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NFL The Final Word: San Francisco 49ers show they are Super Bowl favourites as Miami Dolphins take top spot in AFC

Sky Sports' Neil Reynolds has the final word on Week 13 in the NFL, picking out his five big takeaways, player of the week and more; Cincinnati Bengals' Zac Taylor named Coach of the Week after his side's overtime win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in absence of Joe Burrow

Image: Brock Purdy threw four in San Francisco's revenge win over Philadelphia

Week 13 was a significant one in the NFL's race to the playoffs, with some big wins and telling losses. We start in Philadelphia with the game of the year as the Eagles took on the San Francisco 49ers...

1) The team to beat

I think Sunday served as a bit of therapy for the 49ers, they had unfinished business they wanted to take care of when they travelled east to face the Philadelphia Eagles.

They were emphatic in their 42-19 victory. It was a slow start with just minus-six yards in the first quarter, but then they showed all their strength and what makes them so special by scoring touchdowns on six straight drives.

All their stars showed up to play. You can't pick just one person to take out of the game: close down Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel will do the job; close down Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk will shine; shut Aiyuk down and then it's George Kittle's turn; and tying it all together is the connection between Brock Purdy and Kyle Shanahan.

The 49ers showed us on Sunday they are the best team in the NFL.

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Highlights of the San Francisco 49ers against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 13 of the NFL season

2) Miami's hunt for No 1 seed

The Miami Dolphins had a big win on Sunday as they beat the Washington Commanders 45-14, and had other results go their way as Kansas City and Jacksonville lost. Miami are the No 1 seed in the AFC and they are looking good, they are 9-3 for the first time since 2001.

They are driven by Tyreek Hill. I'm not sure what Washington's plan was but it didn't work, he caught five passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns that covered 78 and 60 yards.

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He remains on pace for 2,000 receiving yards which would be a first in NFL history. We take the Dolphins for granted a little bit. Tua Tagovailoa is doing a great job, Mike McDaniel has this team very driven and their defense is improving. The Dolphins are getting hot at the right time of year.

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Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa lofted it to wide receiver Tyreek Hill for the 78-yard touchdown as the Dolphins opened the scoring against the Washington Commanders

3) Box-office Texans

Houston had yet another dramatic game as they beat the Denver Broncos, CJ Stroud had his moments but had to overcome the loss of Tank Dell to a broken leg. Nico Collins was excellent with nine catches for 191 yards and a touchdown.

These Texans live on the edge and they are absolute box office. Their last eight games have all been decided by one score, they find ways to get jobs done.

They will lose some heartbreakers but they will also win some that breaks the heart of opposing teams. This one had some CJ Stroud highlights but also had some big defensive moments. Will Anderson Jr shone with two sacks, there were three interceptions of Russell Wilson including the game-clincher from Jimmie Ward.

Derek Stingley, the first-round pick from 2022, had two interceptions. There are really promising young players making plays for the Texans, who are living on the edge but getting the job done.

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Highlights of the Denver Broncos against the Houston Texans in Week 13 of the NFL season

4) Watch out for the Rams!

The Los Angeles Rams have entered the playoff race which is incredible to me. They have improved to 6-6 with their 36-19 win over the Cleveland Browns. This is still a rebuilding squad but one that can be competitive on any given weekend when Matthew Stafford is at quarterback.

They have a nice mix around him with a veteran in Cooper Kupp and young guys in Puka Nacua and Kyren Williams.
This is not an elite team but they always have a puncher's chance when they have some of those playmakers in the line-up Look out for those Rams.

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Puka Nacua ran in for the 70-yard touchdown from Matthew Stafford's pass as the Los Angeles Rams took the lead against the Cleveland Browns

5) Dallas on the charge

We shouldn't sleep on the Dallas Cowboys, they were given all they could handle by the Seattle Seahawks but dug deep to get the 41-35 win.

There's not a quarterback playing better in the NFL right now than Dak Prescott, they are a formidable outfit at home and the defense stepped up at the end on what had been a challenging night.

We are rightly drawn to the 49ers and Eagles in the NFC, but Dallas are going to have something to say about the playoff picture. I want to emphasise just how impressed I am with Dak Prescott right now.

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Highlights of the Seattle Seahawks against the Dallas Cowboys in week 13 of the NFL season

Player of the Week - Nico Collins, WR, Houston Texans

I'm going to go with Nico Collins for the Texans. Tank Dell went down with that broken leg and Collins actually reminded us that he has been Houston's leading receiver statistically all season long. They will need to lean on him the rest of the way. He was excellent against Denver with 191 yards and a touchdown, he is going to be CJ Stroud's main man moving forward.

Play of the Week - Deebo's first TD vs Eagles

My play of the week is the first long Deebo Samuel catch-and-run in the first half of the 49ers' win over the Eagles.
This play exemplified everything good about the 49ers offense. It showed Deebo Samuel's explosiveness, Kyle Shanahan's creativity, the accuracy and decision-making of Brock Purdy but also the selflessness of the team.
We saw George Kittle making great blocks downfield to help Samuel into the end zone.

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Deebo Samuel proved far too powerful for Philadelphia's defence as he extended San Francisco's lead in the second half

Coach of the Week - Zac Taylor, Cincinnati Bengals

I'm going to go with Zac Taylor of the Cincinnati Bengals. I watched this game very closely on Monday night and they had a good plan for attacking the Jacksonville Jaguars. They looked comfortable from the start, Jake Browning looked very good and that's on Zac Taylor helping his quarterback settle down as he replaces Joe Burrow.

They deserved that overtime win over the Jaguars so I really thought that was a really good effort from the Bengals, which keeps them alive just about in the race to the postseason. They will have to rely on coaching the rest of the way to stay competitive, so a nod to Zac Taylor.

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Highlights of the Cincinnati Bengals' clash with the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 13 of the NFL season

On my radar... The Patriots offense

On my radar is the absolutely broken offense of the New England Patriots. The Patriots gained just 257 yards and were held without a single point in a 6-0 loss at home to the Los Angeles Chargers.

This was on the offense, make no mistake about that. The Chargers only gained 241 yards themselves. Two field goals was enough. How is this for a stat? New England are the first NFL team since 1938 to lose three straight games during which they did not allow the opposing team to score more than 10 points in any of those contests.

Bill Belichick loves his history but he wants no part of that. This team is limping to the finish line. Mac Jones has no future, Bailey Zappe isn't good enough, Bill Belichick's final days in New England are as dark as dark.


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