Just a few days before Thanksgiving, the 2023 NFL season is taking shape.
The contenders are emerging, while the pretenders are fading. On one end, the Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions stayed hot with victory. Elsewhere, the Carolina Panthers, Tennessee Titans and Chicago Bears' struggles continued.
Here are the biggest winners and losers from Sunday afternoon in Week 11:
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WINNER: Texans hang on, solidify playoff position
It wasn't their best performance, but the Houston Texans showed on Sunday that they can win ugly games.
Everything was rolling in the first half, as Houston jumped out to a 21-10 lead over the Arizona Cardinals while C.J. Stroud continued to look like an MVP candidate. The rookie was 18 of 24 for 259 yards, two touchdowns and an interception at the break -- including a ridiculous throw to fellow first-year Tank Dell.
The second half wasn't as smooth, with Stroud throwing two interceptions. But head coach DeMeco Ryans' defense stepped up to secure the 21-16 win. Houston forced two turnovers on downs in the fourth quarter to keep Kyler Murray and Co. at bay. The Texans are now 6-4, firmly in the AFC playoff picture as other competitors lost ground in Week 11 (Bengals, Steelers, Raiders, Chargers).
LOSER: Steelers one-score luck runs out
The Pittsburgh Steelers were 6-0 in one-score games entering Week 11. They were on the other end of a heartbreaker this time, though.
The Cleveland Browns defeated their division rivals, 13-10, on a last-second field goal by Dustin Hopkins. After racing out to a 10-0 halftime lead, the Steelers chipped away in the second half to tie it with under eight minutes remaining.
But Cleveland's rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, started in place of the injured Deshaun Watson, led a game-winning drive in the closing moments to seal the victory. DTR led the Browns 48 yards in the final one minute and 16 seconds to set up the 34-yard kick. The fifth-rounder finished 24 for 43 with 165 passing yards and an interception, but the Browns' defense did enough to score another victory. Cleveland is now 7-3, while Pittsburgh dropped to 6-4.
WINNER: Giants defense, Tommy DeVito turn the tide
The Giants were one of just three teams to win by double digits in the early window. And yes, you read that right.
Over the last two weeks with undrafted rookie Tommy DeVito at quarterback, the Giants were outscored 79-23 in two blowout losses. DeVito, and the much-maligned Giants defense, miraculously turned everything around against the Washington Commanders in Week 11.
Starting with the New Jersey native, DeVito went 18 for 26 with 246 passing yards, three touchdowns and no turnovers. Defensively, the Giants had four sacks, three fumble recoveries and three interceptions in the 31-19 victory. While the win only moves New York to 3-8, it was a feel-good victory in a season that's been filled with bad moments.
LOSER: Frank Reich
It's been a long season for the Panthers' head coach.
Reich was hired last offseason, but his opening campaign in Charlotte hasn't gone according to plan. He began the season as the offensive play-caller before handing over the reigns to offensive coordinator Thomas Brown following an 0-6 start. But after a 1-3 stretch while averaging under 14 points per game, Reich took back control for Week 11 -- and the result wasn't pretty.
The Panthers mustered just 187 yards in a 33-10 loss to the Cowboys as No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young continued to struggle (16 for 29, 123 yards, one touchdown, one interception). In nine starts this season, Young has just 1,560 yards, nine touchdowns and eight interceptions. Sitting at 1-9 without their own first-round pick due to the Young trade, the Panthers are in perhaps the worst situation of any NFL team -- and Reich could soon be the scapegoat.
WINNER: Lions deliver epic comeback
For the first time since John F. Kennedy was president -- 1962, to be exact -- the Detroit Lions are 8-2. And they did it in dramatic fashion on Sunday.
Lions quarterback Jared Goff was intercepted on the first two possessions before two late touchdowns gave Detroit a 14-10 halftime lead over the Bears. But Justin Fields and the Bears didn't go away quietly, taking a 26-14 lead after a field goal with 4:15 to play. That's when the Lions' offense woke up.
Goff led a six-play, 75-yard drive in just over a minute to cut the lead to 26-21. Then, after a quick three-and-out, the Lions went 73 yards on 11 plays in just over two minutes to regain a 29-26 lead. A safety on the first play of the Bears' final drive sealed it, sending Detroit into Thanksgiving week at 8-2. It's been a long time since the early Turkey Day game was worth watching, but you won't want to miss the Lions team in 2023.
LOSER: Zach Wilson
From Aaron Rodgers to Zach Wilson to Tim Boyle.
On Sunday, the New York Jets finally benched Wilson, the No. 2 pick in the 2021 draft who reclaimed his starting role after Rodgers suffered an Achilles injury on the team's first offensive drive of the season. Wilson was replaced by Boyle with 2:15 remaining in the third quarter as the Jets trailed the Buffalo Bills by 23 points during a 32-6 loss to the Buffalo Bills.
Wilson and the Jets entered Sunday's game having not scored a touchdown in their previous 36 possessions. Wilson did help snap that streak with a touchdown pass to Breece Hall on Sunday, but he was just 7 of 15 for 81 yards with an interception when he was replaced.
Boyle, who has played in 17 games over his four-year career, didn't play any better in garbage time. He finished 7 of 14 for 33 yards with an interception. The Jets dropped to 4-6 with the loss.