With just seven weeks remaining in the 2023 NFL regular season, contenders have largely separated themselves from contenders. With postseason races in the AFC and NFC rounding into shape, playoff positioning and seeding possibilities will begin to lead the NFL conversation.
Which teams and players looked the best on Sunday, and who’s already looking ahead to next week? Here are all the winners and losers from Week 11.
Winners and Losers From NFL Week 11
Winner | Trevor Lawrence to Calvin Ridley
Calvin Ridley had been quiet over the past month, and the Jacksonville Jaguars’ WR1 hit his nadir in the club’s Week 10 destruction at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers, hauling in just two receptions for 20 scoreless yards.
All that changed when Trevor Lawrence, Ridley, and the rest of Jacksonville’s offense got back on track in a 34-13 win over the Tennessee Titans. Lawrence only missed on eight attempts while posting a season-high 90.8 QBR.
Ridley, who had taken a backseat to fellow WR Christian Kirk in recent weeks, posted his best game of the year, catching seven passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns. This was the version of Ridley the Jaguars were hoping for when they acquired him from the Atlanta Falcons at the 2022 trade deadline.
Loser | Los Angeles Chargers
Sunday couldn’t have gone much worse for the Los Angeles Chargers, who dropped to 4-6 with a loss to the Green Bay Packers.
Holding a four-point lead with roughly five and half minutes remaining in the game, the Bolts let Jordan Love drive the length of the field in just six plays to score a go-ahead TD. L.A. went three-and-out, made a defensive stop, and then was stopped on downs before it could get into game-tying field-goal range.
Not only that but star pass rusher Joey Bosa suffered what appeared to be a serious foot injury. And head coach Brandon Staley, feeling the pressure of a quickly collapsing season, got testy with reporters after the Chargers’ loss.
Winner | Detroit Lions
Here’s a bit of PFN transparency: We had already prepared a blurb highlighting the Lions as losers of Week 11. A loss to a three-win Chicago Bears team — how could that happen?
Of course, it didn’t. Down 26-14 with just over four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Jared Goff — who tried to give the game away with three early picks — was nearly flawless over his next two drives. Detroit scored two touchdowns to take a one-point lead with 22 seconds left; a Bears safety made the final score 31-26.
A loss that dropped the Lions to 8-3 wouldn’t have been the end of the world. But the resiliency that Detroit displayed over the final minutes of today’s game was incredibly impressive.
Winner | Cleveland Browns
It wasn’t pretty — it wasn’t anything close to pretty. But the Cleveland Browns somehow pulled out a 13-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 11, giving them a leg up on their AFC North brethren.
Cleveland’s offense — helmed by fifth-round rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson — was actually less efficient on a per-snap basis than the Steelers’. But Myles Garrett and Co. largely shut down Kenny Pickett, allowing him to complete just 15 of 28 passes for 3.8 yards per attempt.
Loser | Washington Commanders
Ron Rivera should probably start sharpening up his resume. The Washington Commanders’ ownership forced the club’s front office to trade pass rushers Montez Sweat and Chase Young at the deadline, signaling their intention to look toward the future but depriving Rivera’s defense of two of its best players.
Meanwhile, Rivera isn’t exactly helping his case. Washington has now given the New York Giants two of their three victories this season — and Big Blue didn’t have starting QB Daniel Jones in either matchup. It’s hard to defend what the Commanders are putting on tape right now.
Winner | Texans WR Tank Dell
Houston moved to 6-4 on Sunday with a win over the Arizona Cardinals, and rookie wideout Tank Dell continued establishing himself as a legitimate threat. The 2023 third-round pick put up eight catches for 149 yards and a TD in Week 11, marking his third 100-yard game of the year.
Dell’s connection with C.J. Stroud keeps flourishing; the 24-year-old has received 35 targets over the past three weeks. The Texans’ coaching staff also deserves a ton of credit for working around WR injuries this season. Dell, Robert Woods, Nico Collins, and Noah Brown have all missed time in 2023, but Stroud and Houston’s offense has kept rolling.
Winner | Cowboys CB DaRon Bland
DaRon Bland entered the 2023 campaign as the Cowboys’ slot corner but shifted to the outside following Trevon Diggs’ season-ending ACL injury. The change hasn’t been an issue for Bland — far from it.
Bland, a 2022 fifth-round pick who started eight games for Dallas as a rookie before becoming a full-time starter this season, picked off Carolina Panthers QB Bryce Young on Sunday and took it to the house.
Bland now has a league-leading four pick-sixes this year, tying an NFL record shared by the Philadelphia Eagles’ Eric Allen (1993), the Kansas City Chiefs’ Jim Kearney (1972), and the Houston Oilers’ Ken Houston (1971).
Winner | Buffalo Bills
Former Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey may have been a scapegoat for the club’s disappointing win-loss record. But maybe his Tuesday firing was enough to motivate Buffalo in Week 11.
Josh Allen threw for 275 yards and three touchdowns, while Buffalo put up 130 yards on the ground in a 32-6 demolition of the New York Jets. Although the Bills still wouldn’t be in the playoffs if the season ended today, it’s hard to argue they’re not far more talented than the current seventh-seeded Steelers.
Loser | Jets QB Zach Wilson
Is this officially the end of the Zach Wilson era in New York? Jets head coach Robert Saleh benched Wilson during today’s loss to the Bills in favor of backup Tim Boyle but failed to announce a starter for Week 12 after the game.
No quarterback metric paints Wilson in anything close to a positive light. He’s dead last in the league in EPA per play and passing success rate and third-worst in QBR and touchdown rate. Even if Aaron Rodgers returns in December, Gang Green may already be out of the playoff conversation.
Winner | Los Angeles Rams
The Los Angeles Rams looked dead and buried following a three-game losing streak, which coincided with Matthew Stafford’s thumb injury. But after a last-second win over the Seattle Seahawks in Week 11, Los Angeles is right back in the NFC playoff discussion.
While the Rams are still two games out of the seventh seed, they’ll only be 1.5 games behind the Minnesota Vikings if Josh Dobbs and Co. lose on Sunday night. Los Angeles has more firepower than other clubs vying for an NFC Wild Card berth, like the Packers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Commanders, but a long-term Cooper Kupp injury would be devastating to its chances.