NFL Week 15 Winners & Losers

By Lee Wakefield & Peter Mann


Welcome back to winners and losers for week fifteen! The incredible week-to-weekness of the NFL season really is becoming apparent, some weeks, we have teams in the winners’ column, and they can be back in the article but on the losers’ side – Our final team from this week is a testament to that, in particular. Whilst it means we cannot nail down our takes too easily, it means that it’s a lot of fun to put these articles together each week. Let’s dive in…

Winners - Peter Mann

Las Vegas Raiders

There’s no other place to start than Thursday Night Football and the franchise-setting victory for Antonio Pierce and the Las Vegas Raiders when they dismantled the Los Angeles Chargers, 63-21 at the Allegiant Stadium (feature to come before Christmas). 

It certainly was an historic beatdown, especially after their previous outing ended in a 0-3 loss to Minnesota Vikings, a game that came oh so close to being the first of the Super Bowl to finish 0-0, but for a late field goal attempt. 

Against the Chargers though, everything clicked for Pierce’s franchise in what was their best success for many a year; “We knew at half-time what the record was,” admitted Raiders coach Pierce afterwards. 

“We want to be aggressive regardless of what the score was. If we had 21 or 10, we were going to be aggressive. That was our mindset.” 

NFL records were within touching distance of falling, the Silver and Black 42-0 up at the half, would see the Raiders at one point lead 63-7 before a late flurry for the Chargers (which didn’t help proceedings in the aftermath) made the winning margin just a little less. 

QB Aiden O’Connell three for four TDs, 248 yards, in a dominant first half, the defense then got in on the act in the second as they notched a pair of defensive TDs for the first time since 2006 (vs. Pittsburgh Steelers). 

Nine TDs, and with Tre Tucker crossing twice, were added to by scores from Zamir White, Jakobi Meyers, Michael Mayer, Brandon Bolden, Davante Adams, John Jenkins, and finally, Jack Jones; they all wanted a piece of the action. 

It had to be against the Chargers though, didn’t it? And, if the Raiders defeat the Kansas City Chiefs on Christmas Day (anything is possible), then what odds on Pierce actually beating down owner Mark Davis’ door and turning interim into full-time Head Coach?

Joe Flacco and the Browns

Despite what was an ’off-day’ for Flacco, the Browns managed to overturn a late, ten-point deficit, to claim a 20-17 win over the Chicago Bears to move 9-5. A happy Flaccident, if you will?

Despite the off-day though, Flacco still threw for a couple of TDs and 374 yards, and the QB team in Cleveland has been battling the odds all season long; against Chicago though, and despite a low rushing yards total, the Browns certainly made up for it passing, more than doubling that of the Bears, 348 to 148. 

The decisive score, was a pair of Dustin Hopkins kicks in the fourth quarter with an Amari Cooper TD, off a 51-yard Flacco throw sandwiched between, overhauling the deficit.

San Francisco 49ers

The playoffs are starting to take shape and, with the San Francisco 49ers (11-3) having claimed their division, alongside Dallas Cowboys (10-4) and Philadelphia Eagles (10-4) clinching playoff spots, there’s already some heavy artillery going to the post-season. 

Kyle Shanahan’s 49ers clinched the NFC West following a dominant, 45-29 success, at the Arizona Cardinals’ University of Phoenix Stadium; Brock Purdy and Christian McCaffrey were impeccable in offense, with the former hitting four TDs for 242 yards on what was just another day at the office for the Red and Gold. 

Charvarius Ward dashed for a 66-yard interception return at the end of the first quarter for the 49ers, McCaffrey finished the first and started the second with TDs, and of course, there was time for a Deebo Samuel score, he received a nineteen-yard pass from Purdy in the fourth before Jake Moody’s boot completed the scoring, he kicking for six conversions and a field goal. 

Losers - Lee Wakefield

Brandon Staley


Finally, the Chargers’ season has effectively ended. Finally, Brandon Staley was relieved of his duties as Head Coach. Finally, the Spanos family took bold action and also fired General Manager, Tom Telesco.

It’s over. And the team has given itself the blank slate that it needed to move forward in a completely fresh direction.

As a Chargers fan, there’s a sense of relief, because this is what they needed, just 12 months too late. Because of that indecisiveness, it has cost the team another, and the final cheap year of Justin Herbert’s rookie year. This means that the relief is also tinged with annoyance.

Now, the team must face some difficult decisions on how to reshape the roster, with little free agency cash to maneuver.

But finally, fans can have embarrassment turn to hope… As long as they get the replacements right.

Atlanta Falcons, Desmond Ridder, and Arthur Smith

Well, Atlanta lost to the previously 1 win Panthers. And the Panthers didn’t even score a touchdown, with Eddy Piñeiro‘s hat trick of goals accruing enough points to see off the Dirty Birds.

Desmond Ridder has now officially been benched in a move that will surely spell the end of his career as an NFL starter. At least for now. But probably forever, right?

As for Arthur Smith, surely it’s only a case of waiting for Black Monday until he gets dismissed?

His tenure hasn’t been a successful one and the way in which the offensive touches are dished out, just makes it too easy to pick fault in his plan.

Tyler Allgeier had 15 touches to Bijan Robinson’s 8 this week, for example.


Dallas Cowboys

Dallas is a good team, there’s no getting away from that. But are they good good? Like, 49ers good? Eh…

They’re also extremely vulnerable when on the road too, as Micah Parsons was so vocal about after the game against the Bills on Sunday night.

The Bills, who have had their own issues recently, absolutely boat-raced Dallas by a score of 31-10.

What’s more… Josh Allen didn’t even throw for 100 yards but Buffalo never looked like they were in trouble.

The ground game was a problem for Dallas all day and the Bills controlled the clock and ground the Cowboys into a fine paste.

Dallas needs to find an answer to their road and their run defense issues. Because the playoffs are coming, and you know who runs the ball well… The Lions, the Eagles, and of course, the 49ers.

See the issue here?

Feature Image Credit: San Diego Union-Tribune

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. @Wakefield90 on Twitter/X