The final round of NFL games before Christmas brought with it some interesting storylines.
1. Philadelphia Eagles Take Control of the NFC East
The Cowboys and Eagles have both been major disappointments so far this year. The Eagles have scraped past three three-win teams over recent weeks while the Cowboys just blew out the Rams in impressive fashion. However, it was Philadelphia who won 17-9 and took the lead in one of the NFL's weakest divisions. The Cowboys have been the more talented team, in better form and battered them in the return fixture in Dallas, but in a shock, it's the Eagles who are now set to take the playoff spot.
2. Patriots Seal 11th Straight AFC East Division Title
The Buffalo Bills were trying to steal the AFC East from the Patriots but Bill Bellichek's men ensured it was an 11th straight AFC East Division title. The reigning Superbowl champions have been on a downturn this year. Tom Brady is having his worst season of the decade but completed 26 of 33 passes for 271 yards and a touchdown to spark the Patriots in the second half. With both sides already set for playoffs, the game was tied 10-10 at half-time but the Patriots got the last 11 points to win 24-17 and nab the division crown.
3. Quinn Gets Much-Needed Win
Falcons head coach Dan Quinn got a big win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in a bid to keep his job. It's been a disappointing season for the Falcons but the 24-12 win may go some way to appeasing their owner. Quinn changed both his offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator in the offseason, so this season needed to go well. The Falcons went to the Super Bowl in 2016 and lost a historic lead to the Patriots. Since then they have made the playoffs once and have won fewer games each season since. This year they are 6-9, compared to 8-8 in Quinn's first season and 11-5 in 2016.
4. Magnificent Mahomes Haunts the Bears
Patrick Mahomes was the quarterback that got away from the Bears when they traded up to draft Mitchell Trubisky and he came back to haunt them on Sunday night, with the Chiefs winning 3-26. Mahomes (22 for 33, 251 yards, 2 TD, rush TD) dominated some of the top plays on the night while the Bears' Trubisky has been a major disappointment. Bears head coach Matt Nagy will be under huge pressure now to keep his job with a record of 7-8 for the season. Meanwhile, the Chiefs are now one game behind the Patriots for the No. 2 seed, and if they can secure a win next week and see the Patriots lose, they'll get themselves a first-round bye.
5. Bengals Will Get First Draft Pick
The 2020 NFL Draft in Las Vegas may be roughly four months away but the Cincinnati Bengals can begin looking forward to it, having locked up the No. 1 overall pick. The Dolphins were expected to be in the Bengals position as they were tanking entering the season but managed to win more games than expected with Ryan Fitzpatrick. However, it's the Bengals who will likely look to LSU QB Joe Burrow following their 38-35 overtime loss on Sunday afternoon. Burrow won the Heisman Trophy in 2019, signifying him as the best player in college football that season.