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Silver Minings: AFC Week 12 roundup

Raiders’ playoff hopes increase

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

After a huge win on Thanksgiving, the Las Vegas Raiders managed to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Raiders are still on the outside of the current AFC postseason standings but are just one spot behind the Chargers, who currently hold the conference’s third and final wild-card spot.

Obviously, Las Vegas’ upward movement is a result of their own victory, but they also got some help around the league this weekend.

Buffalo Bills 31 New Orleans Saints 6

Key Stats:

  • Josh Allen, QB: 23/28, 260 passing yards, 4 TDs, 2 INTs, 8 carries, 43 rushing yards
  • Stefon Diggs, WR: 7 catches, 74 yards, 1 TD
  • Dawson Knox, WR: 3 catches 32 yards, 2 TDs
  • Ed Oliver, DT: 4 total tackels, 0.5 sack, 1 PD, 2 QB hits

I won’t spend too much time on this one as it was a beat down from the jump that gave everyone an excuse to give in to their Thanksgiving food coma. The Bills have come back down to earth over the last month, but this could have been the bounce-back game they were looking for ahead of next week’s crucial matchup against the Patriots. Buffalo currently holds the sixth seed in the conference while New England has a half-game lead in the AFC East.

Pittsburgh Steelers 10 Cincinnati Bengals 41

Key Stats:

  • Joe Burrow, QB, Bengals: 20/24, 190 passing yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 1 carry, 8 rushing yards
  • Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals: 28 carries, 165 rushing yards, 2 TDs
  • Tee Higgins, WR, Bengals: 6 catches, 114 yards, 1 TD
  • Mike Hilton, CB, Bengals: 4 total tackles, 1 PBU, 1 INT, 1 TD
  • Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers: 24/41, 263 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs
  • Najee Harris, RB, Steelers: 11 total touches, 37 total yards
  • Dionte Johnson, WR, Steelers: 9 catches, 95 yards
  • Cam Heyward, DL, Steelers: 8 total tackles, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 QB hit

After losing to the Jets and getting demolished by the Browns, the Bengals have managed to outscore their last two opponents - the Raiders and Steelers - by a combined 50 points.

Granted, last week Cincinnati was able to pull away from Las Vegas late, but yesterday was an absolute beatdown in the Queen City. Running back Joe Mixon was the biggest story as he went on to break personal records for the second week in a row, while Mike Hilton got some revenge on his former employer with a pick-six. As for Pittsburgh, it feels like Ben Roethlisberger is becoming a bigger detriment to the team the longer he stays on the field.

The Bengals hold the AFC’s first wild-card spot but can still help the Raiders next week by beating the Chargers at home. The Steelers are sliding down the standings as the current 11th-best team in the conference, and they’re hosting the Ravens next week.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38 Indianapolis Colts 31

Key Stats:

  • Carson Wentz, QB: 27/44, 306 passing yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs
  • Jonathan Taylor, RB: 16 carries, 83 rushing yards, 1 TD
  • Jack Doyle, TE: 6 catches, 81 receiving yards, 1 TD
  • Darius Leonard, LB: 15 total tackles, 12 solo, 1 PBU

For probably the first time in his career, Tom Brady managed to help the Silver and Black. The Colts’ loss pushes them behind the Raiders in the playoff standings and probably even more importantly, slows down the momentum they were building from their three-game win streak.

Indianapolis did show plenty of promise against the defending champs, though. Indy held a couple of two-possession leads in the first half and just let things slip away from them during the second frame. In other words, Las Vegas is in for a fight during Week 17.

The Colts get a chance to get back on track next week as they head to Houston.

Tennessee Titans 13 New England Patriots 36

Key Stats:

  • Ryan Tannehill, QB, Titans: 11/21, 93 passing yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 5 rushes, 24 rushing yards
  • Dontrell Hilliard, RB, Titans: 12 carries, 131 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD
  • D’Onta Foreman, RB, Titans: 19 carries, 109 rushing yards
  • Kevin Byard, S, Titans: 12 total tackles, 9 solo, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 2 QB hits
  • Mac Jones, QB, Patriots: 23/31, 310 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs
  • Damien Harris, RB, Patriots: 11 carries, 40 rushing yards, 1 TD
  • Kendrick Bourne, WR, Patriots: 5 catches, 61 receiving yards, 2 TDs
  • Matthew Judon, EDGE, Patriots: 6 total tackles, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 2 QB hits

Speaking of Brady, why not check in on his former employer?

This one was another absolute drubbing and what’s scary is Bill Belichick and the Patriots are arguably the hottest team in the NFL right now. They’ve won six in a row after starting 2-4 and this was the first time their defense allowed double-digits since Week 8.

Yesterday was the first time the Titans have lost back-to-back games all season and it seems like they are starting to feel the effects of missing Derrick Henry. While yes, they did have two running backs go over 100 rushing yards, Ryan Tannehill is struggling to find open windows now that he’s facing lighter boxes.

Tennessee is still third in the conference and first in their division, and they’ll have a bye week to get right before taking on the Jaguars at home. New England holds the two spot in the AFC and has that huge matchup with the Bills on Monday Night Football.

Los Angeles Chargers 13 Denver Broncos 28

Key Stats:

  • Justin Herbert, QB, Chargers: 28/44, 303 passing yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs, 4 carries, 36 rushing yards
  • Austin Ekeler, RB, Chargers: 18 total touches, 99 total yards, 1 receiving TD
  • Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers: 7 catches, 85 receiving yards
  • Derwin James, DB, Chargers: 7 total tackles, 2 TFLs, 1 PD, 1 QB hit
  • Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Broncos: 11/18, 129 passing yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs
  • Javonte Williams, RB, Broncos: 17 total touches, 111 total yards, 1 rushing TD
  • Melvin Gordon, RB, Broncos: 18 total touches, 88 total yards
  • Patrick Surtain, CB, Broncos: 5 total tackles, 2 INTs, 1 TD

In the only AFC West battle to be played this weekend, the Raiders emerged victorious, in a way. The loss brings the Chargers down to 6-5 and in a three-way tie for the seventh seed in the conference with the Broncos and Raiders.

Denver’s defense was on fire yesterday, sacking Herbert three times and forcing a couple of interceptions, one of which Surtain returned for his first career pick-six. Meanwhile, Herbert and Los Angeles continue to be inconsistent.

The Chargers will be on the road against the red-hot Bengals next week, and the Broncos will travel to the Chiefs for a crucial Sunday Night Football contest.

Cleveland Browns 10 Baltimore Ravens 16

Key Stats:

  • Baker Mayfield, QB, Browns: 18/37, 247 passing yards, 1 TD
  • Nick Chubb, RB, Browns: 10 total touches, 39 total yards
  • Jarvis Landry, WR, Browns: 6 catches, 111 receiving yards
  • Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Browns: 12 total tackles, 0.5 sack, 1 TFL, 1 QB hit
  • Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens: 20/32, 165 passing yards, 1 TD, 4 INTs, 17 carries, 68 rushing yards
  • Devonta Freeman, RB, Ravens: 16 carries, 52 rushing yards
  • Mark Andrews, TE, Ravens: 4 catches, 65 receiving yards, 1 TD
  • Tyus Bowser, EDGE, Ravens: 4 total tackles, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 PD, 3 QB hits

We’ll wrap things up with the last game of the day, which ended up being the sloppiest of the week, as the teams combined for six turnovers and just 26 points on the evening.

Baltimore’s run defense was stellar though, holding Cleveland to just 40 rushing yards and 2.4 yards per rush. Essentially, the Ravens forced Mayfield to beat them and he just wasn’t able to as the injuries are taking a toll on him, and the Browns’ playoff hopes are slowly dwindling.

Cleveland sits at 6-6 and 12th in the AFC with a bye week upcoming before having the play Baltimore again, just at home next time. With the Titans' loss and their win, the Ravens are the new top dog in the conference and they’ll head to Pittsburgh next week.

In other Raiders’ links: