Dak Prescott’s heroics lead Dallas Cowboys past Philadelphia Eagles in NFL Week 16


No good team needed a huge win more than Dallas. The Cowboys were down 10-0 early, tied it at 17-17 before halftime, then got down 27-17 in the third quarter, tied it at 27-27 to start the fourth quarter, then scored 13 points in the last six minutes. So: Dallas 40, Philadelphia 34. Most impressive to me was Dak Prescott throwing a pick-six on his second straight drive (closing the loss at Jacksonville last week, and on the opening Dallas drive in this game), then coming back in the last 54 minutes to complete 78 percent of his throws with three touchdowns and no picks while getting beat up pretty consistently. Loved Prescott hanging in there. After the game, I asked him about his mental state after throwing the 42-yard pick-six to Josh Sweat that put the Cowboys in a 10-0 hole.

“Thinking about that,” he told me, “I’m thinking about the way I was raised. Being the little brother, there’s a lotta times I got my ass kicked and things didn’t go my way. The only chance I had against them was to forget about what just happened, come back, respond, and beat ‘em. Sometimes I’d find my mother, I’d be crying, and she said, ‘If you can’t play with the big dogs, stay on the porch.’ So in a situation like today, early in the game, it’s about staying focused, understanding what’s happened is done. So I made a bad throw. What can I do about it? Respond. And I know I will.”

Coming off of two unimpressive performances — outscored 63-61 across the narrow win over the Texans and loss to the Jags — the Cowboys needed some offensive explosiveness. To advance in the NFC, they need to do what they’ve done recently: four times in their last eight games, Dallas has scored 40 or more. Though Jalen Hurts didn’t play for the Eagles Saturday, Gardner Minshew was spunky and productive if not as safe as Hurts. And Dallas put up 40 against a D that had allowed more than 22 points only three times all season.

“It’s how we won that I think will help us,” Prescott said. “Down 10 in the first half, down 10 in the second half. Coming back both times. You think that doesn’t mean something big to us? We fought, we trusted, we gained confidence against the best team in the league by fighting back over and over.”

Running can be sexy, to some. The Panthers rushed 43 times for 320 yards, a 7.4-yard average, and the result was predictable: Carolina 37, Detroit 23. Talk about bursting the bubble of all the good feels for the Lions, who came in on a 6-1 roll. It’s the 6-9 Panthers who exited this game looking like much more of a playoff threat than the Lions. And, of course, Carolina can win the NFC South by sweeping games at the Bucs and Saints. Pretty crazy, after starting 2-7.

“We’re not sexy,” interim coach Steve Wilks (5-5, stunningly) told me post-game. “We’re not the classic NFL team that’s going to throw it all over the place. But like I’ve told [offensive coordinator] Ben McAdoo, there’s nothing more demoralizing to a defense than not being able to stop the run.” The Panthers, lately, have added some misdirection and more motion to the run game because, as Wilks said, “You look around the league, and you see window-dressing and misdirection causes problems for the defense in the run game.”

Rushing for 320 yards is pretty damn demoralizing. And what Wilks has done with his team is to prioritize what they do well – run – behind a strong line and a renewed sense of pride in his 11 weeks as coach. “I’ve told our guys, ‘Act like a champion every day,’ and I think they’ve responded well to that. That’s how they’re acting.”

So, whatever happens in the last two games, Wilks has restored the pride in the franchise. I asked him if that should be enough to be seriously considered for the full-time job. “Straight honestly,” he said, “I don’t look at it that way. I’ve done this job before [in Arizona, for one season], and even though it was only for a year, I understand what’s important. Stay in the moment. Win today. Try to beat Tampa. That’s all that matters.”

The Bengals won fairly ugly, but in this stretch, who really cares? Cincinnati bolted to a 22-0 lead at Foxboro and hung on, thanks to one of my Goats of the Week, Rhamondre Stevenson, getting the ball punched out by safety Vonn Bell inside the Bengals’ 10-yard line to clinch the game late. Cincinnati 22, New England 18.

Think of what the Bengals have done in their seven-game winning streak. Every one of those wins except Cleveland at home has come against a team currently fighting for the playoffs, or a team that’s qualified for the playoffs. Amazingly, the Bengals might have the toughest last two games: Buffalo and Baltimore, both at home. The Bengals, 11-4, are a game up on 10-5 Baltimore, but the Ravens own the tiebreaker after a week five win over the Bengals.

When I asked Zac Taylor about it Saturday night, he said, “We keep winning, we’ve won seven in a row, and you look where we are and what’s ahead of us … it may not be enough,” he said.

Seems likely the Bengals will be either the three or five seed. If they lose the division and are fifth, a Wild Card game at Tennessee or Jacksonville awaits. As the three seed, they’d host some team from the seven-team moshpit of AFC teams with eight or seven wins currently. “We qualified for the playoffs Thursday night,” Taylor said, “and the thing I noticed with our team is no one really had any emotion about it. Making the playoffs isn’t good enough for us. And now, going into the playoffs, we can’t afford to lose any games.”

Read more in Peter King’s full Football Morning in America column

NFL quarterback rankings 2023: Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of upcoming NFL season


While the NFL is a league that is ever-changing, some things are set to stay the same in 2023 — like the revealing of Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown.

Last year’s list saw Josh Allen take his place atop the quarterback throne, with Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Los Angeles’ Justin Herbert not far behind at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. It was, however, Mahomes who would ultimately reign over all NFL quarterbacks at the end of the season, as the 27-year-old collected both the NFL MVP honors and his second Lombardi Trophy.

This NFL offseason, however, has brought some intriguing adjustments that are likely to shake up Simms’ rankings.

While some signal-callers such as Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson found their prolonged home with massive contract signings, others will be venturing to a new franchise in search of a fresh start. Aaron Rodgers‘ trade to the New York Jets is unquestionably the most staggering shift, but other quarterbacks on the move such as Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo cannot be forgotten.

RELATED: Mike Florio gives an inside look into the Lamar Jackson deal

And with three of the first four picks in the 2023 NFL Draft being spent on a quarterback, emerging talent will likely turn the tides for some franchises this upcoming season.

See below for Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of the upcoming season. Be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for more on the 2023 NFL season as well as an unfiltered look at the NFL featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown and stories from a life in and around football.

RELATED: Peter King’s latest offseason NFL power rankings

Chris Simms’ 2023 Top 40 QB Countdown:

40. Desmond Ridder (ATL)

39. Sam Howell (WAS)

38. Bryce Young (CAR)

37. CJ Stroud (HOU)

36. Anthony Richardson (IND)

35. Mike White (MIA)

34. Gardner Minshew (IND)

33. Taylor Heinicke (ATL)

32. Jarrett Stidham (DEN)

31. Jordan Love (GB)

30. Davis Mills (HOU)

29. Tyler Huntley (BAL)

28. Andy Dalton (CAR)

27. Sam Darnold (SF)

26. Brock Purdy (SF)

25. Kenny Pickett (PIT)

24. Baker Mayfield (TB)

23. Justin Fields (CHI)

22. Jimmy Garoppolo (LV)

21. Tua Tagovailoa (MIA)

20. Mac Jones (NE)

2023 NFL Schedule Release: Start time, how to watch, live stream, channel


With another exciting NFL Draft in the books, teams can now turn their gaze toward the road to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. The path to Super Bowl glory, however, is about to become abundantly more clear with the 2023 NFL season schedule release.

This year’s NFL season schedule release is nearly here, with the entirety of the 2023 NFL schedule being unveiled on Thursday, May 11 at 8 p.m. ET on both Peacock and NFL Network. See below for everything you need to know for one of the offseason’s most anticipated events.

RELATED: Click here for full analysis on Rounds 1-7 of the 2023 NFL Draft

When will the 2023 NFL season schedule be released?

While all 272 matchups have been known since the conclusion of the 2022 regular season, the order and dates for these games have remained a mystery. The secret is nearly out, however, with every NFL game on the brink of revelation.

The full 2023 NFL schedule will be released on Thursday, May 11 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

How can I watch the 2023 NFL season schedule release?

The 2023 NFL season schedule release will take place Thursday, May 11 on Peacock, NFL Network, NFL.com and the NFL app at 8 p.m. ET.

While the entirety of the schedule will be unveiled at that time, select games have already been and will continue to be released prior to the official event. Ahead of the 2023 NFL season schedule release, the following games will be announced:

Who will play in the 2023 NFL Kickoff game?

The first game of the 2023-24 NFL season will see the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs take the field in Arrowhead Stadium.

The opponent that will meet Patrick Mahomes and company in Kansas City, however, remains to be revealed.

Which NFL teams have international games in 2023?

While the majority of the matchups set to take place next season have yet to be announced, the league has already revealed which teams will head overseas for international showdowns.

Below is the full list of international NFL games for the 2023-24 season, with three in London, U.K., and two in Frankfurt, Germany.

Falcons vs. Jaguars: Week 4, Oct. 1 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Wembley Stadium in London, U.K.

Jaguars vs. Bills: Week 5, Oct. 8 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Ravens vs. Titans: Week 6, Oct. 15 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Dolphins vs. Chiefs: Week 9, Nov. 5 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

Colts vs. Patriots: Week 10, Nov. 12 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

RELATED: NFL’s 2023 international games full of “star power”

When is the Super Bowl and where will it be taking place?

Stars will be shining bright in Las Vegas, Nevada, for Super Bowl LVIII, set to take place on Feb. 11, 2024, at the home of the Raiders in Allegiant Stadium.

This will be the first Super Bowl to ever take place in Las Vegas, which hosted the 2023 Pro Bowl and 2022 NFL Draft.

Be sure to follow ProFootballTalk for the latest news, updates, and storylines about the upcoming NFL season!