NFL Week 14

The NFL’s playoff picture is slowly taking shape.

The Detroit Lions survived a scare from the Chicago Bears to improve to 9-4 following a 20-17 victory in Week 14. The Lions now sit atop the NFC North, two games clear of the 7-6 Green Bay Packers — who routed the NFC West-leading Seattle Seahawks, 38-10 — and the 7-6 Minnesota Vikings — 25-16 winners over the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Detroit win sets up a potential division-clinching scenario for Week 15, when the Lions can claim their first divisional crown since 1993 when they won what was then the NFC Central.

The Cowboys, close to securing home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, will have to wait at least another week. Dak Prescott and Co. were banged about in an ugly 10-7 loss to the New York Giants, who should be feeling secure at 9-4 and atop the wild-card standings. Dallas (11-2) has already secured a playoff spot and remains two games ahead of Detroit for the top overall seed.

The three-way tie atop the AFC South was reduced to just two teams after the Houston Texans dispatched the Indianapolis Colts 22-17. According to playoff projections of The Upshot, a loss by the Colts would reduce their playoff odds to a mere six percent.

At 7-6, the Texans now remain tied with only the Tennessee Titans, who passed a daunting test against the reigning AFC Champion Denver Broncos. Though Trevor Siemian resumed his starting role for Denver after missing Week 13 due to injury, the Broncos couldn’t get on the scoreboard in the first half and trailed the Titans 13-0 through the first 30 minutes.

The Miami Dolphins earned a costly, harrowing, but important, win by defeating the Arizona Cardinals 26-23 on a last-second field goal by Andrew Franks. The problem is that the Dolphins may have lost their quarterback in the process.

Ryan Tannehill had to be helped off the field after suffering a knee injury on a low hit. Matt Moore took over under center for Miami and guided the Dolphins down the field for the decisive drive. The Dolphins said postgame that they believe Tannehill tore his ACL and will likely miss the remainder of the season.

The Dolphins are now tied with the Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers at 8-5 for the second wild-card spot. The Steelers, winners over the Buffalo Bills thanks to 298 yards of offense and three touchdowns by running back Le’Veon Bell, temporarily hold the lead in the AFC North, with the 7-5 Baltimore Ravens facing the New England Patriots Monday night in Foxboro.

In the NFC, the Washington Redskins avoided a costly loss to the Philadelphia Eagles by pulling out a 27-22 victory. Leading 21-13 in the fourth quarter, Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins threw an interception that the Eagles’ Leodis McKelvin returned 29 yards for a touchdown. After a failed two-point conversion by the Eagles, a Philadelphia field goal by Caleb Sturgis put the Eagles in front, 22-21, with 5:03 remaining. Washington answered when a 25-yard touchdown run by Chris Thompson capped an eight-play, 77-yard drive that gave the Redskins the lead for good.

Washington moves to 7-5-1 and a half-game back of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for NFC’s second wild-card spot. The Bucs (8-5) beat the New Orleans Saints, 16-11, to keep pace in the NFC South, but the Atlanta Falcons (8-5) won, too, routing the Los Angeles Rams, 42-14.

The Cleveland Browns supplied a measure of intrigue for their Week 14 game against the Cincinnati Bengals beyond beyond their march to a winless season. Robert Griffin III started at quarterback for the first time since the season opener, when he left late in that game with a broken shoulder after taking a hit while scrambling. Griffin may have more riding on this game than anyone, as he’s eager to show both the Browns and other teams he’s still capable of being a starting quarterback in the NFL, an ability level he hasn’t shown since his sensational rookie season with the Washington Redskins. It didn’t go as he’d hoped as the Browns fell to 0-13 following a 23-10 loss.

The Browns trailed 20-0 at halftime with Griffin completing just 2 of 10 pass attempts and throwing an interception. The start of the second half was slightly more favorable, as he did push across a touchdown run from the one-yard line, his first rushing score since December of 2014. He finished the day 12 completions on 28 attempts for just 104 yards.

The San Diego Chargers have battled injuries throughout the season, and Sunday they sustained another. Running back Melvin Gordon was carted off the field with a reported hip injury. The second-year back was enjoying a breakout season, with 10 touchdowns and needing just eight yards to reach the 1,000-yard plateau.

The Jets were winners over the 49ers, 23-17, in overtime. New York overcame a first-quarter 14-point deficit to earn a hard-earned, however ugly, victory in San Francisco, led by second-year quarterback Bryce Petty, who replaced Ryan Fitzpatrick this week as the team’s signal caller. Petty was led than impressive, completing 23 of 35 passes for 257 yards and an interception. Bilal Powell carried the load for the Jets, with 145 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

Top Story Lines

The Steelers’ balls were in compliance, according to the league, noting the Giants never lodged a formal complaint. (Read More)

He had a passer rating of 0.0 after the first half. (Read More)

The world reacted with an appropriate lack of restraint. (Read More)

Winless Cleveland is giving RGIII another look, because why not? (Read More)

With fan violence on the rise, firearms could add a dangerous wrinkle should the bill pass. (Read More)

They’ve got a strong record, but didn’t exhibit the look of a potential champion in their loss to the Chiefs. (Read More)

The two offensive coordinators have had big years with the Falcons and Patriots. (Read More)

He has since deleted the offending material. (Read More)

It’s time to break out the paper bag masks in the Meadowlands. (Read More)

Injury News

Latest updates: 3:06 p.m.

A number of lengthy injury reports had fantasy owners vigilantly monitoring the inactive reports today, but no injury looms larger than that of Falcons WR Julio Jones. Jones will be reportedly miss the Falcons’ game against the Rams due to turf toe.

Also in the later games, Saints WR Michael Thomas (foot) is out for their game against the Buccaneers.

Injuries have plagued the San Diego Chargers from the first game, losing Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead in Weeks 1 and 2. Now it looks like they’ll lose breakout RB Melvin Gordon. Gordon was carted off the field in the first quarter against Carolina.

Fantasy Football

Check back later for a full rundown of the day’s top fantasy developments from John Romero, but here are the Post’s top tips to help you set your lineup this week.

Malcolm Mitchell should be in your lineup this week. (Read More)

It’s a hard call, but sometimes you need to bench the players that brought you to the postseason. (Read More)

It’s a bad week to rely on Dak Prescott. (Read More)

Will Matt Ryan get the Falcons offense back on track? (Read More)

ATS Betting Tips/Picks

The latest Vegas insights. (Read More)

How the numbers say Week 14 should play out. (Read More)