It’s Thanksgiving Week in the NFL, one of the most exciting weeks of the football season. We’ve got three juicy matchups headlined by Giants vs. Cowboys on Thursday to look forward to before a full Sunday slate. But before Week 12 kicks off, here’s a look at how Week 11’s biggest games impacted the NFL’s playoff race, using insights from SI Tickets’ postseason reservations.
Are the Titans Super Bowl contenders?
After an 0–2 start, the Titans are 7–3, with their lone loss since September coming in overtime in Kansas City while starting a backup quarterback. It’s been an incredibly impressive run for Mike Vrabel’s team, and it’s worth wondering at this point whether this team has real Super Bowl upside.
Tennessee is not built with the dynamic offense or superstar QB that AFC rivals like Kansas City, Buffalo and Baltimore have, but right now the Titans are playing as well as anyone in the NFL. The Tennessee defense has given up 20 points just once in the last seven games, conceding exactly 20 in that OT loss to the Chiefs. While the Titans are around league average in yards conceded, this defense stands up with its back against the wall time and time again. And with Derrick Henry in the backfield, the Titans are capable of generating just enough offense to win games.
Thursday-night’s road win in Green Bay led to another 41% increase in Super Bowl ticket reservation prices for the Titans on SI Tickets. And with huge tests the next two weeks against the Bengals and Eagles, there’s room for that number to keep rising if Tennessee continues to play this well.
Commanders edge over .500
After Sunday’s cruise-control victory over the Texans, the Commanders are officially over .500 for the first time since Week 1. It’s hard to believe this is the same team that started 1–4 and was nearly starting down 1–5 before a muffed punt by Chicago lifted Washington to a late victory.
The most notable change has been the return of Taylor Heinicke to the starting lineup after a finger injury sidelined Carson Wentz for the Bears game. While far from a superstar, Washington has fed off Heinicke’s toughness, and the journeyman QB has made some tremendous throws in late-game situations. The Commanders’ defense has also stepped up, scoring on a pick-six in the first two minutes of the win over Houston and forcing four turnovers against the Eagles last week.
Despite still sitting in last place in the NFC East, Washington does have a path to the postseason. And after taking care of business against Houston, divisional-round ticket reservation prices for Washington continued to rise, up another 38% this week on SI Tickets.
A lost season in Los Angeles
With each passing week, the outlook for the Rams gets bleaker and bleaker.
The latest setback? A 27–20 loss to the Saints that L.A. finished with third-string QB Bryce Perkins in the game after Matthew Stafford reentered concussion protocol. The Rams are now just a half game ahead of Chicago and Carolina for the worst record in the NFC; their best offensive player, Cooper Kupp, is on IR; and their starting quarterback may be sidelined, too. Their chances of repeating as Super Bowl champs seem slim to none at this point, and Super Bowl ticket reservation prices for the Rams dropped 43% after another disastrous week.
The road also doesn’t get any easier: This week’s test comes against the Chiefs in Kansas City. It’s not inconceivable that the defending champs could enter December with the worst record in the NFC, something that would have been unfathomable in the preseason.
More Denver despair
Speaking of lost seasons, the Broncos also slipped to 3–7 after an overtime loss at home against the Raiders on Sunday. It was an all-too-familiar tale for a Denver team that has seen so much go wrong in 2022: a third OT loss and sixth one-possession loss in Russell Wilson’s first season with the team.
The game script of this one was similar to so many of the close contests Denver has struggled to win this season. The Broncos failed to establish much of a ground game (just 3.4 yards per carry), were held to field goal attempts rather than touchdowns on promising drives, made a special teams blunder and couldn’t quite hold on defensively down the stretch.
Now three games back of a playoff spot in the AFC with just seven games to go, it’s hard to imagine Denver making a postseason push. Divisional-round reservation prices for Denver on SI Tickets fell more than 50% after another heartbreaking loss.
Patriots get much-needed win before difficult stretch
No one in the NFL has a tougher schedule in the next two weeks than the Patriots, who head to Minnesota for a showdown with the Vikings on Thanksgiving night before hosting the Bills the following Thursday. That made getting a home win over the Jets on Sunday all the more important, and the Pats found a way to do just that despite not scoring an offensive touchdown.
The Pats were aided by an erratic day from Jets QB Zach Wilson, but it was still one of the most impressive defensive performances of the season league-wide. New England held the Jets to just 103 yards of offense and got a late-game stop to force a punt with under 30 seconds to play, which CB Marcus Jones returned for a game-winning 84-yard touchdown. The Patriots have now won three in a row to get right back in the playoff conversation, with their divisional-round reservation price jumping another 12% after Sunday’s big win.