NFL Week 12 grades: Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Rams ace tests

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Our NFL Week 12 reports cards are now live. Starting Thursday with a tripleheader on Thanksgiving and continuing with Black Friday’s game as well as Sunday’s schedule, teams were all over the board.

The Detroit Lions failed big time on national television in a home loss to the Green Bay Packers. Later on Thanksgiving, the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers kept their hot streaks going.

Sunday’s NFL action saw the Philadelphia Eagles pull off an overtime win over the Buffalo Bills despite trailing 17-7 at the half. And on Sunday night, the Los Angeles Chargers drew up yet another failure in a loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

Below, we grade every team based on their NFL Week 12 performance.

Detroit Lions: F

nfl week 12 grades: detroit lions

One week after we proclaimed the Lions to be Super Bowl contenders, they laid a complete egg on Turkey Day. Jared Goff lost three fumbles after throwing three interceptions last week against the Chicago Bears. He was a mistake waiting to happen. Meanwhile, Detroit’s defense allowed Jordan Love to complete 22-of-32 passes for 268 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions. It was a miserable performance in a 29-22 home loss to Green Bay on Thanksgiving.

Green Bay Packers: B+

Love put up a career-best performance with three touchdowns in a seven-point win over the Lions on Thanksgiving. He added 39 yards on three rush attempts as Green Bay’s offense finally broke out following some major struggles. Defensively, the Packers defense got to Jared Goff for three sacks and three forced fumbles. It ended up being the difference in a 29-22 victory as Green Bay shockingly finds itself in the NFC Playoff race following NFL Week 12.

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Dallas Cowboys: A+

nfl week 12 grades: dak prescott, dallas cowboys
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

It started out slow for Dallas on Thanksgiving against a bad Commanders team. The ‘Boys found themselves up just 14-10 late in the second quarter before a Tony Pollard touchdown run gave Dallas a 20-10 halftime lead. That’s when Dak Prescott and Co. turned in a dominant second-half performance by shutting out Washington by the score of 24-0. Daron Bland recorded an NFL record fifth pick-six to put this one away late in the fourth quarter. Prescott threw for 331 yards and four touchdowns as Dallas came away with a 45-10 win, its third consecutive blowout victory. Yeah, this team is good.

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Washington Commanders: F

Where to start? Washington’s defense gave up 21 first downs and 431 total yards of offense. Sam Howell was sacked four more times as Washington lost for the eighth time in 10 games after a 2-0 start to the season. In what has to be considered a fall-guy move, head coach Ron Rivera ended up firing defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio one day after the blowout loss. Though, this likely won’t be enough for Rivera to save his job in Washington.

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San Francisco 49ers: B+

nfl week 12 grades: san francisco 49ers
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Outside of an ugly Brock Purdy pick-six Thanksgiving night, San Francisco continued to play flawless football. It took out the division-rival Seahawks on the road by the score of 31-13. Christian McCaffrey went for 139 total yards and two touchdowns. Purdy missed on just nine of his 30 pass attempts. San Francisco’s defense got to Geno Smith for a season-high six sacks. The quarterback tallied a mere 132 net passing yards on 27 attempts. Yeah, these 49ers might very well be the class of the NFL heading into Week 13 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

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Seattle Seahawks: D

It was a couple short weeks ago that Seattle found itself at 6-3 on the season. Though, most figured that Pete Carroll’s squad wasn’t as good as said record suggested. After losing to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 11, Seattle was outclassed by San Francisco at home Thanksgiving night. Dealing with an injury, Geno Smith struggled big time against one of the best defenses in the NFL. Meanwhile, a 28-yard touchdown pass from Purdy to Brandon Aiyuk midway through the fourth quarter put this one away. Seattle has now lost two consecutive and must vie with the Dallas Cowboys next week. Could a free fall be coming?

Miami Dolphins: B-

The NFL’s first Black Friday game ended in a route with Miami winning by the score of 34-13. But it did not start out that way. The Fins found themselves up a mere 10-6 before Jevon Holland turned things around with a 99-yard pick-six of Tim Boyle. From there, Miami dominated in what ended up being a three-touchdown win. The only thing holding Miami back a bit in our grades for this week were the two interceptions Tua Tagovailoa threw.

New York Jets: F

nfl week 12 grades: new york jets
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Apparently, Zach Wilson was not the problem for the New York Jets’ offense. They put up a total of 159 yards in a 21-point loss to Miami Friday afternoon. Tim Boyle was a mistake waiting to happen (27-of-38, 179 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT). The Jets’ running game could not get going (29 yards on 10 attempts). The end result was a fourth consecutive loss. It’s a span that has seen New York score all of 37 points. Just gross.

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Philadelphia Eagles: B-

Philadelphia was completely outplayed at home by Buffalo for a full two quarters during NFL Week 12. The team found itself down 17-7 at the half. That’s when Jalen Hurts turned it around big time in the second half, leading the Eagles to five scores on six possessions. It culminated in an overtime win as Hurts scored from 12 yards out in the extra stanza. Call it the luck of the Eagles or what you want. But this team now finds itself at 10-1 heading into a huge Week 13 matchup with the San Francisco 49ers.

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Buffalo Bills C-

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Philadelphia Eagles
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Mistakes. Missed opportunities. That defined Buffalo’s performance in a game that it should have won Sunday against Philadelphia. Josh Allen and Gabe Davis miscommunicated in overtime on a play that should have resulted in a walk-off Bills win. Meanwhile, Buffalo’s defense was absolutely torched by Hurts in the second half and overtime (209 total yards, 4 TD). The end result was a 37-34 loss and a 6-6 record on the season. Ouch!

Las Vegas Raiders: D-

Vegas found itself up 14-0 early on Sunday against the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs. It would then find itself outscored 31-3 from that point on. The Raiders’ defense couldn’t go tit-for-tat with Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City’s offense. Vegas’ offense, led by rookie Aidan O’Connell, did nothing of substance after the first three drives. Now at 5-7, these Raiders are pretty much out of the AFC Playoff race altogether. It was not a good day for interim head coach Antonio Pierce and Co.

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Kansas City Chiefs: B-

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Las Vegas Raiders
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City entered NFL Week 12 having failed to record a point in the second half of its past three games. It then responded by dropping 17 on the Raiders in winning going away. Mahomes did his thing (27-of-34 passing, 298 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT). Travis Kelce did, too (6 receptions, 91 yards). Heck, Kansas City’s embattled wide receiver group stepped up. That included rookie Rashee Rice catching 8-of-10 targets for 107 yards and a touchdown. Are the Chiefs back?

Arizona Cardinals: F

Sunday’s blowout 37-14 loss to the Rams was not on quarterback Kyler Murray. He completed 27-of-45 passes for 256 yards. Instead, it was all about Arizona’s disastrous defense. This unit yielded 204 total yards to Los Angeles running back Kyren Williams. Meanwhile, Matthew Stafford through four touchdowns in his best performance of the season. At 2-10, the Cards are going nowhere fast. It’s now all about draft positioning.

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Los Angeles Rams: A+

nfl week 12 grades: los angeles rams
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Speaking of draft positioning, most figurd that Los Angeles was prime to earn a high first-round pick in 2024 when the season started. About that? Sean McVay’s squad is now 5-6 and in the thick of the NFC Playoff race following Sunday’s 37-14 win over Arizona. This represented Los Angeles’ second consecutive win within the NFC West and has the team just one game behind Seattle for second place. What a coaching job it’s been for McVay thus far this season.

Denver Broncos: B+

Denver has now won five consecutive games for the first time since back in 2016. Its latest win was all about a much-maligned defense that has turned it around big time since giving up 70 points in a Week 3 loss to the Miami Dolphins. The Broncos’ defense knocked Dorian Thompson-Robinson out of the game while hitting Cleveland quarterbacks a whopping seven times. It held the Browns to 162 net passing yards on 42 attempts. Despite a less-than-stellar performance from Russell Wilson (125 passing yards), it was enough for the Broncos to come out on top by the score of 29-12.

Cleveland Browns: C-

Playing with its entire starting backfield on injured reserve (Deshaun Watson and Nick Chubb), the Browns’ offense continued to struggle during NFL Week 12. This unit put up just 269 total yards of offense while converting 2-of-13 third-down opportunities. Cleveland’s defense also didn’t come away with the game-changing turnovers we saw during its 7-3 start to the season. The end result was an ugly 17-point road loss in Denver and more questions about the Browns moving forward this season.

Jacksonville Jaguars: B+

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Jacksonville knew that Sunday’s road date with the upstart Houston Texans was not going to be easy. Houston had won three consecutive with rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud having played at an elite level. The time was for Trevor Lawrence and the Jags’ offense to step up. They did just that in a 24-21 win. Down 14-13 midway through the third quarter, Jacksonville took over at its own 25-yard line. Lawrence proceeded to complete 3-of-5 passes for 55 yards, culminating in a touchdown pass to Calvin Ridley to put Jacksonville up for good. When a potential Texans game-tying 58-yard field goal hit the crossbar, the Jags had won 24-21 and moved to 8-3.

Houston Texans: B-

What would have been if Matt Amendola had an extra yard on that long field goal attempt late in the fourth quarter on Sunday. It would’ve sent the game to overtime as Houston looked to make another statement win. Alas, it was not to be. C.J. Stroud still made NFL history in throwing for 304 yards. Nico Collins and Tank Dell continued to do their thing at wide receiver. Unfortunately, it was not enough for the Texans to pull off their fourth consecutive win.

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New York Giants: C

NFL Week 12 started with rumors regarding a rift between Giants head coach Brian Daboll and defensive coordinator Wink Martindale. It concluded with Martindale being rewarded the game ball from Daboll following an ugly 10-7 win over New England. While the Giants put up just 220 total yards, their defense came to play big time. That included forcing three Patriots interceptions. The second one off Mac Jones resulted in New York’s only touchdown of the game as Tommy DeVito hit Isaiah Hodgins for six. It wasn’t pretty, but the Giants moved to 4-8 with their second consecutive win.

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New England Patriots: F

nfl week 12 grades: new england patriots

New England is officially off to its worst start since it put up a 2-14 record under then-head coach Dick MacPherson back in 1992. The team was a complete disaster class on offense again. Mac Jones threw two interceptions before being pulled in favor of Bailey Zappe. The two signal callers combined for three picks while putting up just 136 net passing yards on 35 attempts. It wasted a great effort from the Pats’ defense. It also has New England at 2-9 on the season with the future of head coach Bill Belichick being completely up in the air.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers: C-

“Until everybody gets pissed off enough to get it fixed, there will be no change,’ Buccaneers QB Baker Mayfield said after Sunday’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts. By virtue of the 27-20 defeat, Tampa Bay finds itself at 4-7 and one game out in the NFC South. This time, it was the defense that failed to step up. Tampa yielded nearly 400 total yards of offense to a pedestrian Colts unit on Sunday. That included Michael Pittman Jr. catching 10-of-13 targets for 107 yards. While this loss was not on Mayfield, it’s still bitter for the journeyman quarterback and his team.

Indianapolis Colts: B

nfl week 12 grades: indianapolis colts
Jenna Watson/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

First-year Colts head coach Shane Steichen has this team at 6-5 on the season and in playoff positioning following Sunday’s win over the Buccaneers. The recipe was similar to the past two wins. That is to say, solid defense and opportunistic play on the other side of the ball. Jonathan Taylor put up 91 yards on 15 attempts with two scores. Indy’s defense got to Mayfield for nine hits and six sacks. The end result was a 27-20 win and an above-.500 record on the season.

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Carolina Panthers: D-

“F**k.” Those were the words from Panthers owner David Tepper following Carolina’s most-recent loss during NFL Week 12. Rookie first-round pick Bryce Young didn’t account for a single touchdown and turned the ball over in the 17-10 loss to Tennessee. The Panthers’ rushing attack accounted for just 96 yards on 32 attempts. It was simply a less-than-inspiring effort for Frank Reich and Co. Now at 1-10 on the season, these Panthers are quickly becoming an NFL laughingstock.

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Tennessee Titans: C+

It wasn’t pretty by any stretch of the imagination, but the Titans were able to end their three-game losing streak during NFL Week 12. Rookie quarterback Will Levis played mistake-free football, completing 18-of-28 passes for 185 yards. Derrick Henry went for 76 yards and two scores on the ground. Tennessee’s defense also got to Panthers quarterback Bryce Young for six hits and four sacks as this unit stepped up for Mike Vrabel.

Cincinnati Bengals: C

Playing without Joe Burrow was always going to be tricky for Cincinnati. With the star quarterback lost for the season, finding other ways to win has to be in the cards. Unfortunately, that was not the case during Sunday’s ugly 16-10 loss to Pittsburgh. Jake Browning was not the issue for Cincinnati (19-of-26 passing for 227 yards). Rather, it was the lack of a running game and a poor defense that resulted in the Bengals’ latest loss. Joe Mixon gained just 16 yards on eight attempts. Meanwhile, Cincinnati yielded north of 400 total yards to a Steelers offense that had been among the worst in the NFL.

Pittsburgh Steelers: B+

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals
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In their first game since firing offensive coordinator Matt Canada, the Steelers accumulated 22 first downs and 421 total yards of offense. This represented Pittsburgh’s highest yardage output since early in the 2020 season. Kenny Pickett was great, completing 24-of-33 passes for 278 yards in what was a career-best performance. Struggling running back Najee Harris went for 99 yards on the ground. The end result was a 16-10 win and a surprising 7-4 mark on the season.

Atlanta Falcons: C-

Winning ugly. That has to be the name of the game for Atlanta if this team wants to win a terrible NFC South moving forward. It happened during NFL Week 12 with the Falcons taking out the New Orleans Saints by the score of 24-15. Rookie running back Bijan Robinson spearheaded things with 123 total yards and two touchdowns on 19 touches. Meanwhile, Atlanta’s defense held the Saints without a touchdown on five tries inside the red zone. It has Atlanta at 5-6 and tied for first place in the division heading into December.

New Orleans Saints: F

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons
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Yuck. That’s the best way to describe what we saw from New Orleans in an ugly loss to Atlanta on Sunday. As noted in the blurb above, the Saints were held to five field goals. It represents yet another game in which Derek Carr and Co. just couldn’t get it done on money downs. New Orleans put up 444 total yards and 22 first downs. It came away with just 15 points. That’s not going to cut it.

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Baltimore Ravens: B-

With Mark Andrews sidelined to injury, Lamar Jackson needed others to step up against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday Night Football. Boy, did that happen. Keaton Mitchell gained 64 yards on nine attempts. Backup tight end Isaiah Likely caught 4-of-6 targets for 40 yards. Stud rookie Zay Flowers added two touchdowns, including the score to put this game on ice late in the fourth quarter. Now at 9-3 on the season, Baltimore is atop the AFC standings.

Los Angeles Chargers: D

nfl week 12 grades: los angeles chargers
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Staley should be out of a job following Sunday’s 20-10 loss to Baltimore. His Chargers are 4-7 on the season and completely out of the AFC Playoff picture. NFL Week 12 saw the offense sputter with Justin Herbert putting up 193 net passing yards on 44 attempts. Herbert was also their leading rusher (47 yards on four attempts). If it’s not one thing for these Chargers, it’s another thing. That’s how a team as talented as Los Angeles heads into December pretty much playing out the string.

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