Our best and worst – and a few things in between – from NFL Week 13:
Game of the week: Packers 38, Giants 35. That’s four straight losses for the Giants, but not before taking the Packers to the limit. Shades of 2007 loss to the unbeaten Patriots in the regular season finale, a loss by the identical score. Served as a springboard in the playoffs, though. Giants hoping for same result down the stretch.
Game of the weak: Seahawks 31, Eagles 14: Knew the Seahawks would be bad this year. The Iggles? Who knew? Three more picks for Vince Young as the season is officially down the tubes.
Offensive player of the week: Ray Rice, RB, Ravens. Another huge game for Rice against the Browns: 204 rushing yards and a TD to keep the Ravens atop the AFC North.
Defensive player of the week: Justin Houston, LB, Chiefs. The Chiefs cling to life in the AFC West with a 10-3 upset of the Bears, as Houston gets three of the team’s seven sacks of QB Caleb Hanie.
Special teams player of the week: Matt Prater, K, Broncos. Tim Tebow’s quarterback heroics set up Prater for two field goals in the final 93 seconds in yet another Denver comeback win, this time over the Vikings at the buzzer.
Icing the wrong kicker … your own! Cowboys rookie kicker Dan Bailey kicked what would have been the game-winning 49-yard field goal in the final seconds in yesterday’s game against the Cardinals, but not before his own coach called a timeout! Jason Garrett said he was concerned that the Cowboys wouldn’t get the snap off in time, so he called time. Bailey then missed his next attempt, and Arizona won it in overtime.
Stat to note:In his last four games, Titans RB Chris Johnson has 486 rushing yards and three TDs. In his first eight, he had 366 yards and one TD. Yep, the holdout rust is gone. Tennessee is 7-5 and in the thick of the wild card race.
Injury to note: It’s bad enough Jay Cutler (thumb surgery) is out for the Bears. Now it’s RB Matt Forte, who has a sprained MCL and is likely to miss three weeks. Could be the end of Chicago’s wild card bid.
Unsung coach of the week: Gary Kubiak, Texans. He’s down to his third-string quarterback – rookie T.J. Yates – but Kubiak has guided the Texans to a franchise record six straight wins, including yesterday’s 17-10 victory over the Falcons.
Stumble of the week: The Raiders had a chance to hold off the surging Broncos by beating 3-8 Miami on the road, but they were instead steamrolled by the Dolphins in a 34-14 loss. Key stat: Raiders felt to 6-25 in regular season games on East Coast time since December, 2002.
Streak of the week: The Denver Tebows have now won five straight, including yet another comeback win yesterday as Tebow passes for a season-high 202 yards and two third-quarter TDs.
Bettor’s nightmare: This is why we never dabble in sports betting: The Patriots were favored by 20 points over the Colts, and had a 31-3 lead in the fourth quarter. Final score: 31-28.
Record setter: Panthers rookie QB Cam Newton ran for three TDs to set the NFL’s single-season record for most rushing TDs by a quarterback. He now has 13 TDs, breaking the mark of former Patriots quarterback Steve Grogan. Newton scored the TDs in a 38-19 romp over the reeling Bucs, who have lost six straight and seven of eight after a 3-1 start.
Jet of the week: Shonn Greene, RB. Had 88 yards and three rushing TDs, and kept the play-action pass viable for Mark Sanchez, who finally broke through with a fourth-quarter TD pass to Santonio Holmes.
Giant of the week: Eli Manning, QB. Nearly out-dueled Aaron Rodgers. Had three TD passes, but one INT that was returned for a TD.
Break out the champagne: The 49ers wrapped up the divisional title in style, shutting out the Rams 26-0.