NFL 2023 Week 11: Biggest questions, risers and takeaways


On Sunday, another AFC North battle (Steelers-Browns) ended in a game-winning field goal, Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence had two passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns, the Lions pitched a fourth-quarter comeback and the Chargers struggled against the Packers.

Our NFL Nation reporters reacted to all the action, answering lingering questions coming out of each game and picking out who — or what — is rising and falling for every team. Let’s get to it.

What does Aaron Jones injury mean for the future? Jones’ left knee injury — and his reaction to it while being carted off the field — could have both short-term and long-term ramifications. For now, it means AJ Dillon will get the chance to make another bid for the starting running back job. Dillon, who will be a free agent this offseason, didn’t exactly take advantage of his opportunity on Sunday with just 61 total yards on 18 touches. The shoulder injury to No. 3 running back Emanuel Wilson further complicates things. For the long term, it could impact Jones’ future. He will turn 29 next month and has already taken pay cuts to return to Green Bay.

Stock up after the win: WRs Jayden Reed and Dontayvion Wicks. Reed scored on a 32-yard end around and finished with three rushes for 46 yards and four catches for 46 yards, while Wicks caught three for 91 yards, including a 35-yard catch and run to set up the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Stock down after the win: S Dallin Leavitt. The Packers’ special teamer showed exactly how not to start a game. He was called for holding on to the opening kickoff return, then became so animated in protest that he added an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that forced the Packers to start at their 8-yard line on a possession that ended with a failed fourth-down play at the 50-yard line. — Rob Demovsky

Next game: at Lions (Thursday, 12:30 p.m. ET)


Chargers

Will the Chargers stick with Brandon Staley? The Chargers have big-name players: Justin Herbert, Keenan Allen, Derwin James Jr. and Khalil Mack, to name a few. But that talent hasn’t turned into wins in three seasons under Staley. Instead, Staley, hired for his defensive prowess, has fielded a defense that consistently ranks among the worst in the league. Sunday was another example, as quarterback Jordan Love had the best game of his career: 322 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. The Chargers have only fired one coach mid-season, Kevin Gilbride in 1998. With the Chargers sitting at 4-6, their playoff chances are slim, could Staley be the second?

Stock up after the loss: LB Khalil Mack. The Chargers outside linebacker was disruptive throughout the game, securing two sacks, forcing a fumble and leading the team with seven quarterback pressures. His two sacks moved him to 11 on the season, his most since 2018.

Stock down after the loss: Red zone offense. The Chargers came into this game scoring a touchdown on 72% of their red zone drives, the second-best in the NFL. On Sunday, they were 0-3 in the red zone, which included a dropped touchdown pass by wide receiver Keenan Allen. — Kris Rhim

Next game: vs. Ravens (Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET)

Lions

Should the Lions be worried about their NFC North lead? The Lions have been favored all season to win their first divisional crown since 1993, and while that goal seemed vulnerable at times Sunday with four turnovers, the Lions found a way to win. Detroit still has four divisional games, including one vs. the Packers, two against the Vikings and one more against Chicago. Their path won’t be easy if the Lions don’t clean it up on both sides of the ball going forward. Still, Detroit is the only team this season to win after trailing by at least 10 with 4 minutes remaining. Teams were 0-83 before Sunday.

Stock up after the win: RB Jahmyr Gibbs. The No. 12 overall pick continues to grow more comfortable with each game. He has scored five rushing touchdowns in his last four games, and that four-game streak is tied for the longest in team history by a rookie with Kevin Jones (2004) and Barry Sanders (1989).

Stock down after the win: QB Jared Goff. He struggled to deal with pressure from the Bears defense, throwing three interceptions in a game for just the third time in his career and the first time since 2019, when he was still a member of the Los Angeles Rams. It wasn’t the greatest performance for Goff to say the least, but he did end the fourth quarter strong. — Eric Woodyard

Next game: vs. Packers (Thursday, 12:30 p.m. ET)


Bears

Can Justin Fields continue this level of play in his next six games? Fields was terrific in his first game since dislocating his right thumb on Oct. 15. Fields finished 16-of-23 passing for 169 yards and a touchdown. He was as dominant with his deep ball — a 39-yard TD strike to DJ Moore that was his best throw of the season — as he was with his legs (14 of his 18 rushing attempts for 104 yards were designed runs). But the Bears failing to score off multiple first-half turnovers and conservative decision-making in the fourth quarter spoiled Fields’ comeback.

Stock up after the loss: CB Tyrique Stevenson. After an up-and-down start to his rookie season, the 23-year-old corner notched two takeaways, including his first NFL interception. Stevenson forced a fumble on a third-quarter kickoff that allowed Chicago to regain the lead.

Stock down after the loss: CB Jaylon Johnson. The Bears cornerback, who is playing for a new contract, dropped an interception one play before Detroit’s first touchdown and was a step behind on another pass in the fourth quarter. If Johnson wants to command a top-of-market contract in the offseason, he needs to come away with those game-altering plays. — Courtney Cronin

Next game: at Vikings (Monday, Nov. 27, 8:15 p.m. ET)

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Detroit erupts after Lions score go-ahead TD and 2-point conversion

David Montgomery punches it in, then Jared Goff finds an open Sam LaPorta for a late Lions lead.

Dolphins

What’s more likely to stick — the Dolphins’ offensive performance over their past two games, or their defensive performance? Miami’s defense has been trending up for weeks, forcing turnovers in four straight games. It’s a good thing, too, because the Dolphins have been inefficient on the other side of the ball. Sunday’s game featured three turnovers, a missed field goal, and a turnover on downs. They eclipsed 400 yards of offense for the fifth time this season but were held to just 20 points and didn’t score a touchdown in the second half. Miami’s offense is more likely to get back on track than its defense is to fall off, but it was a disappointing performance Sunday for the 14-point favorites.

Stock up after the win: CB Jalen Ramsey. Miami’s marquee offseason acquisition recorded his second and third interceptions in his third game back — including the game-clincher with 22 seconds left. He allowed just two catches for 23 yards on seven targets.

Stock down after the win: The rushing attack. Rookie sensation De’Von Achane played just three snaps before leaving with a knee injury, and Miami averaged only 3.5 yards per carry. — Marcel Louis-Jacques

Next game: at Jets (Friday, 3:00 p.m. ET)


Raiders

How will the Raiders react to the adversity of their first loss under interim coach Antonio Pierce after a pair of feel-good wins? The Raiders won’t have to dig deep to get up with the Chiefs coming to town, not with so many bad feelings between the ancient rivals. But they cannot rely simply on emotions in facing the defending Super Bowl champions, who have won 14 of 16 in the series. The Raiders need their offensive proficiency to match their defensive intensity to have a chance against the Chiefs.

Stock up after the loss: Defense. With three takeaways — fumble recoveries by safety Marcus Epps and cornerback Nate Hobbs and an interception by safety Isaiah Pola-Mao — and a fourth-down stop, the defense kept the game within striking distance for the Raiders despite giving up 422 yards.

Stock down after the loss: Offense. It resembled a unit headed by a first-time play-caller (Bo Hardegree) under the direction of an interim coach with a rookie quarterback (Aidan O’Connell) under center. The offense didn’t get a first down in the second and third quarters and played conservatively, almost as if it was playing not to lose — aside from the first-quarter, 46-yard touchdown pass to Davante Adams. — Paul Gutierrez

Next game: vs. Chiefs (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)

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Jalen Ramsey snags his 2nd INT to cap off Dolphins’ win

Jalen Ramsey gets up to catch his 2nd interception of the game, capping off a 20-13 win vs. the Raiders.

Texans

How should Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud feel after winning despite three interceptions? Stroud will happy they won, but not with his turnovers. The Texans racked up 421 yards against the Cardinals. But Stroud, who had two interceptions all season, finished with three Sunday. All three were tight window throws, and two were in the red zone, directly taking potential points off the board. The turnovers allowed the Cardinals to hang around and have a shot to win the game, even though the Texans outgained the Cardinals by 100 yards.

Stock up after the win: CB Derek Stingley Jr.. had an interception and pass breakup in his second game back after a hamstring injury.

Stock down after the win: Red zone offense. The Texans went 1-for-4, highlighted by Stroud’s two interceptions. — DJ Bien-Aime

Next game: vs. Jaguars (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)


Cardinals

What’s a reasonable finish for the Cardinals look like? The Cardinals could realistically be looking at two more wins this season — next week against the Rams and then on Christmas Eve against the Bears. That would give them four on the season. However, with games against the 49ers, Seahawks, Steelers left, and Kyler Murray under center, Arizona could potentially steal another one, maybe two. But after losing to the Texans, a 4-13 record could be realistic.

Stock up after the loss: DT Leki Fotu. Before he left the game with a hand injury, Fotu had a sack, four tackles, two tackles for loss and a quarterback hit.

Stock down after the loss: CB Marco Wilson. He was targeted 11 times and gave up eight passes for a total of 145 yards — an average of 18.1 yards per catch — and two touchdowns. — Josh Weinfuss

Next game: vs. Rams (Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET)

Giants

What does this win mean for the Giants? This should calm things down a bit after losing the previous two games by 56 points and having multiple sideline incidents. The pressure was on Brian Daboll and the Giants to avoid splintering. This helps. Not only did they win but they did it behind Tommy DeVito, who threw for 246 yards and three touchdowns despite nine sacks. It does put the Giants currently out of the coveted top two picks in next year’s draft, however.

Stock up after the win: Defense. Wink Martindale’s unit forced five turnovers and received strong performances from its best players (Dexter Lawrence II, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Bobby Okereke and Xavier McKinney). Much better after two straight duds.

Stock down after the win: Running game. The Giants rushed for zero yards until the final play of the third quarter. Saquon Barkley had -2 yards until that 36-yard gain. This team needs more consistency from Barkley and the running attack. — Jordan Raanan

Next game: vs. Patriots (Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET)


Commanders

Is this the end for Ron Rivera? Washington has lost seven of its last nine games and has shown no reason to think it could finish strong to save his job. Owner Josh Harris has said he wanted to give everyone the season to fully evaluate the situation. But Washington has not progressed. The Commanders are 1-4 at home, despite all being sellouts, and have lost twice to the Giants and once to the Bears who entered Sunday with five combined wins.

Stock up after the loss: Pass rush. Washington sacked DeVito nine times, one shy of the franchise record, as seven players posted at least one sack apiece. Not bad for a team that traded its top two defensive ends — Chase Young and Montez Sweat — at the trade deadline.

Stock down after the loss: Pass coverage. Washington’s secondary continued its poor play by allowing big completions on third and long as well as three touchdown passes to DeVito, who finished with 246 yards through the air. — John Keim

Next game: at Cowboys (Thursday, 4:30 p.m. ET)

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Tommy DeVito goes deep to Darius Slayton for a TD

Tommy DeVito airs it out for a 40-yard Giants touchdown to Darius Slayton.

Browns

Can this version of the Browns make the playoffs? No Nick Chubb. And no Deshaun Watson. Still, these Browns continue to find ways to win games. The Browns defense once again was magnificent, giving the offense a chance for the game-winning drive. Rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson made the plays when he needed to down the stretch, despite a rough second half completing passes. And special teams, namely kicker Dustin Hopkins, was clutch with the game-winning field goal. At 7-3, these Browns just keep barreling ahead for the postseason. This definitely looks like a playoff team.

Stock up after the win: QB Thompson-Robinson. DTR didn’t light up the stat sheet, but his four completions on the final drive proved to be the difference.

Stock down after the win: Explosive offense. The Browns are not gonna outscore anyone going forward, but they still have a formula to win games. — Jake Trotter

Next game: at Broncos (Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET)


Steelers

Can the Steelers capitalize on season-altering injuries to the rest of the AFC North? The Steelers scoff at the idea they’re winning with smoke and mirrors, but it’s hard to find a consistent rhyme or reason why they’re in the AFC playoff picture when the offense is being outgained every week. And while the defense saved the day in their last two games, they couldn’t find the magic for the third week in a row. The first-half Steelers were nothing short of abysmal, and the offense stunk it up in the fourth quarter, too. Though the offense sputtered outside of Jaylen Warren ‘s massive 74-yard touchdown, the defense regrouped at halftime and was a much more stout unit in the second half. But as has been the case all season, the defense didn’t get any help from its offense. The Steelers forced five second-half punts and had an interception. But after a quick three-and-out on a Diontae Johnson drop and two bad throws from Kenny Pickett gave the Browns the ball back with 1:38 to go, Browns rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson led the Browns on a game-winning drive.

Stock up after the loss: RB Jaylen Warren, Fresh off his first 100 yard game, Warren got the bulk of his yardage on a 74-yard touchdown run to open the second half. Then, in the fourth quarter he had a 21-yard carry to put the Steelers in field goal range to tie the game.

Stock down after the loss: QB Pickett. Through three quarters, Pickett was 8 of 16 for 53 yards, regressing from a 12 of 18 for 118 yards outing through the same point a week ago. The Browns defense was all over Pickett from the Steelers’ opening snap, but Pickett, who played his worst game of the season, exacerbated their impact with too many errant throws in critical times and holding on to the ball too long. — Brooke Pryor

Next game: at Bengals (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

Cowboys

Will the Cowboys be 9-3 after home games the next two weeks? They better be. This is the 14th time they’ve been 7-3 or better since 1989, and they have made the playoffs in 12 of the previous 13 times. The Cowboys host Washington and Seattle before taking on Philadelphia. The Cowboys already need some help from the 8-1 Eagles to stay in the division race. They don’t need to give the Eagles any help of their own with losses to the Commanders or Seahawks.

Stock up after the win: CB DaRon Bland. The cornerback returned his fourth interception for a touchdown this season to tie an NFL mark shared by Eric Allen, Ken Houston and Jim Kearney.

Stock down after the win: Defensive line. The defensive front was not at its best against the run. This is always going to be a concern for the Dallas defense, so allowing two runners to have more than 50 yards is concerning, especially with better running teams coming up in Philadelphia, Miami and Detroit. — Todd Archer

Next game: vs. Commanders (Thursday, 4:30 p.m. ET)


Panthers

Are the Panthers starting to find their identity offensively? It looked positive when quarterback Bryce Young engineered a patient and balanced 17-play, 70-yard third-quarter drive that resulted in Carolina’s first touchdown since the third quarter against Indianapolis two games ago. Using a lot of 12 personnel (1 RB, 2 TE, 2 WR), it was impressive. Then, immediately after a Dallas offensive touchdown, Young threw his third pick-six of the season. So the identity remains inconsistent.

Stock up after the loss: RB Miles Sanders. The running back lost the starting job to Chuba Hubbard a month ago but showed glimpses of what the Panthers hoped he would be — when they gave him a four-year, $25 million deal during the offseason — with his most productive outing (11 carries for 50 yards) since Week 1.

Stock down after the loss: LBBrian Burns. The Pro Bowl outside linebacker didn’t have a sack for the second straight game and has only one in his past four, likely driving his price tag down as negotiations for a new deal remain on hold. — David Newton

Next game: at Titans (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

Jaguars

Is Trevor Lawrence getting rolling again? Lawrence threw two touchdowns and ran for two more — becoming the first player in franchise history to do that in a game — but more importantly he showed that he’s no longer bothered by his strained left knee. The Jaguars rolled him out, which they hadn’t done since he got hurt on Oct. 15. He also pushed off his left leg when he dove for his first rushing touchdown with no issue. Sunday marked Lawrence’s fourth-best passer rating of his career (119.5) one week after finishing with his third-lowest (48.8).

Stock up after the win: WR Calvin Ridley. He caught a pair of touchdowns and ended up with his third 100-yard receiving game of the season. His first-quarter TD catch snapped a streak of five games without one, which was the longest of his career.

Stock down after the win: The red zone offense. The Jaguars came into the game with the fourth-worst red zone offense (44%) and went 1 for 3 in the first half. It’s an area that coach Doug Pederson pegged as a major issue for the second half of the season. — Mike DiRocco

Next game: at Texans (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)


Titans

Will the Titans win a road game this season? The Titans’ offense has been lifeless on the road this season. The defense has done much better especially when it comes to impacting the quarterback and creating turnovers. In total, the Titans have been outscored 140-70. The final two road games are against the Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans make it very possible for the Titans to go 0-8 on the road.

Stock up after the loss: P Ryan Stonehouse. Stonehouse punted four times and averaged 53.5 yards on each of them.

Stock down after the loss: Titans secondary. The Jaguars offense and Lawrence played an easy game of pitch and catch as the receivers ran wide open against the Titans’ zone defense and beat them at times in man as well. — Turron Davenport

Next game: vs. Panthers (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

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Lawrence and Ridley team up for 2nd TD of game

Trevor Lawrence finds Calvin Ridley from 20 yards out to increase the Jaguars’ lead over the Titans.

Thursday

Ravens

Who fills the void left by Mark Andrews‘ likely season-ending injury? The obvious candidate is Isaiah Likely, who will replace Andrews as Baltimore’s starting tight end, but he’s been a non-factor as a receiver (nine catches in 11 games) and had no catches Thursday on 21 routes. The player who could benefit the most is WR Odell Beckham Jr. In the final three quarters, he was targeted on six of Lamar Jackson’s 18 passes and finished with 116 yards, topping 100 yards for the first time in 39 games.

Stock up after the win: RB Gus Edwards. He has scored nine touchdowns over the past five games, which is the most receiving and rushing touchdowns in a five-game span in team history.

Stock down after the win: RB Justice Hill. With the emergence of rookie Keaton Mitchell, Hill has dropped to become the team’s No. 3 running back and received a season-low one carry on 17 snaps. — Jamison Hensley

Next game: at Chargers (Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET)


Bengals

Can the Bengals win without Joe Burrow? There’s a belief in the locker room that backup QB Jake Browning can lead an effective offense with Burrow out for the season with a wrist injury. Browning had weeks of quality reps in training camp while Burrow dealt with his strained right calf and was 8-of-14 for 68 yards and a touchdown Thursday. Afterward, WR Tyler Boyd said teams have won with backups and they need to find a way to position themselves as best as possible without Burrow.

Stock up after the loss: TE Tanner Hudson. The former practice squad receiver led the Bengals in catches (4) and receiving yards (49) Thursday. In his first four games of the season, he had 14 catches for 126 yards.

Stock down after the loss: Outside cornerbacks. DJ Turner and Cam Taylor-Britt allowed a combined plus-35.8% completion percentage over expectation as the nearest defender, per NFL Next Gen Stats. — Ben Baby

Next game: vs. Steelers (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)



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