NFL

Giants bid to end miserable run against division rivals, in-form Eagles host Titans

By Sports Desk December 02, 2022

With just six weeks left of the regular season schedule, the drama in the NFL continues to ramp up.

The playoff picture is wide open and Week 13 action presents clashes between a number of sides who each boast a winning record this season.

Victories this week would provide a considerable boost for those teams' hopes of continuing beyond the regular campaign.

A huge divisional rivalry between the Washington Commanders and New York Giants is the pick of the action, while there is also a rematch from last season's AFC Championship game with the Kansas City Chiefs seeking redemption against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Stats Perform has delved into the numbers for those matchups along with some of Sunday's other big games.

New York Jets (7-4) @ Minnesota Vikings (9-2)

The Jets head to Minnesota with an 8-3 record against the Vikings, though have lost the last two meetings – including a 37-17 loss in the last meeting in 2018, which marked the most ever points scored by the Vikings in this series.

Defensive strength has been key for the Jets this season, with last week's 31-10 victory over the Chicago Bears being the fourth time this year where they have held their opponents to 10 or fewer points – the last time they had such a sequence was five games in 2010, which was also their last season with a trip to the playoffs.

The Jets defense will be tested against the Vikings' aerial threat, however, with Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen each catching touchdown passes in the Thanksgiving win over the New England Patriots – the ninth time each player has had a receiving TD in the same game, which marks the most of any NFL teammates since Jefferson's 2020 debut.

A win against the Jets would see head coach Kevin O'Connell join Jim Caldwell and Jim Harbaugh as the only men this century to earn 10 wins in 12 or fewer games to start their career as an NFL head coach.

Washington Commanders (7-5) @ New York Giants (7-4)

A series sweep for Washington last season was the franchise's first against the Giants since 2011, leaving the Commanders looking for their first win streak of at least three games against New York since a four-game streak that ended in 2000.

Four consecutive wins on the road have seen Washington hold their opponents to 54 points total in those contests, marking the first time they have won four straight road games while allowing fewer than 60 points since 2001.

The Giants head into the contest having lost their last five against divisional opponents, standing just 1-7 in that regard over the past two seasons. That makes them just one of two teams without multiple wins in divisional games over that span (also Denver Broncos, 1-8).

Saquon Barkley remains the biggest threat for the Giants and sits just eight rushing yards short of his third 1000-yard season, where he would join Tiki Barber (6), Rodney Hampton (5) and Joe Morris (3) as the only Giants with at least three such seasons for the team.

Tennessee Titans (7-4) @ Philadelphia Eagles (10-1)

Philadelphia host the Titans on the back of a six-game winning run against AFC opponents dating back to last season, matching the Eagles' longest such streak in franchise history.

Last time out against the Green Bay Packers, the Eagles scored a touchdown in four of their five trips to the red zone – with Philadelphia leading the NFL in touchdown efficiency in the red zone this season, scoring in 29 of 40 trips (72.5 per cent).

Tennessee, meanwhile, have rushed for fewer than 100 yards in each of their last three games, matching their longest streak since Mike Vrabel became head coach in 2018.

In the 20-16 loss to the Bengals last time out, Derrick Henry fumbled but was it was recovered. Of the 39 players with at least 200 offensive touches since the beginning of last season, Henry, Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey are the only three to have not lost a fumble.

Kansas City Chiefs (9-2) @ Cincinnati Bengals (7-4)

Two meetings last season saw the Bengals win by three points in both contests, including in the AFC Championship game in Kansas City, with the Chiefs' last road win against the Bengals coming in 1984 – losing six straight since.

A 26-10 home victory against the Los Angeles Rams last week saw Travis Kelce catch his 12th touchdown pass of the season, with no other tight end having more than five this term. The largest all-time gap between a league leader and second place stands at six (Rob Gronkowski in 2011 and Antonio Gates in 2004).

The Bengals overcame the Titans 20-16 on the road last week, giving Cincinnati their first three-game winning streak of the season. Since 2018, they stand 3-34 when scoring 20 or fewer points in a game, but two of those wins have come against Tennessee.

Cincinnati have converted 78.1 per cent (25-for-32) of their third downs this season when needing fewer than four yards, the best mark in the league. However, they've also allowed opponents to convert such third downs at a 76.5 per cent rate (26-for-34), the worst record in the league.

Elsewhere…

The Miami Dolphins head to San Francisco with a 4-3 record on the road against the 49ers, the second-best such record by any team behind the Carolina Panthers (7-4).

The Los Angeles Rams host the Seattle Seahawks having won eight of the last 10 clashes between the two divisional rivals, with Seattle's last victory on the road in this matchup coming in Week 5, 2017.

An overtime victory over the Seahawks last week was the second in a row for the Las Vegas Raiders, having beaten the Denver Broncos in OT in Week 11. No NFL team has ever won three consecutive games in overtime going into the Raiders' latest battle with the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Dallas Cowboys host the Indianapolis Colts on the back of a four-game spell with at least 400 net yards, with only one longer streak in team history – running eight games in that regard in 2016.

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  • Newcastle complete £45m swoop for Gordon as Everton sell youngster Newcastle complete £45m swoop for Gordon as Everton sell youngster

    Anthony Gordon has completed his move from Everton to Newcastle United.

    Newcastle are reportedly paying £40million up front to Everton, with an additional £5m payable in potential add-ons.

    Gordon was the subject of intense interest from Chelsea at the start of this season, but Everton rejected their advances and had been hoping to tie the young forward to a new deal.

    However, Newcastle and Tottenham also enquired over the 21-year-old, and the Magpies solidified their interest this month.

    Gordon has signed what has been described as a "long-term" contract at St James' Park, becoming Newcastle's first signing of the January transfer window as Eddie Howe's team look to push on for Champions League qualification.

    The new recruit said: "Since I heard of the interest, I was always convinced Newcastle were for me."

    Speaking to NUFC TV, Gordon added: "I think the fan base and the city really suits me as a person, the way the team are playing under the gaffer at the minute really suits me, and the club just look like they're heading in the right direction.

    "I feel like it's a really big step. People haven't seen what I'm capable of yet. I think under the gaffer, and the way the club's going, I can really excel here."

    Newcastle head coach Eddie Howe expects big things, saying: "I'm delighted to sign Anthony – he's a top, top talent.

    "I'm really excited to work with him, to develop him, and I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do in a Newcastle shirt."

    Gordon's time at Everton ended disappointingly. The academy graduate performed well last season as the Toffees avoided relegation under Frank Lampard, but despite starting this campaign with two goals in the opening five Premier League games, his subsequent performances have been inconsistent.

    He missed training on Tuesday in what Stats Perform understands was a pre-authorised absence and was also absent from Finch Farm on Wednesday and Thursday, before returning to Everton's base on Friday.

    Cash-strapped Everton are 19th and sacked Lampard on Monday, with Sean Dyche being tipped to be named as his replacement, and Gordon was confronted by a group of fans outside Goodison Park following a 2-1 defeat to fellow strugglers Southampton on January 14.

    Gordon is Everton's joint-leading league scorer this term, with three goals, but he has created just eight chances for team-mates and has not provided an assist, recording just 0.5 expected assists across 16 appearances.

    Only Demarai Gray (51) has attempted more dribbles in Everton's squad than Gordon (41), but England Under-21 international Gordon has completed just 10 of those.

    Gordon has had 26 shots, second only to Gray among Everton players, and his tally of 16 on target tops the charts.

    Howe will believe he can rekindle Gordon's best form as he aims to add further spark to Newcastle's attack, having allowed Chris Wood to join Nottingham Forest.

  • Juventus 0-2 Monza: Allegri's side again fall to spirited Biancorossi Juventus 0-2 Monza: Allegri's side again fall to spirited Biancorossi

    Two first-half goals for Monza proved enough to give them their second win of the season against Juventus to add to the Bianconeri's problems.

    Patrick Ciurria and Dany Mota struck for Raffaele Palladino's men as they secured a 2-0 win at Allianz Stadium on Sunday to follow up their 1-0 win earlier in the season in Palladino's first game in charge.

    Juve only beat Monza 2-1 in the Coppa Italia 10 days prior but struggled to deal with their energetic visitors here, as they had done in their defeat at Stadio Brianteo in the reverse league fixture in September.

    It is a further blow to Juve's hopes of Champions League qualification following their 15-point penalty related to the club's transfer dealings imposed earlier this month.

    Monza were denied the lead when Gianluca Caprari's strike was ruled out for offside after a VAR check, but they were not made to wait long to rectify that as Ciurria raced onto a pass from Jose Machin before firing into the roof of the net in the 18th minute.

    It was two for the visitors six minutes before half-time as Carlos Augusto went on a mazy run through the Juve defence before feeding Mota, who rounded Wojciech Szczesny and finished calmly.

    Massimiliano Allegri opted to bring Arkadiusz Milik on for Moise Kean early in the second half as the hosts looked to find a way back into the game, and Michele Di Gregorio did well to keep out a fierce effort from the Pole.

    The 25-year-old stopper produced his finest save of the game in the 74th minute when he tipped an Angel Di Maria effort from long range wide when it had been arrowing towards to top corner of his goal.

    Gleison Bremer had a goal disallowed with just over 10 minutes remaining as Juve toiled and ultimately failed to get back into the contest.

  • Pioli accepts changes are needed after Milan achieve unwanted Serie A first Pioli accepts changes are needed after Milan achieve unwanted Serie A first

    Stefano Pioli accepts something has to change at Milan if they are emerge from their slump after achieving an unwanted first with their 5-2 loss at home to Sassuolo on Sunday.

    The Rossoneri shipped four or more goals in successive Serie A matches for the first time in their history, having previously been thumped 4-0 at Lazio in midweek.

    Milan also recently suffered a 3-0 defeat to rivals Inter in the Supercoppa Italiana, meaning they have lost three in a row in all competitions for the first time since September 2019.

    Without a win in six games going further back, the pressure is building on head coach Pioli, who ended the club's 11-year Scudetto wait last season.

    While the 57-year-old is expected to be given more time to turn things around, he understands Milan cannot carry on as they are.

    "I'm thinking about many things," he told Sky Sport. "Everything that has worked over the past two years isn't working right now.

    "It's clear that if you want to change results, you have to change something. I'll make the decisions that are needed to bring us more compactness, energy and better balance."

    Domenico Berardi helped pile the misery on Milan at San Siro with a goal and assists for Gregoire Defrel, Davide Frattesi and Matheus Henrique.

    Armand Lauriente was also on the scoresheet from the penalty spot, with Olivier Giroud and Divock Origi netting what proved to be consolation goals for out-of-form Milan.

     

    It marks the first time the Rossoneri have conceded five goals at home in a league match since April 1997 when losing 6-1 to Juventus.

    And with Serie A leaders Napoli 10 points clear of Milan ahead of facing Roma later on Sunday, Pioli concedes his side's hopes of defending the title are over.

    "To say I'm disappointed doesn't cut it," Pioli said. "These recent performances have left us in difficulty, but this must push me to understand certain situations must be improved.

    "We have to react. We probably won't be able to win the Scudetto again. Instead, our Scudetto is fighting to finish in the Champions League spots, which we can achieve."

    Next up for Milan is another Derby della Madonnina showdown with Inter at San Siro next weekend, and striker Giroud has called for unity during a tough period for the club.

    "It's a difficult moment for us, but we have to stay together," he told DAZN. "We have the support of the fans, which we have seen.

    "We want to give everything for them on the pitch because they deserve more. At the moment I realise things are not going in the right direction. We have to work harder.

    "Everything is going wrong for us. Our attitude is good and we want to do well, but it's not enough. 

    "Whoever plays, however, must do more, myself included. Let's try to stay united. We have the opportunity to raise the level in the derby with Inter next week."

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