Detroit Lions rookie wide receiver Jameson Williams likely will not be cleared to practice when the team begins training camp in July, head coach Dan Campbell told reporters on Thursday.

Williams, the number 12 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, is still recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee the former Alabama All-American suffered in the College Football Playoff national championship game in January.

"I don't see him being ready for training camp, I don't see that," Campbell said following the Lions' mini-camp practice.

"We're going to do this thing the right way, and when he's ready, he'll be ready. But no, I don't feel like you're going to see him out there day one."

The Lions remain optimistic that Williams will be ready for the team's season opener on September 11, although offensive coordinator Ben Johnson recently acknowledged the possibility of scaling back the young speedster's role early on as he gets acclimated.

Johnson told the Detroit Free Press last week Williams' situation differs from that of fellow wide receiver Josh Reynolds, who joined the Lions midway through last season and immediately was installed into the team's receiver rotation.

Reynolds was a veteran player who had a familiarity with quarterback Jared Goff, as the two were team-mates with the Los Angeles Rams for four seasons.

"It's going to be a challenge because you can't really compare it to the Josh Reynolds situation from last year," Johnson said. "We didn't really know him and what he necessarily did best, but at least there was a comfort level between him and the quarterback, and we don't have that [with Williams].

"That's a real struggle for us. [The aim] is to get him back, to get him healthy, and then as many reps as possible with the quarterbacks so that we know exactly where he's going to be, we can anticipate the throw."

ACL injuries typically require eight-to-nine months to completely recover from, which would have Williams at full strength right around the start of the season.

The Lions were not deterred by the injury, as they traded up 20 spots with NFC North rival the Minnesota Vikings to choose Williams with the number 12 pick. The 21-year-old was one of six wide receivers taken in the first 18 selections.

Williams established himself as an elite prospect during his lone season at Alabama, becoming one of college football's most explosive receivers after transferring from Ohio State. His 15 touchdown receptions in 2021 tied for third in the FBS and he led the Crimson Tide with 1,572 receiving yards on 79 catches.

Nine of Williams' 15 touchdown catches were from 40 or more yards, leading the FBS last season, while his 11 receptions of 40 or more yards tied for second among major college players.

"He's a special talent," Goff said. "I know they're going to make sure he's as healthy as possible, but selfishly, I want him back as soon as possible."

Perhaps the biggest storyline entering the 2022 NFL Draft did not concern a prospect, but one of the premier wide receivers in the NFL. Deebo Samuel of the San Francisco 49ers was not traded during Thursday's first round but, if there were any doubts that wideout is now a premium position, they were extinguished emphatically in Las Vegas.

Six wide receivers came off the board in the first 18 picks amid a flurry of trades, including two involving established receivers who at least have one 1,000-yard season in their first three years in the NFL.

There was mild surprise when the Atlanta Falcons made USC's Drake London the first receiver picked with the eighth overall selection, but significantly more eyebrow-raising moves were to follow.

The New Orleans Saints jumped from 16 to 11 to pick Ohio State's Chris Olave one pick after his former college team-mate Garrett Wilson was taken by the Jets with a 10th pick that was reportedly offered to the Niners as part of a package for Samuel.

It was the Detroit Lions who made the most ambitious receiver trade of the night, jumping 20 spots up the board from 32 to 12 in a deal with the Minnesota Vikings to make Jameson Williams their second selection of the first round despite doubts over when he will be ready to play after tearing his ACL in the final game of his college career.

Williams' appeal is obvious, the former Alabama star a dynamic speedster who registered a burn, which is when a receiver wins his matchup with a defender on a play where he is targeted, on 74.6 per cent of his targets in 2021.

He led all receivers in burn yards per target, his average of 19.34 nearly five full yards better than that of his nearest challenger, Cincinnati's Alec Pierce (14.74), and was also the cream of the crop in burn yards per route (4.9).

But it is the scale of the move up the board that is illustrative of just how determined NFL teams have become to add big-play receivers to their offensive arsenal, and the message was further hammered home as, after the Washington Commanders used the 16th pick on another wideout in Jahan Dotson, the Philadelphia Eagles made the defining move of the first round with their trade with the Tennessee Titans, sending the 18th pick and a third-rounder to acquire A.J. Brown.

Brown, a Pro Bowler in 2020 before injuries disrupted his 2021 campaign, was promptly reported as having received a four-year extension with Philadelphia worth up to $100million, with $47m guaranteed, the $25million average annual value of that deal reportedly what Samuel was looking to be paid before he requested a trade from San Francisco.

The choice for teams wanting to keep a playmaking receiver on the roster seems to be clear. Pay over $20m a year for one or spend a premium pick on a rookie. The Titans, in trading Brown and then selecting a rookie with a comparable playing style in Treylon Burks out of Arkansas, elected to do the latter.

"We got to a spot where it was going to be hard to get a deal done," Titans general manager Jon Robinson said of Brown after the first round.

The Ravens ran into difficulty with his namesake Marquise Brown, who was said to have requested a trade after the season and was also dealt on draft night to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for the 23rd overall pick.

While the Titans caved in and parted with Brown, the Niners remained steadfast in refusing to trade Samuel, even with a top-10 pick seemingly on the table, their resoluteness in itself reflecting the massive value of a player who was the heart and soul of the San Francisco offense as the 49ers made the NFC Championship Game last season.

Also running the ball out of the backfield consistently in a dual role, Samuel labelling himself a 'wide back', the 2019 second-round pick is a unique case. Yet the message that was definitively reiterated through the Niners refusal to part ways with him and the hive of activity surrounding receivers in the first round is clear, receivers who can make field-flipping momentum-changing plays are firmly among the most valued assets in the NFL.

Of the top 10 receivers with the most receptions of 20 yards or more in 2021, only two – Justin Jefferson and Tyler Lockett – did not feature on playoff teams. Four – Cooper Kupp (30), Samuel (23), Ja'Marr Chase (22) and Tee Higgins (17) – played on Conference Championship Sunday, as did the 11th-placed wideout in the category, Samuel's Niners team-mate Brandon Aiyuk (16).

Quarterback is king in the NFL, and tackle, edge rusher and offensive tackle have long since been viewed as next on the hierarchy as 'premium positions'. The 2021 season encapsulated the value of explosive wideouts and, with that campaign followed by an offseason in which Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill were both traded and received mega-deals and Thursday's first-round chaos brought on by the high demand for receivers, there can be little room for argument the position now carries the same importance as those other non-quarterback spots that have traditionally had the highest billing.

The Detroit Lions did make a huge draft-day trade, but it was for wide receiver Jameson Williams rather than a quarterback.

Detroit, having picked Aidan Hutchinson second overall, traded the final pick in the first round (32nd overall) as well as selections 34 and 66 to move up to number 12 in a deal with the Minnesota Vikings, who also sent pick 46 to their NFC North rivals.

Many had thought the Lions might take a swing on Liberty's Malik Willis, the highest upside quarterback in an underwhelming class.

But they instead made the move for the premier deep receiving threat in the draft, showing faith in Williams to return quickly from the torn anterior cruciate ligament the Alabama star suffered in the National Championship Game in January.

A transfer from Ohio State, Williams' sole season with Alabama saw him rack up 79 catches for a team-high 1,572 yards, with his 15 touchdown catches tied for third in the FBS.

Nine of Williams' 15 touchdown catches were for 40 or more yards, while no player in the FBS produced more than his nine receptions of at least 50 yards.

According to Stats Perform data, Williams registered a burn, which is when a receiver wins his matchup on a play where he is targeted, on 74.6 per cent of his targets in 2021.

He comfortably led all receivers in burn yards per target, his average of 19.34 nearly five full yards better than that of his nearest challenger, Cincinnati's Alec Pierce (14.74), and was also the cream of the crop in burn yards per route (4.9).

The Lions may not yet have their quarterback of the future but, after acquiring Williams, they have the receiver they hope will be the favourite target of that as yet unidentified signal-caller.

The Detroit Lions have selected edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson with the number two pick in the NFL Draft.

Hutchinson, 21, set a school record for sacks with 14 in 16 games at Michigan in his senior season and was billed as the likely number one pick shortly after the college football season ended.

The Lions went 3-13-1 in 2021 and struggled mightily to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks, ranking 30th in the league in sacks.

Speaking on stage in Las Vegas after his selection, Hutchinson said: "It's great, I'm happy I get to go back to Detroit, the Motor City. I'm fired up."

The Lions pick again at 32 and 36.

The 2024 NFL Draft will be held in downtown Detroit, the league announced on Monday. 

One of the most anticipated events on the sporting calendar, the three-day event will take place around the Campus Martius Park and Hart Plaza site. 

This year's draft will be held in Las Vegas next month, with Kansas City hosting the 2023 edition. 

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said: "The draft has become a prominent offseason event across the country, and we are excited to work with the [Detroit] Lions and their partners to bring the 2024 NFL Draft to the Motor City. 

"With the help of Visit Detroit, the Detroit Sports Commission, and the City of Detroit, the Lions' passionate fan base and all visitors will be treated to an incredible three-day experience." 

Claude Molinari, president and CEO of Visit Detroit, added: "Visit Detroit is looking forward to working with our partners in the hospitality community to welcome enthusiastic football fans from across the country who will make our city a pigskin pilgrimage stop.  

"Hosting the draft is another exciting win for Detroit, and it will deliver a powerful economic impact and highlight the vibrancy of our region." 

The Arizona Cardinals continued their excellent road form as they edged the Dallas Cowboys 25-22 in a potential-playoff preview with Kyler Murray leading the way on Sunday.

The Cardinals improved their season record to 11-5 and their road record to 8-1, snapping a three-game skid, with Texas-born Murray throwing two touchdowns as he completed 26 of 38 attempts for 263 yards.

The Cowboys had trailed 22-7 at the final charge but stormed back into contention as Dak Prescott threw three TD passes for the game but Murray expertly managed the clock late.

Murray found Antoine Wesley for two TDs including a spectacular catch in the third quarter, while Jonathan Ward made a remarkable helmet catch on a fake punt.

The Cowboys lost Michael Gallup to injury upon his second-quarter receiving touchdown and did not return, not helping their cause.

Prescott, who completed 24 of 38 passes for 226 yards along with 20 rushing yards, found Cedrick Wilson and Amari Cooper for final-quarter TDs to tighten the game but he also had a costly fumble at 22-14.

Chargers snap skid as Williams scores 101-yard return

The Los Angeles Chargers snapped a two-game skid with a 34-13 victory over the Denver Broncos to boost their Wild Card hopes as they improve to a 9-7 record.

Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert threw 22 of 31 passes for 237 yards with two touchdowns, breaking the franchise record for single-season touchdown passes at 35.

Andre Williams scored a 101-yard kickoff return touchdown in the fourth quarter, while Austin Ekeler returned to LA's line-up and was important, with 17 carries for 58 yards and a touchdown, along with three receptions for 54 yards.

 

Lance leads 49ers to key win in Wild Card race

Trey Lance stepped in for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo and provided two touchdown passes as the San Francisco 49ers won 23-7 over the Houston Texans.

Lance completed 16 of 23 passes for 249 yards with the two TDs and an interception to help the 49ers improve to 9-7 in the NFC Wild Card pursuit.

Deebo Samuel and Elijah Mitchell scored the touchdowns as the 49ers scored 20 second-half points to secure the win.

Jared Goff was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday, less than 24 hours after leading the lowly Detroit Lions to a sensational victory over the Arizona Cardinals.

After an awful season, the Lions have shown fight in recent weeks, getting their first win of the year against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 13.

But Sunday's stunning 30-12 defeat of the NFC West-leading Cardinals came as a complete shock.

One-time MVP candidate Kyler Murray continued his uneven form at quarterback for Arizona following his return from injury, but Goff excelled for Detroit.

The former Los Angeles Ram completed 21 of 26 passes for 216 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions – albeit he tossed two pickable passes despite identifying an open target with 25 of his attempts. A passer rating of 139.7 was the fifth-best of Goff's NFL career.

But the Lions' hopes of ending the year with momentum were hit on Monday by news of Goff's move to the COVID list.

Goff has missed only one game since moving to Detroit this season, with deputy Tim Boyle in from the start for the Week 11 defeat to the Cleveland Browns, throwing zero TDs and two picks.

The Lions (2-11-1) go to the Atlanta Falcons (6-8) on Sunday.

The Arizona Cardinals were the best team in the NFL the first half of the season and had remained perfect on the road even after stumbling in recent weeks, leaving them in position to clinch a playoff berth with a win Sunday. 

Instead, the Cardinals turned in their most disappointing performance of the season, getting blown out 30-12 by a Detroit Lions team that had entered the game with an NFL-worst 1-11-1 record. 

So it was that an Arizona team that opened the year 7-0 slumped to 10-4 after a defeat no one saw coming. 

"This is an unacceptable loss," Cardinals linebacker Jordan Hicks told reporters. "We weren't ourselves today."

Added quarterback Kyler Murray: "They were hungrier than us. They played harder than us." 

It was a performance reminiscent of the Cardinals' ugly 34-10 home setback against the Carolina Panthers last month, but all the more galling given the quality of the opposition. 

The Lions were even colder than the Cardinals were hot to open 2021, dropping their first eight games before playing to a 16-16 draw with the Pittsburgh Steelers, then losing two more before finally beating the Minnesota Vikings two weeks ago. 

Yet Detroit managed to dominate the proceedings Sunday even though the teams finished the game virtually level in terms of key statistics. 

The Cardinals out-gained the Lions 398-338, while Detroit held a slight edge in time of possession (31:52 to 28:08) and each team had just one turnover. 

Yet Arizona failed to convert on all four red-zone opportunities, most notably turning the ball over on downs at Detroit's three-yard line after a failed fourth-down try late in the first half. 

Goff engineered a 97-yard touchdown drive from there, giving the Lions a 17-0 lead at half-time, and Detroit never looked back. 

Arizona, meanwhile, may have tried to do too much after getting in that hole. 

"There's no such thing as a 17-point touchdown and we've got to approach it that way if we get in this situation again," said head coach Kliff Kingsbury.

Arizona had won all seven of their road games this season by double digits entering Sunday, and they face one more daunting test away from home, a trip to the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys in two weeks' time. 

They can only hope to figure out what adjustments need to be made before facing that challenge. 

"We know who we are," Murray said. "We know the guys we have in the locker room, we've got the talent, we've got the coaches, we've got the leadership. It's about locking in and playing to our capabilities.

"Screw everything else, pretty much. We have to be how we were at the beginning of the season."

The Pittsburgh Steelers defense showed up in bravura fashion to pave the way for a 19-13 victory over the Tennessee Titans at Heinz Field.

Despite the offense struggling, Pittsburgh forced four turnovers against a Titans side who continue to lead the AFC South but slip to 9-5 with this setback.

Linebacker T.J. Watt had 1.5 sacks to reach 17.5 for the season, establishing a new Steelers record as the home team improved to 7-6-1, getting the better of a side that blanked the Jaguars 20-0 last week.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin hailed the effort from his team to overcome their shortcomings and capitalise on their strengths, with Chris Boswell kicking four field goals and Ben Roethlisberger snatching a rare touchdown.

Roethlisberger (16-of-25 for 148 yards) also went fifth on the all-time NFL passing yards list in this game, jumping ahead of Philip Rivers with a three-yard pass to Najee Harris and boosting his career total to 63,562 yards by the end.

Tomlin said: "It's an exciting victory for us, a very necessary one. They won the battle of field position, their special teams were better than ours, but in spite of all those things I thought the guys continued to fight.

"The turnovers levelled the playing field in the second half. That was the catalyst for us to go ahead and secure victory. I like the way the guys collectively smiled in the face of adversity.

"We'll be thankful for this win. That's a really good football team we played and were able to beat today. Hopefully there's some growth associated with conquering challenges like that, and we are going to need that as we go on the road next week."

The Steelers tackle the AFC West-leading Kansas City Chiefs on December 26, while the Titans are back in action against the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday night.

Lions chew up Cardinals

Jared Goff threw three touchdown passes and kept the Arizona Cardinals waiting to nail down a playoff place as the Detroit Lions sprang a huge shock with their 30-12 win.

With just one win, Detroit headed into the game against the Cardinals, who were 10-3 for the season, as heavy underdogs, despite Arizona losing last week to the Los Angeles Rams.

Goff found Amon-Ra St Brown and Josh Reynolds for touchdowns in the first half as the Lions surge to a 17-0 lead at halfway – at that point their biggest advantage at any stage of any game all season and the Cardinals' biggest half-time deficit for three years.

The lead was even wider come the end of the game, with Goff finding Jason Cabinda for another touchdown, meaning Arizona's once-firm grip on first place in the NFC West is now far from that, as the Rams (9-4) lurk.

The NFL said the result marked only the third time since 1970 that a team with the worst record in the NFL had beaten a team with the best or joint-best record, taking into account only games when the sides had already played at least eight times in the season.

It was also the third-largest win all-time by a team with nine-plus fewer wins than an opponent, per Stats Perform.

Cowboys almost there

The Dallas Cowboys moved to the brink of a first playoff appearance since 2018 thanks to a 21-6 win over the New York Giants, improving to 10-4 as they continue to lead the NFC East.

Behind the arm of Dak Prescott (28-of-37 for 217 yards and one touchdown), the Cowboys had just enough to avoid any undue worries, with the scoring all wrapped up by the end of the third quarter.

While Prescott was far from perfect, he was streets ahead of Giants starting QB Mike Glennon (13-of-24 for 99 yards) who was picked off three times by the Cowboys. Trevon Diggs had the third of those interceptions to reach 10 for the season. Glennon was eventually benched to allow Jake Fromm (6-of-12 for 82 yards) a chance to impress.

Prescott lost both of his starts against the Giants as a rookie in 2016 but has now gone 9-0 in subsequent starts against New York.

Depending on how your fantasy league is structured, it's either the final week of the regular season or the first week of the playoffs.

Regardless of which category you fall in, if you're still in contention for the title, it is crunch time.

There's no room for error, and those line-up selections must be right.

Stats Perform is here with a helping hand once again, identifying four offensive players and a defense worthy of starter consideration in Week 14.

 

Quarterback: Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks @ Houston Texans

After a shaky start, Wilson looked more like himself in the Seahawks' surprise win over the San Francisco 49ers last week.

There was a big-play connection with D.K. Metcalf and he also found Tyler Lockett for what proved the game-winning touchdown to keep Seattle's faint playoff hopes alive.

Having prevailed despite three turnovers from the Seahawks' offense, Wilson gets to try to continue his upward momentum against a Texans defense ranked 24th in the NFL by yards per play allowed.

Running Back: Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos vs. Detroit Lions

Williams was a workhorse for the Broncos against the Kansas City Chiefs in the absence of backfield mate Melvin Gordon.

He carried the ball 23 times for 102 yards while also catching six passes for 76 yards and a touchdown in Denver's loss at Arrowhead Stadium.

With Gordon back in practice ahead of Week 14, the same share of the touches appears unlikely for Williams.

But for a rookie running back averaging 4.8 yards per attempt, that may not matter against a Lions defense that has given up 42 rushes of 10 yards or more, tied for seventh-most in the league.

Wide Receiver: Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers @ Minnesota Vikings

Trusting the Steelers' offense has been a difficult thing to do in what is expected to be the final year with an evidently declining Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback.

Yet one Steelers player fantasy managers, especially those in points per reception leagues, have had no problem believing in is wide receiver Johnson.

Johnson has double-digit targets and at least seven catches and 80 yards in each of his last four games. His 51 targets over that span are the most in the NFL.

He has topped 100 yards in two of those games and caught a pair of touchdowns in last week's win over the Baltimore Ravens.

Only six teams have given up more passing touchdowns in 2021 than the Vikings (21). If their pass coverage is as soft as it was on the final drive of their shock loss to Detroit, Johnson should thrive.

Tight End: T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions @ Denver Broncos

Back to those aforementioned Lions, for whom the pressure is off after they finally claimed that elusive first win in Week 13.

That extra freedom might see them look to open up the passing game against Denver, and Hockenson would likely be a beneficiary of such an approach.

He has a touchdown in each of his last two games and at least eight targets in five of his last seven. That could be enough for a productive fantasy outing even against a stingy Denver defense.

Defense: New Orleans Saints @ New York Jets

Injuries look like being too much to overcome for Sean Payton and the 5-7 Saints, but the Jets are an ideal opponent to face for teams looking to stay in the mix.

Even if quarterback Taysom Hill continues to struggle throwing the ball, the Saints can win this one on the defensive side. 

Their defense has forced a turnover in three successive games while no offense has committed more giveaways than the 25 racked up by the Jets.

This one is simple. If you own the Saints defense or are in a position to pick it up on the waiver wire, slot this group into your starting line-up.

An emotional Dan Campbell dedicated the Detroit Lions' first win of the season to the victims of last month's mass shooting in nearby Oxford, Michigan.

A last-second touchdown throw from Jared Goff to rookie wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown saw the Lions finally end their wait for a victory in 2021 as they stunned the Minnesota Vikings 29-27. 

Though the Lions celebrated wildly in the immediate aftermath, Campbell struck a more sombre tone in the post-game media conference as he held up the game ball and said: "This goes to the whole Oxford community, all those who were affected."

Campbell proceeded to list the names of the victims of the November 30 shooting at Oxford High School, which claimed the lives of four students. A further six students and a teacher were wounded, adding that all those affected are "in our hearts and prayers".

Asked about his message to the team, Campbell replied: "I just wanted them to know exactly what we were going to represent today.

"The shirts, the hats, the decals, the people that are affected. Some of our players know of someone that was affected. To me, my thought was, 'Hey, man, if we can, for three hours, just ease their suffering a little bit, that's worth it.'

"So, that's kinda how I thought of this and we did a great job, players responded and played well."

Quarterback Goff said: "You never hope for a tragedy like this, but you hope to be a light for those people and a positive thing that they can have fun watching. 

"I hope they were all watching today and were able to enjoy that win and we can take their minds off it for whatever it may be, three hours.

"I think any time that we can do that, it's a lot bigger than our sport, it's a lot bigger than us and I think today was one of those special circumstances that we were able to rise to the occasion and make something special happen."

The Los Angeles Chargers secured a huge win in the hunt for AFC playoff places as they overcame the Cincinnati Bengals 41-22 at Paul Brown Stadium.

A spirited fightback from the Bengals almost led to the Chargers blowing a 24-point lead, but Brandon Staley's men responded in the fourth quarter to pull away from the hosts and put both teams on 7-5 for the season.

Quarterback Justin Herbert was at his effervescent best, throwing for three touchdowns and completing 26 of 35 passes for 317 yards overall.

The Chargers scored a touchdown from their very first drive of the game, bravely going for it on fourth and goal as Herbert fired a pass into Keenan Allen. The extra point was missed by Dustin Hopkins, though he did succeed with a 43-yard field goal attempt shortly after.

Jamar Chase thought he was in for a Bengals TD on the next drive but inexplicably dropped Joe Burrow's pass into the hands of Michael Davis to turn it into an interception, which proved costly as the Chargers secured another TD from the resulting drive as Herbert found Allen again.

The visitors' dominance continued at the start of the second quarter as Herbert executed a huge 44-yard pass into Jalen Guyton for another TD to make the score 24-0.

The Bengals began a comeback as Burrow threw a 29-yard TD pass to Tee Higgins, before running one in himself to cut the lead to 11 points at half-time, and that momentum continued in the third quarter as they pulled it back to an eight-point ball game with a 48-yard field goal from Evan McPherson.

A second fumble of the game for Chargers running back Austin Ekeler gave the Bengals the chance to cut the lead further, which they did as Joe Mixon ran in his first TD of the day, but a Mixon fumble at the start of the fourth quarter allowed Tevaughn Campbell to run it in from 61 yards. Ekeler then made up for his fumbles with a one-yard running TD to secure the victory for his team.

Brady and Gronk roll back the years for the Bucs

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers secured a comfortable 30-17 win against the Atlanta Falcons, with Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski combining twice for touchdowns, the first time they had done so since Week 2.

Brady's arm had a busy afternoon as he threw 19 passes in the first quarter alone, with 51 overall, completing 38 for 368 yards and four TD passes, including the two to Gronkowski.

The Bucs move on to 9-3 while the Falcons and their fading playoff hopes go to 5-7, level with the Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints in the NFC South.

Lions finally roar after late drama

The Detroit Lions finally won a game, 364 days since they last did so, sealing a dramatic 29-27 win against the Minnesota Vikings by scoring a touchdown in the last seconds of the game.

Two touchdowns and two field goals for the Lions in the second quarter gave them a 20-6 lead at half-time, and they had an eight-point advantage going into the fourth quarter.

It seemed like it would be a gruelling near miss though as touchdowns from K.J. Osborn and Justin Jefferson put the Vikings 27-23 ahead with less than two minutes remaining, but in their last play, an 11-yard TD pass from Jared Goff to Amon-Ra St Brown sent Ford Field into ecstasy. The Lions move on to 1-10-1 while the Vikings slip to 5-7.

The Los Angeles Chargers secured a huge win in the hunt for AFC playoff places as they overcame the Cincinnati Bengals 41-22 at Paul Brown Stadium.

A spirited fightback from the Bengals almost led to the Chargers blowing a 24-point lead, but Brandon Staley's men responded in the fourth quarter to pull away from the hosts and put both teams on 7-5 for the season.

Quarterback Justin Herbert was at his effervescent best, throwing for three touchdowns and completing 26 of 35 passes for 317 yards overall.

The Chargers scored a touchdown from their very first drive of the game, bravely going for it on fourth and goal as Herbert fired a pass into Keenan Allen. The extra point was missed by Dustin Hopkins, though he did succeed with a 43-yard field goal attempt shortly after.

Jamar Chase thought he was in for a Bengals TD on the next drive but inexplicably dropped Joe Burrow's pass into the hands of Michael Davis to turn it into an interception, which proved costly as the Chargers secured another TD from the resulting drive as Herbert found Allen again.

The visitors' dominance continued at the start of the second quarter as Herbert executed a huge 44-yard pass into Jalen Guyton for another TD to make the score 24-0.

The Bengals began a comeback as Burrow threw a 29-yard TD pass to Tee Higgins, before running one in himself to cut the lead to 11 points at half-time, and that momentum continued in the third quarter as they pulled it back to an eight-point ball game with a 48-yard field goal from Evan McPherson.

A second fumble of the game for Chargers running back Austin Ekeler gave the Bengals the chance to cut the lead further, which they did as Joe Mixon ran in his first TD of the day, but a Mixon fumble at the start of the fourth quarter allowed Tevaughn Campbell to run it in from 61 yards. Ekeler then made up for his fumbles with a one-yard running TD to secure the victory for his team.

Brady and Gronk roll back the years for the Bucs

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers secured a comfortable 30-17 win against the Atlanta Falcons, with Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski combining twice for touchdowns, the first time they had done so since Week 2.

Brady's arm had a busy afternoon as he threw 19 passes in the first quarter alone, with 51 overall, completing 38 for 368 yards and four TD passes, including the two to Gronkowski.

The Bucs move on to 9-3 while the Falcons and their fading playoff hopes go to 5-7, level with the Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints in the NFC South.

Lions finally roar after late drama

The Detroit Lions finally won a game, 364 days since they last did so, sealing a dramatic 29-27 win against the Minnesota Vikings by scoring a touchdown in the last seconds of the game.

Two touchdowns and two field goals for the Lions in the second quarter gave them a 20-6 lead at half-time, and they had an eight-point advantage going into the fourth quarter.

It seemed like it would be a gruelling near miss though as touchdowns from K.J. Osborn and Justin Jefferson put the Vikings 27-23 ahead with less than two minutes remaining, but in their last play, an 11-yard TD pass from Jared Goff to Amon-Ra St Brown sent Ford Field into ecstasy. The Lions move on to 1-10-1 while the Vikings slip to 5-7.

Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy expressed his gratitude for how his team handled "distractions" after their Thanksgiving triumph over the Detroit Lions.

The Bears scrapped to a 16-14 victory against the winless Lions on Thursday amid uncertainty over Nagy's future in Chicago.

Nagy had to answer questions about his future this week, following reports he had been told his final game would be against the Lions (0-10).

But after snapping a five-game skid, Nagy savoured Chicago's result as the Bears improved to 4-7.

"When there's distractions, which is in every sport, in all facets of life, there's always going to be distractions," Nagy told reporters.

"It's how you handle them. And again, we got the win today, and it could've went a lot of different ways. But the reason why we got the win is because of how they handled the distractions, you know? That's where to me, when you're in this business and you lead people, it's my job to make sure of honest and open communication.

"That's where, for me, I just can't tell you how much this win means today to me because of what they did."

Chicago's defence allowed a season-low 239 total yards and just 14 first downs against Detroit.

Andy Dalton fuelled the Bears with a touchdown on 24-of-39 passing for 317 yards – his 30th 300-yard career passing game and the most yards by a Chicago quarterback since November 2020.

"Again, for me, there is only my understanding, which is what it's been since the day I signed up to be this coach, is to win as many games as I can possibly win, and do it the right way," Nagy added.

"When you lose five games in a row, you understand. When you're 3-7, you know what territory it can get to. You know what I mean? That comes with the job. I knew that four years ago when I took this, and so here we are. Every week is a little bit different.

"This one was definitely different. This is one of those weeks where you use it moving forward. You don't make any predictions, but what you do is when you go home on that plane tonight and everyone's having a good time because they're able to celebrate and have fun watching the tape and enjoy their Thanksgiving and get back to being healthy and understand what games are next, but the only game that matters is Arizona coming up.

"That's it. So again, for me, the only thing I can say to those players is that I appreciate them and we have a hell of a group of guys, players and coaches, and they showed it today by getting a win."

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