Call it cliché, coach-speak or simple truth. The NFL is a week-to-week league.


Two weeks ago, they were 4-6, seemingly out of the postseason race and facing difficult tests against a pair of first-place teams, Detroit and Kansas City.

Now, after impressive wins over those opponents, the NFL’s youngest team has a grip on the NFC’s seventh and final playoff slot. What kind of mentality pushed the Packers to put themselves in that position?

“Just go win,” said Love, one of 11 Green Bay starters age 25 or younger. “We show up every week, just focusing on that week, knowing what we’ve got to do, knowing we’ve got to win every week, and go get the job done.”

Getting the job done leads to Exhibit B: JAKE BROWNING and the CINCINNATI BENGALS. Cast aside and facing steep adversity, Cincinnati won in overtime last week to improve to 6-6 and move back into playoff contention. The Bengals’ effort also opened the door for the HOUSTON TEXANS and INDIANAPOLIS COLTS, now just one game out of first in the AFC South.

A week-to-week league means corralling consistency, especially this time of year. And consistency is more critical than ever. That’s because more games are within one possession in the final period than any other time in league history. Since the beginning of 2022, 73.3 percent of all games (340 of 464) have been within one score in the fourth quarter. That means three of approximately every four games could go either way when the scoreboard shifts to the final stanza.

A week ago, the league standings looked a lot different than today. A week from now, expect more of the unexpected. In a week-to-week league, put your confidence in the teams with the most consistency.

The Starting 11 entering Week 14

1.   MCVAY, RAMS RETURN TO BELTWAY: Sunday’s early window features an intriguing interconference matchup between the LOS ANGELES RAMS (6-6) and BALTIMORE RAVENS (9-3) at M&T Bank Stadium (1 p.m. ET, FOX). Clawing for an NFC Wild Card berth, the Rams have won three straight, their longest winning streak since a five-game stretch toward the end of their 2021 Super Bowl championship season. The Ravens, meanwhile, have won six of their last seven as they attempt to secure the AFC’s No. 1 seed for just the second time in franchise history (also 2019). Sunday’s contest begins a four-game stretch in which Baltimore also plays three straight first-place teams: at Jacksonville (8-4), at San Francisco (9-3) on Christmas night and back home vs. Miami (9-3).

  • Led by defensive tackle JUSTIN MADUBUIKE, the Ravens lead the NFL in sacks (47) and have surrendered the fewest points per game (15.6) and fewest yards per play (4.22). Madubuike has at least half of a sack in nine consecutive games, the longest stretch in Ravens history and longest by a player since ROBERT QUINN (nine-game streak) in 2021. With at least half a sack on Sunday, Madubuike would own the league’s longest streak since TREY HENDRICKSON had a 10-game string in 2021.
    • The Rams’ offense, on the other hand, has allowed just 22 sacks this season. Only Buffalo (15), Kansas City (17) and Miami (18) have allowed fewer. In addition to stellar protection, the Rams feature two of the league’s most dynamic young offensive weapons, rookie wide receiver PUKA NACUA and second-year running back KYREN WILLIAMS. Nacua, with 1,029 receiving yards, is the sixth player in the Super Bowl era with 1,000 in his first 12 career games, joining ODELL BECKHAM JR. (1,305 in 2014), JUSTIN JEFFERSON (1,039 in 2020), ANQUAN BOLDIN (1,032 in 2003), Pro Football Hall of Famer RANDY MOSS (1,014 in 1998) and MARQUES COLSTON (1,001 in 2006). And with 77 receptions, Nacua is just the third player ever to eclipse 75 catches in his first 12 NFL games, joining Beckham (91 in 2014) and JAYLEN WADDLE (77 in 2021). Williams leads the NFL with 316 scrimmage yards since Week 12.
    • The Ravens’ LAMAR JACKSON, playing his 82nd career game in Week 12, became the fastest quarterback ever to reach 5,000 rushing yards, 22 games earlier than MICHAEL VICK (104). Jackson enters Sunday with 5,011 career rushing yards, fourth most by a quarterback all-time.
    • SEAN MCVAY, who served on Washington’s coaching staff from 2010-16, has led the Rams to a 14-5 record (.737) in the Eastern Time Zone (including the postseason) since becoming head coach prior to the 2017 season. Los Angeles has won six of its last eight trips to the time zone, including a 20-19 victory at Baltimore in 2021.
    • JOHN HARBAUGH is 12-3 (.800) in games following bye weeks, the fourth-best record among active coaches behind SEAN MCDERMOTT (7-0, 1.000), MIKE VRABEL (6-0, 1.000) and ANDY REID (21-4, .840), with a minimum of four games.

2.   NUMBER OF THE WEEK – 0: The number of wide receivers who have won the Associated Press Most Valuable Player award, something TYREEK HILL could achieve this season. Hill, whose MIAMI DOLPHINS (9-3) host the TENNESSEE TITANS (4-8) in one of two Monday Night Football games (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN), could become the first MVP who did not play quarterback or running back since Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker LAWRENCE TAYLOR in 1986. Hill is on pace to become the first 2,000-yard receiver in league history and break the single-season record, 1,964 yards, established by Pro Football Hall of Famer CALVIN JOHNSON in 2012.

  • Hill also has 21 career touchdowns of at least 60 yards, tied with DEVIN HESTER (21) for the third most in NFL history. Only DESEAN JACKSON (26) and Pro Football Hall of Famer JERRY RICE (23) have more.
    • The Dolphins, seeking their first AFC East division title since 2008, have not secured the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs since 1984. They’re likely to reach that goal by continuing to protect quarterback TUA TAGOVAILOA. The Dolphins are 4-0 this season and 10-1 since he entered the league when holding opponents without a sack of Tagovailoa.
    • Tennessee running back DERRICK HENRY has 18 career games with 100 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer EMMITT SMITH (18) for the fourth-most such games by a player in his first eight seasons in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famers LADAINIAN TOMLINSON (24) and JIM BROWN (21) as well as SHAUN ALEXANDER (19) have more.

3.   BILLS-CHIEFS BRINGS MEMORIES OF 2017 TRADE: Blending into a sea of names and numbers, it sits humbly on Page 234 of the 2017 NFL Record & Fact Book. Under 2017 trades, Buffalo’s 2017 first-round selection from Buffalo to Kansas City (Chiefs selected PATRICK MAHOMES) for Chiefs’ 2017 first-round selection (Bills selected TRE’DAVIOUS WHITE), 2017 third-round selection (#91) and 2018 first-round selection. Many analysts criticized then-Chiefs general manager JOHN DORSEY for moving up from 27 to 10 in the first round, casting doubts on everything from Mahomes’ footwork to his “gunslinger” style. Well, needless to say, don’t believe everything you hear. Mahomes has led the Chiefs to three of the last four Super Bowls, winning two, while the Bills used related assets to acquire Pro Bowlers White, DION DAWKINS and TREMAINE EDMUNDS. And branches of the trade have continued to grow into 2023 and beyond. Last week, Rams safety JOHN JOHNSON – selected with that 91st overall choice in 2017 – secured a clutch fourth-quarter interception to help the Rams defeat Cleveland.

  • Both BUFFALO (6-6) and KANSAS CITY (8-4) will look to rebound from losses when they meet on Sunday (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS) at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Since 2018, when Mahomes became the Chiefs’ full-time starter and Buffalo drafted quarterback JOSH ALLEN, Kansas City own’s the NFL’s best record (17-3, .850) after a loss, while Buffalo is 22-10 (.688), second in the league.
    • Kansas City’s defense is on pace to finish with the fewest yards allowed per game (297.7) by a team with ANDY REID as head coach since the 2008 Eagles (274.3). The Chiefs (17.3) also are on pace to allow the fewest points per game by a Reid-coached team since the 2004 Eagles (16.3).
    • Including two postseason victories, Mahomes is 3-2 in five career starts against Allen. However, Allen and the Bills have won two of the last three meetings.
    • In Week 12, Allen passed for 339 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed for 81 yards with two touchdowns. Allen now has eight career games with at least 300 passing yards and 50 rushing yards, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer STEVE YOUNG (eight games) for the most such games in NFL history.

4.   SPOTLIGHT – INDIVIDUAL MATCHUP: Since Week 12, third-year Texans wide receiver NICO COLLINS has 16 receptions for an NFL-leading 295 yards (18.4 avg.) with two touchdowns. This week, when HOUSTON (7-5) meets the NEW YORK JETS (4-8) on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, CBS), Collins will face off with one of the game’s top young cornerbacks, SAUCE GARDNER, and the NFL’s third-best defense against the pass (176.6 yards allowed per game). The Jets have not allowed a 300-yard passer in 30 games, since TOM BRADY in Week 17 of the 2021 season. And since entering the league in 2022, Gardner is tied for third in the NFL with 28 passes defensed.

  • Quarterback C.J. STROUD, who leads the NFL with 3,540 passing yards, could become the first rookie to lead the league in that category over a full season since DAVEY O’BRIEN in 1939.
    • Rookie head coach DEMECO RYANS has led the Texans to seven victories, as many as the team’s total (seven) over the last two seasons combined. On Sunday, he’ll face the defensive coordinator he replaced in San Francisco, Jets head coach ROBERT SALEH.
    • One of Stroud’s targets in a stable of fantastic wide receivers at Ohio State from 2020-21 was GARRETT WILSON, now in his second year with the Jets.
    • The Texans have drafted third overall in each of the last two drafts, and each of those selections – cornerback DEREK STINGLEY in 2022 and defensive end WILL ANDERSON in 2023 – have played well of late. In last week’s win, Anderson posted two sacks and eight pressures, per Next Gen Stats, while Stingley intercepted two passes. Stingley has an interception in three consecutive games.

5.  SPOTLIGHT – TEAM MATCHUP: Don’t expect a lot of laundry on the field when the MINNESOTA VIKINGS (6-6) visit the LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (5-7) on Sunday (4:05 p.m. ET, FOX). That’s because the Raiders (4.67) and Vikings (4.83), respectively, have committed the fewest penalties per game in the NFL.

  • Both teams are fresh off Week 13 byes. Last season under head coach KEVIN O’CONNELL, the Vikings won eight of their final 11 regular-season games after their bye week. The Raiders, meanwhile, have won four of their last five home games.
    • In Week 12, Vikings defensive end DANIELLE HUNTER had 1.5 sacks and 10 pressures, per Next Gen Stats, and enters the game as the league leader in tackles for loss (18) while ranking third with 13.5 sacks this season.
    • Wide receiver JUSTIN JEFFERSON is expected to return to the Vikings’ lineup. Jefferson (5,396) needs 118 receiving yards to surpass MICHAEL THOMAS (5,512) for the most ever by a player in his first four seasons.

6.   STREAK SPEAK: Winning in December is hard. Under head coach MATT LAFLEUR, the Packers are 16-0 in December games, a streak that began with a win at MetLife Stadium on Dec. 1, 2019. That 16-game December winning streak is the longest in NFL history under an individual head coach and second-longest by a team. Only the SAN DIEGO CHARGERS won more consecutive December games (18 from 2006-09). Five of those Chargers wins came under head coach MARTY SCHOTTENHEIMER and 13 under NORV TURNER. Other than LaFleur, the only head coach to win 14-or-more consecutive December games was ANDY REID (14 with Kansas City from 2018-21).

  • GREEN BAY (6-6) returns to MetLife this week to face the NEW YORK GIANTS (4-8) in one of two side-by-side Monday Night Football games (8:15 p.m. ET, ABC).
    • Since Week 7, Packers quarterback JORDAN LOVE has 14 touchdown passes. In that time, only DAK PRESCOTT (20) has more.
    • In a Week 12 win, Giants rookie quarterback TOMMY DEVITO passed for 191 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions for a 103.9 rating. DeVito is the fifth undrafted rookie quarterback to win two of his first three starts in the common-draft era, joining DEVLIN HODGES (three wins in 2019 with Pittsburgh), ED RUBBERT (three in 1987 with Washington), MATT MOORE (two in 2007 with Carolina) and JOE PISARCIK (two in 1977 with the New York Giants). DeVito, who had a 137.7 passer rating in Week 11 and a 103.9 passer rating in Week 12, also is the first undrafted rookie in the common-draft era to record a passer rating of 100-or-higher in consecutive starts.

7.   DID YOU KNOW?: Eagles offensive coordinator BRIAN JOHNSON has known JALEN HURTS since the Eagles’ quarterback was in preschool. Hurts’ father, AVERION, was Johnson’s strength coach when Johnson was a high-school quarterback in Baytown, Texas.

  • Johnson and Hurts return to their home state this week when PHILADELPHIA (10-2) meets DALLAS (9-3) in an NFC East showdown on Sunday Night Football (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC). Dallas has won five straight over the Eagles at home (2018-22). The last time Philadelphia won at AT&T Stadium, in 2017, the Eagles went on to win the Super Bowl.
    • Dallas this season is 6-0 when winning the turnover margin. And while Philadelphia is 4-0 in the same category, the Eagles over a longer stretch actually have won 20 consecutive games when recording more takeaways than opponents. It’s the second-longest active streak in the league behind Kansas City (27).
    • No team has repeated as NFC East division champion since 2004, the longest such streak in league history (18 seasons so far). Dallas is hoping to keep that streak alive this season by overtaking Philadelphia, the 2022 champion.
    • After halftime, Philadelphia leads the NFL with 15.42 points per game. Dallas, meanwhile, is allowing only 8.42 per game after the half, fifth in the league.
    • Dallas has scored 40-or-more points in four consecutive home games, matching the all-time record shared with four other teams, the 1952 DETROIT LIONS, 1960-61 LOS ANGELES CHARGERS, 2000 ST. LOUIS RAMS and 2013 CINCINNATI BENGALS.
    • Not counting drives ended by the clock, the Cowboys have scored on 11 of their last 12 offensive possessions (59 points, six touchdowns, six field goals, zero punts). In the fourth quarters of their last three games, the Cowboys have outscored opponents 55-7.

8.   UNDER-THE-RADAR STORYLINE: Both starting quarterbacks in Sunday’s game between SEATTLE (6-6) and SAN FRANCISCO (9-3) at Levi’s Stadium (4:05 p.m. ET, FOX) have wide-ranging athletic bloodlines. The Seahawks’ GENO SMITH has a brother, Geonte Smith, who played college football at Savannah State. Their grandfather, Cyril Smith, was a bodybuilder and boxer, while a great uncle, Danny Smith, was an All-American hurdler at Florida State. The 49ers’ BROCK PURDY has a brother, Chubba Purdy, who is a quarterback at Nebraska entering his junior year. Their father, Shawn Purdy, was a pitcher in the Kansas City Royals, Oakland A’s and California Angels organizations. Brock’s sister, Whitney Purdy, played softball at Southeastern University.

  • Since 2017, with a minimum of five games, the Seahawks have the NFL’s best regular-season record, 8-5 (.615), against the 49ers. Last season, the 49ers swept the season series for the first time since 2011, and with their Wild Card victory over the Seahawks, San Francisco became the 15th team in history to defeat a single opponent three times in the same season.
    • Purdy has four games with at least three touchdown passes and a passer rating of 140-or higher this season, tied with TOM BRADY (2007) and AARON RODGERS (2011) for the most such games by a quarterback in a season in NFL history. What’s more, Purdy has five career games with a passer rating of 140-or-higher, the most such games by a player in his first two seasons in NFL history. Over his first 17 career regular-season starts, Purdy has gone 14-3 with a 116.9 passer rating, 34 touchdown passes and eight interceptions.
    • In his career, San Francisco running back CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY has 50 rushing touchdowns and 27 touchdown receptions. Last week, he joined Pro Football Hall of Famers MARSHALL FAULK (100 rushing touchdowns, 36 touchdown receptions) and LENNY MOORE (63 rushing touchdowns, 48 touchdown receptions) as the only players in NFL history with at least 50 rushing touchdowns and 25 touchdown receptions.
    • Last week, the 49ers’ DEEBO SAMUEL scored touchdowns on three consecutive touches, a 12-yard run and receptions of 48 and 46 yards. His three touchdowns were a single-game career high.
    • Seattle wide receiver DK METCALF, listed at 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds, reached 22.23 miles per hour on a 73-yard touchdown reception last week. No other ball-carrier has recorded a faster time this season (per Next Gen Stats).

9.  TREND TIME: Since their Week 5 bye, the Browns are 2-0 against first-place teams, with a 19-17 home win over San Francisco in Week 6 and a 33-31 win at Baltimore in Week 10. The Jaguars, their first-place opponent this week, are the only NFL team this season without a road loss (5-0). JACKSONVILLE (8-4) puts that record on the line at CLEVELAND (7-5) on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, CBS).

  • With a win on Sunday, quarterback JOE FLACCO would make the Browns one of only six teams since 1983 to have four quarterbacks win starting assignments in the same season. The 1987 New England Patriots had the most in that span (five), while the 1988 and 1989 Patriots, 1998 New Orleans Saints, 2007 Carolina Panthers and 2015 Houston Texans had four quarterbacks win starts. In that group, only the 2015 Texans made the playoffs.
    • Incidentally, two of those clubs, CAROLINA (1-11) and NEW ORLEANS (5-7), meet on Sunday at the Caesars Superdome (1 p.m. ET, FOX). Saints wide receiver CHRIS OLAVE has reached 100 receiving yards in each of the last two games. His 233 receiving yards over the last two weeks trail only NICO COLLINS (295) and TYREEK HILL (259) in the NFL.

10. NEXT GEN STAT OF THE WEEK: In last week’s win, Bengals quarterback JAKE BROWNING completed each of his seven pass attempts over 10 air yards, the most downfield completions by a player without an incompletion since DEREK CARR also had seven in Week 16 of the 2021 season.

  • Browning and CINCINNATI (6-6) host INDIANAPOLIS (7-5) on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, CBS). Last week, the Colts overcame a 10-point deficit to win, 31-28, in overtime. The Colts have won four consecutive games, the AFC’s longest current winning streak.
    • Indianapolis also owns a 5-1 (.833) record away from home this season. Only Jacksonville (5-0, 1.000) has a better mark. Plus, the Colts are 6-0 when winning the turnover margin, tied with Dallas (6-0) for the league’s best record in that category.
    • In last week’s win, Colts wide receiver MICHAEL PITTMAN had 11 catches for 105 yards and a touchdown. In the team’s Week 12 victory, Pittman had 10 receptions for 107 yards. Since the 1970 merger, the only previous Colts player to reach 10 catches and 100 receiving yards in consecutive games was Pro Football Hall of Famer MARVIN HARRISON in 2002.
    • Also last week, Pittman and teammate ALEC PIERCE (career-high 100 receiving yards) became the first Colts players to both reach 100 receiving yards in the same game since T.Y. HILTON and DONTE MONCRIEF on Oct. 26, 2014.

11. AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST: Two veteran pass-catchers are achieving historic feats this season. In last week’s victory, Tampa Bay wide receiver MIKE EVANS had seven receptions for 162 yards and one touchdown. With 61 catches this season, Evans is the first player in NFL history with at least 60 receptions in each of his first 10 seasons. And with 1,012 receiving yards in 2023, Evans also is the first player in NFL history with at least 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first 10 career seasons. Finally, Evans joined Pro Football Hall of Famer JERRY RICE (11 consecutive seasons from 1986-96) as the only players in NFL history with at least 1,000 receiving yards in 10 consecutive seasons.

  • Evans leads TAMPA BAY (5-7) into ATLANTA (6-6) for a key head-to-head matchup in the NFC South on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, CBS). With a win, the Buccaneers can take control of their division race. However, first-place Atlanta can sweep the season series with Tampa Bay for the first time since 2018 and improve its division record to 4-0, a solid tiebreaker advantage heading into the season’s final month. Falcons safety JESSIE BATES, the league’s only player with five-or-more interceptions and three-or-more forced fumbles this season, ranks third in the NFL with five interceptions.
    • In Los Angeles, Chargers wide receiver KEENAN ALLEN has 102 receptions this season, tied with JULIO JONES (102 in 2015) for the third-most catches by a player in his team’s first 12 games of a season in NFL history. Only MICHAEL THOMAS (110 in 2019) and Pro Football Hall of Famer MARVIN HARRISON (109 in 2002) have more. Allen is the sixth player in NFL history with five career seasons of 100-or-more receptions, joining ANTONIO BROWN (six seasons), BRANDON MARSHALL (six), LARRY FITZGERALD (five), ANDRE JOHNSON (five) and WES WELKER (five).
    • When Allen and the LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (5-7) host the DENVER BRONCOS (6-6) on Sunday (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS), teammate KHALIL MACK, who has 15 sacks this year, will look to pad his NFL lead.