Ravens Dominate, Chiefs Struggle in NFL Showdowns

Ravens Dominate, Chiefs Struggle in NFL Showdowns

The Chiefs lost again. Eagles fought vile giants. The 49ers were embarrassed at home. Christmas Day was tough for the Super Bowl contenders, except for the Ravens. Lamar Jackson improved his MVP chances and Baltimore made a major statement with a convincing 33-19 win over San Francisco on Monday night in the best possible game featuring two of the NFL’s top quarterbacks.

The Ravens (12-3) would earn a first-round bye and home field advantage during the AFC playoffs with a win Sunday at home against Miami (11-4). andquot;I am honored to be a part of the conversation,andquot; Jackson said he will improve his bid for his second AP NFL MVP award. andquot;We just have to win to get to February.

That’s all.andquot; Jackson’s goal is not a personal award. He wants a Super Bowl ring. The Ravens have won five in a row and can’t quit when the Dolphins come next. The 49ers (11-4) were the hottest team in the NFL until they ran into Roquan Smith and Baltimore’s tenacious defense.

Brock Purdy, who emerged as the MVP favorite during a sensational stretch of a six-game winning streak, threw four interceptions and ended the night watching from the sideline after a fumble. Despite the loss, San Francisco remains in control of first place in the NFC. The 49ers grabbed first place with wins over the Commanders and Rams to end the regular season.

But the rest of the NFC should have hope after seeing the Ravens take on San Francisco. The 49ers, who dominated Philadelphia and Dallas in back-to-back games, looked vulnerable against Baltimore. andquot;I don’t think they are demoralized,andquot; 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan talked about his team. andquot;We were not balanced, we had too many turnovers.andquot; The holiday tripleheader started with a bang as the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs gave up one in a 20-14 loss to Las Vegas.

The Raiders scored a pair of touchdowns on back-to-back touchdowns by Patrick Mahomes and won the game without a pass after the first quarter. The Chiefs (9-6) have now lost five of eight and will likely have to play their first road playoff game against Mahomes if they are to even slip past the wild card.

The offense, which has been explosive all season, couldn’t do much against the Raiders and couldn’t overcome costly mistakes. andquot;I thought the defense played a good game, just two mistakes that gave them two touchdowns, when you’re back in their red zone, you just can’t do that,andquot;

Mahomes said. andquot;Especially when the defense plays the way they play, but I have to be better at that and not make those mistakes and try to find a way to play the game and the best way to win it.andquot; Kansas City still holds a two-game lead over the Raiders and Broncos in the AFC West, but has yet to clinch the division title. The Chiefs need one win over the Bengals or Chargers to get there.

But their road back to the Super Bowl looks different. Mahomes will likely have to play in his first career playoff game if the Chiefs advance past the wild card round. When the chiefs were upset, it looked like war was coming to Philadelphia. The Eagles took a 20-3 halftime lead over the Giants, who sent Tommy DeVito to the bench. But a pair of turnovers, including Adoree Jackson’s pick-6 from Jalen Hurts, got New York closer, and Tyrod Taylor threw a 69-yard TD pass to Darius Slayton to cut the deficit to 30-25 with 5:22 left. .

Trailing 33-25, the Giants had a chance despite clumsy clock management. Taylor’s pass from the Philadelphia 26 was picked off in the end zone to end the game. The Eagles (11-4) snapped a three-game losing streak and maintained control of the NFC East with an outside shot to keep winning first place. But a shaky performance against the Giants won’t silence critics.

The Eagles didn’t often look like the team that went to the Super Bowl last year. andquot;We know we have better football,andquot; coach Nick Sirianni said. andquot;To be 11-4 and still have better football, that’s encouraging, but let’s go. We have to get there. We have to get there and say we have two more games before the playoffs start. We just think about the next game against a team that will come here and try to take what we have as well. Monday’s results and the rest of Week 16 still left open questions in the NFL. You have two weeks until the finals to answer the questions.

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