By Around the NFL staff
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They’re not dead yet! With just five weeks to go in the 2016 regular season, teams are making their final playoff pushes, avoiding catastrophe in the process.
The AFC East contenders — Buffalo and Miami — both narrowly escaped home defeats to the Jaguarsand 49ers, respectively, two teams that are slated to have top-five draft picks. In the NFC South, the Falcons and Saints went ahead early and stayed ahead against the underperforming Cardinals and Rams. The Titans steered clear of disaster in the Windy City, keeping pace with the struggling Texans.
The postseason picture is clearing up. Here’s what we’ve learned from Week 12.
1. Derek Carr was at the head of the roller coaster the Oakland faithful collectively rode on Sunday. The quarterback led an offensive attack that had the Raiders ahead 24-7 at half, then suffered a gruesome right hand injury that knocked him out of the game for a series and sparked a Carolina response of 25 unanswered points. But Carr, wearing a glove on the injured hand and receiving snaps exclusively out of the shotgun, didn’t wilt, leading a 10-play, 75-yard drive capped by a 12-yard touchdown pass to Clive Walford to tie the game at 32. He captained another drive that saw two acrobatic grabs from Michael Crabtree and ended five yards short of the end zone. We went from “business as usual Raiders,” to the injury-induced fall of Carr, back to another thrilling win for Oakland. The Raiders have made their living with heart-stopping victories this season. Why, on Sunday against the struggling but reigning NFC champions, should it have been any different? Continue reading