Bruce Arians is hoping the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can keep an offensive line he believes is the best in football together after Tristan Wirfs suffered an ankle injury in their Wild Card round win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

An ankle injury to right tackle Wirfs, which he unsuccessfully tried to return from, was one of the few blots on a routine 31-15 victory for the Buccaneers.

Center Ryan Jensen also suffered an injury but returned to the game, with Tampa Bay's win and the San Francisco 49ers' upset triumph over the Dallas Cowboys meaning the Bucs will face either the Los Angeles Rams or Arizona Cardinals in the Divisional Round.

Asked about the injury to Wirfs, Arians told a media conference: "He's got a sprained ankle, we'll see.

"Hopefully they're [the injuries] not super serious, Jensen came back in, Tristan tried it, other than that we came out pretty clean.

"Hopefully we can keep our offensive line intact because I think they're the best in football, Tristan especially, they'll be working on that ankle non-stop."

Running back Leonard Fournette, whose performance in the postseason last year was key to the Buccaneers winning Super Bowl LV, was not activated for this game as he tries to return from a hamstring injury.

On Fournette, Arians said: "Until he's top speed we're not going to use him."

While Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts struggled and threw a pair of interceptions in his first playoff start, Tom Brady was faultless in his record 46th postseason start.

He completed 29 of 37 passes for 271 yards and two touchdowns including a 36-yard strike to Mike Evans.

"Once Tom figures you out, you're in trouble," Arians added. "That was a dime he threw to Mike for that long touchdown, he's a surgeon, man, once he figures you out and we can put him in a position and protect him, he's gonna eat you up."

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' hopes of winning back-to-back Super Bowls remain firmly intact after a crushing 31-15 Wild Card round win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Tampa Bay's defense welcomed back two stars of their Super Bowl LV blowout of the Kansas City Chiefs in the form of Lavonte David and Shaquil Barrett, and that group dominated an Eagles team that looked ill-prepared for the challenge of knocking off the defending champions.

Philadelphia did not beat a single team that qualified for the playoffs in their nine-win regular season, and this contest soon had the look of a mismatch as the Eagles punted three times, turned the ball over on downs and saw Jalen Hurts throw the first of his two interceptions on their opening five offensive series.

Touchdown runs by Giovani Bernard and Ke'Shawn Vaughn propelled the Bucs to a 17-0 half-time lead and, as Hurts struggled in his first playoff start, Tom Brady showed the benefit of his experience in his record 46th postseason start.

A muffed punt by Jalen Reagor set up a Brady touchdown pass to another seemingly ageless wonder in Rob Gronkowski and Hurts' second interception was followed immediately by a 36-yard strike to Mike Evans.

Late Eagles scores from Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell proved little more than consolations on a day when the only concern for the Buccaneers was a worrying ankle injury to right tackle Tristan Wirfs.

After the Patriots saw their playoff campaign emphatically come to an end on Saturday, the man who left New England to further his legacy begins his quest for an eighth ring on Sunday.

Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be expected to win in routine fashion in their Wild Card round matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles, while the team they beat in last season's Super Bowl, the Kansas City Chiefs, are anticipated to end Ben Roethlisberger's career with a routine victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Sandwiched between those two potential blowouts is the game of the weekend as two storied rivals, the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys, contest a long overdue renewal of acquaintances in the postseason.

As Stats Perform's look at Sunday's action explains, both the Niners and the Cowboys possess the offense firepower to ensure the matchup lives up to its lofty expectations.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The defending champion Bucs are unsurprisingly the heavy favourites against an Eagles team that claimed nine wins in the regular season, none of which came against an opponent that made the postseason.

Not much stock will be put in the history of this encounter, even if it does make pleasant reading for any Eagles fans looking for reason for hope.

The Eagles and Buccaneers have split their 20 all-time meetings, with each team winning eight regular-season games and two in postseason play. Their only postseason matchup in Tampa was a 24-17 win by the Bucs in 1979, their first-ever playoff win.

All eyes at Raymond James Stadium will be on Bucs quarterback Tom Brady, who is set for another piece of history in his seemingly endless career.

Brady will be playing in his 19th postseason and in his 46th career playoff start, the most by any player in NFL history. At age 44, Brady will break his own record for the oldest quarterback to start a playoff game. Brady has more playoff wins since turning 36 years old (17) than any other QB has in his entire career.

Dak Prescott deflected praise after setting new milestones with the most touchdowns in a single season in Dallas Cowboys history and a career-high five touchdowns in Saturday's 51-26 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

The 28-year-old Cowboys quarterback completed 21 of 27 passes for 295 yards and five touchdowns against the under-strength Eagles.

Prescott, who missed the bulk of last season with an ankle injury, went past Tony Romo (36) for the most touchdown passes in a single season.

"It's special," Prescott told ESPN after the game. "A record like that that's this team, that's this offense.

"All the different guys that caught passes or the guys that protected, everybody played a part in it. I'm just the beneficiary of it.

"But to know where I was 12 months ago and to be where we are now, headed to the playoffs, I'm very excited."

The Cowboys win means they must wait on Sunday's results to learn their playoffs fate but they can be as high as the second seed in the NFC after finishing with a 12-5 record.

Among Dallas' potential playoffs match-ups is the 11-5 Arizona Cardinals who defeated the Cowboys last weekend 25-22.

"It doesn’t matter," Prescott said when asked if he wanted to face the Cardinals again to get revenge.

"Line them up. To get to where we wanna go, you've got to beat the best. Whoever it is, wherever it is, we're ready for this run."

The Cowboys piled on seven touchdowns against the Eagles, with five different scorers meaning they set a new NFL record for most players (22) to score TDs in a single season.

"We got some momentum going," Prescott said. "We were able to score some touchdowns on offense. We had some success running the ball and throwing the ball.

"More importantly the momentum, the rhythm and fun. The camaraderie we have, we just played together and wanted to finish the season off the right way. I think we did that in all facets of the game."

Dak Prescott threw a career-high five touchdown passes and broke a franchise-record single-season record as the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 51-26 on Saturday.

Prescott completed 21 of 27 passes for 295 yards, claiming the Cowboys' record for most single-season touchdown passes, going past Tony Romo's mark of 36.

The win improves means the Cowboys finish the regular season with a 12-5 record but will need to wait on Sunday's result to learn their NFC seeding which could be as high as second and as low as fourth.

Dallas head into the playoffs with a 5-1 run across their past six games after a two-game mid-season losing streak and go 6-0 in the NFC East.

Cedric Wilson (119 yards for five receptions) and Dalton Schultz both scored two TDs, while Corey Clement, Ito Smith and JaQuan Hardy also got on the scoresheet.

Upon Hardy's 22-yard rushing touchdown, the Cowboys broke the record for most players (22) to score a TD in a single season.

The Eagles, who rested numerous key players, are playoffs bound despite a 9-8 record. Eagles QB Gardner Minshew, who stepped in for Jalen Hurts due to an ankle injury, threw 19 of 33 passes for 186 yards and two TDs with one interception.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts says Sunday's railing collapse at FedEx Field "could have been so much worse" and wants changes made.

Hurts was exiting the field after Sunday's 20-16 win at the Washington Football Team when railing on the side of the tunnel collapsed with fans falling and spilling on to the ground.

The Eagles QB narrowly avoided being crushed by the fall and assisted fans to their feet and posed for pictures with them but insisted it cannot happen again.

"I tried to handle the situation with a lot of poise and show compassion for the people that fell down, really, but I know it could have been so much worse," Hurts said during a news conference.

"It kind of didn't hit me until after the fact, having some time to reflect on it and think about it. I just wanted to see what could be done to make sure it doesn't happen again. That's all I really care about."

Hurts has penned a letter to the Washington Football Team seeking clarification on what safeguards can be put in place to ensure it never happens again.

"What follow-up action is being considered in response to the near-tragic incident that took place at FedEx Field on January 2, 2022," Hurts wrote.

"Through the initial shock, my first reaction was to assist those involved. However, while I displayed a calm composure, I understand the severity of what happened and am extremely concerned for the well-being of the fans and media.

"As a result, I would like to know what safeguards the NFL and the Washington Football Team are implementing to prevent this from ever occurring in the future.

"The resources of the NFL and team organizations ensure our safety through playing this physical sport, but what happened Sunday put both fans and players unnecessarily at risk long after the final whistle. I look forward to hearing from you on this matter."

There have been reports of minor injuries from those involved in the fall but Washington released a statement following the incident on Sunday which said: "To our knowledge, everyone involved was offered onsite medical evaluation and left the stadium of their own accord."

Matthew Stafford inspired the Los Angeles Rams to move one step closer to securing their second straight NFC West title with a 20-19 win over the slumping Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.

The defeat for the Ravens, who were without quarterback Lamar Jackson for the third straight game, leaves them perilously close to slipping out of the Wild Card hunt after their fifth consecutive loss.

Justin Tucker's field goal had put the Ravens up 19-14 with 4:33 left but Stafford launched a game-winning 75-yard drive to overhaul the deficit.

Stafford completed a 15-yard pass to Tyler Higbee and a 24-yarder to Cooper Kupp, before finding Odell Beckham Jr twice in a row, with the latter being the decisive TD.

The Rams QB finished with 26 of 35 passes for two touchdowns but also two interceptions, including a Chuck Clark first-quarter pick six, as well as a sack.

Clark's TD was the Ravens' only for the game, as QB Tyler Huntley completed 20 of 32 passes for 197 yards.

Rams running back Sony Michel had 19 carries for 74 yards including a TD along with wide receiver Kupp with six receptions for 95 yards and one touchdown.

Over a month ago the Ravens had been 8-3 and looking good for the AFC top seed but now they are scrapping for a playoffs spot after a series of narrow defeats and desperate for Jackson's return.

Carlson field goal gives Raiders edge in Wild Card race

The Las Vegas Raiders claimed a crucial last-gasp win from Daniel Carlson's 33-yard field goal in the AFC Wild Card race with a 23-20 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

Colts quarterback Carson Wentz cleared protocols for the game but completed 16 of 27 passes for 148 yards and one touchdown, while running back Jonathan Taylor had one TD from 20 carries for 108 yards, with the defeat marking the first this season when he has rushed more than 100 yards.

The Raiders pipped the Colts in the final quarter, trailing 17-13 at the final break with QB Derek Carr hitting Hunter Renfrow on a fourth-down play for a TD, before Michael Badgley squared the game with a 41-yard field goal, only for Carlson to win it with one from 33 yards as time expired. The Raiders improve to 9-7, pulling ahead of the 9-7 Colts in the AFC Wild Card race.

 

Bengals clinch maiden AFC North title

The Cincinnati Bengals clinched their first-ever AFC North title as Evan McPherson kicked a late 20-yard field goal to secure a 34-31 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase set an NFL rookie record and franchise record with 266 yards and three touchdowns on 11 catches, while QB Joe Burrow threw 30 of 39 passes for 446 yards and four touchdowns.

Burrow got the better of opposing QB Patrick Mahomes who completed 26 of 35 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns as the Chiefs, who have already won the AFC West title, moved to 11-5.

 

Brady cool after Brown meltdown

Tom Brady was cool in a crisis after Antonio Brown stormed off the field as the NFC South-winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers rallied to win 28-24 over the New York Jets.

Brady completed 34 of 50 attempts for 410 yards and three touchdowns, including leading them on a 93-yard drive in the final minutes to clinch the victory.

The game was marred after Brown's meltdown, storming off the field in the third quarter with the Bucs 24-10 down, with head coach Bruce Arians confirming "he is no longer a Buc" after the game.

Matthew Stafford inspired the Los Angeles Rams to move one step closer to securing their second straight NFC West title with a 20-19 win over the slumping Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.

The defeat for the Ravens, who were without quarterback Lamar Jackson for the third straight game, leaves them perilously close to slipping out of the Wild Card hunt after their fifth consecutive loss.

Justin Tucker's field goal had put the Ravens up 19-14 with 4:33 left but Stafford launched a game-winning 75-yard drive to overhaul the deficit.

Stafford completed a 15-yard pass to Tyler Higbee and a 24-yarder to Cooper Kupp, before finding Odell Beckham Jr twice in a row, with the latter being the decisive TD.

The Rams QB finished with 26 of 35 passes for two touchdowns but also two interceptions, including a Chuck Clark first-quarter pick six, as well as a sack.

Clark's TD was the Ravens' only for the game, as QB Tyler Huntley completed 20 of 32 passes for 197 yards.

Rams running back Sony Michel had 19 carries for 74 yards including a TD along with wide receiver Kupp with six receptions for 95 yards and one touchdown.

Over a month ago the Ravens had been 8-3 and looking good for the AFC top seed but now they are scrapping for a playoffs spot after a series of narrow defeats and desperate for Jackson's return.

Carlson field goal gives Raiders edge in Wild Card race

The Las Vegas Raiders claimed a crucial last-gasp win from Daniel Carlson's 33-yard field goal in the AFC Wild Card race with a 23-20 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

Colts quarterback Carson Wentz cleared protocols for the game but completed 16 of 27 passes for 148 yards and one touchdown, while running back Jonathan Taylor had one TD from 20 carries for 108 yards, with the defeat marking the first this season when he has rushed more than 100 yards.

The Raiders pipped the Colts in the final quarter, trailing 17-13 at the final break with QB Derek Carr hitting Hunter Renfrow on a fourth-down play for a TD, before Michael Badgley squared the game with a 41-yard field goal, only for Carlson to win it with one from 33 yards as time expired. The Raiders improve to 9-7, pulling ahead of the 9-7 Colts in the AFC Wild Card race.

 

Bengals clinch maiden AFC North title

The Cincinnati Bengals clinched their first-ever AFC North title as Evan McPherson kicked a late 20-yard field goal to secure a 34-31 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase set an NFL rookie record and franchise record with 266 yards and three touchdowns on 11 catches, while QB Joe Burrow threw 30 of 39 passes for 446 yards and four touchdowns.

Burrow got the better of opposing QB Patrick Mahomes who completed 26 of 35 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns as the Chiefs, who have already won the AFC West title, moved to 11-5.

 

Brady cool after Brown meltdown

Tom Brady was cool in a crisis after Antonio Brown stormed off the field as the NFC South-winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers rallied to win 28-24 over the New York Jets.

Brady completed 34 of 50 attempts for 410 yards and three touchdowns, including leading them on a 93-yard drive in the final minutes to clinch the victory.

The game was marred after Brown's meltdown, storming off the field in the third quarter with the Bucs 24-10 down, with head coach Bruce Arians confirming "he is no longer a Buc" after the game.

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni has tested positive for COVID-19 and is set to miss their Week 16 clash with the New York Giants.

The Eagles announced that Sirianni returned a positive test on Wednesday after he self-reported symptoms earlier that day.

Sirianni had been on the sidelines on Tuesday as the Eagles won 27-17 over the Washington Football Team.

"I wasn’t feeling great this morning when I woke up and just got tested and obviously we are where we are right now,” Sirianni said during a virtual news conference. "Feeling OK, feeling a little better now."

Sirianni was not the only NFL head coach to test positive on Wednesday, with the New York Jets confirming the same for Robert Saleh, while Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski and New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton both returned positive tests last week.

If Sirianni is not cleared from the NFL's protocols by Sunday's game, passing game coordinator Kevin Patullo will act as head coach.

Sirianni has guided the Eagles to a 7-7 record in his first season in charge, with the side in playoffs contention.

Matthew Stafford found Cooper Kupp with two second-half touchdown passes to lift the Los Angeles Rams past the Seattle Seahawks 20-10 in Tuesday's re-scheduled NFC West clash.

Kupp recorded his fifth two-touchdown game of the season, finishing with nine receptions for 136 yards to help the Rams improve their record to 10-4.

Stafford completed 21 of 29 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns with one interception, while Sony Michel rushed for 92 yards from 18 carries for the Rams.

With both sides fielding COVID-19-depleted teams, it was the Seahawks who went ahead in the third quarter after neither could score a touchdown in the first half, with Deejay Dallas bulldozing his way into the end zone.

But the Rams levelled it up at 10-10 with 6:31 left in the third when Stafford found Kupp, who broke the record for most receptions in a single season in Rams history, moving past Isaac Bruce (119) to 120.

The pair linked up again for the decisive play in the final quarter, with Stafford nailing a 29-yard play down the middle to Kupp who had found a small pocket of space, capping an 88-yard drive.

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who made 17 of 31 passes for 156 yards, could not find a way back late, sacked by Aaron Donald before a fine block by corner back Jalen Ramsey on an attempt for DK Metcalf.

Hurts stars on Eagles return

The Philadelphia Eagles withstood a late challenge from the depleted Washington Football Team to win 27-17 and improve to a 7-7 record, keeping alive their playoffs' hopes.

Jalen Hurts returned from an ankle injury to run for two touchdowns and pass another for Greg Ward Jr to secure victory.

Hurts, who completed 20 of 26 passes for 296 yards and rushed for 38 yards from eight carries, set the single-season franchise record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback with 10.

A two-day postponement of the Philadelphia Eagles' game against the Washington Football Team bought Jalen Hurts some valuable recovery time. 

Philadelphia's quarterback is expected to start Tuesday after an ankle injury suffered November 28 against the New York Giants kept him out of the Eagles' most recent game on December 5. 

Hurts did work through all of Friday's practice as usual but would still have been listed as questionable if the game had been played Sunday as originally scheduled, Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni told reporters. 

With a bye last week and an extra two days of treatment thanks to a COVID-19 outbreak affecting Washington that prompted the delay, Hurts should be at full speed Tuesday. 

"I feel pretty confident and feel really good about where he is at right now," Sirianni said.

Backup Gardner Minshew had a brilliant outing in place of Hurts before the bye, completing 20 of 25 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns in a 33-18 road defeat of the New York Jets. 

Hurts had insisted all week heading into that game that he hoped to play, but the Eagles (6-7) opted to err on the side of caution. 

Now there appears no doubt about Hurts' readiness, as he did not appear on the team's injury report Monday. 

"I’ve been coming in every day doing everything I can in my power to be available," Hurts told reporters last week. "At this point of the season, everybody is playing for a lot. Regardless of who’s out there ... we are going to try to go out and play good football all around.

"They have something to fight for and so do we. We want this win in December."

The 23-year-old Hurts has completed 60.1 per cent of his passes for 2,435 yards with 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions, in addition to rushing for 695 yards and eight more scores. 

He could end up facing Washington's third-choice QB, as starter Taylor Heinicke and his backup Kyle Allen both are on the COVID list, though they could test out shortly before the game. 

 

The NFL has been forced to move three games for Week 15 due to the COVID-19 outbreak across the league and the United States.

The Cleveland Browns, who could have been without as many as 20 players, were set to face the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday, but that clash has been rescheduled for Monday.

The Washington Football Team were preparing to face the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, the same day in which the Seattle Seahawks and the Los Angeles Rams were due to do battle, but both games will now take place on Tuesday.

The NFL announced the changes in a statement, which said: "We have made these schedule changes based on medical advice and after discussion with the NFLPA as we are seeing a new, highly transmissible form of the virus this week resulting in a substantial increase in cases across the league.

"We continue to make decisions in consultation with medical experts to ensure the health and safety of the NFL community."

Due to the changes, all six sides involved will have shorter breaks between Week 15 and 16. The Browns head to the Green Bay Packers on Christmas, while the Raiders, Eagles, Washington, Seahawks and Rams all have two days fewer to prepare for their next games.

The fixture alterations come after the NFL announced updated coronavirus protocols on Thursday, which include fully vaccinated players being allowed to return from quarantine a day after testing positive if they produce two negative tests within 24 hours and are asymptomatic.

Indeed, 32 players were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Friday alone, after reports on Wednesday suggested around 100 NFL players recently tested positive for the virus across a three-day span.

Last season amid the ongoing global pandemic the NFL completed its season on time but had to reschedule 18 games.

In July, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell warned the 32 teams that no games would be rescheduled under such circumstances again and, instead, forfeits could happen.

The neutral has plenty to be thankful for in this thrilling 2021 NFL season.

But all that drama, driven by a series of stunning against-the-odds upsets, can make life miserable for fantasy players, even at this celebratory time of year.

Want to maintain your cheer through another seemingly unpredictable slate of games this Thanksgiving week? Turn to Stats Perform for the below data-powered picks.

Quarterback: Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants

The Eagles head into Week 12 rejuvenated, having won three of their past four games to improve to 5-6 ahead of a big NFC East matchup. Those three wins have all had one thing in common: Philadelphia have exceeded 200 yards rushing.

This run-heavy approach – with a league-high 49.6 rush percentage – wisely plays to the strengths of quarterback Hurts, who had three rushing scores last week against the New Orleans Saints as he surpassed 50 yards on the ground for the fifth straight game.

That was Hurts' 15th QB start. He ranks second through 15 QB starts since 1950 for rushing touchdowns (11 – behind Cam Newton, 14) and second through 15 QB starts since 1960 for rushing yards (890 – behind Lamar Jackson, 1,193).

The Giants – reeling from a bad defeat to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – have given up 4.38 yards per rush play, ranking a mediocre 19th, and have not yet played any of the six best offenses in that regard. The Eagles' offense (4.99 yards per rush), led by Hurts, sits third and will be eyeing further big gains.

Running back: Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Mixon is already enjoying a career year with nine rushing TDs, and the 2021 season might be about to get a whole lot better for the running back – and any fantasy players who can count on him – as the Bengals face an injury-ravaged Steelers defense.

Pittsburgh have now given up the most yards per rush play (4.76) after a tough two weeks in which their roster was hit by absences and it showed on the field. The winless Detroit Lions tallied 229 rushing yards and two TDs in their Week 10 tie, before the Los Angeles Chargers averaged 6.12 yards per rush as Austin Ekeler's two scores headlined a Week 11 win.

Mixon, who has rushing TDs in four straight games and last week ran for over 100 yards for the first time since Week 1, should get free rein against a Steelers defense that successfully disrupts the run on just 24.62 per cent of attempts.

Even if Pittsburgh can fix a problem that has persisted throughout the season and got worse of late, Mixon ranks 12th among running backs (min. 10 carries) with 3.74 yards per carry on disrupted runs.

Wide receiver: Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers vs. Minnesota Vikings

A significant shift towards a run-heavy approach – the 49ers averaged 25.6 rushes per game through Week 9 but 43.0 per game since – would be an issue for most wide receivers, but Samuel is not most wide receivers.

It is his versatility that has helped accommodate a change that has potentially brought San Francisco back into contention.

Samuel caught only one pass against the Jacksonville Jaguars last week but rushed for 79 yards and a TD in the absence of injured rookie Elijah Mitchell. The previous week, with Mitchell involved against the Los Angeles Rams, Samuel had rushing and receiving scores in the same game for the first time in his career.

With the Vikings' rush defense matching the Steelers' in giving up 4.76 yards per rush, expect Samuel and the Niners to run the ball again and do it well.

Tight end: Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Pitts is the sixth-most targeted tight end this season (69) but has the third-most receiving yards (635), boosted massively by 100-yard games against the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins either side of the Falcons' Week 6 bye.

The schedule slowed that momentum somewhat – Atlanta were held to three points across defeats to the Dallas Cowboys and the New England Patriots – but a trip to Jacksonville gives Pitts the opportunity to put his name up in lights once again.

The Jaguars have given up 7.20 yards per pass play in 2021, meaning this is unlikely to be the defense to keep Pitts in check. He has got open on 34.41 per cent of his 93 matchups, up on the tight end average of 18.10 per cent.

Defense: New England Patriots vs. Tennessee Titans

The Titans head into this week as the top seed in the AFC, but the Patriots may well take that spot from them over the next two weeks, hosting Tennessee before going to the Buffalo Bills in Monday Night Football.

While Mac Jones is enjoying a fine rookie year at QB, it will be New England's defense that puts them in contention, having given up only 5.07 yards per play while securing 21 total takeaways – ranking third in both regards.

And the Pats will expect to dominate the Titans, whose injury list has only grown since Derrick Henry went down. A.J. Brown is the latest offensive weapon to be unhealthy, while Julio Jones is not expected back for another two weeks.

These problems contributed to a woeful defeat to the Houston Texans last time out, when Ryan Tannehill threw four picks. Elsewhere in Week 10, New England caught four interceptions against the Falcons.

Dallas Goedert has agreed a four-year contract extension with the Philadelphia Eagles, who recently traded star tight end Zach Ertz to the Arizona Cardinals.

The departure of Super Bowl-winning hero Ertz last month cleared the path for Goedert to take up the number one tight end spot for Philadelphia.

And the Eagles have made sure he will be around for his prime after confirming they have reached agreement on a deal that keeps him with the team until 2025.

According to NFL.com, the pact is worth $57million including $35m guaranteed.

Those terms ensure Goedert is the tight end with the third-highest average annual salary in the NFL, behind only George Kittle and Mark Andrews, while it is ahead of the Kansas City Chiefs' Travis Kelce.

"We're really excited for him," Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said on Friday. 

"He's the type of guy that we think the world of. He's a great football player, great on and off the field. 

"Just the type of guy you want to succeed and sign contracts like this and keep in the building."

Goedert, who was drafted in the second-round ahead of the 2018 season, has 29 receptions for 429 yards and two touchdowns in nine games so far this year.

He is averaging 14.8 yards per reception in 2021, which is second only to David Njoku (16.0) among NFL tight ends.

Goedert has remarkably recorded a first down with 75.9 per cent of his catches this year - which is the best rate at his position - and he ranks fourth with 6.8 yards after the catch.

The Eagles are at home against the 5-4 New Orleans Saints on Sunday. Having won two of their last three games to reach 4-6, they remain in contention for a Wild Card place in the NFC.

Miles Sanders is closing in on a return to action for the Philadelphia Eagles, who have activated the 21-day practice window for the running back.

An ankle injury suffered in the Week 7 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders landed Sanders on injured reserve.

He remains on IR but the roster move by the Eagles means he would be allowed to return to action this week if he is deemed to have made sufficient progress.

The Eagles are at home against the 5-4 New Orleans Saints on Sunday and head coach Nick Sirianni has told reporters there is a chance Sanders will be available.

The NFC East team have won two of their last three games to reach 4-6, ensuring they remain in contention for a Wild Card place.

Sanders was a second-round draft pick in 2019 after a college career at Penn State and was averaging 4.76 yards per carry this season before going down against the Raiders, having topped 800 yards in each of his first two years in the league.

Jordan Howard and Boston Scott have supported mobile quarterback Jalen Hurts in helping Philadelphia cope well with Sanders' absence – the Eagles lead the league with 208.7 rushing yards per game since Week 8, per NFL.com

The Saints game will be an intriguing battle. The Eagles have the third-best rushing attack with 144.3 yards per game, while Sean Payton's team are allowing only 72.9 YPG on the ground – which is the best mark in the NFL.

Hurts has been highly effective as a runner and 20.6 per cent of his rushes going for 10 or more yards represents the best mark of any qualifying player in 2021.

He has also rushed for a first down on 39.2 per cent of his carries, a ratio second only to the Buffalo Bills' Josh Allen.

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