Week 12 of the 2021 NFL season is officially in the books. The Packers rolled over the Rams. The Patriots owned the Titans. The Seahawks lost to Washington ... and that was just a fraction of the action from this week.
But what did we learn about each of the 32 teams in the process? We're so glad you asked. As Week 13 draws near, we take a look below at one thing we took away from each team:
It's their time to shine. They had a bye to let Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins get healthier. They should be primed to get back to business and further distance themselves from the Rams in the West.
Cordarrelle Patterson is their MVP. Seriously, this guy has been the lifeblood of their offense and season. Suddenly, they're back in the wild-card race because of him.
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They may need to get creative on defense. Losing Tre'Davious White is a big blow, even though they're back on the upswing after routing the Saints on Thanksgiving. At least they've got other pieces in the secondary.
Cam Newton might not be it. Any dreams of a potential career renaissance have vanished pretty quickly. Turns out, when you ask him to do a lot more than lean on his legs, things don't go very smoothly.
Matt Nagy is hanging on by a thread. Forget all the false rumors about his post-Thanksgiving demise. His team's performance on Thanksgiving, against a winless Lions team, proved the Bears aren't even close to being real contenders.
They can go toe to toe with anyone. The Steelers were banged up in their secondary, but so what? Cincinnati, at its best, is a play-making team on both sides of the ball. They're not done in the AFC North.
Kevin Stefanski should strongly consider benching Baker Mayfield. Whether it's nagging injuries or something else, why on earth would Case Keenum not be decent relief as they try to right the ship? Just call it "resting" Mayfield if you're too scared to do it.
They still can't be trusted. You could say the same about plenty of teams, but for all of the Cowboys' talent, going blow for blow in a Thanksgiving shootout despite missing their top two wideouts, they've folded in a couple of big spots this year.
Patrick Surtain II is that dude. His two picks against the Chargers, including a pick-six, single-handedly propelled Denver back into the AFC West mix. He gives them at least one major building block moving forward.
Dan Campbell is now a problem. That's not to say he can't turn things around, but a series of mental miscues and questionable decisions enabled the Bears to sneak past his guys on Thanksgiving, pushing Detroit to a woeful 0-10-1.
They should be NFC favorites. Aaron Rodgers has quietly been MVP-caliber. Davante Adams is balling as usual. Randall Cobb is stepping up. Most importantly, their defense -- sans a few injured stars -- is really hitting its stride.
Their O-line needs a makeover. So does almost every other position, but Tyrod Taylor was under duress all day against the Jets, absorbing five sacks and at least a dozen pressures.
Their offense is ready for a playoff push. They've quietly topped 30 points in six of their last seven games. It stings they couldn't hold on against Tom Brady and the Bucs, but from Jonathan Taylor to the O-line to a gunslinging Carson Wentz, they're rising.
The West is theirs if they want it. Vegas is seemingly back alive, as is Denver, but the fact all three teams below them in the division are 6-5 right now suggests Kansas City is decently positioned atop a crowded field.
They're asking too much of Justin Herbert. Not that the QB is incapable of lifting them, but too often they're expecting him to bail them out. Where is the run game?
Matthew Stafford is still Matthew Stafford. The talent is still here to make a run, but it's clearer now than ever that their QB, long of the Lions, had his own hand in Detroit's failings.
Their top rookies are leading the way. Jaylen Waddle has been an underrated outlet for Tua Tagovailoa, and Jaelan Phillips has been all over quarterbacks lately. Don't look now, but they've got energy!
They're the most balanced team in the AFC. Mac Jones is efficient and getting better. They spread the ball around. And J.C. Jackson and their defense keep suffocating opponents. Who can't they beat right now?
They're poised to surprise in Week 13. Why? Because they were so bad on Thanksgiving, Taysom Hill is finally set to replace Trevor Siemian, Alvin Kamara is getting healthier, and Sean Payton needs a win to stay alive in the playoff race.
Robert Saleh needs to play old-school ball. Keeping things on the ground helped take some pressure off Zach Wilson. It helped, of course, that his defensive line finally showed up against Houston, too.
They need to run the ball (or else). The minute Jalen Hurts dared to throw his way to victory against the Giants, they crumbled. It may not be sustainable for the long term, but if they wanna compete this year, they have to keep it on the ground.
Coaching has been a problem. There's been a lot of talk about Ben Roethlisberger and their offense this year, but Mike Tomlin and Keith Butler deserve every bit of criticism for their lifeless showing against the Bengals.
They're set up nicely in the NFC. It doesn't help that Deebo Samuel and Fred Warner are now banged up, but Kyle Shanahan seems to have figured things out offensively, and the Rams aren't doing so hot in the West.
Russell Wilson is not right. Either medically or mentally. His comeback attempt nearly led Seattle over Washington late Monday, but he was once again off the mark for something like 58 minutes of action. It's not pretty.
Leonard Fournette is their X-factor. If Tom Brady's the MVP, he's the closer for Tampa Bay. This offense is ready to make another championship push.
Special teams is an issue. You can't make multiple blunders here and expect to beat Bill Belichick. The Titans can't afford mental miscues as they try to overcome some serious injury-related losses.
Washington Football Team
They have a real shot at a playoff spot. Not just because they're officially in the mix, but because Ron Rivera's defense keeps getting better. If only their offense can find a way to get more points out of their methodical drives.
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