Feb 2, 2024; Orlando, FL, USA; The Pro Bowl Games logo on the Camping World Stadium facade. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

NFC defeats AFC 64-59 at Pro Bowl Games

Baker Mayfield’s fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Jahmyr Gibbs turned out to be the winning play as the NFC defeated the AFC 64-59 at the Pro Bowl Games on Sunday in Orlando, Fla.

The NFC had a 12-6 lead after Thursday’s skills competitions and had just enough cushion to withstand C.J. Stroud and the AFC team in flag football to conclude the multi-day event.

After the touchdown by Gibbs, the Detroit Lions running back, both defenses combined to pull out a series of stops. Stroud’s last-ditch pass to Keenan Allen in the end zone was broken up.

Standout Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker won three points for the AFC in “Kick-Tac-Toe,” which saw him and Dallas Cowboys kicker Brandon Aubrey take turns kicking into a tic-tac-toe matrix built between goalposts.

The NFC, however, piled up points with victories in several other competitions, including a “Madden NFL” video game event, “Best Catch” and a tug-of-war.

That allowed the Eli Manning-captained NFC team to withstand the Peyton Manning-coached AFC team in flag football. The AFC outscored the NFC 50-34 in flag football, yet it fell five points short of the overall victory.

Allen, the veteran Los Angeles Chargers receiver, caught nine passes for 90 yards and three touchdowns. He also completed a touchdown pass on a trick play. Stroud of the Houston Texans, Tua Tagovailoa of the Miami Dolphins and Gardner Minshew of the Indianapolis Colts completed two touchdown passes apiece.

Seattle’s Geno Smith had two touchdowns and three interceptions. Tampa Bay’s Mayfield added two touchdowns. Amon-Ra St. Brown (Detroit) caught 10 balls for 117 yards and a touchdown, and CeeDee Lamb (Dallas) caught three touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

January 20, 2024; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Green Bay Packers safety Anthony Johnson Jr. (36) and San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) shake hands after the 2024 NFC divisional round game at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

NFC Championship Game Betting Primer: 49ers should feel Purdy good

This may sound surprising, but the San Francisco 49ers needed some good fortune to advance last week — at home — against the Green Bay Packers, and the Detroit Lions looked like a seasoned group of veteran playoff performers in turning back the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

There is no doubting the reasons served up, good and bad, for each winning team. But are the “reasons” actually excuses for the Niners? And aren’t excuses for losers?

We’ll look deeper into the wagering angles for Sunday’s NFC Championship Game and bring forth a game pick and a bonus bet below.


Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers
When: Sunday.
Time, TV: 6:40 p.m. ET, Fox.
Odds: 49ers -7, total 51.5.

Much was made of the correlation between Brock Purdy’s subpar performance and the rainy weather in San Francisco’s 24-21 comeback win.

The 49ers quarterback had issues with his gloves but also because his safety blanket, Deebo Samuel, was missing due of an injured shoulder.

Samuel might not be fully ready by Sunday, but he’s likely to take the decision right up until game time — and the weather will be vastly improved.

The Lions, meanwhile, must depart Ford Field and try to find their magic in a road game.

Detroit added free agent tight end Zach Ertz, who appears to be insurance for the banged-up rookie star Sam LaPorta (nine catches, 11 targets last week).

If this game is close, Ertz can be used in two-tight end sets to enhance the ground game.

Lions coach Dan Campbell enjoys his role as outlier, swashbuckler, daredevil; 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan finally broke his abysmal streak of failing to overcome late seven-point deficits.

If Purdy can get a grip, literally and figuratively, Niners receivers will test Detroit’s secondary, which sits at the bottom of the NFL in allowing explosive pass plays (20+ yards).

The Lions, however, can find success if they continue to run the ball.

The San Francisco defense is not an elite run-stopping group, despite allowing the third-fewest rush yards per game during the regular season.

According to Action Network numbers, the Niners are 28th in rush EPA (Expected Points Added) since Week 9.

Lions backers are asking for yet another stellar performance from quarterback Jared Goff in a game where he’ll likely need to be a leader rather than a game manager.

Can’t shake these numbers, per Action Network:

Goff indoors is 36-17 against the spread and 26-9 against the spread (ATS) over the past three seasons, and this season (14 games) he has 28 passing TDs to eight interceptions.

Outdoors, however, he’s 9-15-1 ATS in December and January, and this season (five outdoor games) he’s produced five TD passes to four interceptions.

He’s been great to this point, and this title game could come down to key stops and turnovers. But this feels like a return to normal for the 49ers, who are poised to turn up the offense.

Another key stat: The Lions allowed only three teams to rack up 400+ yards during the regular season. They’ve allowed it to happen in both of their playoff games — and those were at home.

The public money has been pouring in on Detroit — the feel-good story enjoyed by couch-bound football fans across the country.

According to Vegas Insider, the Lions were the target of 64 percent of the bets, but the 49ers were collecting 55 percent of the money through Wednesday.

That discrepancy tells us we’re on the right track, so we’ll follow the money.

But, speaking of money, temper your enthusiasm if Samuel does not play. The 49ers are 12-1 straight up and 10-3 against the spread when Deebo starts — and finishes — the game.

The bet: 49ers -7.


Purdy wasn’t great last week, as we’ve outlined. How bad? Actually, not terrible. He threw for 252 yards, and another 24 puts him over the posted total for this week.

Since we’re committed to the Niners winning on a fast track, we’ll parlay that with the San Francisco kicker, Jake Moody.

The bet: Brock Purdy 275+ passing yards with Jake Moody 6+ kicking points (+125 at BetMGM).

–Field Level Media

Jan 14, 2024; Arlington, Texas, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) throws against the Dallas cowboys during the second quarter in a 2024 NFC wild card game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wm. Glasheen-USA TODAY Sports

NFC Playoff Betting Primer: End of Love story?

We love the Love story, but the final chapter is expected to be completed Saturday in Santa Clara.

Quarterback Jordan Love piloted the Packers’ magical ride, from legions of fans lamenting the Green Bay departure of the wise one, Aaron Rodgers, to convincing themselves they’re far better off with No. 10 behind center.

The 49ers aren’t worried, and there’s a major reason for their confidence.

See how our NFC playoff best bet developed, and catch our bonus bet and a player prop below.


Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers
When: Saturday.
Time, TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, CBS.
Odds: 49ers -9.5, total 50.5.

There is no dismissing the special sauce concocted by Packers coach Matt LaFleur and his quarterback Jordan Love.

Green Bay has been dominant down the stretch this season and proved itself with a blowout of Dallas in the wild-card round.

San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan and his staff saw it, digested it and have very likely solved the major challenges.

The 49ers, dominant the past couple of seasons, are routinely favored by double digits. More often than not, the oddsmakers didn’t reach high enough.

With a relatively clean injury report, San Francisco is set to do what it usually does when its stars are healthy: win and cover.

The big boys – Deebo Samuel and Christian McCaffrey – are ready to play Saturday night and assuming four quarters of health, the 49ers will be moving on to the NFC title game next week.

When Samuel and McCaffrey start, San Francisco is 20-3 straight up and 16-7 against the spread (ATS) over the past 23 such games.

In the past 29 games McCaffrey has started, the Niners covered 19 times.

With a raucous crowd comfortably fueled up on a Saturday night, let’s bring the home field and quarterback Brock Purdy into the conversation.

Over the past 12 home games, Purdy is 10-2 straight up, 8-4 ATS. And those spreads were frequently big numbers.

We don’t want to belittle Green Bay’s chances, so we’ll tease the number down a little – but we’ll still use San Francisco in our wager.

Our second leg is simple, the 49ers start quickly and score early. According to Action Network numbers, San Francisco was 11-4-2 on the first-quarter moneyline and 13-7 the past 20 games hitting the first-half over.

And, in Green Bay’s past eight games, it’s 7-1 to the over.

The bet: Two-leg parlay, 49ers -2.5 for the full game with the over 25.5 for the first half (+132 at DraftKings).

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit Lions, 3 p.m. ET, Sunday, NBC.

We can’t draw too many conclusions from Tampa Bay’s rout of the mystifying Philadelphia Eagles last week, but a win is a win.

The Bucs defense will challenge the Lions, who cleared a major postseason hurdle in their victory over the Los Angeles Rams.

In winning six of its past seven games, Tampa has held its opponents to an average of 15.3 points.

“We’ve gotten tougher over the course of the past few weeks,” Bucs coach Todd Bowles said. “Everybody has finally gotten back and playing at the same time. … Communication has gotten a lot better, everybody’s trusting each other next to them and they’re playing for each other.”

Quarterback Baker Mayfield threw for 337 yards and three touchdowns against the Eagles, but was less than stellar in a Week 6 home loss to these Lions.

Detroit quarterback Jared Goff threw for 353 yards in that one and passed a big test in the Rams win.

The Rams were a worthy opponent; the Eagles were not.

The Lions are a cover machine:
35-17 ATS (67.3 percent) over the past three seasons – best mark in the NFL
24-11 ATS since the start of last season.
21-7 ATS in their past 28 games overall.
12-6 ATS this season.

Sportsbooks have dangled the number at 6.5 and bettors have not pushed it to the magic seven. We’re biting.

The bet: Lions -6.5.

If the game goes as we expect, the Lions and coach Dan Campbell will enjoy a ground-and-pound second half that features Detroit running backs David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs.

The Bucs’ Rachaad White just won’t have the volume to keep up.

The bet: David Montgomery more rushing yards than Rachaad White (-130 at BetMGM).

–Field Level Media

Jan 14, 2024; Arlington, Texas, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) reacts with wide receiver Dontayvion Wicks (13) after a touchdown catch in the first half of the 2024 NFC wild card game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Jones, Jordan Love lead Packers to rout of the Cowboys

Aaron Jones rushed for 118 yards and three touchdowns, and the Green Bay Packers stormed to a 48-32 win over the host Dallas Cowboys in an NFC wild-card playoff game Sunday afternoon.

Jordan Love completed 16 of 21 passes for 272 yards and three touchdowns to win his first career playoff start for Green Bay. Romeo Doubs caught six passes for 151 yards and a touchdown, and Darnell Savage had a 64-yard interception return for a touchdown.

Dak Prescott completed 41 of 60 passes for 403 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions for Dallas. Jake Ferguson caught all three touchdown passes for the Cowboys, who were bounced out of the wild-card round for the second time in the past three seasons.

Green Bay tied a team record for most points scored in a playoff game. The Packers also scored 48 against the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC divisional round in the 2010 season.

The Packers jumped to a 27-0 lead to stun a Dallas crowd that included Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who shook his head as he watched from his private suite.

Jones opened the scoring with a 3-yard touchdown midway through the first quarter.

In the first minute of the second quarter, Jones scored again, this time on a 1-yard run.

Love connected with Dontayvion Wicks for a 20-yard touchdown with 3:23 to go in the first half.

Down by 20, Prescott tried to force a pass to CeeDee Lamb to give the Cowboys a spark. Savage followed Prescott’s eyes and stepped in front of Lamb for a pick-6 to make it 27-0.

Dallas got on the scoreboard on the final play of the first half. Prescott rolled right and hit Ferguson for a 1-yard touchdown.

The Cowboys pulled within 27-10 on the opening drive of the second half when Brandon Aubrey made a 34-yard field goal.

The Packers quickly responded with Jones’ third rushing touchdown of the game. His 9-yard run increased the Packers’ lead to 34-10.

Tony Pollard pulled the Cowboys within 34-17 on a 1-yard touchdown run with 3:03 left in the third quarter.

Green Bay needed only 96 seconds to answer. Love found a wide-open Luke Musgrave, who powered into the end zone for a 38-yard touchdown.

Doubs caught a 3-yard touchdown pass – Love’s third – early in the fourth quarter.

Ferguson had a 7-yard touchdown reception with 5:54 remaining.

Prescott connected with Ferguson from 14 yards out for a third and final touchdown reception with 3:25 to go.

–Field Level Media

Nov 23, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons (11) and defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. (56) and Washington Commanders quarterback Sam Howell (14) in action during the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Commanders at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys aim to seal NFC East title vs. Commanders

Eliminated from playoff contention, the Washington Commanders can still deliver a parting gift to an NFC East rival.

Mired in a seven-game losing streak, the Commanders (4-12) welcome the Cowboys (11-5) for the regular-season finale on Sunday, knowing a Washington win could erase Dallas from the top of the division standings and open the passing lane for the Philadelphia Eagles to crash into first.

If the Cowboys win, Dallas would be the NFC East champion and the No. 2 seed in the conference. The Cowboys would head home for a wild-card playoff game at AT&T Stadium, where they are 8-0 this season.

“I like where we’re at,” Dallas coach Mike McCarthy said. “Obviously we would’ve liked to have won them all this past month, but I think clearly the adversity and the type of games we’ve been in will serve us well moving forward. I think being healthy is the most important statistic going into the playoffs.”

The Cowboys aren’t entirely healthy entering the game with guard Tyler Smith (foot) and nose tackle Johnathan Hankins (knee/ankle) nursing injuries. Hankins could play after missing the past three games, McCarthy said.

One player the Commanders aren’t likely itching to see this week is CeeDee Lamb. The Dallas wide receiver leads the NFL with 122 catches and is second with 1,651 receiving yards, establishing single-season franchise records in each category. Lamb had only four receptions for 53 yards and a TD in the Cowboys’ first matchup with Washington this season.

“He’s really just getting going and I can tell you as long as I’m here, he’ll probably stack these records and each and every year, to be honest with you,” said Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott, the NFL leader in TD passes with 32.

The Cowboys’ 45-10 blowout of the Commanders in November led to the firing of Washington defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio.

Explosive plays have contributed to Washington’s undoing. No team has allowed more 20-yard pass plays, and the Commanders have only two interceptions in the past 10 games.

The Commanders rank last in total defense (385.8 yards per game), 31st in pass defense (259.3 yards per game) and aren’t built for comebacks with an NFL-worst minus-12 turnover margin.

Any traction Washington gains on the defensive side of the ball depends on the availability of interior force Jonathan Allen (knee), but he didn’t practice Wednesday. The two starting cornerbacks are ailing as well, as Kendall Fuller (knee) sat out the Wednesday practice while Benjamin St-Juste (concussion) was limited.

Dallas lost on the road to the Commanders 26-6 in the Week 18 game a year ago in Sam Howell’s first career start. The Washington quarterback went 28 of 44 for 300 yards and an interception in the Thanksgiving Day defeat at Dallas.

On Wednesday, Howell was named Washington’s starter over Jacoby Brissett. Howell started in Week 17 after Brissett was a pulled off the stage and made inactive on the roster pregame due to a hamstring injury. Brissett was limited in Wednesday’s practice.

The game could be curtains for Commanders head coach Ron Rivera, who expected he could be on the chopping block under new ownership with greater expectations for a Washington franchise that last won a playoff game following the 2005 season.

“There’s nothing you can do about what’s going to happen beyond Sunday, so the focus should be on Sunday,” Rivera said.

While the QB pecking order for Week 18 was up to Rivera, new hires for the president or general manager jobs could make their own decisions on the direction at quarterback for 2024. The Commanders enter the season finale in position to draft at No. 2 overall in April.

“Well, I’d like to think we’re in a better place,” Rivera said Tuesday when asked if the franchise is better off than when he was hired Jan. 1, 2020. “Probably a fairer way to say it. I most certainly do appreciate my time here, and we’ll see what happens. And again, we’ll focus on what’s coming first on Sunday, and that’s getting ready for Dallas.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 31, 2023; Landover, Maryland, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) attempts a pass against the Washington Commanders during the second half at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Brock Purdy one of nine 49ers on NFC Pro Bowl roster

The San Francisco 49ers, who will head into the playoffs as the top seed in the NFC, had a league-high nine players selected for the 2024 Pro Bowl Games.

Eight 49ers were chosen as starters for the flag football game in which the AFC will oppose the NFC on Feb. 4 in Orlando. Skills competitions also will be contested.

Quarterback Brock Purdy, running back Christian McCaffrey, tight end George Kittle and defensive end Nick Bosa will be among the San Francisco starters, as will fullback Kyle Juszczyk, tackle Trent Williams, linebacker Fred Warner and cornerback Charvarius Ward.

Niners defensive lineman Javon Hargrave landed on the NFC squad as a reserve.

The Baltimore Ravens, who secured the No. 1 seed in the AFC with a 56-19 drubbing of the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, had seven Pro Bowl selections, including quarterback Lamar Jackson and safety Kyle Hamilton.

Seven Cowboys were chosen for the Pro Bowl Games.

Pro Bowl starters:

QB Tua Tagovailoa (Dolphins)
RB Raheem Mostert (Dolphins)
FB Alec Ingold (Dolphins)
WR Tyreek Hill (Dolphins), Amari Cooper (Browns)
TE Travis Kelce (Chiefs)
T Laremy Tunsil (Texans), Dion Dawkins (Bills)
G Quenton Nelson (Colts), Joel Bitonio (Browns)
C Creed Humphrey (Chiefs)

DE Myles Garrett (Browns), Maxx Crosby (Raiders)
DL Chris Jones (Chiefs), Quinnen Williams (Jets)
OLB T.J. Watt (Steelers), Khalil Mack (Chargers)
MLB Roquan Smith (Ravens)
CB Pat Surtain II (Broncos), Sauce Gardner (Jets)
FS Justin Simmons (Broncos)
SS Kyle Hamilton (Ravens)

Special teams:
LS Ross Matiscik (Jaguars)
P AJ Cole (Raiders)
K Justin Tucker (Ravens)
KR Marvin Mims Jr. (Broncos)
ST Miles Killebrew (Steelers)

QB Brock Purdy (49ers)
RB Christian McCaffrey (49ers)
FB Kyle Juszczyk (49ers)
WR CeeDee Lamb (Cowboys), A.J. Brown (Eagles)
TE George Kittle (49ers)
T Trent Williams (49ers), Lane Johnson (Eagles)
G Zack Martin (Cowboys), Chris Lindstrom (Falcons)
C Jason Kelce (Eagles)

DE Nick Bosa (49ers), Montez Sweat (Bears)
DL Aaron Donald (Rams), Dexter Lawrence (Giants)
OLB Micah Parsons (Cowboys), Danielle Hunter (Vikings)
MLB Fred Warner (49ers)
CB DaRon Bland (Cowboys), Charvarius Ward (49ers)
FS Jessie Bates (Falcons)
SS Budda Baker (Cardinals)

Special teams:
LS: Andrew DePaola (Vikings)
P Bryan Anger (Cowboys)
K Brandon Aubrey (Cowboys)
KR Rashid Shaheed (Saints)
ST Jalen Reeves-Maybin (Lions)

–Field Level Media

Feb 4, 2023; Paradise, NV, USA; NFL coach Eli Manning (left) talks with Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) during practice at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirk Cousins, NFC top AFC at first-ever ‘Pro Bowl Games’

Kirk Cousins connected with George Kittle on a 12-yard touchdown pass and scrambled away from a blitz to hit Minnesota Vikings teammate Justin Jefferson on the one-point conversion to lift the NFC to a victory over the AFC in the inaugural Pro Bowl Games on Sunday in Las Vegas.

The NFC beat the AFC 27-21 in the final tally, which awarded points for three short flag football games and a host of skills events that ranged from “Best Catch” to “Kick-Tac-Toe.”

The NFC, which trailed 9-3 after Thursday’s slate of skills competitions, tied the score at 21 entering the final flag football game. Cousins threw three touchdown passes, besting Derek Carr’s two for the AFC in likely his last appearance in Las Vegas as a member of the Raiders. The NFC won the decisive game 35-33 after Carr found Dawson Knox for a late touchdown but the AFC failed to convert a two-point attempt.

Eli Manning coached the NFC team and Peyton Manning did the same for the AFC. The brothers’ production company was also responsible for “reimagining” the all-star exhibition that had drawn criticism over the years for its lackluster showings as players did not want to risk injury.

Ironically, the format change — featuring 7-on-7 games that followed standard flag football rules — did not prevent injuries for all. Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett reportedly suffered a dislocated toe during one of the flag contests.

Tyler Huntley — the Baltimore Ravens’ backup quarterback, in the game as a reserve — threw four touchdowns in the first game, two to Baltimore teammate Mark Andrews, but Geno Smith of the Seattle Seahawks beat that with five touchdowns as the NFC won the first flag game 33-27.

Stefon Diggs, who also lost the “Best Catch” final to Detroit Lions wideout Amon-Ra St. Brown, caught the go-ahead touchdown for the AFC to ultimately win the second flag game 18-13.

–Field Level Media

Jan 8, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles fans cheer on during the fourth quarter against the New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Full NFL playoff picture: Eagles land bye, Dolphins snag wild card

With all but one Week 18 game complete, 13 of the NFL’s 14 playoff teams were set in stone Sunday evening.

The Philadelphia Eagles finally secured the top seed in the NFC and the Miami Dolphins grabbed the last AFC wild-card berth during the afternoon action.

The only spot left at the table was the No. 7 seed in the NFC. The Seattle Seahawks remained alive for it by defeating the Los Angeles Rams 19-16 in overtime. But the Green Bay Packers have a win-and-in scenario entering “Sunday Night Football” against the visiting Detroit Lions. If the Packers lose, the Seahawks will earn the berth.

The Eagles’ 22-16 victory over the New York Giants halted a two-game slide and brought Philadelphia to 14-3, out of reach of the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys, who were also contending for the NFC’s top seed at the start of the day.

Meanwhile, the Buffalo Bills secured the No. 2 seed in the AFC by beating the New England Patriots 35-23. The Cincinnati Bengals locked up the No. 3 seed with a 27-16 win over the Baltimore Ravens. The Bills and Bengals were playing for the first time since their Monday night game was postponed and eventually canceled after Buffalo safety Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest on the field.

The day’s results set up the Bengals to face the Ravens in the AFC wild-card round. The NFL has said that due to the scheduling disadvantages caused by Monday’s cancellation in Cincinnati, homefield advantage for Bengals-Ravens will be decided by a coin flip.

The Dolphins beat the New York Jets 11-6 to beat out New England and the Pittsburgh Steelers for the last available AFC berth.

See the full schedule below (times and dates TBD):

No. 7 Miami Dolphins (9-8) at No. 2 Buffalo Bills (13-3)
No. 6 Baltimore Ravens (10-7) vs. No. 3 Cincinnati Bengals (12-4)
No. 5 Los Angeles Chargers (10-7) at No. 4 Jacksonville Jaguars (9-8)
Bye: No. 1 Kansas City Chiefs (14-3)

No. 7 Seattle or Green Bay (TBD) at No. 2 San Francisco 49ers (13-4)
No. 6 New York Giants (9-7-1) at No. 3 Minnesota Vikings (13-4)
No. 5 Dallas Cowboys (12-5) at No. 4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-9)
Bye: No. 1 Philadelphia Eagles (14-3)

–Field Level Media

Sep 19, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) and Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) meet on the field after the game at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Eagles, Vikings can clinch playoff spots this week

Clinching a spot in the playoffs is a realistic possibility for the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings entering Week 13.

The Eagles (10-1) and Vikings (9-2) play home games on Sunday with a shot at sealing a postseason bid with a month remaining in the regular season.

Philadelphia hosts the Tennessee Titans (7-4) and the Eagles are 4-0 this season against AFC teams. In addition to beating the Titans, the Eagles need a Washington Commanders loss to the New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks loss to the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers loss to the Miami Dolphins.

Clinching the NFC North is less complicated for the Vikings.

If Minnesota beats the New York Jets (7-4) and the Detroit Lions lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Vikings are division champions.

–Field Level Media

Feb 6, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; AFC tight end Mark Andrews of the Baltimore Ravens (89) runs with the ball against the NFC during the second quarter during the Pro Bowl football game at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

AFC pours on points, beats NFC for fifth straight Pro Bowl win

Justin Herbert threw two touchdown passes, Mac Jones added one more and the AFC held on for a 41-35 win over the NFC in the Pro Bowl on Sunday afternoon in Las Vegas.

Mark Andrews had five catches for 82 yards and two touchdowns to lead the AFC. Hunter Renfrow also had a touchdown catch, and Stefon Diggs notched a rushing touchdown. It marked the AFC’s fifth straight Pro Bowl victory.

Kyler Murray threw three touchdown passes for the NFC, and Kirk Cousins had another touchdown toss. Kyle Juszczyk, Mike Evans, Kyle Pitts and Dalvin Cook each hauled in touchdowns in the loss.

The AFC opened the scoring on a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown by Darius Leonard with 12:17 remaining in the first quarter. Leonard, who had four interceptions to go along with a league-high eight forced fumbles this season, stepped in front of a high pass from Murray.

The NFC pulled even at 7-7 on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Cousins to Juszczyk with 9:57 to go in the first quarter.

Less than a minute later, Andrews grabbed a 15-yard touchdown pass from Herbert to make it 14-7 in favor of the AFC.

The NFC pulled within 14-13 on a pick-six by Antoine Winfield Jr. of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the final play of the first quarter. Winfield faked a pitch and kept the ball for a 63-yard return to the end zone, but a two-point conversion attempt failed moments later.

In the first minute of the second quarter, Myles Garrett had a 22-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown. Jones followed that with a successful two-point conversion, finding Diontae Johnson in the end zone to put the AFC on top 22-13.

Murray fired a 19-yard touchdown to Evans with 10:41 left in the second quarter. Murray then connected with CeeDee Lamb for a two-point conversion that pulled the NFC within 22-21.

A 7-yard touchdown pass from Herbert to Andrews, followed by an unsuccessful two-point attempt, gave the AFC a 28-21 lead with 5:01 left in the second quarter.

Next came a 6-yard touchdown pass from Jones to Renfrow — again followed by an unsuccessful two-point attempt — to make it 34-21 with 7:24 to go in the third quarter.

The AFC’s advantage increased to 41-21 on Diggs’ 4-yard run late in the third quarter.

The NFC cut the deficit to 41-28 on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Murray to Pitts with 10:18 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Murray notched his third touchdown pass on a 5-yard strike to Cook with 2:36 left.

–Field Level Media