Kelvin Benjamin injury update: Bills WR has torn meniscus

Bills wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin missed Sunday’s 16-10 win over the Chiefs with what has been confirmed as a torn meniscus in his right knee.

Coach Sean McDermott told reporters Monday that Benjamin is day-to-day while dismissing a report from ESPN that their newly acquired wide receiver would miss several weeks.

Benjamin does have a torn meniscus, confirmed by Bills PR. McDermott thought he heard torn “ligament” when he was asked today.

— Bucky Gleason (@ByBuckyGleason) November 27, 2017

Benjamin has not practiced since injuring his knee on Nov. 19 against the Chargers.

It’s not the first time Benjamin has faced a serious injury. The wide receiver missed the entire 2015 season with a torn ACL in his left knee, which he suffered in the preseason. In Week 3 of this season, Benjamin also injured the same knee.

The Bills acquired Benjamin in an Oct. 31 trade from the Panthers. After playing two games for Buffalo, Benjamin has four catches for 62 yards.

Winless Browns have ‘big plans’ for Josh Gordon’s return vs. Chargers

Expect Josh Gordon to take the field Sunday in Los Angeles.

The Browns are ready to play the wide receiver in his first regular season game since December 2014, coach Hue Jackson said during his Monday press conference.

“My plans for him? Oh boy, let me tell you,” Jackson said. “I got big plans for him. I plan for him to play and play as much as he can handle.”

Gordon has been suspended for the past 43 of the Browns’ 48 games due to repeated violations of the league’s substance abuse policy. He returned to practice for the first time Wednesday, and Friday he said he was “feeling good.”

“I think he is a very talented player,” Jackson said. “He needs to play, needs to get out there and play, but we have to see where he is and make sure how much can he handle, how much can he do.”

Gordon can be activated at any time this week to play Sunday, but Jackson said he will wait a couple of days.

The winless Browns will try to secure their first win of the season Sunday, when they take on the Chargers (5-6).

Packers’ playoff scenarios line up well with Aaron Rodgers’ possible return

The Packers lost a 31-28 heartbreaker to the Steelers on Sunday night. But in the process of dropping a close game to the AFC’s top team in the standings, Green Bay gained a glimmer of hope that it still has a shot at making the NFC playoffs.

That’s because backup QB Brett Hundley (17-of-26, 243 yards, 3 TDs, 134.3 passer rating) had his breakout game filling in for Aaron Rodgers against a tough Pittsburgh pass defense on the road. The path to a ninth consecutive postseason berth for the Packers remains difficult, but it now feels at least possible.

MORE: Updated NFL playoff picture

Green Bay with Sunday’s loss fell to 5-6, two games behind 7-4 Atlanta for the final NFC wild-card spot. Also in between are two more teams, 7-4 Seattle and 6-5 Detroit. But with five games left to play and a lot of matchups featuring NFC contenders, nothing is certain until official elimination and/or clinching.

That includes the miracle that would be Green Bay catching 9-2 Minnesota in the NFC North.

From the Packers’ end, it’s simple: They must run the table to match their 10-6 finish of 2016, when they won their final six games. Hundley must play well enough to help them beat two bottom-feeders, the Buccaneers and Browns, over the next two weeks, and then Rodgers needs to return from his collarbone injury in Week 15.

Here are some of things that need to happen with other teams ahead of them to give the Packers a realistic shot.

Lions lose before Week 17

Detroit has its toughest game in Baltimore in Week 13, but it also finishes with Green Bay. Otherwise, it has favorable games at Tampa Bay, vs. Chicago and at Cincinnati.

The bottom line is nine wins aren’t going to get it done in the NFC. The Packers can’t really move up until the Lions, who won at Lambeau Field earlier this season, are in position to finish one game behind.

Seahawks also finish 10-6

One game that could come into play nicely for the Packers is their season-opening victory over the Seahawks. Seattle has been inconsistent of late, losing two at home and winning two on the road. This scenario would require the Seahawks to go 3-2 and finish second in the NFC West. It’s plausible given their remaining schedule: vs. Eagles, at Jaguars, vs. Rams, at Cowboys, vs. Cardinals.

The Packers don’t want to see the Seahawks get hot to the point of taking back the division from the 8-3 Rams. That would probably mean both Seattle and Los Angeles finish 11-5, a mark Green Bay can’t reach.

Panthers or Falcons fade hard in NFC South

The Packers have no chance to make the playoffs over the 8-3 Saints should New Orleans fall from first to third in the NFL’s toughest division. The Saints have strong three-game advantage over the Packers that includes a win at Lambeau in Week 7.

That means Green Bay should root for New Orleans to beat Carolina next week and/or Atlanta twice. The Packers are set to play the 8-3 Panthers in Week 15, making it a critical time for Rodgers’ return. The Packers already lost to the Falcons in Week 2 with Rodgers.

The Panthers need to go 2-2 in their other four games, and/or the Falcons need to go 2-3 overall to give the Packers a chance over either team.

Carolina goes to New Orleans in Week 13 and to Atlanta in Week 17. In between, in addition to hosting Green Bay, it also hosts Minnesota and plays at Tampa Bay. Atlanta hosts Minnesota and New Orleans next, then travels to Tampa Bay and New Orleans before closing vs. Carolina.

The Panthers have the harder slate, and the Packers have some control of their fate there. So it probably makes sense for the Packers to root for the Falcons, too, so Atlanta can rise to No. 3, No. 4 or No. 5. Then Green Bay can try to beat out Carolina for No. 6.

WATCH: Packers-Steelers highlights

Vikings collapse in NFC North

This is the most unlikely of scenarios, but then again, we’ve seen it happen before with the Lions free-falling in the Packers’ favor. At 9-2, however, Minnesota would need to finish 1-4.

If the Falcons or Panthers don’t plan to oblige for the Packers in the wild-card race, Green Bay should root for both to beat Minnesota over the next two weeks. That would suddenly cut the division lead to two games before Rodgers’ possible return — the exact 9-4 vs. 7-6 situation that burned Detroit last season.

Because of the conference record tiebreaker, the only win the Packers can afford the Vikings getting is their Week 15 home game against the Bengals. Based on the assumption Green Bay needs to get revenge on Minnesota with Rodgers at Lambeau in Week 16, it comes down to trusting Chicago to pull off an upset at Minnesota in Week 17 while Green Bay dispatches Detroit on the road.

The Packers can’t be ruled out thanks to an improving Hundley and a revved-up Rodgers, but it will take a lot of proper permutations beyond what’s in their control to sneak back into the postseason as a wild card or division winner.

Everything you missed from an exciting NFL Sunday in Week 12

NFL scores 2017: Live results, highlights, and more from Week 12

The bye weeks are over and the playoff races have officially begun.


Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Thanksgiving is over, but we still had a busy Sunday in the NFL. Although there was only one matchup between teams with winning records — the Saints vs. Rams — that just meant we got to enjoy a lot of silliness from today’s games.

Such as:

Catch up with the best highlights and biggest news from Sunday.

News

Dolphins CB Bobby McCain was ejected vs. Patriots for punching Danny Amendola.

A fight between Michael Crabtree and Aqib Talib started a full-on Raiders vs. Broncos brawl. And after both were ejected, Marshawn Lynch personally escorted Talib out of the stadium.

Here’s a brief history of the Michael Crabtree and Aqib Talib beef.

The Bears got stuck in Philadelphia because their plane broke down.

Highlights

The Bears and Eagles turned the ball over to each other on the same play.

The Patriots ran a fake punt for the 1st time in 13 years and it worked perfectly.

Two Chiefs players tried to catch the same screen pass. It failed miserably.

Julio Jones caught a 51-yard TD pass … from WR Mohamed Sanu. Jones’ second touchdown came after he took a Bucs defender’s ankles.

Cam Newton slapped away Jamal Adams when he tried to interrupt the Superman celebration.

The Browns had to turn to emergency punter Zane Gonzalez, who shanked his first try.

Alshon Jeffery made $250,000 with a touchdown against the Bears, his old team.

The Eagles executed a perfect group bowling celebration after Alshon Jeffery’s TD.

Delanie Walker performed CPR on a football and Fox announcer Chris Myers thought he was burping a baby.

The Eagles didn’t just beat the Bears — they did the “Electric Slide” on them.

A creative Bears fan holds up Firefox logo while calling for John Fox’s job.

It took 11 games, but the Raiders finally got their first INT of the season.

The Rams celebrated a TD by recreating Simba’s birth from The Lion King.

Alvin Kamara shows why he’s so special with this flawless hurdle over a Rams defender.

Steelers LB Vince Williams and Packers WR Geronimo Allison butted heads, then got their facemasks stuck together.

Mike McCarthy helped the Steelers tie the game with an unrealistic 57-yard FG attempt.

Antonio Brown’s incredible toe-tapping catch was the only reason the Steelers beat the Packers.

Why T.J. Watt wasn’t flagged for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Brett Hundley before the Steelers beat the Packers.

Injuries

Patriots special teams ace Nate Ebner picked up a first down with a fake punt against the Dolphins. Unfortunately for Ebner, he injured his knee and was ruled out for the rest of the game.

DeShone Kizer left to be evaluated for a possible concussion. Cody Kessler took over against the Bengals briefly, until Kizer was cleared and returned.

Panthers tight end Greg Olsen left in the third quarter against the Jets with a foot injury. It was his first game back since he broke his foot in Week 2.

Amari Cooper was taken to locker room after a hit to the head vs. the Broncos. He was later ruled out with a concussion.

Paxton Lynch, in his first start of the season for the Broncos, left with an ankle injury and did not return. Trevor Siemian replaced Lynch and played pretty well.

C.J. Beathard injured his knee late against the Seahawks, and some 49ers players weren’t happy fans cheered for Jimmy Garoppolo while Beathard was done.

Week 12 scores and schedule (all times Eastern)

Atlanta Falcons 34, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20

Cincinnati Bengals 30, Cleveland Browns 16

Tennessee Titans 20, Indianapolis Colts 16

Buffalo Bills 16, Kansas City Chiefs 10

New England Patriots 35, Miami Dolphins 17

Carolina Panthers 35, New York Jets 27

Philadelphia Eagles 31, Chicago Bears 3

Seattle Seahawks 24, San Francisco 49ers 13

Arizona Cardinals 27, Jacksonville Jaguars 24

Los Angeles Rams 26, New Orleans Saints 20

Oakland Raiders 21, Denver Broncos 14

Pittsburgh Steelers 31, Green Bay Packers 28

The top stories from Sunday’s NFL action

Before the games

With Thanksgiving in the rearview mirror, the rest of Week 12 gets underway Sunday. We got some important matchups and potential playoff previews as the postseason race reaches critical mass.

The biggest game of the early window features a suddenly cold Chiefs team against the Bills. Buffalo got headlines for all the wrong reasons last week, when Sean McDermott’s quarterback gambit backfired spectacularly. Tyrod Taylor is back in after Nathan Peterman’s five-interception disaster, but has the damage already been done? The Bills are clinging to playoff hopes at this point.

The late afternoon has by far the biggest game of the week, with the 7-3 Rams hosting the 8-2 Saints. It would not be surprising if they met again in January. New Orleans has a winning combination of a strong running game and surprisingly good defense (oh, and Drew Brees is still really good). Jared Goff has cooled off after a strong start to he year, and he’s now without Robert Woods for a few weeks. Sean McVay might be looking at his first real test with injuries starting to pile up.

Sunday Night Football features a Steelers vs. Packers matchup that could’ve been a Super Bowl preview in an alternate timeline. Unfortunately, Aaron Rodgers is out with a broken collarbone and the Packers have struggled badly without him. Brett Hundley could have his hands full against a resurgent Steelers defense.