NFL Week 12 Winners & Losers

By Lee Wakefield & Peter Mann


Welcome to week 12 winners and losers! This week’s games were spread out over a five-day, Thanksgiving, footballing festival. From Thanksgiving itself, the newly minted Black Friday game as well as the regular Sunday and Monday Night Football games.

Winners - Lee Wakefield

Chicago Bears

What a week for the Bears! The Panthers continue to lose, to the point that they’ve now fired Frank Reich and Chicago managed to overcome Minnesota in a… what’s the opposite of a barn-burner? Anyway, one one of those games, by a score of 12-10.

For fans of those teams on Tankathon Watch, Chicago now holds the number one and four picks.

Fantastic building blocks for the future which gives them a great bargaining position when it comes to next April’s draft.

The uptick in play from Justin Fields over the past couple of weeks is only adding to that leverage too.

If Fields can get to a place over the remainder of the season that proves to the Bears brain trust that he’s their long-term answer at quarterback, the Bears can go multiple ways with their first two picks. That flexibility for a franchise in rebuilding mode is so incredibly valuable.

Chicago controls the draft as things stand; they could trade the number one pick again. They could trade Fields and take a rookie QB. They could stand pat and take two of the best players on their board.

This week, the Bears held on to the number one pick and saw their team win. In week 12, after a gruelling season, that gets you into the winners’ column.

Jacksonville Jaguars

I’ve talked about the Texans a lot recently on the pod and I had their game against the Jags circled as one to watch this week.

The rest of the early slate of games was bad, to say the least, so a game that promised to have a big influence on where the division crown would go come the end of the season was well worth watching.

The Texans and their soon-to-be superstar QB, C.J. Stroud have been must-see TV recently, and we’ve written about them a bunch. With good reason!

However, the Jags are a year or two ahead in their development curve in comparison. Doug Pederson has moulded Jacksonville into one of the better teams in the league, and Trevor Lawrence looks like a former number one overall pick. Plus, the rest of the roster looks well constructed and they’ve got players playing at a high level, whilst mitigating their weak spots.

The Jags are good! They won a playoff game last year, and they could do that and more this season.

The Jags reminded everyone, myself included, that Houston isn’t the story in this division just yet. The road to the AFC South banner goes through Jacksonville and this win was them making that clear to everyone.

Younghoe Koo, and the Falcons, I suppose

The big battle for the NFC South was won by the Falcons. The Dirty Birds saw off New Orleans in a true NFC South game, which I really mean in the most derogatory sense possible.

Which is why Younghoe Koo becomes the first kicker to be mentioned in this column this season.

It was a pivotal week where kickers in particular played a big part in proceedings, as we discussed on this week’s podcast.

Younghoe Koo is now officially better than Justin Tucker!

Koo has a field goal percentage of 95.7% this year (22/23) and a 90% career success rate (144/160).

Koo’s kick sealed the deal on Sunday, putting Atlanta up by 8 with less than two minutes remaining.

Justin Tucker’s miss against the Chargers on Sunday Night Football meant that his career success rate dropped to 89.9% (384/427) to also pass the active record for the Falcons’ kicker.

Tucker is obviously an all-time great and his success over a much bigger sample size is legendary. But let’s give Koo his moment in the sun, it’s not always been like this for him.

Losers - Peter Mann

Derek Carr

Personally, there’s been no mention of a certain QB named Derek Carr this season, the former Las Vegas Raiders having moved to pastures new with the New Orleans Saints in a move that was supposed to resurrect his career and take the Saints to new heights. 

So, what does $150 million get you these days? Well, after the 24-15 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, in Atlanta, nothing but yards, 92 to be precise. 

That was what the Falcons’ safety, Jessie Bates III ran in off a pick-six toss that, on the biggest play of the game, went wrong – Bates collected and ran 92 yards for the touchdown (not quite the 99 seen elsewhere of late, but who’s counting). 

Carr though, he’s not been the saviour most in New Orleans hoped he’d be, and the departure from the Raiders, perhaps justified somewhat on performances this season, although some quarterbacks have been worse than the $150 million man. 

On the flip side though, the Saints could still make the playoffs, as could the Falcons, victory for the latter means that both are now 5-6 in a somewhat poor, NFC South, and there are not many franchises across the whole NFL that have a worse record. 

As for Carr, it’s been quite obvious the more the season has progressed that, when he slips up, misses a play here or there, then the Saints lose, and it’s the 8-3 Detroit Lions next!

Mac Jones

Speaking of quarterbacks then Mac Jones (yes, him again) is dropping back in, just like his New England Patriots after they lost their ninth, yes ninth of the season, and this time to the New York Giants, yes, the Giants. 

That may have been a little OTT, but the Giants haven’t really lit up the NFC East much like the Patriots haven’t lit the AFC East, and the 10-7 score, in favour of New York, meant it wasn’t even a game for the neutral. 

His throwing was, well awful, and it’s a surprise to many that Bill Belichick is still starting the QB; the performance from Jones was that bad that, come the half, and with the Pats yet to score any points, he was benched – mind the only score of the entire was a Tommy DeVito to Isaiah Hodgins 12-yard TD, so there’s not much to compare with, really. 

Jones went for 89 yards and 0 TDs, his replacement, Bailey Zappe, went for 54 yards, led the drive for the game-tying TD, and even threw an INT which led to the opposing Giants bagging a field goal; he could have pushed a little more as well, but the Pats just can’t get over, and with the 7-4 Pittsburgh Steelers next, like the Saints, it could go horribly wrong once more. 

Bills Defense

Apple crumble for the Buffalo Bills defense, and not just once did they do so against the Philadelphia Eagles, in a game which they could easily have won, but were eventually beaten, 37-34, in OT. 

It was a loss that put the Bills 6-6 in the AFC East as Sean McDermott’s play-off contenders, up by ten at the half, let the Eagles, and Jalen Hurts, dominate the second. 

Several calls went wrong, and the Eagles made the Bills pay for it after McDermott, instead of going for it, decided to play with fate in overtime, and lost. They could have won it in regulation time also, but I guess many are at a loss as to what could have gone right, went wrong. 

Belief and confidence are key, and that needs to come from McDermott, down, only then can they be truly spoken of in terms of play-off contenders.

Feature Image Credit: Yahoo Sports

Lee Wakefield

NFL, CFB & NFL Draft

Lee Wakefield IS A defensive line enthusiast, Chargers Sufferer, and LONG-TIME writer and podcaster with a number of publications. Find his Chargers content over at Bolt Beat. @Wakefield90 on twitter