The Philadelphia Eagles continue to fly high, while reigning NFL champions the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers also stayed hot.
Philadelphia (10-1) rolled to their ninth successive victory with a 31-3 rout of the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
The Patriots (9-2) tied the Minnesota Vikings (9-2) with their seventh consecutive win after dispatching the Miami Dolphins 35-17.
The Steelers (9-2) kept pace with the Patriots in the AFC playoff hunt with a 31-28 win over the Green Bay Packers – Pittsburgh’s sixth straight triumph.
While the New Orleans Saints (8-3) saw their eight-game winning streak snapped with a 26-20 loss to the Los Angeles Rams (8-3), the Carolina Panthers (8-3) pulled even with the former in the NFC South by winning their fourth game in a row, a 35-27 victory against the New York Jets.
The Atlanta Falcons (7-4) are right behind them in the division as their 34-20 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7) made it three on the bounce.
While those are the hottest teams in the NFL, the AFC West has a pair of teams heading in the opposite direction.
The Kansas City Chiefs (6-5) still lead the division, but have dropped five of their last six and three straight after Sunday’s 16-10 home loss to the Buffalo Bills (6-5).
The Denver Broncos (4-7) have now lost seven in a row after the Oakland Raiders (5-6) held on for a 21-14 victory at the Oakland Coliseum. Miami’s loss in New England was the fifth straight loss for the Dolphins.
Even though the Broncos, the Chiefs and the Dolphins are struggling, at least they have a few wins. The Cleveland Browns (0-11) have not won at all this season — their losing streak hit 12 games dating back to last year following a 30-16 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The Browns were officially eliminated from playoff contention this week, along with the San Francisco 49ers (1-11) and the New York Giants (2-9).
GRONKOWSKI STARS FOR PATS
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski caught five passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns against the Dolphins. It was the 16th multi-touchdown game of Gronkowski’s career, passing Randy Moss for most in franchise history.
Falcons receiver Julio Jones caught 12 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns in a win over the Buccaneers. It was the third career game with at least 250 receiving yards for Jones and no other player in NFL history has more than one such game.
PATS WITH THE FAKE!
The Patriots ran a fake punt on fourth-and-nine from their own 26-yard line on the opening series of Sunday’s game against the Dolphins and they got it to set the tone. It was New England’s first fake punt since 2004.
Atlanta’s first touchdown against the Buccaneers came on a 51-yard pass from wide Mohamed Sanu to wide receiver Julio Jones.
Jets quarterback Josh McCown had the backyard play improvisation, pointed for Robby Anderson to go long and it resulted in a 54-yard touchdown.
Antonio Brown helped setup the Steelers for a game-winning field goal with an incredible sideline grab with 17 seconds remaining.
GRONK COY ON CELEBRATION
Gronkowski on his “race horse” celebration after a five-yard touchdown by Brandin Cooks: “That was not planned or anything. We got yelled at. We’re not allowed to talk about celebrations. That’s what we got told. But, I kind of want to talk about it, but I kind of don’t because I’ll get in trouble, so I don’t know what to do. So, it just happened on the spot. It wasn’t planned. We’ll just keep it there.”
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid on whether he’s considering a quarterback change: “That’s not where I am right now.”
Atlanta Falcons 34-20 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Cincinnati Bengals 30-16 Cleveland Browns
Tennessee Titans 20-16 ndianapolis Colts
Buffalo Bills 16-10 Kansas City Chiefs
New England Patriots 35-17 Miami Dolphins
Carolina Panthers 35-27 New York Jets
Philadelphia Eagles 31-3 Chicago Bears
Seattle Seahawks 24-13 San Francisco 49ers
Los Angeles Rams 26-20 New Orleans Saints
Arizona Cardinals 27-24 Jacksonville Jaguars
Oakland Raiders 21-14 Denver Broncos
Pittsburgh Steelers 31-28 Green Bay Packers