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NFL Week 12 takeaways: Lessons, big questions for every game

It’s Week 12, the first week of 2022’s NFL season. It began the season on Thanksgiving Day with three games.

The Detroit Lions have been hosting Thanksgiving Day games for 88 years, but haven’t enjoyed much success as of late. In the last game, Buffalo Bills completed a late victory over the Lions which have won only six games in the Thanksgiving season since 2000.

The Dallas Cowboys, who like the Lions have an annual Thanksgiving game they ended a losing three-game streak during the holiday by beating NFC East rival New York Giants.

In the game that took place after Thanksgiving The Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots were at war throughout the game until the Vikings took control late in the game to take the win.

We’re pleased to present our NFL Nation reporters react with the top takeaways as well as lingering questions from this week’s gameups and anticipate what’s to come next. Let’s get started.

Matchups are a good way to start:


Minnesota 33. New England 26


What you need to know: The Vikings have reverted the negative karma of their shocking week 11 defeat to the Cowboys by defeating the Patriots which was their second win against a team that has won within the last three weeks. With a 9-2 record, they are closing in on winning an NFC North title, and in the vicinity of NFL’s No. number one overall seed The Vikings are back in discussion as one of NFL’s best teams. They’ve already won all eight games they’ve played which were played on one possession they are which is their longest streak of winning of such games in the history of the league.

Are there any things the Vikings could not accomplish in conjunction with Justin Jefferson? At this point, it’s tough to think of anything! On Thursday night, he nabbed all 11 of them sent at him with 139 yards, a score, against the defense that mixed its defenses against him and any other opponent this season. The quarterback Kirk Cousins said the Patriots changed the kind of teams played against him, and they only rarely put him in single coverage. Kevin Seifert

Next game next game: the Jets vs. Jets (Dec. 4 at 1 p.m. ET)


What you need to know: The Patriots were 0-for-3 in red zone, and 3-of-10 on third down , and took five penalties which resulted in Vikings initial downs. This isn’t a recipe to win football. The Patriots started the game as the league’s 31st-ranked red zone offense, and they were playing against the league’s worst-rated defense in the red zone. Red zone is an area of concern for many.

If the Patriots could not beat Justin Jefferson, what will they do to Stefon Diggs in the coming weeks? The way Devin McCourty said after the game, “We play like that against the No. one guys and it’s going be a long season.” The Patriots defense was on the rise in the classroom, taking on the quarterback Kirk Cousins and Jefferson, and the outcome was quite different than the previous weeks when they faced less dangerous offenses. They’ll be up against an array of offensive power throughout the season and will begin against Buffalo this week. — Mike Reiss

Next game: vs. Bills (Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET)

Buffalo 28. Detroit 25


What you should be aware of What you need to know: The Bills offense isn’t without its flaws However, their players were able to perform in the times they needed to which is a crucial step. When they entered the game, Buffalo was 1-9 when they were trailing in the fourth quarter during the last two seasons. However, the quarterback Josh Allen and receiver Stefon Diggs led the team downfield in back-to-back drives. They connected with five targets for 65 yards and a touchdown during the last two drives to take the win. But a better performance in the red zone is an important goal for the offensive line.

What’s next for cornerback? Cornerback Tre’DaviousWhite was on the field in his first game since torning his ACL Thanksgiving last year, but he played only in the initial two games (15 minutes). Then, Buffalo mostly played rookie Christian Benford and Dane Jackson. Head coach Sean McDermott said White played within the range of plays they anticipated. With a major game scheduled against the Patriots White’s participation is likely to be important in the event that the defense allows opponents’ no. 1 receivers to reach 100 yards during games. — Alaina Getzenberg

Next game: Patriots (Thursday at 8:15 p.m. ET)


What you need to know: The Detroit Lions have proved they are able to match the best teams in the league following a close loss against their rivals the Buffalo Bills. They now have to come up with a strategy to win these tight games with better management of the clock and decision-making at the end of the game. The Lions have a record of 2-7 against teams that are currently .500 and better. The majority of their games were played against teams that are currently .500 or better, with the exception of their victories against their opponents the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears.

Did linebacker James Houston’s inaugural performance the real deal? It’s possible however, let’s not get too carried away. He’s not likely to score two sacks and the possibility of recovering a fumble throughout the season however, the Lions are able to find a role for him. He was the first player to record 2 sacks during the course of his NFL debut since the start of 2017 (Myles Garrett as well as T.J. Watt). He’s not being asked to be these players however, the Lions defense, which is the lowest in win rate (29.1 percent) is in need of as a defensive player next in line to newcomer Aidan Hutchinson. -Eric Woodyard Eric Woodyard

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

Dallas 28. N.Y. Giants 20


What you need to be aware of: It could be the 12 days that define the Cowboys season. Following a loss to Green Bay in overtime Nov. 13 the Cowboys came back by winning two games within four days, beating Minnesota as well as their rivals, the New York Giants. They played almost flawlessly vs. the Vikings and not as good against the Giants however they improved to 8-3 and defeated their divisional rivals. “It was an impressive win,” said Dak Prescott who reacted to two interceptions in the first half with two touchdowns in the second quarter. “It was a victory against an opponent in the division and sometimes all that is important is the victory.”

Do the Cowboys require signing Odell Beckham Jr.? Perhaps not. CeeDee Lamb has recorded two 100-yard receiving games over the past three games. Michael Gallup is showing signs that his knee surgically repaired is no longer a problem. The tight end group consisting of Dalton Schultz, Jake Ferguson, Peyton Hendershot and Sean McKeon is proving that they can be a prominent in the offensive. Beckham could be a Cowboy however, they do not require Beckham to be their leading receiver. Beckham can be brought in after a long absence from an ACL tear and contribute. -Todd Archer Todd Archer

Next game next game: against. Colts (Dec. 4 at 8:20 p.m. ET)


What you need to know: perhaps making it to the playoffs will be a challenge with the Giants team, particularly because of all the injuries. They’re not skilled or deep enough, and it is apparent when they face more superior opponents. New York (7-4) exceeded expectations during the first half of the season, but it is now a series of losses and their schedule isn’t likely to get any more straightforward. The matchups against Washington will be a major one. They’re the Giants the biggest threat to the NFC’s final wild card spot.

What will happen to the Giants be fit in time for their stretch-run? After the loss on Thursday, head coach Brian Daboll indicated he didn’t believe that any of the injuries that have been reported were likely to last long-term. It was reported that the Giants had already planned to bring that they would have starting outline linebacker Azeez Ojulari as well as right guard Ben Bredeson and right tackle Evan Neal back for their next game against Washington. Daboll’s comments suggest the cornerback Fabian Moreau could be back also. Four of them are pretty significant players who should return fairly soon to play in the Giants in their stretch run. — Jordan Raanan

Next game next game: against. Commanders (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)



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