In their first game since they defeated the Miami Dolphins in Germany, the Kansas City Chiefs showed why dethroning them as AFC champs won't be easy but also why they're going to have to fight to get yet another title game at home.
The two big takeaways from the Monday night game at Arrowhead Stadium, as it relates to the Chiefs, Dolphins and the race for playoff seeding, is the Chiefs defense remains very, very good and their receiving corps remains very, very suspect.
The Chiefs held the Eagles to a meager 238 total yards and sacked Jalen Hurts five times, but couldn't overcome two turnovers in the red zone and a parade of dropped passes, including the third down on their next-to-last drive, the fourth-and-25 dart right through the hands of Justin Watson and, the most egregious of all, the bomb to Marquez Valdes-Scantling that should have given the Chiefs the lead shortly after the two-minute warning.
It was the second loss this season for the Chiefs that could be pinned on the receiving corps, following their 21-20 setback against the Detroit Lions in the season opener when K.C. dropped five passes, including one that ricocheted right into the hands of Lions safety Brian Branch for a 50-yard pick-six.
Yes, the Chiefs are missing Tyreek Hill these days (even though they did win the Super Bowl without him last season).
It was a big week in the AFC North with two division matchups, and it may be that the Cleveland Browns emerged as the biggest winners.
The Baltimore Ravens did defeat Cincinnati to maintain first place in the division, but also lost tight end Mark Andrews in the process, and that guy has been Lamar Jackson's security blanket in the passing game for years.
We also should take note of Jackson sustained an ankle injury in the first half, and though he stayed in the game, he was limping at other times. This is not a good sign given Jackson's recent injury history.
Of course, nothing was as bad as the Bengals losing Joe Burrow for the rest of the season with a wrist injury.
For the Browns, the last-second victory against the Steelers gave them the lead in the wild-card battle and it was encouraging for them to see rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson led a game-winning field goal drive, even though his overall performance was less than overwhelming.
The signing of veteran Joe Flacco to the practice squad gives Cleveland a nice insurance policy in case DTR proves he can't do the job on a consistent basis because the Browns don't necessarily need a potent offense to win given how good their top-ranked defense has been all season.
BILLS BOUNCE BACK
In the AFC East, Buffalo stopped its two-game losing streak by dominating the New York Jets thanks to a strong defensive effort beyond everything else.
The question for the Bills, though, is whether this game signaled a turnaround after the change of offensive coordinators (from Ken Dorsey to Joe Brady) or whether they just took advantage of an offensively challenged Jets team that couldn't convert a single one of their 11 third-down situations.
Buffalo won't have long to find out whether it's back to its playoff form with a game at Philadelphia coming up Sunday.
For the Jets, the performance was bad enough that — as Dolphins fans should know by now — Coach Robert Saleh decided he'd seen enough of Zach Wilson at quarterback and replaced him with journeyman Tim Boyle.
Boyle (26.5 passer rating) didn't fare much better than Wilson (57.9), but still earned the start for the Black Friday game against Miami. Against the Bills, it was former Dolphins punter Thomas Morstead who had the only success in the passing game, as he completed an 18-yard pass on fourth-and-2 from the Jets 24 right after the two-minute warning in the first half with New York down 16-0.
-- Washington QB Sam Howell, who the Dolphins will face in Week 13 after the Commanders play at Dallas on Thanksgiving, continues to lead the NFL in passing yards (he's played one more game than C.J. Stroud and Tua Tagovailoa), but he had a rough outing Sunday in a second loss to the lowly Giants this season. Howell passed for 255 yards, but was picked off three times in a 31-19 loss after throwing three interceptions in the previous five games combined.
-- It's nothing short of amazing, for anybody who witnessed the Week 3 massacre in Miami, to see the Denver Broncos actually in playoff contention. Yet here they are after their Sunday night victory against Minnesota. They'll have to play their next four games without safety Kareem Jackson, though, after he was suspended for his helmet-first hit on QB Joshua Dobbs — in his first game back from another suspension for his loose helmet use. It was a well-deserved suspension and the only mystery is how such as obvious helmet-first hit wasn't flagged on the play.
-- Maybe the most impressive victory of the weekend belonged to Dan Campbell's Detroit Lions, who came back from a 26-14 deficit in the final 4:15 to improve to 8-2 on the season. It's the first time the Lions have been 8-2 through 10 games since 1962. Wow!