NFL Week 12 preview: Drama builds in the AFC



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Week 12 of the 2023 NFL season shifted into fifth gear Sunday after three games on Thanksgiving and the league’s first Black Friday game between the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets.

Sunday comes with 11 games, ending with the Baltimore Ravens hitting the road to take on the Los Angeles Chargers. It will be a lot to take in.

Here’s what you need to know about the games ahead.

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The Kansas City Chiefs’ ups and downs were on full display on Monday night when the team lost a fourth-quarter lead against the Philadelphia Eagles and lost the game 21-17. The team suffered a handful of crucial drops and didn’t seem to be the high-flying offense everyone is used to.

“It’s penalties. Miscues. We’ve got to find ways to score,” Patrick Mahomes said after the loss. “The defense is playing great football. Has been all year. On offense, we’ve got to find ways to finish.”

The Chiefs will play the Las Vegas Raiders on the road and it could be a good time for the AFC West rival to catch their opponents napping. The Raiders are only two games behind Kansas City in the AFC West and all it takes is the ball to bounce the right way to get a win.

Las Vegas put up a fight against the Miami Dolphins but lost last week, 20-13.

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The Buffalo Bills seemed to get back on track last week with a 32-6 win over the New York Jets, which led to the benching of Zach Wilson. The win came after the sudden dismissal of offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey.

Buffalo seemingly had no problem against the Jets but now have a tougher task at hand against the Philadelphia Eagles – the defending NFC champions. All eyes will be on Josh Allen to see how he can adapt to take on the tough defense of the Eagles, which is coming off a shutdown of Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense.

The Eagles have the best record in the NFL at 9-1. A 10th win would mark the first time since the 2013 and 2014 seasons in which they recorded double-digit wins in back-to-back seasons. The Eagles’ offense will be one to watch as they enter fifth in points scored and ninth in yards gained.

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The war for supremacy in the AFC South will be at the forefront of Sunday afternoon as the Houston Texans host the Jacksonville Jaguars in hopes of catapulting themselves to the top of the division.

Houston hopes to pick up a share of the lead with a victory. It would be the latest they would have a divisional lead since the 2019 season. The Texans have won 10 of the last 11 games against the Jaguars and put Jacksonville behind them earlier this season behind C.J. Stroud.

Stroud has started to hear MVP chatter around him at this point of the season. The playoffs won’t be out of the question if the Texans do win this game.

Jacksonville is hoping that doesn’t happen. Trevor Lawrence and company enter with a 7-3 record. The Jaguars are 11th in points scored and 16th in yards gained. Jacksonville has won six out of their last seven games and a win on Sunday would definitely boost their odds for back-to-back division titles.

For the second consecutive week, the NFL world will be watching the Baltimore Ravens and what they’ll be able to do against a spiraling Los Angeles Chargers.

Lamar Jackson has the Ravens on top of a tough AFC North. They bounced back against the Cincinnati Bengals following a tough loss to the Cleveland Browns. He has 2,441 passing yards, 12 touchdown passes and five interceptions. On the ground, he’s recorded 535 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns. He’s nearing his career-high of seven.

Even more wild is just how well the offense has been doing. Baltimore is fourth in points scored and seven in yards gained. The team is tied for the best point differential in the NFL with +127. The Dallas Cowboys have the same mark. And they’re taking all of that to SoFi Stadium.

Chargers coach Brandon Staley was upset with questions about the defensive play calling last Sunday and if they don’t clamp down this week it will be more of the same.

Los Angeles has one of the worst defenses in the NFL and will need to rely on the offense to make the necessary plays to help pull off a victory. The Justin Herbert-led group is eighth in points scored and 11th in yards gained.



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