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The pandemic has forced the NFL to be more flexible with their scheduling this season, more so than any other season in recent memory. Postponements have resulted in Monday night doubleheaders, Tuesday night action, and even Wednesday matinees. Week 13 is no different as fans were treated to a double-dip of football on Monday, with the slate wrapping up Tuesday in Baltimore as the Ravens play host to the Cowboys.
Let’s take a look at how Monday’s double-feature played out and how the playoff picture was impacted by the results.
The Last of the Undefeateds Fall in Pittsburgh
The 1972 Dolphins can break out the champagne once again, as they’ll remain the only team in NFL history to run the regular-season table and win the Super Bowl. That’s because a second-straight lackluster performance from the Steelers resulted in their first loss of the year.
Pittsburgh let a 14-0 lead slip through their fingers, and the Washington Football Team capitalized, improving their record to 5-7 to pull even with the New York Giants atop the NFC East. Washington still has some work to do, though, as the G-Men beat them in both divisional meetings this year, so if the two finish with identical records, New York would win the tiebreaker and advance to the postseason.
The Steelers, meanwhile, drop to 11-1, the same record as the Kansas City Chiefs. Pitt holds the tiebreaker for the top spot in the AFC based on their record in conference games, but the Steelers’ stranglehold is loosening for that coveted single bye.
For the second consecutive week, the Steelers’ run game was non-existent as James Conner remained on the reserve/Covid-19 list. That forced Ben Roethlisberger to throw more than 50 times in the second straight game. Another pivotal primetime matchup is on deck as Pittsburgh travels to Buffalo for a Sunday night showdown with the Bills.
Bills Offense on Display in Nightcap
Buffalo maintained their one-game lead on the Dolphins in the AFC East and the No. 3 seed in the AFC Playoff picture by virtue of their 10-point win over the 49ers in the second half of Monday’s billing. Josh Allen continued his impressive season by throwing for 375 yards and tying a career-high with four touchdown passes. Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley were major contributors at wideout, combining for 19 catches, 222 yards, and a score.
The Bills have now won five of their last six, with the only defeat coming in Arizona via the infamous ‘Hail Murray’ when Cardinals’ quarterback Kyler Murray connected with DeAndre Hopkins on a last-second touchdown in Week 10. Ironically, the Bills returned to State Farm Stadium on Monday as the 49ers were forced to relocate from Santa Clara in response to the city’s covid-related prohibition.
As noted, the Bills host the Steelers in Week 14 after winning in Pittsburgh a year ago. Before last year, the Steelers had beaten Buffalo in four straight and 10 of the last 11 meetings dating back to 1993.