With just five 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 13.
Winners and Losers From NFL Week 13
Winner | San Francisco 49ers
Brock Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers could hardly have made more of a statement on Sunday. San Francisco dominated the Philadelphia Eagles from start to finish, earning a 42-19 win over the NFC’s top team while simultaneously creating a path to claim the conference’s No. 1 seed for themselves.
The 49ers’ victory highlighted every way they can win. Purdy was ruthlessly efficient, averaging 11.6 yards per attempt while hitting Deebo Samuel (twice), Brandon Aiyuk, and Jauan Jennings for touchdowns. Christian McCaffrey totaled over 150 yards, while San Francisco’s defense consistently harassed Eagles QB Jalen Hurts and sacked him three times.
Kyle Shanahan’s club isn’t out of the woods. They still have a challenging game against the Baltimore Ravens, plus divisional matchups with the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams, on their schedule. But the 49ers left Week 13 looking like the NFL’s best — and most complete — team.
Loser | Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles were the NFL’s only one-loss team heading into Sunday’s action, but they’d gotten a bit lucky. Philadelphia’s underlying metrics painted them as more of a seven-win club than a 10-win team heading into Week 13.
As such, it might not be all that surprising that Jalen Hurts and Co. finally suffered a significant loss after eking out close wins over the Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills, and Kansas City Chiefs.
While the Eagles remain atop the NFC, the 49ers and Cowboys now have a path to earning the NFC’s No. 1 seed and a first-round playoff bye. Philadelphia gets to close the season with two games against the New York Giants and one against the Arizona Cardinals, but its upcoming two-game stretch against the Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks — both on the road — could determine whether the Eagles can still grab the top seed.
Winner | Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts
The Texans still wouldn’t be in the playoffs if the season ended today, but they managed a critical win on the fellow AFC Wild Card contender Denver Broncos. Houston now has a one-game lead over the Broncos and the Bills. The only negative? Dynamic rookie wideout Tank Dell, who had become C.J. Stroud’s favorite receiver, suffered a season-ending leg injury.
While the Texans still have work to do to get into the postseason, the Indianapolis Colts are already the seventh seed after posting an overtime victory against the Tennessee Titans. Garner Minshew II was turnover-free, while Michael Pittman Jr. and Alec Pierce went over 100 yards receiving.
The AFC’s last Wild Card spot may very well come down to Week 18’s Texans-Colts regular-season finale.
Loser | Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers
Take the Texans’ and Colts’ wins and combine them with losses by the Browns and the Steelers, and you can see why the AFC Wild Card race has descended into madness.
Pittsburgh now has the group’s lowest playoff odds (54%), per the New York Times’ projection model. Not only did the Steelers lose a trap game to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, but starting quarterback Kenny Pickett is expected to be sidelined for 2-4 weeks after suffering an ankle injury.
Cleveland still has nearly a 70% chance of making the postseason, and Joe Flacco’s first start as a Brown was encouraging. While he averaged just 5.8 yards per attempt, Flacco was a noticeable improvement over the likes of Dorian Thompson-Robinson and P.J. Walker.
Winner | Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Atlanta Falcons became the clear NFC South favorites on Sunday after holding off the New York Jets in a 13-8 win. But getting excited about any team from this division is still tricky. Desmond Ridder completed just 12 of 27 attempts against Gang Green, and a five-point win against a team that played Tim Boyle and Trevor Siemian isn’t exactly encouraging.
MORE: NFL Playoff Picture
Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ playoff odds still sit at just one in three after they took down the Carolina Panthers in Week 13, but at least they kept themselves in the race. In many ways, Tampa Bay would be the most dangerous NFC South team if they could find a way into the playoffs.
An offense featuring Baker Mayfield as a point guard distributing to Rachaad White, Mike Evans, and Chris Godwin, plus a veteran-laden defense, could make noise. Next week’s contest against the Falcons is a must-win.
Loser | New Orleans Saints
Three straight losses have turned the New Orleans Saints’ season into a disaster. While they’re only a game behind the Falcons (and will have a chance to face Atlanta again in Week 18), New Orleans’ playoff chances are down to just 27%, even below Tampa Bay’s.
Derek Carr suffered another injury on Sunday, and his inability to stay healthy is only part of the reason why the three-year, $150 million contract the Saints gave him before the season looks like a mistake. New Orleans is tied to Carr through the 2024 campaign, but it won’t be a surprise if Jameis Winston moves the offense with more regularity if he gets a chance to play.
Replacing Sean Payton as the Saints’ head coach was an unenviable task, but Dennis Allen hasn’t done much to prove he should keep the job for the long term. The 2024 offseason is expected to feature a record number of head-coaching vacancies, and New Orleans could be on the list.
Winner | Tyreek Hill and the Dolphins
What else is there to say about Tyreek Hill? Having called his shot to become the first NFL player with 2,000 receiving yards in a single season, Hill continued on a record-breaking path in the Miami Dolphins’ 45-15 win over the Washington Commanders.
Hill hauled in five catches for 157 yards and two touchdowns, giving him 1,324 yards on the season. That’s the most receiving yards over the first 11 games in NFL history and puts Hill on pace for a league-record 2,046 yards.
A non-quarterback may never win the MVP award, but Hill has put himself in the conversation.
Winner | Los Angeles Rams
The Los Angeles Rams appeared dead and buried after losing three straight games to fall to 3-6, but three consecutive victories have them right back in the Wild Card race. A scary-looking injury to WR Puka Nacua was concerning, but Los Angeles breathed a sigh of relief when he eventually returned to Sunday’s game.
Matthew Stafford will face one of his stiffest tests of the season when the Rams travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens in Week 14. They shouldn’t be expected to win that game, but an ensuing three-game stretch against the Commanders, Saints, and New York Giants will give L.A. opportunities to make up ground.
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