Close calls and blowouts as playoff picture remains open

The 32 things we learned from Week 14 of the 2021 NFL season:

1. Still no playoff berths clinched league-wide, though the Arizona Cardinals – their 10-2 record remains the NFL’s best – can wrap up the first by beating the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night.

2. Five AFC teams have 7-6 records. Currently only two (Indianapolis and Buffalo) would qualify for postseason.

3. Five NFC teams have 6-7 records. Currently only one (Washington) would qualify for postseason.

4. After getting run over by the New England Patriots in Week 13, the Bills looked determined to win in a diametrically opposite manner. Sunday, Buffalo became the first team in 30 years without any rushing yards by a running back in the first half. That approach allowed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to build a 24-3 lead.

5. The Bucs almost coughed up that advantage after halftime, when the Bills unleashed their backs for seven carries and 64 yards … though QB Josh Allen’s TD run and pair of TD passes allowed Buffalo to take the game into overtime before losing. Allen, who left Raymond James Stadium in a walking boot, essentially was the Buffalo ground attack with 109 yards. He had 308 more through the air.

6. On the other side, just another day at the office for Bucs QB Tom Brady. He threw his record-extending 700th career TD pass (playoffs included) for the win in overtime and displaced Drew Brees for the all-time record for completions, TB12 now with 7,156.

7. Brady also beat the Bills for the 33rd time, the most times any quarterback has defeated a single opponent in NFL history.

8. If the Dallas Cowboys can dispatch a quality opponent like the Washington Football Team on a day when QB Dak Prescott doesn’t play well and RB Tony Pollard isn’t even available, then look out for them in January. Dallas now has a three-game lead in the NFC East with four games left to play, and its defense continues to create opportunities (5 sacks, 4 takeaways, TD scored Sunday).

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