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NFL Week 12 schedule

Patrick Mahomes faces Tom Brady again, this time with Brady representing the Buccaneers. (Chris Unger/Getty Images)

The possibility of a super Sunday of games evaporated Friday when the Ravens-Steelers game, originally moved from Thanksgiving night to Sunday afternoon, was moved again to Tuesday because of the Ravens’ coronavirus outbreak.

Because of that change, the Week 13 Thursday night game between the Ravens and Cowboys was moved as well, to Monday, Dec. 7, provided the Ravens can avoid further scheduling changes. With the season hitting the home stretch, the NFL has so far managed to avoid adding an 18th week to the schedule on the weekend of Jan. 10, when first-round games are scheduled.

The Broncos’ game against the Saints remains on despite the news that the Broncos have no eligible quarterbacks because all were in a meeting with a player who tested positive for the virus last week.

No teams have a bye this week; the Panthers and Buccaneers have the last two byes in Week 13.

How the NFL playoff picture is shaping up in Week 12

All times Eastern.

1
Dolphins (6-4) at Jets (0-10)
CBS
1
Cardinals (6-4) at Patriots (4-6)
Fox
1
Panthers (4-7) at Vikings (4-6)
Fox
1
Browns (7-3) at Jaguars (1-9)
CBS
1
Titans (7-3) at Colts (7-3)
CBS
1
Giants (3-7) at Bengals (2-7-1)
Fox
1
Chargers (3-7) at Bills (7-3)
CBS
1
Raiders (6-4) at Falcons (3-7)
CBS
4:05
49ers (4-6) at Rams (7-3)
Fox
4:05
Saints (8-2) at Broncos (4-6)
Fox
4:25
Chiefs (9-1) at Buccaneers (7-4)
CBS
8:20
Bears (5-5) at Packers (7-3)
NBC

1 p.m. games

The Titans and Colts arrive at their matchup for the AFC South lead after important victories in overtime last weekend. The Titans topped the Ravens, 30-24, and the Colts, helped by a key turnover in the extra period, emerged with a 34-31 win over the Packers. The Colts, who have the AFC’s top defense, beat the Packers despite several terrible penalties, many of them holding calls, late in the game. Indianapolis couldn’t run out the clock and was content to get to overtime, in which Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s turnover led to the Colts’ game-winning field goal. Philip Rivers passed for three touchdowns but suffered a toe injury that limited him late in the game and remains painful. He is listed as questionable.

The teams played Nov. 12 in Nashville, with the Colts winning, 34-17. In that game, the Colts rallied with 21 unanswered points in the second half. This time, Indianapolis will be without all-pro tackle DeForest Buckner, who is on the covid-19 reserve list. ...

The Chargers face the Bills, and while they may have found their quarterback in rookie Justin Herbert, they’re still doing troubling things. Somehow, despite trailing 24-6 at halftime, the winless Jets got back into last week’s game, three times driving more than 70 yards for second-half touchdowns. Still, the Chargers managed to pull out a 34-28 win. Going into that game, Herbert was the first Super Bowl-era quarterback to lose seven of eight starts despite an overall passer rating of better than 100. Against New York, he threw for three touchdowns and a career-best 366 yards for a passer rating of 116.5. ...

Kyler Murray will be missing an important target when the Cardinals play the Patriots. Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was a late-week addition to the covid-19 reserve list. Arizona hasn’t beaten New England since 2012, and this is the first time Bill Belichick, who selected Kliff Kingsbury in the sixth round of the 2003 draft, has faced his former player when both were head coaches.

Late afternoon games

The Chiefs are 18-1 including playoff games over the past calendar year, tied for the fifth-best mark in a one-year span since the NFL moved to a 16-game schedule in 1978, according to NFL Research. It’s the best record since the Packers went 20-1 from January 2011 to January 2012.

It was nearly two years ago when Patrick Mahomes faced Tom Brady in the AFC championship game won by the Patriots in overtime. Afterward, Brady sought out Mahomes. “The biggest thing he said was, ‘Stay with the process and be who you are.’ He didn’t want me to change at all,” Mahomes told Peter King. “He wanted me to go out there and take advantage of every single day. When you hear it from a guy like that, who’s had the success at the level that he’s had for his entire career, you know you’ve got to take advantage of every single day if you want to be great.” Brady, of course, is now the Buccaneers’ quarterback and experiencing some growing pains. Coach Bruce Arians hasn’t shied away from criticizing his quarterback. After Monday’s loss to the Rams, he said of Brady, “I think he’s getting confused a few times with coverage that might be causing some inaccurate balls.” ...

After 20 seasons with one team, Brady is still finding his footing with Tampa Bay

The Saints are atop the NFC despite losing Drew Brees for a few weeks. Though the offense has gotten most of the attention thanks to Brees and Alvin Kamara’s history-making stats, the defense has played a key role in the team’s seven-game winning streak. Last week it sacked the Falcons’ Matt Ryan eight times and picked him off twice. In the Saints’ past three games, they have allowed only 25 points.

The Saints have arrived in Denver, where the Broncos are a hot mess with all of their quarterbacks — Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles — deemed ineligible Saturday night after being in a meeting with fellow quarterback Jeff Driskel, who tested positive for the coronavirus Thursday. All of the QBs were not wearing masks during an indoor meeting last week. None of the others have tested positive.

Sunday night

Under Matt LaFleur, the Packers have shown a nasty habit of collapsing against a strong defense. The latest example came last Sunday, when the Colts shut down Aaron Rodgers in the second half, limiting the Packers to three points on five possessions, and pulled out a victory in overtime. The Packers had a chance to take a three-game lead in the NFC North and could have vaulted ahead of the Buccaneers, Saints and Seahawks as the NFC’s top dog. As brilliant as the offense can be with Rodgers, the Packers haven’t put together a strong performance in all three phases; in their three losses, they’ve surrendered leads of 10, seven and 14 points. The good news for Green Bay is that only one team with a record above .500 remains on the schedule: the Titans in Week 16.

The Bears started promisingly but have lost four in a row and have a quarterback quandary on their hands, with Coach Matt Nagy refusing at midweek to commit to Nick Foles, who is dealing with a hip injury, or Mitchell Trubisky. On Friday, it became official: Trubisky will start. If the Bears’ defense can pressure Rodgers, it might not matter.

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