake by not double-teaming Khalil Mack on every play. Mack had been quiet lately -- one sack over the previous six games -- but the All-Pro broke out of his slump with a strip sack of New York quarterback Daniel Jones that set up what proved to be the Bears' game-winning touchdown on Sunday. "I finally got singled up," Mack said with a smile. "And I knew I had to make the most of the opportunity." After not recording a single stat for the Bears in Week 11's loss to the Rams, Mack was credited with three total tackles and two additional quarterback hurries against the Giants. -- Jeff Dickerson

Next game: at Detroit (12:30 p.m. ET, Thursday)

It keeps getting uglier for the Giants after their seventh consecutive loss. Missed field goals, endless neutral-zone infractions and poor pass protection led to another loss. "It's tough, man. We have to get back to the drawing board," wide receiver Sterling Shepard said. It begs the question: Just who can the Giants (2-9) beat right now? Maybe the Dolphins or Redskins over the final five weeks? Can they even get to four wins? -- Jordan Raanan

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

New York Jets 34, Oakland Raiders 3

With strong play by quarterback Sam Darnold and a suffocating run defense, the Jets won their third consecutive game. This sounds crazy, but if they can beat the lowly Bengals and Dolphins the next two weeks, they will be 6-7 for a Thursday night game against the Ravens. The Jets are making this interesting. -- Rich Cimini

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

The Raiders may be in the playoff hunt, but a poor showing in the elements against Jets leaves the impression Oakland is more pretender than contender. A first-place tie with Kansas City was at stake, and now the Raiders see the Chiefs next week. "We're not the '85 Bears," Raiders coach Jon Gruden said. "We're a development football team, we're developing our roster, we're making strides. Today was a setback. We're going to give our preparation every ounce of diligence that we can. We know what we're up against in Arrowhead [Stadium]; they're coming off a bye week, so it's not going to be easy." -- Paul Gutierrez

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

Washington Redskins 19, Detroit Lions 16

Dwayne Haskins has a long way to go and his inaccuracy remains an issue, but he did show poise in leading two late scoring drives. The game also showed the Redskins have some solid young talent at receiver with Terry McLaurin and Kelvin Harmon. Both made tough catches late in the game. McLaurin, in particular, has developed into an excellent player, and if Haskins had been on target more often, McLaurin would have finished with more than 100 yards and at least one touchdown. Haskins also showed his 22-year-old side by taking a selfie when the offense was taking a knee in victory formation. That won't sit well with some. In the end, this was the entire Haskins experience: You saw the arm talent, the inaccuracy, the poise and some of his youthfulness. It's going to take him time to mature as a pro. -- John Keim

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

The Lions are in precarious territory, losers of seven of their past eight games -- and Sunday's defeat might be the worst. Players were at a loss after the game, and when veteran safety Tavon Wilson was asked what it says about Detroit that it lost to Washington, he said, "They were better than us today, so that gives you my thoughts on us." Wilson said the Lions have "to keep pushing" and play well in spurts. But spurts haven't been good enough this season for this team. -- Michael Rothstein

Next game: vs. Chicago (12:30 p.m. ET, Thursday)

Pittsburgh Steelers 16, Cincinnati Bengals 10

The Steelers may be on their third starting quarterback the next time they take the field. Quarterback Mason Rudolph was pulled for ineffective play after one drive in the third quarter in favor of backup Devlin Hodges. "I felt like our offense needed a spark," coach Mike Tomlin said. "Mason wasn't doing enough. [Devlin] came in and provided us with a spark. Made a couple plays. We'll see what next week holds." Three plays into his first drive, Hodges ignited the offense with a pass to James Washington that the wide receiver took to the end zone by way of a stiff-arm for a 79-yard score. Tomlin wouldn't disclose his plan for next week at quarterback, but Hodges' spark did enough to get this win -- and may yield a permanent starting job. -- Brooke Pryor

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

Rookie quarterback Ryan Finley will need a serious turnaround if he wants to prove that he can be the quarterback of the future. Finley's struggles continued as he completed 46.2% of his passes for 192 yards and had another turnover, his fifth in three starts. Three of those are lost fumbles in the pocket, an area of major concern for Bengals coach Zac Taylor. "We had to be strong in the pocket, and we put it on the ground too many times," Taylor said. The Bengals have five games left and are in danger of becoming the third franchise (Detroit and Cleveland) to go through a 16-game season without a win. -- Ben Baby

Next game: vs. N.Y. Jets (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)

Tennessee Titans 42, Jacksonville Jaguars 20

The Titans seem to have finally gotten it right. Offensive coordinator Arthur Smith dialed up Derrick Henry for 19 carries, and the 6-foot-3, 247-pounder rewarded him by picking up 159 yards and two touchdowns. Henry has 347 yards in two games against two of the NFL's worst run defenses. But next week against the Colts (ninth-ranked run defense) will be a major test for Henry and the Titans' rushing attack. -- Turron Davenport

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

This was the Jaguars' third double-digit loss in a row, and no one can be safe after another embarrassing and demoralizing performance. Owner Shad Khan said after last season there were too many long Sundays and he expected that to change. It clearly hasn't, and the Jaguars' sixth consecutive road loss to the Titans may force his hand as early as Monday. Coach Doug Marrone is 19-24 in his two-plus seasons, which includes a 9-18 mark since winning the AFC South with a 10-6 record and appearing in the AFC title game in 2017. General manager Dave Caldwell and executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin have drafted well the past two seasons, but they are in jeopardy too. It will depend on whether Khan trusts them to make the decisions in free agency and the upcoming draft, which includes two first-round picks. -- Mike DiRocco

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

New England Patriots 13, Dallas Cowboys 9

The Patriots' defense saved the game, holding twice inside the red zone after the Cowboys had advanced to the 11-yard line. That was ultimately the difference. But while the defense continues to define this Patriots team, with a blocked punt on special teams as an extension of that, the short-handed offense is still searching for answers. The optimistic view is Tom Brady (17-of-37 for 190 yards, TD) and the offense will soon get receivers Phillip Dorsett II (concussion) and Mohamed Sanu Sr. (ankle) back. The pessimistic view is, regardless, there simply might not be enough firepower when the Patriots eventually need the offense to carry the day if the defense and special teams falter. -- Mike Reiss

Next game: at Houston (8:20 p.m. ET, Sunday)

Jerry Jones called the Cowboys' loss a "significant setback." The owner and general manager felt like his team needed a win against a quality opponent to improve its chances of being more than just a playoff team. At 6-5, the Cowboys remain in first place in the NFC East but partly because of Philadelphia's struggles. "We're fortunate," Jones said. "We've got a chance to really step up here and do this, but I want to see us coordinate our defense, offense and special teams ... I want to see a winning game, all of those guys acting a little bit in coordination and unison. And I'm disappointed we didn't do that." -- Todd Archer

Next game: vs. Buffalo (4:30 p.m. ET, Thursday)

San Francisco 49ers 37, Green Bay Packers 8

The 49ers delivered a complete performance in a game they had to have against the Packers. With a long road trip in which they face Baltimore and New Orleans next, the Niners couldn't afford to drop the one home game in what could be the most difficult three-game stretch a team has faced this late in the season during the Super Bowl era. That San Francisco thoroughly dominated Green Bay should only bolster the 49ers' confidence, and it keeps them in position to lock up the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. "Everybody kind of has been sleeping on us," 49ers offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey said. "I don't know what else we can do to kind of say, 'Hey, we're a force to be reckoned with too.' But I think we sent that message tonight to not only the Green Bay Packers but the rest of the NFL, as well. We know what we have in here, and we know what we're capable of, and these next two weeks are going to be a good test again." -- Nick Wagoner

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

In game that might end up having home-field advantage implications in the NFC, the Packers showed they're not worthy. The Packers can't just discount their inability to win in California as unimportant because now it looks like they might have to come back here to have any chance at the Super Bowl. What's to make anyone think the Packers can come west and actually win after getting rolled in their two California games this season -- at the Chargers and at the 49ers? -- Rob Demovsky

Next game: at N.Y. Giants (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)

Houston Texans 20, Indianapolis Colts 17

The Texans called their Thursday night game against the Colts a "must-win" all week long. Houston players backed up their words, turning the page from an ugly loss in Baltimore. Now the Texans will prepare for the toughest game of this three-game stretch when they host the Patriots on Sunday Night Football. -- Sarah Barshop

Next game: vs. New England (8:20 p.m. ET, Sunday)

The Colts (6-5) will need help to make the playoffs after their loss to Houston. They went from having a 74% chance to win the division with a win, per FPI, to seeing those odds reduced to 19% with the defeat. Their best chance for the postseason may be as a wild-card team. The Colts went into Sunday with just one game remaining against a team with a winning record (at New Orleans). -- Mike Wells

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