NFL: It comes down to a few inches, a few seconds

New England Patriots quarterback Marcus Jones tries to score against the New York Jets during an NFL football game at Gillette Stadium, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022. (Photo: AP)

Professional sports, like most things in life, come down to a few inches, a few seconds, and the ability to take advantage of windows of opportunity. Argentina and Germany’s early World Cup deficits against Saudi Arabia and Japan respectively are testament to that, but the 2022/23 season of the National Football League (NFL) kicks off this week, next week.

Marcus Jones returned a fumble 84 yards for a touchdown with five seconds left as the New York Patriots (6-4) topped the stunned New York Jets (6-4) 10-3 last Sunday. It marks their 14th straight win over the Jets, who have fallen to last place in the American Football Conference (AFC) East division.

Later that afternoon, the running game of the neighboring New York Giants (7-3) was shut down by a very bad defense from the Detroit Lions (4-6). Giants running back and NFL leading rusher Saquon Barkley had just 22 yards and teammate Jamaal Williams rushed for a career-high three touchdowns as Detroit stunned New York 31-18 — snapping its streak and its first three-game winning streak. . November 2017.

Dallas Cowboys (7-3) quarterback (QB) Dak Prescott was perfect (22 of 25 passing for 276 yards and two touchdowns) and running back Ezekiel Elliott rushed for two scores in his return from injury against the high-flying Minnesota Vikings. 8-2) last Sunday. Kicker Brett Maher made four field goals – including a 60-yarder to end the first half – and running back Tony Pollard had two touchdowns, rushing for a career-high 189 yards. The 40-3 score line was a far cry from the Vikings’ feats this year, and the Cowboys’ score was a turnaround from the fourth quarter of a loss to the Green Bay Packers a week ago.

Elsewhere in the NFC East, the previously undefeated Philadelphia Eagles (9-1) used nearly every available clock to roll past the Indianapolis Colts (4-6-1) last Sunday. Eagles’ QB Jalen Hurts ran for an eight-yard touchdown with 1:20 left for their first lead of the game and a 17-16 win. After their first loss of the season to the Washington Commanders the previous week, the Eagles trailed 13-3 in the fourth quarter to earn their seventh straight road win.

This weekend, the Tennessee Titans (7-3) host the Cincinnati Bengals (6-4) in an important AFC matchup between two teams with playoff ambitions and will be the only matchup between the winning teams this weekend. . The Titans qualified for the AFC playoffs last year before being quickly eliminated in the divisional round by the Tennessee Bengals. The Bengals reached Super Bowl LVI, took on the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium, and the rest is history.

Of course, after the end of last season, many will see this contest as a payoff game for the Titans as the Bengals return to the “scene of the crime.” However, most of the current Titans weren’t on that team and had no appetite for revenge, but QB Ryan Tannehill’s three-interception performance will be hard to forget. Tannehill bounced back in that loss, and while he hasn’t been a consistent effort statistically, he’s helped the Titans to a 6-2 mark in games he’s started. Tennessee is in good shape again, entering the AFC South this weekend, but JustBet lost at home against Cincinnati.

The Titans played a consistent game against the Green Bay Packers on Thursday last week, scoring in each quarter and shutting out their opponents in the fourth quarter for a 27-17 victory in Green Bay. Tannehill was efficient (22 of 27 passing for 333 yards and two touchdowns), but running back Derrick Henry’s legs carried the team — he finished with 87 rushing yards while also completing two passes, one for a touchdown.

Cincinnati had a tough game against the Pittsburgh Steelers last Sunday afternoon, with QB Joe Burrough turning it into 355 yards and four touchdowns to secure its first division win of the season. Wide receiver Tee Higgins was a big contributor with 148 receiving yards, but the glory went to Samaje Perine, who had three rushing touchdowns in the 37-30 win. The Bengals are expecting Ja’Marr Chase to return Sunday to bolster an already stifling offense — Chase has been out with a groin injury since the Week 7 win over the Atlanta Falcons.

These teams have met 77 times (including two postseason games), with the Bengals winning 36 and the Titans winning 40. They have drawn once. The Bengals may not want to admit it, but a win on Sunday would not only put them level in the standings with the Titans, but also satisfy sweet revenge for last season’s playoff loss. The win moves Tennessee to 8-3 and gives them the lead in the division before the calendar turns to December. If the attacking attack, which Henry can provide, comes to the fore, the hosts are expected to win the final, but the effort should be fire. Are you ready for football?

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Super Bowl LVII champion

Team odds

Buffalo Bills5.20

Kansas City Chiefs5.40

Philadelphia Eagles 7 p.m

San Francisco 49ers8.20

Dallas Cowboys 11 a.m

Baltimore Ravens 1 p.m

Tampa Bay Buccaneers6 p.m

Miami Dolphins 6 p.m

Minnesota Vikings 6 p.m

Cincinnati Bengals 4 p.m

*Only top 10 odds shown (see website for full list)

Note: odds may change

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) runs during the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, in Minneapolis.

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