Matthew Stafford inspired the Los Angeles Rams to move one step closer to securing their second straight NFC West title with a 20-19 win over the slumping Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.

The defeat for the Ravens, who were without quarterback Lamar Jackson for the third straight game, leaves them perilously close to slipping out of the Wild Card hunt after their fifth consecutive loss.

Justin Tucker's field goal had put the Ravens up 19-14 with 4:33 left but Stafford launched a game-winning 75-yard drive to overhaul the deficit.

Stafford completed a 15-yard pass to Tyler Higbee and a 24-yarder to Cooper Kupp, before finding Odell Beckham Jr twice in a row, with the latter being the decisive TD.

The Rams QB finished with 26 of 35 passes for two touchdowns but also two interceptions, including a Chuck Clark first-quarter pick six, as well as a sack.

Clark's TD was the Ravens' only for the game, as QB Tyler Huntley completed 20 of 32 passes for 197 yards.

Rams running back Sony Michel had 19 carries for 74 yards including a TD along with wide receiver Kupp with six receptions for 95 yards and one touchdown.

Over a month ago the Ravens had been 8-3 and looking good for the AFC top seed but now they are scrapping for a playoffs spot after a series of narrow defeats and desperate for Jackson's return.

Carlson field goal gives Raiders edge in Wild Card race

The Las Vegas Raiders claimed a crucial last-gasp win from Daniel Carlson's 33-yard field goal in the AFC Wild Card race with a 23-20 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

Colts quarterback Carson Wentz cleared protocols for the game but completed 16 of 27 passes for 148 yards and one touchdown, while running back Jonathan Taylor had one TD from 20 carries for 108 yards, with the defeat marking the first this season when he has rushed more than 100 yards.

The Raiders pipped the Colts in the final quarter, trailing 17-13 at the final break with QB Derek Carr hitting Hunter Renfrow on a fourth-down play for a TD, before Michael Badgley squared the game with a 41-yard field goal, only for Carlson to win it with one from 33 yards as time expired. The Raiders improve to 9-7, pulling ahead of the 9-7 Colts in the AFC Wild Card race.

 

Bengals clinch maiden AFC North title

The Cincinnati Bengals clinched their first-ever AFC North title as Evan McPherson kicked a late 20-yard field goal to secure a 34-31 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase set an NFL rookie record and franchise record with 266 yards and three touchdowns on 11 catches, while QB Joe Burrow threw 30 of 39 passes for 446 yards and four touchdowns.

Burrow got the better of opposing QB Patrick Mahomes who completed 26 of 35 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns as the Chiefs, who have already won the AFC West title, moved to 11-5.

 

Brady cool after Brown meltdown

Tom Brady was cool in a crisis after Antonio Brown stormed off the field as the NFC South-winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers rallied to win 28-24 over the New York Jets.

Brady completed 34 of 50 attempts for 410 yards and three touchdowns, including leading them on a 93-yard drive in the final minutes to clinch the victory.

The game was marred after Brown's meltdown, storming off the field in the third quarter with the Bucs 24-10 down, with head coach Bruce Arians confirming "he is no longer a Buc" after the game.

The Kansas City Chiefs have ruled out running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire for their clash with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Kansas City can clinch the top seed in the AFC this week if they beat the Bengals on the road and the Tennessee Titans lose to the Miami Dolphins.

But they will attempt to do so without Edwards-Helaire, who did not practice this week because of a shoulder injury.

He was originally listed as questionable on the injury report but on Saturday was downgraded to out.

Edwards-Helaire, a first-round pick in 2020, has struggled to justify his draft status to this point in his brief career.

This season, Edwards-Helaire has averaged 4.3 yards per carry, amassing 517 yards in 10 games. He has scored four touchdowns on the ground and a further two as a receiver.

A regular season dominated by questions and doubts surrounding the Kansas City Chiefs is likely to end with them in a familiar position as the number one seed in the AFC.

It is a spot they have occupied in each of the past three seasons, though only once has it resulted in Super Bowl glory.

The Chiefs can clinch the top spot in the conference in Week 17, though to do so they must come through a huge test on the road as they face the Cincinnati Bengals.

There could also be a piece of history for superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who is looking to become only the third quarterback to throw for 150 or more touchdowns in a four-season span.

Should he throw three passing touchdowns over the next two games, Mahomes will join Peyton Manning and Drew Brees in that exclusive club.

The Chiefs are on an eight-game winning streak and, while Mahomes may not have produced his brilliant best on a consistent basis this season, he has been one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL since Kansas City's Week 12 bye.

Over the last four weeks, Mahomes is third in yards per attempt (8.54) and passer rating (108.8) and tied fourth in passing plays of 25 yards or more (10).

The only player above him in each of those categories is the player he will look to outduel on Sunday, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow.

Burrow is arguably the hottest quarterback in football and heads into the game having thrown for 525 yards and four touchdowns in the Bengals' rout of the Baltimore Ravens.

Cincinnati's signal-caller has delivered the highest percentage of accurate, well-thrown balls in the NFL among quarterbacks with a minimum of 100 attempts. His percentage of 86.5 over three full points better than his nearest challenger Ryan Tannehill (83.1).

He will put the ball in harm's way, though with his pickable pass rate of 3.65 per cent the 14th best among the 32 quarterbacks to have attempted at least 200 throws, Burrow is still on the right side of the ledger when it comes to turnover-worthy throws.

Burrow will need to be careful to avoid giveaways against an opportunistic Chiefs defense that has improved throughout the year. The Chiefs are fourth in the NFL in takeaways (28) and sixth in points off takeaways (90). They are 9-1 in games where they force two or more turnovers.

Even with their dominance last week, the 9-6 Bengals still only hold a one-game lead in a tight AFC North, though they have the tiebreaker over the Ravens, and can ill-afford a slip-up.

The blowout of Baltimore saw the Bengals score 31 points in the first half for the second time in five games. The Dallas Cowboys and the Chiefs are the only teams to score 31 points in a half even once in the same span.

It is a game that is high stakes and should also be high scoring. With two quarterbacks that are both the present and the future of the league in superb form, this critical matchup promises to be a must-watch.

Patrick Mahomes insists he appreciates "this year as much as ever" after the Kansas City Chiefs wrapped up a sixth consecutive AFC West title on Sunday.

Kansas City had never won back-to-back crowns until their current streak, but they became the first side to claim the AFC West title for six straight seasons after a 36-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Quarterback Mahomes completed 23 of 30 passes for 258 yards with three touchdown passes as the Chiefs improved to an unassailable 11-4 record, ahead of the Los Angeles Chargers (8-4) who fell 41-29 to the Houston Texans on the same day

However, at one point it did not seem like this season's title was on the cards after Kansas City were 3-4 at the end of October, which is why the triumph is even more special to Mahomes.

"I do 100 per cent, this year as much as ever," Mahomes responded when asked if he appreciated another divisional success.

"You look at the AFC West [and] every team is still battling for a playoff spot. It's a tough division. We have more goals we want to go after, but this was the first one."

Clark Hunt became the Chiefs' chairman in 2006 and he, too, has been astounded by his franchise's recent dominance.

"I remember in those early years being excited any year when we were in the running to win the division," said Hunt. 

"I never thought about winning the division five or six times in a row."

Kansas City convincingly overcame the underwhelming Steelers as Pittsburgh veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger struggled with 23 of 35 passes for 159 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

The Chiefs did so without star tight end Travis Kelce, who is on the reserve/COVID-19 list, and coach Andy Reid was delighted after his side reached the postseason for the eighth season out of nine under his leadership.

"We don't take any of those experiences for granted at all," Reid said. "There's a lot of sweat that goes into this, a lot of effort. 

"I'm proud of our guys, how they handled it. I'm proud of our coaches, how they handled it."

Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys blew away the Washington Football Team with six first-half touchdowns as they recorded a comprehensive 56-14 win on Sunday.

Prescott completed 28 of 39 passes for 330 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions, as the Cowboys reached 50 points for the first time since Super Bowl XXVII in 1993.

The Dallas QB recorded his fourth career game with 300 yards, four passing touchdowns and no interceptions, which is the most by any player in franchise history, going past Tony Romo (three). Prescott remarkably passed for 320 yards by half-time.

The Cowboys also became the first team this season to score in all three facets of the game as they dismantled Washington.

Ezekiel Elliott scored two touchdowns in the first half as the Cowboys opened up a 42-7 half-time lead. Elliott had nine carries for 37 yards and one rushing TD, along with one receiving touchdown.

Dallas had good contributions from receivers Amari Cooper (seven receptions for 85 yards and one TD), Dalton Schultz (eight receptions for 82 yards and one TD) and Malik Turner (three receptions for 82 yards and one TD).

Demarcus Lawrence also scored a TD after intercepting Washington QB's Taylor Heinicke's first-quarter pass with Chauncey Golston cleaning up in the end zone for a touchdown after Corey Clement blocked a punt.

The Cowboys, who have clinched the NFC East division earlier in the day after the Las Vegas Raiders beat the Denver Broncos 17-13, improve to 11-4 while Washington are 6-9.

 

Burrow blows against Lamar-less Ravens

Joe Burrow was in record-breaking form with the fourth most passing yards in a game in NFL history to lead the Cincinnati Bengals won 41-21 over the Baltimore Ravens, who were without Lamar Jackson.

Burrow completed 37 of 46 passes for 525 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions, which was a new franchise record for passing yards as the Bengals claimed a major AFC North win to improve to 9-6 ahead of the 8-7 Ravens on a four-game skid.

The Bengals quarterback also becomes the fourth player in NFL history to have 500 pass yards, four pass touchdowns and zero interceptions in a game, joining Derek Carr, Ben Roethlisberger and Y.A. Tittle.

Wide receivers Tee Higgins (12 receptions for 194 yards and two touchdowns) and Ja'Marr Chase (seven receptions for 125 yards) were excellent against the Ravens whose stand-in QB Josh Johnson had two TD passes.

 

Chiefs clinch AFC West yet again

The Kansas City Chiefs became the first team to ever clinch the AFC West title for six straight seasons after a 36-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw 23 of 30 passes for 258 yards with three TD passes, while Steelers veteran QB Ben Roethlisberger struggled with 23 of 35 passes for 159 yards with one TD and one interception.

Wide receiver Byron Pringle had six receptions for 75 yards with two touchdowns as the Chiefs improved to an unassailable 11-4 record in the AFC West, ahead of the Los Angeles Chargers (8-4) who lost 41-29 to the Houston Texans earlier on Sunday.

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 Indianapolis Colts have dominated selection for the Pro Bowl with seven players named for the game due to be played on 6 February in Las Vegas for the first time.

Colts' MVP contender running back Jonathan Taylor was among five players confirmed earlier this week but he was joined by six other team-mates as the full NFC and AFC rosters were revealed on Wednesday.

Indianapolis also had center Ryan Kelly, guard Quenton Nelson, defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, linebacker Darius Leonard, cornerback Kenny Moore II and special teams long snapper Luke Rhodes all selected, with the Colts enjoying a run of five wins in six games to sit second in the AFC South.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady had already been named earlier this week for a record 15th Pro Bowl, with Arizona Cardinals' Kyler Murray and Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers joining him as NFC QBs.

The selected AFC quarterbacks were Los Angeles Chargers' Justin Herbert, Baltimore Ravens' Lamar Jackson and Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes.

The Chiefs and Chargers had six players selected in total, while the Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers and Bucs all had five representatives.

Four rookies were selected in Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts, Chargers offensive tackle Rashawn Slater and Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons.

The NFC and AFC rosters are determined by a vote of the fans, players and coaches.

Travis Kelce was among the first five players named to the 2022 Pro Bowl on Monday but also appeared on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

The Kansas City Chiefs tight end caught the game-winning touchdown pass in Thursday's overtime win against the Los Angeles Chargers.

That was one of two scores as Kelce had a career-high 191 receiving yards on 10 catches.

Only three other players this year have had more receiving yards in a game, while that display ranked joint-seventh among tight ends since 1960.

This level of performance showed why Kelce joined four others, including record-breaking 15-time Pro Bowler Tom Brady, in being recognised as an all-star yet again.

But Kelce's immediate focus is on the Chiefs' push for the number one seed in the AFC.

The 32-year-old's appearance on the COVID list prompted concern, although the player is vaccinated and so will have the opportunity to test out of NFL protocols before Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Kelce was one of a host of NFL players to test positive for coronavirus on Monday – reported to be around 50, a single-day record.

Kansas City's AFC West rivals the Chargers confirmed Joey Bosa was among them and would not return in time to play the Houston Texans in Week 16.

Tom Brady is to become the first player in NFL history to feature in 15 Pro Bowls after being among the first five participants named for this season's game.

The first Pro Bowlers of the 2021 season were revealed on billboards in Las Vegas, which will host the annual NFL all-star game on 6 February at Allegiant Stadium.

The other confirmed players to feature are Aaron Donald (Los Angeles Rams), Cooper Kupp (Los Angeles Rams), Jonathan Taylor (Indianapolis Colts) and Travis Kelce (Kansas City Chiefs).

Brady will overtake Peyton Manning, Tony Gonzalez, Bruce Matthews and Merlin Olsen, who all featured in 14 Pro Bowls.

The legendary quarterback has guided the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 10-4 record and first place in the NFC South, with just one more victory needed to secure the division title. Brady currently boasts the best 2021 numbers in most major passing categories, including yards (4,348), attempts (602), completions (404) and touchdown passes (36).

The 44-year-old has won more Super Bowls than any other player in history (seven) and also holds the record for most Super Bowl MVP awards (five).

The full reveal of the AFC and NFC teams for this year's Pro Bowl will take place on Wednesday.

Patrick Mahomes says Travis Kelce proved he still has the ability to run past people after the duo combined to secure a dramatic overtime win for the Kansas City Chiefs over the Los Angeles Chargers.

It was a night to remember for Kelce, who finished with 191 receiving yards – a career high for the 32-year-old – and had tied up the game when he caught a seven-yard touchdown pass with one minute and 16 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

Kelce then completed a 34-yard pass from Mahomes, collecting the ball at the 30, side-stepping two tackles and making it to the end zone where he was engulfed by team-mates as the Chiefs earned a 34-28 triumph and a seventh straight win.

Superstar quarterback Mahomes revelled in the game-winning moment and paid tribute to his team-mate.

"I don't think I've ever been part of a walk-off touchdown or anything like that, so to be in that moment, find him underneath and him making such a dynamic play where, I mean, he cut back, ran by people," said Mahomes.

"You think he's old. He can't run by people. But he's still running by people. And he got in the end zone."

Mahomes himself impressed with a season-high 410 yards off the back of 31 of 47 passing, while he had three touchdowns and an interception.

That interception left the Chiefs in a bit of a pickle as it led to the Chargers scoring for a 21-13 advantage in the fourth quarter.

"Obviously it [doesn't feel good] in the moment," he added. "I mean, I promise you I felt as bad as anyone about that throw and that situation, and knew how bad it looked. 

"But you will get another chance and you better be ready for that moment."

Five of Kelce's 10 catches for 142 yards occurred in the fourth quarter and overtime, while his 69-yard reception then resulted in Tyreek Hill's one-yard touchdown and a two-point conversion that left the teams level at 21-21.

Head coach Andy Reid said Kelce proved he still has the speed to mix it with the best in the league.

"Everybody is talking about him losing a step, he looked fast to me," Reid said. 

"His endurance down the stretch for an elder statesman — he's not over the hill — his acceleration is something."

Travis Kelce scored a stunning walk-off touchdown and Patrick Mahomes made history as the streaking Kansas City Chiefs topped the Los Angeles Chargers 34-28 in overtime on Thursday.

Kelce and star quarterback Mahomes combined for a 34-yard touchdown to lift the AFC West-leading Chiefs (10-4) past the Chargers (9-6) in the additional period for their seventh straight victory.

Mahomes – who finished 31-of-47 passing for 410 yards, three touchdowns and an interception – took his tally to 152 touchdowns in 60 NFL games, the former MVP becoming the fastest player to reach 150 combined rushing and passing TDs after eclipsing Hall of Famer Dan Marino (61 games).

The Chiefs rallied in Los Angeles, where the Chargers were fuelled by Justin Herbert – who threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score to put the hosts 14-10 ahead at half-time.

After Kansas City's Harrison Butker's field-goal made it a one-point game in the third quarter, the two teams traded touchdowns in a wild fourth period.

The Chargers led 21-13 and 28-21, but the Chiefs responded on both occasions – Mahomes throwing touchdowns passes to Tyreek Hill and Kelce as Kansas City forced overtime.

That Mahomes-Kelce combination proved decisive with less than nine minutes left on the clock in OT after the latter weaved his way through the Chargers' defence to spark wild celebrations.

Hill and Kelce became the first wide receiver/tight end duo in NFL history to each have at least 10 receptions for 140 yards and a touchdown in the same game, per Stats Perform.

Patrick Mahomes said the Kansas City Chiefs were motivated in Sunday's crushing victory after the Las Vegas Raiders "disrespected" their logo pre-game.

The Chiefs showed no mercy in a 48-9 demolition of the visiting Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium, where Mahomes threw two touchdowns to help fuel the rout.

It came after the Raiders gathered on Kansas City's logo before the contest and Chiefs star Mahomes addressed the subject following the team's sixth successive victory.

"You definitely don't want people to come into your stadium and disrespect things that you kind of built,'' said Mahomes.

"It gave us a little more motivation to go out there and win against a really good football team that we have a rivalry against that usually is a tough football game.''

Raiders defensive end Yannick Ngakoue gathered his team-mates for a pre-game speech and Chiefs star Tyrann Mathieu added: "I don't think champions really act in that manner."

Las Vegas linebacker K.J. Wright conceded the Chiefs were right to feel annoyed.

"I would have been upset, too, if I was them," Wright said. "Anybody that comes there and do that? And they definitely came out and responded to their anger and we couldn't hold up.

"It was spur of the moment. One guy said, 'Let's go' and we all got to ride together. We all went out there together. We did it as a team and just gave them a little more motivation than we needed to give them."

For the Raiders, it was more of the same against the Chiefs, having become accustomed to losses in this game. They have won just three of 18 games in the rivalry since Andy Reid was appointed head coach of the Chiefs in 2013.

The Chiefs were also determined to continue their dominance against the Raiders, who took a victory lap around Kansas City's stadium last year, having trumped their rivals for the first time since 2012.

"We didn't want them winning here again," Mahomes said. "We went out there and handled business."

Mahomes completed 20 of 24 passes for 258 yards and two touchdowns in the rout – moving him third all-time in the most yards thrown by a Chiefs quarterback.

The former MVP was masterful, ending a two-game run without a TD pass by posting a season-best pass completion rate of 83.3 per cent. He stretched his record run to 20 consecutive regular season wins in QB starts in November or later.

The Kansas City Chiefs are making statement after statement as they power towards the postseason, with a 48-9 trouncing of the Las Vegas Raiders just the latest.

Andy Reid's Chiefs were somewhere near their ruthless best in the NFL on Sunday, winning a sixth straight game to improve to 9-4, Patrick Mahomes completing 20 of 24 passes for 258 yards and two touchdowns in the rout.

It moved him third all-time in the most yards thrown by a Chiefs quarterback, above Alex Smith, with a total of 17,794 yards.

Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushed for 37 yards and two touchdowns as the Chiefs looked formidable in defense and offense at Arrowhead Stadium.

A fumble on the first play from Josh Jacobs was clinically punished by Mike Hughes as the Chiefs had a dream start, and by half-time they led 35-3.

Curiously, they won and limited their opponents to exactly nine points for a third successive game, after previous successes against the Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos.

Tyreek Hill went through 1,000 yards receiving for the season as he took four catches for 76 yards to reach 1,030, for his fourth 1,000-yard season in the NFL.

Mahomes was masterful though, the quarterback ending a two-game run without a TD pass by posting a season-best pass completion rate of 83.3 per cent. He stretched his record run to 20 consecutive regular season wins in QB starts in November or later.

For the Raiders, it was more of the same against the Chiefs, having become accustomed to losses in this game. They have won just three of 18 games in the rivalry since Reid was appointed head coach of the Chiefs in 2013.


JACKSON DOWN, BROWNS BOOSTED

Star quarterback Lamar Jackson was carted out of the Ravens' clash with the Cleveland Browns, and it was a day to forget for Baltimore.

A 24-22 loss means they slipped to 8-5 for the season, while the Browns improved to 7-6, bolstering their Wild Card hopes.

Jackson, doubtful pre-game with an ankle sprain, managed only four of four passes for 17 yards before taking a hit and making way for Tyler Huntley (27 of 38 for 270 yards and one TD).

The Ravens, frontrunners in the AFC North, almost pulled off a stunning comeback against their divisional rivals, having trailed 24-6 at half-time, but it proved just beyond them.

Baker Mayfield went 22-of-32 for 190 yards and two touchdowns for the Browns.

NEWTON WOES PERSIST

Cam Newton has now lost 11 straight games as a Carolina Panthers starter and held himself largely culpable for the latest in that long line.

He also became the first quarterback in NFL history with a rushing touchdown in each of his first four games of a season, but Carolina's 29-21 loss to the Atlanta Falcons was a sickener for the former MVP.

He had 15 completions from 23 passes for 178 yards, splitting QB duties with PJ Walker, as turnovers and failed drives blighted the day for the Panthers.

Newton said: "Pretty much everything they did, we knew was coming. I've got to do a better job of protecting the football. I hold myself to a high standard to do those things and when it doesn't happen it's just inexcusable.

"We had such a great momentum for those drives and they were just drive killers, game killers in essence

"We were driving on both of those turnovers I had. To be optimistic, you see what we're capable of, but we've got to do it for ourselves."

There is a new leader in the AFC after the New England Patriots' remarkable victory over the Buffalo Bills on Monday, stretching their winning streak to seven games.

But after battling the elements as well as the Bills in Buffalo, Bill Belichick's Pats have a bye in Week 14.

That allows others the opportunity to recover ground – including the Bills, who face New England great Tom Brady on Sunday. It is not a meeting they have enjoyed previously, as Stats Perform explores.

Buffalo Bills (7-5) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-3)

Just like Belichick, Brady has enjoyed taking on the Bills – and he had plenty of opportunities to do so with the Pats in the AFC East.

Brady is 32-3 against Buffalo in his 35 career starts, with no starting quarterback in NFL history recording more wins against a single team. His .914 winning percentage in these games represents the highest by a starting QB against one team (minimum 20 starts).

Aged 44, Brady remains one of the best passers around, with a league-leading 74 TD passes over the past two seasons.

Bills QB Josh Allen is joint-third on that list (63 TDs), and Buffalo need his offense to fire, making the most of the platform afforded to him by the defense. After the 14-10 loss to the Pats, the Bills became the first team this season to lose two games in which they allowed 14 points or fewer (also 9-6 at Jacksonville).

Las Vegas Raiders (6-6) @ Kansas City Chiefs (8-4)

The Chiefs are one of three 8-4 AFC teams close behind the 9-4 Pats and will back themselves to tie that record in a matchup they have dominated.

Since 2013, when Andy Reid was appointed head coach, the Chiefs are 14-3 against the Raiders, with only New England against the New York Jets (16 wins) and the Seattle Seahawks against the San Francisco 49ers (15) beating a divisional opponent on more occasions in that span.

This is a time of year in which Patrick Mahomes tends to excel, now on a record run of 19 consecutive regular season wins in QB starts in November or later, but Kansas City's turnaround on defense has been key to their recent improvement.

The Chiefs head into this game having become the first team in NFL history to have a five-game streak allowing 25 or more points and a five-game streak allowing fewer than 20 points in the same season, with the latter sequence ongoing.

Baltimore Ravens (8-4) @ Cleveland Browns (6-6)

Another 8-4 AFC rival, along with the Tennessee Titans, the Ravens again face the Browns in the tightly contested AFC North.

Cleveland's previous game – before their Week 13 bye – was in Baltimore, making them the first team since 1991 to play the same team in back-to-back regular season games, although the Browns beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 17 last year before beating them again the following week in the playoffs.

The Ravens won 16-10 in Week 12 as Browns QB Baker Mayfield completed just 48.6 per cent of his passes, meaning he now has a 2-6 career record when completing no more than half of his pass attempts.

Lamar Jackson was far from convincing in that game, tossing four interceptions, but he had his sixth career game with at least 250 passing yards and 50 rushing yards against the Steelers last week – five of those coming in 2021. The Pittsburgh game was his second loss from those six.

Elsewhere...

The Washington Football Team believe again after four straight wins to move into a playoff place at 6-6, aiming to become only the third team to start 2-6 and make the postseason. One of the previous two examples was Washington last year, who won both games against the Dallas Cowboys, teeing up a potential three-game winning streak against this week's opponents – just their third ever.

Aaron Rodgers has claimed he "owns" the Chicago Bears, and the numbers show exactly what the Green Bay Packers QB means. He is 21-5 in the regular season and 1-0 in the postseason against the Bears, who will fear this week's matchup.

The Cincinnati Bengals have painful memories of playing the 49ers, having lost 12 of 16 games against San Francisco, including two Super Bowls. Joe Burrow will hope to get back on track in the latest meeting, however, having led the league with 14 picks to this point. Boomer Esiason, with 22 in 1990, was the only previous Bengals QB to lead the league outright in interceptions.

Patrick Mahomes called for improvements and said the Kansas City Chiefs "expect greatness from each other" despite a record-setting victory over the Denver Broncos.

The Chiefs cruised past the Broncos 22-9 to collect a franchise record 12th straight victory over Denver, a streak dating back to Week 10 of 2015.

Kansas City also extended their winning run to five games on Sunday, despite quarterback Mahomes being far from his best.

The 26-year-old may have rushed for a touchdown on four carries, but he did not throw for a touchdown and was intercepted once on 15-of-29 passing for 184 yards.

Mahomes - who has already thrown 12 picks this season, as many as in his career-high 2018 campaign – was satisfied after yet another Chiefs win but called for improvements across the field.

"I think they know, from me and from all of us, and it's the same towards me as well, it's that they just have to be themselves," Mahomes told reporters. 

"There's nothing they have to do extra. They have the talent, they have the playmaking ability to just continue to go out there and be themselves. I think we'll continue to get better and better. 

"We're still winning football games. We don't want to get lost in that - we're winning a lot of football games, and we're winning by pretty big margins. 

"But we expect greatness from each other. We want to continue to get better as an offense and the defense to continue to get better and hopefully create a great football team."

Mahomes has only thrown for more than 300 yards once in his past six games, while Kansas City have registered over 22 points just once at home this season against the Cleveland Browns.

In their previous five games, the Chiefs have allowed 17, seven, 14, nine and nine points, having given up 29, 36, 30, 30 and 38 in the team's opening five games. 

They are the first franchise in NFL history to have a five-game winning run conceding 25-plus points and a five-game victorious streak allowing less than 20 points in the same season, per Stats Perform.

But 2018 MVP Mahomes insisted all the Chiefs are working on different ways to tighten up plays at both ends, despite Kansas City having an 8-4 record to top AFC West.

"You figure that when you get to, hopefully, the playoffs and kind of try to make a run that guys are going to try to take away those two guys," he added. 

"We'll do our best job of still trying to get them open, scheming them open in different ways. 

"But other guys are going to have to step up, and this week it was running backs out of the backfield. Next week, it might be other receivers, it might be different tight ends. I think we have the guys to do it, we just have to continue to go out there and do it."

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